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If we want our economy to be in harmony with the natural economy, there are a few principles that we need to include.
Not so long all of the Earth was the commons, territory was marked by the current “Top Dog” by urinating or defecating at the boundaries, which would send a message to any other dog who would sniff the calling card and deduce whether or not it was worth proceeding or making a detour. This decision could avoid or cause a fight, and as the animal kingdom does not enjoy the benefit of a handy Accident and Emergency Department, a relatively minor injury could result in death. This reality gave nature a distaste for violence, that is not represented in today’s media and so animals would growl and bellow at each other rather than engage in physical combat, as the danger was too much.
Doubtless animals could tell if the territory was marked by a sick or aging “Top Dog”, this information would be factored in to their decision making.
This demarcation of territory was by its nature temporary, requiring territory to be restated before the Dung Beetles had eaten the territorial claim!
So natures system was that ownership of a territory was temporary, it would be wrong to say that it was ownership in the modern understanding of the concept of ownership. Stewardship is a more apt description, permitting the “Top Dog” to remain in power for only as long as the talents of top dog remained with that individual.
In groups of social animals such as Elephants and Wolves, “family” skills we retained within the group memory which allowed for a “Tribal” dominance to continue through the generations. This though tends to degenerate the strict meritocracy of the “Top Dog” paradigm.
The temporary nature of Ownership, is illustrated by the observation that plants are ultimately carnivorous, in that they feed on the remains of the animals, which via excrement or mortality nourishes the soil. So by looking at the complete cycle of life and death, life feeds on itself and the available minerals and energy to build over time a more stable and diverse habitat. If a habitat is losing diversity, then this is a sign of degeneration and ultimately extinction if the balance of nature is not restored to growth.
It is therefore important to observe what kind of growth is happening. Diverse and evolving growth, or homogeneous and devolving growth. Taking note of the balance between the two types of growth. Conveniently nature provides us with clear examples to observe the difference.
Healthy growth in our bodies is when the new cells made from our food are of many different types and in the right amounts to enable us to grow, repair and develop as needed, so that we are healthy. Unhealthy growth is like a tumour, it feeds on its host, growing and weakening the host over time until death puts a stop to the tumour and the host. It is not to be confused with metamorphosis, where a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.
This growth process in the economy is the balance between wealth creation and wealth destruction. Unfortunately there is no measurement of this process in the economy, as we are focused entirely on the “Gross Domestic Product” ( GDP ( No matter how gross what we produce happens to be!!! )). The “Trade Balance” is only mentioned when we want to adjust the value of our currency, relative to other currencies. GDP is just a running total of wealth creation and wealth destruction, as long as the number gets bigger over time, all seems well and the economy is growing.
If you did the GDP calculation on your own finances, then you would add income and expenditure together and call it “Personal Gross Domestic Product” ( PGDP ). Over time you would most likely be broke, and just like governments, you would find it easier to increase your PGDP by spending rather than earning. That is until you cannot borrow more because your “Personal Trade Balance” ( PTB ) is bad, but as you are not allowed to print your own money, you are broke!!
When we decide how best to look after the Commons for ourselves and future generations, being the “Top Dog” with all our industrial and military might, we need to consider the power structure that would look after the commons best. This is what is called enlightened self-interest. By looking after the commons, we are looking after ourselves, and we do need to give it priority over our own short term objectives, by short term I mean at least a century, which is the minimum of ten decades. Central planners might plan a new town and look at it from a fifty year perspective, yet a new forest takes at least a hundred years to begin to mature.
This might sound draconian, but only if it is implemented in a central planning kind of way. If you allow a community to develop in an organic fashion, it will evolve according to need and benefit, in harmony with the local environment, without conflict with neighbouring communities.
