What next after capitalism?

After the results of the UK election, held on 8th June, one thing became very clear: young people have started to lose faith in the way our present society runs, particularly in our current model of capitalism. The situation is even more stark in the USA; Naomi Klein has analysed it brilliantly here.

It is not hard to understand some of the economic pressures which have led young people to conclude that capitalism is not working for them. A study by the Resolution Foundation last year found that people born between 1981 and 1985 are earning £40 a week less in today’s terms than were, at the same age, people born a decade earlier – making the current under-35s the first generation since the industrial revolution to suffer such a reversal. Meanwhile, the cost of housing has gone beyond their reach. Over the past five years, according to the Nationwide Building Society, the rate of home-ownership among 30-34 year olds has plunged from 49.3 per cent to 43.1 per cent – while older people have enjoyed higher rates of home-ownership.

Moreover, high rents have prevented many young people from putting aside any kind of savings. If they cannot win a stake in the capitalist system, in spite of working hard, why should they support it?  Add to that some of the many other issues that Theresa May’s government is either supporting or which are resulting from its policies, eg fracking, foodbanks, stealth privatisation of the NHS and other public services, student tuition fees, constant austerity for ordinary people but not the rich, etc., and it is no wonder that so many young people voted in such numbers for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

For many older people, capitalism was associated with freedom. But there is little reason today for young people to feel the same way, when they are confronted on a daily basis by large, tax-dodging corporations and bankers who wrecked the economy, who escaped without punishment and yet who carried on skimming off vast bonuses. What they see instead are the failures of Conservative industrial policy, such as over-priced trains run by private companies, which have ruthlessly exploited the private monopolies granted to them, in what was surely the most flawed of all the privatisations.

It will not be possible for the Conservatives to continue to preach the benefits of the free market if it is patently not working in favour of an entire generation. By the next election the current generation of under-35s will comprise nearly half the population. If they have a sense that the economic system is rigged against them, they will revolt against it – and so they should.

But it’s even worse than just a system rigged against the young; those of you who are regular readers of this blog may be aware that from time-to-time, I’ve expressed grave doubts as to whether this planet and all the species living on it will be able to survive the consequences of our present system of economics.

Our current model of capitalism, with its emphasis on constant growth and its elevation of money to something which trumps every other argument, is leading us inevitably towards what has been called the Sixth Great Extinction in the history of our planet. The Holocene epoch, the past 12,000 years of stable climate in which agriculture, settled communities, and great civilisations first appeared, has come to an end, and a new epoch has begun. The term “Anthropocene” was coined in the 1970s to describe this new epoch, in which we are seeing significant human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems.

Another and in some ways better term for the present epoch has been coined even more recently by those who want to focus attention on the role of capitalism in bringing us to this crisis in Earth’s existence, and this is the “Capitalocene”.  We are living in a new and dangerous epoch in Earth history, as identified in overwhelming detail by scientists. It is characterised by the violation of critical planetary boundaries, the unprecedented disruption of our planet’s life-support systems with potentially catastrophic results, including climate chaos, mass extinctions, acidified oceans, poisoned rivers, rising sea levels, over-population and more.

Whatever one calls this new era, it’s clear that most people (with the possible exception of Donald Trump and those who share his attitudes) are prepared to accept that the Earth System as a whole is experiencing unprecedented negative changes caused by recent human action (from the time of the Industrial Revolution onwards). The concept that perpetual, constant, infinite growth without limits is leading us directly to disaster is one that is probably accepted by most sane people these days. The question is: what can be done about it? Who is going to tell voters in a democracy that there are limits to growth? Who will tell a Premier League footballer or a rock star that there should be a limit to the number of Ferraris they own? More to the point, is there any politician with the courage to say to people like me that two cars per family is quite enough?

No doubt most people can see the connection between unlimited numbers of consumer goods and ecological destruction – but which of us is prepared to accept that the limits to growth have to start with you and me?

Rudolf Steiner identified the economic, social and cultural aspects of the problem a century ago and put forward Threefolding as an alternative to our headlong pursuit of disaster. These ideas still need to be brought to the world’s attention but my assumption is that there will not be any cut-through to political and public notice by anthroposophical concepts alone, unless they are also accompanied by additional ideas and solutions propounded by other people of goodwill. Sadly, anthroposophy is too strange a word, its ideas are too remote from common attitudes today, and its historical baggage is too cumbersome to enable it to make the necessary difference on its own.

That is why I am proposing, along with a few colleagues, to organise a conference at Emerson College in 2019 to look for a new story, a new narrative about what has to pass away, and what has to come into being, if we are to survive as a species on our beautiful blue planet – and I invite you to help “crowdthink” this conference into a form that will enable it to be most useful. Here are a few ideas to get us started, and I would be most grateful for your own input, such as suggestions for speakers, themes, alternative ways forward and who should be invited to attend and participate. Please send in your thoughts and ideas via the Comment button below.

Conference working title: What next after capitalism?

Conference venue: Emerson College, Forest Row, East Sussex, UK

Proposed date: Around Easter 2019

Basic premise: The world is hurtling towards disaster because of the way we treat the planet and people and this is a direct result of our current economic systems. We are not living with love for one another and the world. Does the conference accept/agree with this? Does the conference accept/agree the concept that the problem is our present model of capitalism?

Duration: 3 days

Day 1: THEME – What’s broken?

Establishing what’s not working and why, using examples from around the world. 20-minute “Ted type” talks on identifying what is broken.

Day 2: THEME – Alternatives

Looking at alternatives from around the world – examples of success and failures

Day 3: THEME – Call to Action

Leaving with determination, purpose and a clear set of realistic actions for each of the 3 themes.

Underlying structure: 3-fold. Cross-cutting themes throughout conference, including Economic, Cultural and Rights spheres, and taking in topics such as the impact of our present model of capitalism on the environment, global economy, banking, agriculture, medicine, company structures, shareholder system, developing countries and relations between people, etc

Our ideal will be to find a backer who will fully fund the conference so that attendance can be by invitation only. Our aim will be to put together a stellar group of keynote speakers and leading thinkers, and to invite top civil servants, social entrepreneurs, pioneers who are already doing the alternatives, academics, influencers and opinion-formers to attend.

I would be very grateful to receive via the Comments below your own thoughts, ideas and suggestions to develop this proposal – please suggest speakers, topics and a structure for each day of the conference. It would be a magnificent achievement if this conference could be a result of “crowdthinking” in action!



Filed under Anthroposophy, Capitalism, Emerson College UK

57 responses to “What next after capitalism?

  1. Katherine Beaven

    Otto Scharmer would be my suggestion

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, indeed. Yet, he would likely have to be introduced to the concepts of anthroposophical spiritual science in order to make his current knowledge complete. You see, any notion of an acupuncture into capitalism in order to resolve it, also warrants knowing how it came into being in the first place, and I doubt he even has a clue how that happened. Thus, a student of spiritual science could help him greatly in this matter, and likely make him an even better presenter. Once wisdom is increased, the person is increased.



