- (UPDATED ON March29 and April 5 2021) The idea that the market centred #NeoLib (capitalist) Economy is no longer functioning well has been described for years now. And what is even worse, the idea that ALL Government roles should be privatised and put in the hands of businessmen and the Market, is also seriously questioned. Example: the stubborn actions of the Tories to make the NHS into businesses is turning out a disaster not in the least since the medical records of the UK patients seem(?) to have been sold to investors and advertisers.
The same applies to The Netherlands: Health & Care, Defense, Law Enforcement, Judging, Central Bank, Education, Taxation, Waterways, Power, Digital Infrastructure are not fit for The Open Market. Their <long term & general interest> character must be safeguarded under command and policy guidelines of the State = National Government & Parliament; in the general, long time interest.
One of the first to describe this urgent change of government roles was prof. Carlota Perez, see also lecture by her on a previous blog page https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/must-see-lecture-of-carlota-perez-about-the-cause-for-anger-of-voters/. And also see my description of her work in what I wrote in Chapter 3 of the forthcoming book i co-authored. https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2020/11/18/new-handbook-innovation-in-interactive-systems/
One of Carlota Perez sheets show the following as a natural progression of the long term learning curve of society we have to change a number of things. Similar to what was done after the Roaring Twenties (with extreme riches investors) and the big Crash in 1930’s. This time the technology which must be used for emancipation of the whole society is … ICT (remember, the C = Communication / Internet Technology etc. In a brilliant lecture in Amsterdam in 2007 (!!!) Carlota Perez showed the following sheets about the State functions after the Crash (2008 until now):
If I have not convinced you that Carlota is right about the urgent RESET/Jump we must make to start the Golden Age, I urge you to look at “Towards a Sustainable Global Golden Age” https://youtu.be/2gT3WTChiW4. and the very relevant 2019 UCL one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE1oCzvo0E4
2. The above messages have clearly been picked up by Mariana Mazzucato, and two other powerladies. She is described as: ‘One of the most influential economists in the world’ ~Wired
She published her new book on 28/01/2021:
Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism Paperback – 19 januari 2021
Description: The extraordinary efforts that took mankind to the moon 50 years ago were more than a scientific feat of aeronautics. They required new forms of collaboration between the public sector (notably, NASA) and private companies. This book asks: what if the same level of boldness – the boldness that set inspirational goals, took risks and explicitly recognized that this requires large spending but will be worthwhile in terms of long-term growth – was applied to the biggest problems of our time, climate change, disease and inequality, to name only a few? Mariana Mazzucato argues that applying innovation to societal goals and structuring government budgets more explicitly to the long-term, as the moon programme did, we can do government differently.
Description by Penguin Books:
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, capitalism was stuck. It had no answers to a host of problems, including disease, inequality, the digital divide and, perhaps most blatantly, the environmental crisis. Taking her inspiration from the ‘moonshot’ programmes which successfully co-ordinated public and private sectors on a massive scale, Mariana Mazzucato calls for the same level of boldness and experimentation to be applied to the biggest problems of our time. We must, she argues, rethink the capacities and role of government within the economy and society, and above all recover a sense of public purpose. Mission Economy, whose ideas are already being adopted around the world, offers a way out of our impasse to a more optimistic future.
The case for a new approach is overwhelming and Mariana Mazzucato’s project is ambitious … Mission Economy injects the kind of vision, ambition and imagination so desperately missing from government today … All those in favour of a better future – of prosperity that is broadly shared, first class public services to be enjoyed by all, and a solution to the climate crisis – should read this book. ~ Tom Kibasi, The Guardian
5,0 van 5 sterren Simply an outstanding read and worth every penny!Beoordeeld in het Verenigd Koninkrijk op 28 januari 2021Geverifieerde aankoop This tops her two previous books with a direct and insightful analysis of the current crisis affecting the world, and a proposal for recovery. The impact of progressively inadequate political actions and their increasing reluctance to control a value extracting financial sector as it bleeds cash from necessary and vital areas are faced with a clear sense of the way ahead that everyone should read and understand. If we take up the challenge Mariana Mazzucato provides we can feel more comfortable about a future for our children and the planet. Deeply impressive and the work of a true master of their subject.
A thorough and well articulated strategy for a new governing system Beoordeeld in het Verenigd Koninkrijk op 15 februari 2021Geverifieerde aankoop My rating is based on Mariana’s skill at explaining a very complex technical subject in a way that can be understood by anyone who has a basic knowledge of economics and articulating a meaningful strategy to tackle the issues faced by our global community.