To me our human organisation power structures are upside down. However even within this top down hierarchy there are widely different results. If we use as our two extremes of balance, management that is combative versus co-operative. In my experience co-operative management is viewed by those being managed as a facilitator allowing the workforce to be able to perform well, while combative management is corrosive to performance. Over the long run a co-operative style will out-perform a combative style, because less energy is used to maintain the integrity of the organisational structure.
The key to people engaging is for them to feel part of something, to do that there are three main factors. A sense of ownership, partnership and influence. In the case of the commons, ownership is in the form of stewardship, by doing your bit to maintain and enhance the natural habitat, you enjoy the benefits of a stable, flourishing environment, which in energy terms saves your economy from being in a state of shortage and distress.
Partnership means that you are not alone, enjoying the sense of community and achievement with others. Influence means you have a voice, you are not powerless and can seek change or continuity in how things are done.
These things are timeless in the human condition, the lack of them causes pain and loss. To illustrate this point here is an item I wrote some time ago in 2007, since then the peak oil that was due in 2005 has been delayed but not cancelled by, the financial crisis, Ethanol (The Burn Food Plan) and lastly Fracking.
The Carbon Standard 300/30. Member’s experiences.
(Projected in 2 years to set up, plus 10 years time 2020)
Hi, I’m Dave; I live in a house, consume food, fuel and manufactured goods, as well as use the infrastructure that delivers these things. Some of these can be measured accurately to calculate their cost in Carbon emissions, but most cannot. I joined the TCS300/30 so that I could enjoy material benefits and benefit the environment at the same time.
My primary power comes from my share in the local “ Mark”. Mark is short for Mirror Ark (A Mirror Ark is different to a regular Ark which floats on top of rising water levels, in that it takes carbon dioxide from the air to make fuel and stops the water level rising in the first place.) that generates electricity using the
temperature difference between air and water.
The electricity is used either directly via the grid or converted by fuel cells into methanol on which I run my car, and is now used for jet fuel when I go on holiday to Spain. I heat my house and cook with methane, also produced by fuel cells that use the Carbon Dioxide and water vapour in the atmosphere
as the raw materials to manufacture the fuels. In this way I am carbon neutral by having a share in a Mark. Mark generated fuels are also cheaper because they avoid the green taxes.
My primary source of food is the local Country Club, in which I also have a share. The basic concept is very simple, I own one acre of a thousand acre mixed farm. On the farm are food storage, a kitchen and canteen; the farm is organic, producing top quality seasonal vegetables that taste great, because the soil has a high mineral content. I have a choice of fresh or cooked food, that I can eat in the canteen or have it delivered as a ready meal to my house, if I am busy at work doing overtime.
Being an owner in the Country Club is my way of helping to pump down and store carbon dioxide by healing the land. When we first started, there was only 30cm of topsoil, but now there are 50cm and a lot more trees. The topsoil acts like a sponge and we get less flooding from the runoff when it rains heavily.
The mineral ash that we use to build up the topsoil comes from the local coal fired power station. It is treated first to make sure the mineral content is right, which gives us metals left over such as Aluminium and Titanium which go to The Green Garage.
The great thing about being an owner of the Country Club is the feeling of being part of a group where things are getting better, in a way you can see, touch and feel. The magic of using the coal ash is that we capture ten times the amount of carbon released when the coal was burnt. This means that we get money from selling the Carbon Offsets, which subsidises the farming operation.
The Green Garage is my favourite though because I have always been a bit of a Petrol Head. One of the
easiest ways to save resources is to make things that last longer, are easy to repair and upgrade. We started with cars, which should now run for thirty years, so we only need to build twenty percent of the cars we used to. These cars are not old bangers, they are state of the art, because any new innovation can be retrofitted, but they are more personal and have a character, unlike the bland anonymous blobs that roll off the Chinese production lines today.
