Dignity Economy

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* Book: A Dignity Economy. Creating an Economy that Serves Human Dignity and Preserves Our Planet. By Evelin Lindner. Dignity Press, 2012

URL = http://www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/evelin/book/04.php

Contextual Citation

From the Preface by Evelin Lindner:

"This book advocates deep paradigm shift, not from one rigid paradigm to another, but away from rigidity altogether. Away from monolithic fixity toward co-created fluid processes. Away from inflexible edifices toward organic coming-into-being, growing like trees grow. Away from monolithic institutions toward a global movement that is co-created by people and their energy of passion and enthusiasm. Away from a combative dominator world, into which people are installed like little cog-wheels, toward global partnership that allows rich diversity to flourish."


Evelin Lindner:

"This book is not just about a new what. The book is also about a new how. The new how is about fluid conversation, about public deliberation, about grappling with issues.

And it is more personal in that I use “I,” because I wish to model academic work as embedded into a context, rather than pretending to exist in a social and psychological vacuum. This book brings a very personal journey to the table, a journey that travels the circles of the reflective equilibrium (chapter 12), and a journey that is embedded into the confluence of a large global network of relationships, the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network. The book models its emphasis on the significance of social relationships by acknowledging the members of this network. The clarity of the flow of the argument may sometimes be interrupted by these acknowledgments, yet, in the spirit of Jean Baker Miller’s relational-cultural theory (chapter 3), this practice brings more clarity into the social embeddedness of those arguments.


In my first book on dignity and humiliation, Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict (2006), I describe my vision of a more dignified world.

First, this book lays out a theory of the mental and social dynamics of humiliation and proposes the need for “egalization” (the undoing of humiliation) for a healthy global society. It then presents chapters on the role of misunderstandings in fostering feelings of humiliation; the role of humiliation in international conflict; and the relationship of humiliation to terrorism and torture. It concludes with a discussion of how to defuse feelings of humiliation and create a dignified world. This book was characterized as a path-breaking book, honored as “Outstanding Academic Title” by the journal Choice for 2007 in the USA.

My second book, Emotion and Conflict: How Human Rights Can Dignify Emotion and Help Us Wage Good Conflict (2009) is an expansion of a chapter that I wrote for Morton Deutsch’s Handbook of Conflict Resolution.

I describe how realizing the promise of equality in dignity can help improve the human condition at all levels—from micro to meso to macro.

This book uses a broad historical perspective that includes all of human history, from its hunter-gatherer origins to the promise of a globally united knowledge society in the future. It emphasizes the need to recognize and transcend malign cultural, social, and psychological effects of the past. The book calls upon the world community, academics and lay people alike, to own up to the opportunities offered by increasing global interdependence. My third book, Gender, Humiliation, and Global Security: Dignifying Relationships from Love, Sex, and Parenthood to World Affairs (2010), examines the social and political ramifications of human violations and world crises related to humiliation.34 Archbishop Desmond Tutu contributed with the Foreword. It is a book about big love, in the spirit of Gandhi’s satyāgraha (nonviolent action), a term that is assembled from agraha (firmness/force) and satya (truth-love). It analyzes why women were devalued during the past millennia, and why the work of nurturing relationships, including the work of love, became invisible. The book encourages constructive social, political, and cultural change through the force of satyāgraha. The book is being “highly recommended” by Choice.

In all of my work, I make the point that equality in dignity, with humiliation as its violation, becomes ever more salient when global interdependence increases. Never before did anything called a global village exist. Until recently, the world was fragmented into many “villages,” all afraid of their neighbors who could quickly turn into enemies. No history lesson helps us, because the notion of one global village turns the whole of humanity into one single in-group (with inner diversity) on one tiny planet, something that has never occurred before.

Like my first three books, A Dignity Economy was written in dialogue with Linda Hartling and the other members of our network. It is part of a larger body of work that aims at creating new visions for the future, visions for systemic paradigm shifts, visions of unity in diversity, not just locally but globally.

Our aim is to nurture the next Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandelas to change the world. To serve this aim we strive to bridge existing gaps. We connect academic disciplines, we build bridges between academia and practice, and we bring together those who focus on creating a new consciousness within with those who have their attention on building new institutional frames out in the world."


Vincent L. Lombardi:

"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." (http://www.humiliationstudies.org/whoweare/evelin/book/04.php)

Background on the author

From the foreword by Ulrich Spalthoff:

"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 decisionmaking."