I recommend this book to all our young entrepreneurs, web influencers and those young people who feel let down by our governments, business leaders and their parents as it gives them a reason to be hopeful and confident in their ability to make change happen by their votes at the future General elections
In other words, we need new governments with a clear Long Time General Interest vision and with people in drivers seats who know what they are talking about ( Pirate Party ?). Who understand that we need projects with missions that concentrate on CREATING VALUE 🙂
Mazzucato’s book has now also been published in the USA:
3. You are right if you ask: “What comes NEXT” . Alexandre Lemille has give a schematic answer to that:
For an commentary and positioning of these 3 ages, please see the posting of Alexander Lemille (2021)on https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexlemille/detail/overlay-view/urn:li:fsd_profileTreasuryMedia:(ACoAABVyBcUBTDwlie-vdRN8uJzGgFXhebyHbFk,1635452769370)/
Lemille’s comment on the above graph is as follows: “Within one schematic you can visualise how one can preserve human life on Earth by aligning ourselves with regenerative adaptation strategies.
Adding current and upcoming economic models as well as future regenerative ones ((synergy!!)) shows the clear path towards more value ((Mazzucato)) for societies – among other communities of species – thanks to a better understanding of living systems.
The move within the ecosystem rules, where Humans consider themselves as ‘circular beings’ in a deeply empathic life model (or models), is here very obvious”
The posting of Lemille is based on a graph by Bill Reed (2007). My point is that the middle of the three circles: Circular Economy, overlap with the Learning Curve of ICT Golden Age, shown above. We are halfway into that, as propoposed by Carlota Perez, see above.
I. LINEAR ECONOMY (only economics matter) -Polluting & Abusive Societies- Degenerating Systems (value extraction at the expense of nature or a large group of workers). NeoLib mindset & govt policies.
II. CIRCULAR ECONOMY (Economics remains essential) Recycling & Consuming Societies *** We are halfway here, Nearly everybody is working on a computer screen and on the smartphone all day and night. ICT is the Core Technology in this age. “Digitalisation” of companies and organisations is the most urgent to survive and create jobs. Central stearing of the agnostic futureproof Digital Infrastructure (see my blog about Internet Worldwide Links) and ICT Education and Building of the Transport Infrastructures and Energy Infrastructures for and between City Regions (Smart Cities) must have top long term priorities. (creation of value by INTERCONNECTING and combining contributions from people with diverse skills and backgrounds, so Synergy is created. Horizontal P2P communiction. Optic Fiber infra. FttHome. Digital Democracy. fast response to instabilities. The five Network Effects (see my blogs about those). SYNERGY. Redgrid – Australia: O.S. for the Energy Grids. RE-definition and implementation of Democracy. Rejection of Fascism. Truth and respect supported by ‘Social Super Resolution’ (#SSR). Collective Intelligence & Distributed Authority. Value Creation Structure.
III. (restorative and inclusive societies –> REGENERATIVE LIFE MODELS (Ecosystemic rules take over)–> Regenerating Systems –> Symbiotic & Valued Societies –> regenerative & caring for all Life species. Work on these is starting up to value Life forces and learn from it to be part of Nature and evolve according to its laws. Swarms, collective intelligenceof tribes and cities, with DISTRIBUTED authority in constant communication. Holographic fractal structures which can handle patterns and complexity in a very fast way. The quality of the capillaries define the health of the total swarm/tribe/body + the qualty of the external links to the environtment. Governance by Liebigs Law, unplugging obstructions like in the Suez Canal ! #GlobalBrain
PS Please notice, if you can see the better picture on LinkedIn that the verical axis corresponds with personal learning curves later in the Maslow sense, as explained in the Graves Value Model (GVM see the blog I will post about that soon) or Spiral Dynamics. People in earlier phases will have difficulty even to imagine those.
For more background of the Future Vision of prof. Lemille, see our Musk Manifesto: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2021/05/03/the-musk-manifesto/
The Circular Humansphere (2020 Update)
The Humansphere helps Perceive Abundance in the Anthropocene Era
Designing a new model is primarily about identifying where pockets of abundances are.
Below are the latest thoughts (last 2019 review here) on a model called “The Circular Humansphere”. This proposed approach is opened to debate.
The raison d’être of ‘The Circular Humansphere’ is primarily to question our roles and functions in a future regenerative or circular economic model, to understand what it takes to lead within a model that must protect everyone and everything, such as any economy should. But it also goes a long way into debating our belief system as well as what it would take to change it so to avoid the creation of secondary negative externalities that would neutralize all efforts.
This series of questions and suggestions is based on the recognition that a regenerative economic model will be implemented and, is in addition to the already existing concept.
On the left-hand side of each figure you will find the biosphere (or biological sphere), what we call ‘Nature’ in our discourses and views. Since we are entirely part of the bios, the term ‘ecosystem’ will be used here because it encompasses everything and everyone. Within the ecosystem, we are biological nutriments that are part of the complete symbiosis, like all other elements on our planet.
On the right side you will find the technosphere (or technical sphere), where most of our resources come from. We transform them into products for our daily uses, these are our technical nutriments: metals, non-metals.
