Earth Investors

I have occasionally wondered what is so controversial about the World Bank.
I understand protesters travel from all around Earth
to wave placards outside World Bank meetings
and I wonder why they are so riled up.

After all,
it’s our Bank.
It seems to be investing in worthwhile projects
so why pick on economists and bankers
and business school makers?

Then I read this from Lawrence Summers,
pre-millennially of the World Bank,
and US. National Economic Council:

“There are no limits to the carrying capacity of the earth [sic]
that are likely to bind at any time
in the foreseeable future.
The idea that we should put limits on growth
because of some natural limit
is a profound error.”

Here is how a more post-millennial economist,
like Charles Eisenstein or Riane Eisler,
Anat Shenker-Osorio or John Michael Greer,
might change Summer’s winterish position:

There are nondual natural-spiritual limits to Earth’s life-carrying capacity.
These are cooperatively binding at all times
in the foreseeable future,
as in our historic past
balance of regeneration and decomposition,
rooted in principles of thermodynamic balance.

The compelling idea that we should embrace limits on growth
with gratitude
because of natural-spiritual limits of ecological dynamics
is a profound truth
of democratic and Earth-patriotic faith,
trust in the deeper balancing power of co-operativity
over narrow-minded and short-sighted denials
of Win to Lose economic anti-ecological competitions
for anthro-inflation
at Earth’s culture of pathology expense.

We need ecological economists
cooperating our World Bank co-investments;
not just pathology economists.
Just as we need healthy democratic cooperative public servants
in local and state,
national and international offices
rather than more candidates for Anger Management classes,
fearing we won’t re-elect them
if they don’t speak false promises of magically unlimited growth,
while the failure of species
and subclimates
and rivers
and oceans
and ozone layers
and landscapes
and shoreline communities
and other healthcare-giving systems
are clearly already not experiencing continued growth
in the foreseeable futures of right now.

So, I maybe begin to see
why Summer’s World Bank history
feels so winterish
to others.

I think this is what Bernie Sanders
was ranting on about
when trying to breathe life
into limp democrats.

Maybe Van Jones
and Riane Eisler
would be good healthy team leaders,
(“quality people” in Trumpian speak)
but they would need a renewed nature-spirit balancing Congress
with some ecological economic sense
about cooperatively investing
within Earth’s sustainable limits,
grace within gratitude
like light leading photosynthesis.


My Perfect President

Open letter to President Obama:


Two things. A thank you, and a suggestion for our shared global future, confronting increasingly rapid climatic, with concomitant cultural and economic, transitions.

First, thank you for the pleasure of watching and listening to your comparative political and economic sanity for the past eight years. Enthusiastically voting for you twice, although you are not my “perfect” candidate, was such a relief and pleasure. And, your performance in what appears to be a largely thankless and hopeless position, has been graceful and sometimes even respectful of honest differences in priority. When comparing our financial investment in your presidential campaigns, and the cost to your personal integrity, to any positive health and well-being return, I see where this may have made sense for the rest of us, but I find it miraculous that you so generously accept your losses, along with your wins.

Second, my suggestion moves toward optimizing political and economic potential for addressing what we have labeled “climate warming,” but is actually the multisystemic problem of over-heated climate change. You seem to see the difference, and recognize the awesome scale of this challenge, especially during the already-shrinking projected normal life spans of our children, and grandchildren. So the requisite motivation to recognize and accept climate change as our most profoundly significant “well-being” global rights issue, as well as a national issue, you already have in your pocket.

No doubt you have noticed by now that even the President of the United States and the General Secretary of the United Nations, perhaps those two positions even more so than for all of us regular folks, daily confront a huge gap between what you are motivated to do and what you are powerful enough to accomplish. With political empowerment comes greater global and cultural and socioeconomic responsibilities, and aspirations. If you are any good as a person at all, I think you step into this larger-scale of consciousness, and you and your family do appear to be very good people indeed.

Perhaps helpful, with regard to our political “stuckness”, I am also noticing a considerable growth and refinement of two paradigms that appear to be co-arising toward nonduality, which, if you are familiar with Buddhist and/or Taoist philosophy, is the kind of evolution that has a way of becoming revolutionary, in a positive way. These two paradigms are Permaculture Design (and Development) and New (Feminist) Economics.

Each of these paradigms analyzes Business As Usual to point toward our urgent need for cultural and economic local-scaled cooperative-nurturing systems (including healthier ecosystems) to replace our current messiness. Business As Usual includes Win-Lose Game Theory, Left-brain dominant deduction, competition, economic and evolutionary cultural dynamics of entropic-trending dysfunction and over-specialization.

