Living Economies: Learning from the Biosphere

How we humans can redesign our failing systems by turning back to nature—and learning to live by the rules of life.

David Korten
Yes Magazine

My favorite definition of life comes from evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulies: “Life is matter with the capacity to choose.”

The intricate self-organizing structure of Earth’s biosphere is the product of life’s extraordinary 3.5 billion year evolutionary quest to explore and expand the possibilities of its capacity to choose. The result is a complex and highly sophisticated fractal structure of nested, self-reliant, progressively smaller-scale ecosystems, each exquisitely adapted to its particular place on Earth to optimize the capture of energy to sustain matter in a living choice-making state.

To this end, trillions upon trillions of cells, organisms, and communities of organisms engage in an exquisite continuing dance of cooperative exchange. Each participant in this dance maintains its own identity and vitality while contributing to the needs of its neighbors and to the balance, stability, and resilience of the whole.

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