  2. c k

    Hi Jeremy,

    How weird that you have proposed this conference at the same time that a group of us are planning a conference in 2019 on a similar theme in Ireland. We are building on a conference we ran in 2014 called ‘Dear Earth’. Which focused on ways to be more active in supporting the sustainable future of the earth. The conference we are planning will focus on how to develop a new stream of financial relationships which are collaborative, not competitive and are resource lite. We want to attract mainly people in their 20s and 30s.

    Best wishes

    Caroline Kelly

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the important aspects concerning any theme of the sustainable future of the earth involves the fact that the earth we experience today is in its death throes, which is why everything is centered around materialism, economics, and capitalism. The earth has arrived at the condition of physical-mineral degradation, which means we need to look at a higher conscious formation, and this creates the present conflict of the old order with the new.

      Steiner often presented the findings of Eduard Suess, and his geological assessment of a dying, crumbling earth:

      “The mid-point of Earth-evolution falls in the middle of the Atlantean epoch, and so in our present age the Earth has already passed the mid-point of its development. From this you will realise that the Earth is already involved in a declining phase of evolution, and in our time this must always be taken into account. As I have often said, it conforms entirely with the findings even of modern materialistic geology.

      In his book The Face of the Earth, Eduard Suess has stated that the soil beneath our feet today belongs to an earth that is already dying. During the Atlantean epoch the earth was, so to say, in the middle period of life; it teemed with inner life; it had upon it no such formations as the rocks and stones, which are gradually crumbling away. The mineral element was active in the earthly realm in the way in which it is active today in an animal organism, in a state of solution out of which deposits will not form unless the organism is diseased. If the animal organism is healthy it is only the bones that can be said to take their form as deposits. In the bones, however, there is still inner life. The bones are not in the condition of death, they are not, like our mountains and rocks, in process of crumbling into dust. The crumbling of the rocks is evidence that the earth is already involved in a death-process.

      As already said, this is now known even to ordinary materialistic geology. Anthroposophy must add to this knowledge the fact that the earth has been involved in this process of decline ever since the middle of the Atlantean epoch. Moreover, in the earth must be included everything that belongs to it: the plants, the animals, and, above all, physical man. Physical man is part and parcel of the earth. In that the earth is involved in a process of decline, so too is the human physical body. Expressed differently, in more esoteric terms, this signifies that by the middle of the Atlantean epoch, everything that was first laid down in a germinal condition in the warmth-body of the “Saturn” evolution had reached completion. The human physical body actually reached completion by the middle of the Atlantean epoch, and since then the path of its evolution has been one of decline.” Lecture on Ascension & Pentecost, May 7, 1923.

      So, for conferences to be proposed for 2019 in England and Ireland on these themes seems remarkable, and I choose to be an enthusiastic participant!

      Kind regards,

      Steve Hale


    • Hi Caroline,
      I think that, when something of significance is getting ready to be born, then it quite often happens that people around the world will have the same, or similar, impulses coming to them at around the same time – so perhaps that is what is going on here. Good luck with your conference and I hope you can keep us informed of your plans.
      All good wishes,

      Liked by 1 person

      • bbballah

        Gradually perhaps these ‘people around the world can communicate/cooperate with each other.


      • Well, I think that is the idea here. In order to communicate, one has to write down some words that hopefully pertain to the matter of importance. In this situation, we have a proposal for a conference which could prove to be the basis of a new, and more conscious worldview. Jeremy’s idea involves taking on the present-day political, social, and economic factors and coming-to-terms with what it means for our younger generation, who are being systematically depleted in wage earning power by the forces of capitalism in the hands of the greedy rich. The exact same exists here in America.

        So, for example, in drawing attention to how earth evolution has drawn forth this materialistic worldview, and valuation system, it can be shown how the periods designated as:
        1) Holocene
        2) Anthropocene
        3) Capitalocene
        are due to the progressive advent of scientific materialism, which sees nature as an exploitable enterprise. This is how capitalization first began with the notions of Francis Bacon, who was a staunch anti-Aristotelian. Yet, some people see in Bacon a great Rosicrucian initiate, and especially in Britain today.

        Yet, I think there is no getting around the idea of becoming “resource lite”, which the Ireland conference for 2019 sees as the inevitable solution of a happy human communion and cooperative system into the future. Am I wrong on this?

        If the Labour Party has the interests of the young in mind, as it should, considering that labour has always equated with the needs of the proletarian, then the Conservative Party is on their way out, even as this election stands complete. What can Theresa May achieve in the next five years that hopes to help our younger generation coming up?

        Status quo, and “maybot” isn’t cutting it at all. England is under siege, and that is the terror of the situation, as we speak; America, too.


  3. In this sort of context I have found it helpful to consider the history of the Green Movement, particularly in Germany.
    Specifically, it is interesting to research the biographies of Rudi Dutschke and Petra Kelly, two Michaelic souls, one with roots in the Soviet East and one with roots in the American West. Both people of high moral calibre. One with the genius to draw together disparate groups and individuals, and one with the genius of speech.

    Alliance90/The Greens was a movement for a change which arose out of the same sort of concerns for the welfare of humanity which you express. It aspired to be a grass roots movement without the trappings of a political party and the power games which traditional politics becomes mired in.

    The initial focus which led to the formation of the Greens out of a wide spectrum of social change movements can be expressed in the four pillars of the Green Way –
    Social justice
    Ecological wisdom
    Grassroots democracy
    These pillars were not a manifesto in the traditional sense and I think it is important now to be more explicit about one other fundamental value, the equality of women.

    I am not proposing what those founding spirits of the mid-European Greens did as a general solution for anything, but pointing to the fact that it found a response world wide, and particularly on both sides of the Iron Curtain (which might descend again at any moment).

    They wanted to avoid the cult of personality, though there were of course many big personalities among them.

    I personally would not support an invitation only event (for me that would feel elitist), but I wish you well with your initiative.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Caryn Louise

    Colonise and develop the stagnant, chaotic and wild lands. It could be a mutual venture with another country (Germany for example). In this way, not only is it productive for the well-being of poorly developed lands, it offers a solution to your already over populated country taking the strain.


  5. Demetrios Peroulas

    Bravo Jeremy for your post!
    THIS IS THE ANSWER to my (our) CALL I expressed the other day!
    I really hope that your voice of imagination, inspiration and intuition will be heard, at last… No more pretensions and excuses… This is the time either to become true Anthroposophers (= real human beings) and together with so many other people of good will, wisdom & humility to find out the right path or continue the (anglo-american & middle European) neoliberal, neocolonial, secular, materialistic and selfish capitalistic avenue towards extinction and hell.
    This is exactly what we experience here in Greece (and the rest of the world): No future not only for the Young Generation but for the whole Nation. And the cause of the causes is only one: Capitalism (the other two: Fascism & Communism, after they tragically failed to succeed the former, fortunately are already dead). [And when we react to the capitalistic death imposed on us, then, as is the case for example with Russia, we are accused of not being “civilized” & “democratic” etc. Enough! We are ready for the Revolution, if the Anti-Christ’s Pluto-Autocrats & their collaborators {conscious or not of what they are doing} and who are using the USA-UK-EU as their base, think that we will become their vassals. So, I call our friends in the West and Middle Europe to join the Christ’s Revolution.]
    I expected people to embrace your initiative at once, as there is only one way out: Threefolding, which is the real fourth political theory & practice, the real Revolution.
    I think it’s high time for Uriel also to intervene next to Michael, as Michael cannot yet find enough Michaelites. To tell the plain truth, an anthroposophical movement as the one Rudolf Steiner envisaged 100 years ago, does not exist in our days. So what and with who shall our next step be?…
    Deep from my HEART:
    Thank You,
    Thank You,
    Thank You.


