Tag Archives: cultural value systems

MEMEnomics; The Next-Generation Economic System –The Book

Friends and colleagues, after more than 10 years of working closely with Dr. Don Beck, hundreds of presentations and training seminars, 5 years of research and three years of writing, I am happy to announce that my new book MEMEnomics; The Next-Generation Economic System was launched on September 30, 2013.

I am grateful to all my colleagues and thought leaders for supporting the framework for the sustainability philosophies outlined in the book. I am  humbled by the compliments it continues to receive  from both the integral consciousness community and the business community. I’m especially thankful for Don Beck of the Global Center for Human Emergence for writing the brilliant foreword,  to Deepak Chopra, the sage and the scientist for his beautiful words of endorsement, to Howard Putman, former CEO of Southwest Airlines for his Big Picture view of the book, to Jean Houston, one of the founders of the Human Potential Movement for her relentless support and for Dr. Bruce Lipton for acknowledging its evolutionary nature.

My gratitude also goes out to Economist Hazel Henderson, Founder of Ethical Markets for her endorsement, to Cindy Wigglesworth, author of SQ21  and to John Steiner and Margot King of the Tranpartisan Center in Boulder, CO for their support of our work over the years.  The enthusiasm the book is receiving echoes the need for better business values around the world. Its success is a celebration of the emerging values of business consciousness that give us all hope for the future.

memenomics jacket option ns edit 3- 8.5

Below is a publishers preview from amazon.com

Book Description

Publication Date: September 17, 2013

Books about subjects like economics are rarely written from the perspective of human or cultural evolution. Seldom, if ever, does a reader come across a narrative with pioneering methods that reframe a specialized discipline through a wide-cultural whole systems approach. This is precisely what Said E. Dawlabani does in this revolutionary book, Memenomics: The Next-Generation Economic System. This is a book that reframes the issues of competing economic and political ideologies and places them into an evolutionary new paradigm. This is a book about change done right.

It is no secret that today we are dealing with a great political divide that threatens many of our democratic institutions. Right and left ideologies have becomes polarized camps that seem to be worlds apart. If we were to do a content analysis of all the speeches, books, and articles from the last few years, we would see several clear and distinct patterns which seem to point us in several different directions. There is a formidable challenge that awaits thinkers who are shaping the future of humanity. One of monumental proportions that will call on our collective ability to create political and economic systems that can best handle the complex conditions confronting life on our planet. When the Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith penned his views on the evolution of human morality and trade over two centuries ago, he captured the hearts and minds of people the world over. But today, after guiding the free enterprise system to unimaginable heights, his teachings are being questioned at their core. Current global economic and governing systems can no longer run on fixed or rigid ideologies regardless of how virtuous or inspiring they were in the past. In order for new leadership to emerge to answer our challenges, new paradigms must be created.

One new paradigm for human and cultural emergence is beautifully detailed in this book. Memenomics makes the case for how artificially imposed systems in economics become closed and toxic. By using processes that were pioneered through five decade of research and global applications Said repeatedly makes the case for why the future of economics must consider a values-systems approach if the field should emerge into a whole-systems form of leadership in the future. Through technologies such as Natural Design and life cycles of values systems, Said pioneers a fresh reframing of economic history that uncovers the blockages of trickle-down approaches of the past. He then offers remedies that set a new standard for sustainable practices, ones that are based on functional platforms designed to address the needs of people and cultures at their particular level of economic emergence. This book is a brilliant primer on the application of the values-systems theory to economics. It is a field guide for anyone looking to establish a cultural values-systems understanding not only to economics but also to the applications of the theory of Spiral Dynamics and the seminal work of Clare W. Graves. It represents the evolution of the Gravesian model into a field that rarely considers the different needs and motivations of the different stages of human and societal development.

To buy the book on amazon, please click on this link

You can also read the Foreword, Introduction and Chapter One for free on Amazon Kindle Preview here 

I’m quite pleased with the success of the book. It has been consistently in the top 100 books on Economic Theory for the Kindle version.  Although the Library Journal doesn’t consider it a part of mainstream economics, it was never intended to be as such. Change, rarely, if ever comes from within the system; a view that this theoretical framework made clear over four decades ago.

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Did obsolete rules kill Aaron Swartz?

Does the death of Aaron Swartz, the 26 year-old founder of Reddit, and one of the developers of the RSS web feed format, represent the challenges we face in the early emergence of an economy of the  SYSTEMIC  value-system? Swartz was the typical representative of the healthy Egalitarian vMEME that characterizes the knowledge economy. It is based on the democratization of everything that has emerged in the information age. From the democratization of information itself, to the democratization of the means of production, this vMEME believed in informing and distributing resources equally. These are values based on economies of abundance where sharing, collaboration and open source define its core values. Its disruptive nature is making traditional Orange obsolete with every passing day.

In the last few years, Swartz tried to knock down more barriers to the old proprietary Strategic Enterprise vMEME  by hacking into MIT’s servers and downloading millions of academic papers making them available to the public. In a world where the Regulatory vMEME might have evolved with the times, this wouldn’t have been a problem, as these papers would have invited the input and collaboration of scientists and programmers through the phenomena of crowd sourcing and created new technologies for all of us to share. But, alas, the Justice Department didn’t see it that way, and vigorously pursued Swartz’s prosecution, which resulted in his suicide.

