A Dignity Economy
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A Dignity Economy:
Creating an Economy That Serves Human Dignity and Preserves Our Planet

by Evelin Lindner
2012


Foreword by the Directors of Dignity Press, Linda Hartling and Ulrich Spalthoff

•  available from Dignity Press directly
(Dignity Press is a not-for-profit publisher, with your purchase you support our work for dignity)
• available also from Amazon

•  also as eBook (please contact Evelin to receive her Pdf file)

published by World Dignity University Press, an imprint of Dignity Press


ISBN:
Print version: 978-1-937570-03-3
ePub version: 978-1-937570-04-0 (forthcoming)

Publication Date: 2012
List price: 22.00 €, 28.00 USD, 18.00 LBP
429 pages

Subjects: Economics, anthropology, archaeology, psychology, history, cross-cultural studies

The Brazilian Portuguese edition is titled Por uma Economia digna,
published by Editora da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil, 2016.
The translator is Dr. Fatiha Parahyba, a translation-interpretation scholar and linguist. The Preface is written by Francisco Gomes de Matos. See his Poster Poema Dignity Bank (21st October 2013).


From left: Maria José Matos Luna (representing the Federal University of Pernambuco Press), Francisco Gomes de Matos (co-founder of the World Dignity University initiative) and Fatiha Parahyba (linguist-translator).
The photo fwas taken at the ABA Global Education Mulmedia Center in Boa Viagem, Recife, Brazil.
Please click on the photo to see it larger.


Announcement by the P2P Foundation in 2016

Videos
Book presentation and introduction of the term dignism at Columbia University, Teachers College, Gottesman Libraries, room Russell 104b, on December 5, 2012, 4:30-6 pm. The video recording was carried out by Hua-Chu Yen. See the invitation flyer and the event in the Gottesman Library Calendar. See the video-tape on blip.tv and on YouTube.

The following videos were created in South America in 2012 (please see more videos here):
Howard Richards on a Governable Plural Economy (English).
This video dialogue between Howard Richards, philosopher of social science, and Evelin Lindner was created on 1st May 2012 in Chile, in Howard's Dialogue Home and Centro para el Desarrollo Alternativo en Limache, Chile. The video was recorded by Shelley Damaris Richards Higgins.
Luis Razeto: Solidarity Economics and a New Civilization (Español/English)
This video was created with Luis Razeto Migliaro, the "father" of Solidarity Economics, Howard Richards, and Evelin Lindner, by Gabriel Razeto Barry, in Liray near Santiago, Chile, 14th April 2012. See www.luisrazeto.net, nuevacivilizacion.net, or nuevacivilizacion.tv.
About Hope and Democracy (English/Portuguese)
This video was created in São Paulo on 2nd June 2012. Gaby Saab did the recording. David Calderoni is in dialogue with Evelin Lindner about his work at the Núcleo de Psicopatologia, Políticas Públicas de Saúde Mental e Ações Comunicativas em Saúde Pública (NUPSI).
Fernando Rangel (Português, com tradução Inglês, Portuguese, with English translation)
This video was created in the home of David Calderoni after a visit to the Centro de Direitos Humanos e Educação Popular de Campo Limpo (CHDEP) in Jardim Ângela, São Paulo, on 2nd June 2012. Fernando Rangel explains life in Capão Redondo. Ines Castilho translates into English, with Evelin Lindner assisting (she apologizes for holding the microphone too closely, thus causing her voice to be too loud when she speaks). Capão Redondo, Parque Santo Antônio, and Jardim Ângela are home to a combined total of more than half a million people. Jardim Ângela, Capão Redondo, and Jardim São Luis, were considered by the São Paulo Civil Police to be the "triangle of death." In 1996, there were 538 people murdered in this area, most of whom were teenagers.

The following short video on Evelin Lindner's books were recorded on October 30, 2011, in Portland, Oregon, USA, by Linda Hartling, for the World Dignity University initiative:
Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict (published 2006)
The Role of Dignity and Humiliation for Conflict (published 2009)
The Role of Dignity and Humiliation for Love, Hate, and Other Emotions (published 2009)
Gender, Humiliation, and Global Security (published 2010)
The Role of Dignity and Humiliation for Love and Sexuality (published 2010)
A Dignity Economy: Creating an Economy that Serves Human Dignity and Preserves Our Planet (published 2012)



•  Endorsements
•  Book Description
•  Contents
•  Foreword
•  Comments, Reflections, and Reviews
•  Pictures


 

 

Endorsements

This book provides an excellent critique of the impersonal market economy which dominates the world. The author illuminates how it turns people into commodities so that they are often dehumanized and robbed of their dignity. The book is also a passionate call for the development of a dignity economy which draws heavily on her rich personal experiences, as well as a vast literature, and suggests how this new economy could be fostered.
- Morton Deutsch, E.L. Thorndike Professor Emeritus of Psychology Director Emeritus of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR), Columbia University, New York City, U.S.A.

