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Regenerative thinking rewrites economic messaging

Our previous post related to the sad news about the death of Herman Daly, who acknowledges that he was inspired by ecologists such as Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring. Many others have in turn been inspired by Herman Daly. One such group is the Capital Institute. Here we highlight the 8 Principles Of A Regenerative Economy

Our Regenerative Story Starts With A Single Core Idea: 
Regeneration is the process that delivers sustainable living systems as the outcome of that process. Therefore, intelligent system design (and appropriate humility) would suggest using the same universal patterns and principles the cosmos uses to build stable, healthy, and sustainable systems throughout the real world as the model for our human economy.

This idea is grounded on three premises: 

  1. The human economy is a living system (albeit an unhealthy one today).
  2. There are universal patterns and principles – “first principles” – we can define that broadly describe the qualities and tendencies of how life works.   
  3. If the human economy is to be sustainable over the long run, it must harness the regenerative process by aligning with these same “first principles” of living systems. 

The eight principles are noted below. They are an abridged notation of a larger document that can be viewed on the Capital Institute website: The Dawn of the Regenerative Age

  1. In Right Relationship: Humanity is an integral part of an interconnected web of life in which there is no real separation between “us” and “it.” The scale of the human economy matters in relation to the biosphere in which it is embedded. What is more, we are all connected to one another and to all locales of our global civilization, as both our lived experience and quantum physics tell us. Damage to any part of that web ripples back to harm every other part as well. So the principles of reciprocity and mutualism found in both biology and indigenous wisdom, and even the Golden Rule common across all the World’s religions, are foundational to a regenerative economy.
  1. Views Wealth Holistically:  True wealth is not merely money in the bank. It must be defined and managed systemically in terms of the well-being of the whole. This can only be achieved through the harmonization of multiple kinds of wealth or “capital” — to use economic language — beyond the conventional financial, material and technological capital to include social/relational capital, cultural, experiential and yes spiritual capital, however one defines it.
  1. Innovative, Adaptive, Responsive:  In a world in which change is both ever-present and accelerating, the qualities of innovation and adaptability are critical to health.
  1. Empowered Participation:  In an interdependent system, fitness comes from contributing in some way to the health of the whole. The quality of empowered participation means that all parts must be “in relationship” with the larger whole in ways that not only empower them to negotiate for their own needs but also enable them to add their unique contribution towards the health and well-being of the larger wholes in which they are embedded.
  1. Honours Community and Place:  Each human community consists of a mosaic of peoples, traditions, beliefs, and institutions uniquely shaped by long-term pressures of geography, human history, culture, local environment, and changing human needs. Honoring this fact, a Regenerative Economy nurtures healthy and resilient communities and regions, each one uniquely informed by the essence of its individual history and place.
  1. Edge Effect Abundance:  Creativity and abundance flourish synergistically at the “edges” of systems, where the bonds holding the dominant pattern in place are weakest
  1. Robust Circulatory Flow:  A living economy demands a healthy metabolism to flush toxins and nourish every cell at every level of our human networks. Just as human health depends on the robust circulation of oxygen, nutrients, etc., so too does economic health depend on robust circulatory flows of energy and materials in a “circular fashion” where waste is food as in all biological systems.
  1. Seeks Balance:  Being in dynamic balance is essential to systemic health. Like a unicycle rider, regenerative systems are always engaged in this delicate dance in search of balance.