Member Update November 2019.

“It’s easier to envisage the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” 
– Fredric Jameson or Slavoj Žižek (according to Mark Fisher)

At CERES, we do our best to always speak to intrinsic values in people – those universal human values that are inherently rewarding such as benevolence, equality and creativity. To create a more equitable, self-sustaining world, we need an empowered, connected and resilient movement of citizens. And we cannot build this kind of movement through appeals to people’s fear, greed or ego. These values do motivate people to act, but most often in shallow and short-lived ways.

I recently found on some yellowed, typewritten pages a report from 1989 by permaculturalist Ian Lillington about the “CERES Project”. It stated, “Now is the time for CERES to pioneer environmentally sound Community Businesses, which would be real examples of alternative and acceptable ways of living.” The report identified three stages of community enterprise, each increasing in financial self-reliance and community ownership:

  1. Income generation

  2. Social enterprise

  3. Community business

It’s tricky to talk about economics without triggering extrinsic values in people such as their own personal wealth and security. But what struck me when looking at the report was even though it talks about business models, the values were not really around money or profit. They were much more around community, social justice, environmental stewardship and responsibility. The story was not that CERES needed to generate money for its own sake, but rather that it had the opportunity to improve the equality of people in the community.

CERES has always been about community. In times of increasing crisis, financial security will only get us so far, especially with the instability of financial systems, and most wealth only in the hands of a few. The type of security that comes from a resilient and adaptable community will stand us in better stead in current and coming times.

Another impact of taking the time to articulate our values, and by thinking carefully about what values we wish to engage in others, is that together we can tell a more powerful story that can usurp the dominant story of our time. We can move as global citizens from a story of selfishness to a story of compassion. And through that lens, envisage a world empowered far beyond capitalism.

Sieta 
E-News Editor & Narrative Director

Got ideas? Want to get involved? Email editor@ceres.org.au