What is Regeneration? Part 3 – Potential

starfish

by Carol Sanford

It’s Not about Better Problem Solving!

This is the third post in a series on the seven first principles of regeneration, drawn from living systems sciences.

A regenerative business sees the world in terms of potential rather than problems. By focusing on the core of what’s trying to happen instead of what already exists, a company is able to introduce profound and transformative disruptions into an industry. For example, PayPal enables people to engage directly in exchange, bypassing the problems created by banking infrastructure. Instead of trying to improve banking, business PayPal asks what customers are trying to pursue and invents the means to support them. This requires reining in the strong tendency to start with what is already in the system, and instead to focus on the evolutionary impulses behind what people are striving toward but not yet able to accomplish.

When you start well-intended efforts by identifying a “problem,” you are trapped into thinking that you have to fix it. This leads you on a search for the causes and results in efforts to try out many solutions. It pulls all of your energy toward an endless effort that is based on the mindset that got people into the rut in the first place. Einstein warned us about that. But how to do we not start with what exists, what we already have?

Here’s what to avoid:

  • Don’t do surveys to find out how people feel or what they want. They are starting with existing conditions and trying to improve on them.
  • Do not do an environmental scan or try to build a database of existing skills or resources and figure out how to make better use of what you already have and are currently doing.
  • Don’t ask customers what they want. They start with what they have and how it doesn’t work or isn’t sufficient. Plus, they’ve already told your competitors what they want and sent them on a wild goose chase.
  • Don’t pay consultants to collect data for you. That’s a waste of money. It can never lead you to innovation or better competitive positioning, much less disruption. And, according to the Harvard Market Research Center, most customers won’t respond well to what you come up with based on data.

Maybe it’s not a surprise that no matter how well intended the effort, focusing on problems doesn’t eliminate them, only makes room for them to become chronic. Getting people to behave less badly is counterintuitive to the human brain. We are asking people to punish themselves and every bit of research in the world of motivation says this does not work.

Okay! Okay! So what do we do? As crazy as it sounds, we skip over what exists. We act as though the problem doesn’t matter. This sounds harsh, even cruel, but consider: within regenerative processes, problems are not useful information. Nature doesn’t care that rat populations are exploding in the suburban countryside. Regeneration in this instance occurs when this niche within the ecosystem is filled by returning populations of foxes and owls. Circumventing problems is how much real change comes about and particularly the kinds of change that disrupt markets—and also history, for that matter.

Instead of lamenting a problem, ask, “What are customers (or the planet or social groups) seeking to achieve and why?” This is the route to the creation of something that doesn’t yet exist. Don’t look at why current methods aren’t working. Keep your eye squarely on the your buyer’s intention, on the intentions of living systems and social groups. How can you make their lives, as a whole, more workable. To be clear, I am talking about the highest intentions of people as communities, not selfish individual ideas. What is possible in order to make our lives and the living Earth around us what they are intended to be?

Thinking along this line is how Elon Musk got to Tesla. He calls it starting with first principles. He saw that people want to get from one place to another, to go places that enhance living. That was it. So he didn’t improve current automobiles; he bypassed the current concepts and started with the core intention. This is also how Larry Page and Sergey Brin got to the driverless car. They didn’t try to solve a problem in the existing system, foundering on what is currently being explored. They asked what are the core processes involved in moving from place to place, under all conditions.

We can see this at work in the physics of energy. Kinetic energy is already released and has exhausted its potential. The only place where the potential for qualitative change exists is “before”—before energy is manifested and spent, before problems are created. Regenerative thinking dwells in this before, with the potential for what can come into existence.

Seeing true potential requires us to go back to the DNA of our intentions, conscious and unconscious, back to first base, where the uniqueness of the opportunity exists. What is screaming to be directly realized directly? This is the question that PayPal answered when they noticed that customers were encumbered by the current banking system and could be released by a method to make direct payments.

The same is true for engaging with people. For example, when we pay attention, we see loads of potential in the children around us. We see their shortfalls as well; there is no end of shortfalls to fix. But if you start with who a child really is, deep inside, what makes them unique, and you help them realize more and more of that, to become closer and closer to their own singularity, then they thrive. Who wants to make a child “less bad”? Don’t we instead want to support them in their quest to realize their unique potential? And don’t we feel the same about each new business and each watershed? No two living systems are the same; each is pursuing a unique potential. Find that and you become a great business leader or a great biologist.

Going back to the DNA of an intention is graspable by looking at how a starfish regrows a broken limb, which I mentioned in my last blog. A starfish or a salamander is capable of regenerating a limb lost as the result of injury, disease, or aging.Some of their cells are able to reform and resume their stem cell nature. They use the DNA of that specific animal, in that ecosystem, and then regenerate a new set of cells.

Regeneration is always about going back to base material and regenerating from what is at the core. The regeneration process bypasses the existing problem, a missing limb. It doesn’t try to sew it back on or build an artificial replacement, or teach the animal to adapt to its loss. It generates the limb anew, from the same base that created the original one. As it does so, it takes account of changes over time, the evolutionary capacity of natural systems, and adapts the new limb to the starfish or salamander’s current age and habitat. That is the way a regenerative thinking process works for economies, agriculture, investing, or any other arena. Find the core of the intention.

At The Regenerative Business Summit, we are creating a way for people to explore the ideas and principles of regeneration for themselves. “How can we increasing work regeneratively?” The summit will include no outside experts, panels, or business promotion, but will work entirely attendees who have been testing their own ideas about regeneration and who want to work together in a field of inquiry to explore and apply new ones. They will engage in business assessment processes to decide where they are on a path and where they want to go with regard to regeneration.

Attendance at the summit is by invitation only and we are filling up fast. Please check our website, TheRegenerativeBusinessSummit.com, and let us know if you would like an invitation. Also read about our opening night festivities, which will include the awarding of The Regenerative Business Prize. You might like to nominate your own or another regenerative company. Please also talk to us about joining the movement to create more and faster change through Enlightened Disruption.

