What might a peace economy look like? Can a global economic system uphold the dignity of all? How can we divest from the war machine?
- Approximately 1 hour per discussion (up to 2 hours)
relevant sections of “a global security system: an alternative to war”
- Read AGSS: Realign Military Spending, Convert Infrastructure to Produce Funding for Civilian Needs (Economic Conversion) (2016: pp. 38-40 / 2017: pp. 40-42)
- Read AGSS: Create a Stable, Fair and Sustainable Global Economy as a Foundation for Peace (2016: pp. 56-57 / 2017 pp. 58-59)
- Read AGSS: Democratize International Economic Institutions (2016: pp. 57-58 / 2017 pp. 59-60)
- Read AGSS: On Divestment (2017 p. 58 sidebar)
- Read AGSS: Create an Environmentally Sustainable Global Aid Plan (2016: p. 58 / 2017 pp. 60-61)
DISCUSSION GOALS & OBJECTIVES
- Become familiar with alternative, sustainable economic models
- Explore economic conversion strategies
- Become familiar with divestment campaigns and strategies
introducing study and action partner: Lindsay Koshgarian
Lindsay Koshgarian is Research Director at National Priorities Project, where she works to show Americans how spending and tax decisions made in Washington affect their lives. She focuses on the inherent trade-offs between military and human development spending. Before coming to NPP, she conducted economic studies on affordable housing, homelessness and workforce development for policy makers at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. She got her start as a grassroots organizer and clinic worker at Planned Parenthood in and around Philadelphia. She holds an MPP from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree in physics from University of Pennsylvania. You can read Lindsay’s full bio here.
Two discussion topics/guides are presented below. Each discussion should take approximately 1 hour. You are invited to do both and follow any sequence relevant to your purposes. If you are to choose one discussion we strongly encourage you start with “Discussion 1 (Essential).”
Discussion 1 (Essential): Establishing a Peace Economy
In preparation for this discussion watch the introductory video by Lindsay (above), the talk by Vandana Shiva (below), and read the corresponding sections of AGSS. (Total 60 min)
“A militarized economy distorts and ultimately weakens society.” –Lloyd Dumas
“The current form of corporate dominated globalization is escalating the plunder of the earth’s riches, increasing the exploitation of workers, expanding police and military repression and leaving poverty in its wake.” – Sharon Delgado (Director, Earth Justice Ministries)
Vandana Shiva: the lunacy of economic growth
Questioning whether peace is possible under a globalized system of capitalism – and its corresponding and unsustainable values of growth and development – is a critical inquiry. Few express this dilemma more clearly than Dr. Vandana Shiva, a trained physicist, philosopher, eco-feminist and social activist. Born in India in 1952, she is one of the world’s most eloquent and passionate voices on the environment, women’s rights, and sustainable development.
In the video below Vandana Shiva explores how an obsession with growth has eclipsed our concern for sustainability, justice and human dignity. She argues that such a system treats people as disposable as the value of life lies outside economic development.
Choose from among the following:
- What principles should guide a peace economy?
- What are the obstacles, strategies and opportunities for economic conversion, realigning military spending, and converting infrastructure to meet civilian needs?
- How might we democratize global economic institutions?
- Why are economic growth indicators a poor measurement of the health or peacefulness of a society? What aspects of the underlying thinking or rationales behind economic growth and development might contribute to violence and oppression?
- What alternative indicators or measurements might be identified or used to measure sustainable development? How might we make the transition from development as measured by GDP to development as measured by “Gross National Happiness” (or something similar)?
POSSIBILITIES FOR ACTION
- If you are a U.S. citizen, learn how your tax dollars are spent – and explore how you might reprioritize you money – by using the National Priorities Project’s interactive “Trade-offs: Your Money, Your Choices” tool. Share the results with your local community and engage community members in a discussion on preferred alternatives.
Discussion 2 (Going Deeper): Divest from the War Machine
In preparation for this discussion read the corresponding sections of AGSS and watch the videos on divestment below.
#NoWar2017 Panel on Divestment featuring Jonathan King, Susi Snyder, Terry Crawford-Browne
Divestment was also a major theme at the #NoWar2017 conference. Check out the videos from the panel below exploring divestment strategies from the local to the global.
- How might we build upon the successes of divestment campaigns and strategies and make them more effective?
POSSIBILITIES FOR ACTION
- Become aware of your own investments. Does your pension fund support war or peace? Be in the know and take action. Check out World Beyond War’s campaign to Divest Public Pension Funds from Weapons Dealers. Interested in taking on the nuclear powers? Check out the work of Don’t Bank on the Bomb. Join the Divest from the War Machine campaign to help reel in US militarism. Sign the pledge today.