A Dignity Economy looks at the root causes of our accelerating global economic, ecological and moral crises. With her breath of knowledge, enthusiasm, care and sensitivity, Evelin Lindner has become a "beacon" for others, including myself, to follow. This book is a must-read for all those in search of new avenues for a more humane and socially, as well as ecologically just world. This manifesto of hope for a better world, should be read by all, and especially by the youth; the future leaders.
- Kamran Mofid, Ph.D. (ECON), Founder of the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI), Co-founder/Editor of the Journal of Globalisation for the Common Good, and Adjunct Professor at the Dalhousie School of Business, Dalhousie University, Canada

The book A Dignity Economy is a welcomed synthesis of thinking and analyses about the economy in general. Lindner's well researched citations and references make it a most useful anthology of the ways to cure our economic problems. It is a blueprint on how to live peacefully, equitably, and sustainably on planet Earth for the common good of humanity. It reflects the author's original thinking and her vast practical experience. Her conclusion about the need for democratizing globalization and for more relevant global economic institutions is to the point.
More precisely, I certainly agree with the ethical position that the economy exists to serve the people and not the other way around. I made a similar argument in my book The Code for Global Ethics, when I stressed that “[Economic] oppressors, abusers, and exploiters have to be reigned in so that workers and consumers do not become the victims of market manipulations. State regulation of business practices to ensure the efficiency and fairness of markets is consistent with a well-functioning market economy” (Prometheus edition, p. 187). As Lindner explains in her book, the prisoner’s dilemma game teaches us that cheating comes naturally in purely financial transactions. The present ‘laisser-aller’ can only lead to other crises and possibly to even more severe crises. A profound re-thinking in these matters is thus necessary and Lindner's book is a great contribution to that effort.
- Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, Ph.D, Economist, Emeritus Professor, University of Montreal, Canada, Former minister in the Quebec government, author of The Code for Global Ethics

This is an indispensable book. Anyone committed to building a better world should read it and take seriously what it says. Besides the author's own insights drawn from her unique experience as a scholar who has lived and worked in many cultures, I found important ideas distilled from dozens of authors I had never heard of before. Although you may be put off at first by the author's rather breathtaking honesty, humility, and down-to-earth-ness, as you get into the book you will soon realize that it is one that anybody who loves humanity and Mother Earth must read and think about.
- Howard Richards, Ph.D., Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, U.SA., founder of its Peace and Global Studies Program, and co-founder of its Business and Nonprofit Management program, co-author, together with Joanna Swanger, of Dilemmas of Social Democracies

In her new book, Evelin G.Lindner honors DIGNITY as more than an economic right-responsibility: she helps persons and organizations to view and experience economic activity as an environmentally and relationally dignifying force. Evelin G.Lindner's new book eloquently and powerfully shows how the world can be educated to both economize and humanize, for these are the two sides of a much-needed coin: DIGNITY
- Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist from Recife, Brazil, and co-founder of the Associação Brasil América, and the World Dignity University Initiative

Protests for a Dignity Economy
Rhymed Reflections for Leaders by Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist from Recife, Brazil, Cofounder of The World Dignity University Initiative (18th June 2013)

Protesting for the public good
is a people's significant role in their nationhood

Protesting against an unfair, rising cost of living
can show what benefits a peple is not receiving

In voicing collective discontent, there shouldn't be a fight
Protesting is both a responsibility and a human political right

Protesting can be a legitimate form of public action
leading to a constructive transformative political interaction

When in public protests, violence and vandalism take place
Let's globally denounce and deplore it: Human Dignity is slapped on its face

Protests should help Democract thrive in Dignity
and show that a government should implement a Dignity Economy

A Dignity Economy is accessible, eloquent, inspiring, even visionary. It deserves a wide circulation which should include both specialists and lay readers. Evelin Lindner is the perfect author for this study, given her long experience in dealing with the broad significance of human dignity and the appalling lack of it in the world order.
- Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Richard J. Milbauer Emeritus Professor of History, University of Florida, and Visiting Scholar, Johns Hopkins University, author of numerous works in history relating to honor: Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (1982); The House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family (1994); The Shaping of Southern Culture: Honor, Grace, and War (2001) [...] Wyatt-Brown is currently preparing books entitled Lincoln's Assassination and the Undoing of Union Victory and Melancholy's Children: Modern Southern Writers and Depression.

Evelin Lindner's 2011 book, A Dignity Economy: Creating an Economy that Serves Human Dignity and Preserves Our Environment, is a well-researched, serious, and sober response to the crisis in humanity looming on the planetary horizon—the possibility of ecocide and anthropicide. Her work is not only a clearinghouse of the knowledge of creative thinkers around the world seeking a solution, but a thoughtful deliberation of their concrete contributions toward establishing a communitarian stewardship of the global community. In association with others, she has helped establish an international dignity and humiliation network and World Dignity University. She grasps deeply and thoroughly the fact that the crisis in humanity provides us with an unparalleled opportunity and responsibility to confront the challenges besetting the human family, the ecosystem, and planetary life. "We face a window of opportunity," she correctly counsels us, "whether we use it or not. And we'd better use it." The crux of the alienation of human beings from the product of their work, from their activity of production, from their intuitive intelligence, from one another, and from planetary resources is the indignity and humiliation that saps and drains our creative participation in the world. As a citizen of the world, she has transcended pessimism and optimism as well as realism and idealism and is not swept away by dreamers who either consider force a solution or are blinded by the fantasy of crude individualism and self-regulating markets. She clarifies for us the irresistible pull toward irrational behavior reinforced by the "legitimizing myths" that promote a herd mentality: human beings denuded of their dignity and their creative vocation in a world of potential abundance. These legitimizing myths burst and shatter the unity-in-diversity of human existence—human solidarity rooted in freedom—through credulous economic and political ideologies, literalistic and ritualistic religions, positivistic and fragmented fields of science, philosophy captivated by modern science, and various art forms whose effects serve to narcotize consciousness. Nonetheless, she is able to celebrate the creative contributions of the universal world's religions to further our understanding of the eternal, transcendent reality; the discoveries in the social, biological, and physical sciences that enrich our lives; the quest for truth and goodness of existential philosophy that heightens our intuitive intelligence; and the revelations of beauty in the literary and fine arts that nurture a loving heart. Evelin Lindner enlivens our spirit, enhances our hope, and bolsters our trust in humanity, while warning us to be careful, cautious, and thoughtful in parsing much of the nonsense of what passes for "mainstream" thought today.
- Vincent L. Lombardi, Professor Emeritus, Psychology and Integrative Studies in the Social Sciences, Michigan State University

