The ongoing COVID crisis has revealed the cracks in our present economic system. No more do we want an economic system that aims for endless GDP growth on a planet with finite resources; no more do we want a system that promotes linear production and consumption processes so as to maximize profit at the cost of climate change; no more do we want a system that works for a few at the cost of many, thereby causing unimaginable wealth inequality; no more do we want a system that considers all of the species on the planet as if they were servants to human beings; no more do we want a system that fuels and thrives out of afflictive human tendencies, namely greed and fear, thereby reducing our collective well-being in spite of improved bodily comforts.
It is time for us to re-imagine the way we organize our economy; it is time for us to look at the existence for what it really is, and re-design our collective lifestyle while considering all other species and the overall ecosystem just as important as our own selves. It is finally time for us to consider the possibility of an ecosystem-centric, equitable and harmonious economic system.
‘Naya Daur, Nayi Kalpana’- An invitation for ‘Re-imagining Economy’, an 8-week long program designed by Vasudhinity in collaboration with Sahaj Foundation, invites you on this endeavour of the lifetime. During the course of this program, we shall not only get to understand the limitations of our present economic system (mostly based on neoclassical economics), but we shall also explore the possibilities of transformation with the help of emerging concepts in economics such as Feminist Economics, Ecological Economics, Circular Economy, Behavioural Economics, Buddhist Economics, Complimentary Currencies, Systems Thinking and a lot more. The program shall use ‘Doughnut Economics- Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist’, a book written by oxford economist Kate Raworth, as its primary resource, while it shall also use a number of research papers, videos, articles etc to understand different ideas in economics in further detail. In this whole process, we shall also seek the support of meditation sessions and a few group activities to deepen our learning experience.
Here a brief outline of weekly modules that we would take up during the 8-week duration:
Module 1: The story so far
This module shall cover a) the story of Economics so far b) the limitations of our present dominant economic system i.e. Neoclassical Economics with its goals, methodology, assumptions and priorities c) the design of Doughnut Economics as a possible future alternative.
Module 2: Redefining human nature
In this module, we shall first get to understand the view or definition of human beings as adopted and promoted by Neoclassical Economists. Moving further, we shall explore the possibility of embracing a more-realistic worldview with the help of insights gained by Feminist Economists and Behavioral Economists.
Module 3: Worldview, Systems-Thinking and Buddhist Economics
This module shall help us to understand tools and methodologies to embrace dynamic complexities of nature. Donella Meadows’ insights of Systems Thinking shall come handy for us while trying to comprehend the meaning of self-organization, natural hierarchy, resilience and a lot more. We shall also get to delve into the possible economic design as per the Buddhist way of living.
-One week break-
Module 4: Distributive Economy
In this module, we shall go deep to understand the root cause of enormous wealth and income inequality that exists on our planet right now. We shall also try to find possibilities of achieving a more equitable wealth and income distribution with the help of markets, governments and the space of commons.
Module 5: Regenerative Economy
This module shall take us through the possibilities of transforming our production and consumption patterns by embracing the design of Circular Economy. We shall also get to briefly understand the theoretical framework of Ecological Economics. Moreover, we shall also explore the aspects of Regenerative Finance and Complimentary Currencies.
-One week break-
Module 6: Understanding Indian Context
In this final module, we shall try to understand the relevance and applicability of all the above-mentioned ideas in Indian Context. With the help of multiple group projects or assignments, we shall try to ponder upon the following topics: a) The limitations of Doughnut Economics b) The relevance of Doughnut Economics in Indian Context c) The relevance of Feminist, Ecological, Behavioural, Circular or Buddhist Economics in Indian Context etc. In this module, the participants may also choose to come up with their own topics for research or ideas for projects as per their understanding of the whole program.
Disclaimer: Please do not expect to have any expert or professional of Economics to be with us during this program. We shall be on our own, learning from each other while trying to apply our common sense to test the practicality or relevance of the proposed concepts.
