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An Other Kingdom by John McKnight, Walter Brueggemann, Peter Block

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POSTSCRIPT: BEYOND MONEY AND CONSUMPTION

After only two verses into the wilderness, the Israelites wanted the food and certainty of Pharaoh. Woody Allen’s version of that features two women leaving a restaurant in Miami: One says, “The food was terrible.” The other says, “Yes, and the portions were so small.” The free market consumer ideology assumption is that we want larger portions of everything that is so unsatisfying. Consumption is the modern version of Pharaoh. Leaving consumption is the fear of our freedom. That is why we need community.

Luckily, there are people helping us resist the return. People who are seriously upending the measures of the current social order. One step is to question the Gross Domestic Product as a measurement of how we are doing and replace it with other measures of well-being. This takes us to measures that speak to the common good. The common good cannot be measured by the total dollars that change hands.

We have TimeBanking. Edgar Cahn (1992) has developed a measure for generosity. He says, “Let’s not measure the exchange of money—it’s too small, and it is the ultimate commodifying agent. Let’s measure good works and call that the core economy. When one person spends an hour serving another, that goes in a bank account.” TimeBanking is a steppingstone on an alternative path. Cahn is reconstructing an economy. From centers in thirty countries at a time, he is creating a neighborhood economy. And he enlists the capacity of people for whom the ...

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