Evelin's book, A Dignity Economy, is exceptionally important, inspiring, and timely. It courageously opens a crucial debate on how we can reshape our minds to fit the expectation of a dignified economy, which is manifestly affected in whole or in part by the clash between the politics of empathy and the politics of authority.
- Yves M. Musoni, an artist and an independent researcher, is a Congolese Tutsi, who was forced to leave his country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1996. He spent 13 years in Rwanda before immigrating to the USA as the winner of the US Diversity Visa Program

This book is astonishing. It inspires me with a touch that is so powerful that it almost blows my head off. Dr. Evelin Lindner has this fantastic writing ability of a great philosopher: making it impossible for you to stay the same after having read her thinking. This is a book about a new economical system for our world today and her insights and deepfelt analysis carries with them a profound energy that asks the human family for more best practices, for more social entrepeneurs and investors of a noble kind.
I am grateful that I have been able for the last 8 years to work with SEKEM in Egypt, an ethical and ecological business in the desert, producing high quality cotton, herbs and sustainable energy. This has been my way of responding to the call that Evelin now advocates – a call that is heard all over the globe: Let us make our economy serve the people and the planet in a sustainable way.
- Ragnhild Nilsen, artist, public speaker, social entrepeneur, and writer

Like Shakespeare's famous query, the following question is posed: "Dignity or Humiliation?" Evelin Lindner - the world's leading scholar on the experience of humiliation and human dignity - provides a monumental response in her new treatise: A Dignity Economy - Creating an Economy that Serves Human Dignity and Preserves Our Environment. Right from the start, Lindner punctuates her mission: "This book is about a new how." And she is steadfast in her means: A Dignity Economy is chock-full of new strategies for "dignism" (a new word in her lexicon). Thought leaders, scholars, activists, and students will relish Lindner's plethora of economic initiatives for the new ethical economy - one that also cherishes and enhances the biosphere. Moreover, A Dignity Economy provides a crystal-clear vision of our future of equality in dignity - a future that Prof. Dr. Lindner denotes as "co-globegalization." I highly recommend this groundbreaking new work.
- Mark Singer, Professor and author, among others, of Seminal Ethics – Discovering Your Ethical Core, Punim Publishing, U.S.A.

I have been honored, nay, blessed by this (I'm searching for appropriate adjectives) OK, human, REALLY HUMAN, Evelin Lindner, who graciously requested that I write "a few sentences" for inclusion in her latest Dignity Economy book, an epic tome of fascinating and formidably-researched insights as to what makes us and the world tick, or not. From the Far Past to the present-day while positing myriad answers from a thousand sources to burning questions: "What to do?" and "Where might we go?" "Who should we trust?" etc., she outlines replies from an incredible selection of "experts" in philosophical, economic, technical, social, cultural and political fields plus her own insights evolved from her own 40 years of global wanderings.
Evelin Linder is one of those rare avartarish, once-in-a-millennium beings, who arrive on Earth when humanity is in total crisis, yet who do not really exist on the mere terrestrial plane but float spiritlike above earth's creatures many of whom live in fear and ignorance, yet desperately seek salvation. She is thus actually a  "transparency," a sort of two-way mirror, the one pointing outward toward, well, the Cosmos; the other, inward, reflecting the reader (or companions) to ourselves in minute often embarrassing detail, but yet joyful of being enlightened within the global framework.
She herself, therefore, personifies the perennial "paradigm shift" she expertly reveals, which measures giant evolutionary changes in human affairs, while personally experiencing and minutely logging the answers to her myriad, provocative questions.
She reminds me of Lao Tzu's 28th verse in the Tao The Ching: "Know the male, yet keep to the female: receive the world in your arms. If you receive the world, the Tao will never leave you and you will be like a little child."
According to the "Views from My Space" [1], the ultimate humiliation for us humans, singly and communally, of course, are the nuclear bombs threatening the very existence of humanity itself. Perhaps because Evelin Linder acknowledges without reservation that, as her fellow World Citizen, I have claimed with "due diligence" to "personify" world law as The Bomb's geo-dialectical antithesis [2], we have united in this sacred and ultimately challenging life-work in the Here and Now.
Indeed, what else is "world peace" between thinking, caring humans?
1: My books of blogs: 1 and 2
2: World Citizen Garry Davis Goes to Court
- Garry Davis, world citizen and peace activist, creator of the first World Passport

