Draft Technical Specifications for a
Sustainable Human Civilization
Without vision, the people perish!
Franklin D. Roosevelt
It is vital that we as a movement share a vision of where we are headed, what we are aiming toward, what successful transformation might look like.
A wide variety of issues blend together in a dynamic interactive fashion, making it difficult to point to any one fundamental problem. The last para of the Limits to Growth summery referenced above, states:
The two missing ingredients are a realistic, long-term goal that can guide mankind to the equilibrium society and the human will to achieve that goal. Without such a goal and a commitment to it, short-term concerns will generate the exponential growth that drives the world system toward the limits of the earth and ultimate collapse.
Today there is no shared vision of a sustainable global future. And so today’s governments follow the now unrealistic quest for everlasting growth,
From a conversation on Energysoures list, Pedro of Havana said recently:
>FOLKS, COULD IT BE THAT WHAT IS NEEDED
-HISTORICALLY, OF COURSE, NOT FROM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT- IS TO TRASCEND
CAPITALISM AND ARRIVE AT ANOTHER TYPE OF>SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION?
This paper is based on underlying presumptions outlined in these brief notes: (Each note here needs links to expansion)
Systems 1: Gaia, the natural world in which humans evolved, operates in an interactive self-regulating systemic fashion, with multiple levels of systems and interacting systems: For example, each animal or plant being one complex synergetic sub-system.
Systems 3: In order for a significantly large human civilization to coexist in a relatively benign fashion, within the Gaian mother system, it would be prudent to regulate the sub-system of gross human-activity following the guidelines of systemic needs.
Activity 1: The guiding tenets of capitalism (especially recent neo conservative agenda) have become the antithesis of systemic regulation, having no recognition of limits to growth: deregulation is now a guiding tenet, leading to privatization (corporatization) of the commons, including the rich fruits of compound human learning over the centuries.
Activity 2: Corporations have been designed as psychopathic entities, designed to make $$ profit without consideration of consequences. A century of hegemony from incremental corporate influence now leaves Western governments dominantly influenced by the corporate lobby and are unable to escape the interactivity of this paradigm.
Activity 3: The money system is basically corporate controlled; now a debt based system that cannot tolerate negative or no growth. Huge injections of more fiat money now help keep the monopoly game going, causing a vast array of human injustice (rich/poor gap, etc.) and wasted Gaian resource throughput.
Activity 4: The corporate driven media now orient populations toward acceptance of, and joyful participation in, The Growth-syndrome.
Human 1 (population): Nature’s species generally procreate up to a limiting factor. Humans, with foresight and reason, could control procreation within scientifically chosen limits, but significant sociopolitical factors have prevented such large scale self-regulation. Some broad factors are: religion, cultural, ignorance, and the general growth-syndrome now driving immigration and pronatialism.
Human Nature: (80/20 guide lines: “most”, means about 80%)
Human Nature 4: Complexity issue – All people have limits to the range of issues they can acknowledge and act upon: the apparent relevance of information outside their aptitude limit or experience is diminished: anxiety reduces an individual’s scope further.
Human Nature 7: An individual’s personal feeling of responsibility for nasty events diminishes proportionally to the number of linkages between them and the event: i.e.; to not attempt to stop one’s government, even when one knows it participates in genocide or resource theft from weaker nations; or to accept fiat money from stock market gains based on corporate growth, even if the corporation destroys non renewable resources.
Human Nature n: We have many many more quirks.
The current growth-syndrome infested paradigm has driven human-activity beyond the Gaian system’s (recently) historical normal limits: early stages of ecological/environmental collapse started many decades ago and it accelerates as we dither. Nevertheless, the governments of virtually all industrial nations measure their success as increased human-activity, as measured by economic GDP.
All measures of green-activity, including carbon credits, renewable power, etc., cannot sustain the current level of human-activity within the Gaian system, not to mention anticipated growth.
Because of the human-nature factors above, and the fiat $$ based wealth (apparent wealth) driven political power, it is most unlikely that corporate capitalism can be changed from within. It must be supplanted before total collapse.
“The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.”
- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, November 23, 1933, in a letter to Colonel Edward Mandell House
Negative growth in human-activity will happen, either in chaotic catastrophic free fall, or semi chaotic with a level of human intervention.
Our common future holds a variety of possibilities:
Possibility 1: The Gaian system is now in a fast runaway mode (slow to us) toward a fractal geological point toward where neither humans nor any living thing could exist: or something not quit so severe, but likely without large mammals.
