Associative Economy

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Reforming Asian economies: peer to peer, threefolding, and associative economics

The consequences of externalized costs are more often than not the incalculable costs of human and ecological degradation. It is no small irony that such degradation cannot be anything other than place-based even if on a wide-spread basis. Those on the home front driving the marketplace were blind to the procurement methods, or the inexorable social and environmental behavior of the procurers.

The consumers had only their desire as a guide to what price they were willing to bear; merchants were driven by the accumulation of wealth without heed of or accountability for the destructive wake left behind. So the question remains about how to rethink a sustainable economic system which centers in place, has no externalized costs, and where price actually meets the basic needs of all the parties to the transactions.

There are two threads to this inquiry that deserve attention. The first is the practice of associative economics as articulated by Rudolf Steiner in his lecture cycle Economics: The World as One Economy Both were innovative systems thinkers and addressed the economic reality or potential of place. Perhaps the simplest and clearest application of associative economic practice is to be found under the heading of Community Supported Agriculture CSA.

The modern origins of this economic approach came with the development of biodynamic farming also started by Rudolf Steiner in the s and CSA was first adopted in the US in the early s. The form arose out of the question of how a farmer might make a sustainable living from his or her chosen vocation, and not be at the whim of the marketplace and the weather. While there are various interpretations of what CSA is, there are some core principles that are essential to the deeper value of the practice—especially the relationships between the farmers and member-shareholder-eaters the community , price, and risk.

At Live Power, the farmers and some of the interested eaters gather to consider the annual budget for the farm. The farmer lays out all the costs for twelve months including seed, apprentices, housing, health insurance, transportation, maintenance, retirement funds, etc. Based upon the capacity of the garden, the farmers also determine how many families or shareholders they can reasonably grow food for in a year.

After some often lively discussion of the details, this total annual cost is divided by the number of shareholders to arrive at the cost per share. When this amount is determined, shareholder-eaters commit for the year and make a deposit for their share. The food comes over a seven and half month period, but the farmer is actually supported for all twelve months.

This is a simple form of associative economics, but accomplishes many things. The farmer manages a closed-loop, bio-diverse farm organism. He grows virtually all the feed the animals need, uses the manure for compost to renew the soil, and then from the soil grows the food and feed. Before my mind there stood the idea that even if the observations of natural phenomena led to such opinions, one who possessed a perception of the spiritual world could not arrive at these opinions.

I saw how seductive these assumptions were for the manner of thought of the time, educated in the natural sciences, and yet I could not then resolve to oppose a manner of thought of my own against that which then prevailed. But just this caused me bitter mental struggles. Again and again I felt I must suppress the criticism I could easily frame against this manner of thinking to await the time in which more comprehensive sources and ways of knowledge should give me a greater assurance. Again in his autobiography he states:.

A spiritual perception formed itself before my mind which did not rest upon dark mystical feeling. It proceeded much more in a spiritual activity which in its thoroughness might be compared with mathematical thinking. I was approaching the state of soul in which I felt that I might consider that the perception of the spiritual world which I bore within me was confirmed before the forum of natural scientific thought.

Associative Economics

When these experiences passed through my mind I was in my twenty-second year. On a visit to see him, Steiner witnessed that he had become disconnected and disinterested in the life around him and unable to fully penetrate his body. This was the same month and year he also published a book, entitled, Friedrich Nietzsche, A Fighter for Freedom. Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom , represented an unparalleled breakthrough in a transformed thinking and broke the barriers to knowledge that had been imposed on European thinking by Kant.

The latter claimed that there were limits to knowledge and that the thinker could never escape the boundaries of his or her own mind. Kant asserted that the human being could never really know that which he observes in the outer world as percepts. At the height of materialism, when both soul and spirit were questionable realities, Steiner forged a path across the abyss between you and I, self and world.

It is a journey in thought through levels of conscious awareness. This is the source and possibility of inner freedom and choice in every situation. In this way, the clear intimate nature of thought can become imbued with love-engendered forces of the heart and intuitive capacities of the will. We see the oak within the acorn and the butterfly in the egg of a caterpillar. Taken further, he described how we live in continuous possibility of changing something in ourselves in order to change any given situation. Can we sacrifice the process of our own thinking and allow our attention to fully listen or perceive another human being, plant, animal, or world situation in such a way that we perceive the spirit at work and what it might be asking of us in the moment?

To step into our I, reverse the activity of thinking, is a choice available to each one of us. With this choice, Steiner says we can now truly begin to discover and perform free deeds of love.

Nothing can reveal itself to us which we do not love. Steiner made some comments about the experiential activity that is expected for reading and experiencing his book:. It had to assume a special way of reading.

It expected the reader to undergo the sort of inner experience that, in an external sense, is really just like waking up out of sleep in the morning. But then one begins to be inwardly active. But my thinking took the form of just letting thoughts flow and carry me along. Now little by little, I am beginning to be inwardly active in them.

Instead, he demonstrated the ability to work with the creative striving of the other.

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This other could be a human being, a garden, the economy of the world, the planets, zodiac, or a social organism. This was necessary for human beings to win freedom of choice, gain self knowledge out of their own efforts and to be able to discover and experience the impact of their own thoughts, feelings, and deeds. The Christ-Being was known in all the mysteries. Zarathustra named him Ahura Mazdao, and in Egypt he was known as Osiris. The Jewish people called him Jahve or Jehova, and then in the fourth cultural epoch this very same being lived for three years on our physical earth in the body of Jesus of Nazareth.