Save the Date: First Annual Regenerative Business Summit.  Oct. 18- 20, 2016. From Friday Evening on 18th to Noon on 20th.  Seattle WA. At The Foundry by Herban Feast.  I am looking for the link that was in recent newsletters to sign up for further info. You may know where it is. I will send when i find.

Get Notified: http://theresponsibleentrepreneurinstitute.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=439c005bd8ef594c613f9ac12&id=672658a825&mc_cid=a18667f95e&mc_eid=[UNIQID]

Carol Sanford is an Educator & Thinking Partner with Game Changing Fortune 500 executives and Rock Star Entrepreneurs for 40 years. Author multi-award winning books The Responsible Business &The Responsible Entrepreneur: Four Game Changing Archetypes for Founders, Leaders & Impact Investors, Top 100 Global Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. TEDx X4. www.carolsanfordinstitute.com
This article was reposted from Carol Sanford Institute with permission from the author. The original post can be read here.

The Regenerative Business Summit

RegenBusinessSummitThe Regenerative Business Summit will bring together a highly curated, invitation-only set of business owners and leaders with a stake in six essential value-adding business streams: fooding, sheltering, transacting, adorning, recreating and communing. Summit participants will build lasting alliances and ventures in and across these six streams, ultimately pushing the edge of social and planetary change. Through our blog, publications, webinars, workshops, and an annual summit held each fall, we invite established and emerging business leaders from the six essential value-adding business streams to identify product, service and process innovations that can be tested and evolved by individual business or across sectors.

Please click the banner for a PDF with full information about the Summit invitations, prize nominations, and sponsorship opportunities.

What is Regeneration? Part 2 – Living Structured Wholes

Leaping-Frog-300x300

by Carol Sanford

Phase One: Discern a Living Structured Whole and Avoiding “Part” Thinking

How to know if you are doing something else and calling it Regeneration!

Last month I began a series of blogs on the concept of Regeneration. The idea of Regeneration has a very long history of practice.  It comes out of the concept of Living Systems Thinking.  Charles Krone, one of the pioneers of Procter and Gamble’s revolutionary work design, developed something called framework-thinking, which promotes the ability to see wholes at work. The one used here, he called Levels of Work, employed by all P&G Soap employees to understand markets, customers and even soap making, as a living process. The Levels of Work framework enables our understanding of the different kinds of work we take on, in business and other activities. Using it well utilizes a hierarchy of work, some with a better return for innovation, some better for problem solving. Each activity requires different natures or work. He called the base of the hierarchy “operational work,” getting things done and done well. The next level is “maintain or sustain,” how to keep something at its highest level of functioning in a changing ecosystem. “System evolution” level increases the capability of a complex system to evolve over time. Finally, “regeneration work” builds the capacity of wholes to, on an ongoing basis, uniquely bring new value from its role and contribution.  All of these levels are needed, but much is lost if we cannot tell where we are, or worse, fool ourselves. I see this happen with innovation often.  The situation required regenerative work, but often used maintain problem solving tools.

The first blog in this series was an overview of the history, including my forty years with the concept, and the etymology of the term Regeneration as an approach to change and health. When one sets out to work Regeneratively, it is with the intention of finding the full potential of some effort, one that will proceed through seven phases of thinking and acting, where each phase builds and interacts with the others. The use of phases instead of stages allows you to revisit as you move along. Phase One is the subject of this blog, which offers a more in-depth look as the first requirement to even begin thinking about working Regeneratively.  You begin with discerning a living structured whole.

When my daughter graduated from Swarthmore College, Tim William, now a professor emeritus, granted her a Distinction in Biology. She had refused to dissect animals and insects, still graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and instead studied them in motion, sometimes with imaging equipment. In appreciation of her wisdom, he offered his own relevant experience in the Peace Corps as a teacher in Zimbabwe. He had invited the young village students to capture frogs and bring them back in jars he provided. He proceeded to show them how to kill the frogs with chloroform using his frog. The children froze and then screamed, all running out of the makeshift classroom.

Very shortly, the local Chief emerged and asked why he was teaching the children of the village to kill frogs. Tim explained that is was just a necessity of being able to cut them up to be able to understand a frog.

The Chief, with a toothless grin, got down in a squat position and began to leap around croaking, in what Tim reported was a very accurate depiction of frog behavior.  When the Chief rose, he said to Tim, “You cannot understand a frog, without a WHOLE frog doing what frogs do.” He made Tim squat and hop and “be” a frog. Smiling broadly as he walked away, the Chief added, “You have to feel the whole frog in motion, to truly understand.” He had also removed the lids and gleefully watched all the frogs hop back into the brush.

What is a Living Structured Whole?

Think of the human body, both literally and metaphorically. You know it is a whole for one reason. It has structures, systems and processes of its own.

  • It has a self-contained and containing structure. E.g a skeleton.
  • It has systemic working systems, which order and organize the working of activity inside the Whole. E.g. digestive, elimination, and cardio-vascular systems.
  • The processes it engages in make use of a self-managing open exchange, rather than a closed one. E.g eating is an exchange with other systems, repeating, always with fresh material. Closed systems always require the importation of energy from an external system. An open process can engage in value-adding or value-extracting processes with its ecosystem.

Other examples of wholes with structures, systems and processes that meet these criteria are a Customer, Earth, a Place, or an Employee. They each have a self-contained and containing structure, systemic working systems to manage the recurring working of the whole, and the processes that manage exchanges and fuel.

A Business example: a corporation means “the body of the whole.”  Some business units are wholes with their own structures, systems and processes. A school most often is within the larger school system. It operates independently as a whole within a whole.

Why regeneration requires a structured whole?

It is the structures, systems and processes that get regenerated. If it is not a living system, it cannot be regenerated. For example, a curriculum or programs, which are “part” of processing, can be upgraded or refreshed, but not regenerated.  In another example, our skeleton can be regenerated, which happens after an accident or bone loss. It is done in the context of the whole body if it is really regenerative, with its unique DNA, in that context and age, and is specific to that person. This happens even beyond the physical, one’s spirit when depressed, for example. 

