With Shaun Chamberlin, Rob Hopkins, Mark Boyle and Stephan Harding
“How should we live?” “What work should we do?” “How can we resource ourselves and each other?”
It’s time to reclaim these questions from the economists.
Sparked by the posthumous publication of Dr. David Fleming’s extraordinary book Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy, we invite you to an exploration of what ‘lives well-lived’ look like in this time of transition.
Fleming’s work highlights that “most of human history was bred, fed and watered by another sort of economy. But the market has replaced, as far as possible, the social capital of reciprocal obligation, loyalties, culture and traditions with exchange, price and the impersonal principles of economics”
As the market economy continues to crumble under the weight of its own impossible need for perpetual growth, we should admit that for all its destructiveness, we will miss its essential simplicity, the comforts it delivers to many and the freedoms it underwrites. And as 'austerity' bites and capitalism’s former largesse continues to shrink away, that future is becoming daily reality for ever more of us.
Such a time brings fear and uncertainty, but also great possibility. The forces that have cocooned us are failing, but these are also the forces that constrained us. This is a time of loss and freedom, if we can minimise our dependence on the market and find sustenance with deeper roots.
Now is the time to repair or replace the atrophied social and ecological structures on which most human cultures were built, as the basis for a nourishing, cohesive society that might survive the turbulent times to come. This is the story of our times, and living it imbues our days with meaning.
Come if you are interested in:
- discussing what 'life well lived' looks like in today’s world
- getting real about the practicalities of living meaningful lives in our present society
- the importance of music, culture, love, humour and play
- telling an alternative story to our growth-based market economy
- actual experiences of building lives grounded in nature and community
- exploring our relationships with money
- questions around resistance vs. building alternatives
- talking about the future of society without needing to know economics or maths!
- other related topics - there will be space in the week for discussing the experiences and questions you bring, if desired
A Q&A with Shaun Chamberlin about the course was published by Positive News in December. If you are still unsure whether this course is for you, get hold of a copy of Surviving the Future, or email Shaun with any questions you might have.
“Every civilisation has had its irrational but reassuring myth. Previous civilisations have used their culture to sing about it and tell stories about it. Ours has used its mathematics to prove it.” ~ David Fleming
Shaun Chamberlin is the editor of his late friend David Fleming's posthumous book Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, and the paperback version Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy. Shaun was a co-founder of Transition Town Kingston and author of the movement's second book, The Transition Timeline (2009), and has since contributed to more than ten other books. Living on little money has enabled him to devote himself to roles such as chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative and a director of the campaigning organisation Global Justice Now, and he is currently Chelsea Green Publishing's commissioning editor for the UK/Europe.
Rob Hopkins is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network. This grew out of many years experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and setting up the first two-year full-time permaculture course in the world, as well as co-ordinating the first eco-village development in Ireland to be granted planning permission. He is author of The Transition Handbook (2008), The Transition Companion (2011), The Power of Just Doing Stuff (2013) and 21 Stories of Transition (2015), served 3 years as a Trustee of the Soil Association, and was named by the Independent as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists. He lives in Devon and grows food for his family.
Mark Boyle is widely known as 'The Moneyless Man', after living completely without money for almost three years, an experience which formed the basis for his first book, The Moneyless Man (2010) and his second, The Moneyless Manifesto (2012). He is also a trustee of the Streetbank sharing network, holds a degree in Business and spent his earlier professional career involved in the management of organic food companies. He is the author of Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi (2015), and is currently engaged in creating a fully localised, land-based gift economy in Éire, putting his holistic ideas into practice.
Stephan Harding is Programme Coordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science and resident Ecologist at Schumacher College, teaching on the MSc core modules and on many of the short courses. He holds a doctorate in behavioural ecology from Oxford University, and before becoming a founder member of the College taught ecology at the National University in Costa Rica. He is a close associate of James Lovelock and an expert in the study of Gaia theory and deep ecology. He is the author of Animate Earth (2009) and Grow Small, Think Beautiful: Ideas for a Sustainable World from Schumacher College (2011).
David Fleming (1940-2010) was an inspiration to all our teachers. He himself taught at Schumacher College, and was a visionary thinker and writer who played significant roles in the genesis of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement, and the New Economics Foundation, as well as chairing the Soil Association. He was also one of the early whistle-blowers on oil depletion and designer of the influential TEQs carbon/energy rationing system. He read Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford, and later earned an MBA and then an MSc and PhD in economics (in 1988). These enabled him to better engage with and confound the mainstream, in support of his true passion and genius: understanding that diverse and mysterious thing “community.” His Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It was the work of over thirty years, and will inform this short course.