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An Economy of Grateful Living
Imagine an economy based not on scarcity, but on sufficiency – in other words, a realistic economy, for scarcity is an illusion. Imagine an economy designed to promote not un-checked growth, but a steady state of wellbeing – in other words, a healthy economy, for unchecked growth is a disease, also known as cancer. Imagine an economy measured not in quantitative but in qualitative terms – in other words, a bountiful economy, freed from the slavery of solely purpose-driven work by meaningful play in arts and sports, and all forms of leisure.* Grateful living can inspire such an economy that is realistic, healthy, and bountiful. We must expect its realization from the most far-seeing entrepreneurs of our time, from people who dare to think beyond the confines of the old box. We need a brand new approach. The great challenge for architects of the future is to create a corporate culture shaped by gratefulness.
Ultimately this is a task for society at large – maybe our most basic, most urgent task, for grateful living is the master key to solving many other major problems. But we need not wait for developments on a large scale. Each one of us can tackle this task on a personal scale by living gratefully – starting right now. Life invites us to live in tune with reality, to trust that there is enough for all. When we distinguish our needs from our wants and take no more than we need, there is plenty to go around. Sharing instead of hoarding liberates us. Only by trying this out can we find proof that it works. This demands courage and trust. But as soon as we take this inner attitude of faith in life we see that it is not only more realistic than fearful possessiveness but eminently healthier. It brings a healthy “weight-loss” on all levels. Disencumbered of heavy baggage we can breathe freely. Switching from counting to tasting allows us to move from labor to leisure, from using to enjoying. Grateful living makes life bountiful.
As a mosaic covering a huge wall is made up of countless tiny tiles, so our economy at large is made up of the personal decisions each one of us makes day by day. Imagine now an economy made realistic, healthy, and bountiful by virtue of your own trust in life’s generosity, your own grateful sufficiency, your own creativity in needing less to find greater enjoyment. Remember: you have more leverage than you think in the great scheme of things. Depending on your leverage, you will change the world economy. Yes, it may be a little or a great deal, but change it will – and for the better – through the power of grateful living.
* For more on this topic, please see "Work and Leisure."