Mystically, the Christ united Himself with the earth when the blood streamed from His wounds at Golgotha. At that time He appears in the aura of the earth, and He has been in it ever since. Who was the first man to see Christ in the aura of the earth? It was St. Paul, who did more than anyone else for the dissemination of Christianity. What caused Saul to become Paul? Neither the teachings nor the events that took place in Palestine, but the event at Damascus, which was of a super-sensible nature. Before that experience, Paul could not believe that the one who had died so disgracefully on the cross had been the Christ, but as an initiate of the cabala he knew that the Christ would be visible in the aura of the earth once He had appeared on earth.

That was the experience of Paul, which transformed him from Saul to Paul. The true substance of Christianity began germinally to unfold within me as an inner phenomenon of knowledge. Out of a clear perception of the needs of the time, and a conviction that he had a valuable gift to offer humanity, he made the difficult decision to speak openly and directly out of his inner faculties of perception for the first time in his life.

Once he made that decision, the spiritual floodgates were opened. He gave his first public lecture at the age of 40, working mainly with the Theosophical Society as well as through articles and books. Within a few years, Steiner had surveyed with clarity and intimacy the Spiritual Beings at work in the kingdoms of nature and in the cosmos. He spoke of the nature of the human soul and spirit and of their potential for further development and formulated exercies for a self-conscious understanding of the task of our age.

He spoke of the experiences of the soul before life and after death, and of the spiritual history of the human being and the earth. Attempts were made on his life. Steiner was one of the first to concur that our thoughts have reality and the quality of being that emanates from our thoughts influences the elemental world around us. He called the body of knowledge which has become part of his world changing legacy — Anthroposophy.

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Anthropos—the human being; Sophia—divine wisdom. Over the course of the next twenty five years, he forged a path from thinking, to the arts, to the implementation of Anthroposophy to renew almost every area of life. He personally lived simply and modestly, but created great wealth around him. He was able to garner economic and artistic support to build the largest double domed building on earth, which was an architectural masterpiece as a performing arts studio and lecture hall which was also to house the administration of the Anthroposophical Society and later, the School of Spiritual Science.

We have now reached the far shore of rugged individualism and isolationist living as a necessary step in our evolving human experience. We can see evidence that we have reached that far shore in our current economic challenges around the world. Every look at nature can kindle a longing to know her. He said:. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised.

Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health. He followed many individuals as case studies through their various incarnations and articulated the laws of reincarnation and karma. It made life incredibly challenging. In response, he penetrated the current economic processes with his thinking and pointed out the errors on which it was based and why neither socialism or capitalism were sustainable in the long run.

He called economics the outer reflection and covering of our consciousness as a shell is the outer covering of the nut. It begins with our individual economic decisions and how we position ourselves in relation to others. It was completely destroyed by the fire. This refounding took place one year after the First Geotheannum was burnt to the ground by arsonists.

Out of the ruins of this painful experience, over the course of the next year, Steiner came a new vision and for a new social form and began the plans for a second Goetheanum to act as cover for the first.

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At the refounding , for the first time in human history, a public institution, open to any and all, has at its core, the process of initiation through initiative to meet the needs of our time. Rudolf Steiner, an initiate, initiated by the trials of his life, joined the Society as its President. He took this risk as he formed and joined a refounded Society and worldwide Movement that he envisioned would come to full maturity to stave off the impending crises. They are described in more detail as follows:.


The second Geotheanum design by Rudolf Steiner which was built over the first and is the current home of the Anthroposophical Society and Movement. It was to be de-centralized so that breakthroughs and new insights would be continuously renewed from all areas of the world. The members were free to act according to their moral intuitions. The lecure and performance Hall of the Goetheanum. There were general lessons for all and then sections which were formed to support research and innovation in practical fields of initiative.

So a person would first join the Society and then after two years could join the School of Spiritual Science and undergo the spiritual scientific training and exercises provided therein. After familiarizing themselves with the lessons, they could then request to join a section to collaborate with others in their field. We hold the premise that Steiner intended Three Classes of The School to address the three distinct aspects of social life: spiritual life, rights life, and economic life.

Before his untimely death, Rudolf Steiner was able to complete a portion of the First Class Lessons and appointed a co-leader—who we know from his evening lectures of the re-founding was also his destiny companion over many lifetimes—Ita Wegman.

How do we listen and speak to one another with equanimity and respect, despite differences? How do we chose who we want to collaborate with in an initiative? How do we meet conflict and controversy? Participants would learn to intuitively unveil the karma behind economic transactions and to think with economic mobility for and with one another on behalf of the greater community.

It has been intuited that Steiner intended that he would maintain leadership of the Third Class. After Rudolf Steiner joined the Society during the refounding of the Christmas Conference his creative spiritual capacities were ignited like never before. Ita Wegman. He went on to work closely with Ms. Wegman in the newly refounded Society to found a new medical impulse.

Reforming Asian economies: peer to peer, threefolding, and associative economics | P2P Foundation

He also counseled individuals on their destiny paths who came and went incessantly from his studio. During the autumn of , Dr. Steiner became ill and was unable to lecture anymore. It can be surmised that he took on the unresolved karma of the members who were not mature enough to handle their own jealousies and insecurities themselves. Before he crossed the threshold a few short months later in March of , he reminded us that he and many of those with him would return toward the end of the 19th century and the early part of the twentieth century to meet and transform the perils of humanities plight.

Available HERE. Who is to succeed him — not in the outer sense, but in the sense that, whoever his successor is, we can all recognize him or her as the rightful heir to use an impossible expression? What is to be done if the sketch left behind by Rudolf Steiner is to be filled out? Are we doomed, for example, to make the most of the fragment of the School that he was able to develop — namely, the first third of the intended lessons of the First Class?

What about the rest of these? And what about the Second and Third Classes? Are we somehow supposed to wait for someone else to complete this work? Is it perhaps to remain uncompleted? And yet, if it is uncompleted, then it is also incomplete and that means it cannot give us the basis that Rudolf Steiner clearly meant it do.