In-Depth Social Solutions to Society Compared

2008-12-17

In terms of working models, so far I have found three ideologies.

I've compiled the key properties and differences into a table so that you can get a general feel for the difference between these philosophies.

These three models are:

 

 

Current [capitalist, communist, socialist etc.]

Permaculture

Venus Project

Gift Economy

Primary motivation

Profit

Sustainability

Unlocked human potential

Giving

Priorities

(in order of importance)

1. Personal survival

2. Survival of my family/group

3. Survival of my country/company/institution

4. Survival of my people

6. Survival of all people

7. Survival of the earth

(all seen as equally important)

1. Care for people

2. Care for the earth

3. Distribution of wealth / moderation

(in order of importance)

1. Ensuring the survival and quality of life of all people while developing systems that match environmental limitations

2. Developing technology and systems that reduce the need for human labor to as close to zero hours/week as possible, while promoting environmental system growth for all life on the planet, and the distribution of resources.

3. Unlocking the human potential [through the removal of required-work] to pursue any and all avenues of work they desire, and extending this to all life on the planet we care for.

The sharing and development of personal values, a meaningful life, sustainable abundance and compassion

Scale

Focus is on the individual; accentuated by permitting the individual to tap into a global "open-economic" system

Grass roots. Progressive zoning with gradual decline of effort to larger zones from inner zones

Hyper-macro, where forces of maximum economies of scale are used to release the individual

Grass roots, where larger endeavors evolve from larger motivations

Economic system

Scarcity, monetary and hierarchical (debt and interest based)

Resource based economy. Systems theory applied to resource management. Values derived from eMergy (embodied energy) accounting.

Resource based economy, combined with gift-economic principles.

Gift economy where surplus time and resources are shared willingly with others

Energy incentives

Energy that has the highest revenue for the least costs, sometimes to the exclusion of other forms of energy if there is less or no profit. Free energy [or anything free for that mater] is not profitable and thus undesired, unless it is unavoidable or required to derive other profits.

Permaculture assumes that there is insufficient energy on the planet and insufficient resources to support all of humanity unless we work on local sustainable solutions. Where each local system is self-sustaining and built up to larger and larger structures through multiple levels of energy self reliance.

Venus Project assumes that there is more than enough renewable energy sources: wind, solar, wave, tidal and geothermal; to supply all of man's energy needs; and that there is therefore no energy shortage. Only a shortage of will to move to free renewable energy.

Sincere there is no profit to be obtained from Energy shortages, people will seek energy that is the least damaging to the ecology and the most plentiful and sustainable for their efforts. Use will match supply or surplus will simply be reduced to match supply.

Technology incentives

Technology that generates profit. Innovation is good because it will give us an advantage over competitors. However to maximize profits, one should focus on controlling the market, the rate of innovation, tapping into ongoing / support / repair markets, and by controlling the quantity of sales. This is done by promote technology that is not designed with separately replaceable / repairable parts, not built to be modular or easily upgradable, built to break within a predetermined time frame / number of uses, built to require service, built that a specialist is required to service and by being built to work only with proprietary formats / interfaces. In addition, perceived and real obsolescence is an important factor in stimulating higher throughput of sales [higher velocity], which in turn, increases profits. We can terminate support on older products to promote new purchases. The rate of new technology itself should not be faster than the rate of consumption, and thus new innovations need to be staggered, or blocked, to promote profits. If a technological innovation appears and it would jeopardize your businesses' viability, that technology is blocked for as long as possible.

The emphasis is on appropriate technology. Meaning that technological solutions are selected to match system / human needs. Technology is generally selected that uses the least amount of energy and resources and that will last the longest amount of time. Many solutions focus on how to derive 'free' efficiency from the intelligent management of (natural) resources, and the use of natural (organic) systems as a replacement for high-energy technological ones. Permaculture focuses on low-tech solutions wherever possible because of the assumption that the more low-tech the solution is, the more durable and sustainable it will be.

