The concept of economic growth and the concept of capital and all that goes with it, does not really make the world productive. Money and capital cannot be an economic value, capital is human dignity and creativity. Joseph Beuys
Transforming romantic gifts of love into potent agents for peace involves investigation into the nature and history of Valentine commerce. Global Witness has worked for more than a decade tracking links between corruption, war and trade.
Can we reverse these damages and create peace products - more connected chains of trade with sensitivity and sensibility to human rights, environmental concerns, actively engaged in conflict resolution?
Martin Donohoe's powerful thorough documentation underlines the beginning of the marketing and manipulation of products associated with love and the devastating consequences. He explores alternatives - supporting ethical business and sharing poetry and heart-felt sentiments not necessarily tied to spending money:
PDF - Flowers, Diamonds, and Gold: The Destructive Public Health, Human Rights, and Environmental Consequences of Symbols of Love
Slideshow: The environmental, health, human rights, and economic consequences of flowers, diamonds, and gold
If thou canst but thither,
There grows the flower of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress and thy ease.
Roger Cohen, journalist for the International Herald Tribune and NY Times, poetically posits the Rose as a Tool for Social Change.
At the School of Economic Science in London- the Economics with Justice class attempts
'principles of truth, love and service translated into policies for governments and economic planners and practical precepts for individual households and businesses.'
Economy - an ancient Greek word - originally meant 'rules of the household.'
Philosopher and author of The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible, Charles Eisenstein goes deep into the the history of economics in Sacred Economics - how we have grown to define it and how we can create new possibilities for a gift economy.
Money takes root in conscious and directed ways to represent greater rather than greedy values and our better natures rather than our worst with Lynne Twist, founder of The Hunger Project, in the Soul of Money.
My colleagues from international Impact Hub (to inspire and support imaginative and enterprising initiatives for a better world) develop incubating offices for social entrepreneurs in post-conflict areas.
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If blood diamonds have fueled war and torture peace diamonds fund peace.
Cocoa/chocolate with a history of exploitation in the Ivory Coast, moves towards fair trade, re-imagined and re-branded.
If carnations were a symbol for one of the most peaceful revolutions in history (Portugal Carnation Revolution), what can they accomplish in direct trade for Colombians who grow them?
From Northern Uganda's burgeoning flower industry; from newly discovered mineral deposits in Afghanistan's gem industry; the promise of peace via economic stability and social justice blossoms through current and future active products and systems of integrity.
This is the philosophy behind the VPP to eventually launch a creative community flower brand functional for peace from inner reflection, to community participation, to global intention, development and unity.
The Valentine Peace Project (VPP) - celebrating inner peace, community peace and the journey towards world peace.
From a student in Boise, Idaho's VPP poem: 'Let go of everything you know, And let all become new.'
Art is really tangible capital - we need to develop a concept of money that allows creativity, or art, to be capital. Capital is human capacity and what flows from it. Capital is what art is - creativity and human intention, from which a product arises. These are the real economic values. Joseph Beuys