Regenerative Justice is a process and an outcome. Regenerative Justice is the process of organizing all human activities into authentic Ecosystems, which by definition are Inclusive, Diverse, Equal, Equitable, Socio-Economic, and Sustainable. Ecosystems are Transformative.
As a result, Ecosystems far exceed the performance and sustainability of traditional linear organizations. In an authentic ecosystem, these “Social Justice” attributes are not an afterthought or an inconvenience, rather they are intrinsic to the very process of creating and sustaining economic value and social impact. Ecosystems are by definition, Regenerative Justice generators. Ecosystems are Transformational.
The Historic Struggle for "Limited Resources"
Regenerative Justice is a new way to think about a very old problem, and that it is how do we reconcile our fears with our desire to grow and self-actualize? Whether between individuals or groups, every conflict known to humankind, can be traced back to some fear of something experienced in the human mind, which inevitably leads to a reaction culminating in some protracted struggle over access to, and control of, Resources.
Resources are the basis of material life on this planet, and that which we call “History” has been an ongoing struggle between peoples, tribes, nations and various political and corporate entities to control access to all manner of natural and "human resources.” Inevitably, all wars come down to disputes between political entities over who owns the land, and everything on it, especially its people.
When those political entities, (i.e. Nations, corporations, etc.) take ownership of the smaller dependent entities (i.e. People, etc.) that “inhabit” it, those larger entities, typically treat the smaller entities as expendable Resources, and not as valuable Assets. Ecosystems systemically transcend those limiting fears and beliefs, and empower a material process of integration that leads to sustainable economic and social impact to all it's participants.
Ecosystem Assets and Stakeholders
Every Ecosystem is composed of three types of individual entities: Stakeholders, Assets and Resources. Each of these entities are governed by a specific principle, or "Archetype," that governs it behavior, namely: Differentiation, Integration and Projection. Stakeholders, or “Differentiators” are the “owners” or “originators” of the Ecosystem. They are “Asset Owners” in their own right, and their primary purpose is to organize the ecosystem to create Resources to assure their own survival and growth.
Ecosystem Resource Producers
The other Assets used by the Ecosystem to generate specific Resources, are the “Resource Producers” who are governed by the Archetype of “Integration.” Stakeholder Assets integrate with the Resource Producers (Ecosystem Assets) to guide and direct the process of how they will be used to generate the Resources that can be consumed by Stakeholders and Resource Producers alike. An example of this dynamic can be seen in the interaction between Supervisors or Owners (Stakeholders) of a business and its staff (Resource Producers), who together, create value for the business, wherein each is paid some form of compensation in return for their collective contributions.
The Six Attributes of Regenerative Justice
The purpose of any Ecosystem is to Generate Resources, which by definition, is Inclusive. Inclusion is systemic in any Ecosystems because its Stakeholders know that the more “Assets” they include in, translates to more Resources because Assets are used to generate those Resources. In traditional corporate management, frequently Inclusion is seen as an “equal opportunity mandate” levied by government agencies such as the EEOC. More progressive corporate thinking and policies recognize the changing demographics of the workforce landscape and are trying to figure out how to proactively comply with EEOC and to be more Inclusive in their hiring and promotion practices. Progressive businesses look beyond the "letter of the law" imposed by EEOC. They do what they can do to make positive steps in the right direction, but the mindset and policies of deploying workers as expendable human resources and not as valued human assets still dominate the current brand of corporate Inclusion.
That said, when workers are treated as “valuable assets” and respected as vital "resource generators” authentic Inclusion will manifest as workers take ownership of their work and “resource generation capacity.” Authentic Inclusion creates this mindset of co-ownership and as a result, inclusion leads to worker and task Resiliency. When recognized as a valuable asset to the business, workers tend to feel a sense of ownership in his/her work – it’s theirs. They own their work with the corporation because they understand the nature of their interdependence. The worker is now committed to more than just doing the minimum or less and to just wait around for the next paycheck. RESILIENT Resource Generation is the reason Ecosystems are INCLUSIVE.
