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Content Starts Tyson Yunaporta on Hoodie Economics

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In an era where simplicity often takes precedence, there are voices that beckon us to delve deeper, to embrace the intricate layers of our existence, and to understand the profound connections that shape our world.

Two such voices, Jack Manning Bancroft and Tyson Yunkaporta, offer insights that challenge conventional wisdom and urge us to rethink our perspectives on economics and relationships.

One (Jack) has a new book ‘Hoodie Economics’ that you can pre order below and the other (Tyson) sat down with us for an hour long yarn to talk about the book.

Listen to the full conversation with Tyson talking about Jack’s new book Hoodie Economics

Key conversation takeaways

On the hoodie

“The hoodie represents people from the margins of society. It represents the youth. It represents, you know, people from ethnicities that are economically marginalised. It represents people whose existence is criminalised, you know, they’re seen as… threats or problems.”

“It’s not about the hoodie; it’s about what the hoodie represents… It’s about relationships, not transactions.” 

On Jack and AIME

“You [Jack] are always looking forward, always pushing for change, always seeking solutions. I tend to look back, to understand where we came from, to find wisdom in ancient patterns. But I think that’s why our conversations are so rich. It’s like we’re looking at the same picture from two different angles.”

“Jack’s got this vision, and he’s always had it, of a world where every kid gets a fair shot. And he’s been able to rally people around that vision.”

“AIME has moved from just being about mentorship to actually changing the way we think about relations, about economy, about how we relate to each other in society.”

“AIME is not just another cog in the machine. It’s a force that’s challenging the very mechanics of the system, pushing us to rethink how we inspire and mobilise change.”

“AIME doesn’t just inspire; it transforms. It takes the raw energy of inspiration and channels it into tangible, impactful actions. It’s not about fleeting moments of motivation; it’s about sustained momentum for change.”

“Jack’s got this relentless optimism, and I’ve got this relentless pessimism. But somehow, when we talk, it’s like these two things balance out.”

“AIME… they’re rallying the margins. They’re not trying to move the margins to the centre; they’re moving the centre to the margins.” 

“Jack’s always been about systems change… He’s always been about changing the entire environment.” 

On design and patterns

“There are these patterns that are universal, that are in Indigenous cultures everywhere, and they’re also in complex systems science. They’re in nature. They’re everywhere. And it’s just about learning to see those patterns.”

“Everything is based on patterns… Everything that we think is solid and linear and structural is not” 

“There’s a design line, and anything outside that design line is marginalised.” 

“You’ve got this creative engine that’s driven by the tension between life and death.” 

“You’ve got to verify that knowledge all the time. You’ve got to test it.” 

On Empires

“Empires, they’re not sustainable. They’re extractive. They take more than they give. And they collapse. That’s the pattern. But what you’re talking about with AIME and with the hoodie is systems change. It’s not about creating another empire; it’s about changing the system.”

“When you’re looking at things from an Indigenous perspective, you’re looking at the relationality of everything. You’re not looking at things in isolation.”

On marginalisation

“There’s a lot of power in the margins… The margins are where all the creativity happens. It’s where all the innovation happens. It’s where all the diversity is. It’s where all the resilience is.”

“When you focus solely on the centre, you miss out on the vast landscape of knowledge, culture, and innovation that exists on the fringes. It’s in the margins where we find solutions to some of our most pressing challenges.”

“The design line is where decisions are made about who belongs and who doesn’t. It’s a line that’s been drawn by those in power, and it often excludes those who don’t fit the dominant narrative.”

“When you’re outside the design line, you’re constantly reminded of your ‘otherness’. It’s a space of exclusion, but it’s also a space of resistance and resilience. Those outside the design line have always found ways to challenge it, to redraw it, to make their voices heard.”

“The margins are where you find the richness, the diversity, the real stories. It’s where innovation happens, where change is birthed. The centre might hold power, but the margins hold potential.”

On finances and systems

“We’ve created a system where numbers on a screen have more value than tangible goods, where speculation can drive entire economies into recession. It’s a system that often prioritises profit over people, and where the real-world impact of financial decisions can be devastating for communities.”

“When finance becomes detached from economics, from the real-world activities of production and consumption, we enter dangerous territory. We see speculation, bubbles, and a focus on short-term gains over long-term sustainability.”

“We live in a world where extraction is the norm. Not just of minerals or oil, but of cultural knowledge, of human potential, of the very essence of what makes communities thrive. This extraction leaves scars, both visible and invisible.”