  6. Thanks for this, Jeremy.

    I think your idea of the conference is a wonderful. At the very least, a forum to speak about ‘what one is doing’ generates energy at ‘compound interest’ and breaks through the likely sense of isolation of those who are doing their best to work positively for the future.

    Some further thoughts in response …

    First, a quote from Steiner:

    “He who would create the new must endure
    the passing of the old in full tranquillity.”
    (“The Soul’s Awakening”, Temple Lodge: London,1994, p.3)

    I think perhaps we are moving beyond the ‘politics of reactivity’, as implied by the title of Naomi Klein’s new book “No is not enough …” Refusal and reaction have their place, of course, to mobilise discernment and isolate iniquities. But the risk is of ‘negative merging’, where we unwittingly sustaining an invisible bond with ‘that which we love to hate’.

    An astrological ‘view’ is offered below. It seems to speak to this, and affirms the timing of your idea of the conference you described.

    Here, I’m thinking of the forthcoming conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in the sign of Capricorn, January 2020. Contacts between these two planets accompany a strong intensification of their energies, sometimes meaning a fear of one’s ‘worst nightmare coming true’, or other examples of ‘negative merging’. And sometimes, indeed, our ‘worst fears’ are realised.

    However, the combination of these two planets takes us ‘beyond reactivity’, generating a powerful resourcefulness, wise survival tactics and appropriate endurance. An individual who has recently experienced such transits will often report something like, “I don’t know how on earth I managed this nightmare, but somehow I did. And I feel stronger and wiser for it”. Obstructions to our connection with the Deeper Source are burned off, leaving a ‘hot-line’ to inner resources we didn’t know we had. The dis-spelling of the spell of ‘negative merging’.

    Dates of recent previous conjunctions are noted below, and readers with an interest in history will no doubt see the ‘trail’ of connections:

    Sat Cnj Plu 22 May 1883 29°Ta46′ D 29°Ta46′ D

    Sat Cnj Plu 4 Oct 1914 02°Cn13′ D 02°Cn13′ R
    Sat Cnj Plu 1 Nov 1914 02°Cn04′ R 02°Cn04′ R
    Sat Cnj Plu 19 May 1915 00°Cn54′ D 00°Cn54′ D

    Sat Cnj Plu 11 Aug 1947 13°Le07′ D 13°Le07′ D

    Sat Cnj Plu 8 Nov 1982 27°Li35′ D 27°Li35′ D

    Sat Cnj Plu 12 Jan 2020 22°Cp46′ D 22°Cp46′ D

    Of interest is the fact that this next one will be in the sign of Capricorn, of which Alice Bailey writes the slogan/meditation: “I see the light supernal, and on that light I turn my back.” This sounds ‘sinister’ if interpreted at the ‘ego’ level. However, Capricorn represents (amongst other things) the process of manifestation where we engage with the density of the material plane in order to ‘birth’ something. So Bailey’s words encourage us to resist the desire to ‘drift off into the Light’, the better to fulfill our duty to contribute wisely to this earthly incarnation. We overcome historic negative projections on to ‘The Earth’. The previous such conjunction in Capricorn occurred in 1518! More food for thought.

    You can download a list of their conjunctions (AD1100-2200) here:


  7. Thank you for the initiative Jeremy
    I am also of the view that an alternative to “capitalism” is required. In order to have an alternative that is effective, it must have a theoretical structure in this theoretical structure must both speak to and depend on a worldview. Capitalism is more of a mental syndrome, a family of related approaches, with common themes that form a theoretical foundation. They arise out of the same movement that generated modernism in science and the success of capitalism with its technological focus depends heavily on modernism. One can for example find descriptions of early capitalism in the form of mercantilism in the works of Bacon. The notion of skill, organisation and work being capable of formally structured – as in a user manual or industrial facility is dependent on this epistemology. So for me, it is necessary to have more than various episodic inspiring stories, important as they too are. Micro-finance is not the solution, for example, it is an illustration of a different way of thinking.

    The IMF notes six pillars of capitalism. Looking at the six you can see how much they appeal and how much they speak to aspects of the contemporary cultural milieu. There is for example a relationship between the selfie that is posted to Facebook and the concept of self-interest. But it is also possible to see aspects of a counter movement and an awareness of global responsibility. Over the weekend I was watching people doing selfies of groups of friends, putting their heads together, and this is a phenomenon of community and shared interest.

    So if a conference like this is going to happen I would like to see it making significant strides towards an alternative model and one that is understood in terms that can be taken up by the wider population of those interested in a new future.

    I am also interested in making this journey in a way that is not precious and obscurely esoteric but invites open thinking. At the point that I post this comment, without wishing to be critical of friends, I would say that the existing comments do not fully have that characteristic. Moreover the context of the invitation, “Anthropopper” may not work to best advantage?

    I am fully up for a quality conference. I have suggestions on the themes of the three days. But I would encourage forming guiding ideas that are more likely to contribute success. I have made two here.

    Thank you once again for the initiative Jeremy


    • Thanks for your message, Angus. I’m not precious about this at all, and believe that “crowdthinking” will help to get the most useful possible conference. I’m using my blog because it’s the medium I have open to me, and because it reaches people in over 120 countries around the world.

      Would you like to suggest a theoretical structure and ways in which the conference could make significant strides towards an alternative model?

      Perhaps at some point soon we shall need to form a carrying group to take the various ideas forward – but in the meantime let us see what people come up with.

      Best wishes,



      • Dear Jeremy,

        Any attempt to propose a conference that is concerned with resolving capitalism any time soon must begin with a review of our present perspective. Your blog has actually been inviting this perspective for nearly three years now.

        So, where does this put us today? You obviously see an urgent need to come to grips with a system that is failing, and will continue to fail unless higher principles are brought to bear in the resolve to increase the consciousness of mankind.

        I have always made this the central focus of my participation here. As such, any resolve to overcome capitalism with a new economic approach will have to entertain the idea of what forming a “higher culture” means.

        Rudolf Steiner gave a lecture in which he outlines the so-called “new proletarian demands” here. It is worth going over for its insistence on the fact that only a new ‘cultural’ imperative will allow the economics, and rights-political spheres to be realized as truly separate entities.

