A Homage to Sampedro

For the 1s of May 2013 we celebrated International Workers' Day with a homage to José Luis Sampedro, a great figure of EcoEconomics who left us on the 8th of April, just as we were starting these conferences.  He was 96 years old.

Being great admirers of his work & thinking, as a radical EcoEconomist, just a few weeks before his death, we had invited him to be a speaker for EcoNova & had received a very courteous email of reply saying that Mr Sampedro was not able to give interviews online as he was hard of hearing & didn't manage new technologies well.   

Vídeo de YouTube

In this quite famous recent interview, in which he talks of the 15M Movement, we can hear the piercing clarity with which he understood & communicated that, to change the world, first of all we have to learn to think for ourselves, & see how questions of values, ethics, psychology, education & economics are totally interconnected.   

This is precisely the focus of all these conferences: that the economy cannot be understood by just focusing on some of the parts - it is essential to keep to a systemic & holistic vision & focus: of the whole complete ecosystem.   Once we understand some essential bases of this, then we'll know how to act in more intelligent, coordinated & effective ways.

THANKYOU SO MUCH José Luis Sampedro, for being such a generous spirit & brilliant mind which helps us so much to learn how to see & think in more honorable, awake & evolutionary ways.   You will always remain alive within us, who continue with the work that you started.

In the video above, renowned Spanish writer, humanist, and economist José Luis Sampedro (b. 1916) talks about the Spanish Revolution movement and shows his support for the protests.

Despite his age, or maybe because of that, he is a remarkable, clear-thinking man of vast intellect and an advocate for an economy built upon respect for human dignity.

He’s been awarded the Orden de las Artes y las Letras de España 2011 (The Order of the Arts and Letters of Spain). The Consejo de Ministros (Ministry Council) stated that the award is granted to Sampedro “por su sobresaliente trayectoria literaria y por su pensamiento comprometido con los problemas de su tiempo”. (“For his literary career and his commitment to the problems of his age”)

He is also member of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language.

En vez de productividad, propongo vitalidad; en vez de competitividad, cooperación, y frente a esa innovación que consiste en inventar cosas para venderlas, creación.

Instead of production, I propose vitality; instead of competition, cooperation, & instead of that innovation that consists in inventing things to sell them, creation.

The voice of a new generation

José Luis Sampedro, The voice of a new generation

Writer and economist who inspired Spanish protest movement dies at 96

From ElPais

 Madrid 9 ABR 2013 - 17:41 CET

José Luis Sampedro, pictured in 2000. / LUIS MAGÁN

The clear voice of José Luis Sampedro — a writer, humanist and economist who closed the generational gap to become a standard-bearer for Spain’s disaffected youth — died out last Sunday. The 96-year-old intellectual passed away in his Madrid home the way he wanted to: quietly, just like he lived his life.

He wanted to go “in a simple manner, without publicity,” said his widow Olga Lucas, whom Sampedro married in 2003 and thanks to whom, the writer used to say ironically, he was able to “face death with great serenity; she makes my moribundity quite satisfactory.”

Sampedro, his widow recalls, “felt panic at the media circus surrounding the death of famous people.” That is why he left it in writing that his death should only be announced after his cremation. And so it was.

Sampedro was one of the intellectual and moral role models for the “Indignados” protest movement, a fact that made him enormously popular in later years. It is no coincidence that it was him who introduced Spaniards to another rebel in his nineties, Stéphane Hessel, author of the unexpectedly popular booklet Time for Outrage!

“There are two types of economists: those who work to make the rich even richer, and those of us who work to make the poor less poor,” Sampedro used to say. As a university professor, his students included future economy ministers such as Miguel Boyer, Carlos Solchaga, Pedro Solbes and Elena Salgado. Yet he never traded in the pulse of the street for the influence of the halls of power. A senator by royal appointment since 1977, Sampedro had an apartment in Mijas Costa (Málaga), where he liked to spend part of the winter, and on the wall he had a plaque with the inscription: “Avenue of the Republic.”

I wanted to be a Jesuit at age nine and an anarchist at age 19"

Yet Sampedro’s popularity is not a recent event. It grew phenomenally in 1985, when he published his novel La sonrisa etrusca. Through it, thousands of readers discovered “a humble, wandering man.” Sampedro used this phrase by the turn-of-the-century novelist Pío Baroja to define himself when he was admitted into the Spanish Royal Academy in June 1991.

Although he was born in Barcelona on February 1, 1917, he lived in the Moroccan city of Tangier until the age of 13. In 1936, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War caught him working in Santander, and he was mobilized by the Republican army. A year later he deserted and went over to the Francoist side, which he considered more in tune with his own beliefs. Finally, the atrocities of war pushed him away from both sides.

“I wanted to be a Jesuit at age nine and an anarchist at age 19," he used to say. Born into a well-off family, he was a diligent student who passed national examinations to be a customs official. Meanwhile, his war experience provided inspiration for his novel La sombra de los días,which he wrote in 1945 but which was not published until the 1990s.

“I was a militiaman until August 1937, when the nacionales took Santander and took me as well. I became a national soldier until the end, which turned out to be worse than the beginning. When ‘my guys,’ as I thought of them, started executing people, I realized that the winners of the war were not ‘my guys’ at all,” he wrote in Escribir es vivir, a collection of transcriptions of lectures he gave on the subject of his work in 2003.