“When you take without giving back, you create an imbalance. This imbalance manifests in various ways – environmental degradation, social inequality, cultural erosion. It’s a cycle of taking that’s hard to break, especially when it’s embedded in the very systems that govern our world.”

“Economics, at its heart, is about relationships. It’s about how we relate to each other, to the land, to our cultures. When we prioritise transactions over relationships, we miss the essence of what it means to be part of a community, part of a system.”

“In Indigenous cultures, we’ve always understood the importance of balance. You take, but you also give back. You benefit from the community, but you also contribute to its well-being. That’s the essence of a relational economy.”

On death

“Death is not just an end; it’s a beginning. It’s a force that drives creation, that pushes us to innovate, to adapt, and to evolve. It’s the very essence of the creative engine.”

“In Indigenous cultures, we understand the cyclical nature of life. Death is a part of this cycle, a moment of transition, a phase of transformation. It’s about returning to the earth, nourishing it, and ensuring the continuity of life.”

Read the full transcript

0:00:00 – Tyson

Right, yes, we are recording so yeah so we’ll talk, have a bit quick yarn about the hoodie economics J&B’s book coming up, and then me and Steph want to talk about logical fallacies a little bit. So my warm up we’ll just to invigilate the yarn about Jack’s book and like, if we see any fallacies in there, we’ll point them out if we can. If we can spot any, yeah, we’re gonna move into that. And the symbols that we’ve been making about these things, about trying to make sense of it. Stephanie’s bored with them, though she thinks it’s just boring Anyway. So, ben, I had a look at the questions you sent me for Jack’s book. So you use these for a written thing, but let’s see if we can yarn through it. I mean, steph, it’ll be easier. If we can yarn, it’ll work better. So, steph, you are saying anything. 

0:01:21 – Benjamin

Yeah, hello, great to see you. I’ve been looking forward to a yarn about this. Not only this, but the overall things that are unfolding with the nation, a lot of things that I’ve been learning from the labs and listening to. The pods kind of come through and not really knowing what it means. So I think to get some of this in relation understanding from you, so I don’t feel like I’m just kind of floating out there kind of guessing, but it feels right. So I think there’s some good energy kind of coming through. 

0:02:02 – Tyson

So Ben Knight Go through them yeah yeah, how do you want to frame this? 

0:02:07 – Ben

Mate, if I can ask questions that’s awesome and you cats go for it then I reckon this first one is about trying to see how these are dissecting parts with the relational economy that Jack talks about with hoodie economics, and then like indigenous knowledge and patterns, that’s in Sand Talk. I guess there’s a lot of like discussion or like energy around Sand Talk ties and then hoodie economics. So just love to hear your thoughts on intersecting stuff between the two. 

0:02:51 – Tyson

Steph, do you want to kick off? 

0:02:53 – Tyson

Someone who’s probably more familiar with my book than I am and Jack’s book than he is or any of us are. Yeah, you, just what do you see in there? You’re from Newmark country. Oh, okay, that’s it. Nice, all right. 

0:03:24 – Steph

Well, let’s see what the western point of view hey, I guess, like my first impressions, like when I read Sand Talk, I was just totally lost back the first time. I probably read it about four times now, been going back into a couple different sections in more depth, trying to understand it more, like the patterns of thinking on their hand, symbols, and when I read hoodie economics it’s almost like this whole evolution of aim right and I’ve been around and in it for like seven years, so it almost feels like I’ve been written into the stories that I’m then kind of reading about and I’m living it like in my life. I was in New York when I kind of read the first draft of it and went through that a couple of times, but the main point that stuck with me was this phrase of like seeing economics like in its true form, like we’re all economists and some of us are just unrecognized and there’s all these different things that are being exchanged everywhere. So I see this into weaving of hoodie economics and Sand Talk is that there’s these more like this space between everything that we’re not recognizing. And one of the areas that I keep getting drawn back to in hoodie economics is these seven elements for this relational economy, and I’m really fascinated with that because I help, like the knowledge flows around aims, shaping up strategy and taking us from like I kind of decided on the weekend when I was thinking about this but I feel like I’m like decoding these metaphors, so taking people from, like, the vision down to the really practical, tangible knowledge and action that we do to get things from imagining to doing. It’s like a bridge and you’re going to bridge that space between them more, seeing that as like the relationships, not actually the nodes and the networks of the things that are there or what it looks like in between. 

And then the dreaming mind, way of thinking, the symbol that you wrote for that. It’s like a circle on one side and a circle on the other and something that meets it in the middle. And to me it looks like a character like we do a lot of work with puppetry as well and kind of looks like this space with these two big eyes on it and taking what we use as professors in ways to communicate these complex things to people, to simplify it but to give them a really good understanding of it. And yeah, I just saw a professor when I saw a dreaming mind. It’s a way to take you into an abstract way of thinking, but then you have to have that look into tangible knowledge, otherwise you just be stuck out in like this tormenting kind of vision, a dream that you’ll never, ever be able to achieve. 

