by Bernard Lietaer

Find below a summery of all key terms that are used in "Towards a Sustainable World" by Bernard Lietaer - easy and clear explained. 



A framework of thought, concepts, methods, causal connections.

Ying and Yang

The principle that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites; for example, female and male, dark and light, old and young . 1


Paradigm Shift 1: The Law of Sustainability


Living Systems

Living Systems

Self-organizing life forms that interact with their environment.


These living systems are maintained by flows of information, energy, matter.


The entirety of a system and all the systems with which it interacts.

Efficiency of a Living System

A living system's capacity to perform in a sufficiently organized and efficient manner in order to maintain its integrity over time. 3

Resilience of a Living System

Its reserve of flexible fallback positions and diversity of actions that can be used to meet changing conditions and the innovation required for ongoing developement and evolution.

Sustainability of a Living System

The quality of being able to continue to function over a period of time.


The ability to live, grow and develop.

Cause-effect Logic


The connection between cause and effect.

Linear Causality

One cause leads directly to one effect.

Linear System

A system that responds to one cause (trigger) with one effect.

Non-linear System

A system that responds to cause (trigger) with multiple and changing effects.


Monetary System

Monetary System

A system, which organizes the flow of money. 

Monetary System, Conventional

The offical monetary system, used worldwide, independent of the political orientation of countries. It consists of a set of policiess, frameworks, and institutions by which the government creates money in an economy.  Such institutions include the mint, the central bank, treasury, and other financial institutions. 5

Monetary System, Complementary

An additional monetary system, complementing the conventional system (not an alternative system).

Demurrage Currency

A currency in which the value of units of currency is designed to fall over time at a fixed rate. 




A matrifocal family or society is one where females play a leading role and males play a less important role.


A focus on resilience and longer-term results.


A patrifocal family or society is one where males play a leading role and females play a less important role.


A focus on efficiency and short-term results.



Centralization of Information

Information stored and access managed by on central organization.

Decentralization of Information

Information stored and managed by each member of a network.

Distributed Information

The same information resides with each user. If it is not, one or few users have it.

Proprietary Information

Information that is not public knowledge and that is viewed as the property of the holder.

Personal Information

Information or an opinion, including information or an opinion forming part of a database, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opoinion. 

Private Information

Information that a user whishes to keep from public view. Credit card, social security and financial account numbers, along with passwords to websites and other venues, are commonly kept private.