Thursday, December 20, 2012

Praise from all over the world

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«


»I see the present book and the idea of a gradido developed in it as a great gift. Fundamental reorientation is necessary, particularly in times of climactic crises of the current monetary system. The concept of the gradido combines aspects of alternative monetary systems, unconditional basic income and economic activity in harmony with humans and nature in an impressive way. It also contains concrete suggestions for a gradual transition to a sustainable system that permits sufficient time for the necessary change in awareness.

 I wish for this book a wide circulation, for the idea increasing support and realisation – and for the participants openness for sensible further developments. The idea seems to me to be based on deep compassion for all living things and restoration of the already largely destroyed fundaments of life appears to me to be only possible on this basis in the long term.«  
 – Prof. Dr. em. Bernd Senf, Berlin


»People are at the complete mercy of the economy instead of the economy being for the benefit and in the service of the people. Is it really true that we are living in times of unprecedented economic welfare, or should we rather say that we are living under the world dominion of money?  Whichever way, there is no denying that the interests of the people are definitely not the priority. It is ironic that when pondering on the source of the modern economy, more often than not the following thought comes to mind: people are not there to sustain the economy, are they?

How on earth could it be possible for us human beings to create a production system, our economy, in which the human being doesn’t matter anymore? Are we indeed saying that inhumaneness is a prerequisite for humanness? A humane economy is an economy of the whole human being in harmony with nature. Spiritual economy, grounded in the whole, driven by abundance rather than scarcity, inspired by wisdom, inclusiveness and sharing, and transcending all self-limiting particularism, serves the accomplishment of the whole human being.

This way, it becomes a Natural Economy of Life serving the greater good of everybody and the planet. Bernd Hückstädt’s seminal and epoch-making book highlights in a crystal clear manner that with a completely new economic model driven by global awareness, global wellbeing and prosperity is no longer a dream, but will soon be a reality.«

– András László
Founding President & CEO of


»In a world beset with countless challenges, the Natural Economy of Life represents a vision for a truly sustainable future for humanity, living in harmony with the evolutionary forces of nature. The principles of this new economy and the new currency, the gradido, are profoundly transformational, yet simple to grasp for everyone. The Natural Economy of Life shows the way to surpass the many roadblocks currently facing the world’s economic system and guide humanity to a new natural, more equitable, just and peaceful society. This book speaks to our imagination. It is one of nature’s laws that what we can imagine we can create and what we can create becomes our new reality. The evolutionary way of thinking presented in this wonderful book acts as a catalyst for imagining and creating new water sourcing, soil regeneration, food production and new energy technologies, based on deeper insights as to the way nature works.«

– Kees Hoogendijk
Entrepreneur and developer of technologies in harmony with nature

New Zealand

»Gradido is a tool for a phase-shift in human values and culture, which is vital to prevent an imminent phase-shift in ecosystems’ capacity to support life.  Gradido can be regarded as a catalyst to establish mutual networks of trust, for connecting people, maintaining cooperative communities and reinvigorating the ecosystem processes that sustain us, as a foundation for viable and resilient ecosystem-based cultures.

Bernd Hückstädt developed Gradido with the empathy of a composer and the precision of a mathematician.  An Active Basic Income drives cultural renewal.  Free-flowing gradidos come into existence, as people apply their diverse range of skills to agreed priorities at local, bioregional or global levels.  Priorities are based on common VALUES of care, generosity, responsibility, cooperation and the restoration of life-supporting capacity.

Apply Gradido in your region, network and shift phase to a holistic culture of people, living in harmony with one another and with nature!«

– Helle Janssen
Ecosystem Scientist, New Zealand


»To start thinking and acting differently one needs a moral reasoning that the reader is offered in a literally coherent way. Bernd Hückstädt has set the scene for the common good on an uncompromising, monumental scale. It should work worldwide for all of us humans of our own free will. Dare to give very good intentions a real try? Not yet? Okay! But, please, don’t blame others for your own incapacity. Better see where you can overwrite the zero-sum game mentality in some practical way. That may be the best this book is intended for.«

– Victor Nemchinov Ph.D. (econ.)
Russian Academy of Sciences


»It is beyond doubt that this book brings a new inspiration to the 21st century peaceworkers. The idea of the Natural Economy of Life (NEL) here introduced by Bernd Hückstädt  is persuasively understood as the effective and non-violent alternative to capitalism.  The NEL, if effectually embraced and applied, will significantly contribute to de-corrupting the contemporary money-driven mindsets, curbing  structural violence generated by the modern socio-political and economic systems, preventing many wars and man-made disasters and moving us towards a just, inclusive, caring and peaceful world.«

– Jean de Dieu Basabose
Co-founder and Executive Director of Shalom Educating for Peace,
Kigali, Rwanda, East Africa


»The Natural Economy of Life is a crucial catalyst in the advancement of civilization. It speaks in the language of nature’s intelligence and ignites in our heart an image of a true paradise on earth. It is a gift of nature, designed to awaken and bring forth humans’ greatest potential to co-create a world of abundance and everlasting prosperity in harmony with nature.«

– Océane Yong 
Social Entrepreneurs with Integrity Association
(Asia Pacific Singapore Head Quarters)

South Africa

»Bernd not only courageously sets a new vision for our world but gives the combination key to the vehicle that will take us there. This is not a book but a manual for our planet. It's not a question of if this will be our future, just when.

