Periodically I attempt to summarize the contents of this blog. Since there has been some recent interest in the concept developed at the blog, perhaps it is a good time to explain how I got to this point. This may help readers to better understand the concept.
In the early 90's I became concerned with the sprawling development that was occurring in Boise, Idaho. I formed a non-profit group that attempted to educate the public on alternatives to sprawl -- namely New Urbanism aka Traditional Neighborhood Development. I continued to be an advocate for New Urbanism through 1998 and used my position as an institutional real estate investment manager to promote the same. However, I came to realize that the issue of sustainability involved much more than shifting from suburbia to urbia. Exposure to books like Limits to Growth and follow-up books caused me to realize that substantial changes had to be made in order to pull out of Overshoot. Indeed, we have to come up with a system that cuts our energy and resource use by as much as 90%.
It soon became clear that we had to have a massive shift upward in personal development in order to correct our course. The best guide to understanding personal development that I found was Spiral Dynamics. Over time I came to realize that it is essential to drop the ego and understand non-duality -- a position that is consistent with science. While saints and sages associated with all of the major religions throughout the last 2500 years have recognized that this is the way to enlightenment, it has not been introduced in a comprehensive way to a majority of the population.
I also came to realize that our education systems encourage us to be specialists who consequently do not understand the entire system. This has caused us to be complacent about our predicament. My conclusion with respect to religion and education is that we have to begin to educate young people as early as the age of eight in how to think rationally and how to think in terms of systems.
Lastly, I have come to the conclusion that credit is the source of most of our problems. It has literally encouraged us to borrow against the future. While groups like the Peterson Institute have done a good job of attempting to educate the public with respect to the federal deficit, they have not put forth a comprehensive vision of how we need to transition to a credit-free society.
Whether the label was club, university, or bank, the general theme of the blog has been that we have to learn and live in a completely different way from that which got us to this point. The theme has also been that the for-profit/non-profit system that currently dominates all that we do is not working.
And now to the concept of MindfulWorldBank.org. Essentially, we need to expand capitalism to everyone -- not just the top 5% or so. Mindful World Bank tm would own high-quality assets and depositors would own the bank. Rather than paying a landlord, residents would deposit funds in an account at Mindful World Bank tm; thereby building equity rather than throwing money away. Administration would be handled by volunteers, rather than by executives/bureaucrats. Eventually, the entire MWB infrastructure would look something similar to a health spa with paths rather than streets. Cars might still be in our future but would not dominate the landscape and our lives as they do today. Rather than sit behind desks and in front of computers, we could all be gardeners, gourmet chefs, bicycle mechanics, yoga instructors, or be occupied by some other meaningful work.
It should be noted that this concept is related to the work of recent Nobel recipients Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson. It addresses the commons in a comprehensive way as well as providing a new organizational structure that is designed to bring out the best in all those who live, work, and invest in the system. While it is exciting to see their work recognized, it would be more exciting to see it put into practice.
A new organization such as this can be developed from the ground up or with assistance of a wealthy patron. Please help market the concept. Questions are encouraged.