December, 2005
The economy for the 3rd millennium will be spiritual or there will be no economy!
Philippe Amouroux

Here is the last text written by Philippe Amouroux before he left this world. I believe that it represents his eco-spiritual testament. I am proud and happy to share it with you.
Marcos Arruda

In the face of an economic globalization that is leading us straight into the jaws of disaster, the moment has come to ask ourselves what it is that the economy represents from the spiritual point of view. In examining this question we will discover that new forms of economy are emerging, forms that follow the laws of the heart and the central tenets of the New Age. They show us how we can change from a deadly materialistic economy to a life-giving spiritual economy.

Today’s world appears to be governed by the economy
It is no longer politicians who govern: these days they are subservient to economic concerns. The economy determines our lifestyles, what we eat and how we spend our leisure time, creating our desires and forging our culture. And it does all this in an increasingly homogeneous manner that reaches into all four corners of the globe. The economy has become globalized in order to optimize costs and generate more profits for those who control the financial capital, and by the same token it globalizes people’s behaviour and aspirations.

The term economy comes from the Greek word oikos (home) and nomos (laws and customs). If the world is our great abode, then the economy in its current form is doing its job. The problem is that the world, whilst flourishing as never before, has also never been so close to major catastrophe: rising poverty and a widening gap between the rich and the poor, unemployment, an unprecedented increase in pollution, the destruction of non-renewable natural resources, regular financial crises, financial markets which no longer correspond in any way to the realities of trade, states overburdened with debt and incapable of meeting the needs of their people, and the list goes on. Our economy seems to be running out of control and there’s no one to put the brakes on. Traditional economics has not developed enough to look beyond the drawing up of mathematical calculations used to explain how to solve the problem…in practice. We are so wrapped up in our consumer society that, more often than not, we remain serene in the face of all these threats staring us in the face, almost as though they had no existence outside the television set.

So do we need to return to the past?
André Malraux said: “The third millennium will be spiritual or there will be no third millennium.” In so saying, he may well have been pointing the way to the only possible solution to our problems. What exactly is this home that the economy refers to? A home is a form, the envelope within which we live. Our body is our own personal home, then comes the house we live in, alone, with friends or family, followed by our village, neighbourhood, town, country and, finally, planet.

These are all forms that humanity inhabits. The forms are nothing but an outer covering, a vehicle for the vital energy embodied therein. The forms are born when the energy arrives; they die when it leaves. Seen from this spiritual point of view, the economy consists of the laws and customs that govern all exchanges of energy between humans within these social forms, these homes inhabited by individuals, groups and peoples.

We are already aware of this beautiful story of incarnation and evolution. It produces increasingly intelligent forms, using them to make concrete the highest of qualities and mirroring the true development of a spiritual energy that starts within and moves outwards, and that is exchanged between the forms that inhabit the kingdom of nature in its entirety. We also know that, although all the beings and societies embodied in the forms have the same origins and the same goals, they are at very different points on the same path that is the great adventure of evolution. The ONE energy is thus incarnated in mineral, vegetable, animal and human form. Humans have a special role to play in this story. They nourish themselves on the lower orders, drawing on them as sources of physical energy, food and psychological inspiration. This allows them to free themselves from material constraints and seek the well-being necessary to intellectual and spiritual development—in other words, true development!

As part of this great spiritual adventure, energy is meant to circulate, to meet the needs of every individual as part of the development of EVERYTHING. Energy should not be accumulated in order to benefit a handful of individuals. If it is accumulated, it should be for the benefit of everyone.

