following passage is excerpted and abridged from "A World
in Balance?" by Bernard Lietaer, in Reflections, Volume 4,
Number 4, ©2003 by the Society for Organizational Learning
and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
We must bring balance to money, because
our monetary system fuels and exerts the most profound influence
on all other human systems. Such balanced money systems
have existed during specific periods and exist today in
some unexpected pockets of the world, with dramatic, encouraging
Rather than argue from theory, I will use
two tragic events as examples..
Exactly one year, one month, and one day
after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,
a terrorist bomb in Kuta, Bali, killed more than 190 people.
However, the global media have not covered the Balinese
reaction to this horror. Two authoritative reports from
Bali demonstrate an alternative way to deal with terrorism.
From a police report a week after the bombing:
Lt. Col. I. Made Murda of the Bali
police declared that, although hundreds of shops and restaurants
had their windows blown out in the blast, not one single
looting has been reported. Down in Legian, there are all
these shops without windows and doors, all their wares there
for the taking, but nobody has. There were also fears that
there could be an instant reaction against the Muslim population
in Bali, but no such thing has happened. What has happened
is that there have been peace vigils and prayer meetings
all over the island, and Christians, Muslims, locals, and
foreigners working hand in hand in the relief effort (personal
In contrast, in the U.S. after September 11,
the FBI reported:
Hate crimes against Muslims soared. by more than
1,600%: a jump from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001.. The overall
number of hate crimes against all minorities in the U.S.
increased over the last year by 21% to a total of 1,828
The second Bali report is a speech by Asana Viebeke, the representative
of the main local civic authorities in the area where the
blast occurred. He delivered this speech in English on October
We the Balinese have an essential concept of balance.
It's the Tri Hita Karana: the concept of triple harmonious
balance. The balance between god and humanity, humanity
with itself, and humanity with the environment..
Who did this? This is not such an important question
for us to discuss. Why this happened-maybe this is more
worthy of thought. What can we do to create beauty from
this tragedy and come to an understanding where nobody
feels the need to make such a statement again? That is
important. That is the basis from which we can embrace
everyone as a brother, everyone as a sister.. Why seek
retribution from people who are acting as they see fit?
These people are misguided from our point of view. Obviously,
from theirs, they feel justified and angry enough to make
such a brutal statement.
We would like to send a message to the world: Embrace
this misunderstanding between our brothers, and let's
seek a peaceful answer to the problems that bring us to
such tragedy. Words of hate will not rebuild our shops
and houses. They will not heal damaged skin. They will
not bring back our dead. Help us to create beauty out
of this tragedy..
The overwhelming scenes of love and compassion at Sanglah
Hospital show us the way forward into the future. If we
hate our brothers and sisters, we are lost in [darkness].
If we can love all of our brothers and sisters.we have
already won "the war against terrorism."
Compare this statement with U.S. official policy of violent
military retaliation. The contrast between such reactions
raises these questions:
What explains how a similar horror spontaneously elicits
exactly the opposite emotional reactions in a society?
What explains the Balinese exception?
How can we learn from it?
to be in Bali on that fateful night. I had just completed
four months of primary field research focusing on these
last two questions. My key findings were that Balinese society
maintains a balance between what the Taoist call the yin-yang
world-views, or between the masculine and feminine perspectives,
while the so-called "developed countries"-including the
U.S.-are strongly dominated by the yang coherence. Furthermore,
the collective power of money systems is an engine that
continually maintains and encourages each worldview. Specifically,
in Bali, a dual yin-yang currency system operates, while
in Western societies, there is a monopoly of a yang currency.
© 1990-2005, More Than Money, All rights reserved