Third Session: Practical Steps Toward a New Economic Paradigm

Speaker: Diana Schumacher

Sustainable Communities - What Makes Them Work?

At every level of business, economic and societal activity there are growing mismatches between what individuals, communities and natural systems require for a sustainable existence and the current structures which are meant to support these.

In so many areas of life the true spirit of nature and human creativity are constrained or suppressed in the interests of expediency, efficiency and economics. The pursuit of GNP has inadvertently led to GDP (Gross National Damage).

To remobilise our human and natural resources we need to build from our own home and work communities as well as relying on governments, national and international interventions. Viable solutions are abundant: what is needed is a complete change of heart and of priorities.

This talk aims to examine seven principles and conditions which are needed to underpin a healthy community, institution or society. I shall illustrate with examples of how these concepts are being practiced in various communities in the hope that some may be usefully applied elsewhere. As this conference is about ethical choices with an emphasis on environment and economics, various alternative economic practices and complementary currencies will also be included.