In our society we swap and buy each others services and goods using a virtual system of debt - in other words money. There is no virtual system of debt in nature. How does nature do its economics?
Nature uses membranes.
Membranes within membranes.
Within the first membrane - the cell outer wall, everything is exchanged for free, However movement beyond the first membrane is controlled.
Within the second set of membranes - the body organ, everything is still exchanged for free but in a more limited way again.
And so on. So nature swaps and receives energy for free within increasing sets of membranes that restrict that freedom.
I compare the individual to an organelle within a cell, and then expand outwards through the organs and the body to the ecosystem. Everything is free but contained. So, biologically, everything exists within cooperatives that are within bigger cooperatives.
Nature's economics also operate according to three principles:
1. Membranes (free movement within, restricted without - first guiding principle).
2. Cooperation (all cells and organs and ecosystems cooperate as their second guiding principle).
3. Pulsation (nature is bounteous but it doesn't continually grow, it maintains a balance - homeostasis, through pulsation).
This really doesn't do the full essay justice, the full essay is some 7000 words, illustrated throughout and has a detailed exploration of what money really is in the introduction. It has been some years in the creation so enjoy and hope it helps a bit :-)