What happens if we don’t start with a whole?

We promote and work from fragmentation like with bones when seen as a “part” of the body, not structuring for a whole. We seek to treat the “parts” as problems in decline and try to stop the decline (i.e. doing not as bad), or we pursue something generically good, which is not matched with the whole that we want to regenerate.  E.g., medicine when it is not holistic, or sustainability approaches when practiced as parts of the whole (water, forests separately). The undeveloped mind collapses to perceiving parts. We have to learn to see wholes. In business, it leads to having someone supervise all the parts to bring them together. In medicine, we see one specialist after another for different parts of a subsystem.

How do you discern a whole?  How can you avoid fragmentation?

Medicine has been moving toward a holistic view of human health in many quarters.  This means working less to find solutions for symptoms and working to see what health creation might look like for the whole human being. How do we work from what makes systems healthy, like the cardiovascular systems, metabolic systems, and circulatory systems, in the context of the whole in which they are nested? Otherwise, it is working with the “parts of a cut up frog” to understand a living frog. It cannot be understood if it can no longer jump and croak.  What makes the “being” healthy as a whole, working to create vital structures and systems at the same time through regulation of the processes the person engages in. Fragmentation tends to be our default, and it is often hard to break the habit from out training.  Here are some hints.

  1. Use a living systems framework that evokes questions that helps us understand the working of a particular “whole.” E.g. the Levels of Work Framework I used to create this blog and many other works. A Framework is not the same thing as a model that shows how to replicate an existing pattern. It can be First Principles, like in classical and quantum physics. Frameworks invite the generation of a pattern, in this time and space, rather than follow a preset pattern. We need models for building airplanes, but not businesses, ecosystems or families. A systems framework is a mechanism for questions rather than answers.

For example, all my books are written with a living system framework. The Responsible Business uses a pentad, a five-term framework for looking at an ecosystem’s vitality, viability and evolution. It invites you to use it as a system rather than divided “parts” of the system . The understanding is not the same from one time to another. Rethinking can invite a higher quality of thinking and energy. It shows the connections and relationships.

1. Examine the characteristics of a Whole:

  • Ask what structures it contains, as a being or entity.  Not all structures are living systems. Neither a ladder nor a building is living.
  • What are the systemic systems that keep its life in order?
  • What does it exchange with other systems? Are its processes only internal ones or exchange ones? Living processes promote exchange.

2. Avoid:

  • Lists! – A quick clue you do not have a “whole.”
  • Functions of a whole, like marketing in a business.

A major challenge of our times is the development of a mind that can see wholes and their working, thus overcoming fragmentation of mind and then fragmented initiative on living beings, like Earth.

The next blog is #3, How to See Something Alive and Working Without Cutting It Up Into Fragments Through Dissection.  Once you have a whole frog, how do you understand its working?

Save the Date: First Annual Regenerative Business Summit.  Oct. 18- 20, 2016. From Friday Evening on 18th to Noon on 20th.  Seattle WA. At The Foundry by Herban Feast.

Get Notified: http://theresponsibleentrepreneurinstitute.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=439c005bd8ef594c613f9ac12&id=672658a825&mc_cid=a18667f95e&mc_eid=[UNIQID]

Carol Sanford is an Educator & Thinking Partner with Game Changing Fortune 500 executives and Rock Star Entrepreneurs for 40 years. Author multi-award winning books The Responsible Business &The Responsible Entrepreneur: Four Game Changing Archetypes for Founders, Leaders & Impact Investors, Top 100 Global Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. TEDx X4. www.carolsanfordInstitute.com/.

8 Forms of Capital Translated to Spanish / Las 8 Formas de Capital en Espanol

Thanks to Juan Manuel Burgos for the translation.

Here’s the link for the translation https://es.scribd.com/doc/265793206/Las-8-Formas-de-Capital-Por-Ethan-Roland-Gregory-Landua-Trad-Juan-Manuel-Burgos
Las 8 Formas De Capital

Un sistema completo de entendimiento económico

©Copyright 2011 Ethan Roland & Gregory Landua – Texto original: 8 forms of capital http://www.appleseedpermaculture.com/8-forms-of-capital/ Traduccion: Juan Manuel Burgos – Ananda Aiken, Argentina

Contexto: Permacultura financiera, 2009

En el 2008 y 2009, fui parte del equipo organizador y facilitador para el curso de permacultura financiera en Hohenwald, Tennessee. Convocado por el Center of Holistic Ecology, Gaia University y Solari, Inc. El curso juntó diseñadores de permacultura, planificadores financieros, emprendedores, activistas comunitarios, defensores de monedas complementarias, granjeros y funcionarios del gobierno de todo el país. La permacultura financiera va mas allá del acercamiento tradicional de la permacultura hacia la economía y arroja la pregunta, “¿Cómo se vería el sistema financiero global si lo rediseñáramos usando principios de permacultura?” y “¿Qué tal si nuestro sistema financiero luciera mas como un ecosistema?” En el 2009, Catherine Austin Fitts presentó “Mapeando ecosistemas financieros”. Mapeamos todas las “fuentes de capital” de la comunidad local. Exploramos los flujos de dinero entre entidades, y discutimos como las vibrantes economías locales están definidas por los flujos de dinero más que por las fuentes. Algo no estaba encajando para mí. Seguíamos hablando del dinero como si fuera la única forma de capital, aun cuando había una creciente consciencia que los acres de tierra, tablones de madera y toneladas de carbono podrían ser también parte de una economía ecosistémica. En uno de las sesiones del Espacio Abierto comencé a darme cuenta de un mapa más completo del “capital”.

