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.
How can we reverse these damages and create Peace Products - chains of trade with sensitivity and sensibility to human rights, environmental concerns, and conflict resolution.
This is where our journey begins:
Martin Donohoe's powerful thorough documentation underlines the beginnings of the marketing and manipulation of products associated with love and the devastating consequences. He explores alternatives - not only supporting ethical business but sharing poetry and heart-elt authentic sentiments not necessarily tied to spending hard earned cash:
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 has written a poetic essay on greater possibilities of a Rose as a Tool for Social Change demonstrating the power of more conscious flower supply chains.
In a current Economics with Justice class at the School of Economic Science in London - a section of the course attempts to show -
'principles of truth, love and service translate into policies for governments and economic planners and practical precepts for individual households and businesses.'
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 in history and how we can create new possibilities of a gift economy.
Economy - an ancient Greek word - originally means 'rules of the household.'
Money can take root in conscious and directed ways to represent greater rather than greedy values and our better natures rather than our worst. Lynne Twist, founder of The Hunger Project, explores this powerfully in her book the Soul of Money. Can this 'root' be guided to 'blossom' in multiple ways? Can global commerce undo its tarnished history with such endeavors as socially conscious entrepreneurs in conflict areas? My colleagues from the Hub (a global network to inspire and support imaginative and enterprising initiatives for a better world) are working to develop incubating offices for social entrepreneurs in post-conflict areas.
If blood diamonds helped feul war and torture then peace diamonds can fund peace and conflict resolution.
If carnations were a symbol for one of the most peaceful revolutions in history (Portugal Carnation Revolution) what can they accomplish directed by the actual people of Colombia who grow them?
If cocoa/chocolate is created out of exploitative labor from the Ivory Coast - it can be re-imagined and re-branded.
From Northern Uganda and its burgeoning flower industry; from the newly discovered mineral deposits in Afghanistan's gem industry; there is the promise of peace via economic stability and social justice - producing 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 submission: 'Let go of everything you know, And let all become new.'
The concept of art must replace the degenerate concept of capital. 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