We continue our Thought Experiment in this instalment by looking at Doughnut Economics (DE) and its relationship to Spiral Dynamics and Integral City through an Ethnocentric Worldview.

As we noted in our first blog, the Ethnocentric Worldview spans Levels 3 and 4 in Spiral Dynamics (see Table 3). An ethnocentric worldview embraces the structures of Dominator Hierarchy and Ordering Bureaucracy.

Table 3: Ethnocentric Worldview, Spiral Dynamics, Archetypal Structure

Worldview Spiral Dynamics Level of Complexity Spiral Dynamics Expression Archetypal Structure
Ethnocentric Level 3 Red – Individual Dominator Hierarchy
Level 4 Blue – Collective Ordering Bureaucracy

We can summarize the inner qualities and outer contexts of these 2 levels of complexity as set out in Figures 5 and 6.

Figure 5

Figure 6

As we examine the correlative life conditions that Doughnut Economics points to, we imagine the Inner and Outer factors of DE live within the balance of the Ecological Ceiling and Social Justice factors. The kinds of human settlements that emerge at these stages are what we  call traditional towns and cities living in balance with (albeit starting to stretch) the local life conditions.

At the third level of complexity, DE Inner factors include building on the life conditions of earlier levels with added Energy (fossil-fuel) plus concerns for Income and Work . A Political Voice also starts to develop.

Outer factors add to the earlier factors, with Fresh Water drawdown, Land use conversions (e.g., forests to farmland) and Biodiversity loss (as natural habitats are invaded by human settlements).

The Level 3/Red Spiral Dynamics factors are oriented to the individual with the focus on power and exploiting the basics of life in service to the head of the hierarchy. This protects labour, rent and servitude in exchange for energy (fossil fuel), food, water and health, housing and land. The Human System Context that sets the life conditions at this level of complexity are a dominator hierarchy, with a ruler (chief, tyrant) who has the power to overrule and control the faith system, invade and capture the territory of others and claim ownership of land, water and air sheds.

At the fourth level of complexity, DE Inner factors expand from the third level’s factors to include Education, Health, Social Equity (within a hierarchy), Gender equity (with male dominance) as human systems became more complex.

Outer factors stabilize and even expand (because of Level 4’s management capacity) to include Fresh Water, Land and Biodiversity.

The Level 4/Blue Spiral Dynamics factors orient to the collective with the worldview still ethnocentric but expanded beyond the dominator hierarchy to the nation with an organized bureaucracy. This structure sets standards, creates rules and enforces compliance to social norms. In this 4th level of complexity, resources are distributed through state controlled systems for energy (fossil fuels), food, water, health, housing and land/property ownership. The Human System Context that sets the life conditions at this level of complexity are capitalist, communist or socialist, with substantive rules-based bureaucratic (civil service) control, unionized work force, peace/order/good government. In addition management protocols for conquered territory (aka colonies), expands the reach of management for land, water and air rights.

DE reveals the emergence of Social Justice factors at these developing stages of human settlements when the Ecological Ceiling (such as it is recognized as exploitable resources and territories). Social Justice is generally defined by a colonizing nation and is managed (in service to the colonizing capabilities developed at the 3rd and 4th stages). Human populations tend to be managed within circumscribed geographic territories (that have been conquered).

Looking at human habitations in the 21st century, at these 3rd and 4th stages, we can see the power that is amplified when territory is conquered and then colonized, managed and organized. This generally means that Social Justice factors tend to favour the conquering people. These worldviews tend not to care about the reduced availability of Ecological resources for anyone except themselves.

These forms of human settlements create the conditions where it is possible to accumulate enough local wealth, so that the next stages can ignore the danger of not living within the Ecological Ceilings and/or ignoring Social Justice factors for all people (conquerors and conquered alike).