Inclusion is about the recruitment/acquisition and integration of more Assets to participate in mutual Resource Generation. Inclusion is about QUANTITY; however, Diversity is about QUALITY. Diversity is about the recruitment or acquisition of Assets capable of producing various resources based on their attributes including access to other assets they may own or control. For example, in a traditional corporation, policy and the corporate culture tends to treat individual workers as expendable resources, not as valuable assets. Assets are “permanent” and have value beyond what they can produce in any given work task, but Resources are only "expendable" and are only relevant when the corporation consumes them.
The difference is enormous because the policies, procedures, and expectations of workers as “expendable resources” are that the corporation is only interested in what the worker does (i.e., their job), not necessarily who they are and what they can do beyond assigned tasks. Workers know this, and so they withhold their creativity, passion, their productivity-improving process suggestions and more because most corporate cultures don’t know how to integrate these “gifts” into their narrow performance evaluation criteria. When workers are treated as “value Assets” and not just as “expendable resources,” they are empowered as “Asset Owners.” The integration of a variety of Asset Owners (i.e., skilled workers, who are creative, compassionate, competent, confident and committed human beings, etc.), not just limited “Resource Producers” leads to Robust Resource Generation. ROBUST Resource Generation is the reason Ecosystems are DIVERSE.
Ecosystems are Inclusive and Diverse, leading to Resiliency and Robustness. Healthy Ecosystems also promote and sustain Equality, because integrating any entity that has inherent value creation potential and can generate more economic value than is needed by the ecosystem (i.e., it is Creative) shares the same status as an Asset, and not just a Resource. In Western human culture, Social Injustice happens when one individual or group of human beings (i.e., human assets) treats another individual or group like things to be bought, sold, or exploited in any way for the selfish desires of another entity or entities.
Therefore, the undesirable, offensive and unsustainable forms of social injustice occur when one individual or group actively tries to relegate the status and treatment of one group as less than human. Inequality results when the individual or group in power within a given social system works explicitly or tacitly, to deny the equal status of others as independent Assets, capable of generating resources for themselves and others.
The remedy for Inequality, therefore, is the practice of esteeming others as valuable assets, worthy of generating value with virtually unlimited creative potential (i.e., all human beings). Deborah Nazon authored the practical definition of L.O.V.E., Ph.D., Ecological Economist, which is, “Lifting Others Validates Everyone.” L.O.V.E. is as spiritual as it is practical, and it is the modus operandi of any healthy Ecosystem.
Indeed, L.O.V.E. is the power behind the Ecosystem’s productive, holistic value creation potential and resource generation capacity. L.O.V.E. is the mindset of anyone hoping to reap the many benefits of Ecosystems, and Regenerative Justice empowers them to “L.O.V.E. People, and Use Things.” On the other hand, “Using People, and Loving Things…” drives and perpetuates Social Injustice in all of it's many forms.
Bottom line is, Ecosystems empower Equal Opportunities for Asset Owners to engage in mutually beneficial economic value creation and exchange transactions. Ecosystems sustain EQUALITY which leads to RECIPROCITY.
The mandate of healthy and sustainable human Ecosystems is that all economic transactions between Asset Owners (i.e., other people) must be between the parties, and without material interference. Enforceable and binding agreements must also govern any resources generated by those interactions. All of the asset owners in an ecosystem must respect each other’s right to be present in the ecosystem and to exchange value in a way that is Equitable, or fair.
Slavery, indentured servitude, physical incarceration, etc. are examples of Inequality, which by definition “alienates” producers from the products of their labor. This alienation can be from unfair wages or compensation, unjust laws, racial or gender discrimination, and the list goes on. In the final analysis, though, Inequity is about one entity or group, exercising power over others, to change the economic value creation and exchange between Assets. The result is the inequitable and unfair concentration of wealth and power to those who have no material claim to a particular economic value exchange.
Professor Ron Eglash, Ph.D., with the Department of Science and Technology Studies in the School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has described the dynamics of “Generative Justice” to explain the mechanics of what happens with economic and ultimately social exploitation:
“The universal right to generate unalienated value and directly participate in its benefits; the rights of value generators to create their own conditions of production; and the rights of communities of value generation to nurture self-sustaining paths for its circulation.”
Ecosystems empower EQUITABLE Asset Ownership defined by the fair and consensual agreements made between Asset Owners and Resource Producers within the Ecosystem. Ecosystems foster EQUITY which leads to OWNERSHIP.
