Building a New Economy for Australia Conference day 2!

To see our notes on Day 1: http://ethicalfields.com/2017/09/02/enclosure-vs-commons-building-a-new-economy-for-australia-conference-day-1/

Day 2 of the new economies conference saw us spread out to attend separate sessions, trying to get the best bang for our buck. Choosing wasn’t easy, and there was even some light negotiation required, “I’ll trade you blockchain in the new economy for ecological economics…” and so on.

Across the day there were plenty of valuable takeaways. Despite an incredible diversity and variability of topics, perspectives and approaches, some strong consistent themes rang true throughout:

  • Time is running out, the social and environmental issues driving a need for alternative economic thinking require solutions urgently.
  • The balance of power and influence needs a dramatic shift towards decentralised community-based systems, and
  • Trying to design a one-size-fits all approach is not what’s needed. Rather, we must build a network of shared ideas and experiences allowing communities to adapt and innovate in their own ways.

Once again the variety of speakers and topics covered on day two of the conference was amazing, and it was a genuine dilemma choosing which workshops and presentations each of us should attend. Below is just a few of our own personal highlights.

Josh from Enspiral spoke at the morning plenary discussion and made a few observations that really resonated with us (not surprising given the Enspiral model has been a source of inspiration early on in our Ethical Fields journey). A key takeaway for us was that motivating people to do great, impactful and meaningful work is about giving them a strong value proposition.  That is, create an environment where people are rewarded and valued for doing the work. You cannot rely solely on people’s passions and good will.

BlockChain: A workshop was held about the emergence of blockchain and its role in the new economy… As with any conversation about Blockchain, a key focus was on getting everyone clear on what Blockchain actually is, what it does and what its potential is.

The variety of questions, comments and scenarios put forward by the audience pointed to a very important fact. That is, at the end of the day, Blockchain is just a tool. Its disruptive potential is huge, yes, but it is up to us to deploy it in meaningful and positive ways.

 

Another interesting presentation was that off Mario Pare Campana during the “Challenging Corporate” power session. Employing an account’s lens on the issue of corporate he presented the idea of ‘salaries as profit’. The current capitalist approach treats human needs as a cost by the very nature of accounting. That is, in the dominant model human needs, such as food, shelter etc, are achieved through the earning of income as an employee. Human needs = income. Most businesses utilise a double entry accounting method. This is a common, mostly unquestioned, tool of running a business. We need to move the value that workers derive from their work into the profit column so it is no longer a cost, completely changing the fundamental drivers of business practice.

Last, but definitely not least, was our own Andrew (Wardy) Ward’s presentation launching incubator.coop For more on that, check out http://ethicalfields.com/2017/09/12/incubator-coop-launches/

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