Foundation Earth’s Strategic Response:
It would be foolhardy to think that restructuring the global economy for long-term deep sustainability is an easy task, but we aren’t the type of people to give up. We will make this meaningful shift or we will go down fighting. Foundation Earth will put forth its solutions as thoughtfully and powerfully as we can, given our humble resources. Together we can help ensure that nature’s life support systems are healthy and that biological diverse systems, particularly large wild areas, are protected. Such systems are key to humanity’s wellbeing and the entire web of life.
There is indeed an “invisible hand” which left to its own devises promotes general good. That hand turns out to be nature’s ways – nourishing all things. The industrial economic invisible hand could best be called “Cheater Economics” (externalizing pollution costs). We call for a “True Cost Economy” based on nature’s ways.
This campaign can be thought of a twenty-five year process to help foster such a shift. In [Dick] Cheneyesque fashion, the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns present sizable difficulties. Nature has a non-linear way of being. Will the soft landing of a semi-elegant twenty-five year economic transition be possible? Certainly not if we are headed to a four degree world. It will more likely be mini-collapses and rebuilding. We will prepare for both scenarios as best we can.
Nature’s “invisible hand” left to its own devises may indeed promote general good, but our collective campaign for a better world will need an active and visible hand. Please let us know what else you think we should be looking at and how you might help to enact this vision. Additional information on the model & the context of this work is included in Appendix I. The basic vision includes:
The Vision Starts with an Integrated Set of Goals:
In this “age of plenty” vast numbers experience a deep spiritual hunger. Our current global economic system is achieving insufficiently and desperately needs to be changed. The goals of a better society aren’t so hard to imagine. In a simple straightforward sense we want highly educated/ecologically astute people, high levels of political and spiritual freedom, low infant mortality, low impact/low throughput lifestyles, clean environment with wild beautiful natural places, and a small gap between the greater and least financially well off people. We want to live in a close and proper relationship to nature, our communities, and the institutions we create. Arguably this would mean a rapid transition to a smaller primarily regional economy with less production and consumption, while improving likelihood of dignified and happier lives. It starts with selecting where you want to grow (wisdom, art, culture…) and where you want to degrow (pollution, industrial workaholic lives, intolerance…).
Picturing the New Era:
A smaller economy tingles with vitality while producing and consuming less. Businesses respect the laws of nature and integrate principles of ecology. Systems function well within the carrying capacity of regional and global ecosystems. People value the fundamental cycles of life, understanding that nature supports all life, now and in the future. No one exports problems to other societies or to future generations. Everyone faces the reality of a true cost economy and benefits from it. If anyone pollutes, they pay the true cost of the hazards and damages. Conserving stuff, along with the inclination to consume less, lightens the true cost. In the new era, everyone appreciates that natural resources cannot be owned. They cannot be exploited – not for very long. There are no “corporate socialists in free market clothing” receiving subsidies. Market capital gravitates to sustainable solutions.
Yes, all this boils down to economic details. We exercise financial discipline. We balance budgets. We maintain financial reserves. We leverage debt with caution. We interact with other economies as partners – actually, as family members. There are still markets, mostly local, and we still seek to profit, but we internalize ecological and social costs through a truly transparent balance sheet of assets and liabilities. Yes, we seek increased prosperity, but we don’t attach this sense of wellbeing to the growth of stuff. We tie our sense of wellbeing to infinite possibilities in a finite physical world.
Central to the new era we will see that exploding populations will have stabilized and in fact declined dramatically. Via our numbers and by our commitment to future generations, natural systems rejuvenate beneath our reduced footprint. Food and agricultural systems will be much more focused on bioregional economies. Picture continental networks of more self-reliant local economies. Most of what is traded at the global level is art, culture, and ideas.
Effective governing requires informed people and a commitment to a set of just and wise principles. That is not where we are starting from yet we must shoulder our responsibility to work for the continuance of all life. Some believe that an economic paradigm shift from unaccountable exploitation is not only necessary, but unavoidable. What set of principles might this be built from? Here is a starting point that needs your help to improve.
12 Key Principles Guiding a Holistic Economy Include (no particular order):
- Interdependence Principle: A societal recognition that nature nourishes all things is a higher value then human self-interest. The economic rules reward solving problems together over personal aggrandizement. Any market system is subservient to nature’s laws. Cooperation not competition is the social doctrine and basis for the new economic order. Industrial advance crushing nature’s ways for the sake of capital is a thing of the past…
Read the whole set of principles here.