»We need not view nature as our enemy to be mastered and overcome but learn to cooperate with nature again. She has four and a half billion years of experience. Ours is much shorter.«
– Hans-Peter Dürr
Nature is a living masterpiece. She has existed for billions of years and generates life over and over again, thereby following universal laws. The laws of nature apply to everybody without exception. We have the choice either to observe them of our free will or be reminded of them in a painful way. If we want to learn how to use the laws of nature for our good we are well advised to observe nature and take her inventions as a model.
In technology this method has long been known as »bionics«. Every aircraft constructor studies the flight of birds before he launches his »iron bird« into the air. Bionics does not means copying everything one hundred percent. Everyone knows that, unlike birds, aircraft do not flap their wings. Their outer covering does not consist of feathers but metal or plastic. They need a runway for taking off and landing but, on the other hand, they can fly much faster than birds. With the aid of bionics, those properties which serve a purpose are transferred to the object in question.
It is the same with the economic bionics we have developed. We do not need to copy everything to be found in nature. If cannibalism is not acceptable to our ethics, we should not translate the model of »eating and being eaten« to our economic model. Instead, nature offers us more appropriate models, such as cooperation and symbiosis.
The same applies to the »survival of the fittest«. In the animal world physical strength is limited to a natural extent. No animal has the possibility to reduce entire nations or even the entire world to wrack and ruin. Due to technological development humans have this possibility; and in business strong companies have the capacity to squeeze all weaker ones out of the market, thus putting an end to them. Therefore it would be absolutely fatal to translate this model to modes of behaviour between people: neither in politics nor in business should the law of the strongest be allowed to rule.
Ethics and religion have given us quite clear guidelines - »liberty, equality, brotherliness« and »Love your neighbour as yourself«, for example. Which inventions of living nature we translate to politics and the economy must first be decided by ethical criteria.
We have to observe the laws of nature, by choice or by force. We can indeed deny the cycle of growth and decay and call for constant economic growth but then the natural law of transience will hit us all the harder – through economic crises, natural disasters, poverty and wars, even going as far as the complete extermination of humanity. However, we can also choose to build the cycle of life into our monetary and economic systems and achieve worldwide prosperity in peace and in harmony with nature.