These notions of biological and technical nutrients come from the concept of Cradle-to-Cradle, first coined by Professor Walter R. Stahel. Here, everything in our economy is of biological or technical origin and flows there endlessly.
In the below text, we will build on these concepts of biomimicry, performance economy, regenerative design, Cradle-to-Cradle, permaculture and many more integrated into the circular economy and asking ourselves few — difficult — questions only from a human point of view, as if the regenerative or circular economy is already implemented.
The main objective would be to understand why and how one could perceive new forms of abundance, recognize them and co-design new ways of living by integrating them into any future conception.
What if a populated world could be good news?
Obviously, this question is meant to elicit certain reactions, most probably more negative than positive. But what if we take the liberty of asking this question given that we are in a densely populated world today according to experts, and for many decades to come?
This is not about getting into the debate about whether there are too many or not. The point here is to recognize that our world has entered the Anthropocene era (awaiting official scientific confirmation), that is, climatic change is due to humans, but not necessarily because there are too many of us. The fact that we have bypassed many environmental boundaries and social foundations is mainly due to our consumption patterns and our belief system, hence our necessary drastic change in behavior from now on and in the centuries to come.
So what can we do about it? How can we think this is good news? How could we look at a populated world with a positive outlook?
Answers could possibly be found in the axis from which abundance comes today. In the Anthropocene, -where both the biosphere and the technosphere are under immense pressures — abundance comes from humans themselves. And this abundance could well be very positive if they decide to redefine their relationships with the ecosystem they belong to.
Our beliefs have been centered on the endless development of individualistic interests without an appropriate cap on when to say stop and rethink, or on a period of transition that preserves us from the unsafe and unjust space in which we live currently. This led us to bypass 9 of the 12 environmental limits, moving us away from the very stable era of the Holocene with the destruction of the biosphere. Besides the physical limits, we have also bypassed countless social limits of a poorly designed unequitable economic model where competition and greed are at its heart.
The resulting outcome here is not so much how many we are, but rather how much damage — the so-called environmental & social footprints — this most ‘developed of us’ model has unleashed due to patterns of lives that take us away from a reality:
“we can all live on a finite planet with prosperous societies if we so wish.”
So what about looking back at humans and seeing the answers to the questions asked?
Previously, our acceptance in the sources of abundance came from the subsoil of Earth’s crust, Her waters and Her air: they were then considered infinite resources. This craze for this abundance has generated an unimaginable excess in the wastage of everything spawning the devaluation of everyone’s values. So much so that trust in our so-called today’s linear economy — in opposition to circular — has disappeared.
Needless to say, these planetary abundances are long gone. We have no other choice but to find alternative approaches based on the same past questions: how to access resources immediately available – but this time – constantly renewed?
These are energies and distributed energies from the biosphere, where we minimize resources of fossil origin while maximizing those which are abundant from a dynamic and numerous source: human energies (to circulate), human resources (to rediscover), human knowledge (to rethink) and human empathy (to prevent). It will mainly be about reconnecting many humans to the ecosystem where since new forms of thought would emerge new sources of abundance based on advanced knowledge and deep empathy.
The human sphere is based on the “axis of abundance”, an approach which aims to rethink the way of conceiving the centuries to come — as too often we see projections stop at 2100(!) — by including the preservation of human values, knowledge, energies, resources and empathy from within. Why?
“Because they are infinitely available as they are the only ones constantly renewed together with those of the biological cycles!”
From this standpoint many discoveries could take place.
Why ‘discoveries’ and not innovations? Discoveries are to innovations what unused resources are to waste. Today innovations are often linked to solutions based on an endless access to fossil fuels, with a view to maximizing profit, most often with a huge negative impact on our environmental and/or social dimensions. The belief in technologies as our sole solutions to challenges is very high here. However, this is of course not always the case. ‘Discoveries’ is a much more neutral and positive term to qualify for the benefit of findings that move humanity forward to a safe and just space. In addition, the discoveries are there to surprise us positively, such as experienced to date with, for instance, our many ‘Aha’ moments in biomimicry. They are based on various widely distributed energies of human and biosphere origins, always renewed, evolving in a world of constraints where fossil fuels will become our last resort since no longer in abundance.
Who are we really? What are we here for?
In a post-financial crisis world, in a post-environmental crisis world, in a post-pandemic crisis world, in a post-societal crisis world, recent events have just sounded the alarm bells of what scientists and experts have been saying for decades: we are at a turning point. This turning point is not necessarily all doom and gloom, but it does mean that we will be in a phase of transition for years to come (often chaotic) before the system stabilizes on new ground. But these new foundations will have to be more than simple economic bases.
It is during such a time — when energy systems, business models and societal beliefs are changing — that we need to ask ourselves the right questions before designing a new model, especially this time around!