Possibility 2: One or more of the growth-syndrome’s principle drivers could fail, and human civilization would tumble with rapid human die-off and reduction of human-activity – perhaps to none – and the Gaian systemic changes might swing back toward a human friendly environment in a century or two. The trio of prime human-activity growth tools are, fossil energy (mostly oil), population growth, and the fiat based economic/monetary numbers system that lubricates the wheels of industry and political power. We know that peak oil is at hand; our medical leaders expect a pandemic; the money masters wonder how long the rigged monopoly game can hold together.
Possibility 3: Prior to advanced P1 or P2, technical specifications for a holistic systemically designed form of human governance and regulation could be developed. And perhaps some of the vast array of today’s existing change agent organizations may find that with slight modification to their goals and principles, their efforts could dovetail in synchrony with other change agents, who now work in relative isolation without a holistic goal (holistigoal). Some of these change-agents deal with:
= lifeboat community organizations (i.e., Transition Town movement);
= economic reform advocates, including LETS (Local Exchange Trading Systems);
= population awareness organizations;
= movements for regulation of corporations (seen link to Yes article above);
Like the initial stages of any new structure the linkage of these first change agents would begin as a frail relationship with little synergy or influence. But if time permits, the systemic interweave of trade, commerce and social feedback toward stated goals, this localized system of negative growth in human-activity could develop into viable connected islands of commerce and activity guided by a new paradigm.
Due to today’s vast technical and physical evidence of Gaian system collapse, grass roots support of P2a could be astonishingly exponential, especially by the majority of young and old people who are not in a personal financial comfort zone: this comfort zone is enabled by deficit spending future human well-being – Perhaps the moral issue of our time?
Technical Specifications and Available Resources
Guidance can come from dozens of books with a Plan B sketch of the basics – maximum local autonomy at the lowest practical level. The book, Gaian Democracies, draws together much accumulated wisdom in this area and clarifies many aspects of this form of local and higher levels of governance, which could be referred to as, Gaian Democracies.
Papers by Shaun Turnbull and others point to many corporations that run as cooperatives, and exposes the myth that corporate throughput must grow. This is simply a mater of regulation based on holistic goals. It is likely that most corporations that produce product or components needed to sustain the electrical grid, and other essential products and services could operate just fine within the paradigm of negative growth. (A priority list of these type corporations would be an early part of the transition consideration.)
Books such as Worlds Wasted Wealth, by JW Smith illustrate the enormous waste in both human and physical resources of the growth paradigm. They also show that the combination of technology and energy flow, about 25% of the work force could provide food and materials for the remaining 75%.
The political wisdom of Henry George (190?) can provide guidance that may be relevant to guidelines for ownership of land and commons.
Not covered in any book (known to me) is a means of providing viable negative feedback on both human procreation and on resource throughput as necessary (necessary for the past 100 years!). So this should likely be our initial focus.
Monetary System and bioregionalism
“Economist Milton Friedman once said, quote: "Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around." Unquote.
A monetary means for exchange of goods and services is essential for any complex society. Appropriate design of the money system is key to dealing with all (most of) the notes above on human-activity, and human-nature. While autonomous bioregionalism is the basis of a survival paradigm, there needs to be an International Standards Organization (ISO? or UN?) that will establish third party auditable standards for many areas of local, regional and global issues, i.e., use of the Gaian commons – oceans - air, and money systems, wealth-factor assessments, trade systems, etc.
The people of each bioregion (BR) must be responsible for dealing with their own ecological footprint, and to work toward control their own level of human activity: this includes their population level and their per capita energy and resource throughput, and they will even control of their BR$ dollars, in accordance with guidelines of ISO standards. More below.
Because no individual bioregion will have adequate resources for a complex society, each bioregion must behave cooperatively with other BRs (bioregions) for exchanges of goods and services. Trade sanctions will be the primary way to deal with non compliant BRs or nations. However, national and international defense forces will likely be need for a few decades (like the UN Peacekeeping now).
Because of energy cost for travel, most exchanges will be local, but some industries must operate nationally and internationally to be viable. BRs with a mostly industrial base will depend on food and other products from neighboring BRs, who need the industrial products. (Today there are growing change movements toward localism, especially in produce.) Strategic planning of corporations will be toward reduced throughput by producing quality long-lasting product rather than anticipating more throughput and planned obsolescence.
Commodity Based Monetary System
Unlike today’s fiat$$ money, a commodity based system can be designed to relate directly to human well-being and Gaian stability. As described in an earlier paper, PerCapita Dynamics is the term given to the process. Briefly, it means that there is maximum wealth per capita within (your) BR (bioregion) when local population is at a scientifically determined optimum. In periods of overpopulation there will be pressure from family, friends, neighbours and local government to lower fertility. For an expanded explanation, see: PerCapita Dynamics and Wealth Factors at the bottom of this draft document. Also explained is how the electronic debit card can have enough transparency to deal with human foibles, such as described in Human Nature1.