I have a background in engineering design and materials, as well as in ecodesign and industrial ecology. In spite of the impressive advances in the science of industrial ecology, including life cycle environmental impact assessment of product-production-service-recycle-systems in the last 20 years, we have not been able to relieve humankind from the grip of consumerism and the economic growth dogma. As a consequence, the damage of human health and of the ecosystems, and resource depletion are out of control.
Evelin Lindner has through her earlier books and her network Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, in a convincing way shown us that we now have to focus on the damage caused by humiliation, traumatic experiences and lack of dignity and the influence this has on human behaviour. We all have an inner potential for creating a sustainable society and dignified living if these damaging psychological mechanisms were avoided or healed. Dignity for all as the universal long term target - on all levels of relations, from person to person, families, within and between organisations, communities, political institutions and nations - has to be manifested in our economic systems and institutions in balance with ecological sustainability targets and technological development. This book is a rich source of information, inspiration and advice, that will open up for the realisation of these balanced processes. 
- Sigurd Støren, Professor Emeritus of Metal Forming and Ecodesign at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway

Evelin Lindner's publication is thought provoking and calls for a new systemic approach to make our economic system more responsive to the needs of the global community in an increasingly inter-connected world. A Dignity Economy addresses the need for building a balanced and equitable economic order that promotes human dignity rather than human greed and ensures a sustainable future for us on this planet.
- Shahid Kamal, Ambassador of Pakistan to the Federal Republic of Germany

This argument, in economic terms, for a vision of a global community characterized by empathy and humility, instead of dominance and prestige, is compellingly articulated.
- Dr. Louise Sundararajan, scholar in indigenous psychology, clinical psychologist in Rochester, New York, U.S.A.

A Dignity Economy is a beautifully written soulful book. It is both unique and rare in its spiritual treatment of its subject matter, in its deep and broad interdisciplinary outlook and in its passionate commitment to humanness and moral responsibility. In a postmodern post traumatic cultural climate it dares speak of binding universal truths and offers healing instead of the prevalent despair and alienation. Academia in general and scholarly writing in particular benefit greatly from Evelin Linder's being and doing and this book is an important stepping stone in her intellectual journey - here she makes a remarkable presence in new terrain bringing hope and compassion where it is most needed.
- Ya'ir Ronen, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Evelin Lindner offers us another new title A Dignity Economy that focuses on the pressing need to save the global community from its own destructive economic structures. The new book identifies “Unity in Diversity” as an organizing philosophical principles to bring equity and justice to ailing economic systems which have been imposed by the free capitalist market structures. Inspired by peace and justice values and frameworks and supported by an amazing set of data and testimonies, the author builds step by step a solid argument for the need to develop new economic structures that promote dignity and justice for all people regardless of their affiliations. The book is indeed inspiring and adds a significant layer to the authors’ existing work on human dignity.
- Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Ph.D., Director, Peacebuilding and Development Institute, Professor, International Peace And Conflict Resolution, School of International Service American University, Washington DC, USA

The book reminds me of the Gandhian dictum simple living high thinking. It offers a just critique of global economic crisis which has rattled the very core of humanity. Evelin has handled this issue of global concern with great responsibility and sensitivity. It is a perfect intersection of idealism and realism with food for thought for all right thinking people across the globe. An indispensable book for all those interested in making the world a better place to live in peace and harmony. Evelin has beautifully carried forward the Gandhian thinking 'earth has enough for everybody’s need but not enough for everybody's greed' with her unique style of threading together human dignity and economy.
- Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra, PhD, Centre for Central Eurasian Studies, University of Mumbai, India

To be truly human is all about flourishing relationships and equal dignity, not about more money fuelled by consumerism, extreme individualism and unsustainable growth. Evelin Lindner, in this book, uses her immense depth of knowledge and vast experiences with many cultures throughout the world to explain what would constitute an economy with equal dignity. Humans are meeting at crossroads where the traffic signals are being ignored or not even understood. This book challenges those who ignore, or don’t understand the signals to stop and pause a while, and understand what it really means to be human.
- Brian Ward, traffic engineer, New Zealand


Book Description

This book’s publication has been hastened by the Occupy Wall Street movement. This movement gave the author the motivation to bring an unfinished manuscript to the level of publication. The first version of this manuscript was presented on August 20, 2009, at a conference at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Since then, it has been growing almost daily and has had many titles. It is not a traditional manuscript planned at the drawing board, designed "to sell." It is rather a snapshot taken at one moment of an ongoing process, an ever unfinished book, a "walking" book, part of a journey.

The economic crisis has many labels, ranging from "subprime crisis" to "credit crunch," to "financial tsunami" or "economic Armageddon." Around the world, people are coming to a single diagnosis: "Something is deeply unhealthy in our world." This book advocates a deep paradigm shift, not just from one rigid paradigm to another rigid paradigm, but away from rigidity altogether. Away from massive institutions toward a global movement that is co-created by people and their enthusiastic energy. We need a dignity revolution, and not just in Tunisia or Egypt. Now we need a global dignity revolution, a world dignity movement, a movement that creates inclusion, both locally and globally.