All human advances are seen to be technological ones. Technology increases quality of life while reducing the need for human labor. Developments promote environmental quality, lower energy use, promote durability and are all done within resource limitations. Technology that is developed whose purpose is to increase the standard of living of all human beings, where profit plays no part. The Venus Project is a high-tech solution; but not in the sense that it is technology that is unsustainable; the focus is on technology that is sustainable, durable, efficient, important, modular, and re-usable/recyclable.

Technology that aids other people and/or the ecology or some other moral ideal.

Since there is no profit to be had from technology, there is no incentive behind technology other than to improve the lives of others/the world. Therefore externalities disappear and current restrictions on technological development, including longitivity and durability, disappear.

A Gift economy is neither high-tech nor low-tech; instead it is dynamic and locally determined by the current inventiveness and ingenuity of its members of society.

Externalizations

Addressed via taxation and laws to try to achieve a lowering of side effects [pollution, health care, accidents]

Are addressed by viewing your total impact as a system, and all designs are addressed from a systems perspective; where there are no external parts. All problems are 'potentials'.

By removing the incentive for profit, there is nothing to gain by externalizing costs, therefore all costs are seen to be shared by all people. Furthermore, by freeing up the invidiual to do work they want, instead of work they have to do, the net human impact on the environment can be shifted to be positive, as human effort can be concentrated on achieving a net growth in natural-capital instead of a net reduction.

Since all of your activity comes from a place of gifting, it would not make sense to develop something or to do something which was damaging to the ecology.

Furthermore, since people's activities are all volunteer based, it is likely that additional effort can be expended to rectify any potentially damaging externalities.

Key assumptions required to ensure system is accepted

People won't do anything if they don't have profit. Individuals are inherently corrupt. The accumulation of private power for the individual, is indirectly good for the whole. Ownership, property, debt. There isn't enough to share. Some have to suffer. Greed, war, poverty are inevitable because we live in a world of scarcity, and to survive one must protect our own resources.

We must look at the entire system when making designs. That to be "free" one must be self reliant, and that means self-reliant in terms of food and home. That energy decline is inevitable and we should be building systems that are information-driven instead of fossil-fuel driven in order to ensure success and orderly energy-descent.

That individuals are inherently good. That there is enough renewable energy and renewable materials to ensure a system of abundance for all people. That individual corruption can be reduced to a point of negligible influence by removing monetary-incentive, through education and changes to our direct environment. That people who are freed from obligations of labor will find new levels of motivation that are positive. That people will learn to live within their means while sharing their excess with others.

That individuals are inherently good. And that negative human behaviors should be scorned rather than idealized. That people are free to do what they want to do, provided that they are responsible. That people will naturally want to give when given the opportunity to do so and that our economic wealth would be greater, more meaningful and more sustainable if we did so.

Product/service Value system

Determined by scarcity (supply and demand)

Determined by the amount of energy (physical or abstract) used to create the object/service.

Created within the means of society, shared and thus without value. Where property & ownership is no longer an accepted morality.

All goods are created from surplus, and done so as a gift, and thus without cost. While there is still a concept of 'ownership' there is an even greater emphasis placed on 'sharing' and 'giving'

Key changes required to current thinking to create or maintain

People have to not want to share, and if systems fail, they have to accept that wealth can be held in the hands of few while many starve or die. People have to accept the truth that war is inevitable when people don't share resources because someone will always have something that someone else doesn't want to share, and when communication fails, and people are desperate, people will fight to survive.

That people will see the value in self reliance, and see that from self reliance comes the strength to become truly self-expressive. Because no one can tell you what to think, or what to do, if you have a roof over your head and a full belly. That people will come to see that it is energy, not money, that determines the value of a good or service.

That people will see that as long as they are unwilling to share wealth, they will promote suffering in others and thus eventually also in themselves. The removal of the monetary systems and all forms of profit, debt, taxation and interest. The view that we are a part of the world and not separate from it; and that the higher the quality of life shared by all (forms of life), the higher the standard of living we as people will also share.