“Mainly because we won’t get a second chance.”
And whatever model is adopted, it must be a model where everyone can have a chance to flourish in life without pressure or power struggles of any kind. Most likely, such a model will not be unique, it will be locally designed according to local customs and beliefs.
In any case — and to avoid the mistakes of the past — our next model(s) should most likely use an ecosystem perspective, a totally symbiotic outlook far from the current three dimensions too often referred to the social, the environmental and the economic silo-ed dimensions. Rather, the answer will lie somewhere in the rooting of these three inseparable dimensions with the aim of preserving living systems forever.
This is a crucial moment as this upcoming model will have to bring us back within the carrying capacity of the planet while ensuring a decent way of life for all humans. That is, increasing the resilience of human systems as a piece of the puzzle of a much larger all-other-species’ one.
“A pause before moving on to a next model is therefore deemed necessary… don’t you think?”
Thus, who are we, really? And, what are we here for?
How could we regenerate the living system while thriving? What would such a world look like? What do we need to make the change?
What if we could adapt deeply by reconsidering human functions in relation to living ecosystems? What if these functions could only aim to regrow the biosphere, as an integral part of it, while preserving conditions favorable to life?
What if we could reassess everyone and everything by reconsidering human roles in a new nested model that takes into accounts the limitation of quantitative stocks, their level of quality, their ability to preserve intangible values and how best to access them so that communities can benefit from them in a distributive and open-sourced way? What would the world look like if we regulated ourselves at the rate at which regenerative cycles work while being an integral part of their regeneration? All of these elements combined would increase the capabilities and choices of any local communities known to be the best at preserving the commons.
These new human functions in relation to our ecosystem and these new roles within a human community of diverse communities could be designed with compassion and empathy at their heart of a deeply caring strategy — that is, taking care of all beings and all resources — where human organizations have the preservation of living systems as part of their value proposition.
Put simply, our companies will be one element of a chain of elements working towards preserving LIFE.
That is who we should be, at least for our own children and their own descendants, don’t you think?
How do we move to a Safe & Just Space?
How do we get there? We will have to understand our path to reach such a space: how far are we to that space according to the distance-to method to “out there”: a just and safe world.
As always, what gets measured gets better, that is, improved. This will involve implementing universal measures at three levels, the macro- (the planetary system and the unique community of all beings), the meso- (large geographical bioregions and communities of interacting communities) and the micro-levels (our public and private organizations, cooperatives, foundations, governments, for-benefit companies and local associations), so we understand whether we are on par or not.
Maybe our next Universal Human Goals (UHGs)?
On the “safe” side — or how to live within the limits of the environment — it is a question of retroceding (i.e. we start from the end result, working backwards to find out what is needed today so we maximize our chances of success tomorrow) on how far we are from what we see as a regenerative or circular life system.
On the “just” side, it would be a question of knowing how far we are in relation to what we consider to be prosperous societies according to the depth of their adaptation to their own biosphere and the benefits generated from their economic model(s).
It would signify understanding what it really means to advance humanity under hostile conditions — when we failed under friendly conditions.
The two spaces, the safe and the just, complement each other at all times, since the safety of our world cannot be guaranteed in an unjust model, and vice-versa. There are no more borders between these two spaces.
How to avoid a Consumption Rebound?
There is one final ‘distance-to’ measure to be calculated to ensure that we reach the safe and just space for humanity: the distance-to full system consciousness, and this is the most complex of all measurements.
Because it is up to each one of us to feel we need to be successful as a “1-Earth:1-Living Beings” framework to paraphrase John Elkington here. It is about our sense of belonging here, anchored here with the common goal of preserving the “Equation of Life” on Earth. It is about changing our belief system into a scheme that recognizes long-term climate change, resources mismanagement, societal injustice, pollution, poverty, greed and many others as all our negative externalities.
All these negative externalities can only be designed out if we all move towards that very goal, applying the same thinking as we do to design out waste and pollution!
Why is it so important? What does it have to do with a potential consumption rebound?
Well, to this day, there is no real answer to such rebound which has happened every time we have moved on to a new economic revolution. There are of three types of rebounds: direct, indirect and macro-economic ones. To this date there is no clear answer on how to avoid them. Just that this time around, there won’t have any plan B if we do not manage to avoid them in a concerted plan prior to jump into a new concept!
As Zink & Geyer (Yale University, 2017) demonstrated, a new economic model always goes hand in hand with more consumption, including the circular economy. Why? Because, since you no longer have to buy a car to get you from point A to point B, but are spending a fraction of your previous car acquisition budget in lighter mobility services, you could well spend the remaining budget flying for the weekend in a beautiful countryside, a direct rebound. In addition, maintenance, repair, refurbishment and remanufacturing are likely to increase overall production, as they indirectly reduce the cost of the second life products. And even in the case of dematerialization like the shift from hardware video consoles to on-demand games, the pressure on data transfer and storage will go exponentially and globally. These simple examples show the ripple effects of the increase in our consumption habits, therefore a larger footprint in the end often due to too much efficiency.
