Transforming Australia. A discussion paper about the need for major change in our economy and our governance

 Abstract.  Humanity faces a difficult century and a particularly challenging decade.  Radical transformative change in the way humans live and organize their activities is now apparently the only sensible response to the huge threats that now loom for our near descendants. 


The combination of human overpopulation, destruction of essential supportive ecosystems, climate change induced by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions and a flawed and unstable economic system, together point to the strong likelihood that the human response to these issues during the next one or two decades will determine whether or not Planet Earth can continue to provide a viable home for humans.  Paul Gilding has presented in his recent book "The Great Disruption" an optimistic scenario for how humans can survive and even prosper in the face of the coming disruption. His thinking accords closely with the work of a group with which I have been associated - Transform Australia - that has been meeting for the past 15 months, beginning with a three-day intensive workshop in Sydney in March 2010.

The TA group agrees with Gilding that nothing short of a major change in the human mindset and in the operation of some of the key systems, which drive modern society (including especially the economic and governance systems) will be enough to make Australia and the world resilient to the shocks that lie ahead.   Two shifts in our mindset will need to underpin this transformative change.  The first is a systems approach to understanding the way our world operates.  The second is a recalibration of what Riane Eisler describes as the dominator/partnering continuum in a direction that rewards caring, sharing, nurturing, collaborating and partnering instead of a system that rewards winning, competing, possessing, dominating and controlling. The notion that economic growth that is dependant on consumption can continue as the driving force for human progress is no longer tenable. The challenge for the Transform Australia movement is to empower 2 ½ million Australians with a vision of how things can be different and how we can work together to make a different system emerge.   When the population “tipping point” is reached in favor of economic and governance systems that truly serve the needs of people and the environment, rather than the needs of what David Korten describes as the  “phantom” money system, we are much more likely to transform towards a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. 


The full discussion paper prepared by Bob Douglas for The Canberra Quakers is here”