Since retiring from grant and program development for Connecticut human service agencies, I have been reading economics as presented by Riane Eisler (The Real Wealth of Nations), John Michael Greer (The Wealth of Nature), and Charles Eisenstein (Sacred Economics). Each is brilliant and together they shape an economic dipolar pattern contrasting Received View financial growth as economic wealth with a newer, more cooperative-centric economics of health, positive nutrition:

  • healthy production balancing consumption, and
  • polycultural health as root-value measure of wealth regeneration within eco-logically cooperative systems that today emerge from our current exponentially-growing global consensus that well-being has already begun trending toward decomposition.

Permaculturists, from Laotse through Buckminster Fuller and on to today’s booming industry of healing Earth and residents thereof, take as much interest in the ecological balance of regeneration and decomposition as economists invest in expanding v. contracting economic health of production/consumption systems.

Eisenstein (2011) calls the New Economics “sacred” economics, but, boiled down into natural system language, his sacred might be translated with Buckminster Fuller’s synergy; a positive-trending cooperatively-evolving dynamic integrity of health trend systems design and development. Further, Eisenstein seems to interpret “divine,” as contrasted to profane, as integrity v. deductive-reductive-redactive competing identities and independently eisegetical understanding. It is a profane Business As Usual culture assuming oppositional either-or Win-Lose evolutionary strategies and logistics, when it is more ectosymbiotically integrative to heuristically hold both-and Win-Win appositional challenges and comparisons and tipping-points, leading toward nondual co-arising strategies and more comprehensive polycultural consciousness.

What are Win-Win cooperative political, economic, and ecological outcomes that are achievable given the current climate in Washington, the U.S., and Earth?

I think we already do agree on, and are united within, one primary concern: How can I (and we)

  • invest in optimizing my health and well-being,
  • assure the right of full healthy development of my dependents, and all I love,
  • continue learning and mentoring wise and natural-systemic discernment, rather than merely learning to produce and consume more efficiently,
  • prudently invest my life exclusively within long-term just-right maturation, by avoiding short-term high risk gains in a sense of wealth that has become divorced from health of life’s intrinsically regenerative value.

We could each and all choose to invest our balancing budgets in cooperative economic industry, vocations, residences, communities, local ecosystems and polyculturally inclusive transformations of monoculturally silo-entropic decomposition, or Win-Lose Business As Usual. This choice of cooperative polycultural development over competitively self-isolating monocultures reflects the permaculturist’s approach to each site for redesign, but also our approach to each day, each life, each word and communication choice, each food and recreation choice. It seems possible to recognize that Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community is equivalent to the permaculturist’s Climax Community and the cooperative economist’s 7-Generation planning for optimal life-sustaining cooperative health-investment networks; where health is interpreted as broadly as Thich Nhat Hanh’s positive nutrition for all the senses, most definitely including aesthetic health, proportion, rhythm, patterns of form, function, and frequency.

If  all life, and future human quality of life in all its diversity of colors and cultures, matters, this new economic permacultural paradigm could be the basis of

  • deep learning theories in public education,
  • taught to every politician entering elected office,
  • every military strategy leader and teacher,
  • every policy analyst and designer,
  • every government employee and volunteer and intern training program, including the Peace Corp and AmeriCorp/VISTA.

Turning public education and public financial investment away from supporting further monoculturally-trending competition, and toward healthy polyculturally-trending cooperative systems and networks, could work for both sides of the nation’s partisan aisle.

This would be an impressive way to both exit as President, and enter as what Laotse would call a sagacious ruler; a permaculturally proficient polyculturist of cooperative economics, natural evolutionary relationships, and ecological well-being. That is what I would wish for you and your family, as I wish for mine.

If you are looking for a permaculturist with systems design and development expertise, I strongly recommend Joanna Macy, in California, sometimes, teaching in the Berkeley area.

Thank you for your response to our still-emerging climate change issue.


Gerald Dillenbeck, MPA, M. Div., PDC


On Eco-Logical Economics

If you have not read Riane Eisler’s “The Real Wealth of Nations” (2012) and John Michael Greer’s “Wealth of Human Nature” (2011), please do at least read one or the other.

Eisler thinks it is time to replace an overly-dominant, capital-based, competitive cultural understanding of Business As Usual Means Marginalized Lives Don’t Matter, evolved through the Industrial Age. She contrasts this with our “real”, but undervalued wealth of nurturance and care-giving. This is an explicit feminist perspective on economics and the logic and balance of ecologically-informed economics. My only complaint is not about what she has written, but about the “sin” of omitting all the vast financial and cultural research on co-operative economics, which seems to incorporate values for recycling, repurposing, rehabilitation, zero carbon footprint lifestyle intentions, as well as the organizing of co-operatives around child care, elder care, household cleanliness and order, landscaping, cooking and preserving, gardening and farming.  These are all cultural elements of what Thich Nhat Hanh would encourage us to think of as a nurturing-nutritional economy v. a domineering-toxic environment of oppressing and suppressing our natural and ecological instincts.