Bernd uses imagination to transport us into a possibility, a world where nature and the human soul sing in a dynamic living orchestra of purpose – every instrument singing the tune that it was destined to hold. Let the words enter your heart and let it feed your courage to act. My prayer is that it informs all you do.

If you consider yourself a social innovator and a mapmaker of the future, Gradido can provide a north star big enough to hold both your personal and collective optimal realities.«

– Oran Cohen
International Spiritual Youth Ambassador


»If humanity is to go in the “right” direction at the next crossroads, we need solutions in a new paradigm. A proper analysis of nature gives way to a new paradigm which is easy to understand and apply; and, best of all, it’s “right” there and ready to use in the form of a Natural Economy of Life and “Gradido”. Natural Economy of Life shows respect for our planet Earth, nature and all of creation – the ”right” way to our future, so let’s take it!«

– Sesto Giovanni Castagnoli
Evolutant, entrepreneur and founding president of WSF-World Spirit Forum

»Bernd Hückstädt is the Van Gogh of the monetary reform world.  Hopefully he and we will all live to see and taste the delicacy of his opus in our lifetime.“

– Peter Koenig Enterprises
Seminal thinking, money seminars, organizational architecture

United Kingdom

»The present financial system, the debt-based money system, and its negative effects are seldom understood even by so-called experts. A fundamental ingredient in a sustainable future must be played by new, community-based money systems such as the gradido. In this new book, Bernd Hückstädt brilliantly explains how the gradido is already transforming lives – and how it can transform yours.«

– John Bunzl
Founder, International Simultaneous Policy Organisation

»One word sums up my response to this remarkable book - gratitude. This book is truly groundbreaking in its approach to expanding our vision of what is possible when we shift our own engagement with life. Look to nature’s own laws, and when we do that we can co-create a natural economy of life. This is a book that will change your life; what's more it is online and free. It is a small and perfectly formed gift to us all. I urge you to enjoy this gift, then gift it to ten of your friends - you will be passing on a seed that will grow very fast and that is the fastest way we can create abundance for all.«

– Polly Higgins
Lawyer for the Earth,

»Natural Economy of Life: Your heart and mind will be opened by this treasure of a book, a beacon of hope for all in search of truth, longing and craving for a better world, a world of  Meaning & Meaningfulness, Stability & Sustainability, Contentment & the Common Good. The message of this book is so timely and so needed: You contribute to the common good. The community thanks you with gradidos. You can give thanks to others with your gradidos.«

– Prof. Kamran Mofid
Founder, Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative

»Change is the one constant of our abundant self-replenishing natural order, but humans waste much emotion and energy attempting to resist this.  By superimposing their own economic structures in a futile effort to subdue nature and to subject the earth’s infinite bounty to finite economic ends, mankind has succeeded in bringing all systems simultaneously to a point of collapse.  The current economic meltdown is merely a symbol of the total systems failure resulting from human intervention in all aspects of life.

Gradido is an imaginative and generous work offering simple tools and methods to resolve many of the human, spiritual and resource conflicts of our time.  When all systems break down or break up, the only possible breakthrough is to start rebuilding the whole edifice from a different more holistic and less fragmented perspective.   This demands a complete “metanoia“ or reorientation of the spiritual and ethical values of each individual and each community.  The gradido is the solution which learns from nature – and which economists have unknowingly been waiting for!

I commend Bernd Hückstädt’s thought-provoking book for the visionary journey he takes us on, for its easy accessibility and for the Gandhian simplicity of his suggestions.  It is a concept which provides adaptable tools for some of the most complex situations of our time, and which avoids the separation of environmental, social economic and spiritual issues.«

– Diana Schumacher OBE
co-founder of the Schumacher Society, the Gandhi Foundation UK,
the New Economics Foundation (nef) and the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) 

United States

in its clarity, simplicity, and scope, Gradido: Natural Economy of Life, is a groundbreaking exploration of a new way of living.  It offers a viable mechanism for participating cooperatively with each other – beyond our self-imposed limitations of competition, separation, and fear.  Its time is now!

– Leo Burke
Professor and Director, Global Commons Initiative
Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame

»This is a daring and imaginative approach to the very problems that are undermining our everyday lives, our ability to hope, and the civility that we need to repair. Bernd is to be congratulated for trying and we must respond to the challenges that he presents.«

– Prof. Hillel Levine, Boston University

»Time is now of the essence. Our individualism has brought us to the brink of destruction. We know there are no jobs, yet money is considered a criteria for a successful life. Our environment is screaming at us to please respect and alter our ways. Our next generation is anxious to change this course of events.

"Gradido – Natural Economy of Life: A way to worldwide wealth and peace in harmony with nature" explains the HOW and the beauty of this potential for a life of integrated harmony. Read this book and give life a chance!«

– Dr. Nina Meyerhof
President and founder of Children of the Earth,

»Bernd Hückstädt's Gradido contains a cornucopia of insight and hope served up in a way that invites new and refreshing ways of seeing possibility. His embrace of Nature as his teacher of choice goes beyond its metaphoric potential. His focus on the fatal flaws inherent in our current approaches to economics and money feel 'spot on.'

