Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution

Part 6 of 10 Part Series: Economic Sanity and Alternative Economic Systems

The authors of Natural Capitalism ((Hawkins, P., Lovins, A., & Lovins, LH. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, 1999.)) argue that it is needed to “create the next industrial revolution.” They warn that if we continue to ignore the value of natural capital; i.e., nature’s life-support systems for humankind, there will come a time when there won’t be any more life support. Doomsday may be a century or two away, but the quality of life up to that point will have deteriorated at an increasing pace.

Pursuing four central strategies of natural capitalism, these authors say, will enable commercial enterprises and communities to operate as if all forms of capital were important. The core strategy is that of radically increasing resource productivity by being more efficient, less wasteful in how natural resources are extracted and used.

The second they call “biomimicry” that involves eliminating waste in the making of things by imitating biological processes in the manufacturing process. The third is to change the relationship between producer and consumer from one based on goods and purchases to one based on a “flow of economic services” that will in turn de-emphasize possession as a measure of affluence and emphasize that well-being depends on the “continuous receipt of quality, utility, and performance.” The fourth involves “reinvesting in sustaining, restoring, and expanding stocks of natural capital.”

In Closing

But America doesn’t need the next industrial revolution. America needs a new and better capitalism that enfolds industry without its corpocracy. That’s what America desperately needs!

• Part 1 here; Part 2 here; Part 3 here; Part 4 here; Part 5 here;

Gary Brumback, PhD, is a retired psychologist and Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. Read other articles by Gary.