CRISIS IS THE TIME FOR BOLD THINKING ON INCOMES
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World2-0 holds both enormous promise... and existential threats.
This blog is aimed at developing a common world view about the drivers of change (principally population, organization and technology) giving rise to it... and its implications for humanity and our planet.
It also suggests new ways to adapt our economic systems (monetary, banking and tax) to better accommodate our new reality, while avoiding the system problems of the old world: poverty, moral hazard and financial collapse... without destroying the bio-sphere upon which all life depends.
We would like this site to be 'interactive'. However, we don't offer a forum, as good comments seem to get lost amongst the dross. A 'wiki' is too open to feuding amongst people with different world views. So I have decided to try a different approach. If you disagree with the facts, or have a different proposition, simply sign up and email your comments.
The aim is to amend the posts with informed comment, including appropriate citation, so that over time we build a coherent world view based on agreed facts and common assumptions.
The wider the audience, the greater the possibility for concerted action... it is up to you.
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If the Earth was only a few metres in diameter,
floating above a field somewhere,
people would come from everywhere to marvel at it.
They would walk around it,
admiring the large and small pools,
and the water falling and flowing in between
In awe, they'd examine under their microscopes
the bumps and hollows,
the fascinating creatures on the surface,
and in the water, as well as the
amazing diversity of plant life,
birds and insects.
The patterns of clouds and storms
swirling in the thin blue haze surrounding it,
lit by lightning, resonant with thunder
and the sounds and scents of all life.
It would surely astound them.
The ball would be the greatest wonder known.
People would want to protect it...
because it was the only one.
Today, around 12% of
the earth’s surface is used
for crops and 28% for livestock,
5% is covered by the built environment
(including roads and rail corridors). Another 20%
is covered in snow and ice and perhaps 5% steep mountains,
as well as national parks and wilderness areas. These overlap with our
water resources: rivers, lakes and dams and associated drainage basins that we need to keep ‘clean’.
We, the Problem...
In 1840, there were a billion of us. Today there are over 7 billion. In just a few years we will be 9 billion, climbing to 11-13 billion by century's end.
And it is not just 'more people', we are also getting bigger: needing more... and also wanting more.
There is less than 30% of all land mass now available to meet the 'needs' of all these extra people - assuming we turn the remaining 7% rainforest, 13% deserts and 10% other semi-arable or swamp land into farmland and mines.
We already use 45% of the land for human purposes. At 3%pa GDP growth (more people getting bigger and fatter, needing and wanting more), we must double land use by around 2035... the next two decades. Yet, with only around 30% of the land available for expansion... we simply cannot 'double' our use.
Of course, as well as expanding land use, we can use the land we already farm and mine more 'productively'. Unfortunately, technological gains are now being offset through loss of top soil and mono-culture... degrading micro-biology and fertility. Untold treasures hidden in our bio-diversity are also being lost, without knowledge of the consequences.
We are also stripping our oceans of fish, altering the food chain, with no clear understanding of what it portends.
And perhaps most serious of all, we are changing the very chemistry of our land, seas and air through the chemicals we use and emit into the bio-sphere. The resultant pollution and impacts on climate are only the most obvious consequences. On land, life sustaining biological processes, are being altered or destroyed, while in the ocean acidification is retarding the growth of crustacea at the base of the food chain.
Whether driven by man-made or natural causes, storms, floods, fire and drought seem to be more frequent and more severe, and certainly their effects are worsening, as we become more urbanised in ever greater numbers.
Regardless of 'Climate Change', at current rates of growth in both numbers and size of people, as well as demand for ‘more per person’, the pressures on our planet will likely force dramatic change upon us some time this century.
Social and Economic Problems too are of our own making...
The Gap between Rich and Poor is narrowing between nations... but growing within them.
Aging Populations are putting pressure on social services, fuelling demand in some circles for 'more babies' to feed 'growth' and provide 'future workers', even as:
We face finite limits on available land, and
Automation of both Material and Information Flows (through computerisation and robotics) is destroying 'middle' jobs throughout the supply chain, from: farming through mining, manufacturing and warehousing to distribution and retail, as well as many services.
Globalisation and Massive Open On-line Courses are bringing billions of new minds on stream to compete for jobs via design, contracting and crowdfunding sites covering software, hardware, equipment and consumer goods... promoting a 'winner takes' all economy.
The Financial System is prone to Moral Hazard and Cyclic Collapse. The remedy of 'printing money' to buy financial assets from the rich only feeds the next cycle, with little 'trickling down'... worsening the Gap.
Our Tax Systems are complained of by both Rich and Poor alike... satisfying no-one (except perhaps the tax professionals).
Democracy is on the wane. Governments are either autocratic, or increasingly beholden to corporate and high net-worth interests
Big Media are more ideologically inclined with 'shock jocks' pandering to our worst prejudices, rather than informing and educating. The internet provides more of everything, splintering into tiny 'interest groups' - leaving us all without a 'common vision'.
People and States are becoming radicalised with increasing ethnic tension
Threat of War and Terrorism make us so fearful that we are giving up hard fought liberties - just to make us feel safe, even as...
Arms are made ever more powerful and distributed more widely, including robotic, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
Violence in the street and in the home still hangs over us like a pall. For some, it is their daily reality.
Organised and Cyber-crime, (especially Corruption, Fraud and Blackmail) vie for money and power on a global scale, much of it beyond the reach of national law enforcement.
Discrimination against Minorities (race, sex, religion, etc) is 'normal' for the majority of humanity.
Addictions of all kinds (gambling, drugs/alchohol and food) destroy not only the addict, but in some places, the very fabric of society.
Mental Illness and other Health issues add to our collective misery, while...
Bacterial Drug Resistence and the threat of Pandemics are generating alarm amongst the global health community, but little action.
What to Do?
Many of the problems are driven by greed and fear and seem intractable.
In many cases too, people are trying to restrict power... feeding opposition.
Perhaps there is another way. A way that enlists the powerful in a common cause.
Research and Education are key factors: the better we all understand the consequences of our actions, the easier it is to make decisions that benefit us all. This blog discusses how we may promote 'life-long' learning, with a radical proposal to pay people to learn... as a 'job', without taking money from anyone, or pushing people into debt.
Though knowledge is not enough. History shows that if we are to galvanise widespread change, it needs to be expressed as stories that appeal to the heart, more than the rational mind...
As I am no great story teller, that challenge will need to be met by others.
This blog is dedicated to exploring the 'systemic' problems that are open to 'system solutions'.
Principal amongst these is how and for what purposes we create, allocate and destroy money.
In our modern economy, 'money' determines what gets made and what gets done: as we spend our own money, or by influencing how others spend theirs.
In the end, it all comes down to money.
Despite its central role in our individual and collective welfare, few understand how the money system now works.
This blog aims to lift awareness, as well as suggest alternatives that benefit both rich and poor.
However, money is simply the means to express our 'needs'. Ultimately, it is these we must address, if we are to achieve radical change. So...
The Golden Opportunity
With stable or even fallling population forecast for the end of the century, we need now to be thinking about economic models that work to improve well-being, in the absence of population growth.
In fact, with technology as our slave, it perhaps heralds a 'golden age' - though far from 'perfect' as we will still have to contend with all of humanity's failings.