Sustainable society, defined

A sustainable society satisfies its needs without limiting the prospects of future generations.
Our values determine our societies’ sustainability.
The values we cherish and by which we decide which actions to take determine our societies’ sustainability. Some values focus more on our societies’ efficiency, others on its resilience.

For sustainability, balance efficiency and resilience of our societies

Sustainability by matrifocal-patrifocal balance

To be sustainable, a society must focus on both. Bernard Lietaer named them "matrifocal" (focused on a societies’ resilience) and "patrifocal" (focused on its efficiency). These terms perhaps seem a little unusual or strange, but Bernard could not find other terms that were clear enough to communicate his meaning:
There must be focus on patrifocal values of a societies’ efficiency; for instance, to wisely use a societies’ resources or to cope with imminent danger like an attack from for a hostile society or of the effects of climate change.
Of course, all societies need to also focus on matrifocal values – otherwise vitally important matrifocal functions such as raising and educating children, caring for the elderly, or community and volunteer activities, would not exist. A society completely lacking matrifocal values would therefore soon collapse.

Some progress. More required.

Actually, as a global society, we are making progress toward this paradigm shift in many cultures.
Compare our grandmothers’ situations in their societies to the positions our daughters have today:

  • Women are much better educated now; and in some countries, the majority of students are female – the first time this has occurred since the 13th century.
  • More women are in leadership positions now – in politics, public administration and business.

These developments indicate that we are starting to bring out more and more matrifocal values and that the paradigm shift towards a more balanced matrifocal/patrifocal partnership has started. Great start – but much more is required to achieve true balance.