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Thrivability - Bottom Line to Full Circle

Bottom Line to Full Circle

By Ray Podder

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We often miss the obvious.

We complain about the greed of global corporations and banks, and the fear mass propagated by the media and government, yet our own behavior is not that much different at the local scale.

As consumers, we love the bargains that let us stock up on all the stuff we think we might run out of in the future. As producers, we love to squeeze our suppliers at any cost, to make more stuff to sell at the highest margins to ensure continued access to our future profits. As lenders, we want the highest returns with the least effort, so more production and consumption cycles get the producers and consumers paying us back the compounded interest on our principal...to fatten the trust funds of our future offspring regardless of the real systemic costs to our shared ecology.

We only seem to care about our bottom line!

We think nothing of these business as usual practices, even though it’s obvious now to anyone paying attention, that our operating systems are no longer serving us. Yet the bottom line is still the yardstick by which all resource allocation decisions are made. A measure of progress that basically accounts for how one gains access to future resources over another for their evolutionary success

Sure, gaining at the expense of others may not be top of mind when our quarterly profit reports are reviewed; or during the hefty bonuses doled out to our bean counting bankers at the expense of the people who’d actually produced the usefulness of the resource value. Nonetheless, we continue depleting our natural resources at far greater rates than the token percentage we give back. We even congratulate ourselves for the accounting of 2,3,4 and more kinds of bottom lines that looks more noble than harmful. However, when we piece together the bigger picture, the cost is the cost no matter who owns what. Now the cost of this bottom line business as usual comes with a price tag none of us can pay. That price now is that of our own extinction as a species!

Why?

Is it because we fear the future so much, that any promoted prophecy of prosperity is that much better than all our practical sciences and personal responsibilities combined? Is that why we so desperately cling to the loudest promises, regardless of evidence to the contrary, in hopes that it will somehow lead to sustainable prosperity for all? Never mind whether or not the assumed premise for that promise is flawed, limited in scope from another time and place, or just plain irrelevant in light of new explanations and new understanding! What if we weren’t so afraid?

What if we swapped our woes for wonder and started seeing things full circle instead?

Could we actually evolve to escape the current path of mass extinction to something better? Instead of glorifying the practice of profiting at the expense of others and celebrating the first global trillionaire, can we actually intelligently reallocate our resources for all of us thrive? Of course, for many of us, such egalitarian ideals provoke ugly memories from the centralized socialism and communism experiments from the 20th century, that had distributed more poverty than prosperity. However, when we look closer, those failed experiments were missing some critical components not available until now.

The emergence of an efficiency led full circle evolution is now on the horizon.

First, we now have the ability to organize ourselves relative to the scope of a particular premise, and the necessary agility required to dynamically disband or regroup when the we have outgrown that premise. For example, think of how startup teams can assemble and disperse to produce common benefit to each of its members during the making of a movie or creating software service. Today, along with agile development practices, new online collaboration tools and platforms help us share knowledge to get things done in unprecedented ways. We now have the means to coordinate getting together on the fly and even manage the risk of previously unknown future demand with the accounting of intention such as pledges, likes, retweets and followers in advance.

Second, end-to-end lifecycle processes have been deeply integrated into our technical repertoire. From 360˚ cradle to cradle manufacturing management of goods that can be reused, repurposed and reintegrated into complex product life cycles, to permaculture philosophies that now provide many of us with everything from food security to waste to energy systems, our technical progress has opened us up to full circles everywhere we look. From the lifecycle management of products to permaculture systems, understanding how one process connects to another is rapidly becoming the best practice standards for long term business sustainability.

Third, and most critically we are now beginning to see the true impact of our collective intelligence. From accessing just-in-time information on our social networks to getting the optimal use out of goods through the sharing economy, the possibilities to experience more with less are manifesting all around us. Sharing the product experiences of appliances, equipment and spaces instead of owning those depreciating assets is starting to become commonplace. Prepaying fractional ownerships to services we frequently use while offering interest free financing to their providers like restaurants and bars is enabling local businesses to address both loyalty and risk on their own terms. Peer to peer trading of underutilized items to determine their true exchange value outside of their market prices, is now helping people get the stuff they really want without ever spending a dime. We are open-sourcing not just software, but also hardware development from humanitarian aid to housing to advance innovation at unprecedented rates. Even the constraints of securing the funds for our creative passions can now be met with the evolution of crowdfunding platforms.

These trends might just be holding the next promises for developing the standards for highest and best use of the finite resources we have, while simultaneously realizing that each and every perspective of anyone and everyone is a precious piece of a larger puzzle towards the prosperous future we can all live with!

Increasingly, we are beginning to see more and more full circle.

Of course, our natural world has always been operating this way. Nature is not linear. Everything connects to everything else to have the circle of life recur over and over. From seed to plant to fruit to seed again, nothing is ever lost or wasted. All waste within one lifecycle process is food within another process. All of these processes interoperate as holarchies, or full circle wholes within other full circle wholes. All life, including us humans have been living in harmony within this universal ebb and flow for most of our existence on this earth. Resonance with natural systems is nothing new.

