Evolutionary Economics Blog

Economics is at its most simplest about human beings producing, distributing  and consuming. These activities always occur in a context – be it historical, cultural, biological, ethical, philosophical or spiritual. Economics has generally speaking always been driven by self interest. However that self interest has been framed within differing contexts during the history of human civilisation- from to totally selfish to total selfless. Adam Smith the father of economics, observed back in 1776 in his book , ” The wealth of nations,”  that enlightened self interest is what drives the evolution of our civilisation.

Adam Smith however contextualised  self interest within a moral philosophy as outlined in his first book,”  The theory  of moral sentiments.”  Something that generally doesn’t happen today. Smith saw the self interest of business people/employers/ entrepreneurs as indirectly benefiting the public through the enterprise of the self interested entrepreneurs who are motivated to take risks and set up their own businesses. My theory  is that since Smith’s time self interest has slowly been reduced to a much narrower context of the primary motivation is for self with the by product being employment and income for others directly and indirectly affected by the business activities.  Over the last 20 years there has been an emergence of small yet significant number of people who are exploring a very much broader perspective on the purpose of economic activity. What is the motivation behind self interest- survival and development? What is the source of these drives- our brains, culture or something deeper and universal like the source from which something came from nothing- an evolutionary impulse which is spirit in action? What is transformed in us as human beings when we experience that source within our selves as who we truly are – creative, free and caring human beings.

The challenge in the 21 st century, from an evolutionary perspective  is how do we achieve a seamless dynamic between the self interest inherent in private enterprise and human beings becoming aware and embracing their deepest sense of Self- their mystical identity that can be experienced in meditation and revelations of Oneness – for me that discovery of Oneness  with everything, or we call it the Devine , came in nature at a very early age- childhood in the 1950′s and such experiences still continue today.

In a democracy and market based economy how is it that somehow civilisation develops in ways that history has proven to be generally beneficial to the betterment of civilisation. In traditional economics there appears to be minimal enquiry into what it means to be a human being at the most fundamental philosophical and spiritual levels. At best we get a rudimentary and materialist picture of what  motivates and drives us human beings in regards to our resultant economic activity. We do have an emerging strand of economics called behavioural economics, which at its root is psychological and not mystical and not even philosophical. Do we ever ask Who am I , what is the source of that “I” , what is the source of intuition, creativity, what does it mean to be a human being ? From that discovery of a deeper reality of Self beyond the material realm, how then shall this ” I” now live. This takes us into an enquiry of how can something come from nothing, what is the source of creativity, what is the source of the motivation to develop, to want to be free, what is the source of evolution – that is the foundation I seek for economics- an authentic perpetual enquiry of what it means to be human being in an evolutionary universe that came from no thing and at the same is infinite possibility. It is fascinating to then for example see over the centuries an evolution in teachings such as  Sufi’s, Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus Christ and his disciples. Is it possible to integrate these deeper dimensions into economics – we have the father of economics Adam Smith attempting this in part with his book called “The Theory of Moral Sentiments.”

Economic activity doesn’t occur in a vacuum-  it always is occurring  in a context which comes wrapped in a world view or perspective on life which too often arise from our subconscious or part of our untested  conditioning.   I want to introduce an enquiry grounded in the biggest possible perspective on human life – who are we and where did we come from and what does experience of the mystical mean for economic theory, economic behavior and institutional structures.

I aim to keep this enquiry practical and simple and yet go deeper into questions of the human spirit that are not usually associated with economics. I am convinced there is more to life than the material realm.  There is only one falsehood in life and that is that there is only a material realm and that we humans are no more than that. I know from my own experience that my life was became a truly liberated life when the deep mystical experiences  that initially came as a gift firstly in childhood from being in nature  where crystallised in my everyday relationships.  This rational yet mystical relationship to life  I strengthened from  my 40′s by undertaking a  mystical or spiritual practice( mediation, contemplation and engagement )   that liberated me from being anyone in particular, from knowing anything in particular and wanting anything in particular other than knowing I have always been free and that there is no existential doubt about the goodness of life and my reason  for being here. My life as an evolutionary economist  is then about a discovery for economics, for humanity more broadly, that a mystical foundation exists from which a deep and authentic enquiry is possible into what does it mean to be a human being and how can that look like in the 21 st century. I have found that the mystical “I” results in the  perpetual unfolding of a more transparent, authentic, creative, curious, humble and energetic human being – how does this translate into conomics- that is the journey for us here on this website.

Kiribati is drowning Dec 2013

Island nations are drowning and floating nations hold the solution to saving them.

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More to us than just the material realm.

There is more to this life than just the material realm. We know that we can only see a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum and can only hear a small part of sounds.  In the Universe, science tells us that the material realm is  a very very small part of the universe. The measurements […]

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What is spirit?

Fritjof Capra in part 1 of his book “ The hidden connections” ( 2002) provides a deep insight into what is spirit in the human experience from David Steindl- Rast a Benedictine monk and psychologist. ” Spiritual experience is an experience of aliveness of mind and body as a unity. Moreover, this experience of unity transcends not only the separation of mind and body but also the separation of self and world. The central awareness in these spiritual moments is a profound sense of oneness with all, a sense of belonging to the universe as a whole. This notion of spirituality is consistent with the notion of the embodied mind that is now being developed in cognitive science.”

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Creating the world’s first floating sustainble country

I want to thank all those generous people who have taken the time to send me responses to my website and its posts. They have inspired me to do more posts more regularly and to add more of my real life experiences into the posts. I have been overseas on business travelling firstly in January […]

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Efficiency of markets corrupted

Efficiency of markets History has shown that when human beings are free to exchange or trade goods and services without any impediments to that exchange, over time the standard of living rises in the communities in which those who are parties to the trade, live and spend the income from those exchanges. Historically the initial […]

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Efficiency continued

  It was revealing to search out the dictionary definitions of efficiency. Oxford concise Science Dictionary: a measure of performance of a machine, engine etc being the ratio of the energy or power it delivers to the energy or power fed to it. In general the efficiency of a machine varies with the conditions under […]

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efficiency continued

I have spoken about the how the word efficiency is a human construct. In today’s developed world,  two major and opposing views on efficiency: the political and business culture is all about efficiency as the shortest distance between two points ie as a straight line under all circumstances.  The other view from the sub set post […]

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Efficiency informed by spirit

  The use of the word efficiency is starting to appear everywhere. This week I came across three examples: Harvard University Professor Marc Hauser writing for The American Scientist in its September 2009 special issue on ‘Understanding origins’ referred in his article on ‘The origins of the mind’ to human beings as “exchanging information in […]

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Evolutionary Efficiency

In the previous blog on efficiency we saw that this concept has become one of the most powerful values in economics and in our society today. One could argue that efficiency is an evolutionary trait that is linked to our amazing ability to survive as a species in at times horrendous climatic conditions over the […]

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Efficiency

Economics has been defined in many ways over the last 200 years. I will define it simply as the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.  It is interesting that Adam Smith, who many proclaim to be the father of the study of economics didn’t leave us with a definition.  He was an academic moral […]

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