People need to realize that it is the positive aspects of humanity that need to be reinforced, not the negative. We need to see ourselves as good people and to focus on this truth. We need to realize that we can't base our culture on fears.

People need to realize that how we look at ourselves determines how the world is, and that the world is simply a reflection of our beliefs. We need to learn to give, we need to trust, and to let go of fear, so that our lives may indeed be rich.

Decision making criteria

Based on profit/cost calculations; where human-benefit or cost is simply seen as a financial variable. If improving the breaks in your car's design costs more than the life insurance claims you need to pay for when they fail, you won't fix it. If helping people is profitable, you will do it; but if it isn't, and the moral implications are avoidable, profit will over rule human interests. In other words: survival of the fittest. Survival of self-interest.

Achieving maximum power in systems while promoting quality of life. Where maximum power is the highest return for the least amount of effort; as apposed to maximum efficiency, which according to the fourth thermodynamic law, would result in less and less meaningful output after the equilibrium of 'maximum work' has been surpassed.

Scientific principles applied to human affairs. With the objective of increasing the standard of living for all living things on Earth.

People need to work together to ensure their own survival, and with self-reliance ensured, they need to look at their surplus, their skills, and their time and to decide for themselves what it is they want to do with their surplus, their time and their skills.

From this individually taken basis, people will make their own individual decisions as to what and how they can best contribute to their community / others / the world

Information

Copyrighted, protected, sold and controlled as much as possible to ensure the survival priorities listed above.

Shared as much as possible to ensure that all systems are as efficient as possible. Information is localized in its application.

Shared freely because there is no concept of ownership or profit. Macro in its approach since all information is seen to be universal in its value, and local in its application.

Shared freely because intellectual materialism is at the heart of control and fear.

Education

Education is seen as a primary constituent to improving systems. It focuses on promoting systems that one controls, and for the purpose of increasing a work-force's productivity. Education systems are a part of the market forces, whether directly privatized, or indirectly connected to privatized institutions, thus the goal of education is to be profitable. Available only to those born in societies that have it, and then often only to those who can afford it. Diplomas ensure a higher wage and promote stratification of social classes. Education is centrally controlled and used to promote system perpetuation. To achieve profit, you must be able to obtain more from something than you give back. One way to achieve this, is by knowing more than someone else. Since the primary motivation of all current institutions is self-preservation, education is focussed on promoting the perpetuation of established systems. The main body of education focuses on the creation of a competent work-force, and more specifically: topic specialists. Over specialization reduces an individuals breadth of knowledge, limiting their ability to interact competently in other areas.

Education is seen as a primary constituent to improving our systems as the higher the education level of the individual, the better our systems. Poly in its approach, practical and shared in communities.

The measure of human output is directly tied to the level of human education. Education of humanity is seen as one of our most important priorities, because the more educated an individual is, the more efficient and innovative all of humanity will become. Education focuses on promoting rational thinking, self-thinking, creativity and all other modalities. People are seen as naturally generalists instead of specialists; though pathways to specialization are still offered to those who seek it. Education is free and offered by peers freely as a volunteer service. Because of this, anyone can go to school anywhere at any time on any subject.

Education is given as a gift by those who wish to offer, and studied by those who wish to learn it. There is no cost, limitation or criteria to success; though people are free to develop course materials, levels and other qualifications that may aid the transferring and inter-compatibilities of educational systems.

Growth

Is a measure of profit. How much more money did I make from the selling of goods/services than I paid to receive them. From profit, overhead such as interest is paid up the pyramid, so that the higher you are in the pyramid, the more you earn. At the bottom of the pyramid, natural wealth, such as trees, fish, ecosystems, people; are exploited, extracted and cultivated in order to obtain the necessary profit to pay off the loans, rent, buy food, pay taxes and pay interest rates from above your level in the pyramid to survive. The system assumes there will always be someone or something beneath our level in the pyramid to exploit to pay the person above you in the pyramid back with. The word 'exploit' is used because all exchanges are not equal, if they were, there would be no profit. So all exchanges involve you getting back more from the exchange than you started. Finally, since growth is measured at all levels of society: personal, corporate and national boundaries; system wide recessions [negative or low growth] can occur that are negative for a person, companies, nations or institutions to the benefit of other persons, companies, nations or institutions.

