Recently picked up The Varieties of Scientific Experience by the one and only Carl Sagan.

Carl attempts to make sense of current theology in the context of modern scientific knowledge, posing, above all, that humility and compassion should govern the human experience. Given our relatively recent ability to cause our own annihilation with nuclear weapons, this may be the only way humankind can survive. Further, he points to reasonable understandings of God and life given the context of the universe’s and earth’s history.

But I couldn’t help but feel that his arguments, though poignant, respectable, and logical, lack the fervor and heat required for humanity to move away from the disastrous possibilities we have created. Namely, he gives no alternative to the logistics of how we live and run our society other than better knowledge, understanding, and more perfect distributions of information.

Everyone should be wary of a dependence on a trajectory toward perfect knowledge, for with it comes power, which makes it political and costly (in more ways than monetary).

So, I propose Saganomics, a re-framing of economic theory (which by-and-large is a bastardization of more complex, dynamic, and chaotic systems we could not possibly comprehend completely). What could happen if we re-form the fundamentals of economics with a new assumption of humility and awe in the face of scale and history over rational self-interest. Not to discount self-interest as a motivation (of course it exists and would be silly to ignore it), but to credit the phenomenon of human life and its necessity to persist through our compassion.

Consider the cooperative (shared ownership) business model, which recently was pointed out to me to have a unique characteristic. Cooperatives tend to grow only as much as they are needed, largely by demand, and by the roles they fulfill in a community. Cooperatives do not grow for the sake of growth. That is the kind of economic structure that is consistent with a Saganomic principle of humility and that successfully transcends naive assumptions about rational self-interest.