We have all we need to co-create a future that works for all life. Inventing currencies that promote and support our evolving of our civilization in ways that approach the elegance of evolution throughout the rest of nature is a worthy task. Enjoy Bernd Hückstädt's vision!«

– Bill Veltrop
Evolutionary Architect, Monterey Institute for Social Architecture

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

Dear Reader,

By coming so far as to read this foreword you have embarked on a journey that will take you into the secrets of nature, which will finally be so easy for us to understand that we can only say, yes, yes, yes. When you begin to read this book »The Natural Economy of Life«, you will emerge into a new world of prosperity and peace in harmony with nature. You will find that the book is not about the complexity of economics or financial instruments, but is construed in such a way that its contents can easily be taught in classrooms from the primary all the way up to the university level. It demonstrates how a seemingly complicated subject can be transformed using a terminology and schematic that anyone can comprehend, especially geared to the public at large that has no understanding whatsoever of the complex mechanisms prevailing in today’s world of economics and finance.

Bernd has written a book for you and me.  A book that shows us the beauty of the instrument being introduced to you, which is the result of years studying nature. Bernd is not the only person entertaining thoughts in this direction, but his approach may be the most holistic one.

It is obvious that Bernd’s book has been written and published just in time to meet the urgent need, leading the way toward the hope that we can resolve the existing situation as regards the financial crisis, which, in spite of prevailing opinions to the contrary, has consumed so much precious time and energy for well over five years. Though we have gone through many crises in the past, this time around it is long overdue to find a sustainable solution for generations to come. »The Natural Economy of Life« may present this possibility. Take time to reflect and convince yourself that this is the most viable method. In comparison to other books on the topic you may find that by reading »The Natural Economy of Life« you seem to be entering a wonderful, joyful playground. If this book succeeds in giving the inhabitants of our wonderful blue planet hope for their daily lives, then it has done a great job. If politicians, scientists, economists, religious leaders, artists and society at large begin to understand  and realize the prospects this natural economy of life has to offer, and begin implementing them ...then we may soon enjoy a more harmonious world by eradicating hunger, poverty, ecocide, inequality and wars.

I wish you all a wonderful experience reading this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Hopefully, you will also be able to say yes, yes, yes, let’s get started and join together in finding the best way of introducing Gradido to the market as a lasting solution. An open-minded approach and good will are the essentials for success for the common good.

Sesto Giovanni Castagnoli
Evolutant, Entrepreneur and Founding President of WSF-World Spirit Forum

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»The economy behaved completely contrary to nature. Therefore we had to reverse economic practice and bring it into line with nature. This realisation was the key to worldwide prosperity.«

– Joytopia


Dear Reader,

If you are starting to read this book, there is certainly a precise reason for it. And you are that reason! You have just decided to open yourself up to the idea that prosperity and peace are possible for everyone – in harmony with nature. Had you not believed this idea to be possible, this book would have ended up in your waste-paper basket, either in your computer’s recycle bin or in an actual waste bin.

This book has the potential to change the whole of life as you know it in a positive direction. By this I do not only mean your private life. This book does not train you to be successful after the pattern of »Ponder and become rich«. It is not another book about positive thinking, revealing the secret of becoming a millionaire for the umpteenth time. Neither is it about evil forces which have conspired to change our beautiful earth into a prison. On the contrary, it is a set of instructions that we have copied from nature for you. These instructions show us how together we can get back to the natural state of abundance which we once lost through conscious or unconscious wrong behaviour.

Thus, you will not read about esotericism or lofty matters but about natural science in the best sense. The method of transferring inventions from living nature to technology is known as bionics. Every aircraft engineer has to study bird flight before he constructs his »sheet-metal birds«. What is now common practice in technology has been shamefully neglected in economic sciences to date. So it is no wonder that today humankind is more than ever before exposed to an array of life-threatening dangers, such as economic and financial crises, inflation, monetary crash, destruction of the environment, poverty, hunger, disease, wars and natural disasters.

In the solution presented here you will learn the results of the economic bionics research we have been conducting intensively at the Gradido Academy for more than ten years. And this for a good reason, for nature is the marvel of the most brilliant inventor of all times – our creator! Creation stories are to be found in all cultures. They differ slightly from each other depending on the culture. But this primeval knowledge has one thing in common: there is a brilliant creator who has accomplished this marvel. The Bible  says, »God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him« (Genesis 1:27).

If it is true that we were created in God’s image, we humans also have creative power within ourselves and our task consists of using it – for the good of the individual, the good of the community and the good of the big scheme of things. You will often meet with the term threefold good in this book. For only decisions and actions which meet these three criteria are worthy of being considered in the Natural Economy of Life.

What awaits you in this book

In the first chapter you will read about things that are going wrong on our earth at present. You will learn something about why the situation is still as it is today and why it is guaranteed that it cannot continue in this way. In this we will refrain from blaming anyone. We have all played the game. True, we have played different roles in the theatre of life but we have played in it. Our greatest appreciation and recognition go to all players.

In the second chapter a very good friend transports you to the planet »Freegaia« on the edge of the galaxy, where the Natural Economy of Life has already been introduced and brings the inhabitants worldwide prosperity in harmony with nature. In this entertaining, visionary short story you learn what the world used to be like, how the new economic model works and how the peaceful transition took place. Look forward to reading the story of »Joytopia«!

In the third chapter you learn something about the way in which you can consciously free yourself of old thought patterns and establish new ones. After that we will together analyse the statements in the Joytopia story, supplement them and assemble them into an economic model. This is not difficult at all, for the basic idea of anything brilliant is simple. And nature is brilliant, believe me!

