It is said we need a better approach to political economy. Therefore;

(1) what would a realistic alternative political economy look like?

(2) being better, how can we go about creating it?


In Part 1 Review and Part 2 Assess I address question 1.

The Human Activity System (HAS) I describe is an overall conceptual framework for understanding human behaviour. The framework can be used to look at the past, present and future, to explain our place in the universe; our common story. By extracting political implications, it can be a foundation for envisioning a different political economy. It supports the search for examples of what does good look like.

In Part 3 Consider and Part 4 Act I address question 2

Working out how to bring about a different political economy as big a challenge as devising the alternative. There big issues are power and change. By contrasting the alternative vision to current politics in a gap analysis strategies and tactics can be developed.


The work leads to a series of hypotheses in 3 areas;

1. Looking at humans and our history through the lens of HAS

  • Cooperation is a driver of evolution (but we fetishize competition)
  • Homo-sapiens are social animals (but we emphasise individualism)
  • Multi-disciplinary and systems thinking approaches are needed (but politics favours fixes)
  • Feedback and learning systems are understood (but we have a blame culture, and feedback is distorted)
  • People thrive with team-work and cooperation (but politics is confrontational)
  • Individually we rub along (but politically we emphasise division)
  • Human behaviour, considered as an emergent property of the HAS, shows both the possibilities and limits for deliberate, directional change

2. The values that shape our approach to practical politics

  • It is impossible to be value free, even when the alternative is grounded in knowledge.
  • Holistic Political Economy proposes a minimal set of common values: non-violence, enlightened self- interest and the right and duty of everyone to participate fully.

3. Looking at change and power, the practicalities of politics

  • Holisitic political economy can be approached as a design and implementation project
  • A paradigm shift would be the most effective way to bring about large system change
  • Small changes can have big ramifications, this also should be used
  • For change to be accepted it needs to be consensual
  • Ends and means have to be balanced and deliberately aligned
  • Mutual reciprocity can be adapted as way to develop cooperation
  • Existing power will resist so alternative power must be developed
  • A lot of change does not need permission, people can just start


  • This may be a privileged, western perspective and have cultural specifics
  • Although optimistic, and trying to be practical, it can seem overwhelming
  • Persuading people of the need to work outside the current political norms for activism is a huge challenge
  • The work is light on economic detail because I have prioritised the development of
  • There is a big gap between my references and the rigours of a literature scan – there may be some big missteps.