How do you prevent yourself from buying additional products in the store when you are alone in front of this shelf on the grounds that you may be over-consuming?
Just nobody and nothing could stop you.
You will — of course — please yourself as much as you can!
This is up to us to decide which common future we want. As always, the models were designed with the belief that human roles and functions were about concentrating the powers of some humans on others in a race for more growth, following the principles of “The Art of War” taught by well-established business schools and universities. These beliefs have led us to distance ourselves from the connection with living systems, to destroy our biosphere and to colonize its inhabitants for hegemonic reasons. In addition, the timescale used for such decisions has kept shrinking, forcing us to make decisions under pressure without even thinking about the future impact they would have.
The good news is that a rebound in consumption can be avoided, but the tricky part is that it is about changing our mentalities…
Our sole priority is to preserve life on Earth, nothing else.
To have a chance of success, we would need a complete change in our own ‘operating system’ and our in many false beliefs. Respecting the rules of ecosystems implies two major changes of perspective: expanding our spatial relationships and lengthening the time scales on which we rely.
Today, we aim to maximize the experiences of our life on Earth, that is, achieve as much as possible between birth and death. To preserve future generations, one would prefer to see oneself as part of an endless chain of beings maximizing their time on Earth under increasing conditions conducive to life for them. Clearly this is a huge shift in perspective, as it is not just about adding empathy to a set of new business models when one care about understanding the other’s conditions. No, this is a deeper empathy. Long-distance thinking on preserving life is deciding as if future generations would agree. This thinking implies that we are part of an endless chain of complex relationships and that it is our duty to preserve this chain in passing.
A fairly significant change in mindset…
Long-distance thinking, thus leading into a ‘WEcosphere framework’ (see Figure 9) will help us in two ways: to orient current public and private organizations towards the preservation of life on Earth as integral part of their core values, like as well as move us away from greed, thus avoiding any rebound in consumption. In fact, greed disappears when the future benefits of a decision have their effects beyond the life of the person or group of people who made them. It is only by designing greed out of our models of life that we will succeed in preserving the lives of future generations.
This is called decentration, or the act of decentering oneself from decisions made as they are decided solely for the benefits of others or for the betterment of something, and over the very long-term (long-distance thinking). Getting leaders and students to familiarize themselves with decentration may be the best remedy against any kind of rebound in consumption, keeping us in a safe space for all, on decent terms for all to truly prosper.
How to design for Abundance?
Designing for abundance entails looking at our planet through symbiotic lenses: where are the cycles that are constantly renewing themselves and how might we align with their rate of regeneration in order to adapt to its rules safely and in a fair way to all, non-humans and humans?
In a nutshell, designing for life (DfL) is about “re-evaluating abundance while avoiding scarcity”.
Preserving living systems — and therefore business continuity among others — consists in identifying places where resources are scarce, in applying innumerable direct and indirect strategies to avoid as much as possible losing these stocks by slowing down the flow process until matching their rate of regeneration. Here the Axis of Abundance (Figure 1) could play a key role. Throughout our last economic revolutions, our world has gone from a low population/abundant resources ratio to a populated world/scarce resources ratio. In addition, resources may still be abundant, but our biosphere can no longer cope if we extract them further. In such a scenario, pockets of abundances will have to be found elsewhere.
The approach would be first examining the regenerative nature of the biosphere, then the Axis of Human Abundance, and then, only then, to tap into the stock of technical resources as a last resort. In simpler terms: how can our local ecosystem provide us without upsetting its equilibrium, how to apply as much human energies, human resources, human knowledge and human empathy as possible to avoid choosing the path of scarcity? What is new here is that humans are part of the ‘Circular Thinking’, a way of designing out all negative externalities (here our social, environmental, economic shortages) by applying strategies to eradicate them in concert with all types of actors of the same bioregion (ecological geography accounting for ecosystems and people interactions).
This would mean mainly two thoughts: reassessing new sources of abundance by aligning ourselves with the speed at which cycles regenerate, and, preventing stocks of non-renewable resources from becoming scarce by considering tapping into those resources as a last resort. This reflection has already started thanks to the countless alternatives, which are regenerative, we see appearing here and there replacing plastics, leather, porcelain, or other materials, moving us away from extractive strategies only. Embedding humans into the equation leads also to proposing approaches for replacing fossil fuels with human energies. The more open source our products of tomorrow will be, the more their components can be accessed, updated and upgraded locally. The more they create employment opportunities locally, the further we will move away from extractive options. And in addition to creating local jobs, open source devices will become the urban mining sources of tomorrow, securing communities’ resource stocks while requiring standard skills. Imagine that beyond Fairphone, a modular and socially responsible open source smartphone, most electronic devices entering your bioregion give you access to their components?