In the fourth chapter you get to know the 100 most important benefits of the Natural Economy of Life. One advantage often results from the previous one. In this way ascending spirals of possibilities are created, which carry you further upwards with each rotation. Once you have learnt to think in positive possibility spirals you can change your personal life and your whole environment in a positive direction.

In the fifth chapter we get started together. What can each of us do with simple means so that we can soon enjoy worldwide prosperity and peace in harmony with nature? Fortunately, this is the shortest chapter, as there is not a lot to do. »Wu wei, doing by doing nothing«, an expression from Chinese Taoist philosophy lets us refrain from blind actionism and shows us the way of »refraining from acting against nature«.

Instead of a conclusion I will tell you a story from the future. Thirteen-year-old Pia asks her grandparents: “How did you manage it?”

A gift

Nature practises a gift economy and the free e-book is a gift to you: you can download the e-book of the shortened »Free Edition« on the internet and pass it on in unaltered form for non-commercial purposes. The full »Sponsor Edition« can be purchased as a printed book and as an e-book. With your purchase you are sponsoring the projects »Gradido« and »Wish20«. Many thanks!

Gradido is an initiative by people who are still able to think and feel freely or, better expressed, have relearnt this ability. The author and his partner have invested many years of their lives to find out how nature works and which of the brilliant inventions of living nature are suitable for establishing a new economic model – a monetary and economic model to form the basis of worldwide prosperity in peace and in harmony with nature. Several thousand people are currently participating in the gradido research project.

In the tradition of many indigenous peoples a gift has to be passed on for it to retain or even increase its value. That is also the case with this book. By passing it on, the gift circulates, increases in value and can enable you, your fellow beings and the following generations to lead a life that you have not even dared to dream of up to now. It contains invaluable knowledge that helps humankind not only to survive but even to make a quantum leap in its development towards regaining the paradise on earth – just as the creator once intended for people of all cultures and religions.

If you wish to reciprocate the gift by supporting the research project, the Gradido Academy and its initiators in their work, please feel free to do so. Every amount is a help to us. You can find our bank details and our PayPal account in the details at the beginning of this book. Many thanks in advance!

Off we go!

And now I would like to ask you to fold up the tray in front of your seat, put your backrest in an upright position and fasten your seatbelt. We are now together on the runway taxiing into a future where nothing will be as it was before. A future in which your grandchildren will one day be proud of you because you helped to change course before it was too late and change the route of the journey – back from the descent into hell to the way to paradise on earth.

But while we are still on the ground, we will familiarise you with some instructions. You will learn why the situation is as it is today and why it is guaranteed that it cannot go on like this…

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chapter 1 – How it is guaranteed not to continue

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»We are stardust, we are golden, we are caught in the devil's bargain,
and we got to get ourselves back to the garden.«
– from the song »Woodstock«
by Joni Mitchell

The present economy constructed by humans works quite differently from nature. Better expressed, it does not work! For when nowadays two-thirds of humankind live below the poverty line, 24,000 people die of starvation each day and our environment is being destroyed at the same time, we cannot speak of a functioning economic system.

In the first chapter we speak about some things which are going wrong on this earth at present. We will learn something about why the situation is still as it is today and why it is guaranteed that it cannot continue in this way. In this we will refrain from blaming anyone. We have all played the game. True, we have played different roles in the theatre of life but we have played in it. Our greatest appreciation and recognition go to all players.

Today’s money is created from debt

Did you know that our present money is primarily created from debt? In a simplified manner we can imagine it as follows: two people each have a bank account with nothing in either account. They make a deal with each other and then one of them transfers €100 to the other. After that one has a credit of €100 on their account and the other has a debit balance of €100. In this way money which did not previously exist has been created.

The technical term for this is scriptural money creation. If the two people were to make a counter-transaction of an equal amount the accounts would be balanced again and the money which had just been created would disappear. We could also imagine that a large number of people participate in the market and that the transactions more or less offset each other. So it is a perfect payment system?

Some people will be more successful on the market than others. This will lead to more and more money being concentrated in their accounts while the others have the related debts. In this system the wealth of one person always means debts for many others. Yes, it even means that economic activity is only possible with debts. And as the successful people constantly improve their skills and thus take in even more money, the concentration of money becomes greater all the time.

Now some of the people who have up to now been less successful might have the idea of also improving their skills so as to gain money for their own purposes. One or other of them may succeed in doing this after expending great efforts. We read about such people in the famous success stories. But the large majority cannot succeed in this on account of the system. For the system of debt money requires the majority to have debts to offset the assets of the few. To conceal this fact nations bear the debts on behalf of their citizens. Virtually all nations are indebted, even and particularly the rich countries. And more than two-thirds of the world population live below the poverty line.

The great wealth of this world is concentrated on a small number of super-rich families. But before we get the idea of blaming these families, we must not forget that we are all players in this big game. If these few super-rich families did not exist, there would always be some people who were cleverer than others and would exploit the money streams for their own purposes. The situation would be just the same as now and only the names of the super-rich would be different. For the situation we are experiencing at the moment is the logical consequence of a monetary system which creates money from debt.

It is often claimed that the present state of affairs came about because of interest and compound interest. It is true that interest and compound interest reinforce the development but the current situation would also have arisen without the introduction of interest. Don’t let us fool ourselves: there are countries where it is forbidden to charge interest. But in these countries as well there are a few super-rich people and a large number of poor people. Interest and compound interest are not the »main mistakes of the monetary system«. They merely reinforce the logical consequences which are bound to occur in any system of creating money through borrowing.

