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?
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.
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 Hope-Wiki.com
- There is a big gap between my references and the rigours of a literature scan – there may be some big missteps.