In the required reading by Jane Jacobs, she discusses evolution and how there are multiple variables that go into understanding how ecosystems and economies evolve. Jacob takes a systems approach to explaining how economies evolve through the discussion of both of Darwin’s theories on evolution.
This brought me back to the first couple weeks of class where we analyzed various concepts and were asked to give examples as to how these fit into linear vs. systems thinking. I remember seeing evolution on the screen and could not figure out the answer for that one until I read Jacob’s useful explanation in chapter 6 from the Nature of Economies.
A linear way of thinking is that evolution simply happens because of ‘survival of the fittest.’ This notion assumes that the outcome for the survival of a species is based on how well it can breed and feed. Thus, if a species can continue to eat and reproduce, then it will be the strongest and live on.
There is a problem with this because it views evolution as a machine with one input and output, instead of it being a superorganism that operates as a system that is far more complex.
Jacobs makes a good point though because she says that in order for a species to thrive, it needs a place to do the breeding and feeding. Just say this were the answer to evolution, this would be degenerative and overall harmful to the organism and its future relatives because rather than practicing reciprocity with all other inhabitants, this organism sustains itself solely through the exploitation of others. As a species continues to blindly take without giving back, over time there will be no more to take, resulting in the species dying off.
From this, Jacobs concludes that there is more to evolution than just competitive success of feeding and breeding, but there’s habitat maintenance as well.
Habitat maintenance consists of many different traits that are passed on, which helps us survive because these acquired traits keep us from ruining the very thing that is keeping us alive, our environment. These traits allow us the ability to have a deep appreciation and respect for our environment, fear for being punished if we don’t take care of it, persuasiveness, and corrective tinkering and contriving.
This is regenerative thinking because it understands that evolution has multiple layers to it with many systems at play, so it can’t be treated as a machine. After reading this, it makes sense now when applying Jacobs view on the evolution of economies and what a regenerative economy should look like.
Similar to evolution, racism stems from a complex system of interconnected components that collectively feed into it. In the video, The Night Tulsa Burned, it demonstrates the evils and sadness of racism by depicting the events that led up to the Tulsa race riot.
In the early 1900s a wealthy black community, known as “The Black Wall Street” emerged out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. African American’s in that area took a stand against all the turmoil that was taking place due to racism and attempted at self-government by building a place of their own and calling it the Greenwood District. Unfortunately, this came to an end with the race riot and everything was burned down.
I believe that racism can be an individual and/or a collective act, while also a tool to deny people the opportunity for self-determination. It can take place in any of those forms because it does not solely come from an individual or collective, but it is the result of a cycle of negative feedback loops. There is no start, end, or order, but I will begin at the individual level.
Here beliefs are developed within and/or over time through personally construed stereotypes based on experiences and exposure (or lack of).
Prejudice can form interpersonally from an interaction with another person, and from that experience, beliefs are altered.
Personal beliefs could be shaped through biases in policies and practices seen from an institution or government.
When one of these fail, then that causes a ripple effect, moving onto the next. Throw in that in the mix with an individual, community, society, etc., which is full of voids and lacking self-love and respect, you got one big vicious cycle.