A note by Richard and Stella, voicing frustrations many of us feel in the imploding Irish economy.

How far will things have to disintegrate before we cop on that we cannot continue to do things in the same way?

At the moment, issues of the economy are determining political decisions, and consequently, are affecting decisions at the level of every other system in the country. It seems that the primary determinant of what takes place is based on whether or not it ‘makes money’: the way we run our financial institutions; the way we produce our food; the way we structure and organise our health-care system; the way we design and run our educational system, our housing, transport, etc, et, . The effects of decisions on people, communities, society and the environment are at most in second place to whether or not something ‘makes money’.

Given that we have an overloaded unable-to-cope health-care system (realistically ought to be re-titled as a ‘disease-care system’), a food production system that is utterly at odds with the environment and with people’s nutritional needs, a banking system that is a veritable gamblers’ den, a political system built on clientilism which is incapable of fostering a national or a long-term perspective, etc, etc, etc, surely it is time to come to terms with the fact that a totally new approach is needed.

If a common influence or factor on the litany of dysfunctional systems and institutions is the whether or not it ‘makes money’, surely it is reasonable to forensically examine the ‘make money’ imperative and check whether it has reached its ‘use by’ date?

Factors such as desirable impact on people, on communities, on society, on the environment, appear to be more appropriate determinants for decisions. It may be a combination of these factors, possibly weighted or ranked in a particular way, that would fit the bill. And given the state of our current knowledge on what is needed for people to flourish, it goes without saying that impacts on people must take all human dimensions into account, ie, body, mind and spirit.

This forensic examination must be done in the context of the requirements of sustainability, ie, recognition of the finite state of the earth’s resources; recognition that perpetual growth is not possible in a world of finite resources; recognition of the closed loop of nature’s way; recognition that the original meaning of the term ‘economy’ has to do with resources, not just markets and money.

Richard & Stella