Joshua Malkin, a co-founder of Civil Society Alliance, and a member of the Network of Wellbeing, suggests that just as the way that we measure or calibrate economic growth in terms of GDP is out-dated and dysfunctional, how we calibrate politics is equally so. The horizontal political spectrum is irrelevant to where most people want to go.
Re-naming the so called “free market” economic model as “extractive” gives a much more accurate picture of its intention and effects. An economy based on maximizing profit alone extracts value from people, communities and nature. At its worst it can degrade, corrupt and squeeze out shared value, leaving no room for individuals, communities and nature to flourish.
On the other hand the good news is that new economic forms of “for more than profit” do the opposite. They can be said to be generative of life, of civil society, of wellbeing and of nature.
This new compass that is an aid to navigating between actions, forms and attitudes that are generative rather than extractive represents a new perspective on political economy.
The old adversarial politics is about extracting maximum value for separate political perspectives, identities and self-interests. Each separatist political party position on the horizontal political spectrum is not about looking after the whole for the long term but about maximizing value for adversarial, separatist groups and ideologies in the short term. And this is why politics is repulsive and irrelevant to many. The fact that our democratic choice is determined by less than 1% of the population – the membership of the existing parties – makes our democracy all the more unstable and dysfunctional.
Our task is to re-imagine the purpose of politics and economics – to re-establish real value, humane values, principled leadership inclusive of many traditions united by a vision that is bigger than us all. That just may be possible through the lens of a new political compass that is generative rather than extractive.
Diagrammatic sketch J.P.Malkin