smoke and mirrors

I spoke a few days ago at a local sustainability festival. The topic of the Ethical Economics panel I was part of was ‘ Can Capitalism ever be beautiful?’

When our moderator, Tom, directed a question about ‘abundance’ to me I answered with this:

“I’m not sure about the term ‘abundance’ when referring to the spiritual belief that things can somehow come to us if we just have the right attitude, but I do know that we live in a world where there is ‘peak’ stuff. We have enough to go around, here in the West at least, we just need to keep it moving.”

Then I gave this example:

“At the moment, I am in need of a comb and a mirror. I am quite confident they will come my way in the not-too-distant future. I have found, in this lifestyle I’m living, that there is often plenty of excess around (even just among my friends). Some excess of theirs usually meets a need of mine if I wait – and vice versa”.

The moment I said this to the crowd, Tom passed his spare comb down the row of panelists to me (and jokingly asked for $15 for it). Within minutes, as we wrapped up the panel discussion, an audience member came up to me and handed me a small pocket mirror.  

In a slightly triumphant gesture demonstrating the goodness of the people around me, I held the two items up for all to see and was met with cheers and applause.

This is what some would call ‘abundance’ and what I see as a fine example of ‘peak’ stuff.

Pass things around, people, for there is enough for all.

PS. I had, within a couple of hours, passed the mirror on to a friend who had greater need of it than me. There are enough mirrors to go around.


8 thoughts on “smoke and mirrors

  1. I Love it, love it, love it!!! Jo, you’re spot on and what a fantastic reminder that we all have more than enough. Makes me think what I could share. I often find people do not express the little needs where the next door neighbor actually can help. They say I need a million, or a new car, etc… with that I can’t help. But I can help with a pot or some dishes, or books, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Strange, I feel far from abundant at the moment but I also recognise it is just a feeling. I am in fear that there will not be enough in the future and if I give it all away how will I be prepared for what is to come. Perhaps your example of just being in this moment is enough. You are inspiring and scary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jo, so you answered your own question – via peer to peer sharing and indeed it is beautiful but really it doesn’t answer the question regarding capitalism as such…. I’m hoping you don’t mind if I have a go. Yes, it can. It becomes beautiful when we cooperate and do not skim profits off staff. Why should management not be equal? Why should those piggies be more equal than others…so to speak. So how does that work? Well I love the word co-ops. These are businesses and ventures where everyone is an equal shareholder. Everyone is interested on cooperating, in respecting and contributing. The other co-op that I coin is more commonly called a community where people openly share and care not just for their family but also for their neighbours and other folk in the community. This was common in smaller towns where the communities were smallish. Where people actually knew each other on a deeper level. It was common to drop off care packages for people going through rough patches and so on. Waste and wasteful behaviours were a frowned up on and hence care for the planet happened by proxy. Everyone did their best and I think that that form of capitalism, if it can still be called that, was and is and can still be beautiful ….. IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

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