Work in a
Values for New Economic Relationships
Miller, page 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6
|I. Values underlying current economic relationships|
|II. Values for new economic relationships in a sustainable society|
|II.a Basic Moral Presumptions|
|II.b Moral Priorities|
|II.c Applying the Moral Presumptions and Priorities||IV. Actions for transformation|
|III. Some visions of what could be|
IV. Action for transformation
What does it mean to be an agent of systemic change in this context? Progressive economist, Gar Alperovitz, author of a seminal l990 article, suggested that revolution is unlikely in the West to achieve results in accord with the basic values of equality, liberty, democracy, ecological responsibility, and community. He argues that this plan could be financed by effectively rearranging current resources. Putting purchasing power in the hands of those presently denied it would make possible the use of presently unused capacity. Government expenditures to restrict production, advertising expenditures to stimulate consumption, for example could be redirected. Reform of the current system is necessary to reduce human suffering and environmental damage, but it is not enough. What is needed is reconstruction according to a new vision -- "the difficult path of slowly building new ways, and as these gather force, adding to them both institutionally and through political demands oriented to new institutional goals." ["Building A Living Democracy: A Whole New Way of Thinking About Politics and Economics," Sojourners (June, 1990), 11-23.]
In practical terms this kind of reconstruction involves developing a clear vision of a transformed society, and sustained, committed multifaceted action shaped by a new intentionality rooted in the values of that emerging vision. This type of systemic change requires a critical mass of people acting out of this new intentionality in various roles according to their talents. Committed individuals and institutions acting in each of eight roles are essential for systemic change:
No one of these actions is sufficient; all are necessary for transformational social change.
The power of this integrated paradigm of action for systemic transformation is twofold: 1) it does not let anyone claim there is nothing s/he can do for systemic change; it demystifies it and enables everyone to take responsibility for some part of the necessary action; 2) it gives a glimpse of the power of a committed group of people to effect change; it makes it possible to grasp how it can happen. It gives credence to Margaret Mead's familiar words: "Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
Being agents of systemic change in our time calls us to keep our eyes clearly on the vision of a transformed world shaped by the moral presumptions of our faith and to participate actively in the reform of current systems as part of moving toward that transformed world of sustainable societies where all people can live and work in dignity.