What kind of change in job creation does this represent?
This reflection will also lead to more and more low-tech type discoveries where distributed renewable energies (solar, wind, kinetics, etc.) will be integrated into the design of the object so that humans operate it, a bicycle for example. Low-tech is not opposed to high-tech, and the two will complement each other. Low-tech simply means designing with the features you really need and with the least amount of energy. And it gets the job done! Just look at this low-tech energy storage tower by Energy Vault! The lower the technology, the more it will allow communities to increase their capabilities and choices, generally improving their livelihoods. Increasing capabilities and choices of communities via a model designed for all is explained here (Making the Circular Economy work for Human Development, Elsevier Academic Journal, Desmond, Lemille, Schröder, 2020).
Living on a ‘1-Earth:1-Living Beings’ setting consists of deploying discoveries on our inner side, that is, within the limits of Earth’s boundaries and beyond.
An anchored spiraling vision bestowing abundance on others.
Mimicking the regenerative nature of our ecosystems — including all its humans — allows us to design out all cycles that lead to shortages of all kinds: from obvious cycles of pollution and waste to those of poverty or social inequality. Designing for abundance leads to preferring the biological world to the technical world, that is the world that regenerates itself, accounting for all the values of its beings. When you design for abundance you avoid all the paths in which the concentration of power of all kinds lies (referring to the principle of the ‘least intensive ratio’ — see Figure 10). This approach allows us to value everyone and everything from a full symbiotic perspective of our planetary system. Here you have the choice of viewing people as users or consumers of services only as part of a financial value silo-ed approach, or of recognizing more someone beyond being a user or consumer by perceiving her or him under a constellation of diverse values.
Designing for abundance and learning how to decenter ourselves from the impact of decisions can design out any intentions to concentrate power and monetary wealth in the same hands, in a new paradigm where financially-related values are only one among many other values as part of a constellation of values that communities would choose to recognize and to use.
Here human ventures become our link with the preservation of life.
They become ‘WEaders’ — leaders within a ‘WEcosphere’ perspective — leading us to a more decent world for all beings. WEcosphere being here the space on Earth where all species benefits from one another as part of a fully symbiotically-designed framework, humans included.
How to adapt deeply to the Biosphere?
Becoming one with Mother Earth creating this ‘1-Earth:1-Living Beings’ relationship is our common goal here. In a populated world, humans should be part of the design that preserves life on Earth (the ‘We are Nature’ in Figure 1) and as alternatives to wrongly allocated energies (the ‘We are Energy’ in Figure 1). This could lead to a fully relocated model of life where countless communities of humans are regenerating the commons (also called bioregions) on which they depend for survival.
To succeed, we must encourage abundance and avoid scarcity
To succeed, we must encourage abundance (reassess what regenerates such as ecological cycles, human energies or knowledge) and avoid scarcity (tax endangered resources to better preserve them). Here, using an ‘ecosystem life model’ as the next framework would mean, for example, rethinking our belief system so that trees, rivers and seas have the highest values while a tree chopped in cubes would lose most of its ecological value since no longer playing its role of living systems regulator. The values of living ecosystems must not be expressed in monetary terms but in sacred terms. That is to say that the forests and the rivers are untouchable, given they are outside of the rules of the market, yet within the rules of a bioregion measured thanks to a constellation of diverse values. New Zealand started by granting Maori’s sacred river same legal rights as a human being. Thus, doable…
Let’s make it happen elsewhere!
It also means that these tree cubes are more valued when accessed or shared with many of us, when maintained by local human communities, as low-tech strategies would allow them to repair them, so that they stay as long as possible within these bioregions. Ensuring that human energies translate into jobs would guarantee that some value is preserved in these wooden cubes, thus making more economic sense the more they circulate longer in our bioregions.
In addition, consider the value of our direct or indirect intangible outcomes (the air we breathe, the knowledge we have acquired, our increasing stock of skills) rather than the tangible outputs (number of products manufactured or built) would help us understand how far we have come from the distance-to strategies summarized in Figure 9 below. The decision-making processes of our leaders should be based on creating abundance while avoiding scarcities.
Relations within the biological sphere, the human sphere success should be based on human adaptation and deep-adaptation strategies.
Adaptation is to mimic the biosphere. Adaptation is about activities that we could implement in a decolonial empathetic manner to grow the biosphere through discoveries that have a direct or indirect positive influence on our Earth system. They could be, but not limited to, permacultural and vegan-based strategies or, for example, biomimicry-based thinking to help us improve our relationships with other living beings.
