The ecological and economic crises facing us are not an accident, nor are they inevitable. They are driven by an economic ideology created by a small group of men who met after World War II to frame a narrative of unfettered free markets to fit their values.
The group that formed from this meeting, the Mont Pelerin Society, went on to place three of its members as heads of state, as advisors to essentially every head of state on the planet, including Reagan and Thatcher, as heads of central banks and Nobel laureates (an award they created to legitimize their ideology.)
They created the Chicago School of Economics, similar academic departments in universities around the world, and policy institutes from American Enterprise to the Cato Institute. They made their vision that “greed is good, markets are perfect, austerity is the answer and maximization of shareholder return is the supreme goal of an economy” the dominant global model. They delivered unprecedented wealth to a small elite while bringing ruin across the globe.
As we confront the crises that have resulted from their success, an increasing number of people are feeling lost. We know that we are in trouble. We’re hungry for a new approach, but the only answers on offer seem to be business as usual or revolution.
The video of comedian Russell Brand saying revolution is inevitable got more views than any other video on YouTube in 2013. Brand then dodged responsibility, saying that it was neither his duty nor his place to provide a needed new vision; that’s the job, he said, of people who know more.
He’s right. That’s why Natural Capitalism Solutions is convening an international team of business people, thought leaders, scholars, investors and activists to craft a new narrative and strategy for an economy that works, in Bucky Fuller’s words, for 100 percent of humanity. Our global summit will frame the new narrative and strategy for the Regenerative Economy. The Club of Rome has agreed to partner with us, along with over 100 leaders in the new economy movement.
This is an ambitious undertaking, but it’s an approach that has underpinned successful social change movements throughout history. If the myriad, disparate efforts to drive change are to achieve coherence, we must articulate an alternative narrative to today’s ruling model.
Change agents need a new framework to take their work to scale and achieve critical mass. Turning this vision into reality is the central challenge of my work. But I can’t do it without you. I hope that you will join me in this challenge to create an economy in service to life.
Rachel’s Network Advisor L. Hunter Lovins is president of Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS). NCS helps senior decision-makers in business, government, and civil society implement more sustainable practices. She is also a professor of sustainable business at Bard MBA.