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Now we have the technical means to see the bigger picture of how everything is connecting.

If retailers know what to stock up on and when, based on a single degree change in temperature, why do our economic systems still have to fly blind on the speculation of a future debt we cannot ever repay? What is this urgent global debt crisis, that we have to pillage the planet to produce against it?

Who are we in debt to?

What is this job creation dilemma about, when less than 5% of the population creates all of the innovation and automation necessary to provide for the rest of us? Why do we still need to work to live in a world that obviously produces so much more than our material needs? So much so that we have to actually plan obsolescence into perfectly usable things, and have to “manage” the waste to keep it all going?

While all of this is obvious, a truly viable transition to full circle economics that integrates closed loop environmental and energy systems, still seems like more of an utopian dream than achievable reality. So is a 100% full circle sustainable reality hopeless for humanity?

Technologically speaking, our current socioeconomic crises can be the next great opportunities manifesting all around us. Technically, we now have cities and towns around the world adopting sharing economy services, complimentary currencies, and resilient renewable local food and energy systems. Now there are fully operational transition towns, sharing economy collectives, and trillions in cashless transactions happening worldwide. Consumers, producers and lenders are no longer three separate identity roles with three different agendas and corresponding blind spots when it comes to the people and the planet. With all of these emerging options, we should be less and less reliant on third party accountants to validate and guarantee the value of our assets. The role of banking on debt should technically be more of a cultural relic than an absolute necessity. However, that is not the current reality most of us experience.

At the global governance levels, the absurdity of our bottom line thinking is reaching its breaking point! Life affirming wisdom is rarely present in the large scale centralized monopolies like our corporations, banks and the national governments they own. Critical services that most of our lives still deeply depend on.

The same archaic thinking that makes basic human rights, like the access to food, energy, water, healthcare, education and housing unavailable to all, also has our governments selling bonds to the banks while bailing them out with loans so that they can buy those bonds later. It’s an exchange of empty promises neither party has the capacity to keep! While this nonsense barely veils the impending collapse of the old world order, a new economic reality is anything but well underway. The accounting of future access to securing our material prosperity is more than broken. The perpetual cycle of fear and greed still rule us, while the technical possibilities that circulate from our love and generosity cycles pale in comparison.

The laws of the land are still based on the rules borne from a fearful future with more uncertainty than the interconnected and accountable full circle systemic reality we now live in. Reactionary ideas to future uncertainly like centralization, profit, usury, arbitrage, waste, incarceration, war and more should either become irrelevant or evolving to something more beneficial within our shared contexts, but they are not! With exponentially greater access to global mobility and real-time communication, we are empowered to co-create and curate our own version of what we want to see manifest in the world, but we do not! We can begin to hold the spaces at every level of our evolving consciousness to come together and create the commons, capital and creativity on our own terms, towards any future we desire, though we are not!

Why not?

Why are we so tethered to old ideas that no longer serve us in light of our amazing abundance of technical achievement? Why do we believe the fictions of finance in light of better ideas accessible all around us?

Why do we buy into the outdated stories of our national identities when their original premises of racial segregation and regional resource constraints no longer apply in our interconnected global access paradigm? Why does the perspective for prosperity promoted by a small minority to benefit themselves be our own? Why do we still buy its currently well disguised version from privatized profit billionaires who want to escape to space with the best humans have ever created, while leaving the rest of us to pay the irreconcilable ecological bill? Why is their story, our story of success?

Are we really that unimaginative?

It is clear now that we cannot continue to subscribe to an agenda that allocates all of our hopes and dreams up in one direction. We can and must see full circle, and we have choices.

We no longer have to buy into the vision of a mass promoted past perspective of someone else’s rendering of a world so vastly different than our own!

How?

Profit may be systemically detrimental, but it seems to be the only prescription for prosperity and position most people, and especially most businesses understand. Many try, few succeed. That too is nature, right? Well, that depends on the width of your overview. Some processes within a system can be extractive, only to feedback resource signals to a larger system it occupies and sustains. For example, a fruit tree must be pruned to ensure optimal yield, however, if you perpetually strip the tree of all its fruit, it will die!

Our commercial traditions have always understood this. For ages, business has been a symbiotic dance between producer and consumer. No party ever took or gave in excess, in order to maintain the integrity of the relationship.

Now, those full circle opportunities are here once again!

Take for example, what is now happening at the local enterprise level. The ongoing pursuit of extracting profit at higher and higher levels of efficiency, has resulted in shrinking operational margins, and increased the real costs of doing business. Not because of the new efficiency, such as the ability to replicate media content like books and music without any hard capital cost, but by the speculative returns expected from the investors who’d provided the capital cushion to establish the business.

Reducing the resources required should also reduce the cost to both parties, but that is not what happens! Why that cushion was required in the first place within a hyper-efficient, technology enabled environment which requires no additional physical capital, is not only unquestioned, it has been modeled to “monetize” at even greater rates than before.