        I had actually outlined this in an earlier post, but please let me refer to it again. The lecture is from April 23, 1919, and can be found on page 105 here:

        Click to access Education_As_a_Force_for_Social_Change-Rudolf_Steiner-296.pdf

        Steiner proves here that any possibility of a threefolding initiative is no different than how a sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul, are needed to exist separately, and yet cooperatively in order to lead to spirit-self, life-spirit, and spirit-man.

        The point of integration concerns culture, and that is why a spiritual-scientific movement and worldview exists today. Maybe for only the few, but they see your resolve. Likely capitalism cannot be resolved in our lifetime, but we can carry the initiative across the threshold and weaken it in the next go-around.

        Today, all we can do is inform of the possibility to find better ways to participate in the earth’s gradual unfolding. The younger generation needs to grow into it, and receive the support of their elders that know the system.

        So, from my perspective, the conference is a go, but needs a lot of explaining in order to make it both coherent and participative on a level that could set the resolve of those that don’t like their future.


      • Jeremy, I think you are receiving some very good, and diversified input concerning the initiative toward a conference that seeks to overcome capitalism, and you should consider very carefully every posting. At this stage, we should absorb whatever communications come our way. Angus has written to offer something of a theoretical-thought construct, and Melanie has written about a near-future conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in 2020. Demetrios is beside himself in his regard for such an initiative as yours, which wants to give careful consideration in how to overcome capitalism.

        Yet, very often, preliminary words lead to nothing. So, it leaves it to those that roll up their sleeve and say we need to start a working group in order to carry forth this initiative. You asked Angus about it, and it can happen, even if he never responds again to you. Does that make sense?

        A worthy initiative is worth moving forward on. I would like to see people here really try to make the effort. I wrote Angus in order to further encourage his effort toward our initiative. Hopefully, he will respond because he has further input to make. Yes, please let us hear it.

        If I was to write, it likely would appear as a dirge, but one that has relevance to why today’s materialism is so relevant on so many levels. The secret to its riddle concerns the very fact that we have to experience the physical-mineral in order to begin to obtain our true fulfillment. This is why capitalism today is so forthright in exclaiming its dominance.

        And that fact becomes the challenge to why an initiative such as yours exists to be entertained. In truth, capitalism needs to be lost.

        And will be lost over time.


    • Dear Angus,

      In definite respects, modern esotericism exists today for a purpose that has only been made obscurant by the very forces that would retain capitalism for all time. These forces abhor the open thinking that you suggest. They support indoctrinating the present-day thinking patterns we see. So, a truly contemporary worldview in an age that is certainly “post-modern” by now, must realize the need for an esoteric perspective in order to begin to solve the world’s problems.

      Rudolf Steiner often spoke about the importance of a kind of thinking that is fluid, mobile, flexible, i.e, very liquid. “Open Thinking” has very much to do with this concept, and I’m sure you appreciate it. Please, let me give an example.

      In a lecture-course from December 1918, Steiner describes again the very interesting conversation that occurred between Goethe and Schiller on their way back from a conference in Jena. Here is where Schiller began to get the drift of what the mind’s eye can see when it remains flexible and mobile. He eventually came around to the goethean world conception.

      “Schiller said to Goethe that Batsch certainly had a very splintered way of observing the world. In their day it was still far from being as splintered as that of present-day physical scientists; but nevertheless Schiller felt that it was very prosaic. Goethe remarked that of course a different method of observation could be employed, and in a few characteristic strokes he sketched his idea of the primordial plant and the metamorphosis of plants. Schiller could not grasp that and said: “That is not a matter of experience” (he meant, that is something not existing in the external world), “it is an idea.” Schiller stayed with the abstraction. Whereupon Goethe replied: “If it is an idea, I am satisfied; for then I see my ideas with my eyes.” He meant that what he had described was not just an idea that he only created inwardly, but that it really existed for him even though it could not be seen with one’s eyes as one sees colors. That is real forming, supersensible forming (Gestaltung) in the senses.


      Goethe saw the colored petal as a transformed leaf, the skull bones as transformed dorsal vertebrae. That was a beginning. If someone continues with the same mode of observation, he reaches only forms, it is true, but it is the “gate of nature-forms” that he reaches; it is imaginative insight into those forms. And then he really begins to observe, not merely the skull bones that are transformed vertebrae, but the whole human cranium. He discovers that the human head is the whole human form metamorphosed from the previous incarnation, except only the former head. Of course the physical matter passes over into the earth; but the body that you carry around with you today, except just your head, the supersensible part of that form persists and becomes your head in the next incarnation. There you have metamorphosis at its highest level of development.”


  8. Following present capitalism, economic nationalism (Putin, Trump) is a new authoritarian current jeopardizing the planet. See e.g. the exploitation of resources in the arctic region. In a world-wide threefold perspective, Russia’s postmodern hybrid war has increasingly threatened civil society (freedom) and spiritual life (truth) too. So, also invite a Russia expert.


  9. Visitor

    Obviously with very title containing “after capitalism” it is already determined main frame of the future conference and the whole discussion. I read Michael Spense´s book and appreciate it very much, however, I am aware of differences among anthro-thinkers in economic domain, so for instance, some of them would question the very idea that it is about moving “beyond” capitalism as such (at least in foreseeable future).
    Any sort of economic analysis should be rooted primarily in “World economy” lectures, and secondarily to three folding as such, as Steiner himself declared that “World economy” is “updated” or perhaps evolved and transformed original idea of three folding. Hence, threefolding is implicit in the economic lectures, which by its nature are not “anti-capitalist” in any sense.
    So, I don’t really see how looking into “alternatives” to capitalism could lead to fruitful result.
    Today´s economy is dominated by capital and that´s simply a stage to which the whole organism evolved, capitalism is not some evil system invented by some evil stakeholders. Capitalism is simply state of the art of the social organism in the domain of economics and it´s ill state does not reflect inherent flaws in capitalism (as Marx would suggest) but inherent flaws in our understanding of the economic life and phenomena.
    Hence, it is handled in *unhealthy* manner, primarily due to current limitation of the human minds to comprehend the very system they (largely) unconsciously created.
    So, our primarily task would be to comprehend basic ideas from “World economy” lectures combined with foundational work of threefolding.
    For instance – “Money, Capital, Spirit” would be much better title since these are the categories that requires our proper cognition in context of economic activity before asking question what to do “after capitalism”.


    • I mentioned earlier that we should start a working group, and these comments of yours show a keen interest from a knowledgeable person. I ,too, feel that any alternative to capitalism will still have to run the gauntlet of resistance, and this will come primarily from the younger generation that is feeling the squeeze of disenfranchisement today.

      My early emphasis herein is to indicate that Steiner felt that only a “higher cultural formation”, in which consciousness itself becomes the growth factor, is the true starting-point. His lecture from 23 April 1919, ref. GA296, on the new proletarian demands, indicates clearly that whatever the young and dynamic generation wants, it can have. It has the power to dictate the whole course of economic growth and development, but it must first grow its own conscience.

      We elders can guide this process, but would any 25-35 year-old even listen to what a higher cultural formation means? Revolutionary thinking is in order, and it obviously needs a platform, an agenda, and the kind of advertising that could compel our young people to its cause, on their behalf.


