Hi Kate, I was inspired by your TEDtalk that I watched this morning. Although economics is not my field, the fear inspired by the economic growth model has always bothered me - it actually doesn’t make sense either. I know you noticed the torus / balance shape in your model from your TEDtalk and I’m drawn to write in case some insights that we’ve had here in our work may be of some use to your economic discussion.
This is an excerpt from a program that I run that I hope will explain what I mean:
There is a shape that is repeated almost infinitely in nature, called a torus. We first learned of this torus from Devony in Alaska who was doing one of our early horse programs here at the same time as she was doing a report for the U.S. government on the importance of the Alaskan wetlands.
She described the wetlands as operating in the shape and energy of a torus: (And I dare say she made a more expert job of it than I did remembering her words years later!)
* gathering in water from the rivers and streams;
* soaking it up, absorbing all the nutrients;
* and then expelling the water out into the sea with enough force to create the clouds that in turn create the rain that falls on the mountains and valleys.
* and from that rain, down comes the water flowing into the rivers and streams again, available to be gathered into the wetlands again – those actions repeating infinitely.
_ See… a problem in the wetlands might LOOK LIKE there’s simply not enough water in there - but the SOURCE of the problem can be a blockage ANYWHERE on the torus and the most effective and easiest SOLUTION is fixing where the problem REALLY IS coming from._
So the cause of a problem in the wetlands can be in ANY of those actions :
* It can be caused by a problem in the gathering – somewhere in that network of streams and creeks and rivers and land that gather that rain into the wetlands.
* Or it can be a problem in the soaking that enables the wetlands to draw the nourishment from the rain or a problem in the soaking that is blocking the building of energy that makes it POSSIBLE to expel the water out into the sea with enough force to create rain.
* or because there’s not enough water being expelled out into the ocean with enough force and energy to create the clouds that move around to the mountains and drop their rain for the rivers and streams to gather and for the cycle to keep going.
_(I took the pictures of the torus out) _
As she was talking about it, we got one of those enormous flashes of understanding, that the wetlands was a strong abundance metaphor.
Abundance can be about anything. (added later for this post… about economics too which is really just large scale abundance)
_Most people think abundance is about money, but it’s also about a lot of other things.
Just like the Wetlands
Like the wetlands, our whole abundance system can break down because of a deficiency at any one or more of those three stages.
* in the gathering stage – whether it’s money, love, nutrition, support, enjoyment of life, passionate inspiration or anything else,
* in the soaking up and appreciation stage – gaining nourishment, building the energy,
* in the expelling, gifting, outwards flow of whatever it is – money, love, nutrition, support, enjoyment of life, passionate inspiration for the work we do.
I am drawn to the idea that economics is “just” large scale abundance and can be dissected and analysed and insights for solutions gained in the same way, when we think of the torus and "where on the torus is the weakness in our economic system in this instance? In the gathering? In the soaking up and appreciation? In the energy with which we expel that large scale abundance out into the world again with such strength of flow that the flow of energy in the donut shape finds balance and increases?
In this program, one of the things we do is teach people to find their own personal abundance by using that that torus shape to identify where on the model to look for solutions and then how to quieten their mind to allow the insights and potential actions to flow.
I can’t help but think that someone with knowledge of the larger scale of economics (not me! ) using what we know of the Wetlands model (your donut) could use it for solutions and refinements of solutions of economic problems.
Just a thought!