A quote from chapter 1 of this book:

Linda Hartling and I, since we are not economists, hesitate to analyze economic topics. On the other hand, we cannot avoid witnessing the humiliating effects of existing economic practices and institutions. Furthermore, since economic structures represent the largest frames within which human activities are played out, they are of utmost importance and cannot be overlooked. If the largest frames were to introduce systemic humiliation, in the way apartheid did, this would be extremely significant. Under apartheid, since it was an all-encompassing system, all lives and relationships were tainted with humiliation. It was impossible to dignify apartheid by merely being kinder to each other or creating well-intentioned small-scale initiatives: the entire system had to be shaped anew at the appropriate large-scale level. What if today's apartheid is represented by the fact that (exponential) growth is incompatible with sustainability?
Or should we encourage everybody to agree with Herman Cain, United States Republican presidential candidate, to individualize systemic problems? He said on October 5, 2011: "Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself." Should we follow Cain and try to make people fitter for a rat race that might be unfeasible and damaging for us all and our environment?
We often feel as helpless as the Archbishop of Canterbury, who called for a "rehumanising of economics", and a "discussion on the relationship between wealth and well-being," in a debate at the British Library on Tuesday evening, on October 1, 2010. "The Archbishop described himself as an 'economic illiterate.' He said the Church had been 'hypnotised by the assertion of expertise' on issues related to the economy."


 


Contents

Foreword by the Directors of Dignity Press
Foreword by Linda Hartling
Foreword by Ulrich Spalthoff
Acknowledgments
Preface
Introduction

Part I: Where Do We Stand? Where Might We Go?
Chapter 1: While Critical Voices Get Louder, a Sense of Helplessness Prevails
Chapter 2: Let Us Join Hands and Dig Up the Facts!
Chapter 3: Where Might We Go? Toward a Dignity Transition

Part II: Dignity or Humiliation? That Is the Question!
Chapter 4: When Scarcity and Environmental Degradation Become Systemic
Chapter 5: When Mistrust Becomes Ubiquitous
Chapter 6: When Abuse Becomes a Means of "Getting Things Done"
Chapter 7: When Fear Becomes Overwhelming and Debilitating
Chapter 8: When False Choices Crowd out Important Choices
Chapter 9: When Our Souls Are Injured by the Homo Economicus Model

Part III: What Should We Do? Let Us Unite As a Human Family!
Chapter 10: We Need a Panoply of New Strategies for Dignism!
Chapter 11: We Need to Humanize Globalization with Egalization!
Chapter 12: We Need Many More Voices and a Clear Direction!

Appendix I: Quotes
Appendix II: Selected Publications
Notes
Index
Bibliography


 


Foreword by Linda Hartling

I have had the honor and privilege of collaborating with Evelin Lindner for more than a decade. We met through Donald C. Klein, a pioneer in the field of community psychology who was one of the first psychologists to launch an in depth discussion of the dynamics of humiliation. In 1995, I had just completed my dissertation developing the first scale to assess the internal experience of humiliation; while, in another part of the world, Evelin was formulating her research exploring the connection between humiliation and violent conflict. During those years, each of us knew we were virtually lone researchers in a new field of study. After Don's introduction in 1998, we celebrated that we were no longer alone.

From the beginning, I realized that Evelin Lindner was on her way to becoming the world's leading scholar on the experience of humiliation and human dignity. Her decision to live as a global social scientist has given her the broad-based knowledge, experience, and perspective that make this book possible. Transcending the limits of working in a conventional academic setting, Evelin sees the world as her university. She dedicates herself to synthesizing and integrating knowledge gained from engaging a richly diverse community of scholars, researchers, and practitioners. Her life as a citizen of the world has allowed her to question economic systems that deprive and deplete humankind of vital social and natural resources, threatening our existence on this planet.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Evelin Lindner's research over the years is its complete freedom from corporate and other profit-driven influences. In a world the worships the accumulation of wealth, Evelin is a living example of how "money should serve, not lead one's efforts." Practicing this principle has allowed her to sustain a level of independent thinking and writing that is essentially unheard of in science today. This book is a tribute to her stunning creative ability to walk the talk of her work, both intellectually and economically. Her whole life is a portal into what can be accomplished without giving in, giving up, or selling out.
Evelin Lindner demonstrates her commitment to intellectual integrity by choosing Dignity Press as the publisher of The Dignity Economy. Other publishers, influenced by today's profit-maximization motive, might undermine the fundamental message of her work. The author's incomparable commitment to integrity, combined with her spirit of humility, makes this publication a one-of-a-kind intellectual treasure. This book will enrich the lives of readers seeking new economic thinking that can lead us to a sustainable future that dignifies the lives of all people.

Linda Hartling
Director
Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies
November 7, 2011, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A

Foreword by Uli Spalthoff

Evelin Lindner and I first met in 2003 at the airport in Paris, queuing up for the security check before flying to Tel Aviv. She told me about her life and invited me into her life project, called Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. I was impressed by her passion and zest for action. In addition to organizing a network and two annual conferences on Humiliation Studies, she has published extensively, including three books.

Her first book, Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict, presented a ground-breaking analysis of international conflicts and how these often result from humiliating practices. This book received an award as "Outstanding Academic Title" by the journal Choice for 2007. In her second book Emotion and Conflict: How Human Rights Can Dignify Emotion and Help Us Wage Good Conflict she extended the discussion to personal emotions and conflicts. In her third book, Gender, Humiliation, and Global Security: Dignifying Relationships from Love, Sex, and Parenthood to World Affairs, she emphasized the important role of gender when analysing humiliating systems. That book again was highly recommended by the journal Choice.