“If that was indeed the case,“ I can hear you saying now, “almost everybody must have debts on their bank account. But particularly the poorest of the poor do not even have a bank account.” You are absolutely right, dear reader. But I already mentioned that the nations have assumed the debts for their citizens. It was not possible for them to do otherwise, for mathematics requires them to do so.  That is the reason that virtually all nations of the world are highly indebted. In Germany we currently have a government debt of approximately 20,000 euros per capita. This means that even before a new-born baby can delight its parents with its first cry, it already has a debt of 20,000 euros.

In the course of its life it will have to service this debt by paying taxes and other levies. The largest part of the work done by a person goes to servicing a debt which they cannot even see on their account. Not only the taxes are high; the costs of servicing the debt are also hidden in the prices. For the companies get their money either from a bank or from shareholders, who expect an even higher return than what they would have got from a bank. In addition, there are the taxes that the companies themselves have to pay. Even if clever companies pay relatively little tax, they pay wages and salaries, on which there is a high tax.

You can live relatively well in this system if you have a good income. And in a welfare state like Germany even people without income from work can live – from welfare benefits. Social benefits are paid by the government, which thus has to incur additional debt or recoup the money through higher taxation. This, in turn, fires the envy debates which are well-known to us. But the social network is getting increasingly flimsy in countries such as Germany, not to mention poor countries.

Let’s have a brief look at the so-called »good« incomes. In this context good means »more than average«. There is an enormous explosive force inherent in the small word »more«, for having more than average means that the majority have less. This would not be bad in principle. People are different and also have different needs. But when you have to have more than others just to be able to lead a reasonably agreeable life, it means that the majority cannot lead agreeable lives. And since everybody has the natural interest to lead an agreeable life, conflict is pre-programmed as »competition«.

Let’s summarise what has been said so far:

  • Our money is mainly created through debt.
  • Since some people use their money more cleverly than others, more and more money is concentrated on the few, while the remaining many have to share the debts, either in the form of private debt or governments debt.
  • This leads to increasingly fierce competition among people.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chapter 1.2 – Competition is war

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Sometimes we need to remind ourselves exactly what competition is all about. Like Pete Rose, who said simply: “Somebody's gotta win and somebody's gotta lose – and I believe in letting the other guy lose.”«
Ed Kittrell
US communications consultant

Competition starts early in the classroom. Anyone who wants to get somewhere later in life should be better than average. In my schooldays you still allowed your neighbour to copy from you. Such comradely behaviour is rare nowadays and schoolmates have become competitors.

But wait, I must correct myself. In many cases the rat-race is decided even before the children start school. For the family a child is born into is the crucial factor for the course of the child’s future life. We have a class society and the course is more or less already set from birth for the child to belong to the upper class, the working class or the group of social welfare claimants. True, there are dream careers now and again but these are very rare cases.

»We live in a system in which one must either be a wheel or get crushed by the wheels.« 

Friedrich Nietzsche
philosopher, stateless

Let’s go a step further. The increasingly fierce competition naturally takes place on both high and low levels. On the individual level it means an increasingly wide gap between the classes. On the company level we are seeing ever-increasing cut-throat competition and hostile takeovers. The big fish are eating the small ones. And on the nation level competition manifests itself in wars (economic wars and armed conflicts). Most wars are currently being waged either to obtain access to important resources such as oil or to strengthen the country’s power position. 

»When someone out there doesn’t hit the other one because he has the feeling he should play Jesus, he himself gets hit. That’s the simple truth.«
  – Helmut O. Maucher
German top manager

It is nature that has always got a raw deal up to now. But now enough is enough: nature is starting to defend herself more and more. We are experiencing this in the increase of natural disasters worldwide. No place on earth is safe anymore. And the »people in the street« are getting a raw deal as well. They have always had to pay for the »fat cats’« games. But let’s be careful not to blame anybody here either! The »people in the street« have also made their contributions to the big game, even if they have simply played the game up to now.

Possibly everything has had to happen as it has so that humankind can progress in its evolution. Otherwise it would be difficult to explain why nature has looked on for so long without defending herself. If we assume that our universe and our earth did not come into existence by chance but that a higher plan is revealed here, the current situation must be part of this plan. We have to leave our comfort zones so as to continue developing. Up to now most people have not left their comfort zones until it really started to hurt. If we do not go on developing of our own free will, a loving creator may possibly have to help us along.

»Anyone who isn’t number one or two on the shelf can mostly pack up immediately.«

Tim Crull
Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé USA

A while ago I heard an interesting report on the radio. It was reported that three major German carmakers had made record profits last year with Daimler in third place. Instead of being pleased about this good result, the investors criticised the management because Daimler had not made it to first place.

The idea of competition or a rat-race is based on an illusion. It is suggested that everybody can manage to get to the top. Touching examples are cited of people who grew up in poor circumstances and succeeded in becoming millionaires through their own work and a bit of luck. Pop stars, actors, sportsmen, internet billionaires, industrialists… the rags-to-riches fairytale is still very popular. The few people who have succeeded can be counted on the fingers of one hand, whereas the other seven billion do not fit into one hand. The human mind really lets itself be taken for a ride. Our industrial society is a pyramid-shaped game, a house of cards built on competition and on the lie that everybody can make it to the top.

