The aim is clear; to end up with some kind of a socio economic model, ready to face the challenges of today and that of tomorrow.
Let’s face it, we face some difficulties.
The current "linear" economic models cause more damage to the environment, with creating one "iphone" (1) after another, subtracting more and more CO2 and materials from the earth into the environment,
this in combination with a growing world population and therefore more needs. This while the earth has limited resources.
The social systems we now have are insufficient (too fragmented) to handle everyone with equality and it's starting to show some (serious) cracks. (2)
Ecology is no longer a “commodity”, an obvious element that we can take for granted, it must be implemented in our daily lives to give the future an honest chance, hence putting eco back into the economy.
We, humans are responsible for the industrial revolutions with it’s positive (higher life standards) and negative consequences (climate change), but the alternatives are around, ready to be implemented into our daily lives and structures. This without going back to the cave, but not doing business as usual either, it’s more business as "UNusual".
We owe it to ourselves and each other to look for alternative lifestyles, methods, that does not stop development on a social, ecological and economical level (ao) to give future generations a chance, to tighten the gap that is at the present widening up more and more.
I hope that I’m able to do just that with this little, humble contribution with perhaps a somewhat utopian/naive character. (3)
What actions do you propose?
There are plenty of social systems (4) around and I can currently not hide my admiration towards the Nordic model in a way.
It’s somewhat a kind of “hybrid” economics which features a blend of capitalist and socialist visions, with as a result a high economic and productivity growth, but most remarkably they conquer consistently top spots in world happiness surveys. This with a broad commitment to social cohesion, a universal nature of welfare provision in order to safeguard individualism by providing protection for vulnerable individuals and groups in society, and maximizing public participation in social decision-making. It is characterized by flexibility and openness to innovation. there are low levels of inequality, generous welfare situations and reduced concentration of top incomes.
The only question that remains in this model is: Will it remain manageable with a lower birth rate, and a growing senior community (that comes almost automatically through education, more equality and having a welfare state)?
Right now the answer to this problem is having a higher birthrate (5) and/or immigration. Combine this with the effect of country's in "development", reaching for a higher life standard/ birthrate as well (who can blame them?), and this results in even more material needs, hence the vicious cycle we are in.
But what if we stopped one thing ; the ruthless competition (between regions, states, corporations and even people)? We will have to in some way simply because the earth and it's resources are not growing with the growing demand.
Through implementing a social system with mutual solidarity and constructive interaction with education we can stop for instance the need for higher birth rates and go for a more mutual universal (multicultural) sustainable way of life.
Not like we do now, with this race, trying to go faster and faster "individually", heading towards a certain brick wall with only (economic) growth in mind, but with a socio economy that has brakes and a steering wheel, leaving no one behind, ready to face the chicane ahead of us.
the economic model
In short there is ecology, and economy. Create a marriage between the two and you get “economy”, or in other words; put the eco back into the economy.
The industrial revolutions created the growth, wealth and happiness that we have today, together with the problem of climate change that we are now facing, a problem that we can not simply deny any longer. But how do we implement the eco into the economy without destroying development, resources and atmosphere? Maybe here are a few ideas that can tackle the matter, some sort of "silver buckshot" in a way, a combination of methods to try and tackle this issue.
First of all there is a circular economy (6) around that could be fitted in all of our products. This combined with the continuous development towards creating more with less and less (7) and C2C (8) as a standard, we could have a win-win situation in our hands. I would suggest these guidelines within a "free" market, with questions like, is this harming the environment? If so how can we minimize this to an absolute minimum? How do we implement the circular economy within our products? Is the product really relevant? …etc etc. Automatic questions that rise to the surface whenever creating a product or service. This with maybe a structure in each sector to have some kind of a content wise internal filter before something hits the market without the consumer having to realize it. (10)
Energy wise (9) I don't see a "one silver bullet" solution (except maybe nuclear energy, although I'm not in favor of this considering the consequences when things go wrong). Me personally am more a believer of the combo of different actions (wind, solar, geothermal, ...) to achieve significant results. Those, pretty much harmless, inexhaustible sources of energy are there, ready to be implemented all over. (11)
The localization of the workspace might be another way of reducing traffic. Working from home for example can heavily reduce the traffic on the roads that are filling up more and more, reducing our footprint significantly. The technology is there to be able to do this (model that reduces traffic with over 40%?). Living more localized altogether could help reducing traffic and CO2 even more. This way the direct, local surroundings become more important, with perhaps a more fragmented, (re-ignited) localized industry to try and reduce transport costs and emissions.
The virtual www also becomes more and more relevant this way.
