Does delivering humans too much bad news immobilize them? We’ve heard from presenters during Imagine who some would describe as pessimistic or depressing. It’s not that the information presented wasn’t accurate. Quite the opposite. In fact, it was one of the strongest displays of rigorous economic, academic and statistical research that gives legs to cooperative economics that quite possibly has ever happened (or at least in Canada). So how do we reconcile the very harsh dose of reality that we now have to swallow? How can we use it to inspire action and not just feel like there’s no point in trying? Tom Webb, conference CEO helped us with this dilemma during his closing.
“Imagine you lived in a neighborhood where children were being hit by cars and you said I don’t want to think about that, it’s too depressing. What would happen? Nothing. Nothing would change. So the presentations we’ve heard are not meant to depress us. This is a source of hope. You are the source of hope because you’re here and you have the courage and you can go out there and build a better world. ” – Tom Webb
With that sentiment, let us remember that now we have new knowledge. We now know things that we didn’t know we didn’t know before we convened for this very stimulating conference. To have internationally acknowledged economists and thought leaders building up the foundation of the new economy was truly transformational. Their research brought rigor to what we all know anecdotally from participating in the movement. The anecdotes now have statistics to support them.
So let us go forward, well acquainted with reality, and take action in our movement to innovate and develop (not necessarily ‘grow’ in the mainstream way of thinking about growth). And let us keep the most important things as the most important things. We don’t have to look and feel like other businesses. What we do differently is what distinguishes us – our governance, our multiple bottom lines, our principles and our democratic practices.