Conversation with James Quilligan

Posted on Jul 27, 2012

Last month I had the pleasure of a dialog with James Quilligan on the subject of the commons, gift economies, crisis, and transition.

It felt like an especially significant conversation because James and I come from two different worlds. James is an internationally known policy consultant who engages with people in the highest echelons of government. I, on the other hand, am an uncredentialed social philosopher with no position in academia, government, or anywhere else really. Yet here we were, speaking with mutual respect and building on each other’s ideas. It felt like we were bridging two worlds.

Such merging of worlds is bound to become more and more common, as the Ancien Régime falls apart and those within it become more open to new thinking. I think this is a really powerful video and I hope it spreads and has an impact.

1 Comment

  1. Debra
    August 13, 2012

    I am currently reading a book by Jacques Le Goff called “Le Moyen Age et l’argent”, the Middle Ages and… the word as we now know it is “money”, but during the Middle Ages in France, its meaning was much enlarged.
    Wherein it transpires that the Middle Ages’s economy (also under the Church…) was a gift economy.
    The famous “caritas” IS a gift economy.
    Le Goff’s position is that it is abusive to talk about capitalism during the Middle Ages : I happen to feel that the key element in capitalistic economy is.. RATIONALISATION.
    So… it’s the long, slow rise of Renaissance scientific thought which ushers in capitalism as a social organization which destroys our perception of the organic nature of the human world, replacing it with a fragmented, analytic, SEPARATE vision.
    That said… the “Ancien Regime” was underpinned by the Catholic Church, so at least part of that organicity was maintained.
    For me, the demise of the Ancien Regime ALSO means the destruction ? of the remnants of the medieval RELIGIOUS attitudes towards money, and the caritas.
    Superceded by unbridled, and secularized Renaissance thought, which has already taken us to the brink.
    It makes me shiver just to think about it…