A system that sees everything as money will never bring us to a humane and sustainable world

Almost everything is up for sale: personal relationships, health, education, politics…

We have somehow come to accept that market mechanisms are a neutral tool to solve societal problems. Adopt a child for 1€/month to stop poverty? Put a price on nature to save it from environmental destruction?

If money governs access to the essentials of the good life like health and education it sharpens inequality. Market mechanisms are not neutral – they can undermine our moral values.

We need to start questioning the role of markets and money in our society.

The NumbersA system that sees everything as money will never bring us to a humane and sustainable world. http://the-numbers.org/ #moneycantbuy tweet

Posted by The Rules on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 tweet

About this project

Public discourse in most countries is still largely taking the dominant economic model as a given. The market as the key mechanism to solve our political problems is rarely questioned.

Similarly for most civil society organisations and most actvist networks that are fighting for justice and and a more sustainable world, questioning the underlying economic model is mostly not a core issue in their campaigns and projects. By ignoring or accepting the market ideology and even making use of its mechanisms in their campaigns, indirectly and mostly unintentionally civil society organisations are contributing to reinforce the dominant narratives of progress, markets, consumerism, globalisation and economic growth.

The Numbers has been created by a cross-sectorial civil society alliance and was coordinated by the Smart CSOs Lab. It aims to contribute to a change in public discourse by asking the big questions that really matter. The project partners believe that this is an important element of a broader and much needed transition to a new economic system that will enable human wellbeing, justice and ecological sustainability.

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Trump: Join us in connecting the dots

The election of Donald Trump has left millions, maybe even billions of us in shock. Although we may be looking with bewilderment at the US today, we should remember that he is not an isolated phenomenon. He is a symptom of a sickness that is raging all around the world. People are hurting, disillusioned with mainstream politics and increasingly angry at a neoliberal economic system that is destroying lives and the planet with increasing ferocity. And in their desperation they are willing to consider extreme measures to make themselves heard.

Demagogues thrive amid fear and insecurity, which is why they paint the world in such dark terms. It’s a strategy that has put right-wing populist leaders in power in an Axis of Egos: from Brazil to Turkey, the Philippines to Russia, authoritarian strongmen like Trump are on the rise. Meanwhile, many centrist liberals, like the Democratic Party in the US, have been so intent on rejecting left-wing populist solutions, and so sure of their ability to beat anyone running on a white supremacy platform with its misogyny and homophobia, that they opened the door for Mr. Trump to walk straight through. Their preference is always to maintain the status quo that has served them so well.

As dangerous as the election of Trump is for the world, we can also see in this moment the truth that we simply cannot rely on the electoral political system to save us, because it is designed to prevent the fundamental change we need. Its own survival is at stake and it will marshal all its champions and resources to defend itself and stop the emergence of a new system. But when we work, or continue working for change from the ground up; when we build or keep on building new ways of living and being with each other where we live; when we construct or keep constructing the future we know is possible with our own hands, rather than hoping distant leaders will build it for us, we find our true power. Finally, when we combine that with the unbending hope that has powered change through the ages, we know our power has meaning.

A 400-year-old economic system is dying and another is struggling to be born. Change on this scale is not going to be smooth or easy. We should not be surprised, then, that moments like this — where the establishment is dealt a body blow — become more and more common. We can despair when that blow comes in the form of right-wing extremists, or we can step-up. We are the ones we are looking for, who can and must grasp the opportunities in these crises that are undoubtedly there.

So it’s time to come together, taking time to remember the earth. Remember all the successful struggles for justice that came before us, and imagine all those to come. Remember that social movements are growing all over the world and realising the common struggle. Remember life. Then, organise. Find each other and help midwife the inevitable transition that brings forth from the ashes of neoliberal capitalism a system that works for the good of all life on Mother Earth. This is not just activism; this is our responsibility as human beings alive as this all unfolds.

This is why we are here.