The obvious question is how do we design a new laws that can accommodate the coming complexity while at the same time still preserve old structures like copyright protections. How do we draw balance between proprietary discoveries and the drive to democratize everything that is digitizable?

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A Brief Summary of Where Economics Meet Memetics

A Brief Summary of “Where Economics Meet Memetics.”

Below are some excerpts from an interview I gave to  the Adizes Graduate School Newsletter. Some of the slides included here were distributed by Don Beck at a recent conference on Conscious Capitalism with leading CEO’s like John Mackey of  Whole Foods and Kip Tindell of The Container Store. I’m told Mackey, who uses Spiral Dynamics in his management philosophy, was taken with my analysis of how the UNHEALTHY STRATEGIC ENTERPRISE 5th level system can make an entire economy toxic. One of the primary goals of this blog is to help businesses evolve from answering to the Stockholder who’s misguided by the Wall Street philosophy of short term profits to the stakeholder who has a long term eye on People, Profit, and Planet. That’s  the integral equation for the new frontier in sustainable  practices.

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Said E. Dawlabani on Economics

The Memetics behind the Financial Crisis

At the Spiral Dynamics seminars in Santa Barbara, Dr. Don E. Beck invites a number of guest presenters. Some of these special guests help participants view complex issues through the simplifying lens of spiral dynamics. In effect, spiral dynamics helps in understanding Why and How major global events occur. Below, Said E. Dawlabani, who presents during Level 2, provides us with the benefit of his insights and opinions regarding the financial crisis that impacts our lives and decision-making processes today:

Q: From a Spiral Dynamics perspective, what were the major causes of the financial crisis of 2008?

Spiral Dynamics is the study of cultural value systems that emerge in response to changing life conditions. I concern myself with large scale socio-economic changes and interpret the interplay between the eight known levels of human existence, or value systems, particularly in the area of economics.

In Spiral Dynamics terms, Finance, or Capitalism in general, is just one sector of the fifth level system which has a focus on ‘Strategic Enterprise’. The financial crisis was precipitated due to the changing balance between the 3rd, 4th, and 5th level value systems in the United States. In a nutshell, what caused the financial crisis was the erosion of the fourth level system, the ‘Authority Structure’ system, in two areas of regulation. This allowed third level system dynamics, the ‘Empire Driven’ dynamic, to take advantage of the lapse in controls.

The first area of regulation that was impacted was the governmental regulatory structure itself, which started to slowly disappear with the first Reagan Administration. The second was monetary policy at the Fed. From the top down, government had begun to favor laissez-faire capitalism. For almost three decades, these policies gave us the illusion of prosperity but in the long term gave rise to an unhealthy version of the Strategic Enterprise (fifth level system) practices that became very difficult to reverse. Productive output that was measured through the strength of our manufacturing sector gave way to a more service oriented output.

As the fifth level value system found itself unrestricted, it transitioned beyond a service based economy into what was considered prohibited or sacred territory – the field of ‘financial engineering’. This is where the foundation for potential systemic damage was created.

Q: You mentioned that ‘life conditions’ are an important catalyst for change in evolving value systems. How did this transition from a healthy value system to an unhealthy system manifest in real life?

Corporations and consumers alike abandoned the ethics of the fourth level structural system which made the US a great model of Capitalism – for an ethic that was engineered on Wall Street. For more than three centuries, this evolving but sustainable model for Capitalism called on consumers to build equity through hard work. The system called on corporations to pursue organic growth through product diversification and healthy competition. Instead of hard, productive work to build equity, the Wall Street model for capitalism substituted impulsive speculative borrowing – a hallmark of the ‘Empire Driven’ third level system.

Consumers shifted their focus on spending from what they earn to spending from what they could borrow. Borrowing – thanks to Wall Street – was limitless, and was no longer tied to strict formulas based on actual earnings. Corporations shifted their focus from providing shareholder value by growing their product line organically, to acquiring corporations their financial advisers lined up for them regardless of whether these acquisitions served the long term health and viability of the corporation, or their mission. Wall Street, being virtually unregulated, had no regard for the long term consequences of its actions as its brokerage houses gave out money to collect commissions and placement fees and not to promote the distribution of wealth to all corners of society.

Q: You mentioned that the area of financial engineering was sacred or prohibited. Could you elaborate more on what that means and how that created the systemic damage to our financial system?

When a value system is healthy, it supports the needs and the emergence of all other systems on the spiral. When it is unhealthy it is very destructive. Historically, money has played a very important fourth level systemic role in helping cultures emerge. Pay had a direct relationship to the number of hours worked or the level of skill attained. Financial output had a clearly defined correlation to input and there was a great sense of personal responsibility. The belief in the role of money is what built nations and what helped humanity emerge in the last eight thousand years. A healthy, innovative fifth level system arose as a result of a healthy fourth level system.

Between 2000 and 2006 all this changed. Unprecedented levels of liquidity came to Wall Street with no legitimate investment vehicles to put it in. So Wall Street created Notional or Virtual securities called ‘derivatives’ that forced the participants in the system to downshift to a betting game on how real assets will perform in the future. These models provided the illusion of legitimacy as they flooded consumers and capital markets with money. Wall Street quickly became identifiable with the unhealthy version (exploitive) of the third level value system and, like the case is always with a system that focuses on immediate rewards, it had no staying power. When it collapsed it almost took the whole world down with it.

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