Humpty Dumpty is the perfect metaphor to represent the crisis of the current economic system. Like the classic nursery rhyme character, it has had a nice downfall and no one is quite sure how to put it back together.
The reason it cannot be patched up is that a system which has generated dependence on consumption to foster constant growth, and which benefits the few at the expense of the many, cannot by nature cope. to the many environmental and social challenges we face. whether it is about climate change, poverty, the scarcity of resources or the collapse of ecosystems.
Stewart Wallis, executive director of the New Economics Foundation, puts it succinctly when he says that we have created a system that is “unstable, unsustainable, unjust and unhappy.”
Yet despite its obvious shortcomings and the ever-increasing urgency to act, the vast majority of people seem oblivious to the dangers and even those who recognize the magnitude of the risks are far from reaching a consensus on what to do next. Many different initiatives are emerging that aim to reform the current form of capitalism: conscious, revolutionary, attentive and responsible to name a few.
But is capitalism fundamentally flawed and do we need a much more radical response to break down concentrations of wealth and power, as proposed by those who have aligned around the Occupy movement? Is it possible to have a smooth transition, or will we experience a catastrophic collapse?
Will the need for fundamental change bring people together or increase fear levels, leading to a new rise in extremism and protectionism? Does happiness lie in getting back to a simpler life, and can broader measures of success that go beyond GDP make a real difference in the way our economies are run?
These are just a few of the crucial questions Guardian Sustainable Business plans to discuss in our new section on Reshaping Prosperity.
To be involved
We would greatly appreciate your help in framing the conversation and getting your recommendations on the key issues we should be covering.
What questions do you think are critical and what is your take on how to change people’s mindsets? Where are the greatest opportunities for change and what solutions are you most excited about? What will lead to a change so that the transformation of the economic system becomes the work of millions rather than being left on the margins of society?
Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @Guardiansustbiz.
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