The neotraditional economics project (1): introduction

In this new section, I want to investigate, with the assistance of Hungarian Prof. Janos Mate, the possible congruence between pre-material and ‘post’-material economics, i.e. peer to peer influenced economics.

For an introduction to my motivation, see the mini-essay: The Importance of neotraditional approaches in the reconstructive transmodern era

Unlike modern economics, traditional, religiously-inspired economic doctrines were not based on the accumulation of material assets, but on immaterial ‘spiritual’ assets, and the system was also based on self-sufficiency. This may make these premodern traditions particularly relevant for our age.

Of course, the question is not to take them at face value, but to critically engage with them from our own perspective.

This link here is to an essay showing that such tradition-inspired economics are far from dead, in fact, they are growing and forming a `new traditional economy’.”

The abstract reads as follows:

“This paper argues that a new economic system is emerging in the world economy, that of the new traditional economy. Such an economic system simultaneously seeks to have economic decision making embedded within a traditional socio-cultural framework, most frequently one associated with a traditional religion, while at the same time seeking to use modern technology and to be integrated into the modern world economy to some degree. The efforts to achieve such a system are reviewed in various parts of the world, with greater analysis of the Islamic and neo-Confucian economic systems.

Although the new traditional economy may not exist as a fully developed system in the full Polanyian sense, it exists as a perspective in the form of an ideal model which has become an ideological movement of significance around the world in many societies. Where it has come the closest to actually existing has been in societies where its adoption has been carried out gradually and only partly consciously, with the resulting synthesis thus most fully respecting and reflecting the genuine traditions of the society in question. It is this successful synthesis of the modern and the traditional which lies at the heart of the new traditional economy perspective and its appeal for many economies seeking a path in a transforming world economy.”

We will not just be looking at spiritual economics, but also at for example the older rural traditions operations.

This is from an exchange from Helsinki-based Andrew Paterson, who had recently invited me for a lecture at Pixelache:

“It is very clear to me that there is much scope to explore cooperative movement and ‘talkoot’ traditions (both rural and urban) in Finland, in relation to recent contemporary collaborative cultural, activist, online (swarm) practices. I think it is important to connect the rural and older generations in Finland with the organisational strategies of the young-er/-est generation.

Speaking on the regional, international level: In Latvian, Lithuanian, Swedish language, there is the word ‘talka’, (in Estonian, ‘talgud’, in Russian, ‘subbotnik’) which as you can guess means the same as ‘talkoot’..

My Latvian friend Signe Pucena — who as a cultural producer, researches cultural heritage traditions, as well as being part of the new media scene of Riga in the past — were talking about this recently when she came to visit for Pixelache… We believe that returning to this rural discourse will be important.. As there is a need to resurrect the cooperative movement to collectively cope with the current financial and infrastructural crisis.. The post-communist period of the last 20yrs has not only discredited any socialist discourse, it has also encouraged self-enhancing development and individualism… She predicts that in Latvia, they will have to learn again to work together, rather than alone, and use a non-stigmatised vocabulary for it, which doesnt refer to Socialism or Communism.. (‘talka’ is not as commonally used a word as it is in Finland).. As you know the rural traditions of this part of the world still hold strong association and value..”

So, for getting started, we created a special page for this project, here, to keep track of material that we’ll find.

The Hungarian professor Janos Mate, whom we met at a recent Buddhist Economics conference in Ubon Ratchasani in Thailand, has shown an interest in helping us with the project.

If you’re wondering how such a possible linkage between the premodern and hypermodern may look like, tomorrow we’ll publish a policy example.

2 Comments The neotraditional economics project (1): introduction

  1. AvatarSui

    Is the next post listed somewhere else? I’m very interested in what you have to say beyond this post. Thanks, Sui

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