THE PROCESS AND TIMELINE
We have a total of 6 modules in this program, to be covered in 8 weeks. Two weeks of break in-between shall either be taken as downtime or as spaces to cover any backlog or to go deep into any particular concept covered in the course. The overall schedule looks like this:
Sunday, May 2, 2021 – Sunday, June 27, 2021
We will have three sessions per week (i.e. per module), on Wednesdays (60 mins), Saturdays (120 mins) and Sundays (120 mins).
*we may choose to delay these sessions if the participants decide to take more time in doing their research for writing or project work.
The timings of the sessions shall be 07:00 – 08:00 PM IST for Wednesday and 11:00 AM – 01:00 PM IST for Saturdays and Sundays. All above mentioned sessions are mandatory for the participants to attend. We may however choose to float a few optional sessions based on the requirements of the participants.
Kindly note that this whole program requires you to devote approximately 60 minutes every day, in addition to the mentioned sessions, to continue your reading of the books, essays, papers etc on your own. Therefore, please be a part of this adventure only if you are fully committed to the cause from within.
Around 20-25 participants. We wish to a have a small group with more time per participant.
Anyone- of any age, gender, nationality, background, work experience- is invited to participate in this program as we wish to have as much diversity as possible. All we would require from our side is for you to have an interest for reading books, a spark to find a new way of living and an intention to dive deeper into the possibilities of re-imagining the design of our present economy.
Kindly use this link to fill the application form. We may choose to speak to you over phone before finalizing your participation in this program.
The suggested range of contribution is Rs 5,000- Rs 12,000. The participants are encouraged to contribute as per their heart and financial situation. The ones who are capable of contributing on higher side are encouraged to do so, as we also wish to accommodate a few individuals who are not in a position to contribute financially. The charges cover facilitation for all 49 days, which include 19 mandatory virtual sessions as mentioned in the schedule.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
1. Can I skip some online sessions?
We would strongly suggest you to not skip any mandatory session (19 in total; 6 Short + 13 long sessions) as these sessions shall build upon each other. However, it would be optional for you to participate in any additional session that may come up during to the course of the program.
2. Will the recordings of the sessions be available?
No, the recordings shall not be available for later review. Kindly be present and fully attentive during the sessions.
3. Can I join the program in between say after a week from the beginning or so?
No, as all the modules of this program build upon each other, it would not be possible for you to join this program in between.
4. Will you buy the books/resources on my behalf?
No, we shall provide you with the soft copies of the books/resources from our side. If you prefer to have physical copies of these books for reading, we would encourage you to kindly buy the books on your own.
5. If there are only three sessions per week, how am I supposed to give 60 minutes per day to this program?
The online sessions are more about sharing and learning from each other’s reflections. You would be required to go through the whole books/resources on your own by devoting dedicated time for the same on daily basis. Also, kindly note that you are encouraged to read slowly and spend a lot more time doing self-reflection.
Ashish graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee in the field of Electrical Engineering in 2009. Post studies, he pursued his corporate career for a few years before deciding to move on to his passion to work with rural communities. Since then, Ashish has lived in the villages of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and worked for many rural projects related to Education and Livelihood sector. Before founding Sahaj Foundation in 2013, he also worked with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi to help set up their ‘Centre for Innovative Technologies in Himalayan Region’.
Presently, Ashish lives a simple and peaceful life in Bir village situated in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. He has chosen Education as his primary medium of service while he continues to explore more on organic farming and holistic healing with an aim to simplify his lifestyle and benefit the society as much as possible.
Since 2017, Ashish has been conducting many dialogues and workshops on the theme of 'Rethinking Development'. He has so far facilitated such processes for hundreds of professionals and students. He strongly believes that there is a need to create spaces wherein people can develop their abilities to think critically and understand the world by using their own experiences. The co-founding of Vasudhinity and this online program are his effort to do just that!