Besides novels and essays, Sampedro also wrote about economic issues throughout his life, including the most recent El mercado y la globalización (The market and globalization), published in 2002. This math type/poetry type duality was always a hallmark of Sampedro’s personality – sometimes extravagantly so. During the postwar years he combined an advisory position at the Trade Ministry with a side job as a playwright for theatrical revues, using a pseudonym.

His public debut as a novelist came in 1951 with Congreso en Estocolmo. He was 34 years old and the story was based on a trip he had made to the Swedish capital two years earlier for a gathering of economists. Years later, Sampedro still reminisced about the abysmal contrast between Spain and Sweden at the time.

Sampedro was a humanist who was only isolated from reality (and just partly) after becoming deaf in later years. Olga Lucas, his widow, told Europa Press that that the writer had accepted death as a natural event, “inasmuch as he did not really feel like dying.”

“He used to say that he was afraid of failing, of not being able to die with dignity, but he was not afraid of death itself,” she said.

He was peculiar to the end. “He told us he wanted to drink a Campari, so we made him a Campari with crushed ice,” continued Lucas. "He looked at me and said: ‘I’m starting to feel better. Many thanks to everyone.’ Then he fell asleep and a while later he died.”

By Anne Sewell
Apr 9, 2013 in World

Madrid - Humanist, writer and economist, José Luis Sampedro has passed away at the age of 96 in his home in Madrid. Well-known in Spain, he jumped generational barriers to become an icon to the Spanish youth and to the 15M movement.
The Spanish economist and writer advocated an economy "more humane, more caring, able to help develop the dignity of peoples."
Sampedro is survived by his widow, Olga Lucas, whom he married in 2003.
He passed away quietly in his home in Madrid on April 7, wishing to die as he had lived, without fanfare, without noise, without acts of homage. According to his widow, Olga Lucas, Sampedro's express wish was to "go simply and without advertising." His widow told the media that he faced "death calmly." He was cremated this morning as per his wishes.
Sampedro will be well-remembered as one of the leading intellectuals in recent years.
Another rebel nonagenarian, Stéphane Hessel, the author of "Time for Outrage!" had said of Sampedro (who wrote the prologue to the Spanish edition of the book):
"There are two kinds of economists: those who work to make the rich richer and those who work to make the poor less poor."
The book was primarily about the 15M movement and is a political argument that invites a peaceful rebellion against the banks, the press and social inequalities. Regrettably, the author, Hessel, also passed away recently at the age of 95 on February 27, 2013.
Son of a wealthy family, born in Barcelona on February 1, 1917, Sampedro lived in Tangier (Morocco) up until the age of 13, then moved to Soria and then Aranjuez.
In 1936, with the outbreak of the Civil War he was working in Santander, and was mobilized by the Republican Army. A year later he left to join the rebel side, to which he considered himself more akin.
He said of those days, "I became a Jesuit at age 9 and anarchist at 19."
He drew on his war experience to write the novel "The Shadow of the Day (Alfaguara)" in 1945 and which was published in the nineties.
He continued as both an author and an economist and became an Academician of the Real Academia Española in1990 and was the recipient of both the Order of Arts and Letters of Spain and the Spanish Literature National Prize (2011).
Throughout his life Sampedro criticized the moral and social decline of the Western world, neoliberalism and wild capitalism.

From: http://digitaljournal.com

As usual, we invite you to share your thoughts in the Dialogues.

José Luis Sampedro Quotes 

The system is broken & lost, that's why you have a future. 

They tell us that man has an immortal soul & that the world was created for him & as a result that we can make of this world our garden to do whatever we like with.
And it's not true.
We form part of this world, we're in it & have to obey its laws.

At nine years old I tried to be a Jesuit. At 19, an anarchist.

There are two types of economists: those who work to make the rich richer & those of us who work to make the poor less poor.

In your hunger, you're the boss.

We should be 1000 time more outraged. 

They govern us through fear.

We are nature.   To put money as the primary asset leads us to disaster.

The 15th of may* needs to be something more than an oasis in the desert; it needs to be the start of an arduous fight for achieving that we aren't taken for, or effectively be, "merchendise in the hands of politicians & bankers".   Let's say NO to financial tyranny & it's devastating consequences.

*15M or the start of the 'occupy' movement in Spain

People are mad?  No, people are manipulated.

[The Republic] transmitted hope, high expectations (except to those who wanted undeserved privileges), & I lived it as a natural thing.   For that reason the Franco system felt so unnatural, non-human!   [In the war the north fell in 1937 ..., & I was mobilized as a Franco soldier: to see bishops blessing cannons convinced me that this side defended privilege & money.   


I don't say that the past was better.  I'm saying that capitalism in it's moment was budding, but now is unsustainable.  The best definition of its decadence was given by Bush.   He said: "I've suspended market laws in order to save the market".  That is to say, the market is incompatible with its own laws.

What has most impressed me about this XX century that is ending is human stupidity & brutality.

Europa is like a boss that never comes to the telephone.

After this crisis, the next thing in the short term will be another crisis.

Am not interested in happiness & I don't think it depends on more or less intelligence.   But certainly to not demand too much makes it easier to get on with one's self, which is my substitute for happiness.

This world is betraying life. 

The day one is born, one starts to die little by little.
We're used to see death as something negative, & I'm so close that I can't stop thinking about this subject.   But I think with vital joy.  What they don't teach us is that the day one is born, one starts to die, & death accompanies us every day.

The system has organized a casino that has the same people win all the time.

We are educated for being producers & consumers, not for being free humans.