Yeah, that’s probably two areas that I keep getting drawn back to most, and then just these patterns of creation that you spoke about as well. In hoody economics, like, just talk to everyone and listen carefully and then you’ll get to see the true patterns of creation. And I’m more and more seeing like the importance of being able to verify genuine knowledge, like being able to protect I guess, yourself from adopting thinking that’s not healthy for you. 

But how do we do that in this landscape that’s just so overflowing with information and you don’t know, like, what to believe, and it’s just, yeah, I guess, a difficult point. But knowing that there are processes, there is what’s keeping me hopeful, especially when I look at these fallacies, and it’s just this sense of dread, because how do you window these inherited patterns and ways of thinking and believing? This is just it. 

0:07:29 – Tyson

So you’re the same way. You know you’re somebody who’s read these books and you feel that hope in your heart like, oh, we could do this, we could have a human economy, and we can do it just by being human with each other. You know that sounds good and at the same time, even the most basic principles, like Susie has just said. Like you know, just listen to everyone. You know isn’t that lovely, but when you start to look at the discourse the people of bad faith are bringing to the table, you know people who are here to upset every balance and every protocol. 

They’re bringing just yeah. So like us too, looking at these fallacies, they’re bringing no argument, no policy, nothing, just fallacies. And the main fallacy they’re bringing is ad hominem, which is just no argument at all. It’s just attacking the other person. You know, if somebody’s just coming to the table and attacking you but then trying to set it up so that you can’t any kind of argument you make, you know responding to their argument is like seen as a personal attack and an infringement on their freedom of speech. So you know what I mean. Like people, so people like the bully at school. You know I’m starting to think you don’t listen to everybody. 

Yeah that’s listening to everybody is like giving a salesman a foot in the door. It’s worse. It’s like giving a vampire a foot in the door, a serial killer a foot in the door. You’re a bad people. Yeah, Jack and I are both guilty of like having these moments of hope. Yeah, oh no, we just trust humanity. You know, the humanity is great, but there are some things out there that are not good, you know. 

So here’s where you know, here’s where Jack just is so inspiring, Because me, I keep coming back to that all the time. I keep coming back to no, no, no, no. You know it’s this. This looks great on paper, this looks great in our relationships, but as it goes out into the world, there are mechanisms in place that will make us homeless and make us dead if you don’t honor them. 

You know, if we’re not here helping somebody take their capital and add value to it with their labor, you know what I mean. At least twice the value. At least twice the value. If we’re not able to do that with something that’s fair, doing it with knowledge or with our hands, skills or unskills or anything else, then we’re dead. You know we’re part of the massively growing unhoused, you know. But see, then Jack looks at that and he sees opportunity. He sees oh my goodness, so many people unhoused. This is a vast community. Of you know mobile people. Of you know people potentially who could have this relational economy and who are already living elements of a relational economy. You know he sees opportunity there to restart the world. But we start nearly crying and he, just like, keeps going. 

0:11:09 – Tyson

Well, it also fades into that breakthrough moment of emergence. Right Like you either break down or something breaks through as this creation. And is that, like homeless people who don’t have homes, something new form out of necessity from that? 

0:11:27 – Tyson

See, this is where, like so Jack and I are constantly in this, like this push-pull of him just being relentlessly loosely positive and me being relentlessly negative. So, you know, every time when he starts talking about emergence, I start going well, look at that carefully, is that emergence or is that something that you’re just noticing for the first time and it’s been there all along? You know, is it emergence or is it revelation? And he just goes both are great, both are great, both are useful, both are awesome. Yeah, that’s what this hoodie economics it’s, just like you know. It invites you to be cynical and horrendously, you know, skeptical and I don’t know, just have a puppet laugh at you while you’re doing it. 

0:12:25 – Benjamin

Hey Tyce, do you reckon there’s something specific from a personal experience you and Jack both have had different like connections with that have like, as you say, like changed the way in which you react to these transactional, relational things? Are there different things that you think have shaped your different paths to this point? 