It seems that business, that was originally formed from our local marketplaces to create symbiosis between user and provider has lost its way. Instead of creating value with the relationships between the two parties that are most relevant in this dance, it has become about accelerating more meaningless exchanges and transactions. Just to satisfy a third party lender who benefits more from the activity than the original producer and consumer combined?

Regardless, the recurring capital costs in terms of mortgages and loan payments completely disconnected from their actual resource value now burden business at all scales. Never mind the ongoing rise ecological systemic costs across the board to continue to produce against that false premise. Other than telling a tall tale of future profitability, most businesses both on and offline are bound to shifting paper to stay afloat, regardless of actual resource based growth in either sustainable revenue or market share. This may actually be great news in disguise.

Herein lies a great opportunity to transition from bottom line to full circle sustainability.

Especially for main street small to medium sized businesses that cannot dress up their offering to be promising enough to be on Wall Street’s radar. With more and more speculative investments sitting on the sidelines waiting for the market to turn in their favor, cost cutting has become priority number one.

This is one of many contexts where full circle thinking, doing and being can come to the rescue.

With amazing technologies emerging to manage future risks in the present, the energy, environmental and economic factors of recurring costs for these enterprises can not only be diminished now, but ultimately deleted. In other words, we can actually implement and integrate systemic efficiencies, and install intelligent peer to peer allocation systems, to eventually make recurring costs simply go away! With the resulting savings recirculated back into what matters most, we can buy back our freedom from our institutional lenders.

This creates the next opportunities for both producers and consumers to become investors in each others mutual prosperity. Consumers can invest in their producers by allocating resources through prepaid memberships, while producers can invest in their consumers by passing on the savings full circle.

The schemes for these new investor roles can be made even more attractive through perpetual recurring revenue, or performance based valuation instead of market based speculation. The conditions for this are ideal now. Instead of the unforeseen variables jeopardizing the speculative value of a future sale, which may or may not materialize given the increasing likelihood of an impending financial system meltdown. The trillions sitting on the sidelines now, waiting for a resurgence of their financial engineering heydays, seriously risk the chance of devaluing of their assets, when majority of the people catch on to how naked their emperors really are!

Again, technically we have opportunities and solutions all around us. However, the real obstacles in our way are ourselves. Can our consciousness transcend the immaturity of position by competition to prosperity by co-creation? This is really a question about how we view our possible futures.

Yes, futures. Plural. There is more than one version possible.

Progress need not be premised on the limited imaginations of our ancient monarchs, 6th century barbarians, 16th century philosophers, 17th century scientists, 19th century economists or the individualistic separatist memes from our 20th century science fiction writers.

The truth is that no one really knows with absolute certainty what the future holds.

We are simply the producers and purveyors of our own perspectives for prosperity. Given the chance, we each promote our own plans, and ideally get everyone else to buy into our respective schemes. There is no one to blame, this is just what we happen to do within the limits of the ideas we think with. When our ideas are bound by accounting of the material world, without the understanding of the unseen ties that bind our material realities together, our individual self interest trumps our global interdependence on each other.

Now we must do better than just our own bottom line.

The past perspectives of prosperity, promised and promoted now by those who had the platform before, are not serving us anymore. If anyone tells you differently, don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe me or anyone else. Just do the math. We are not only running out of renewable resources, but we are also killing off the capacity for kindness that may actually save us.

Compassion is the default when we realize how everything connects to everything else full circle.

Compassion follows creativity. When we create what we love to share with each other our compassion and capacity for kindness grows. Today, our material efficiencies have confused us into focusing on selling over making. Leveraging over loving. Buying over being. We have stopped honoring the creators amongst us, and it is reflecting in our treatment of the creative forces of nature itself. The future is not fearful when we create. It is full of possibilities. When we lose touch with that, we are truly lost. Now is a critical time to reclaim our creativity. If we keep buying into our fears and believe those who rule us by perpetuating more of it, we are simply not going to make it!

The idea that we some lives are more important than others, might only seem relevant until we realize that the others also include ourselves. There is no ME without WE and no WE without ME. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. No amount of superhuman enhancement technology will save us from ourselves. We breathe the same air and are made of the same water as all the great souls that have manifested before us.

There is no place to run to, there is no place to hide. This place, and the time and space we have imagined to run across it is all that we have ever had. Our stories that make up our universe are always full circle and so are we. We have imagined and reimagined ways of being in this existence called reality for a very long time, and that’s how we are here now. Right now we have outgrown the limits of the latest operating system. We need to rethink our reality once again.

From Bottom Line to Full Circle.

We don’t need anyone’s approval to create the future of our dreams. We can choose what rings true our own hearts, the interconnected oneness we all feel, and promote amazing possibilities based on love instead of fear.

For the sake of our survival. I hope we choose LOVE.

 

Reference

Global Wealth Inequality: http://youtu.be/ro5iBS5uXjI
The Circular Economy: http://youtu.be/zCRKvDyyHmI
The Overview Effect: http://youtu.be/CHMIfOecrlo
Web of Life: http://youtu.be/TLiRXM2oZ_U
Phoneblocks: http://youtu.be/oDAw7vW7H0c
Living in Harmony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT-HBl2TVtI

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