John Michael Greer’s analysis of our capital/commodity competitive Business As Usual economics-as-financial-transaction monopoly and monotony is entirely symbiotic with Eisler’s blistering critique.  His alternative trend view is more eco-logically focused as a logic that is our undervalued HUMAN natural wealth. If we follow what is ecologically rational more, and avoid further investment in what is merely more competitive ego-investment of an anthro-culturally supremacist species, we may have more sustainable hope for our collective future. Like Eisler, however, Greer fails to take that one additional ecological step, to notice that organic living nature is essentially co-operative until the point when trends start moving toward decay and devolution.  Economics, whether competitively-rooted in Win-Lose capitalist Game Theory, or cooperatively-rooted in Win-Win positive evolutionary Game Theory, is relational network praxis of ecological systemic intent, continuing our cultural revolution toward comprehensive consciousness.

Transactions and relationships are synonymous as reiteratively equivalent communication strings of memory and cultural history, whether we are speaking of micro-economics, or macro-economics, or both.  Our prime ecological assumption is that we live in a positively co-operative evolutionary environment, too often troubled by negatively competing Win-Lose strategies and logistics assuming a shortage of “wealth” resources, which may be reminiscent of Anderson’s “Emperor with No Clothes.” If the socioeconomic and too-long encultured pathology of over-valuing competition are precisely what point to their own nakedly devolving and decomposing future, then hope dawns with this red horizon; our socioeconomic therapy is a deeper permacultured economics of co-operative ecology, design, and developmental praxis.

At the micro-economic personal and familial and local community levels, I have found the following areas of discernment on “Win-Lose Competition Economics” v. “Win-Win Co-Operative Economics” useful:

  1. Purchasing decisions: Housing, transportation, utilities, food, insurance come immediately to mind as having rich potential to benefit our shared environment and my personal checking account and the quality of my relationships with family and neighbors when approached with a “Group Purchasing Co-Operative” intention.  When do I need a car and when do I not, and do I know other people, or is there some way I could get to know other people, who might answer that question in a way that is mutually compatible with my answer?
  2. Investment decisions: Insurance shows up here again, with retirement investment, and even regular savings and checking account relationships with financial institutions and companies who will use my payments to invest in what, exactly? I am increasingly uncomfortable with knowing that many insurance and financial corporations are taking my capital and investing it in Business As Usual, especially as it occurs to me that there are ways to invest in cooperative funds investing solely in my region of habitat, excluding those businesses with toxic outcomes for our shared environment, other species, and also for their employees, and giving preference to investments in worker- and resident-cooperative ownership.
  3. Relational decisions: While purchasing and investment are also relational, we usually think of them as transactions. So, this broader category continues to evolve on my own path toward a more comprehensive ecological co-operative consciousness. How do I choose to respond to messages from my own family that betray contention between egocentrism and eco-logical balance?  These are at least potential opportunities for some rich conversation about what we value, including sustainability of life, and what we disvalue. As I am now well-immersed in my twilight years, it becomes increasingly obvious that what I have always enjoyed about my internal contentions is how they have a way of resolving most resonantly when my egocentric left-brain embraces my ecocentric right-brain’s intuitions for right-relationship, for what is, after all, transparently eco-logical.

Eisler and Greer both point to some public policy and priority changes that would help each of us sustain our ego-eco alignment. I agree with all of this agenda.  I further believe that the principles and ethics of Permaculture could be more broadly applied to any evolutionary paradigm for relationships, transactions, actions, being and becoming on planet Earth, within our bodies and families and neighborhoods and ecosystems. Some principles that feel permacultural, but may not appear in your sustainable agriculture text:

  1. Never give up. Always, whenever possible, give downstream to enrich solidarity with those living more marginally than you are. This applies to investment and purchasing decisions, as well as all relational discernment.
  2. Don’t give out after struggling and suffering against; always give in while struggling and suffering with others, nature, human nature, your own ecologic.
  3. The best case scenario for sustaining  a Win-Lose Game, is to embrace Win-Win logistics and strategies whenever you can find a regenerative way to do so. Otherwise, the ecological long-term conclusion of Win-Lose ego-domination logistics is you might possibly win, but only after everyone else understands themselves as “losers” in your eyes; a pyric victory with deadening cost to water, soil, air, and the former wealth of human nature.