Living Economies = Concept by David Korten, who counterposes it to present "Suicide Economies"
"The suicide economy is a product of human choices motivated by a love of money. It is within our means to make different choices motivated by a love of life. We have created a suicide economy based on absentee ownership, monopoly, and the concentration of power delinked from obligations to people or place. Now we must create living economies based on locally rooted ownership and deeply held American ideals of equity, democracy, markets, and personal responsibility.
In the place of a suicide economy devoted to maximizing returns to money, we can create living economies devoted to meeting the basic needs of people. In the place of a suicide economy in which the powerful reap the profits and the rest bear the cost, we can create a system of living economies in which decisions are made by those who will bear the consequences.
In the place of the suicide economy's global trading system designed to allow the wealthy few to control the resources and dominate the markets of the many, we can create living economy trade through which each community exchanges those things it produces in surplus for those it cannot reasonably produce at home on terms that support living wage jobs and high environmental standards everywhere.
Under a system of relatively self-reliant local living economies, communities and nations will not find themselves pitted against one another for jobs, markets, and resources. In the absence of such competition, the free sharing of information, knowledge, and technology will become natural, to the mutual benefit of all." (http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?id=533)
"The following are three defining characteristics of the living systems our human economies must emulate.
1. Cooperative Self-Organization: Ecosystems have no central control structure. Their health and vitality depend on processes of cooperative self-organization in which each species learns to meet its own needs in ways that simultaneously serve the needs of others. The more diverse and cooperative the bio-community, the greater its capacity to innovate and the greater its resilience in the face of crisis.
2. Self-Reliant Local Adaptation: The biosphere’s cooperatively self-organizing fractal structure supports a constant process of adaptation to the intricate features of Earth’s distinctive local microenvironments to optimize the capture, sharing, use, and storage of available energy.
Local self-reliance is a key to the system’s ability to absorb and contain most system disturbance locally with minimum overall system disruption. So long as each local subsystem balances its consumption and reproduction with local resource availability, the biosphere remains healthy and dynamic.
3. Managed Boundaries: Because of the way life manages energy, each living entity must maintain an active flow of energy within itself and in continuous exchange with its neighbors. Life requires permeable managed membranes at every level of organization—the cell, the organ, the multi-celled organism, and the multi-species ecosystem—to manage these flows and as a defense against parasitic predators.
If the membrane of the cell or organism is breached, the continuously flowing embodied energy that sustains its living internal structures dissipates into the surrounding environment, and it dies. It also dies, however, if the membrane becomes impermeable, thus isolating the entity and cutting off its needed energy exchange with its neighbors. Managed boundaries are not only essential to life’s good health; they are essential to its very existence." (http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/david-korten/learning-from-the-biosphere)
Living Economies and Localization
"Reorganizing our human economies to function as locally self-reliant subsystems of our local ecosystems will require segmenting the borderless global economy into a planetary system of interlinked self-reliant regional economies. This does not mean shutting out the world. Vital living economies exchange their surplus goods for the surplus goods of their neighbors and freely share ideas, technology, and culture in a spirit of mutual respect for the needs and values of all players.
In a living economy, the rights and interests of living communities of living, breathing people engaged in a living exchange with the natural systems of their bioregion properly take priority over the presumed rights of artificial corporate entities that value life only as a marketable commodity and operate by the moral code of a malignant cancer. Protecting the boundaries of the community from intrusion by predatory corporations is an essential function of any responsible government." (http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/david-korten/learning-from-the-biosphere)