Regenerative Culture

Human cultures are sets of institutions that any particular group follows. These Institutions would usually include:

  • legal systems
  • conflict resolution
  • marriage customs
  • food growing and culinary traditions
  • ways of working together
  • ways of looking after precious resources 
  • historical traditions
  • religious traditions
  • and much more.

Once upon a time they were extremely diverse, but with the spread of extractive economies, which require expansion into others territories to maintain themselves, this diversity has been slowly dwindling, and with the spread of empire out of Europe and throughout the world, the decline has been very rapid indeed.

As the conquering culture makes the defeated one its slave, and steals the land to plunder the natural wealth into its own treasury, maintaining the original culture is extremely difficult, and often illegal under the new regime. 

With the rise of global empires, a global monopoly of culture is growing ever nearer. This is the culture of empire, of dominance and control, of war and plunder, of capitalism and neoliberalism, of institutionalised psychopathy.

If we are to survive on this earth, we need to truly turn around this culture of ours, which is built to extract wealth until its last breath. To turn around the destruction of the planet, including its peoples, we need to throw out our inherited extractive set of institutions, and create a set which will place humanity back inside the natural world, and resurrect ancient features of human culture which have been so common in the past, such as commoning, reciprocal economies, kindness to strangers, and of responsibility being taken readily by the local inhabitants.

 We need to build a culture within our new institutions that will be able to survive, to thrive, to become a permanent and beneficial part of our localities and our planet.

We call this a regenerative culture, as much of its work will be regenerating old ways of doing things, and regenerating the natural world which our empire culture has so relentlessly destroyed.

This concept is a work in progress. To try and translate the concept into practical actions we can take as we design our new economy, we have come up with several points to incorporate into organisational design:

  • Learning from and avoiding past mistakes
  • Create a living: Local employment with involvement of workers in management decisions
  • Universal Basic Assets
  • Create divestment opportunities
  • Re-commoning the enclosures
  • Using non-authoritarian, participatory, democratic organisational models
  • A “not for individual profit” model
  • A “For community profit” model

Learning from and avoiding past mistakes, including:

  • Centralised power and authority
  • undemocratic economic and political institutions
  • a creed of “greed is good”
  • obscured primary purposes – deception
  • secrecy as an institution
  • monopoly as a logical business goal
  • The concentration of money and productive assets into ever fewer hands
  • organisation on a scale which is absurdly out of proportion with community scale
  • conceptions of ourselves and nature which bring out the worst in us.

Create a living: Local employment with involvement of workers in management decisions (usually as one party in a multi stakeholder co-op environment) and profit distribution. Work is likely to be concentrated in the umbrella co-operatives, or trades and maintenance co-ops. Workers rewards, terms and conditions are a high priority and are prioritised above excessive profits. 

  • Benefits other than monetary rewards are encouraged. People should be able to easily enough live their lives without the need for money if they wish to.
  • Achieve efficiencies of scale and strong networks and support through federating the  deliberately small, community focused co-op groups upward into umbrella co-ops, owned and controlled by the smaller co-ops, by sector. These umbrella co-ops should also work with local micro and small businesses in the area.

Universal Basic Assets:

  • transfer ownership of productive assets from private for-profit investors to a commons ownership model
  • Commons assets are no longer for sale, so they give the community permanent benefits

Create divestment opportunities

  • Provide a means for ordinary people to invest their money into something which is ethical on many levels and achieving real systemic change, and also gives a reasonable return on investment.
  • Investors will be ephemeral, and their role will terminate once they have been paid back according to the arrangements. Investors must be members.

Recommoning the enclosures:

  • The design will transfer the ownership and control of the productive assets involved into the hands of the people who use and rely on them – workers and customers – just by going to work or by paying our everyday bills (usually at a discounted rate). 
  • creating ways for folks with no money (or an aversion to money) to exist within the co-ops framework on a services for work basis

Organised and run using non-authoritarian, participatory, democratic models

  • Experiencing genuine democracy (if it is a good experience) will give people a taste of what they are missing in the political and workplace spheres

A “not for individual profit” model, meaning that profits are not paid out directly to members. 

  • Members can benefit instead through discounts, control of how things are done (eg. choosing to use renewable energy, etc), increased community connection, and building a better world through the community development fund.

A “For community profit” model encouraging (through democratic distribution of profits) the building of:

  • cohesive local communities
  • use of commons to reduce the costs of living
  • the creation of further climate co-operatives in other sectors