Why LETS is crucial to an economics of the soul and thus our children’s future

The most important part of economics today is money; 50 years ago, though, it was not. It was the physical economy. Then, the economic focus for us ordinary folks was making goods and delivering services.

But in the mid-1970s came the removal of the link between this (the physical economy and the monetary economy) in the US, and subsequently elsewhere.

The American psychologist James Hillman (1926 to 2011) was active in depth psychology in the late 1980s. Depth psychology is about linking psychology to consciousness, ritual and economics, especially in the psychology movements of that period such as Mythopoetic/Narrative/Storytelling/Psyche-Soul.

In the early 2000s, financial derivatives came along – fake money made by financial corporations. This is now around 30 times the size of the global physical economy, plus we are already using the equivalent of three earths! And ALL of these derivatives are outside the control of nation-state reserve banks.

Here, economics means that which we practise in the West, called neo-liberal-economics (NLE), market or monetary economics. To my mind, these developments make LETS and other community currencies more important than ever as we seek to practise our deeper urge to grow sustainable communities based on the physical economy, using ethical exchange and non-extractive financial practices.

Not long before his death in 2011, James Hillman, a major Jungian psychologist, said in his talk Changing the Object of Our Desire, “I think economics…is an insane faith that justifies everything we do. We do it because we justify what we do…we explain what we do in terms of economics…”

So we let the economy determine who is included and who marginalised, distributing the financial rewards and punishments of wealth and poverty, advantage and disadvantage.

However, LETS can help us challenge this macro system, even one little bit at a time ― in our homes, families and communities. So LETS matters to our children’s future.

See also our previous NewsLETS columns on derivatives and Oikonomia and Chrematistics. If you want more: James Hillman on The Internalized Monotheistic Global God of the Economy. Next column on LETS and Alternative Superannuation.

Paul Wildman