What is a spiritual economy?
It is first and foremost an economy that follows the laws of life and of the heart. It is also an economy that encourages the expression of spiritual qualities. The heart distributes energy in accordance with the needs of each part of the living organism regardless of its function, whilst considering the life and objective of the organism as a whole. It optimizes the use of energy, does not waste it, and provides exactly what is needed to each point of the organism.
In the same way, a spiritual economy meets the needs of each and every individual, whatever their degree of evolution and social function; it does not waste money, representing as it does the concrete form of energy in the social body—the blood of the social body. It distributes wealth to improve human development, emancipate humans from material constraints, and develop increasingly intelligent and beautiful social forms. The spiritual economy benefits everyone. It only accumulates money when there is a need to invest over the long term for the good of all, and never for the benefit of the few.

A spiritual economy follows the principles that, according to the Tibetan, will govern the New Age. It is an economy of freedom for all in their choice of what they want to consume, produce and trade, whilst respecting the freedom of each individual and humanity as a whole. This necessarily demands that everyone take responsibility, at their level and according to the context of their life, for the impact of their acts on the lives of others and the life of the planet.
The spiritual economy is also an economy based on equality; not an absolute equality, but equality rooted in difference and respect for the needs of each individual and the point they have reached on their journey, an economy that pursues a single goal for everyone, but respects diversity—an equitable economy.
It can also be described as an economy of fraternity, where we are all involved together in what happens in our village, country and planet—the forms, fitting one inside the other like Russian dolls, that we all inhabit. It is thus an economy of cooperation and not competition.

Moving from a materialistic economy to a spiritual economy
We don’t need any overwhelming proof to tell us that the current dominant economy is far from being spiritual. In damaging the planet’s resources, it is irresponsible. It provides the handful of the rich with far more than they need for their spiritual development, and keeps the majority that is the poor bound to the one overriding concern of their physical survival. Its tendency is to globalize and standardize everything, from genetic resources to tastes, lifestyles and cultures, killing the natural diversity of the forms that express life on every level. This uniformity does not unite, it separates! Unity can only be found in diversity, as demonstrated by the ecology and the way that ecosystems function. The current economy is unstable because it does not follow the laws of life. Life is not uniform, it is ONE…and multiform.

Happily, over the last few decades the age of Aquarius has seen the emergence of some initial forms of a spiritual economy. They remain marginal from a global perspective, but are symbolic of a revitalization that is growing steadily. We need to do everything we can to encourage and promote them. Here are a few examples.

The sustainable development movement encourages clean production technologies that use renewable energy resources.
To begin with, fair trade represented a desire to respect the needs and remuneration of small-scale agricultural producers in poor countries, crushed by market mechanisms. It now regularly expands to cover other products, and increasingly incorporates criteria of respect for the environment and the planet’s resources.
Ethical or responsible consumption encourages consum’actor citizens to make choices that are beneficial both to themselves and to all their fellow creatures. Solidarity finance provides access to financial resources for those excluded from the current banking system. It also promotes support for economic initiatives that focus on social performance rather than economic performance. Complementary currencies that supplement official currencies are developing within small groups, communities, regions and even countries. They are used to practice a form of trading that strengthens the communities, meeting their needs and taking their values into account.

On a more global level, citizens are begin to mobilize outside of the social institutions that are incapable of managing change. They are proposing new principles for the circulation of money (states’ external debt, financial markets, reform of the monetary system and international institutions, etc.), for trade regulations (World Trade Organization, management of public property, agricultural policies, etc.) and for the social responsibility of economic actors.

These new forms of economy presage a switch from a material and materialistic economy to a spiritual economy. This switch entails a reconsideration of the concept of wealth and the way in which it is evaluated. The level of awareness involved in the economic act will have a direct impact on the evolution of these new forms. The more spiritual the development, the more long-lasting it will be.
In this new age of Aquarius, everyone is responsible for the evolution of the economy. Citizens have the power to create new forms and they can do more than they imagine [1]. We are thus heading towards an economy that provides just what is necessary, as well as an economy of the rediscovered desire to develop within the framework of being rather than having—an economy of life!

[1] Jean Ambert’s article later on in this issue provides references for organizations that can propose concrete actions to citizens in the areas mentioned above.