With this new book she extends the analysis of humiliating systems to the realm of economics. I know from our conversations that she has observed for some time how Western-style capitalist economic systems contribute to humiliating practices that pervade personal lifestyles and political decision-making.

How timely it is that she is able to present her analysis just now, when the malfunction of our financial system becomes so obvious to people on all continents. But Evelin Lindner's personality does not allow her to simply present an analysis. She goes beyond traditional academic research. She is also an activist wanting to make an impact. Starting with a description of the disastrous and highly alarming situation, she then looks for solutions on a global scale. Hope never dies, indeed, it never needs to die. Her intellectual framework—identifying dynamics of humiliation and searching for solutions which bring dignifying systems to the fore—allows her to present a multitude of initiatives, proposals, and calls for action. She does this in a way that the reader can feel deeply motivated to contribute personally to the necessary changes we all have to make.

Necessary systemic change can only be achieved by many people making personal changes in their attitudes and their behavior. Therefore I find her highly personal presentation of the subject very appropriate. When reading this manifest, I not just learned about our economic system, I was also freshly motivated to be part of the necessary change. I wish many readers a similar experience.

Ulrich Spalthoff
Director of Projects and System Administration
Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies
October 25, 2011, Dörzbach, Germany


 

 

Comments, Reflections, and Reviews

Francisco Gomes de Matos
The Dignity of Choice-making: A Checklist

by  Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist from Recife, Brazil. Co-founder of the World Dignity University, 6th December 2011
In Evelin G. Lindner's new book, A Dignity Economy: Creating an Economy that Serves Human Dignity and Preserves our Planet (Dignity Press, 2011), chapter 8 is focused on the challenging human act of making choices. The title of that inspiring chapter is "When false choices crowd out important choices." Therein, Lindner invites us to "humbly invest in collective questioning of which choices may be false and which imperative" and "to stay in this exploration" (p. 112). What follows is a Checklist inspired by her chapter and by a peace linguist's conviction that making choices calls for creating/implementing dignifying alternatives.
Dignity in making choices: A Checklist
What are the choices we make like? How do we make our choices? Why?
Are our choices dignifying or undignifying?
peaceful or harmful?
relevant or irrelevant?
humanizing or dehumanizing?
constructive or destructive?
elevating or humiliating?
realistic or unrealistic?
important or unimportant?
fair or unfair?
selfish or unselfish?
healthy or unhealthy?
ethical or unethical?
humble or haughty?
spiritual or materialistic?
liberating or oppressive?
compassionate or cruel?
nonviolent or violent?
empathic or dominating?
uniting or isolating?
greedy or generous?
communicative or uncommunicative?
Please reflect on the dichotomies. If you would rather engage in choice-making in a continuum, then by all means do exercise your right to expand your horizontal choice-making. Also add to the Checklist by contextualizing items. Have dignifying fun!

Rhymed Reflections on Evelin G. Lindner's Dignity Transition
by  Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist from Recife, Brazil. Co-founder of the World Dignity University, 17th December 2011

Why does Humankind need a Dignity Transition?
For LIFE on Earth to be constantly revitalized with an EGALIZATION emission

So sad to say: domination, exploitation, humiliation are still widely spread
So very sad to see: millions of people having to survive with less
than a daily piece of bread

To face our fears, we need a new, humanizing quality
A dignifying Utopia - unity instead of uniformity - which will always
ensure the right to diversity

How can a fragmented world be united
By educating all citizens so that their planetary co-responsibility
be permanently ignited

How can we dignify globalization
By implementing EQUADIGNIZATION

To DIGNITY when will the world give more serious attention
When serving the health and well-being of all people become more than
a political intention

Probing the Dignity Research Paradigm: A  Plea
by  Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist from Recife, Brazil. Co-founder of the World Dignity University, 27th January 2012

Evelin G. Lindner`s  A  DIGNITY ECONOMY is an eloquent, inspiring to researchers everywhere that the  Dignity Research Paradigm is awaiting to be filled, probed

in as many languages and cultures as possible. Here's a sampling of such DIGNITY PARADIGM-FILLING  possibilities. Readers are asked to carry on, by

adding other areas-domains-of Knowledge that could be probed from a DIGNITY perspective.