8 Formas de capital

El Diccionario Americano de Oxford afirma que el capital es, “riqueza en la forma de dinero u otros bienes” y un “recurso valioso de un tipo particular”. ¿Cuáles son estos “otros bienes”? Nunca vi un mapa de todos los tipos distintos de “recursos valiosos”. En el Manual del Diseñador de Permacultura, Bill Mollison ofrece y expande una categorización de bienes basadas en su potencial: Degenerativos, generativos, Procreativos, Informacionales, Conservativos.1 Parece ser una buena manera de pensar sobre las cosas, pero no la utilizo de ninguna manera tangible. Quería algo que pudiera ser más útil para comprender las complejas transacciones e intercambios revoloteando alrededor mío como un ser humano y a nosotros como comunidad global. Mientras consideraba el ejercicio de “mapeo de ecosistemas financieros”, una imagen más grande empezó a emerger al pensar sobre las fuentes de capital y los flujos del Alcalde de un hipotético pueblo pequeño.

El Alcalde quizás tendría algo de dinero (capital financiero). Un buen Alcalde probablemente también tendría muchos amigos en el pueblo y algo de influencia (Capital social). El Alcalde, que tiene un título en economía, conocía el mercado de acciones extremadamente bien. Él/ella usa ese capital intelectual para generar más dinero (capital financiero) y financiar una campaña de re-elección, en la cual él/ella trabaja para transformar capital financiero en mas capital social dentro del pueblo.

Intente enumerar todas las formas diferentes de “recursos valiosos” que un individuo o entidad podrían juntar o intercambiar. “Las 8 Formas de Capital” Emergieron:Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 10.08.51 AM

Capital Social

Las influencias y conexiones son capital social. Una persona o entidad que tiene un “buen capital Social” puede pedir favores, influenciar decisiones y comunicar eficientemente. El capital social es de primordial importancia en la política, los negocios y la organización comunitaria Jaso Eaton de Social Thread LLC me explico que el Capital puede estar en la forma de capital propio o de deuda. En el Capital Social, una persona puede “deber” favores o influencia para la toma de decisiones a otra persona o entidad.

Capital Material

Objetos físicos sin vida forman el capital material. Recursos procesados y en bruto como la piedra, metal, madera y combustibles fósiles son “complejizados” entre sí para crear formas más sofisticadas de material o estructuras. Edificios modernos, puentes y otras piezas de infraestructura junto a las herramientas, computadoras y otras tecnologías son formas complejizadas de capital material.

Capital Financiero

Estamos bastante familiarizados con el capital financiero: Dinero, monedas, títulos y otros instrumentos del sistema financiero global. La actual sociedad global enfoca enormes cantidades de atención sobre el capital financiero. Es nuestra principal herramienta para intercambiar bienes y servicios con otros humanos. Puede ser una poderosa herramienta para la opresión, o (potencialmente) la liberación.

Capital Viviente

Un distribuidor de metales preciosos que participio en ambos cursos de permacultura financiera aconseja: “En lugar de en dólares americanos, ¡mide tu riqueza en onzas [de oro y plata]!” Reconociendo que los metales “preciosos” son solo otra forma de capital financiero, Catherine Austin Fitts recomienda que diversifiquemos y que “midamos nuestra riqueza en onzas, acres y pezuñas”. El capital viviente está conformado por los animales, plantas, agua y suelo de nuestra tierra- la verdadera base de la vida en nuestro planeta.

El diseño en permacultura nos enseña los principios y prácticas para la rápida creación de capital viviente. La permacultura nos alienta a compartir la abundancia de capital vivo en lugar de la intangible “riqueza” de capital financiero.

(nota: “Capital Natural” podría ser un sinónimo de “Capital Viviente”, pero el libro “Natural Capitalism” por Hawkens et al. De 1999 se enfoca en un levemente actualizado sistema de capitalismo más que en la verdadera riqueza de los sistemas vivos. El actual movimiento de “Slow Money” esta también dando pasos en una dirección similar, buscando transferir el capital financiero hacia las formas vivientes del suelo, animales y agricultura)

Capital Intelectual

El capital intelectual es mejor descripto como un activo de “conocimiento”. La mayoría del sistema educativo global vigente está enfocado en impartir capital intelectual – sea o no la forma más útil de capital para crear comunidades prosperas y resilientes. Tener capital intelectual es promocionado como la forma más segura de “ser exitoso”. La ciencia y la investigación pueden enfocarse en obtener capital intelectual o “verdad”, aunque es frecuentemente motivada por el deseo de capital financiero o social. Por ejemplo, “ir a la universidad” es principalmente un intercambio de capital financiero por capital intelectual. Se supone que prepare a las personas para el resto de sus vidas en el mundo.

Capital experiencial (o Humano)

Acumulamos capital experiencial mediante organizar un proyecto en nuestra comunidad, construir una casa de fardos de paja o completando un curso de diseño de permacultura. La forma más efectiva de aprender cualquier cosa proviene a través de un conglomerado de capital intelectual y experiencial. Mi experiencia personal alcanzando un grado de Maestro en Gaia University me demostró que el aprendizaje experiencial es escencial para mi funcionamiento efectivo en el mundo: Era capaz de hacer proyectos en lugar de tomar clases y actualmente estoy organizando colaborativamente el gremio local de permacultura y co-liderado una exitosa firma de diseño en permacultura. 2

Puedo ver que el “capital Humano” es una combinación de capital social, intelectual y experiencial, toda facetas de una persona que pueden ser incorporados escencialmente en cantidades ilimitadas. Pero hay una forma de capital que una persona puede juntar y llevar internamente.