The unemployed are redeployed
Minimum wage for all?
As JW Smith writes in World’s Wasted Wealth, about 90% of the people now involved in banking and the financial monopoly world would be redundant in a viable world. Also, reduction in human-activity would cause many industries (logging/lumber/mining/automotive, etc.) to vastly reduce labor requirements. Therefore, regional social structure will be necessary to provide minimum wage for all, but with additional wealth benefit for individuals who share new loads, such as in the farming, where labor requirements will no doubt rise as a result of peak oil and the need to end fossil fuel usage. Guideline standards need be developed to accommodate this regional social infrastructure, however, it is likely that each BR may deal with these issues differently.
Wealth Factor based Per Capita Money - $PCM
=$PCM will have a primary characteristics of a commodity-based currency system, but it will require some fiat (elastic) characteristics through loans, for periods when commodity balance cannot be met. Some components of the commodity will be physically measurable and some are partially abstract and will be determined by clearly defined standards based on human wants and needs.
= Each Region will have its own $PCM (currency). (Region is used here for simplified explanation – but could be BioRegion level)
= A branch of Global Government will establish global standards to be used by each Region on Earth to determine the Region’s Wealth Factor assessment (one size might not fit all in reality, so adjustments can be made).
= In order to prevent bias or cheating, Wealth Factor assessments will be audited annually by a third party audit team.
= A negative, or credit balance means that the Human Activity in your Region is beyond sustainable limits, i.e: Gaian well-being is at risk. A zero balance means your Region is at relative human Carrying Capacity (CC), i.e: Gaian systems are renewable. Debit means more wealth per capita within the Region, and/or your Region could lend money to a needy neighboring Region, i.e: Gaia systems are gaining equity in biodiversity, forests, surplus renewable energy, etc.
= A Regional zero balance also means that that the Regional wealth is such that the average person could have enough money for a comfortable life. However, some individuals will have much more, some much less in a significantly modified capitalist or socialist system. Some people will be at the minimum wage while others have reached a maximum in accumulated wealth – the monopoly game continues while this player can retire.
= Money necessary to operate industry and commerce can be added or subtracted from a Region’s monetary system as a credit or debit. The desired goal of governance is at least a balances, but debit is even better, i.e. more wealth per capita for the people of the Region and the Region does not need to borrow $PCM from another Region.
= $PCM will be electronic only money, i.e. no currency, only a debit-like card. This will help prevent petty theft, big theft and black market cross boarder dealing and illegal immigration. But for convenience, some Regions may wish to float a small amount of their wealth in a local currency.
= The balances within individual or corporate bank accounts are available, with relatively easy access, to selected government agencies. While this may seem to some as a Big Brother is Watching approach, citizens with nothing to hide, have nothing to hide. What’s the problem?
= Each Region has control over immigration. Illegal immigrants will not have access to regional $PCM. If you want to emigrate to another Region, you will need permission and documents from that Region.
= The $PCM dollars of RegionA cannot be spent directly in RegionB or C. When purchases are made by a person or corporation in RegionA, from a person or corporation in RegionB, a debit transfer is made at the Regional level, increasing the loan (or decreasing the credit) of RegionA to RegionB. After the transaction the wealth/capita of RegionA is lower: everyone is systemically affected to some degree. Any region may place limits on inter-regional spending.
= The value of a $PCM dollars of RegionA is of equal in value to a $PCM dollars of RegionB, however, a cup of coffee in a Canadian Region might require more $PCM dollars that a cup of coffee in Brazil.
The total wealth of each bioregion is determined by several factors:
A: + The amount of renewable energy produced by the Region,
and the regional potential to produce renewable energy.
B: + The amount of renewable resources, farmland, forests, fisheries, etc.
C: + The amount of water which can be used by humans.
D: + The amount of food which can be produced sustainably.
E: + The amount green space for biodiversity and human leisure.
F: + Facilities for high tech research and development.
G: + Industrial capability for production of recyclable goods.
H: + The quality and quantity of human services such as
medicine, education, tourism and the arts.
I: - Dependence on goods or services from other Regions.
J: - The amount of non-renewable energy used.
X1: ? Regional human population.
X2: ? Current Regional human fertility rate.
A flourishing civilization requires a blend of A through H. Most categories are controllable within limits - some limits are imposed by nature, some by intelligent assessment.
The balancing act: With lower population there will be more natural, renewable resources per person.