      • Visitor

        Indeed maybe there could even be drawn some parallels between our times and those 100 years ago since masses of younger people are affected by unhealthy economy. However, without lack of some focal point, all becomes easily dissipated in ideological left-right divide, while in the high academia and high financial circles main paradigm is not even challenged (e.g. neoliberal or neo-classical foundations on which economic policies rest, undisturbed).
        So, things must be challenged on this foundational level, too, enthusiasm and good will are not enough if not grounded in primary analysis given in World Economy lectures (and some other places/lectures, of course).


    • You wrote:

      “I read Michael Spense´s book and appreciate it very much, however, I am aware of differences among anthro-thinkers in economic domain, so for instance, some of them would question the very idea that it is about moving “beyond” capitalism as such (at least in foreseeable future).”

      Yes, likely so. If you noticed. Michael Spence received many comments to his first and third articles, and yet only wrote back to Michael Burton, and leaving all other comments unanswered. These comments represent thoughts of a new revolutionary thinking, which we are considering today.


    • Thank you for your message, Visitor, and I take your point about the working title of the conference. However, I don’t think that “Money, Capital, Spirit” quite does it, either. What I personally would like to see is mutualism, or a kind of anti-capitalist market economy that could be of interest to people of the left or of the right. In other words, a co-operative and sharing economy that doesn’t allow corporations a toe-hold. If people are serious about free markets and fair competition then let’s have them – but they can’t seriously argue that we have them at the moment. Nor do I think that this conference can base itself on Steiner’s lectures, since the whole point of it is to reach out to the spectrum of goodwill for real change that there is in the general populace, as well as among opinion-formers and those in a position to help our society move in a better direction. What the title for such a conference should be, however, is still to be determined!


      • Visitor

        I believe I see why putting mutualism in focus could be really important starting point for any sort of discussion or communication, especially if intention is to reach those folks who are (not yet) in the contact with Steiner ideas. It could serve as sort of “bridge” to have something readily understandable by everyone as starting point.
        However, regarding:
        “Nor do I think that this conference can base itself on Steiner’s lectures, since the whole point of it is to reach out to the spectrum of goodwill for real change that there is in the general populace, as well as among opinion-formers and those in a position to help our society move in a better direction.”
        – not sure on what than really to base this real-change, if not on the basic ideas from World economy lectures? If it is just an opportunity to hear different ideas from all sides, fine, but than I don´t see it as initiative that is inherently anthroposophical, or I miss your point?
        If there is broader public, of course there is no need to explicit Steiner sources too indiscreetly. But, in reality, to say “let´s do economics but without principle foundation from World Economy lectures” is same as saying: “let´s do the Geometry but without Pythagorean theorem”.
        As subtitle of these lectures suggest, these are the lectures to establish foundations of economic science as such, which also implies that there is no, properly speaking, economic science established as of yet.
        So, without introducing fundamental ideas such as about sources of economic values (“V1, V2”) and ideas about three kinds of money etc. -no amount of goodwill and good intentions will suffice to make a substantial improvement.


      • Jeremy, you’ll find that what you are looking for rests in an ideology that is actually espoused by our very own Professor Staudenmaier, who also acknowledges the importance of a kind of “liberal municipalism”, which equates quite nicely with your quote: “mutualism, or a kind of anti-capitalist market economy that could be of interest to people of the left or of the right. In other words, a co-operative and sharing economy that doesn’t allow corporations a toe-hold.”

        Murray Bookchin was the fellow who proposed this kind of liberal-communal ideology back in the 1970’s, and it has continued to be supported by platforms such as the Institute of Social Ecology, which Peter Staudenmaier stands as a founding member today.

        Yet, here is the difference. Bookchin’s movement was strictly a social endeavour which failed, whilst yours must be a political movement under the appropriate banner, which recognizes a compromise between the three present British parties: Conservative, Labour, and Independent. and seeking to found a fourth, with the dedicated aim of making “mutual endeavour” its cornerstone.

        How does that sound? You see, here in America it is a two-party system, either Democrat or Republican. Thus, Bookchin knew that he couldn’t establish a new political party due to America’s fundamental dualist mentality. His cause had to be a grassroots social movement, which I suspect is what the Emerson Initiative is about at this stage.

        But, England’s political system recognizes three parties, which means that a fourth could prove to be the resolving factor. Many people would love a system of liberal mutual accord, but it has to have the bite of a political party. A merely social movement, like the vision of Murray Bookchin back in the 1970’s, must gain the clout and empowerment of a an actual legal-juridicial system.

        Thus, politics stands necessarily midway between the economics, and spiritual-cultural dimensions. And, in this case, it is very important.


      • In 1905 Steiner lectured on future brotherhood and mutual aid (Kropotkin):

        “Now a leap must be made as though from one shore to another, to the spirituality of the future culture of the East. This is a completely new impulse. What belongs to the future is as yet unformed and naturally infiltrated by the old. … This is a double spiral (Wirbel). We can also observe these contradictions in the Socialism of the East and the West. The Socialism of the West is a Socialism of production; that of the East is a Socialism of consumption. One who orders the social life in the direction of production reckons with possessiveness, with egoism. He who reckons with consumption turns his attention to what others require from him; he bears in mind his fellow men, reckons with brotherhood. The socialism of production — Marx, Lassalle — only bears the worker in mind, in so far as he is the producer. In the East the consumer is placed in the foreground, as for instance with Kropotkin, Bakunin, Herzen. You can see things building up to a climax if you follow Kropotkin. He had an immediate understanding of the principle of helpful interaction in the case of animals. The socialism of the West is entirely built up on strife. Thus do the currents of World evolution play into one another.” GA0093a/19051104 (cf. GA0054/19051123).


  10. Caryn Louise

    I still think the colonisation and development of poorly developed lands in Africa would be a step in the right direction towards sustainable growth and world relief. It would be a humanity development for humanity and a wiser undertaking then spending money on space exploration. Sensibly it should be a United Nations endeavour. The United Nations would be the central legal administration in the colonisation; overseeing the implementation of infrastructure and commodities relevant to the various associated skills from around the world each in their area of expertise.

    The question is would there be enough world capital to initiate a foundation and would the United Nations be agreeable to quite an enormous task, which no doubt will have problems, but with good direction all things are possible.


  11. Personally, I don’t see the “World Economy” lectures as being of much relevance today. I have had them on my shelf for years now, and never studied them. Considering that they were given in 1922, which is almost 100 years ago, it can plainly be seen that what they proposed, in terms of money, was rather elegant, idealistic, and very distinct from a spiritual-scientific standpoint.

    Yet, in today’s world, it can be shown that these lectures no longer have any value. Why? Because the world is corrupt, and ruled by evil ahrimanic forces, which seek to extend capitalism as long as materialism exists.

    So, in today’s world, we are seeing signs of a younger generation feeling themselves revoked from the future in which they thought they could prosper. This is why I proposed that in Britain that the failed election should be the clarion-call of a new party movement. If the younger disenfranchised people feel that they are being degraded in stature, that certainly moves in the direction of empowerment. Yet, it won’t happen without a political signal.

