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Alternative Economies Vikalp Sangam (AEVS)

After the financial crisis of 2008-9 many of us expected that the extractive, unsustainable growth-obsessed approach to our economy was finally coming to an end. When that did not happen, we thought perhaps the COVID19 pandemic was a wake-up call to introspect and reflect on other pathways for us to function as a civilisation. We're still hopeful...

Just before the COVID lockdowns hit, we hosted the Alternative Economies Vikalp Sangam in Auroville. It was a thematic confluence of activist organisations working on alternatives to the dominant economic system, in which we explored:

  • Ways of defining wealth and value (eg: 8 forms of capital)

  • Ways of organising ownership and power

  • Ways of engaging with each other economically (eg: transactions versus relationships)

  • Ways of seeing the world

Under the banner of the Vikalp Sangam, both thematic and regional gatherings are held across India. The AEVS as a thematic inquiry gave birth to various study groups including:

- alternative currencies (or current-sees that help visualise and catalyse flows of value)

- ethical banking and divestment from unethical investments such as fossil fuels

- participative capital (moving away from investor-focused models)

- localised food systems.

One of the outcomes of the AEVS process is the Mahua magazine. Mahua weaves together many conversations and initiatives from across India that are aspiring to build back the real economy.

We call this the real economy because what we now have is an illusionary one based on false notions of scarcity, of infinite natural capacities and of wealth. A real economy will take its rightful place as a subsystem of Ecology and Society. Mahua also aspires to bridge the personal with the political, the organizational with the systemic, for we believe that Change needs to be integral for it to shift our paradigm and to sustain. Mahua acknowledges the tension between the ameliorative and the transformative approaches to Change, and sees it as opportunity to create the way forward.

Previous issues can be found here:

MAHUA #2 - December 2020

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