Deep-adaptation is to be part of the biosphere. It goes more into changing our belief system where humans are at the service of our Earth system — and not the current way around — like any other species since ‘we are Nature’. Here we are replacing the biological functions destroyed by our excess energies. For (symbolic) example, since bee colonies have disappeared from some regions of China, workers hand-pollinate the flowers of fruit trees, replacing the missing environmental function of the bees. While waiting or ensuring the return of bee colonies, humans deploy their energies to be part of the biosphere. Finally — and beyond most beliefs — in a populated world, considering humans for what they are, biological nutrients, — that is, the word ‘human’ comes from ‘humus’ — that would feed the Earth. The more we are the better for our biological cycles, so a populated world can be good news. But our current beliefs do not allow for immediate changes. Humusation is prime example where we look to our original environmental function — as humus nurtures soils — to spawn future lives.
What more beautiful symbol of humility?
How to reset our Belief System?
Obviously, changing our beliefs is the most difficult of all. Switching to new business models to conserve resources is much easier than creating a world where all living things will live in harmony in a space that is safe and just for all of us. Yet, it is possible!
Some human communities have been successful, why not all of us together?
We must have the courage of questioning our beliefs. It is about “opening the closed door of beliefs” as Monica Gagliano, Professor at the University of Western Australia, said during her opening speech by explaining that plants could have a form of conscience at the 2018 National Bioneers Conference.
Humans are the complex parts of our system. They are unpredictable, so it is uneasy to insert them into future projections of any kind. Yet, they are the key to our survival on this unique planet. All humans are at risks, not just the poorest of the poor, ‘we-all-depend-on-all-of-us’ in symbiotic ways. It is not about being 7 or 10 billion people. It is mostly setting-up the correct ratio from the perspective of human-nature dynamics while moving from our greed-centered model to a decentered empathetic one.
Here, it is a question of returning to our two previous questions: “who are we?” and “what are we here for?” Success in a life may not be about accumulating power and money — at all? To be successful in life, it may be about something else: possibly and solely about making sure our time on Earth should be devoted to preserving the living conditions for my children, their children and their own children. This is how far I can go when I am a leader in a ‘WEcosphere’, a ‘WEader’ showing us the path to safety and to justice. When the decisions you make during your life are only aimed at preserving life, their impact will be over the very long-term, that is, beyond a lifetime. Over such a scale greed disappears.
Taking human complexity into account will prevent us from making future mistakes.
Yet, changing our belief system is the most critical of all dimensions.
We should work at it as one-human-community within Planet A, doubling our efforts as we did not do so when ecosystem conditions were stable. And we have no choice but to succeed in this mission at a time when all conditions are unfavorable.
And no utopia here.
It is in difficult times that humans ‘re-wake up’.
Adapting to biospheric conditions is not just a matter of decarbonizing the atmosphere so that we can continue to consume and recycle. Adapting to Earth system is about believing in life by no longer fearing death. It is a deep collaborative reflection as a single community so that we change our soul for the benefit of all beings alike.
Life is sacred.
Rivers and forests are sacred.
Billions of human lives are sacred.
The economy is not.
If we make what is sacred and what is not interact, we could define the rules to align with the regeneration of this life-preserving biosphere.
Why do we need an Ecosphere Life Model?
As seen previously, accounting for everyone and everything in a new approach to life on Earth should not only be recognized but open to debate and co-creation at global level but above all locally. The design of our next foundations should encompass all elements of the planet — even the most complex ones — which should not be forgotten or which should participate in the advancement of humanity as one species among others in an orderly complex structure, the web of life.
Humans are living beings with values, beliefs and a conscious like all other beings on this planet.
Our only goal during our time on Earth should ideally be to aim to preserve conditions conducive to life in a decolonial and deeply empathetic manner. We are the vital elements to tackling challenges one by one and providing an appropriate response, in a collaborative way, as not a single government, not a single company, not a single community is able to solve these challenges given their sizes and intensity.
Such a symbiotic framework where all the nutrients taken into account, from the biosphere, the humansphere or the technosphere, are sources of new discoveries. Yet, this proposition like all others will not succeed without a new value-based frame, far from the current silo-ed thinking. A framework that should recognize all values with full respect for every culture, every community, every belief, as part of a global community that recognizes that we need all of us to be successful in this fight for a deep adaptation to the Earth system. Within this new belief system, we will have to rethink our functions in relation to ecosystem services and our roles within an immaterial economy of being superseding a material economy of having.
Spatial relationships and timescale will develop in the distance from now until we reach a space where social justice and environmental safety are achieved. On top, our next generation of humble-enough-leaders would decenter decisions they make accelerating the regeneration of the biosphere, the protection of the humansphere and the restoration of the technosphere.
Decision-makers that succeed in keeping us away from all kinds of rebounds will be designated as our leaders then, and only then.