    And what was that?


  12. Visitor

    “Personally, I don’t see the “World Economy” lectures as being of much relevance today. I have had them on my shelf for years now, and never studied them. Considering that they were given in 1922, which is almost 100 years ago, it can plainly be seen that what they proposed, in terms of money, was rather elegant, idealistic, and very distinct from a spiritual-scientific standpoint.”
    Honestly, it´s quite hard to comprehend this line of thought, Steve. 🙂
    After never studying something, you plainly see how World economy lectures are obsolete and, moreover, distinct from from spiritual science, which is, by the way invented by Rudolf Steiner same as the lectures you never read. 🙂
    Did I get it wrong?
    Well, indeed spiritual science loses it´s relevance in today´s world, but that hardly tells us anything about the ideas contained there, rather, it tells us about the quality of thinking of those for those it was meant.


    • No, you are getting this wrong. Steiner in his time had the impulse of threefolding, and expressed it most eloquently with his “money lectures”. Yet, what I am saying is that today nobody gets it. It has gone beyond its time and cannot be retrieved. So, we have to deal with other alternatives, which are being expressed right now. Of course, ‘World Economy’ was a solution, but nobody listened to it, and made it effective.

      And that is why I never read the lectures. I already knew it was past, but would have loved for it to have occurred. In today’s world, the younger generation knows nothing from nothing, other than the propaganda they have been fed, and this likely could never acquaint with the elegance previously given with these lectures which you seem to think mean so much. Yes, in their time, they did mean something important. But, the ruling powers quashed their importance for their own purposes, which can be seen in things like the Federal Reserve, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

      So, I’m sure we’ve had this discussion before, and I appreciate every opportunity to make clear how much I appreciate what you appreciate. Yet, I stand for the new, while maybe you still yield to the old. I think you do.

      World Economy is an excellent lectures-series, given in 1922, and most appropriate for its time, and yet, it gained nothing in terms of influence for its time. And that is why we are where we are today.

      Does that make sense?


      • Visitor

        Yes, Steve, it makes more sense than the previously stated, thanks. 🙂
        However, my view is different in that, that if something is *overdue* doesn´t mean it is obsolete. On the contrary, if an opportunity is missed at certain point in time, it, unfortunately, only means that that which is missed becomes more and more relevant as time goes by.
        Same principle is valid for Philosophy of freedom, Science lectures, Economy lectures- as well as for the whole Spiritual Science for that matter.
        PoF is overdue in philosophy domain, Science lectures in scientific domain and World economy in social.
        Hundred years have passed and yet, few hundred millions deaths more and we still stumble on all three “foundation stones” that are not properly comprehended and digested.
        So, these are overdue in the sense that if they were adopted by now in the general cultural life, we would not be on this highway to hell that currently humanity as a whole generally is heading towards.
        Hence, what was “actual” 100 years ago, is now not obsolete, but absolutely critical last-second call to sanity.
        Unfortunately, without key insights made by Steiner, and Economy is only one special case, it is not hard to predict how the discussion will shape, since it is all the time going on all around us.
        There are generally two main camps:
        – one claims that all ills are coming from *too much* capitalism (e.g. critics of neo-liberalism)
        – the other claims all ills are coming from *too less* capitalism (e.g. libertarians, neo-liberals, socio-Darwinists etc. etc. )
        Both camps have endless chains of arguments for one and the other.
        And that all is just a dead end, basically left-right divide in trillion of nuances.
        So, one more conference like that is just one more opportunity missed, if it stays on the same level as myriads of other similar initiatives.


      • “However, my view is different in tha if something is *overdue* doesn’t mean it is obsolete. On the contrary, if an opportunity is missed at certain point in time, it, unfortunately, only means that that which is missed becomes more and more relevant as time goes by.”

        Yes, I understand this, and if you have been reading my comments here you will see that I feel that the cultural sphere itself is in most need of resurrection to a “higher life formation”. If this were to happen, then threefolding would be seen naturally as a trinitarian initiative of the human spirit. I mentioned a lecture on “new proletarian demands” that Steiner gave to the workers of the Waldorf-Astoria Factory in April 1919, and how often he mentions the need for a renewed cultural life. This is first and foremost. Yet, Jeremy has stated that he does not want to rely on Steiner lectures, and so I have shifted my position toward what is needed in the near-term without hefty ‘think-tanking’ of Steiner material.

        At this point, I see an anti-capitalist economic movement, based on mutual cooperation, as needing a platform for its empowerment, and this seems to require a political party for success. Merely creating a social movement won’t work. This, of course, is merely another suggestion within the “crowdthink” stage.


  13. Okay, “What next after capitalism?” has garnered some pretty significant responses, and yet, where does it leave us? Likely, at this point, with nothing more than ‘blah-blah-blah’ words, which mean nothing. And yet, I find a great deal to work with, such as Melanie Reinhart’s musings, and Angus Jenkinson’s, as well.

    So, what must we do next in order to bring this initiative alive as a true permeation of the human spirit? I can talk all day and all night about it if that helps, but the diversity of human opinion has already weighed-in here, and that is what is most important, and needs to be encouraged. So, please, let’s keep it going. Tom Shea mentioned recently that it was a good idea, but not to keep it exclusive and elitist, which should have coerced Jeremy to say something along the lines that he appreciates all our input, and wants more.

    I hope so, at this point.



  14. Midnight Rambler

    Jeremy asked
    Jeremy asked:

    “I would be most grateful for your own input, such as suggestions for speakers, themes, alternative ways forward and who should be invited to attend and participate”

    The first thing that struck me about the conference is that its key premise
    “the world is hurtling towards disaster because of the way we treat the planet and people and this is a direct result of our current economic systems. We are not living with love for one another and the world” is already widely recognised and all the mainstream political parties have elements of it on their agendas and are putting forward plans to address it using different approaches.

    Here are statements from the 2017 Green Party manifesto and the Labour Party Manifesto.

    Green Party – “Imagine a government that trusts in our common humanity and our capacity to govern ourselves. Imagine a government that believes that the best way forward is by working with each other, rather than against each other. Imagine a government that prioritises the rights of citizens and the environment over those of corporations. Imagine a government that gives everyone a chance and leaves nobody behind in a confident and caring Britain. That’s the kind of government we would work for”.

    Labour Party “But I’ve also heard something far less positive, something which motivates us in the Labour Party to work for the kind of real change set out in this manifesto. It is a growing sense of anxiety and frustration. Faced with falling living standards, growing job insecurity and shrinking public services, people are under increasing strain. Young people are held back by debt and the cost of housing. Whole families are being held back from the life they have worked towards. I’m constantly told of these pressures in the workplace. Faced with constant cuts and interference, our police, nurses, doctors, teachers and council staff are held back from delivering the public services they signed up to. Workers are held back by falling real pay and job security. Our entrepreneurs and managers are being held back from growing their business. If you are increasingly asked to do more with less, then you are not alone. Every election is a choice. What makes this election different is that the choice is starker than ever before. You can choose more of the same: the rich getting richer, more children in poverty, our NHS failing and our schools and social care in crisis. Or you can vote for the party that has a plan to change all of this – The Labour Party”.

