Transforming economies to sustainability, solidarity

The monumental 2017 publication, “Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet,” invites readers to learn new ways to understand ourselves in the face of unprecedented social and ecological turmoil.

As part of this rethinking, scholars marshal research that upends the most fundamental unit of biological and social analysis — the individual. Building from the work of famed University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Lynn Margulis, one essay shows the proliferation and importance of nonhuman cells that comprise human bodies. Another essay proposes that evolution depends in part on relationships between species, and not simply individual fitness. And yet another essay argues that collective behavior might best be understood as an emergent process, rather than as a planned outcome.

These growing scientific insights are profound. They suggest that our very existence depends not on individual success, but on a deepening understanding of and attunement to our interrelationships with others — both human and otherwise.

Just as biological research challenges what we thought we knew about our own survival, unorthodox ideas about economy — about how we make, distribute, and consume stuff — are taking hold in communities across Massachusetts. These projects center cooperation and community, unsettling the long-held axioms of self-interest and competition thought to constitute a healthy economy.

Read the rest at the Daily Hampshire Gazette

 

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