And as everyone is busy feeding themselves and their families, climbing the career ladder and getting a small piece of the big riches, only very few people allow themselves time to take a step back to look at the whole game from a different perspective. However, anyone who nevertheless does this should be careful, for it could be dangerous! Once you have seen through the game, it may be hard to go on playing it.

But gradually everything will become more obvious. More and more people are realising that the old game cannot work anymore and that it is only a matter of time before the house of cards collapses. An evolutionary window is starting to open: more and more people are noticing that the old system no longer works and are looking for solutions. And these do exist! However, we have got so used to competition over the centuries that the solutions are competing with each other as well. After all, we do not know any different and first have to learn to cooperate. But gratitude and appreciation of other ideas and people who think differently are growing constantly. Good times have started for »do-gooders«,

Let’s now go another step down and ask which dogmas, illusions and concepts have led to money being created through debt and competition being allowed such an important place in our society.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chapter 1.3 – The zero-sum dogma and the concept of negativity

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater ILLUSION than the world of dream.«
  Salvador Dali
Spanish painter, writer and sculptor

Living nature, as we experience it, is always positive. Negative figures are a mathematical concept which enable us to describe complex procedures simply. However, they do not exist in the nature we are able to experience. Or have you ever seen an apple tree on which minus 100 apples were hanging? Definitely not. Everything material that we know exists in a positive amount. Either a positive number of apples is hanging on the tree or no apples at all.

When nature makes new products, for example apples, no negative apples are created on the other side. The apple tree does not have to take out a loan first in order to be able to produce apples. And it does not have to pay any taxes for it. It simply lives intrinsically in harmony with the surrounding nature – that is how creation takes place.

On the other hand, our money is created through debt, as already described. One person’s assets are another’s debts. One person’s credit balance is another’s debit balance or - expressed in mathematical terms – one person’s plus is another’s minus. Assets and debts are balanced overall and together they amount to »zero«. In economics this is known as the law of balance. In gaming theory this is a so-called »zero-sum game«. Behind this is the view of the world that humans themselves have no creative abilities and thus cannot create anything. According to the zero-sum dogma, you have to take away something on one side when you want to add something to another side.

Therefore we take it as a complete matter of course that we have to rob nature to obtain comfort for ourselves, that we have to exploit the Third World countries to obtain prosperity for ourselves – in short, that others have to lose when we want to win.

You will probably not have noticed the zero-sum dogma at all up to now. We meet with it all the time and everywhere in life so that we take it absolutely for granted. The human mind is used to thinking in opposites: right and left, top and bottom, poor and rich, light and dark, dead and alive. The negative numbers were invented for quantifying these opposites, with the number »zero« representing the middle or »normal« state.

Examples of supposed negativity or opposites

For measuring the temperature the zero point was arbitrarily set at the freezing point of water. Positive and negative temperatures were defined in this way. Although this is practical for us in daily life, for we thus mark an important difference for us – »water v. ice« –, in reality the absolute zero point is not reached anywhere. It can only be approached with great effort. The actual freezing point of water is (plus) 273° Kelvin.

The charge of electrons has been arbitrarily defined as negative. The minus pole in electricity in reality describes a surplus of electrons which is striving for equilibrium.

Day and night are felt to be opposites. However, they are only the two sides of our earth. Neither is shadow the opposite of light. Shadows are places with less light than the surroundings.

It is suggested to us that we live in a world of opposites. However, thinking in opposites is only a method for our mind to establish differences. 

What is the biological difference between an African and a European? The main point is only the colour of their skin. These two human races must be 99.99 % the same. But the human mind picks out the small difference of 0.01%  to construct an opposite and – even worse – to educe racial conflicts from it.

How great is the difference between the two Christian confessions in reality? Probably not greater than 0.01% either. Nevertheless religious wars were waged because of it and countless people burnt alive.

People of different religions, convictions and political views are still human beings. The difference between them will not even approximate the 0.01% mark.

Our mind is an extremely precise instrument when it comes to recognising the finest differences. However, we recognise commonalities better with our hearts. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”, as Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince says.

Could it be that we need to bring more heart into our economy if we want to promote the common interests of human beings and nature in a sustainable way?

  • The zero-sum dogma is contrary to nature. It leads to robbing, exploiting and fighting.
  • Living nature as we experience it is always positive.
  • The mind perceives differences, the heart commonalities.
  • We need a monetary and economic system in which heart and mind complement each other symbiotically.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chapter 1.4 – The fundamental assumption of scarcity

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Economics is the study of how society manages its scarce resources.«

        – N. Gregory Mankiw
Principles of Economics

From the zero-sum dogma follows the fundamental assumption that there is not enough for everyone - the fundamental assumption of scarcity. Economics is often defined as the »study  of the distribution of scarce resources«. What is a fundamental assumption? In scientific works it is common practice to start with fundamental assumptions. They are conditions which are assumed to be universally valid. If the fundamental assumption is correct, we can build up theories on them and draw important conclusions. However, if the fundamental assumption turns out to be wrong, the whole construct of ideas collapses like a house of cards.

A popular method of making the fundamental assumption of scarcity appear plausible to us is to appeal to our greed. Wishes for things that nobody needs are suggested to us. A Ferrari, a Rolex watch, a mansion with a swimming pool… – such things are after all quite nice and of course not everybody can own them. But are they worth building a dogma on that is the reason for 24,000 people starving every day? Do they justify this mass murder?

It is even worse than that: to stop the construct of ideas in economics collapsing completely scarcity has to be maintained by every means possible – if need be, with violence. Many goods that were available in abundance in nature are made artificially scarce.