Capital Espiritual

Mientras uno practica su religión, espiritualidad u otra forma de conexión con uno mismo y el universo, puede acumular capital espiritual. Contiene aspectos del capital experiencial e intelectual, pero es más profundo, personal y menos cuantificable. La mayoría de las religiones mundiales incluyen un concepto de “una gran cadena del Ser”, una comprensión holarquica de la existencia donde la realización espiritual (en este contexto, la acumulación de capital espiritual) lleva a diferentes niveles del Ser.3

El Buddhismo incluso contiene una explícita moneda espiritual: el Karma! Esta forma de capital espiritual es computada y contabilizada no solo por la presente vida, sino también (teniendo en cuenta a la re-encarnación) en todas las vidas pasadas y futuras del Alma. En el capital espiritual ingresa nuevamente el concepto de que el capital puede ser en la forma de activos (juntando experiencias/realizaciones/comprensiones espirituales positivas) O en la forma de deuda. En algunas culturas Mayas (como los Tzutujil del Lago Atitlán, una comprensión básica de la existencia es que los humanos tiene una “deuda espiritual” con la magnífica belleza y complejidad de la existencia. Según esta cosmovisión, el objetivo de la propia vida en el mundo es crear obras de innombrable belleza y gratitud, pagando así la deuda espiritual con la existencia. 4 Los Tzutujil también reconocen que un ser humano jamás puede ser realmente efectivo en juntar y hacer fluir este capital si está separado de su comunidad.

Capital Cultural

Todas las otras formas de capital pueden ser tenidas o debidas por los individuos, pero el capital cultural puede solo ser reunido por una comunidad de personas. El capital cultural describe los procesos internos y externos compartidos por una comunidad – los trabajos de arte y teatro, las canciones que todo niño aprende, la habilidad para juntarse y celebrar la cosecha o una festividad religiosa. El Capital cultural no puede ser reunido por individuos nada más. Puede ser visto como una propiedad emergente de un complejo sistema de intercambios inter-capital que tiene lugar en la aldea, ciudad, bioregión o nación.

Propiedades del sistema

Estas ocho formas de capital nos ayudan a mapear nuestra comprensión del mundo. El mapa clarifica que el dinero no es la única forma de capital fluyendo alrededor y a través nuestro. Este mapa expande el concepto de riqueza (y pobreza) para incluir los “recursos valiosos” de conexiones personales, recursos naturales, tierra, conocimiento, experiencia y más. Provee un lenguaje para que los diseñadores de permacultura puedan comunicar el valor del suelo sano y comunidades sanas a la gente inmersa en el actual paradigma del capitalismo global, donde el capital financiero es la única realidad.Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 10.18.18 AM

Hay dos tipos de flujo dentro de las fuentes de capital:

1– Flujos intra-capital, entre el mismo tipo de capital. Por ejemplo, usar dólares para comprar una acción o bono, o intercambiar semillas de tomates reliquia por una caja de huevos.

2– Flujos inter-capital, entre distintos tipos de capital. Por ejemplo, pagar por un aprendizaje de 2 años con un maestro constructor seria un intercambio de capital financiero por capital intelectual, experiencial e incluso social.

Estas propiedades de flujo del capital nos llevan a una pregunta y característica interesante de este mapa: ¿Cuáles son los medios de intercambio usados para cada forma de capital?

Ocho formas de moneda

Casi todas las definiciones de moneda se enfocan en el capital financiero, en el Diccionario Americano de Oxford y el Princeton Wordnet5, ambos incluyen la definición de “El hecho o cualidad que actualmente se acepta o está en uso”. Para este mapa, defino como “moneda” al modo generalmente aceptado (o en uso) de intercambio entre fuetes de capital. En muchos casos, la moneda es el capital en sí mismo – Por ejemplo, elementos del “capital Material” como el cobre o el acero, pueden ser el medio de intercambio. Las monedas también puede ser “complejizadas” en formas más interconectadas y funcionales, y aun ser utilizadas como medio de intercambio.

Aquí hay algunas de las ocho formas de moneda asociadas con cada forma de capital:Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 10.21.19 AM

Aplicaciones prácticas

Temprano en este año, mientras mi compañero y yo diseñábamos una serie de cursos sobre bosques comestibles de 4 fines de semana, estábamos teniendo un montón de problemas con el presupuesto. Los costos de alquilar un espacio y pagar a los maestros combinados con nuestro deseo de mantener las entradas a un precio asequible para la comunidad local hacían que los números fueran inviables. Sin importar cuanto cambiáramos las cosas, no podíamos descubrir como generar un razonable retorno financiero. Entonces, nos dimos cuenta que nuestro pensamiento era demasiado estrecho – estábamos solamente mirando el capital financiero! Cuando consideramos el capital experiencias que ganaríamos por llevar adelante el curso, el capital social generado por plantar bosques comestibles en un nuevo centro educativo, y el capital vivo de cientos de plantas útiles siendo plantadas…se hizo evidente que la remuneración financiero era solo una faceta del sistema. Sin embargo, aun necesitábamos balancear nuestro flujo entrante y saliente de esta única forma de capital.

Las ocho formas de capital proveen un camino claro hacia un pequeño punto de palanca muy potente: La inversión Eco-social. Podemos alentar a los individuos, negocios, organización y gobiernos a imitar las prácticas de inversión de la naturaleza: Local, Íntimo, Diverso, y principalmente en forma de capital viviente. La Financial Permaculture Community, Gaia University y una multitud de negocios y organizaciones interconectados están invirtiendo en diversas canastas de capital, ofreciendo eventos como el Carbon Farming Course en Tennessee y el prospero negocio de chocolate eco-social BooyaCacao.

He delineado una serie de principios para la Inversión Ecosistémica y Eco-Social, los cuales pueden encontrar en mi blog www.appleseedpermaculture.com/blog Una de las aplicaciones mas útiles de este mapa es para aumentar y desplazar nuestra comprensión del mundo y las transacciones en las que nos involucramos. Cuando estuve de voluntario trabajando en la granja orgánica permacultural de mi amigo, más que solo “trabajo gratis” está ocurriendo:

* Estoy ganando capital experiencial e intelectual sobre el suelo de la granja, los cultivos y su manejo

*Estamos apoyando el crecimiento de capital viviente saludable en el suelo

*Mi amigo obtiene ayuda para su producción y cambiarlo por capital financiero (su sustento bien ganado)

*Ambos estamos construyendo capital social a través de la interacción y conexión positiva entre uno y otro.

