Buckminster Fuller once remarked that “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
The Alliance Center and Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS) are doing both. We have a long history of working together to counter neoliberalism, the dominant global economic ideology that has driven global inequality, environmental destruction, climate chaos and much more. We are also leading efforts to replace neoliberalism with regenerative economics.
NCS’s and Hunter Lovins’ work in critiquing neoliberalism goes back to 1999 with the publication of the book Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next industrial Revolution. Natural Capitalism was itself put forth as an alternative to neoliberalism, and the “cheater capitalism” it has fostered. The book is widely credited with launching the belief that there is a business case for behaving more responsibly to people and the planet—contradicting Milton Friedman’s dicta that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits” (New York Times, Sept. 13, 1970.) Now, essentially all businesses have a corporate social responsibility/ sustainability function. Most large companies have a Chief Sustainability Officer. Shareholder primacy is increasingly under attack, and such concepts as stakeholder capitalism are gaining acceptance from Wall Street to Main Street.
Together, the two organizations have been instrumental in launching the concept of regenerative economics, the leading alternative to neoliberalism.
Hunter Lovins, president of NCS, has keynoted more than a dozen events at The Alliance Center presenting this alternative. The Alliance Center was a cosponsor of NCS’ 2017 Regenerative Futures Summit. The Summit brought together such alternative economics thinkers as Kate Raworth, Joihn Fullerton and Hunter Lovins. Many outcomes sprang from this event, including the writing of the Nautalus Award winning book, A Finer Future: Creating an Economy in Service to Life specifically Chapter Three and the launching the Well-being Economy Alliance. The Alliance also hosted the Regenerative Organizations Summit in 2017. It hosted the launch of John Fullerton’s Regenerative Communities Network in 2018. At all of these gatherings, speakers detailed the failings of neoliberalism and the necessity to replace it with regenerative economics.
NCS was instrumental in launching several alternative MBA programs, and remains key in the Bard MBA in Sustainable Management. We are also working with the UNSDG Academy to embed the concepts of regenerative economics into management education. NCS has built curriculum detailing why neoliberalism must be replaced. Hunter now teaches this curriculum at such universities at the Bard MBA in Sustainable Management, the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham and others. Hunter was awarded the lifetime achievement award by the humanistic management network, a global academic consortium for her work opposing neoliberalism.
The partnership between The Alliance Center and Natural Capitalism Solutions has produced such works as a series of blogs for the Regenerative Development Institute at Regis University, articles in the Journal of Humanistic Management and the attached chapter which will be featured in the forthcoming book, Thrive: Basic Principles of a New Economy.
These are examples of work that are of outstanding academic quality but more importantly showcase the practical implementation that The Alliance Center and Natural Capitalism are doing. The most recent example of this is the Regenerative Recovery Coalition. This Coalition is implementing regenerative economics in a physical location, presenting the state government, legislators and resident with an alternative economic system to neoliberalism
This work is of relevance both locally and internationally. Hunter Lovins helped launch the Regenerative Hub in Costa Rica, and was asked by the King of Bhutan “to reinvent the global economy.” It was that request which led to the publishing of A Finer Future: Creating an Economy in Service to Life. Hunter also serves on the Club of Rome’s transformational economics hub: Earth For All.