Occupy movement poses the question – do we have the answer?

All is connected – a vast intricate web of relationships in three dimensions. If one strand or knot is disturbed or damaged, the repercussions spread out in every direction, in time and space. Do we have the wisdom, the knowledge, the experience even to understand what we have set in motion, much less how to cope?

The Occupy Wall St movement one of the events shaping our world right now. Amazingly, it has been given the tick of approval by the Vatican. Are we at last taking seriously the words of Scripture ‘Serve God or Mammon’, and ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’?

Occupations have been happening all around the world, almost spontaneously it seems, in response to the collapse of finance companies and systems. These Occupations are being treated differently in different countries. The response of the city councils in Dunedin and Wellington is one of negotiating with a view to resolving the situation, rather than calling in the police to use force. The individuals camping on public space in the city are causing very little disruption or offence to anyone, and are being supported by restaurants and others in the city.

It is hoped that their peaceful presence and willingness to engage in dialogue will cause some reflection among the public. The group is not offering solutions; the powerful corporations caused the problem; they must find solutions.

Possible solutions are being suggested. One is a financial transaction charge on every transaction that would yield a substantial fund. It could be used to rescue banks, defaulting countries even, but more importantly, reimburse ordinary people whose life savings have vanished with the failure of the banking system.

On another plane, increasingly, individuals and communities are exploring other ways of exchanging goods and services – the transition town movement in New Zealand and elsewhere; Living Economies in the Wairarapa, the Wellington South Time Bank just launched in the suburb of Newtown for example. There are many co-operative initiatives springing up in response to the failure of the traditional financial model, that offer a much more human and caring approach – not all overtly motivated by the Christian spirit. All these give me hope for the resilience of the human spirit.

‘Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream of the modern world’ is a  symposium that is being presented around New Zealand, offering a changed view of our world.

Tricia Kane is a retired librarian and grandmother

Image: I have no ideas

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