by Hazel Henderson for SeekingAlpha.com
The Systems View Of Life: A Unifying Vision by Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi, Cambridge University Press, UK 2014
This hefty volume, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision, is a tour de force and will be a perennial textbook for decades for multi-disciplinary researchers worldwide. Authors Fritjof Capra, a physicist, and Pier Luigi Luisi, a biochemist, transcend their original scientific pursuits, arriving at systemic overviews of life on Earth, synthesizing research from complexity and chaos theories, cybernetics, thermodynamics, geology, fractal geometry, biology, ecology, genetics, epigenetics to sociology, anthropology, psychology, economics and finance. Their damning critique of economics and global finance make it must reading for investors and asset managers – since Fritjof Capra’s books are international bestsellers. This almost 500 page treatise is firmly grounded in the history of science and the evolution of industrialism and far more satisfying than Thomas Piketty’s critique in Capitalism (2013), limited to the defunct toolbox of the economics profession. Just as asset managers and investors had to learn geology to understand fossil fuel companies, so today they must learn biology, life’s principles and to interpret the real time data from Earth-observing satellites. Are market players up for this new challenge? Yes, as we learned from managers of successful fossil-free portfolios at our Finding Ethical Alpha conference. Capra and Luisi also call for correcting prices to internalize all costs of fossil fuels and nuclear energy, favoring a carbon tax rather than taxing all forms of pollution as we advocate (p. 419).