Esta claridad puede llevar a un novedoso nivel de transparencia en nuestro trabajo como diseñadores eco-sociales-culturales y económicos. Puede guiarnos hacia una constante profundización en la práctica de la tercera ética de la permacultura.

La tercera ética

Aun cuando Bill Mollison originalmente estableció a la tercera ética de la permacultura como “poner límites a la población y el consumo” 6, muchos de nosotros (especialmente en las olas más recientes de la permacultura) hemos sido enseñados de distinta forma esta tercer ética. Algunos aprenden “Justa redistribución” o “comercio Justo”, una versión más amigable de “limites”. Otros aprenden “compartir recursos”, que retira la atención de la escasez hacia la re-inversión de la abundancia. Y más recientemente he visto a Starhawk referirse a la tercera ética como “cuidado del futuro”, que sintetiza la llamada de la “justa redistribución” y “compartir recursos” en un enfoque hacia la creación de herencias prosperas para las generaciones futuras. Las ocho formas de capital pueden y deben ser consideradas en términos de cada versión de la tercera ética.

“Comercio Justo” o “Justa Redistribución”

Cuando la gente y los negocios, organizaciones y gobiernos entienden las ocho formas de capital, pueden encontrar que el capital financiero no es el todo en el sistema. Esto puede llevar a un decreciente consumo de bienes no escenciales y de servicios que energizan nuestro sistema financiero de crecimiento infinito. Una sociedad realmente justa requiere equidad y justa distribución de todas las formas de capital. Mientras el capital financiero es importante, capitales no financieros orecen caminos para el empoderamiento de las comunidades oprimidas de nuestro planeta. En comunidades que he visitad (kazakhstan, Chile y Latino América), la abundancia de capital cultural frecuentemente sobrepasa al capital financiero, regenerándose en una riqueza de capital experiencial y viviente que jamás he visto en mi hogar del Noreste Estadounidense. Cualquiera de nosotros en el mundo desarrollado puede seguir este modelo, trabajando para terminar con la opresión causada por nuestros actuales sistemas centrados en el capital financiero.

“Compartir Recursos”

Podemos usar las ocho formas de capital para incluir el compartir de recursos en nuestros proyectos. AppleSeed Permacultura ha definido una nueva política de carbono, donde él %5 de nuestras ganancias es dedicado a compensar nuestra huella de carbono mediante proyectos de granjas de carbono (capital viviente). El impuesto de arboles al “Activista de Permacultura” funciona de una manera similar, transformando capital financiero en capital viviente para el beneficio del planeta.

AppleSeed Permaculture es también inspirado por nuestros amigos Shabazz y Josephine de Greenway Environmental Services, quienes explícitamente donan %10 de cada semana de trabajo a la comunidad a través de educación y consultorías. Ellos comparten de igual manera su capital intelectual y experiencial con grupos de jóvenes urbanos y permacultores rurales, generando a la vez, capital social para si mismos. Como un hombre blanco de clase media-alta del noreste de Estados Unidos, estoy buscando formas de usar transparente y alegremente mi privilegio multi-capas de efectivamente compartir recursos con aquellos que tienen menos poder y libertad que yo. Este artículo es una manifestación del compartir de mi capital intelectual. Después de buscar liderazgo de parte de personas y comunidades que han sido apuntadas por los efectos opresivos del sexismo, racismo y clasismo, sus proyectos pueden ser empoderados a través del flujo de inversiones multi-capital.

“Cuidado del Futuro”

Para cuidar a las generaciones futuras, tenemos que movernos mas allá de lo financiero, hacia el capital viviente y cultural. De las ocho formas, estas dos tienen el potencial más grande para un cambio sistémico positivo. Mollison escribe, “deberíamos desarrollar o crear riqueza del mismo modo que desarrollamos paisajes, conservando energía y recursos naturales [y] mediante el desarrollo de activos procreativos (bosques prolíferos, praderas y sistemas vivos) 7. Solo a través de canciones, historias y éticas compartidas de un capital cultural puede un enfoque en el capital viviente ser sostenido para las 7 generaciones siguientes.

Algunas piezas están faltando del mapa: ¿A dónde encaja mi “trabajo” dentro de la imagen? ¿Qué forma de capital es el tiempo? Puede haber algunas implicancias peligrosas: Este mapa puede “comoditizar” los servicios ecosistémicos, la espiritualidad y la cultura. Para cuidar del futuro, debemos pensar más holísticamente sobre nuestro sistema de capital actual.

Dejemos que este mapa sea un primer borrador. No sabemos qué es lo que va a pasar en el futuro, pero si una compleja batería de cambios y flujos capitales aparecen en el camino, ofrezco las ocho formas de capital como un nuevo mapa para la travesía.

©Copyright 2011 Ethan Roland & Gregory Landua

Agradecimientos y recursos Ofrezco mi más profunda gratitud a Catherine Austin Fitts, Andrew Langford, Bill Mollison, Jason Eaton, Gregory Landua, Dyami-Nason Regan, Connor Stedman, mai Frank y Rafter Sass por sus contribuciones especificas y reflexiones sobre este y para este mapa en evolución.

Gaia University: www.gaiauniversity.org

Financial Permaculture Course: www.financialpermaculture.com

Financial Permaculture Blog: www.financialpermaculture.org

Solari, Inc.: www.solari.com

Social Thread LLC: www.socialthread.com

Slow Money: www.slowmoneyalliance.org

BooyaCacao: www.booyacacao.com

AppleSeed Permaculture: www.appleseedpermaculture.com

Terra Genesis International: www.terra-genesis.com

REFERENCIAS

1. Mollison, B. 1988. Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual p. 534. Tagari Publications, Tasmania, Australia.

2. Roland, E. 2008. Gaia University Master’s Degree Portfolio, http://gel.gaiauniversity.org

3. Wilber, K. 2001. A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science, and Spirituality p. 66-69. Shambhala Publications, Massachusetts, United Staes

4. Prechtel, M. 2009. Saving the Indigenous Soul: Derrick Jensen Interviews Martín Prechtel. Sun Magazine, December 2009

5. Wordnet: A Lexical Database for English. http://wordnet.princeton.edu/, accessed 5/31/09.

6. Mollison, B. 1988. Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual p. 2. Tagari Publications, Tasmania, Australia.

