Buddhist Futures: The Commons as Practice

Edwin Ng and Zack Walsh are two Buddhist scholars who share a vision for a future of humanity beyond Capitalism, a vision grounded in contemplative and cooperatives forms of culture such as Buddhism. The proceeds of this conference should be very empowering for Buddhists who believe that ‘another world is possible.’

Towards a Contemplative Commons

* conference organized by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, in Potsdam, Germany August 14-15, 2017

Description

“Post-capitalism has become the subject of much recent debate, spurred by publications from Jeremy Rifkin (2015), Paul Mason (2016), J. K. Gibson-Grahame (2006), Left Accelerationists like Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams (2015), and members of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and Degrowth communities. Though there is no uniform agreement among its proponents, post-capitalism seems generally characterized by a reemergence of the commons. Realizing a successful transition to a post-capitalist, commons-based political economy will not only depend on the capacity for new technologies and social relations to alter the balance of political and economic power; it will also depend on developing social practices that underlie a broader cultural shift. Though there exists some scholarship on the social and cultural dimensions of a commons-based transition, there is comparatively little work that approaches its ethical and contemplative dimensions. Likewise, though there exists some scholarship on the contemplative dimensions of social transformation and sustainability, very little is situated in the context of the political economy. In an effort to bridge these gaps, this workshop seeks to convene scholars and stakeholders who have an interest or expertise in developing ethical and contemplative approaches to post-capitalism and commoning.”

Contents

By Zack Walsh and Ed Ng:

“Given the link between global warming and capitalism (Moore 2016), a central task facing humanity today is arguably the search for a sustainable alternative to our global political economy. Rather than combatting climate change alone, humanity is urged to aim for a systems change (Klein 2014).

Systemic approaches that cultivate non-capitalist forms of ownership, funding, decision-making, communication, and subjectivity are already emerging. Post-capitalism has become the subject of much recent debate, spurred by publications from Jeremy Rifkin (2015), Paul Mason (2016), J. K. Gibson-Graham (2006), Left Accelerationists like Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams (2015), and members of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and Degrowth communities. Though there is no uniform agreement among its proponents, post-capitalism seems generally characterized by a reemergence of the commons.

Realizing a successful transition to a post-capitalist, commons-based political economy will not only depend on the capacity for new technologies and social relations to alter the balance of political and economic power; it will also depend on developing social practices that underlie a broader cultural shift. Though there exists some scholarship on the social and cultural dimensions of a commons-based transition (Bollier and Helfrich 2015, Kostakis and Bauwens 2014, Mulder 2015), there is comparatively little work that approaches the ethical and contemplative dimensions of transformation (notable exceptions include: Johnson-DeBaufre et al. 2015, Giorgino and Walsh in press). Likewise, though there exists some scholarship on the contemplative dimensions of sustainability (Eaton et al. 2016, Wamsler et al. 2017), very little is situated in the context of the political economy (a notable exception is Doran 2017).

In an effort to bridge these gaps, this workshop seeks to convene scholars and stakeholders who have an interest or expertise in developing ethical and contemplative approaches to post-capitalism and commoning, but who come with different areas and levels of expertise. The main objectives of this workshop are to develop a shared understanding of the status quo (the problem space) and to co-develop pathways that best address this shared understanding going forward.

The workshop will be designed to facilitate maximum dialogue and create collaborative opportunities among the participants. Furthermore, the workshop aims at conceptualizing a platform that addresses the needs of the topic as perceived by the participants in order to offer an outlet for future research on these topics. To achieve these goals, the workshop will be divided into two days. The first day focuses on understanding the status quo and the second day focuses on co-designing a way forward.

Read the full description here: URL = http://www.iass-potsdam.de/de/content/workshop-towards-contemplative-commons

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