NORTH AMERICA – A Second Chance for the World Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada, 21 -24 March 2019

NORTH AMERICA – A Second Chance for the World Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada, 21 -24 March 2019

Seeing beyond the falsehoods of modern history – excerpts from a full report by Meg Freeling

30 participants attended the recent A Second Chance for the World Conferencein Vancouver, Canada. In the two keynote lectures – What did happen and what could have happened in the last hundred years? and What do we envisage for the next hundred years? – Christopher Houghton Budd laid the groundwork. Mexican economist Marcelo Delajara presented “A Second Chance for Labor and Income: What Is a Living Wage?” He described his research project in Mexico City to develop ways to ensure a dignified income for employees that goes beyond ‘equal pay for equal work’. Anna Chotzen, business manager of an incubator farming project in Mt. Vernon, Washington, USA, presented “A Second Chance for Farming: The Farmer as Entrepreneur”. She sees the need to “move away from the conventional perceptions of farming as an industry, or farming as ‘quaint’, to a new emphasis on farming as entrepreneurial, seeing farmers as business owners. She presented both a business development curriculum and a proposal for a shared-equity land ownership structure.

The conference began with the following thoughts: It’s a serious thing we are addressing. Many countries around the world are on the rocks at the end of this last hundred years. They are just unraveling. There are no more answers out there. All the paths have been trodden. The future history is what lives in each of our wills today to do. We have but to take a step to activate an otherwise unseen path. Polarized positions at every level seem insurmountable, resulting in more and more suffering, paralysis and inaction. Yet a case is being made here that a breakthrough, a second chance, and even a ‘second renaissance’, is now possible.

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Many people think the way things are now is how they have been forever. But they have only been like this for the past hundred years and result from a wrong turn taken by humanity for the world in 1919. But we did not notice the stepping stones Rudolf Steiner placed in history to guide humanity’s next steps, namely:

  • The book on the threefold social order: Basic Issues of the Social Question, 1919. (Die Kernpunkte der sozialen Frage.)
  • The first Waldorf School, founded in Stuttgart, Germany, 1919.
  • Coming Day Joint Stock Company (Der Kommende Tag), founded Stuttgart, 1919.
  • Economics course, 14 lectures given by Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland 1922.
  • Christmas Conference of 1923/24,Dornach, Switzerland.

At that time, because of the manipulations of WW1 coming from the West, the baton was passed to the Anglo- Americans to rule the world for the next one hundred years.4 Now, in 2019, we are at the end of that time. Making a new startis based on the understanding that the place to start is with oneself and the arena is in one’s own economics. Knowing what lives in one’s will is where history will begin. The future will be created through the active agency of young people who get themselves capitalized. Job markets are irrelevant. Supply and demand theory is so untrue. The new watchword is: Tomorrow’s history is what is already living in your will. For this, financial literacy should be taught in all schools. Why is it not?

D’Arcy Mackenzie of Toronto, Canada, to whom this event was dedicated, was active in the realm of associative economics right up until his untimely death in February 2018. He worked in the pension markets and straddled the worlds that could be and that are. His experience told him that pension funds should have no place in the future of economics. Other future hallmarks of an associative economic life would be:

    • No banks.
    • No focus on price stability (which favors capital over labor); replaced with true price.
    • Outlawed collateralized lending; replaced with lending to the person (personal credit).
    • No permanent foundations (which preserve capital); replaced with spend-down foundations.

After 100 years, we should also be able to see:

      • A choir of peoples; no United Nations.
      • A one-world economy with money as bookkeeping.
      • Ethical stock markets; banks and mutualsreplaced with stock companies that put air beneath the wings

of entrepreneurs who are meeting the genuine needs of others. Further, economic life should take its cues from:

    • –  Luca Pacioli, father of accounting, who insisted on a moral training before going into finance: “In the name of God I will be true in all my accounting.”
    • –  Altruism in business: no egotism; no self-serving schemes, only serving others.
    • –  Aristotle: Know/say when “enough is enough”.
    • –  Rudolf Steiner, who often said in lectures, “I apologize if the fleas are biting when we talk about capital…”

He said this to wealthy audiences, many of whom he probably relied upon for financial support.

    • –  Owen Barfield5, who said we need to know the difference between the true materialist and the naughty materialist: The true materialist says, “I can’t see a spiritual world so I won’t say anything about it.” The

naughty materialist says, “I can’t see a spiritual world, so it doesn’t exist.” – George Soros, who warned that in economics, thoughts are things.

To move into this landscape, we were taken into an imagined dialogue in a play featuring three early twentieth century contemporaries, two of whom represented dramatically different views, and the third a witness to the other two as they spoke their contrasting approaches. Through sparse but impeccable diplomacy, the karmic chaos between them reached a palpable but hard to explain resolution. The background music, a promenade6 that suggested taking important steps, accompanied the three characters, Woodrow Wilson, John Maynard Keynes and Rudolf Steiner as they stepped into another future… Perhaps we all did.7

4 See the 1919 cycle The Mysteries of Light, of Space and of the Earth, Rudolf Steiner. Anthroposophic Press, USA 1945.
5 Owen Barfield (1898-1997), renowned British philosopher, critic and author of Romanticism Comes of Age, History in English Words and Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry among others. He translated a number of Rudolf Steiner’s books into English and represented anthroposophy in the English-speaking world.
6 ‘Promenade’ from 19th century Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’.
7 Pro tem, a simple documentation of the event is in preparation.

A new landscape, a second chance… the conference took place on a weekend that was described to us by Mary Stewart Adams as a bit of a celestial mystery, an ‘inner Easter’. “If the astronomical first Full Moon of the Spring were used to determine the date for the Easter festival this year, then Easter Sunday would have been Sunday, March 24th, precisely now when we are gathered in Vancouver.”

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