7. Ibid. Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual p. 534. Tagari Publications, Tasmania, Australia.

Regenerative Enterprise Part 9: Financial Capital to Living Capital

Financial Capital to Living Capital

In order to begin restorative development at any scale, regenerative enterprises must identify and reverse the currently predominant inter-capital flows that are degrading ecological, social, and cultural systems. At a macro-level there is one primary flow which, once reversed, will act as a leverage point to restore holistic health and the foundation of wealth for our global society.

The current flow in need of reversal is between living capital and financial capital: living capital is systematically damaged and destroyed in order to build financial capital. From mountain-top-removal coal mining, to rainforest clear-cutting, to chemical-based monoculture farming, to ocean over-fishing, to the entire fossil fuel extraction and combustion industry:27 Living capital decreases, financial capital increases. What would it look like if this trend were reversed?

One exemplar to consider is Polyface Farms in Virginia, USA. On this farm, the Salatin family grows a diversity of grass-based animal products (primarily rabbits, chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cattle) in a way that continually improves the quality and productivity of their land, creates multiple jobs, and earns significant amounts of financial revenue.

Because they are building their soil, catching and storing water, and increasing the health of their forests while they sell top-quality grass-fed meat, their farm system removes financial capital from degenerative systems into vibrant living capital.

A regenerative enterprise can certainly obtain a financial capital profit in the process of regenerating local ecosystems, but the majority of financial capital flowing through the enterprise will be transformed or invested into long-term living, social, and cultural resilience. Polyface Farms’ annual revenue is approximately two million dollars, which they flow back into the land (growing their herds, digging multi-functional ponds, building new infrastructure) and the local community (through jobs, feed purchases, and professional services).28 As Mark Shepard of New Forest Farm writes in Restoration Agriculture,

“Degrade the ecology and degrade the economy.

Restore the ecology and restore the economy.”29

A regenerative enterprise flows financial capital out of the current destructive economic system. The financial capital flows in to non-financial forms of capital, especially living capital.

This financial capital does not disappear. In fact, regenerative enterprises can create significant long-term financial returns, as demonstrated by Windhorse Farm and Polyface Farm. These farms show the balance between long-term financial return and reinvestment in the living capital foundation that generates the surplus in the first place. Financial capital returns should be continuously re-invested into cultivating the health and resilience of living, cultural, social and spiritual capital, not extracted for the purpose of creating financial or material capital that has no functional interconnection with the regenerative context from which it emerged.

 

Excerpt from:

Regenerative Enterprise: Optimizing for Multi-Capital Abundance by Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua

 

27 Worldwatch Institute. Vital Signs 2012. New York: WW Norton, 2012.

28 Salatin, Joel. Personal Communication. 2012.

29 Shepard, Mark. Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers. Austin: Acres USA, 2013.

©2013 Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua. All Rights Reserved.

 

Regenerative Enterprise at Omega Institute

“What would it be like if our entire economic system looked more like an ecosystem?”

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 1.06.50 PM

“So much of the current world pits enterprise against the commons… I want to propose a shift. I want to put forward the idea that perhaps enterprise can actually grow the commons. Regenerative Enterprises can be in reciprocal relationships – restoring, protecting, developing, and regenerating the commons.”  – Ethan Roland, Omega Institute 2014

To watch the full video of Ethan Roland’s talk at OMEGA’s 2014 Where We Go From Here Conference, click the link below to register for free.

www.eOmega.org/online-workshops/2014-where-we-go-from-here-conference#

 

Regenerative Enterprise Part 3: Regeneration Defined

Regenerative Enterprise Part 3: Regeneration Defined

Using the eight forms of capital as a lens, it is evident that current human-led processes are rapidly depleting living, cultural, and spiritual capital on a global scale.15 This trajectory fundamentally limits the long-term viability of humans and other species on the planet – instead of life flourishing, it is degenerating.

In this context, degenerative systems optimize the increase of financial and material capital by depleting the fundamental generative basis of living, cultural, and spiritual capital. Degenerative systems intentionally apply intellectual, experiential, and social capital to achieve the increase of financial and material capital at the expense of living capital.

A “sustainable” system is defined as one that maintains existing pools of each form of capital, while providing for the upkeep and replacement of the fundamental living capital that all beings depend on for survival. But simply ‘maintaining’ the currently depleted state of living capital would be disastrous – 90% of all ocean fish would still be lost, two thirds of all species on earth would still be threatened with extinction, and the millions of acres of forest already cut and soil already eroded would not return.

In this context, we must move beyond sustainability and into regeneration of all forms of capital.

Regenerative systems actively build life, complexity and diversity. They grow the foundations and the potential of what humans perceive and experience as ‘wealth’.

 

15 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and Human Well-being:

Synthesis. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2005.

 

An excerpt from:

Regenerative Enterprise: Optimizing for Multi-Capital Abundance by Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua

©2013 Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua. All Rights Reserved.

Regenerative Enterprise Part 2: The Eight Forms of Capital

Regenerative Enterprise Part 2: The Eight Forms of Capital

In 2009, the authors developed a new economic map to fully conceptualize and account for the world’s multiplicity of resource flows: The Eight Forms of Capital.13 Even as the soils erode away, biodiversity plummets, and ecosystems reel from the shocks of species loss, fragmentation, and climate change, economists and governments insist that economies must ‘keep growing’. How is this possible? Can our global society truly continue to grow forever?

The infinite growth required by our current global system is primarily an infinite growth of one form of capital: financial. The Eight Forms of Capital economic model recognizes that there are other forms: social, material, living, intellectual, experiential, cultural and spiritual capital. We propose that the ongoing growth of financial capital is only possible through the loss of other forms of capital.