Growth is seen as a measure of how complex a system is. The more connections a system has, the higher its output. The focus is on making more from what there is, instead of adding more to what is already present. Focus is generally placed on improving connections, not the parts.

Growth is seen as a measure of the health of humanity. As measured as follows:

Growth = Er x QoL x SoL x Inv

Where: E is Energy resources, QoL = quality of live, SoL = Standard of living and Inv = invention.

Broken down more fully, the formula becomes:

renewable energies tapped x (people fed and well educated / total number of people) x (health of eco systems / total eco systems) x Invention

So as we increase the access to renewable energy, increase the level of quality of life, increase the health of our eco-systems and develop new technologies, our society will experience actual Growth.

Growth is a measure of surplus; both surplus time and surplus resources.

Seen in this context, a population increase would result in negative growth, but a new technology that reduced the need for maintenance of a machine would be growth.

To have real meaningful value, surplus growth should be measured over long periods of time and activities which rsult in short-term growth at the expense of long-term surplus should be [in most cases] discouraged. These decisions are inherently complex, because they are local, and each community and culture will have to decide on its own what is the best course to take.

What is common to all cultures though is that whatever decision is taken, it does not come from a place of personal-gain, but from a desire to do what is best for all; including the earth, the ecology and its people.

System intervention

Systems are changed if there is a profit that can be obtained. This often results in rapid changes to previously stable areas and a pressure to obtain short-term profits from rapid successive changes. Very little, if any research of observation is conducted on the impact of these changes as there is more profit to be obtained on what a system is presenting as an immediate potential than what a system may produce later as a possible potential; this phenomena has been called by many the 'prisoners dilemma'.

All changes are done with as much prolonged observation as possible. Intervention in systems are done progressively, starting small and by monitoring the results of all changes. When changes are implemented, the scale of the changes are done at, is as small as possible. Under normal circumstances, only once a system has stabilized from a previous change, would a new change be considered.

Systems are changed if there can be an increase in quality of life, bio diversity and/or resources. Changes to systems are encouraged, but only after sufficient scientific data has been obtained. Changes that are done are recorded and analyzed. System integration is promoted with computers/technology becoming an integral component for us to reach dynamic-equilibrium. For example: if one area misses water and another is missing minerals, it would be a network of computers that would redistribute the materials and resources necessary between these two areas. Thus, computers become the worlds systems' controllers, where the earth is seen as a single system.

Systems are only changed if there can be a long-term increase in the systems productivity; all changs are done with the attitude of: "I am making an improvement". Since all activities are "gifts", one seeks to make only positive and lasting changes. Policies and decisions would reflect this, but be highly local and diverse in their implementation.

Law and order

Laws are put in place with the assumption that people are bad in nature. Order is achieved through force, spying, incarceration, deprivation, oppression, police, military force, media opinion, certain religious beliefs, financial obligation, debt, and persecution. The responsibility to enforce laws is often not the individuals.

Community orientated problem solving is utilized in order to discuss and resolve problems as they arise. Rules that are established are localized by local communities and refined through discussion. Hierarchy still occurs, though an understanding of the increase of rights is synonymous with an increase in responsibilities. So as the scale increases, so does an individuals responsibilities.

All problems are seen to be problems of design and a person's environment is seen to be the single most determining factor in determining behavior. Laws are seen to only be required when one can't find a solution to a problem. As we find solutions, laws disappear. Poverty is assumed to be the root cause to at least 90% of all crimes, either directly or indirectly through mental illnesses that the system of scarcity creates. Order is established through mutual participation, complete transparency and a fundamental belief that all people and things are good. From this basis all problems are addressed collectively and instead of blaming an individual for their misbehavior, society assumes the responsibility it has to its own, and seeks to offer assistance to resolve all individual concerns. Solutions tap into the voluntary community activated involvements by all who wish to assist, and by making further changes to the design of the environment to negate future occurrences.

