Topic: Regenerative Capitalism
Group members: Anna, Valentin, Aliia, and Lily Marie
The term Regenerative Capitalism (RC) sounds like a dream come true: we can continue to grow as before and even save the planet along the way. Its basic principles of “recovery, restore, and regenerate” beautifully wrap up linear growth into a new shape, trying to close the loop of economic development. However, charmed by the concept, we lose ourselves in a rush and move not along a circle, but a spiral, consolidating already existing power structures under the guise of a greener future.
One of the key principles of RC is the idea that economic growth can be coupled with the limited exploitation of natural resources. Yet this defining quality is difficult to merge with the inherent nature of capitalism, which strives for maximum growth, unperturbed by the social and ecological cost it brings. If we do not have a common idea on the core principles and key actors that define this fundamental “reset”, effective implementation remains simply out of reach.
The lack of clarity has led to a perverse form of rhetoric by corporations, which both praise the ideas of RC while changing nothing in regard to the extraction of natural resources. Like in Lützerath, where the energy company RWE is building a coal mine, while claiming to be a leader of the green revolution. By advancing the power of the market and businesses, RC depoliticizes environmental policies. As a consequence RC can act as a shield against immoral conduct and is, therefore, a potential danger.
In summary, we have to take great care when talking about the nature and aims of RC to not let it degenerate into another PR play by large corporations. Otherwise, our dreams of regeneration and circularity turn into an endless, vicious spiral of short-term profiteering with catastrophic costs to our planet and ourselves. Eventually, even if a spiral looks different from a linear trend trajectory, they both have one thing in common: they do not close the loop.