Drinking water

Natural streams are piped into the drainage system. Air and soil are contaminated with chemicals so that springs are polluted with toxins. That is the reason why fewer and fewer springs supply drinking water. In addition, the water table is continuing to sink because of unnatural farming methods and the soil is corroding. Public water supplies are being sold with cross-border leasing (e.g. from Germany to the USA) and then have to be leased back again.


More and more land is being concreted over. The rain forest is being cut down. Remaining areas of farmland are being used for bio-fuel production and are no longer available for growing food.


Seeds created by nature are being destroyed by genetic manipulation and transformed into so-called »terminator seeds«. The seeds of the plants which germinate from them are themselves no longer capable of germinating.


The above-mentioned points all already lead to an artificial shortage of food. It is suggested to us that feeding the world can only be assured with chemicals and so-called »green technology« (genetic technology). The opposite is the case. And so it goes on and on…

Bee colony collapse disorder

At present more and more bees are dying from an unknown disease. Without bees there can be no natural pollination of flowers and hence no natural fruits or natural reproduction of plants. We should not be surprised if the genetic industry promises us further high-priced “green technology” solutions.

Factory farming

Excessive consumption of animal products (meat, milk, eggs, etc.) not only causes inconceivable suffering for the animals concerned. Factory farming also causes far greater pollution of the environment that all cars together. In general, the production of animal products uses many times more resources, such as water and energy, than plant food with equal or better nutritional value. With food of mainly plant origin we could feed over thirty times as many people and in addition they would have a more varied, tasty and healthy diet.


Instead of supporting research into and development of really alternative and environmentally friendly sources of energy, the scarcity of oil is used as a pretext for wasting valuable farming land for growing bio-fuel and cutting down additional precious rain forest.


Apropos rain forests – they are the earth’s green lungs! What happens when an organism’s lungs are destroyed? It suffocates, doesn’t it? By cutting down the rain forests we risk suffocating ourselves. In addition, there are the waste gases from industry, traffic and factory farming.

We could cite many more examples. However, it is not a question of completeness but of making the principle clear.

Let’s make a summary again: 

  • The zero-sum dogma is contrary to nature. Living nature visible to us is always positive.
  • The zero-sum dogma results in exploitation, both of nature and our fellowmen.
  • The fundamental assumption of scarcity leads to a theory of economics opposed to nature, whose supporters do not shrink from making virtually all goods of daily life artificially scarce.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chapter 1.5 – One-sided growth delusion

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

» Germany, it's about growth.«
- Angela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany

Living nature is growing constantly. Every cell and every plant, every animal and every human being, they all have one thing in common and that is growth. All the cells of our bodies replace themselves every seven years. That is one half of the truth and here is the other half: living nature is in constant decay. The old cells die to the same extent as new ones grow. We call this process the cycle of life, the cycle of growth and decay. If there was no transience our earth would have burst at the seams long ago. The cycle of growth and decay is a guarantee that, on the one hand, there is enough of everything and, on the other, that everything superfluous vanishes. It is a self-regulating system.

What has the economy learnt from this? Unfortunately nothing at all! The one-sided growth delusion leads to increasing exploitation, destruction of the environment, cut-throat competition – and to war about the fewer and fewer remaining natural resources. This one-sided growth may still have been sensible when the earth had only a small number of inhabitants. In that way they were able to spread out over the whole globe. But we know that natural systems have to adapt themselves when they reach the limits of their growth. If they try to keep on growing, they collapse. 

Nature shows us how it works in this respect as well. Symbiosis is the magic word. The various members of an eco-system cooperate for the good of all, thus maintaining their common existence. This is so obvious but so little understood by us humans. Politicians still eulogise economic growth as the highest good. They even praise competition concerning growth among the nations: a country with high rates of growth enjoys a high reputation in the world and a good credit-standing with banks.

The expression »economic growth« naturally does not mean the cycle of growth and decay. For according to the zero-sum principle decay would be removed from growth. A company that grows and shrinks simultaneously, meaning that it constantly renews itself and thus stays healthy, would not be perceived as growing in the balance but as stagnating. And stagnation means regression in a market ruled by competition.

»Growth for growth’s sake is the ideology of a cancer cell.«
Edward Abbey
American natural scientist, philosopher and writer

You will certainly be familiar with the exponential function. Perhaps not by name, but you know its effects. Imagine a slice of bread lying in the bread bin. A spore of mould has settled on it and the fungus starts to grow. Let’s assume that it doubles in size in one hour. After two hours it has increased fourfold, then eightfold, sixteen-fold, thirty-two-fold and then after ten hours a thousand-fold. Its size increases a thousand-fold after it has doubled ten times.

Perhaps nothing can be seen so far. But it goes on: two thousand, four thousand, eight thousand… and after a total of twenty duplications we have reached a million. At some time the point is reached when we can see the first mould. From then on it cannot be stopped and it is not long before the bread is completely covered with mould.

The exponential function has three phases:

  1. First nothing is to be seen for a long time
  2. Then we begin to see something
  3. Then it proceeds very quickly – to the limits of growth. 

