Author’s Note


Prelude    Excerpt from Prelude

A Walk Down Wall Street 


  1. The Need to Gather
    Rescuing Bazaars From Goddess TINA

Tattered Social Fabric
Hayek and Polanyi: Free Market versus Freedom
Market R’ Us
Goddess TINA and Open Society
Post-Meltdown Rummaging in Pandora’s Box

  1. Self-interest and Market Failure
    In Search of a Post-Autistic Economics

Virtue of Vice
Self and Noogensis
Oikonomia versus Chrematistics
Early Signs of an Economics With Better Cognition
From Gross National Product to Gross National Happiness
Failure of Market Idea or Just Another Market Failure

  1. Can Money Work Differently?
    Community Created Currencies

    Monetary Innovation: Mutual Aid and Free Money
    What’s Up Doc? How Michael Linton Created LETS
    Time Dollars: Edgar Cahn’s Vision of Co-production
    A Great Innovation or Crazy Idea?

  1. Competing Compassionately
    The Freedom to Cooperate

    Dee Hock and the Promise of ‘Chaordic’ Competition
    Earning Empowerment: Are Cooperatives Still Relevant?
    Gift Economy
    Source War
    Does Open Source Destroy Value and Other Questions

  1. Cosmopolitan Localism
    Wall Street, Main Street and Beyond

    Mass Suicides: Whodunit?
    Local Food, Global Solutions’: From Sixth Street Manhattan to Timbaktu
    Street Vendors, Public Markets and Super Stores
    Local Multiplier and the Pyramid
    New Rules for a Global Agora

  1. Who Cares . . . Wins!
    Challenging the Divine Right of Capital

    Morphing the Corporation
    Global Casino, Tobin Tax and Jubilee
    Champagne Glass Syndrome
    Crafting a Triple Bottom Line
    Put Your Money Where Your Morals Are
    Orthodoxy Strikes Back
    Beyond Denial

  2. Nature Bats Last
    Earth as Home or Marketplace

    Living Systems in Chaotic Retreat
    Commons and Market Value of Eco-systems
    Who Owns the Sky?
    Natural Capitalism
    Banking on Biomass and Simple Living
    Survival and hope in a fratricidal war


Excerpt from Prelude

A walk down Wall Street


It was on 11 September 1609, that the first European set foot on the island we now call Manhattan. Henry Hudson came ashore near about the site where the World Trade Centre was later to soar and crash. The explorer and his crew of twenty, aboard the ship Half Moon, were working for the newly formed Dutch East India Company. Their mission was to find the fabled Northwest Passage which would allow European trade vessels to navigate past the frozen northern coastline of America to reach China.


Sailing into the mouth of the river that was later named after him, Hudson saw scores of native people paddling their canoes between the mainland and an island they called Menatay -- ‘the place where the sun is born’. The southern tip of Menatay was a summer time gathering place where the Delaware people came to mingle, converse and barter. Hudson and his crew ventured into this gathering with an offering of beads, knives and hatchets. In turn they were given beaver and otter skins. Here was free exchange in an almost pristine form. Hudson’s journals glowed with accounts of the loving, generous nature of the indigenous people.  


Within a few years, the Delaware gathering place gave way to a rag-tag settlement of Dutch traders and immigrants. When guns, germs and greed replaced the bonhomie of first contact, the European settlers built a small wood and mud barricade across the narrow southern tip of Manhattan


The walls of Fort Amsterdam were a symbolic representation of collapsed conversations.


Eventually, the Delaware people retreated inland. The expanding population of European settlers now declared Fort Amsterdam to be an 'obstructing nuisance'. So they pulled it down. The short and narrow street that replaced the barricade was named, naturally, Wall Street. A vastly different kind of meeting place and market began to take shape in and around the literal and metaphorical Wall Street. Free exchange gradually morphed into an idea known as the 'free market'.


Three hundred and ninety-nine years later, almost to the day that Hudson landed there, Wall Street imploded. From the primitive barter hub of the Delaware tribe to the fall of Lehman Brothers and other giant finance companies in September 2008 we can find a wealth of encoded messages that might be vital to the future of civilization.


I more or less stumbled upon these codes. My journey was initially driven by rather basic questions which were far upstream of the doomsday machine that has shredded businesses on Wall Street and thus across the world. Can we resuscitate the planet's gasping eco-systems only to the extent that the money bottom line of the market will allow? Why do enough responsible people accept, as a gospel truth, the claim that no further miracle drugs would be invented without the motive of enormous private profit? We all enjoy the freedom of open exchange in a market place but is that the same as the 'free market'? To my surprise I discovered that a dazzling variety of people, across the world, are troubled by these questions. Most of them share a firm conviction that the creative freedom inherent to our species is far more powerful than the 'free market' orthodoxy…  

Chapter 1 traces the historical and cultural transition which put bazaars and politics in a position of subservience to the market.

Chapter 2 continues this journey upstream into the history of ideas to show how the current narrow definition of self-interest came about. It is now being overturned by upheavals within the discipline of economics and other revolts which make Homo economicus look more like an effigy than a portrait.

Chapter 3 delves into multiple dimensions of how the old habit of money is being re-examined, tweaked and recreated to challenge—and perhaps even transform—the ways in which we pass on information about value. A feral kind of competition has been increasingly endemic in the market.

Chapter 4 traces the growing interface between cooperation and competition, particularly the gift culture of the Internet and wider implications of the open source movement.

Chapter 5 explores how the terms of engagement between Main Street and Wall Street might be redefined to truly address the needs of those who feel threatened by globalization.

Chapter 6 explores the promise and limitations of changes unfolding within the world of corporations.

Chapter 7 grapples with the possibility of creating a new operating system for the market mechanism—one that is founded on the reality that nature bats last and it owns the stadium. In the tradition of the agora as an open space for philosophical reflection as well as material exchange, these stories are an endeavour to expand conversations in and about bazaars, to explore how far we might stretch the freedom to seek universal well-being. Thus, the title Bazaars, Conversations and Freedom. True, each of these words evokes a multitude of images and cannot be fixed to any one meaning. And yet we can venture forth, carefully, knowing that words serve as tools or signposts for a fluid and multidimensional exploration of reality. The basis of this endeavour is the raw faith best expressed by pioneers of the open source phenomenon: with enough eyeballs all bugs are shallow. Or, as Marcel Proust said, ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.’

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