0:12:46 – Tyson

Yeah, yeah. So like some moment or well long period of you know changemaking that’s that’s switched us around, that we could possibly generalize to other people and go here’s your training video to become a relational economist, I think I don’t know. I think it’s different things. For me it’s been a lifetime of abuse and responding to that with a, you know, a rejection of relation and just going, no, I can, just, I will beat all your bastards, you know so, having an aggressive response to you know decades of trauma and then you know, finding that, not working in the world and finding myself longing for, longing for that relation, that good relation, right relation, and then rediscovering that. And I guess for Jack it’s about being born into that and about meeting everyone he meets. He wants to bring them into it, so that’s how he’s constantly trying to bring me in there more and more. 

I don’t know. We’re both in really good and vibrant, intense, productive relation with vast networks of people, but they’re both very different ways of being in that relation. You know, there’s this there’s one that’s open, soft, loving, caring, and then there’s like another, quite fierce, fierce way of being in relation that I can’t quite drop, both effective His like brings in more people. But then mine reaches the people who usually wouldn’t be reached the other way, people who you know who would otherwise be like. No, I’m going to go over here and join this in cell community and I’m going to bone up on my bro science and have some supplements and work on my pecs. I can reach those ones just by shouting and swearing at them. Yeah. 

0:15:00 – Benjamin

I spend most of my time, I guess, with people expressing homelessness, right, like talking to them about what’s going on, and one thing that always sticks in my mind is the inability for people to listen when someone has something to say. And then I guess, like another perspective, like in third world countries, for example, where you kind of you kind of miss the point or don’t get a chance to get there what’s like? What do you think in terms of, like this whole relational economy, how does that that is something relational give people space to have a voice and be included, like? How does, how does? 

0:15:39 – Tyson

Someone who misses out. I think a relational economy is basically just what they, the idea that they already sell us that free market, capitalist economy is. It’s like they sell us this idea of how it’s a village and, you know, and everybody’s in kind of friendly competition with each other and, and you know, and the marketplace decides. You know, the group, it’s the most democratic thing ever because everybody’s got starting out on an equal playing field, everybody’s, like, you know, working more or less, or harder or softer, and having more luck or less luck, and but in the end it all kind of evens out and you know, and everyone becomes prosperous and it’s a rising tide that lifts all boats. And you know, then people who have more capital than their role in the society is to, you know, actually provide the infrastructure for people to come in and work and add value to this thing and grow it up together. That’s what they sell to us as free market capitalism. But you, you listen to that and you think, hang on a minute, that’s, that’s socialism, you know. So I don’t know. 

Here’s the thing I just think you’ve got to separate out. There’s a difference between finance and economics, and people get those things mixed up. Finance is something that predates on an economy and you know it eventually replaces it. You know to the point that you know, I don’t know, it’s like a demon possessed person or something in that person’s no longer calling the shots anymore. You know, at the moment, finance, global finance, you know which is not real money, but it doesn’t represent real value. It’s just people playing with magic and illusions into infinity at the expense of you know, half the world’s population or more. Yeah, that’s just rich people driving the planet like this doll. And what do you reckon stuff? I just feel it that way. 

0:17:52 – Tyson

Drive it like it’s stolen or is it stolen? 

0:17:55 – Tyson

Hey, hey. I can’t teach you at Australia, drive it like you stole it hey. 

0:18:02 – Tyson

That whole thing of like land and capital like being used for capital, that’s a pretty big fallacy. Like it, you can’t own it, yeah. So I guess it’s all these little illusions that people put in and just I just get a false equivalency fallacy, I think. I think I’ll see. 

0:18:23 – Tyson

I have to think that through. 

0:18:27 – Tyson

Yeah, I guess where I get, like I was all done all this is how many illusions are stacked up in front of this for us to have our daily scripts to go in and go work and do the school thing and do this and keep doing our daily thing for the majority of our lives, for all of that to be maintained and, like you, can’t get the chance to see through it because you don’t want to, like you said, die and end up homeless and not being able to have food or anything, and yeah, it’s just fear driven. 

So what is fear kind of? Maybe fit into the whole location as well, and maybe that’s a way to suppress our fear is to not look into it. Like I know, my whole journey going into this hasn’t been easy in my brains and melted like half a dozen times and building it back together. So, yeah, I get the reluctance of people who just want to get on with the everyday, normal things that they perceive as their reality. Yeah, I think it’s just, and I don’t know if I’m ready to go into the whole bright, dark side of however the world is run in these upper levels of society either, but I just get the sense that it’s. It’s very entangled and perhaps intentionally designed as well in some aspects, which is quite scary, knowing the reality that we all face and everyone’s kind of screaming to stop, for no one’s listening. 

