Generative vs. Extractive Ownership

From P2P Foundation
Jump to: navigation, search

Extract from book

By Marjorie Kelly in her book, The Emerging Ownership Revolution, prologue, page 11–12


These models embody a coherent school of design—a common form of organization that brings the living concerns of the human and ecological communities into the world of property rights and economic power. It’s an emerging archetype yet to be recognized as a single phenomenon because it has yet to have a single name. Hannah Arendt observed that a stray dog has a better chance of surviving if it’s given a name. We might try calling this a family of generative ownership designs. Together they form the foundation for a generative economy.

In their animating intent and living impact, these ownership designs are aimed at generating the conditions where all life can thrive. From the Greek ge, generative uses the same root form found in the term for Earth, Gaia, and in the words genesis and genetics. It connotes life. Generative means the carrying on of life, and generative design is about the institutional framework for doing so. The generative economy is one whose fundamental architecture tends to create beneficial rather than harmful outcomes. It’s a living economy that has a built-in tendency to be socially fair and ecologically sustainable.

Generative ownership designs are about generating and preserving real wealth, living wealth, rather than phantom wealth than can evaporate in the next quarter. They’re about helping families to enjoy secure homes. Creating jobs. Preserving a forest. Generating nourishment out of waste. Generating broad wellbeing.

These designs are in contrast to the dominant ownership design of today. To make the distinction clear, that design also needs a name. We might call it extractive, for its focus is maximum physical and financial extraction. Our industrial age civilization has been powered by twin processes of extraction: extracting fossil fuels from the earth and extracting financial wealth from the economy. But these two processes are not parallel, for finance is the master force. Biophysical damage may often be the effect of the system’s action, yet extracting financial wealth is its aim.

As we begin to build what economist E. F. Schumacher called an “economy of permanence” on our fragile planet, maximum financial growth will be ill-suited as a guiding purpose. In generative design, we see in practical detail how a different goal can be at the core of economic activity. Generative design shows us that a transformative shift has already begun and suggests how it might be amplified."

Table from publisher's press release

from (visited 2016-12)

THE DESIGN OF ECONOMIC POWER — The Architecture of Ownership

1. Financial Purpose: maximizing profits in the short term 1. Living Purpose: creating the conditions for life over the long term
2. Absentee Membership: ownership disconnected from the life of the enterprise 2. Rooted Membership: ownership in human hands
3. Governance by Markets: control by capital markets on autopilot 3. Mission-Controlled Governance: control by those dedicated to social mission
4. Casino Finance: capital as master 4. Stakeholder Finance: capital as friend
5. Commodity Networks: trading focused solely on price and profits 5. Ethical Networks: collective support for ecological and social norms