Abundance and scarcity: your life depends on it.
There is an implied agreement many of us made that in order to live a good life we must become rich. Civilizations have accumulated massive amounts of wealth over the ages and the primarily means were to take it from your weaker (mostly) neighbor if you could not do it yourself.
“The universal patterns and principles the cosmos uses to build stable, healthy, and sustainable systems throughout the real world can and must be used as a model for economic-system design.” — 8 principles for a regenerative economy
We have two systems when it comes to thinking about resources: abundance and scarcity. They can influence your worldview depending on which side you favor. A simple example would be a decision to share with a neighbor; some with little to nothing will share in hope they will get more. Others with enough resources might tell you go get a job because they worked for what they have.
Would it be possible to change the way we think about wealth and the power that comes with it? There are a few individuals who after accumulating massive wealth spend their remaining days giving it away and in some cases, it outlives them by generations. What if we can reverse seeing wealth as an entitlement of hard work or smarts and reframe it as a responsibility to ourselves and those around us to utilize our gifts to lift a lot more people on the way up instead of it being an afterthought?
Things have changed a lot in how much information and near real-time data we have on world events. Think back 500 year ago, no single person had the concept of Earth in mind the same way we do now with Google Maps. Today, you can see yourself from space while in your pool shorts.
With this information, we can make better use of our collective resources in a much more equitable manner. This allows us to move from a scarcity mindset to one of true abundance and share the benefits!
“The circulation of money and information and the efficient use and reuse of materials are particularly critical to individuals, businesses, and economies reaching their regenerative potential.” — 8 principles for a regenerative economy
This takes all of us understanding our socioeconomic systems holistically. The environment suffers within our current system because we do not yet have this collective holistic world view. People, nature, and capital are out of sync and we have our current climate crisis to show for it. Biodiversity has declined significantly over the years while we strive towards development at all cost. With the introduction of the anthropocentrism, everything has turned into collateral damage for the sake of human survival. Even ourselves!
Investors have a part to play in this because they are the gatekeepers of capital but also its largest bottleneck in keeping it widely circulating as capital must be. Having some way to decentralize access to this capital could help. Getting those with resources to rethink their model of the economy will be difficult but it is needed.
Steps to move in this direction are available. The Regenerative Capitalism framework from Capital Institute gives us 8 principles for a regenerative economy. The Circular Economy provides another option.
Lastly, another very important component of this puzzle are our leaders. For the most part, we normally follow leaders who have our best interest at heart and we pay attention to the amazing things they can do for us. Since most of us will never be in leadership roles at national or regional levels, we have a hard time viewing the world from their perspective so we are spared the understanding of how brutally difficult statecraft is. We do not realize how much we contribute to making their job of leading us simpler or harder based on our individual choices on a daily basis.
With that in mind, I’d like to leave you with one question: what incentives do we give to our leaders to continuously and honestly guide us through the treacherous path of progress?