Peter Block is a well known author (Flawless Consulting; The Answer to How is Yes; Community: The Structure of Belonging ) and consultant. If you spend time with him, you'll experience an endless stream of admirers lined up to let him know how much one of his books has meant to them and perhaps to catch the twinkle in his eye. What is not as well known is his early career as a community organizer and his return to those roots in Cincinnati, the city that has become his home. His work with A Small Group, is a template for reviving the soul of a city by tapping into its many sources of belonging.
Peter's latest book Abundant Community was co-written with John McKnight, the dean of community organizers. This book was a work of love for Peter. And it has sparked another trajectory of creativity in John. For that I return Peter's love.
Here is Peter's answer to, What would you like to become more visible in 2011?
A Shift in Economic Thinking
This is great question because it constructs a world where the future we desire is close at hand, if we could but see it. The Bahamians have a quote which is likely common to most cultures, that "You look, but you do not see." The task of seeing what is close at hand but not visible is the task of the poet. But let me try to answer the question regardless.
I would have 2011 be the year that the existence and relevance of a shift in
economic thinking becomes widespread. The existing economics is based on scarcity, consumption, globalization and competition. Its measures are the dollar value of the exchange of goods and services. Its core belief is in self-interest.
There is an alternative economic narrative emerging that is based on abundance, citizenship, localization and cooperation. Its measures are on happiness and well-being. Its core belief is in generosity.
This transformation in economic assumptions is sprouting in many places. Here are a few. "Yes" magazine is telling the story on a regular basis. Edgar Cahn and his Time Banks are demonstrating how a gift-based economy actually works. Read his book, "No More Throw Away People." BerrettKoehler is a small, fierce, independent publisher that has a profound social intent. See their books, especially by David Korten and Margorie Kelly.
Seek out Olivia Saunders, economics professor at the College of the Bahamas. She chronicles the economic and social cost of political freedom to the circular flow of money in a neighbourhood.
Read Jim Clingmanʼs books on Blackonomics, taking a similar path as Saunders. And of course, The New Economics Institute and its decades long commitment to innovative thinking about currency and civic values. Finally, Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament scholar has written "Journey to the Common Good." He draws a parallel between Pharaohʼs economy in ancient Egypt and what is occurring today.
All of these have been doing heroic work for a decade or longer. They are
engaged not only in creating a new economic narrative, they are also engaged in peacemaking as powerful as anyone on the front page.
Please share and distribute to your friends and through your various networks, websites etc. I think you will agree – these are too good to keep to ourselves.