The purpose of any ecosystem is to generate resources for all of it's value producers and asset owners. Unlike a limited "system," an ecosystem, by definition, must also output Resources to the dependent adjacent ecosystem that supports it. For example, one of the Resource outputs of the human metabolic ecosystem is Carbon Dioxide. The human metabolic system uses nutrients and metabolizes them to generate energy to power the cells in the body. Carbon Dioxide is considered as "waste" of human metabolism, and toxic to human beings, but is life-giving nutrition to plants. Plants are part of the "plant kingdom" which is a "dependent adjacent ecosystem" to the human metabolic ecosystem. As such, the human metabolic system cultivates the plant kingdom, to assure it's functioning by providing a nutrient, vital for it's survival and growth.
Prosperity defines the ecosystem's ability, or condition rather, to not only produce Resources for itself, but it also makes sure that all of it's "waste" is used to cultivate the adjacent ecosystems "below" and "above" it. In the case of the metabolism of sugar and fat in humans, Carbon Dioxide is a waste product essential to plants, which are eaten by humans. Acetone is the other gas generated by human metabolism, which is a "waste" output for the "animal kingdom." Carbon Dioxide is considered an "economic waste output," in that it is a "material" Resource that can be consumed by a lower level ecosystem (i.e., plants, etc.). On the other hand, Acetone is considered a "social capital waste output" because it provides information to animals on the physiological state of the host ecosystem (i.e., human, animal, etc.). Through the sense of smell, animals such as dogs, can "socialize" with other dogs by sniffing the urine of other dogs as a way to "exchange " information . We consider acetone as a type of "Facebook" for Dogs, because this metabolic output stimulates relationships between canines, even when they are separated in time and/or space.
All things considered, Prosperity is the attribute of any authentic Ecosystem that produces vital Resources for its Asset Owners, Resource Producers and invests in the future sustainability of the ecosystems by economically supporting adjacent dependent ecosystems and cultivating social interactions that protect it's health and safety.
Ecosystems cultivate PROSPERITY which leads to WELL-BEING.
Perhaps the most distinguishing, and powerful distinction between a traditional system and an ecosystem, is that the ecosystem is inherently SUSTAINABLE. By design, authentic ecosystems have a precise number of inputs, process stages, byproducts, and outputs to dependent adjacent ecosystems. Together, these particular elements demonstrate the holistic (i.e., economic, social, and environmental) nature of ecosystems, but the formal mechanism of it's Sustainability is elegant and robust, but not so obvious.
What separates ecosystems from mere systems, is the fact that all ecosystems create six classes of entities defined as "Capital" that support the maintenance, repair and sustainability of the ecosystem. During normal operation of an ecosystem, the first five stages of the Ecosystem generates the byproducts and outputs (Resources) in "real-time. However, if this "real-time" resource generation is interrupted due to injury, lack of input resources (i.e., nutrients, etc.) or whatever, the ecosystem "Capital" in stage six (6) will provide highly concentrated and efficient reserve resources to power the ecosystem outputs until normal resource generation can be reinstated.
The human metabolic system turns nutrients in the form of carbohydrates, protein, and fat into glucose that can be metabolized/burned to generate energy to fuel body cells. However, if the human host is unable to eat after 24 hours or is in an extended state of fasting, where does the energy from food come from? The answer is that the Innovation Stakeholder of the metabolic ecosystem is the Liver, which produces fatty acids called "Ketone Bodies" which the body can burn as fuel instead of Glucose. Ketone Bodies are also very efficient, in that they generate energy without converting to glucose and are 10 times more efficient than Glucose. Therefore, Ketone bodies are the "Capital" of the metabolic system, and are deployed to assure the ecosystems productivity continues unabated, even if the ecosystem does not have access to nutrients.
Every ecosystem is sustainable due to the presence of "Capital" created by the Ecosystem and stored as reserves when needed. All six stages of the Ecosystem create the resulting "Capital Inventory" created by ecosystem stakeholders, that assures the ongoing operation, maintenance, repair AND growth.
Ecosystems are SUSTAINABLE, which leads to GROWTH.