Problems in society are seen as potentials. The more problems some people have, the more obvious the "gifts" others have available to give those who are in need.

Volunteer mediators would be used to resolve disputes, and crimes that involve suffering or inadequacies would be treated as failings of society and remedied by other volunteer counselors and/or services to meet the psychological needs of those in need.

Work

Work is a duty, unless you are wealthy enough. We must work to live, and live to work. It doesn't matter if you enjoy your job or not, it is a necessity of life. If for some reason you loose your job; it is up to you to find a new one, even if the cause of the job-loss comes from the implementation of a machine that would replace your need to work. The merit of the job is directly tied to the profit it creates. So if there is no profit in the work you want to do, it has no value, and thus no place in society.

Work is done to promote and create self sustaining systems. Because there is always something that can be improved, there is always more work that can be done. However because all work is done on developing ever greater, more efficient and more beneficial self-sustaining systems, the benefits we reap from our labor perpetually increases.

Work is divided into two categories: work you have to do to survive, and work you want to do because you want to.

Obligation-work is seen as an unnecessary condition that modern technology can remove or at least reduce to an absolute minimum.

Freeing mankind to instead only do work that they want to do. By allowing everyone to do only work that they want to do, people become positive contributors to society, the world and the planet; instead of being net destroyers. By freeing man to do what he wants to do, people will naturally do what they are best at, and where they feel the most useful.

Work is divided into two categories: work you have to do to survive, and work you want to do because you want to.

Obligation work is seen as a necessary but currently abused portion of our week. We work the amount of time we need to sustain ourselves, but not more and not less.

Freeing mankind to instead only do work that they want to do. By allowing everyone to do only work that they want to do, people become positive contributors to society, the world and the planet; instead of being net destroyers. By freeing man to do what he wants to do, people will naturally do what they are best at, and where they feel the most useful.

Health care

Seen as a profession, health care is only offered if it is profitable. Meaning that the individual pays enough taxes, insurance or fees. Some countries still have public health care systems, where the taxation of the public evenly gets re-distributed into the medical system; however these systems are always at risk of being subverted by privatization, and as economic hardships expand by fewer and fewer people controlling more and more wealth, these other systems will also perpetually be pressed into privatization. And even those that are public, still have ties to the profit industry; like every time you get a prescription for a particular product you will need to pay for. Someone 'profits' from the prescription issued, which distorts their motivation. If someone says your kidney has to be removed, it is hard to know what is motivating people, is my kidney really bad, or do they just want to make a profit?

The basic maxim: 'care for people' also incorporates 'care for self'. Focus is on prevention rather than on treatment. Creating and maintaining a healthy environment contributes to human health, and vice-verse.

Medical treatment is done as a human volunteer service, aided by science and technology. Where machines can assist humans to work less or where machines are better apt to function than human beings, machines will be used so as to free up more people to do more or different tasks. Since people only do the work they want to do, and since everything is without charge, medical treatment would be entirely focussed on achieving a healthy recovery in the patient, instead of a profit. There would be recommendation as to what types of treatment would suit a particular symptom, but ultimate form of treatment would always be up to the individual. Since the system is volunteer based, and since all people are allowed to pursue which ever forms of treatment and care they wish to receive and give, alternative treatment methods [including naturopathic] would not be seen as a competitive treatment plan to the establishment. However, since the Venus Project promotes using the scientific method in all fields of culture; patients and practitioners of all fields would be encouraged to record their results so that information on different forms of treatment can be tracked, shared and spread to all people; ultimately aiding people to be more knowledgeable of success rates and alternative methods.

Medical treatment is done as a human volunteer service, that is a gift and is tied into the entire network of the gift economy.