Integration and complexity are the new growth.

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I had a great phone conversation with an inspiring man today, during which it suddenly dawned on me I’d known this conversation before.  I was listening to William Fort.

It was in a book called “Green Mars” by Kim Stanley Robinson. Have you read it? If not I strongly recommend it (but start at the beginning with Red Mars).

In Green Mars the huge corporations of Earth have realised the limits of resource-based growth and are starting to do something about it. William Fort – the CEO of one of the big corporations called Praxis – is attending a meeting on the newly colonised Mars, where he outlines his vision for eco-economics:

Fort raised his hands. “Capitalism only works if there is growth. But growth is no longer growth, you see. We need to grow inward, to recomplicate.”

Jackie stood. “But you could grow on Mars in classic capitalist style, right?”

“I suppose, yes.”

“So maybe that’s all you want from us, right? A new market? This empty world you spoke of earlier?”

“Well, in Praxis we’ve been coming to think that the market is only a very small part of a community. And we’re interested in all of it.”

“So what do you want from us?” someone yelled from the back.

Fort smiled. “I want to watch.”

It would be indiscrete to name names, but the parallels are pretty close.

Read more about the Mars trilogy (also available as an audiobook, and well narrated). And thanks, too, to Sarah Cary for putting me on to it all those years ago.

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