• Collapsonomics: come and learn from the masters of the art

    by  • March 4, 2012 • Everything Else • 0 Comments

    So Dougald and I are going to be running a one-week residential workshop at Schumacher college on Collapsonomics April 30 – May 4, 2012. I thought I should write something about why people should take this course.

    The bottom line is that learning a new perspective on life is difficult. It took the best part of two years of conversations to really shake out the core insights of collapsonomics, and those core insights have become key cultural generators of a variety of projects that the collapsonomics gang have undertaken, from urban regeneration through to large scale risk management and including one-step-removed projects like Dark Mountain and the Gupta State Failure Management Archive.

    There’s simply no quick “start here” to absorb that model – we can write about it, but even a very good book on the subject (and one has not yet been written as of 2012!) is only a small part of the jarring shift from “wait, this is all going to be ok, right?” to “we’re mid-way through an unstoppable process of change, and this is how we should see and feel those fluxes.” We’re basically making a week in which people can come, unpack their sense of the present, and re-see themselves and their lives in light of the real situation.

    That real situation is not simple. It’s not cut-and-dried economic analysis – we are not forecasters. Rather it’s about understanding the past, from the industrial revolution and colonialism, to the present, with infrastructure, trade and supply chain volatility as core parts of how the world works which we are trained not to see by the constant, brightly-lit, ever-available stream of products at every supermarket. Collapsonomics is about understanding that this bounty is vulnerable, that people like us all over the world have gone from having it to not (and sometimes back again!) and that, at a core level, our identities must be free of our roles within late-stage capitalism.

    We must learn to be ourselves within and without this economic game, and our course is about that reality.

    There will be three main areas that I’ll be focussing on, and I’ll take the risk of speaking for Dougald a little on this too. The first is modelling our critical infrastructure and supply chains – really seeing the water and the power and the food supply as systems, and understanding our personal technical and emotional relationships with them. Then there’s the social side of the economy (Dougald’s models of the social functions of money, and the transformation in society and wealth from the 15th or 17th century onwards.) Finally, the acceptance of loss and inevitable change as the price of not living with our heads in the sand, waiting for the end – rather, a continuous engagement with the rough seas of life, a falling-with the processes, rather than a harsh resistance to change. The idea is to teach you models which reflect the practicalities of life in an engineering sense, and the historic and cultural realities of the way people live to allow you do your own analysis of situations as they change and unfold around you. We are not tied to one way of seeing the future, so it’s important to show you how to feel the bones of the present and past, to enable you to do this for yourself every day as things move forward.

    It’s only crushing to lose a Mercedes if you thought you deserved one.

    So come to our workshop at Schumacher, get an intensive insight into how we do things, and learn all the things you could have learned down the pub with us, if only you’d been in London for the past few years, and had the time to spend. We’re not private and protective about this work, we teach it everywhere we go, but this is a time and place for extensive exposure for people who’ve followed us on the internet and want the face-to-face time to learn and absorb.

    It’s the first time, we’re giving it our best shot, and we’ll hope to see you down there. Please sign up today if you’re coming!

    Here’s the video we made discussing the course. See you there!

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


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