    So maybe the first task for Jeremy’s conference needs to think through is how to position itself in relation to these more mainstream initiatives that are already underway. What can make it different ? How does this initiative relate to or build on, or challenge existing political, cultural and economic initiatives that are seriously trying to tackle with these problems. What is its real added value ? Is it evolution or revolution that is being aimed for ? Is it about political transformation, or spiritual growth or both ?

    Maybe this question needs more thought before a decision is taken about which speakers are needed ?

    Also it made me wonder about the audience that the conference is aimed at. If it is Emmerson College then I guess it is primarily an audience already familiar with Anthroposophy. Maybe the aim is to go wider when the ideas and where to go next are more grounded ? These days it is possible to stream conferences and reach wider audiences.

    In order to attract “a stellar group of mainstream keynote speakers and leading thinkers, top civil servants, social entrepreneurs, pioneers who are already doing the alternatives, academics, influencers and opinion-formers.” then you would need to come up with a conference theme which they could get behind and support for free. Otherwise you would need a budget to pay them.

    Also, I think it would be important to be very transparent about the underlying purposes. If it is to explore how Anthroposophical ideas might address these problems this should be up front as one of the drivers for the meeting. If it is to be a platform for promoting a ” kind of anti-capitalist market economy that could be of interest to people of the left or of the right. In other words, a co-operative and sharing economy that doesn’t allow corporations a toe-hold” then that should be clearly stated as well.

    The main speakers would need to be comfortable with the theme . What would attract me would be to focus on how the current models of capitalism could be transformed, made more fair, given a human face and for the economic sphere to come into more holistic working with the rights and cultural spheres. In essence a Christianising of the current status quo.

    I have recently been following the first United Nations Ocean Conference and interestingly, it has some parallels to Jeremy’s initiative. It was called to address a particular crisis regarding the critical state of the world’s oceans, recognising that the world has one ocean and its health is critical. Despite its crucial role in contributing to poverty eradication, global food security, human health, economic development and curbing climate change, our ocean is increasingly threatened, degraded or destroyed by human activities, reducing their ability to provide crucial support to our ecosystem. The aim was to provide the opportunity for the world to reverse the precipitous decline of the health of the oceans and seas with concrete solutions.

    Attached is the “call to action” which shows what kind of initiatives and pledges can come out of such a conference.


    The underlying cause of the state of our seas (parallels with the state of our etheric bodies) is due to the materialistic mind set developing from the 15th century, but things are starting to change. The presence of Christ in the etheric world is at work, and this conference had some healthy things breaking out.

    Finally, I wondered who might be the spiritual sponsors of this conference, who would really give it their blessing. Probably this has already been considered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Finally, I wondered who might be the spiritual sponsors of this conference, who would really give it their blessing. Probably this has already been considered.”

      Well, maybe it has, and maybe it hasn’t. One thing is for certain within the domain of contemporary anthroposophical thinking, and it is this; people write so many wonderful words that it is very hard to see why it has yet to come on as a fundamental movement of the spirit. For example, just look at these essays posted to the Anthroposophical Society in America:

      Yet, mere words in long essays obviously mean nothing, and this has been proven by the present state of affairs. It is like looking through the looking glass and only seeing an image. What does it truly say about reality?

      Recently, it was stated that we are currently only posting so much “blah-blah-blah”, and if these very well-considered essays and posts are supposed to mean something in the near-term, and future, then we had better get to doing it.

      We can start with the current world situation, which is collapsing as we speak. Recent posts, even without the ‘blah’, prove it is true that the cultural domain is disintegrating into a kind of neo-barbarism, which was warned against by Oswald Spengler, and even Peter Ouspensky, who saw it firsthand with the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.

      So, we can at least start with this, which means those who came before us with their warnings. Rudolf Steiner is one of these. Yet, he saw it as a kind of clarion call to the peoples of the world.



    • Thank you for these very helpful thoughts (and the link), MR. I agree completely with you that a main focus of the conference should be on how the current models of capitalism can be transformed and made more humane – indeed a Christianising of the present situation. I will be working up the ideas that have been so far put forward into a comprehensive brief for the conference (I hope in collaboration with others) and will post the brief on this blog. In the meantime, I’m very grateful to you and the other people who have left comments, for your thoughts and suggestions.
      Best wishes,


  15. I very much appreciated your interesting post, Midnight Rambler.
    Your positive tone is very refreshing.
    You say – ‘Also, I think it would be important to be very transparent about the underlying purposes. If it is to explore how Anthroposophical ideas might address these problems this should be up front as one of the drivers for the meeting.’
    It is potentially a difficult situation when the provenance of an initiative isn’t obvious and completely transparent. If participants suspect there is a hidden agenda they may well react very negatively – as has often happened with Steiner Schools when parents have not fully understood what they were getting into.
    I had the impression that Jeremy’s conference is not to be about the promotion of anthroposophical ideas but an open inquiry bringing many interested people together. Am I wrong about this, Jeremy? Or are you hoping for an opportunity to share Steiner’s insights?
    Regarding Midnight’s last question, I would hope the guiding spirits might be Sophia and Michael.


    • Hello Tom,
      As you suggest, I’m hoping that this conference will be an open enquiry which will seek to find those elements of a new narrative for society around which many people can coalesce. Steiner’s insights will of course be part of this, as will views from other thinkers. The seriousness of our dilemmas needs a broad consensus of goodwill if we are to have any chance of achieving real change. I imagine that this conference will be just one small part of all kinds of activities around the world as we humans wake up to our situation and begin to grapple with the problems. We are told that humanity is now responsible for the cosmic intelligence, which includes all of nature. The spiritual world has handed that responsibility to us, as part of our evolutionary process. It really is now up to us humans to take on that responsibility.
      Best wishes,


    • “Regarding Midnight’s last question, I would hope the guiding spirits might be Sophia and Michael.”

      How about the “Being Anthroposophia” itself? Steiner recounts here in the 7th lecture of his survey of the history of the anthroposophical movement that this invisible being has arisen, and exists to help the movement as long as it struggles in its fledgling ways to overcome the spiritual crisis, which we are certainly in.


      Liked by 1 person

  16. In a word, a sprinkling of poets, though you’d want to choose them carefully. Shelley’s ‘unseen legislators of the world’. At least SOMEONE who’s cultivated language as a serious bond (the cultivation even more than the language itself) between her/his waking self and her/his higher selves. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Visitor

    Just learned aobut this initiative, sounds worth considering-
    demand for “purpose economy” is increasing:


  18. Midnight Rambler

    Agree – v. interesting article from Visitor. Maybe “redemption roasters” (see below) is an example of the purpose economy ? helping the community while making a profit at the same time.


    • Thank you, M.R. – we’re now building up quite a useful list of links, which I will share soon in another post as pointers towards the conference themes to be addressed. Please keep these suggestions coming, together with any ideas you may have for speakers or attendees.

