“What good is a house if we don’t have a tolerable planet to put it on?” —Thoreau
The origin of the word wealth comes from an old english word meaning the path to wellness. The word economy evolved from the original latin word for household management. We have reduced once prosperous concepts such as wealth and economy into narrow definitions — how much money do you have? How big is your house? our neo-capitalistic linguistics convey concepts that, in their inherent nature, do not give, they are not generous.
And the cost to our social fabric has been high. families spend less time together, and at the time of this writing, an increase in disease has been reported in those who are experiencing financial distress. Our environment is not healthy either. We won’t cite the millions of tons of pollutants that are poured, dumped, spilled and spewed into the air, soil, earth and water each year, and we know that one out of two people will get cancer. as a society, we are waking up to the fact that there is a connection between our consumer habits, food choices and manufacturing methods, and the quality of health for humans and the environment.
If this issue feels a little heavier than normal, it’s not because there are more pages, or because it is printed on thicker paper. it might be because the economists, activists, doctors and farmers who authored the articles in this issue’s themed section challenge us to do some deep thinking about our ideals as they relate to money. Sometimes confusing, and hard to understand, it is nevertheless necessary to rethink our relationship with finances—at the family level, to our consumer choices, and about our investments. It is pretty obvious that, no matter which side of the political spectrum on which you stand, as a society, our relationship with money needs some help. Departing from our usual attempt to stay within the realm of the practical, the articles in the economic section of this issue articulate different aspects of an ideal, and offer some bigger picture thoughts that can, once digested, enlighten our day-to-day financial decision making and remind us of the forgotten interconnectedness between money, the earth and human fairness.
I hope you will read our publisher, Claus Sproll’s annual fall note on page three. Claus envisions an economy built on service, not one based so singularly on consumption—what would this brotherhood-like gesture look like? Well, have some fun with this issue, let yourself imagine new possibilities that could lead to us one step closer to a place where we become individuals, families and societies who have a healthy and balanced relationship with money.
See page 71 to learn about our new special edition (number four), now in print. Social Renewal highlights camphill communities, and all they offer through a connection to community-building, the land, the arts, spiritual development, and both child and adult education.