Chapter 1


“We think we tell stories, but stories often tell us, tell us to love or hate, to see or be seen. Often, too often, stories saddle us, ride us, whip us onward, tell us what to do, and we do it without questioning. The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them, and then become a story-teller.” Rebecca Solnit

Getting at the roots

The converging crises we face are symptoms with a shared root cause: deadly economic designs, shaped by an outdated and harmful narrative that we are separate from nature and each other.

If we are going to protect and restore the life we need to live, and find paths towards healthier, more viable worlds together, we need to repair our relationship to reality and radically transform our economy. Which means updating that narrative.

The economy is the root cause
The economy is redesignable

The economy is re-designable

Our economy is not a fixed machine, it is living and designed, by us. So it can be redesigned.

The troubles we face are the result of a design that does not work: an economy that destroys life.

We need to upgrade that design so that meets ‘the needs of all, within the means of the planet’.

We need to design ‘An Economy in Service To Life’.

This work is already well underway.

Stories shape the economic design

Stories weave narratives that shape the way we think, feel and act. Misguided stories about our relationship to the world have helped to weave and maintain a harmful narrative of separation in our culture.

This narrative means we choose unfit policies, which reinforce our stories and this harmful narrative, validating the economic designs that are destroying the conditions that create and sustain life.

Stories weave narratives that define relationships

Individual stories weave deeper narrative tapestries, which define our relationships with the world, about which new stories are told.

There is a better narrative

A healthier narrative that has been carried by cultures around the world for thousands of years, and is now being recognised by the latest scientific breakthroughs.

A narrative grounded in the recognition that we are all entangled, integrated, dependent on each other and the more-than-human world around us.

That human health and planetary health are intimately related.

That we are a part of nature, so for us to thrive, nature must thrive.

People all over the world already know this narrative – the ‘narrative of interbeing’, of interconnection, of reciprocity. It is re-emerging now, as western science wakes up to it, and common sense reconnects with it.

But at the moment the stories we tell in our culture are often blocking it.

And by ‘stories’ we mean everything from our myths, legends, parables and fairytales, to our textbooks, blockbusters, taglines and headlines. From the physical design of our cities and what that tells us about values and relationships, to the design of our digital products, services and experiences.

Each and every one of us is needed to remove these blocks. To reveal and unravel the deadly ‘narrative of separation’, and help the healthier narrative return.

To do so we need to let go of some stories, hospice them, compost them, and make room for others.

Stories that will help us weave the narrative of interbeing, and design the ‘Economy in Service to Life’.

This work explores how we can do this together.

“The biggest challenge we face is shifting human consciousness. The planet doesn’t need saving. We do.”

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Chapter 2 - Wait, Econowho? »