Here is another example. In spring a bird drops something into a beautiful lake. It contains the seed of an aggressive type of water lily. The water lily has the property of doubling itself within a week. First it is one, then two, then four… and after ten weeks a thousand water lilies. Everything still looks very nice. But after a total of five months – it is now August – there are already a million lilies. Approximately 3% of the lake is covered with water lilies and 97% of the water surface is still free. But now the process goes on really fast: 6%, 12%, 24%, 48%, 96%: - boom! At the end of September the entire lake is covered with water lilies and there is no longer any free area of water. However, everything looked fine two weeks before: three-quarters of the water area was still free. It was not until the last few days that the full extent of the disaster became visible. A clever observer would have been able to predict the outcome as early as April, at a time when it would have been possible to take counter-measures. But such a person would probably have been decried as a scaremonger. 

It is exactly the same with economic growth. The process is the same, it just goes a bit more slowly. Five percent growth doubles itself after fifteen years. After thirty years fourfold, after forty-five years eightfold… and after a hundred and fifty years a thousand-fold.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chapter 1.6 – Intellectual and Material Property

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

Intellectual property and patents

 Similarly to the law of copyright, patent law was originally created with the intention of protecting intellectual property and stopping inventors being cheated and exploited by business-minded entrepreneurs. However, like many other laws, the effect has been just the opposite. For in our society it is mostly the people who have the greatest financial staying power and can afford the best lawyers who win their cases.

In this way some companies have managed to acquire a patent on life. Using the pretext of generating resistance against pests, pesticides or herbicides they modify the genes of plants and animals and have the result patented. In many cases no new seeds can be obtained from genetically modified plants. The seeds no longer germinate (terminator seeds). This property is desired by the manufacturers, as the farmers have to buy new seeds from the manufacturers again and again. Should a farmer nevertheless succeed in obtaining new seeds from the fruits, he is accused of infringing patent law and sentenced to pay a high fine.

This now goes so far that farmers are sentenced when their conventionally cultivated fields are contaminated by pollen dispersal or bees from a GM field in the neighbourhood. Actually the farmer should be able to claim for damages as his fruit has been contaminated by GM seeds against his will.

We can well imagine what happens when the natural process of obtaining seeds is stopped in more and more plants. On the one hand, a small number of companies get control over the world food supply and, on the other, a fault in seed production can result in the purchased seed not functioning either. Quite apart from the health repercussions which GM feed has on animals and probably on people who eat their meat as well. This can cause great damage to the entire food chain.

The patents can, however, greatly obstruct technological development in other sectors as well. There are thousands of cases where inventions which would have been of service to humanity were patented and hidden in a drawer because they ran counter to the financial interests of certain companies.

Why have our cars been running on petrol or oil for over a hundred years? Why is there no official research into sustainable forms of energy? Why are researchers who search for other forms of energy ridiculed?

Material Property

»The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all.«
– Indian saying

Can anything such as property exist at all? Wasn’t all property stolen from the community at some time or other? In the Wild West it was considered law that a person could use a piece of land if they had marked the boundaries with four pickets. If they were able to defend their area if necessary and nobody lodged a complaint within a certain period of time, the land belonged to them. Indians naturally had no right to protest. Private property must have developed something like this all over the world

The word »private« comes from the Latin »privare«, which means »rob«. Hence, private property is stolen property. Even when we buy a piece of land today, it was stolen at some time in the past. The previous owner may have legally acquired  or inherited it from the person who owned it before and the latter, in turn, obtained it from another previous owner. But at the beginning of the chain there was once someone who had taken it away from the community in the Wild West manner.

Today there are initiatives to buy land to save it from destruction. Although this constitutes a purchase in purely legal terms, it is essentially stewardship. The buyers see themselves as stewards of creation. In future all tenureships should be transformed into forms of stewardship.

Thus seen, there can be neither intellectual nor physical property. All ideas and inventions stem from a common field of thought, the »morphogenetic field«, as Rupert Sheldrake calls it. That is why different people often make the same invention or discovery in different places at the same time. You know the saying: »This invention was simply in the air «. Who does the invention then belong to? To the person to whom it »occurred« a few hours or days before? Or to the person who was sufficiently business-minded to file a patent for it as soon as possible? Or to the person who can pay the best patent lawyers and conduct the longest lawsuits?

There is the additional point that it is often not a question of an independent invention. Every important invention grew on the foundation of extensive knowledge which already existed before. The inventor may have studied physics and can thus access the knowledge of entire generations of researchers. He may be a brilliant lateral thinker and combines inter-disciplinary knowledge in a new unconventional way so that something new is created. Is the honour due to him alone or weren’t all the other people involved as well? What about the inventors’ partners? Albert Einstein’s first wife was also a physicist and contributed a lot to his research.

It becomes even more critical when important knowledge has »occurred« to someone and they sell it to third parties who hide it in a drawer – to the detriment of the whole of mankind and often of nature. All important inventions therefore belong to the whole of humanity and not to single individuals.

And now it’s time for take-off!

The journey is starting ...

Please imagine that somewhere at the edge of the universe there is a planet whose inhabitants live in prosperity and peace in harmony with nature. That was not always the case. They had also had an eventful past with disasters, poverty and wars.

But then they found the solution. It is so simple that any child can understand it since it is copied from nature. Nowadays people are happy there. They have compassion for one another, for nature and for the inhabitants of other planets, who are not yet as far as they are.

Therefore they explore the galaxies and find our sun system with our wonderful earth. The people on earth are actually quite all right. Actually! If only they did not have this strange compulsion to want to do everything differently from the way nature does it.

They decide to send a messenger to earth, a very good friend who would like to help…