“To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.” — R. Buckminster Fuller
Much of our day-to-day behaviour and cultural activity is structurally determined by our monetary and economic systems. Their redesign is a crucial enabler of the transition towards a regenerative culture. To transform our economic system(s) at every scale is an audacious salutogenic [health generating] design intervention, yet it is the only way we can effect changes deeply enough to avoid the collapse of civilization and further damage to ecosystems and the biosphere.
Q: Is it possible to create a regenerative economic system based on cooperation rather than competition?
Q How can lessons from ecology — like symbiosis, circular no-waste systems and whole-systems optimization — inform the redesign of our economic and monetary systems?
In line with Buckminster Fuller’s central design intention, we have to ask ourselves: does our current economic and monetary system work for 100% of humanity without ecological offence and disadvantage to anyone? Clearly it does not! We need new economic rules and fundamental structural changes that incentivize regenerative and collaborative relationships. The redesigned system will need to discourage the kind of pathological behaviour patterns our current culturally dominant narrative of separation, supported by neo-Darwinian biology and neo-classical economics, justifies and rewards.
As human beings, we are in our very nature compassionate and collaborative, but our current monetary and economic systems are based on the narrative of separation that creates and encourages competition. For too long, we have told a story about nature ‘red in tooth and claw’ and excused the worst of human behaviour as natural. Scarcity is primarily a mindset and lack of collaboration not a biophysical reality! Competition creates scarcity, which in turn is used to justify competitive behaviour (a vicious circle).
The natural limits of bioproductivity and healthy ecosystems functions don’t create scarcity as such. Collaboration can turn these natural planetary limits into enabling constraints to create abundance for all within healthy ecosystems and a healthy biosphere. Collaboration creates shared abundance, which in turn invites more collaboration (a virtuous circle). We choose which world we want to bring forth together!
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