We are born into a world that gives us lifelong operating instructions on every aspect of our lives from language, to culture, to education, to work, to relationships, to childbearing and child raising, to eating, to health, and even to death. Every aspect of life is mapped out in the norms of this world. We live and grow in this world which gives those at the top options: Banker or baker. East coast, heartland, west coast, Europe. SUV or convertible. And for others who are not so privileged, it offers more stark options: Clean or polluted water. Physical labor or hunger. Basic shelter or homelessness.
The world is a complex system developed layer by layer by people, or perhaps more accurately by peoples through time.
When we at PROOF and the Generative Futures Initiative speak of a Thriving Future for Humanity, it is with full understanding that in order for all people and for all the species on our planet home to thrive, we will need to reimagine and reinvent this world. One of the challenges is, “How do we imagine a new world when we ourselves are a product of the existing one?”
While we have critical problems to solve in the next decade, there is one system that underpins all of the other systems in the world: economics. An economy is the system of management of goods, services, production and resources of a country or region. Note: People are a resource as well as the source of production in an economy.
In our above example of the options for people in this world, wealth was the determining factor in what quality of life one leads. Wealth is primarily a product of your birth nation and family holdings. Laws that govern the economy ensure that gained wealth can be maintained and passed down to future generations. The world has an economic status quo.
If we were to seriously pursue a world that works for all, or a world of equal access and equal equity, we would have to reimagine our global economy. We would need a new system including dismantling the laws that maintain inequality. The enormity of this undertaking should confront you and every belief you have about being self made or being justly rewarded for your work and contribution.
It is likely that in the world you were born into, notions like “Hard work pays off” or “You can pull yourself up from poverty” are part of your framework of how people are. It is part of an imagined world that was first invented by European Protestant culture. And while it feels true and we may have stories to back up our belief, it is an imagined order that moves us through life
“How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism First, you never admit that the order is imagined.”
― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
One element that you might consider in this conversation is that we created an artificial relationship between work and money. In pre-monetary societies, work produced a product. Farmers grew produce. Hunters took game. The product allowed you to live another day, another season, another year. With the invention of complex societies and types of work that would not provide a direct living, like farming, money became a medium of value exchange.
From there the value of our work has been measured by how much money we earn. This value is determined by the market such that teachers are far less valuable than stock brokers, although the education of our children is much more important to society writ large.
To start any meaningful reinvention of our global economy, or our local and hyper local economies, we must start by examining the value of things and determining which things or behaviors we want to incentivize. This starts with the fundamental question: What is important?
As we look at the future of humanity through the lens of economics this week in PROOF, keep asking yourself that question: What is important?
We at PROOF are thankful of what today’s economy has brought us and we know we can and must do better, much better.
Please join us as we work for a Thriving Future for Humanity.
Proof 27 – The Future of the Economy
In the News:
Every U.S. City Testing Free Money Program
Amsterdam’s ‘Doughnut Economy’ Puts Climate Ahead of GDP
What Is The Sharing Economy?
Organizations Generating a Thriving Future
Global Rewilding Alliance – WILD Foundation
Since 1974 WILD has put respect for nature at the center of the global leadership community and simultaneously stewarded coordinated action for the protection of Earth’s life-giving biodiversity.
WILD combines on-the-ground projects with subtle activism and policy interventions to achieve lasting protections for Earth’s wildlife and wild places.
In one current campaign, WILD is mobilizing one hundred million voices around the world in defense of nature, so that global leaders are empowered to take the next step to ensure our survival: protecting half of Earth’s land and seas.
What We’re Watching : David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
In every moment of every day, there’s a choice to be made. If we all make our choices with nature in mind, then together we’ll find a way to live in balance with the natural world. After all, we are nature, and we need it to survive.
During his lifetime, Sir David Attenborough has seen first-hand the monumental scale of environmental change caused by human actions. Now for the first time, he reflects on the devastating changes he’s witnessed and reveals how together we can address the biggest challenges facing life on our planet.
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet shares Sir David Attenborough’s greatest story yet – his witness statement for the natural world and vision for the future for rewilding the planet.
What We’re Reading – A New Path: Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life
To be an environmentalist early in the twenty-first century is always to be defending, arguing, acknowledging the hurdles we face in our efforts to protect wild places and fight climate change. But let’s be honest: hedging has never inspired anyone.
So what if we stopped hedging? What if we grounded our efforts to solve environmental problems in hope instead, and let nature make our case for us? That’s what George Monbiot does in Feral, a lyrical, unabashedly romantic vision of how, by inviting nature back into our lives, we can simultaneously cure our “ecological boredom” and begin repairing centuries of environmental damage. Monbiot takes readers on an enchanting journey around the world to explore ecosystems that have been “rewilded”: freed from human intervention and allowed―in some cases for the first time in millennia―to resume their natural ecological processes. We share his awe, and wonder, as he kayaks among dolphins and seabirds off the coast of Wales and wanders the forests of Eastern Europe, where lynx and wolf packs are reclaiming their ancient hunting grounds. Through his eyes, we see environmental success―and begin to envision a future world where humans and nature are no longer separate and antagonistic, but are together part of a single, healing world.
What We’re Listening to – The Complexities of Large-Scale Conservation
Tom Butler shares how the Chacabuco Valley has successfully been rewilded from overgrazed ranching lands to a thriving ecosystem through the utilization of privately protected areas. We explore the differences between restoration and rewilding and the complex world of large-scale land conservation and wildlife restoration.
BOLD.LY NOW is a movement of co-creative up-levelers who have a burning desire to step free of our collapsing world & take the most daring leap forward to a thriving world.
PROOF is a Generative Futures Initiative Project
The Generative Futures Initiative
Generating a Thriving Future for All