We humans are awakening to the reality that we are living beings and that healthy living systems self-organize to function as sharing, cooperative, dynamically balanced communities. Nature’s closest equivalent to the corporate-driven global economy is the suicidal, malignant cancer that seeks its own unlimited growth without regard for the harm this does to the body that provides its nourishment. Our future depends on getting with nature’s program and organizing ourselves to live in a dynamic, balanced partnership with Earth’s biosphere.
This New Economy will look a great deal more like Adam Smith’s version of a market economy in which local artisans, merchants, and farmers self-organize to meet the needs of their community than the Wall Street version in which global corporations compete to be the most efficient at converting real-wealth living capital into phantom-wealth money. In our time, Smith’s vision translates into a planetary system of bioregional economies that mimic the fractal structure and dynamics of Earth’s biosphere, with recurring patterns of self-organizing, ecologically balanced self reliance on a progressive scale from the global to the local.
The full-scale, modern version of Smith’s vision lies beyond the horizon of our experience. To navigate our way to its realization, we must form in our collective mind an image of its institutions and priorities, much as the ancient indigenous navigators of the South Pacific trained themselves to see in their mind unknown islands far beyond the horizon of their experience or normal vision.
Chapter 10, “What People Really Want,” cites evidence that the human brain is wired to support caring and sharing and that we humans have long dreamed of a world of vital, healthy children, families, communities, and natural environments: the world we must now create to secure our future.
Chapter 11, “At Home on a Living Earth,” makes the case that our future depends on a conscious collective choice to transform the culture that frames our understanding of our individual and shared priorities.
Chapter 12, “New Vision, New Priorities,” summarizes the foundational design principles that the culture and institutions of a planetary system of living, real-wealth economies must honor and outlines opportunities to reallocate real resources on the path to a New Economy.