After a year of disheartening setbacks, many activists and change-makers may feel that the critical goal of transforming capitalism is slipping out of reach. Yet, having just returned from a four-week trip to many sites and gatherings working on social, economic, and spiritual renewal, I feel that the opposite is true. There are more fascinating and eye-opening examples of this transformation emerging worldwide than ever before.
In 2015, the year Axiom News gave birth to the Peterborough Dialogues, over 100 gatherings were hosted. I was asked by an astounded colleague in Europe, why would anyone do that? Well, to know and to serve. That’s why.
Three suitcases. Two stuffed animals. A bag full of typically Canadian gifts. And we were off.
The Welfare State is an important extension of our human community’s capacity to care; not a replacement for it. Communities produce care (full-stop) and the systems or service world should simply be the support to that care where required, a resource to carers and not the source of care.
We have become so remarkably accustomed to a form of leadership that comes from the top. Why? Well, because it is easier for everybody. It is easier for the leader because they can indulge in their narcissism. And, well, we want them to. You see, if they are shaping things according to their filters and persona then we can move in a direction that is embodied by the leader.
As anxieties about an economically unstable future grow globally, there is an alternative mindset much closer to home—literally just around the corner, in fact. Instead of relying on federal policy, our local communities are constructing an economy and a way of being that promises more stability and more local control.
Fostering generative community is filled with delicate paradoxes. One of those that seems to frustrate and confuse in turns is the role of tools. Which is it? Are there great tools that we can adapt to various communities in service of generativity or is each community so unique that we should abandon all tools and focus our effort on refining our ability to sense and respond to each moment as it presents itself?
It only occurred to me recently that making music with others is a form of convening; the groove is a field of generativity.
How should our governments respond in a world of uncertain work and rising inequality? This is one of the most important social policy questions of our time — providing a Basic Income Guarantee could be our first, best answer.
There is a hardy breed of activists who have set themselves the rather lofty goal of civilizing capitalism. This renaissance of capitalism will be achieved by reinventing businesses and corporations, transforming markets, recreating Wall Street, and humanizing investments.
They are the needed pioneers of our time, those stepping out to hold space for community dialogue that embraces authentic connection, new possibilities and personal efficacy.
I’ve had the privilege of seeing a lot of professional practitioners wrestle with the dilemmas that Asset-Based Community Development presents - serving while walking backwards being chief among them.
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