Holistic Thinking in Our Financial Transactions

If money is the lifeblood of the world, its circulation needs to be healthy and pumping out positive change.

| September 2017

In Making Money Matter (Prospecta Press, 2015), author G. Benjamin Bingham challenges us to analyze the current financial framework and instead see money as a tool and springboard for positive change in our world. The age of strictly cold, quantitative analyses about life are starting to give way to more holistic ways of thinking — and with the unhealthy way it’s presently circulating, Bingham calls for a re-structuring of our financial transactions.

Steiner and the New Age of Holistic Thinking

“What we say we can’t do is in truth what we don’t care enough to do.” — Johann Gottlieb Fichte

Always focused first on the vital importance of spiritual freedom, Steiner argues that “Free beings are ones who can will what they know to be right.” In a culture of freedom, work would indeed be separate from income and acts of good will would be chosen freely. We are far from adopting this perspective today because our culture has been built on the concept of “enlightened” self-interest, a refined form of egotism that does not prioritize consideration of the whole. The root of this systemic dysfunction is the valorization of national independence over human collaboration on a global scale.

It is fine to celebrate cultural patriotism or regional pride, but we must recognize that self-centered arrangements, even on a national level, often lead to failure and unhappiness. Selfishness is, in fact, the source of all pain on an individual level. On a global scale, nationalism has been used to justify the pain of isolation and war. How can we move instead toward a global economy based on compassion?

On the way to work one day, I stopped to buy a green smoothie. As I put cash on the counter, both the vendor and I noticed the word loved written beautifully in script across the face of a one-dollar bill. I chuckled, for I could easily imagine every transaction as an act of love: one person lovingly providing the product or service and the recipient showing loving appreciation for all that went into it. We are usually too shy or busy to notice the beautiful exchanges of everyday life — but why not enjoy them! It is a matter of intention and expanding one’s own awareness.

The same goes for human labor. It makes a tremendous difference when workers are in touch with their labor, when their piece of the puzzle is admired, when they are compensated fairly for what they have done. The need to express and receive gratitude is universal. Unfortunately, most economists consider labor a commodity — just another cost to be cut if possible. Instead of sharing profits with laborers, managers and directors of publicly traded companies spend most of their profits to buy back shares. This exercise manipulates the stock price in their favor so that they can exercise stock options on the most favorable terms, thus increasing the disparity between rich and poor.

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