An alphabetically arranged list:
A DIGNITY Art(s)    or ART(S) for  DIGNITY or, still, DIGNITY IN ART(s)
A DIGNITY ANTHROPOLOGY
A DIGNITY BIOLOGY
A DIGNITY COMMUNICATION  or DIGNITY for COMMUNICATION, or still, DIGNITY in COMMUNICATION
A DIGNITY CREATIVITY  (or CREATIVITY FOR HUMAN DIGNITY, or still, CREATIVITY SERVING HUMAN DIGNITY)
A DIGNITY EDUCATION (Note the pioneering book by  Betty Reardon: Educating for Human Dignity, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995. Also note Paulo Freire's PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED. He makes explicit oppressed persons' right to Dignity, to being treated with respect...
A DIGNITY ECONOMICS (Note that Evelin book`s title has ECONOMY)
A DIGNITY GEOGRAPHY (Note the title of the Brazilian scientist Josue de Castro's book Geografia da Fome (Geography of Hunger). Implicit therein: DIGNITY of HUMAN BEINGS WHO ARE STARVING, WHOSE RIGHT TO FOOD is not being assured
A DIGNITY HEALTH SCIENCES or DIGNITY in HEALTH SCIENCES, or still, HEALTH SCIENCES FOR DIGNITY(Communicative health would be dealt with)
A DIGNITY HISTORY (presumably, in such book or books, a society-wide index of human dignity would be historically mapped or represented)
A DIGNITY LAW  (Although the juxtaposition may sound redundant, it is included as a reminder that above all, LAW should be dignifying)
A DIGNITY LINGUISTICS (Peace linguistics and Nonkilling Linguistics exemplify the current search for a Linguistics centered on human communicative dignity, as  advocated in my poster-text launched at the establishment of The World Dignity University called Communicative Dignity: A Checklist)
A DIGNITY LITERATURE   or  DIGNITY in LITERATURE, or still, LITERATURE for DIGNITY
A DIGNITY NONVIOLENCE (although the lexical juxtaposition may sound or look redundant, it is a reminder that Nonviolence/Nonkilling is embedded in DIGNITY)
A DIGNITY PHYSICS
A DIGNITY POLITICAL SCIENCE (Glenn Paige's deeply  inspiring work on Nonkilling stands out.
A DIGNITY PSYCHOLOGY (Many contributions made/being made by members of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network)
A DIGNITY SOCIOLOGY
A DIGNITY SPIRITUALITY (Although this juxtaposition may sound redundant, it is included, as  a reminder of DIGNITY as one of the distinctive qualities of SPIRITUALitY)
A DIGNITY SECURITY (DIGNITY in HUMAN SECURITY, or SECURITY POLICIES FOR DIGNITY)
A DIGNITY TECHNOLOTY (or DIGNITY in TECHNOLOGY, or still, TECHNOLOGIES FOR DIGNITY)

HONOR, DIGNITY, RESPECT
By Francisco Gomes de Matos, 23rd January 2012

Which of the above nouns first entered written English ?
HONOR: 115O
When did  DIGNITY make its written debut in English?  1175
RESPECT was introduced visually  from 13OO
Why is this lexical trio of special interest to DIGNITY researchers?
Because HONOR and RESPECT can function (be used) as either nouns or verbs, whereas DIGNITY is a noun, but it can function as a modifier, too, as in the title of Evelin G. Lindner's new book, DIGNITY ECONOMY. Its verb form is DIGNIFY. From the perspective of lexical productivity, DIGNIFY can become DIGNIFIER, a person who dignifies.
Antonyms for the above lexical trio are: DISHONOR, INDIGNITY, DISRESPECT.
If  we think of HONOR as one of the highest moral principles, what words would we also include in such category?
DIGNITY, RESPECT, INTEGRITY, HONESTY....
Interestingly, from a crosscultural perspective: the use of YOUR HONOR as a deferential title of respect, used in addressing judges.
If we consider the phraseologies in which DIGNITY and RESPECT occur, what would immediately come to mind (in English and in other languages, if  you are
a multilingual person )?
In Portuguese, we can say  "com consideração e respeito" ( with consideration and respect), "com todo respeito" (with all due respect).
In Portuguese, if we say that someone "não se dignou a fazer alguma coisa ", we mean that that person wasn't kind enough to do. Thus, DIGNAR-SE conveys politeness, kindness, worthiness.
DIGNITY is a deeply inspiring concept-term: Evelin G. Lindner coined DIGNISM, and thus contributes to the open-ended list of positively-marked ISMS.
These reflections are meant to draw your attention to the fact that words are also known by the lexical company they keep, so do use dictionaries to enhance your word-using ability. It will pay  humanizing, dignifying dividends.
Be sure to cultivate your lexical creativity, too, as when you juxtapose the adjective RELATIONAL and the noun DIGNITY: RELATIONAL DIGNITY. Given the multidimensionality of DIGNITY, creative combinations are (almost) unlimited.


 

Anthony Werner
Anthony Werner wrote on 7th December 2011: 'I have spent over 25 years building up what I now call our Ethical Economics list which is based on acknowledging that that land is not private property, but the gift of Nature (or God) to us all.'

Message from 6th December 2011:
Dear Evelin (if I may),
I was taken with the opening paragraph of your summary of your new book. I copy it below for ease of reference as I would like to offer some comments for your consideration:

"Linda Hartling and I, since we are not economists, hesitate to analyze economic topics. On the other hand, we cannot avoid witnessing the humiliating effects of existing economic practices and institutions. Furthermore, since economic structures represent the largest frames within which human activities are played out, they are of utmost importance and cannot be overlooked. If the largest frames were to introduce systemic humiliation, in the way apartheid did, this would be extremely significant. Under apartheid, since it was an all-encompassing system, all lives and relationships were tainted with humiliation. It was impossible to dignify apartheid by merely being kinder to each other or creating well-intentioned small-scale initiatives: the entire system had to be shaped anew at the appropriate large-scale level. What if today's apartheid is represented by the fact that (exponential) growth is incompatible with sustainability?

Like you and Linda, I am not an economist, though I did an economics module in my first year at Cape Town University many years ago. At the university I was on the Academic Freedom Committee which was trying to prevent the imposition of apartheid on the university which allowed students of mixed race to attend. My mother was a member of the Black Sash Movement which also sought to halt the tightening grip of apartheid. The Black Sash Movement has a curious link with what I will unfold because the founder of the Black Sash movement was the grand-daughter of Judge Lucas, a leading light in the introduction in South Africa of the reform I shall outline below.