Designing a framework at the ecosystem level seems to be the right level of design to consider everyone and everything. Adopting an ‘ecosphere life model’ as our next way of living on planet Earth will help us think beyond our current belief system where the complexities could be unlocked in a deep collaborative approach ensuring everyone wins, starting with living systems, that is, us too. Given our current projections for disruptive climatic conditions, loss of biodiversity, and a socially unjust economic model, turning the tables by looking at a glass half-full is our most disruptive strategy. It is only at that level that we can find with advantageous solutions.
With this symbiotic approach in mind, some of the principles related to the Humansphere could be suggested such as:
The Principle (1) invites us to “Focus on Vital Needs of Beings”, by which we recognize that we live in a world where the needs of all species can be met, including humans;
Principle (2) suggests to “Design Out All Externalities”, where new types of human organizations should seek to implement discoveries allowing abundance while avoiding scarcities;
Principle (3) explains that when given a choice, one must “Choose the Least Intensive Ratio”, because the path towards the least concentration of something (energies, power, choices, beliefs, money, etc.) or of someone should be preferred, as leading to more distributive strategies;
Finally, the Principle (4) recognizes that a “Change in Timescale & Space” would help design greed out of our systems thanks to long-distance decision-making processes;
Taking this helicopter view of an ecosystem where all living beings interact from a model — resetting our past beliefs in an open-minded way — is our best chance to see our children’s children live a more decent life than our children today will.
A regenerative world populated by humans is up to us to make good news. And it is not just a matter of perspective but willingness.
When and How do we know we will get there?
To get there, we need a new breed of humble leaders who think through the eradication all negative externalities because they understand the multilayered challenges we face, and who make decisions that are deeply empathetic for others. Who I call ‘WEaders’, those leaders who evolve in a ‘WEcosphere’ perspective, that is, us among many others. We need a lot of them, starting with those who have the expertise in preserving life against all odds, that is, ancestral indigenous communities to start with. These WEaders need to guide us away from the current paradigm.
To succeed in finding their way through our upcoming challenges, these new leaders would measure their progress against distance-to strategies as described in Figure 9. These strategies are result-based. They will help to think about how to get there with outcome-based indicators and outcome-based values.
Altogether they would be playing the role of a human compass for any communities or any organizations willing to preserve future generations.
In this paradigm, any discovery will benefit life, any public or private organization will have in its value proposition the ‘preservation of living systems’, and a compass on when and how to get there while thriving in a new value setting. Within it, financial indicators will be taken into account with a few other indicators completing the picture all the perceived values that we will generate.
It is now up to you to define what these indicators are in order to get us there.
Becoming Regenerative Beings, our Common Goal?
All the elements circulate within our planet.
They are mostly in the wrong place and not rated at their right level, based on a belief system that needs a reset.
We can successfully rebuild the foundations of an ‘ecosystem life model’ that works for all of us, including humans. It is a matter of joint willingness.
Written in any State Constitution, or in any raison d’être of an organization, protecting of the ‘Equation of Life’ becomes your unique common vision. Your strategy becomes very resilient when you apply your understanding of abundance while setting rules to avoid scarcities at all costs. This ‘circular thinking’ — where all kinds of negative externalities, from the environmental, the societal or the economical dimensions disappear — will drive your communities towards the constant improvement of a benevolent approach to everyone and everything. The measurement of human advances will be based on your degree of adaptation within the biological sphere and, on how much you care about everyone and everything. If aligned, these two measures stand a chance to trigger the wellbeing of all for all. Human organizations will be taken into account for the outcome from these three measures: how deeply adapted we are, how deeply we have applied the care and, how each one thrives thanks to these two pre-conditions.
With the above in mind, the Circular Humansphere (as depicted in Figure 10) aims to increase our chances of a future notion of success based on avoiding any form of rebound.
Learning the best ways to make long-distance decisions will help us create the necessary buffer as we see greed disappearing in the decades to come.
This is what The Humansphere aims at: include these perspectives into our debates.
4. There is no doubt in my mind that the powerful lobbys of #fossilfuels like Shell, BP and coal industries, which where dominant in the Age of Oil and automobiles , started in 1908, are resisting and do try to sabotage and delay the new “Ages” of II and III. We see that now in the post-elections preliminary government formation talks, where the very influential oil and gas lobby downplay the “Green Nonsense” of more forward looking politicians. In reality in Australia and soon in Germany the Regenerative energy sources of Wind Power and Solar power already supersede the polluting and climate disturbing fossil fuels. This is what Carlota Perez showed years ago:
PS. If this blog is too complicated for you, well maybe the world is. I can come and explain it in more simple terms (for travel and lodging costs as visiting professor) or you can read the overlapping action story of the “value creation structure of blog https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2021/04/07/get-the-3rd-network-working-in-your-organization-the-value-creation-structure/
jaap van till, TheConnectivist. (and “shaddow minister for Digital Infrastructure” in the Netherlands)
(CC) 2021 Jaap van Till