Castle ruins and economic tea leaves

My instagram is full of images from Scottish castles, some in ruins, some held together. It is a bittersweet routine for me, having visited Scotland twice where I developed a deep and abiding love for the air, land, water and people of Alba. I deeply respect the craftsmanship of these massive structures, built over long periods of time, raised up by communities to house earls, lairds, kings, and queens. The castle ruin, decimated by war or nature, raises so many questions about events that culminated in a crumbled shell of what had been a thriving community.

All empires crumble. Human history is replete with examples of sudden and devastating ends to empires and cultures. What is it about the human experience that leads us to destroy and decimate communities, cultures, lands, and economies? Is there a way to read the so called ‘economic tea leaves‘ so as to avoid the practices of our ancestors?

I am more than a little obsessed with this topic, and have been casually and informally collecting books and articles about the history and levers of economies, both western and Indigenous. This year, I have made a commitment to be disciplined in this research, teasingly referring to this as my “DIY dissertation”. Today, I finally sat down and wrote an outline of the topics that I think deserve research and discussion.

Ultimately, it is my belief that economies are strong when communities are strong. When communities are in strife, when the society is grossly unequal, the economy will fail, either from internal pressures or external pressures. I believe that there is enough evidence in the world. The secret is to properly research it and create a new narrative for us to dwell with in order to avert the disasters our ancestors endured. In order to reverse the damage that our economic narratives, policies, and principles are currently inflicting.

The economy is supposedly strong, yet so many are living in desperate poverty. We are constantly on the brink of war, and corporations who have long and storied histories as ‘stalwart pillars’ of the US economy are wobbling. This seems like an auspicious moment for us to think about how we can do the economy differently.

I have the outline. Next is the literature review. Stay tuned.

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