A multilevel view of living systems spans the domains of molecules, ecosystems, society and economics. This approach has resulted in the discovery of some recurring patterns across levels.
These patterns have given rise to two intriguing, if nascent, ideas that present deeper insights into the natural roots of socio-economic organisations and point towards new avenues for sustainability. These ideas can serve as frameworks for discussions and quite possibly lead to further multilevel research in the organisation of living systems.
The first idea: is human social organisation part of a larger pattern of dependence enabled by alphabetic catalysts?
Amongst humans, we have families that reproduce their own human resources, and non-kinship-based organisations (like businesses) that depend on families for the same. The relation of social dependence between the two is enabled by human language. Similarly, the relationship of ecological dependence between biomass producing autotrophs and consuming heterotrophs is enabled through DNA catalysts, and the relationships between oxidised small molecules and reduced macromolecules in living cells are enabled through protein catalysts. Does this indicate a common multilevel pattern of dependence made possible by alphabetic catalysts? (read more)
Idea two: Does the behaviour of financial investment markets mirror ecological exchange networks?
Gut bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi control the distribution of biomass and geochemical resources in animals and plants in a manner startlingly similar to our banking and stock market investment processes. (read more)