      Best wishes, Jeremy


  19. Midnight Rambler

    Thanks Jeremy – some of the initiatives set up by Prince Charles are maybe aiming in a similar direction ? We know he supports BD agriculture.

    For example the business-leaders forum and the sustainability programme based at Cambridge University, which has been going for 18 years and has established a reputation as the leading international, cross-industry and cross-sector, forum for sustainable business. The underlying theme of BSP is the successful management of change through understanding global trends and finding strategic, practical ways to integrate social and environmental solutions into decision-making processes whilst still remaining profitable.


    I know someone sympathetic to “Anthro-world” who could be approached if felt appropriate. Or even go for the main man himself !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you once again, M.R. – I may well come back to you for your contact.

      Best wishes, Jeremy


    • “I know someone sympathetic to “Anthro-world” who could be approached if felt appropriate. Or even go for the main man himself !!”

      Now, you are talking! Let’s hear of it. Who would that man be if he hasn’t already spoken? You see, if he hasn’t already spoken, then it gets to be your word alone. Yet, he has spoken here, which must mean something;, unless nobody is listening .

      In future, it is all about ‘purpose economy’, indeed, to has to happen because materialism is on its way out. Why? Because people today largely live by needs and not by wants. They will come to realize this as a cultural imperative in the near-term.



      • I think Midnight Rambler was referring to Prince Charles as the “main man”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes, I see that. But, in addition to that, I wanted to draw attention to what was said earlier about wants vs. needs. What really stood out in your essay for me was where you said this:

        “The concept that perpetual, constant, infinite growth without limits is leading us directly to disaster is one that is probably accepted by most sane people these days. The question is: what can be done about it? Who is going to tell voters in a democracy that there are limits to growth? Who will tell a Premier League footballer or a rock star that there should be a limit to the number of Ferraris they own? More to the point, is there any politician with the courage to say to people like me that two cars per family is quite enough? No doubt most people can see the connection between unlimited numbers of consumer goods and ecological destruction – but which of us is prepared to accept that the limits to growth have to start with you and me?”

        And this is why I seem to insist that a new cultural valuation needs to take place, or at least be a part of a cultural rethinking about what is truly valuable in life today. I think the moment is really here.


  20. An actual conference on the Commons:
    ‘Practicing the commons: Self-governance, cooperation, and institutional change’ of The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC)


  21. Ottmar

    Were there any comments on the title of this thread? I cant remember.

    „What next after capitalism“ may easily be understood as a leftist, socialist slogan, as if anthroposophy would join the ranks of far left trade unions or parties.
    Anyway, trade unions and „workers parties“ prevented Rudolf Steiner to work and talk to the workers, both in the workers school (Arbeiterbildungsschule) in Berlin, in his talks to workers of Bosch in Stuttgart and so on. They fear for their influence, they want trade union and party rule, a strict hierarchy in their ranks.
    These left ideologists even today are against state-free schools and advocate strict state control for kindergarden and school. Take their stand about free, independent schools as a litmus test for their way of thinking.


    • Thanks Ottmar. The working title for this conference was inspired by Michael Spence’s book, “After Capitalism”, which looks at Steiner’s ideas on three folding, but I can see your point that the title could be seen as politically skewed. What would you suggest as a better title for a conference which is looking to find an alternative, more humane way of running the economy? All suggestions welcomed!


    • “Were there any comments on the title of this thread? I cant remember.”

      Yes, I gave this comment as my central input.


      As such, it seems that any real and honest alternative to capitalism will need to grasp the fact that materialism is on its way out. Any attempt to retain it will only prove its eventual obsolescence.

      In terms of threefolding, the advocating of a higher cultural life is the obvious starting point. Thus, to have a conference that would soft-pedal spiritual science in favor of any kind of rationalistic alternative, is doomed to failure. Why waste the time in gathering speakers and agendas that ‘kow-tow’ to the present mindset, which wants change, but isn’t willing to engage the evolutionary thinking that is really required for success?

      Gaining perspective is the key? Who really has a perspective on the matter from the standpoint of organized, systematic and functional spiritual evolution?

      Yet, if we ignore it, then we only apply another temporary band-aid remedy, and prove again that problems cannot be solved by those that follow the original problem creators; those that would reinvent the wheel if they could.


  22. Ottmar

    Words are not enough.

    I agree but at the start there must be a good understanding of the historic, esoteric, occult understanding, how did things develop, what s the situation today, what are the options. And what is it that we wish? More money, wages and welfare payment, jobs, longer holidays…?

    Capitalism has improved the life of many, is more successful than communist experiments in the former „East block countries“. We shouldnt blame capitalism for the wrong things.
    There is an inherent imperialistic trait in capitalism, it wants to subdue all spheres of life under its rule, the big companies/fish eat the small ones until only a few big ones remain. Capitalism (as socialism) doesnt know anything about the value of life itself, nature is only a field to exploit best. Capitalism like communism puts the economic sphere in the first place. The economic sphere is not a servant but a master to the rest.

    Cars and phones can (perhaps/probably?) be produced in a sphere of competition.
    Education, health, local public transport cannot be a sphere for profit.
    A milk farmer in the mountains cannot compete with stables of 1000 cows, fed with concentrated feed stuff and computerized machines.

    Words are not enough, but words/ideas are necessary.
    Credibility of the speakers, participants comes in second place, I think. Every single act of shopping is a political act, too. What do we buy, where do we buy? What kind of life do we lead?

    Especially in the US speakers are introduced by saying what company they have worked for, which books they have written, which clubs/departments… they chair. No, I d like to see a picture of their house, boat, car and then decide whether this person is trustworthy, has a high moral standard or not.
    Trump said about Pope Franciscus: He s a humble person, just like me and I think that is why he likes me!


    • Ottmar wrote:

      “Especially in the US speakers are introduced by saying what company they have worked for, which books they have written, which clubs/departments… they chair. No, I d like to see a picture of their house, boat, car and then decide whether this person is trustworthy, has a high moral standard or not.
      Trump said about Pope Franciscus: He s a humble person, just like me and I think that is why he likes me!”

      I would like to contrast this with a possible conversation which actually took place. The possible is what matters. These two first met in a carriage, by all means. It was important to convey something from Goethe to Schiller.



  23. Thank you, Ottmar, for focusing on the title. I too have been thinking about this, and agree that ‘What Next – After Capitalism’ could perhaps tend to imply or create a polarisation just as you describe. (Which could then overshadow the entire conference). The idea of simply ‘What Next?’ comes to mind as a title. With a carefully worded sub-title which perhaps refers to ‘what has been and still is’ (Capitalism) but points to ‘what needs to become’.


    • Thank you, Melanie. The problem with finding a title for the conference is also the problem with deciding what to focus on during the three days – there are so many things which need to be addressed, all of which are in some way linked with our economic system. After discussion with several individuals,I’m currently thinking that we may need to concentrate on what Polyani has called “fictional commodities” (i.e. Land, Labour and Money), the issues which encapsulate so many of our other difficulties. I would certainly welcome other people’s thoughts on this!


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