~In A,B,C,D,E fewer humans = greater wealth per capita
In F,G,H, with a larger number of humans there will be greater variety of minds and manpower with a greater likelihood of technological and medial advancement. And it will be easier to amortization product development cost and to incorporate production efficiency and to sustain national defense (necessary until World Governance is achieved), and for global projects such as space exploration after World Governance. It requires large numbers of humans to sustain a modern society with medical services, educational facilities, computer industries, research facilities, the arts and entertainment, etc., the more human talent there is to draw upon, the better.
~ In F,G,H, more human contribute to greater wealth potential.
~ I and J are negative factors regardless of population.
~ Optimum population and fertility rate will be determined by the other factors and will be updated at least annually but perhaps continuously, like automatic inventory control.
= Likely no Region could sustain an industrial society alone or without trade. One statement above said: >A zero balance means your Region is at relative Carrying Capacity (CC).< Relative, in this case means, for example, that an urban area has traded credits for manufacturing, universities, hospitals, with one or many more rural areas or other urban areas. Whereas, the rural area, without manufacturing capabilities, provides produce for the city. The accounting would be fairly complex, yet relatively simple compared coordinating a large airline, or today’s derivative trading balances, for example. (In tough cases, Arthur Anderson Inc. could handle the audit ;-)
= Today, thousands of individuals and groups decry the capitalist thrust for expanding/globalizing economies, representing the “A” of Human Activity. BUT human procreation considerations in Western societies are considered to be a very private affair. This reproductive taboo needs to be broken. Common sense tells us that exponential growth of either “H” or “A” in a finite planet cannot continue indefinitely and both must become societal controllable variables. The introduction of $PCM would make procreation everybody’s concern. Even aunt Matilda or Grannie could provide valuable feedback here because their personal wealth is a measure of the community wealth.
= Once the voodoo effect of GM (Global Moneteocracy) is broken, sensible taxation and subsidy legislation can be introduced by existing governments at National and/or Regional level to expose the now buried true societal cost in the use of fossil fuels.
= Once the voodoo effect of GM broken, sensible ecological protection regulation can be introduced by existing governments at National and/or Regional levels. No longer can they say, “But it’s bad for the economy!”
= A great deal of Wealth Factor data is available on the web today, perhaps all that would be needed to determine $PCM on a National scale which, in a practical sense, would be a good place to start. For example, Work by Mathis Wackernagel et. al;
= Based on the Ecological Footprint data that now covers 80% of world population, it is likely that the global sum of Regional credits and debits will show that there is a global deficit of total $PCM, and that a reduction in global HA should start immediately (Ecologcal Footpring analysis indicate three more planets would be required to sustain our current footprint). A sever deficit of $PCM would prohibit existing civil infrastructure from functioning; therefore a temporary loan is necessary to keep things running. From a para above, it seems that $8 Trillion would be needed to keep the infrastructure running. A panel of experts (?) who are familiar with both accounting procedures, and who have fairly broad understanding of how the world works, will set the standards for factoring the Wealth Factors data to show the global optimum target level of HA. To adjust for the deficit the global bank would need to create a special loan, a loan against future generations, in order to have enough $PCM to operate the global infrastructure today. This loan would be distributed to Regions though their national government to avoid sudden discontinuity in business. It would be up to the Regional leaders to determine how best to meet it’s optimum HA (after the standards/formula are prepared for the Regional level), and how to barter with local Regions for Wealth Factor credit swaps, to best balance their books. But the loan from the global bank would remain a separate entry and it would slowly diminish then vanish in future when global target HA was met; i.e. when our Ecological Footprint could be contained on one planet Earth. Today’s deficit spending of natural resources is steeling our children’s future and we have no apparent way to stop. At least the $PCM loan that we need today will be recognized as a repayable loan, our children are counting on it!
= Instead of stock market news, the media would fist give the Wealth Factor statistics so that all citizens would be cognizant of regional heading and goals and of their personal responsibility to future generations to work toward that end.
= As new political movement begins to gain strength (Gaian Democracy?), a shadow economic system could be established, and begin to create $PCM for local commodity or labor exchanges. Existing LETS may convert to this system. And this process could grow in steps.
= As the conversion gains momentum the economics department of Gaian Democracies could offer an exchange of GM$ for $PCM to individuals or corporations at some rate of exchange, a rate of exchange that would diminish as time goes by (to promote rapid conversion).
= As the popularity of $PCM grows, and dynamic balance begins, states or countries that fail to participate will have fewer and fewer trading partners. They will either die-out, or join in.
Gaian Democracies: The term, Global Monetocracy (GM) was introduced in the book called Gaian Democracies, by John Jopling and Roy Madron. GM refers to today’s neo conservative capitalism and its control of the fiat based money system. The basic outlined of the book is at the author’s web Gaian Democracies