Last update

Jan 2010

Essays, papers and notes


Don Chisholm




Prince Edward County, Ontario Canada




This is an index of some of my various presentations, essays and ideas from over the past 20 years.


I first became aware of the human predicament about 1986, and began reading about the many paradox of our times.  The first of these: why is it that human civilization is on such a titanic trajectory when some/many individual humans can be so brilliant.  Even some group efforts can achieve outstanding results.  


After a couple of years of reading and communicating with some of the writers, and other aware individuals, I concluded that “infinite growth’, the apparent primary goal of all levels of current government, is a suicidal mission.  Our planet and the Gaian system of nature have limits.


I started a manuscript on these issues, completed in 1992 (details in the lead-in to the Recovery Chapter, noted in the list below).


This index page gives a brief description of various writings along with a web link. My papers are scattered around the internet in a rather untidy fashion, which I plan to clean up some day.  Sorry, but some are still in draft form.




My home page gives some personal info on career and family background and also some links to old papers published in various journals such as CACOR (Canadian Association for the Club Of Rome), or Futures, of UK.


Safewater group web is produced locally and updated daily as a news bulletin board pulse some articles relevant to global issues.  In the Big Picture section, are 13 of my essays. 


Within the Gaia Preservation Coalition web pages, I’ve posted various essays, a few listed below:


Chapter 10, Recovery: of the manuscript, A Trouble-shooters Analysis of the Human Predicament, this chapter provides a backcast sketching the recovery era: how civilization escaped from the cascading consequences of the growth paradigm that was energized by Pandora’s fossil fuels. Envisioned is the holistic social structures of a sustainable civilization. Since writing this chapter two decades ago, not much has changed in my thoughts in this matter in that “localization” must be one of the key features.  However, like many other writers who speculate in a Plan “B” type future; I ignored the monetary system, and means of exchange. 


Since then I have learned a great deal about the nature of money and recognize that the money-system and its control, has an even greater influence over individual behaviour and local or global politics than any other human factor, including religion. A dynamic sustainable civilization simply can never emerge until the global monetocracy, as called by some, is supplanted/abandoned.  Our primary means of exchange of goods and services must be tied directly to “real wealth” (what humans both need and desire), and become an integral part of the socio-political structure to enable dynamic feedback in order to control the flow of, “human activity, especially in such vital areas as population levels and resource exploitation.   With this in mind, I wrote the next paper as a summary of other notes:



The 2007 draft essay, Technical Specifications for a Sustainable Civilization.  This was put together from the bits and pieces of other notes. It covers:

 ... three key systems in question;

 ... human activity growth and the drivers of growth including the money system;

 ... human nature;

 ... a synopsis of the interplay of these;

 ... three possible outcomes

Then it moves to, Technical Specifications and Available Resources, which then covers the background material for PCDynamics (Per Capita Dynamics), touching on:

 ... monetary systems and bioregionalism;

 ... commodity based money systems;

 ... and then the components of PCDynamics explaining how Optimum Population is a key regional societal goal, and internationally approved guidelines are used to generate statistical data that provides dynamic feedback to limit or accelerate (some day) human population and economic activity by limiting the money supply.


In October 08, I made a presentation of PCDynamics to an economic reform conference, the Bromsgrove Group of UK. But the paper did not go over well with this audience.  While they promote significant monetary reform, they believe that tweaking here and there with the existing system, things might work out. Population issues are still a taboo subject.  However, it led to lively conversation!


Histrorical Roots of The Growth Syndrome: This short ‘07 essay was part of something else.  Short sections paraphrased from wise historians are:

Step 1: 5000 years ago: Displacement of feminine balance: The beginning of androcentrism;

Step 2: Making humans external to nature;

Step 3: Removing spirituality from nature;

More Recently – Dominator Societies;

Rapid Growth Enablers – energy and imaginary money;

Dominator Schools of Thought and the rise of Neoconservativism;

Pronatialist Religions & Cultures;



Emergency Paradigm Shift: The separation of Siamese twins where only one can survive, is given as a metaphorical picture of the social change process needed to enable a viable civilization. A civilization where we, … redesign our institutions and operate them quite differently… as noted in the quote below.



Of the many notable quotes by wise people that I’ve come across is a paragraph by systems thinker Stafford Beer, from his book Designing Freedom, written while he was in Chile directing a revolutionary cybernetic system of government oversight of social/economic development.  It was just before the US coup that overthrew/assassinated the socialist president, Salvador Allende. 


Quote from Stafford Beer in, Designing Freedom

         I am proposing simply that society should use its tools to redesign its institutions, and to operate those institutions quite differently. You can imagine all the problems. But the first and gravest problem is in the mind, screwed down by all those cultural constraints. You will not need a lot of learning to understand what I am saying: what you will need is intellectual freedom. It is a free gift for all who have the courage to accept it. Remember: our culture teaches us not intellectual courage, but intellectual conformity.


About 1995 I spent a pleasant evening chatting with Stafford at his home in Toronto, and carried on discussions by fax and phone for some time after that. He died of a heart attack a year or so later.


The likelihood of such PCDynamics type change happening?

We can only speculate on our fluid future.

It is most unlikely that significant change toward PCDynamics future could occur prior to significant collapse of the current corporate governance and where fiat money considered as wealth.  A key factor is, which will collapse first? the Gaian life support systems or the fossil energy supported economic system? or will they both continue the dismal decline of the last couple years?


On the positive side:

The PCDynamics society is base on bioregionalism.  As economics and environmental changes worsen, people naturally tend to adapt a circle the wagons response and to focus on localization of trade and support.  Primitive forms of regional currencies are growing. This natural human tendency could set the stage for inter regional cooperation of groups of areas interested in localization, because no region can survive alone.  The Transition Town’s movement (TT) is doing this now with hundreds of communities now involved, and growing rapidly. The hierarchy of such an organization could begin to adopt standards that may lead toward a PCDynamics style society.  Climate change and Peak Oil are the prime motivating factors of TT.


Another positive note is that countries and states sometimes now use trade barriers to protect their self-interest, defying globalization and encouraging autonomy. This trend may diffuse the old fashioned gun boat diplomacy and war.


If enough positive changes are occurring, even if not interlinked now, they may coalesce at some point and tip the balance of the coming fractal future, toward a softer emergency landing than the results of unrestrained chaos and die-off.




Don Chisholm