The continuous evolution where machines are taking over more and more jobs is another aspect that simply can not be denied. I encourage such evolution, but what with so many jobs that are lost? I can not deny my admiration towards some kind of a basic, unconditional income model, based on the local environment, in order to sustain yourself in a more basic, but nevertheless meaningful way, based on celebrating life a bit more instead of earning your existence with the belief positive and more meaningful initiatives will take place this way based on (mutual) trust instead of todays distrust.
Would this harm our way of existing? It would certainly harm the ruthless competition we have now. This could create a perhaps lower but more sustainable economy, where everyone can participate and contribute, generate a social framework where everyone is more equal, a more stable and sustainable economy with less possible irrational fluctuations and lower footprint as a result. (12)
Agriculture needs some kind of revolution (local vertical farms ao?) (13) to keep up with demand, depending how things will evolve. (14) Right now we are already using around 40% of our land for agriculture and it keeps on growing with as a result rainforests that disappear more and more. We already use more or less 50% of our drinking water and around 70% is used for agriculture with as a result dried out rivers. 30% of the CO2 emissions comes from farming. Stunning figures when you know we are now with 7 billion around, and we are heading at the present course towards 9 billion of mouths to feed on this planet by 2040: resulting in even higher stress levels (or shall i more say threshold levels?). Again I found the same request for corporation instead of having ruthless competition to reach together for answers within this field, to generate a silver buckshot (a combo of different approaches) instead of reaching for one silver bullet.
On a more philosophical note I’m a big advocate towards some kind of a global consciousness. This in combination with doing the best you can individually on a micro level. I found a trace of such a consciousness into so called “primitive” tribes, where some sort of an automatic equilibrium existed with the environment.
But let’s face it, we are not into this situation right now. We oppose ourselves towards nature while we are part of it. (15)
In some way we keep on acting as we were an organism in a field competing with others, reaching for sunlight and blocking it for other organisms within that process, generating some kind of "mono culture" without fully knowing the consequences of our actions (trough a very narrow human perspective I have to add (16)). Right now we are facing those consequences trough climate change, stating that we need to find more of an equilibrium with our surroundings, regenerate some kind of poly culture, with respect towards what we don't fully understand yet (will we ever?); nature and our part in it. (17)
“I will defend the absolute value of Mozart over Miley Cyrus, of course I will, but we should be wary of false dichotomies. You do not have to choose between one or the other. You can have both. The human cultural jungle should be as varied and plural as the Amazonian rainforest. We are all richer for biodiversity. We may decide that a puma is worth more to us than a caterpillar, but surely we can agree that the habitat is all the better for being able to sustain each.” (Stephen Fry)
the social economic model
There is no denying that a decent social system creates a relevant framework for a good life.
If we could combine such a social system and elements with an economic one, trough a more global approach (with some kind of global consciousness) with solidarity instead of ruthless competition, we could be heading towards real progress, less poverty, more (gender) equality and education, a very needed automatic, spontanious equilibrium concerning birth rates and material needs, in relation towards what the planet can offer and more respect towards very much needed natural resources and environments.
Who will take these actions?
constructive assistance/feedback is always welcome. That's why I have put this in proposal workspace to maybe get some constructive interaction going.
Where will these actions be taken?
What are other key benefits?
This could lead to less conflicting situations on micro and macro level. It implies a possible positive evolution towards a less competitive environment and less aggression in general, towards the environment obviously, but also in human relations and health. (18)
The next big dream could be a peaceful multidisciplinary approach to things. stating we can go and explore space together, we can counter global warming together, we can put poverty into the history books together, we can work together to make dreams happen, together.
Isn't this the great challenge of today? stating: We can do this, together? In theory this could change budget spending to what really matters. Instead of the need for, for instance, a massive defense budget (19), generate room to accomplish other, more meaningful goals. (20)
In other words: generating a chance to dream and act towards a better world. Cause let's face it, we need it. (21)
What are the proposal’s costs?
(1) This is not an attack on apple on itself, it merely serves as a typical example of what the economic model produces and demands today in order to be and stay relevant. Personally I thought the first iphone was quite revolutionary, and even the "upgrades" it has got since then has some value towards de-materialization. I don't know if apple uses the circular economy within it's products. What I do question is the need to replace the unit you have right now with a complete new one, while other models/concepts are around.
http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2009/06/population-growth-vs-emissions-growth/ (confirmation needed)
(10) Because personally I don’t think the consumer of today should even have to worry or be activated about all these things. Partly because it doesn’t work. Others (like designers for instance) ought to be (very) busy with these problems and act accordingly to try and find constructive answers and automatic implementations, even without the need for a conscious consumer having to read every small print and waste a lot of time in the search for a relevant product. I often tend to think about the implementation of nuclear energy, and how we maybe have to implement these products the same way, generating this new standard automatically.
(11) again with the combo of social aspects.
(16) Our ears can't hear every sound, our taste can't sense every taste, our eyes can't see everything. And a rigid economic vision harms ourselves more and more in the long run.