0:20:08 – Tyson

I guess he been in a nutshell at some. You know, this vision of a relational economy is that it’s not a zero sum game. It’s not the lens or the field in which it sits is not a zero sum lens or a zero sum field. So in either what it is or what you perceive it to be, so each, any transaction you look at, there might be a give and take transaction and that’ll look like there’s a winner and loser in that. But in a relational economy, no, no, it’s just in that particular exchange the energy’s gone. You know this way, that way, in a favor there. But then there’s another relation that comes back around. That’ll be, you know that’ll be when you take and give after. So this a lot. So you look at. 

You know, in the lab with Jack we talk about natural relations and interdependencies, you know like, you know parasitic relations or predatory relations, etc. So you know, we identify all these different kinds of interactions like give and take, take and give, take and take and give and give. You know, so some interactions both benefit and then other interactions both lose out a little bit and vice versa. Sometimes there’s one winning out, other winning out. But what happens systemically is, you know, is that it all comes back around. So you might be giving while the other’s taking in one relationship, but you’ve got another relationship over here with someone else where you’re taking and they’re giving, and then you pay that forward with a give, give. You know that you’re doing with other people, and then you that comes back to you in the take, take, you know, as that’s needed. That actually benefits the other person as well and you both cash in from the entire system. 

So this only works if there’s a high velocity of a dollar in an economic system. So it’s a lot of people you know. You know within a lot of relationships where the dollar’s changing hands. If someone, if one millionaire, owns the entire supply chain, then they know all about the velocity of the dollar because they like to make it clunky and complicated, you know, and they like to waste money and energy in their supply chain because they own every part of it, from the shipping to the packaging to everything else. So the further that apple has to travel and the more money has to be spent, more fuel has to be burnt to finally get it to your apple pie, the better, because that’s that same millionaire spending the same dollar 20 times within his own system. And that’s how. That’s how he makes exponential growth happen for his ridiculous little, you know, cluster of zeros on a screen. But that’s, that’s the way. 

That’s that’s actually healthy as long as you keep it in an open system with a community. So we had a whole community running a, an actual free market economy. That would probably be a relational economy If it was, if we were running it the way it says. They say it right, so that’s, that’s the only way to do is to lean into that. 

0:23:39 – Benjamin

Yeah, I’m, I’m going to steal a bit of personal time here with a question. I hope that’s okay. I’m about. I’m about to go to Vietnam and we have lots of discussions at home at the moment with the kids around how to be in relation properly when you go to different countries, especially when it’s a new experience for them, not having seen a different place, a different culture and a different way of thinking. I was just, I was just wondering how this understanding of relations, culture and like, I suppose, like going somewhere else that is alien to you, and that approach of understanding, how do you be in relation with people and what’s the type of economy I guess that you participate in as part of that Like, of course, there is like tourism as a concept, but what is? What is that feeling of like, I suppose, spending time in another place and participating in that economy? In relation to, to, to, I suppose, moving from where you are to where, to a new place? Yeah, like, not talking about borders, talking about like people. 

0:24:46 – Tyson

You personally is really hard. So I mean, how do you establish yourself as a human being in a place where the imperial relation is so cemented in, no matter how sovereign or autonomous a village or a nation becomes? You know in Asia, like that. You know if you’re in Vietnam or Thailand or any of these places, that is an extractive relation that you’re in the

Tyson Yunkaporta:

Tyson Yunkaporta is an academic, an arts critic, and a researcher who belongs to the Apalech Clan in far north Queensland. He carves traditional tools and weapons and also works as a senior lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges at Deakin University in Melbourne. With a profound ability to bridge ancient Indigenous knowledge systems with contemporary thought, Tyson’s work challenges and reshapes the frameworks of many academic and cultural institutions. His groundbreaking book, “Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World”, has been hailed as a template for a new kind of thinking, one that moves away from current systems and towards a more holistic, sustainable, and connected worldview. Tyson’s insights and perspectives are not just teachings from the old world, but profound insights into what our future can be.

Jack Manning Bancroft:

Jack Manning Bancroft is a force of nature in the realm of social entrepreneurship. As the founder and CEO of AIME, he has revolutionized the way mentorship can bridge the educational gap for Indigenous students. Starting AIME as a 19-year-old university student, Jack’s vision has since transformed the lives of thousands, creating pathways from high school to further education and employment. His latest work, “Hoodie Economics”, is not just a book but a movement, challenging the very foundations of our economic systems and advocating for a shift from transactional to relational economies. Drawing from Indigenous wisdom and contemporary insights, Jack’s writings and initiatives consistently push boundaries, inviting us all to reimagine our world. A visionary, a mentor, and a relentless advocate for change, Jack’s journey and work inspire many to believe in the power of relationships and imagination.

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