The current global society is organized and controlled primarily through the flow of financial capital, but the survival of any human or society depends primarily on living capital and the material capital that arises from it: food, water, energy, and shelter. It is the cooperation and collaboration of people in the forms of villages, tribes, regions and nations that support each other to successfully gather these provisions of ecosystem services and transform them into the goods and services that underly the global economic system.

The Eight Forms of Capital provides a clear framework to understand this global web of interactions and transactions. The Eight Forms of Capital can be summarized as follows:14

 

Re_Blog2_VueMap_1

 

        • Social Capital – Connections, relationships, and influence. Can be complexed to webs of social indebtedness.
        • Material Capital – Non-living physical objects: Timber, minerals, metals, fossil fuels. Can be complexed to plastic & electronic products, and further into structures, infrastructure, and technologies.
        • Financial Capital – Money, currency, securities, and other instruments. Currently, facilitates the exchange of goods and services.
        • Living Capital – Soil, water, animals, plants, human health and the health of other organisms, complexed to the ubiquitous ecosystems of which humans are a part.
        • Intellectual Capital – Ideas, concepts, knowledge, “truth”. Held primarily in the human neocortex, intellectual capital is highly valued in the current society.
        • Experiential Capital – Actual embodied ‘know-how’, built from personal experience.
        • Spiritual Capital – Sometimes expressed as karma, faith or presence, spiritual capital is defined by an entity’s internal connection and awareness of a greater whole. Spiritual capital is often complexly intertwined with cultural context and Cultural Capital.
        • Cultural Capital – Shared internal and external experiences of a group of people: Cultural capital is an emergent property of the complex inter-capital exchanges in a community, village, city, bioregion, or nation. Story, myth, song, and art are tangible manifestations of cultural capital – they are also sometimes liquidated and exchanged for other forms of capital, usual financial.

 

Pools of capital can be held and developed by multiple entities, and various flows can occur within and between each form of capital:

Figure 3.2 – Multi-capital pools and flows.

RE_Blog2_CapitalPoolsFlows

The sum total of global inter- and intra-capital exchanges is the current economic system. The international trend is to deplete the pools of most forms of capital while exponentially increasing the amount of financial capital. This mono-capital trajectory has significant impacts on the sustainability of current and future generations.

 

Excerpt from:

Regenerative Enterprise: Optimizing for Multi-Capital Abundance by Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua

 

13 Roland, Ethan, and Gregory Landua. “8 Forms of Capital” Financial

Permaculture, 2009.

14 ibid

©2013 Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua. All Rights Reserved.

Regenerative Enterprise Part 1: Global Degradation

Regenerative Enterprise Part 1: Global Degradation

        According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, more than 60% of global ecosystem services are being degraded or used unsustainably.2 The basic ecosystem functions that supply what humans and other species require to survive are crumbling around us: from the provisioning of food, water, fiber and fuel to the regulation of climate, floods, droughts, and diseases. The breakdown of ecosystem services threatens countless species with extinction – projected extinction rates in the next 40 years are between 10,000 – 100,000 times that of the historical record.3

        This degradation of ecosystems is also causing significant harm to human well-being around the world.4  Loss of land- and sea-based livelihoods due to ecosystem degradation cost billions of dollars each year, levels of poverty remain high, and inequities are growing. Many people still do not have a sufficient supply of or access to ecosystem services,5  especially in vulnerable coastal, island, and tropical areas of the planet. Many of the trends in degradation will be exacerbated by rapid climate change we are experiencing. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Extreme Weather predicts an overall increase in droughts, floods, heat waves, and hurricanes around the world. These extreme events will incur billions of dollars in damages and untold harm to human health and well-being, especially in coastal areas.6  In 2012, exceptional drought and ‘super storm’ Sandy grounded these severe warnings into reality, even in the financially affluent United States.

Culturally, we are also living in a time of rapid degradation. The world’s languages are disappearing at a rate even faster than that of biological diversity, with some estimating that 90% of all existing languages (nearly 7000) will be either dead or moribund within the century.7 With many of the unique beliefs, stories, songs, seeds, and foods connected to each language disappearing, this loss of languages represents an incredible loss of culture.

Many of these languages are spoken by indigenous peoples, whose lands and lifeways are threatened on a daily basis by our current extractive global society. A recent World Wildlife Fund study named the 200 places on earth that have the highest and most fragile biodiversity, and found that 95 percent of them are on Indigenous territories.8 Yet those same Indigenous lands are routinely raided for minerals, timber, farmland, oil, and other resources. Governments give industries concessions to use Indigenous land without ever consulting the Indigenous groups who live there, and in almost no case do Indigenous

Peoples benefit from the financial income generated by this activity.9

As cultures and ecosystems degrade around us on a global scale, some of the worst effects harm the world’s poorest people and are sometimes the principal factor causing poverty.10 This is painfully and graphically illustrated in India, where each year thousands of farmers who depend on healthy productive ecosystems are committing suicide because of economic, social, and environmental factors exacerbated by degraded ecosystem services.11

In this context of ecological and cultural degradation, one trend seems to be heading in the opposite direction: There is exponentially more money in existence than there ever has been before.12 Ecosystems are degrading at increasing rates, and the amount of money is increasing – what’s going on here?

 

Excerpt from:

Regenerative Enterprise: Optimizing for Multi-Capital Abundance by Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua

 

2 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and Human Well-being:Synthesis. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2005.
3 ibid
4 ibid
5 ibid
6 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX).” Geneva, June 2012.
7 Comrie, Bernard, Stephen Matthews, and Maria Polinsky, eds. The Atlas of Languages: The Origin and Development of Languages Throughout the World. New York: Quarto Inc., 1996.
8 Cultural Survival, Inc. Cultural Survival. Web. Accessed 16 Dec. 2012.
9 ibid
10 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2005.
11 “Farmers’ Suicides in India.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Accessed 7 Dec. 2012.
12 Steffen, Will, et al. Global Change and the Earth System: A Planet Under Pressure. Berlin: Springer, 2004.

©2013 Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua. All Rights Reserved.