Econosystemics: Why Do We Need a New Word?
Economics is perhaps most simply and comprehensively be defined as: the study of the exchange of value among humans.
Why then introduce a new word, EconoSystemics?
First, because we can no longer distinguish the economy from the ecosystem.
The boundaries have disappeared. There is little wild left. Value is exchanged between the cow species and the human species, for example, and through every strand of this planet’s biological web with every other species, high and lowly. We cannot thrive outside of our biological matrix. Econosystemics goes beyond the human economy, and recognizes ecosystem-wide cooperation, competition, and exchange of value.
Second, because economics overemphasizes econometrics, the measurement of transactions, and underemphasizes system dynamics.
Economics keeps evolving because the economy keeps evolving, inventing new ways to transform available energy and resources into value: there are always new kinds of transactions for economists to measure. Econosystemics asks us to look beyond the immediate pattern of transactions and consider more how that pattern of transactions is changing.
In other words, Economics studies the system of value transactions among humans;
Econosystemics studies the dynamic system of value transformations within the planetary ecosystem.
Econosystemics blends economics not only with sociology but with biology.
Economics encourages us to look to our own profit, or the profit of our clan. Econosystemics asks us to identify with a larger process in which value must flow cyclically rather than linearly.
Now, before you protest that these are not unconsidered notions within the community of economists, let me acknowledge that many economists are making significant contributions to econosystemics. We could just let the definition of economics expand to include econosystemics. But the value of the new word is that it highlights a critical shift in thinking, and makes it more visible to the general educated population. Econosystemics has the “system” root built right in, and so forces us to think in terms of system interactions over time, rather than individual transactions in time.
What do you think? I look forward to some discussion on this topic, so please do add a comment below!