Government

What can governments do to address the banking crisis, remedy unemployment, poverty and ecological threats, and create conditions for sustainable abundance?

Business

How can time-tested currency innovations such as mutual credit systems help businesses of all sizes deal with cash flow shortages and monetary instability?

Community

What can communities do to leverage their untapped wealth and connect resources that would otherwise remain unused with needs that would otherwise remain unmet?

Research

What can scientific and academic research tell us about how to design and implement more effective and resilient monetary systems?

Currency Proposals

What types of complementary currencies could help us overcome current obstacles to the flourishing of our educational, energy, commercial, and other systems?

Home » Research

Bernard’s Research

Submitted by on July 19, 2010 – 7:18 amNo Comment
Since 2006, my academic research has been focused on identifying the conditions under which complex flow networks such as natural ecosystems are stable and sustainable.   The data my colleagues and I have been studying is drawn from natural ecosystems because they have a proven track record of sustainability.   The structural conditions of stability in complex flow networks apply, however, to all such networks independently of the nature of the flows.  The study of natural ecosystems can therefore teach us a great deal about what would support greater stability in our monetary system.   We have found that the sustainability of any complex flow networks is critically dependent on two structural variables: diversity and interconnectivity.  Both these variables have to fall within a relatively narrow range: if too little, the network will collapse; if too much, it will become stagnant. The articles below present our research findings in peer reviewed journals that provide the scientific evidence for the claim that the stability of our financial and monetary systems requires the introduction of complementary currencies.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Fundamental laws govern all complex flow systems, including natural ecosystems, economic and financial systems. Natural ecosystems are practical exemplars of sustainability: enduring, vital, adaptive. The sustainability of any complex flow system can be measured with a single metric as an emergent property of its structural diversity and interconnectivity; it requires a balance in emphasis between efficiency and resilience.  The urgent message for economics from nature is that the monoculture of national currencies, justified on the basis of market efficiency, generates structural instability in our global financial system. Economic sustainability therefore requires diversification in types of currencies, specifically through complementary currencies.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
This paper (co-authored with Sally J. Goerner and Robert E. Ulanowicz) explores how quantitative measure of sustainability for any complex, matter/energy flow system and its related concepts can be used to provide a new narrative for long-term economic health and sustainability. Based on a system’s ability to maintain a crucial balance between two equally essential, but complementary factors, resilience and efficiency, this generic explanation of the network structure needed to maintain long-term robustness provides the missing theoretical explanation for what constitutes healthy development and the mathematical means to differentiate it quantitatively from mere growth. Matching long-standing observations of sustainable vitality in natural ecosystems and living organisms, the result is a much clearer, more accurate understanding of the conditions needed for free enterprise networks to produce the kind of sustainable vitality everyone desires, one which enhances and reliably maintains the health and well-being of all levels of global civilization as well as the planet.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
This paper co-authored with Robert E. Ulanowicz, Sally J. Goerner, and Rocio Gomez provides the theoretical framework and the tools to quantify with a single metric the sustainability of any complex network. It provides the mathematical evidence why two structural variables of any complex flow network – diversity and interconnectivity – are critically important for the stability of such a system.