About four months after coming to London I was introduced to the School of Economic Science which ran evening classes in Economics based on the work of the American social reformer Henry George. It was his reform that judge Lucas had championed in South Africa. Once my eyes had been opened to the work of Henry George I could not ‘avoid witnessing the humiliating effects of existing economic practices and institutions’, like yourselves. So many of our social ills, and the humiliation it heaps on millions, have their root in something so obvious when you see it. Let me explain.

To emphasise their long-term aim, Oxfam have adopted what I believe is a Chinese proverb:
- Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day
- Teach him to fish, you feed him for life

This recognises the danger of creating a dependency culture through famine relief and the need for skills in improving conditions long term, but ignores the reality on the ground. When the newly trained fisherman, or farmer, or whoever sets out to ply his trade, he first needs access to land. Without a perch, he cannot fish, without a plot he cannot farm, open a shop or build a home.

The importance of the terms on which access to land is obtained is a basic fact of economics, obfuscated by the global economic model. The consequences of the present set-up were graphically described by a leading member of the Liberal Government in Britain in 1909:

‘It does not matter where you look or what examples you select, you will see that every form of enterprise, every step in material progress, is only undertaken after the land monopolist has skimmed the cream off for himself, and everywhere today the man or the public body who wishes to put land to its highest use is forced to pay a preliminary fine in land values to the man who is putting it to an inferior use, and in some cases to no use at all. All comes back to land value, and its owner for the time being is able to levy his toll upon all other forms of wealth and upon every form of industry. A portion, in some cases the whole, of every benefit which is laboriously acquired by the community is represented in the land value, and finds its way automatically into the landlord’s pocket. If there is a rise in wages, rents are able to move forward, because the workers can afford to pay a little more. If the opening of a new railway or a tramway or the institution of an improved service of workmen’s trains or a lowering of fares or a new invention of any other public convenience affords a benefit to the workers in any particular district, it becomes easier for them to live, and therefore the landlord and the ground landlord, one on top of the other, are able to charge them more for the privilege of living there.’ Winston Churchill

The economist who inspired Churchill’s speech in Edinburgh and many of the leading Liberals at the beginning of the 20th century was Henry George and his book Progress and Poverty, but not only the Liberal Party. The New Statesman (20/10/95) noted that ‘The fourth most influential author cited in W T Stead’s 1906 survey of new Labour MPs (after Ruskin, Dickens and the Bible) was one Henry George’.

Now it is important to appreciate that Henry George based his remedy on a thorough appreciation of the work of the classical economists, but he had the gift of expressing it in terms which do not require a degree in economics to understand. For any real understanding of economics, he said, one needs to appreciate ‘two simple principles, both of which are self evident:

1. That all men have equal rights to the use and enjoyment of the elements provided by Nature.
2. That each man has an exclusive right to the use and enjoyment of what is produced by his own labour.’

Slavery deprives us of the second, land enclosure of the first, and to some extent the second as the man who had just learned to fish would discover – he would have to agree to hand over some of his catch to the landowner before he would be permitted to fish.

It was the genius of Henry George to realise that the skewed economic model that had developed to justify land enclosure, could be corrected by a tax reform, without revolution. The simplest way to understand this is by reference to domestic property. When we buy our home, it consists of two elements: 1) the land on which it stands, and 2) the bricks and mortar. By the second principle above he ‘has an exclusive right to the use and enjoyment’ of the bricks and mortar because they are the product of his or someone else’s labour which he can acquire in exchange for the product of his own labour. However, he has no exclusive right to the land to which all others have an equal right.

How is this conundrum to be resolved? Clearly no one is going to build a house, factory or office block if he cannot have secure possession. The answer is that if someone wants to have secure and exclusive possession, not ownership, of a patch of land he must pay a market rent for it. As he is thereby excluding his fellow humans from it, it is only right that the payment should be made to humanity. In practical terms that means the government, who would not then need to tax us. The government would be provided for out of ground rent and we would support ourselves with the full product of our labour.

So the new fisherman could go off to fish, having agreed to pay a market rent for his pitch. In return for that payment, the fisherman would not only have exclusive use of that site, but would also enjoy all the benefits of living in society, such as a road to transport his catch to market where he could sell his fish and buy other things he needed in exchange. There need be no taxman to enquire how many fish he had caught because his duty to society would be met by paying the market rent. Whether he worked a four-day or five-day week would be his own business.

This economic approach dovetails with environmental responsibility: since the perch is not his, but only rented out to him, it could be a condition of the lease that he keeps it for future generations in at least as good order as he received it. (Special provisions would, of course, be required for extractive industries like mining).

I hope you find this useful in your search for a fair and dignified society.
Best wishes
Anthony (Werner)
Please see also The Importance of Political Economy in the Education of Political and Business Leaders, paper presented at the Rhodes Forum - 2011, Ninth Annual Meeting, October 6-10, 2011, Rhodes Island, Greece.

 


 

 

Pictures

 


EvelinEvelin
Evelin Ragnhild Nilsen Jingy Pamela Hiley

23th January 2012, celebrating that the first printed exemplar of the Dignity Economy book, the first book of Dignity Press, came in the post on 19th January 2012.
Please click on the picture above or here to see more photos.