Why is our economy still destroying the environment and creating inequality? While we can point to many public policies, a more fundamental answer can be found in our misguided ideas about humanity and nature, says Andreas Weber.
Weber, a German theoretical biologist and ecophilosopher based in Berlin, is the author of numerous books that challenge the standard methodologies of biology and evolution, which he regards as too reductionist and mechanical in approach, and resistant to studying the essence of living organisms, namely, aliveness. Weber’s recent books in English include Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science (New Society Publishing, 2016), and Matter and Desire: An Erotic Ecology (Chelsea Green, 2017).
In this fifty-minute presentation, Weber challenges the standard Darwinian narrative that sees the economy as a place of individual competition and survival of the fittest. This is “an incorrect image of life,” says Weber, because biological life “is never about winning and losing, but rather an ongoing celebration of reciprocity. Ecosystems are ways to organize giving that allow the whole to flourish and the individuals to take what they need. Only if we understand this desire for mutuality as inbuilt in the living world will we be able to tailor an economic culture that does not destroy life, but mimics ecology, becoming a practice of love.”
Weber’s presentation is introduced by David Bollier, Director of the Reinventing the Commons Program at the Schumacher Center.