Finally there is the money. A bit vulgar, I know, but because I was one of the first to join Bullionaire, the
inventions they came up with are now catching on in a big way, I get royalty payments from the various
DNAs that were used to develop the technologies. I also get money from the Rownership schemes that are
rolled over as we get more people joining. I also made money, by saving Fuel bonds, which went well as
Peak Oil started to really kick in. I was lucky because I kept my job and my company did not go under in the recession, so for me the extra money is like perks, but other members say, without it they would not have survived financially, especially some of the older members.
To sum up, by joining the TCS300/30, I have energy security, food that is both tasty and healthy, I am part of a group that is prosperous and makes the environment prosper too, what’s not to like?
TCS300/30 is an ambition to reduce Carbon Dioxide balance in the atmosphere from the current 400ppm to 300ppm in a 30 year period.
Bullionaire is a term for an asset that is owned without debt or counterparty risk.
Rownership allows people to rent and buy simultaneously; Rownership for a house for example, the monthly payment is part rent and part purchase, over time the proportion paid in rent decreases until the property is theirs.
This little story illustrates how beginning at a local level, without all of the trappings of global summits and high level political policy, change can happen by people getting together and making a difference.
This kind of activity is the essence of Renaissance, when such endeavours are emulated by different groups around the world, small changes become big changes.
To sum up about the commons: Probably the simplest and best way to look the concept of commons is something that is shared with other lifeforms. So you look at anything that you share with others in terms of “Our” and that which is solely yours in terms of “Mine”. The commons in any given situation can be small or large from your living room that you share with a partner, to a park that you share with strangers as well as the many other Lifeforms that live there.
Transport is a good example of a man made systems, with shared use. Driving is probably the most familiar where the road network is shared by users. That use can be a positive or negative experience depending on our conduct and that of other users. Good manners make a big difference and are practised by the majority of users, this cooperative rapport is often marred by rude and inconsiderate users in too much of a hurry.
In the not too distant past, people were given the right to use land to grow food, this was a sort of medieval welfare system. In the twenty first century there are now petitions for a basic income for everyone. Switzerland is holding a referendum for a basic income of circa $1500per month. The EU has a petition for the right to explore the idea, for those interested, here is a link to the U.K. site.
I include this because, thanks to the advances in robotics, humans will need some form of income in the future, as they will not be able to compete with the robots.
If you compare the medieval form to the 21st Century proposal. The medieval welfare gave people the use of Capital in the form of land, a tangible asset, whereas the 21st Century version just provides an income denominated in a Fiat Currency, which in my opinion will be unable to maintain the purchasing power of the income over time and as such is constructed to ensure its own demise.
If you created a system where an energy based barter currency is used, then the commons would collect its income from allowing the economy to use the tangible resources of Planet Earth, and a viable sustainable bargain could be struck (In my dreams !!!).
Size matters and the energy produced and consumed in human activity is small in comparison to the total solar radiation that falls on the earth. The economy in political terms is much more important than the Earth and so we have the tail that wags the dog, which is the opposite of how things should work.
To illustrate here is a simple mathematical calculation to illustrate the relative size of Human activity compared to Earth activity in terms of energy. The short and approximate answer was Earth activity 1064 times bigger than Human Activity in 2008.
Barter Currency Collateral in a Bread and Butter Economy.
In our BABE (Bread and Butter Economy) that uses Jubbly as a currency (JUBILEE) (Joule Underwritten Barter Initiative Local Energy Exchange), the collateral that underwrites the currency is the energy required to make it function.
The mechanism used to create Jubbly is the forward selling of production, that is measured in Kilowatt Hours.
In practical terms as a simple example:
You wish to put a solar panel on your roof to generate some electricity. The calculation you do is called EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested). EROEI produces a ratio that needs to be greater than 1:1 or you are creating a loss for yourself.
The EROEI for crude oil has dropped from 100:1 when Oil was first extracted down to 14:1 today, which illustrates the hole that the global economy has dug for itself, by not developing renewable energy when the first oil crisis struck in 1974. Shale Oil is a mere 5:1 Simon Wilson wrote an article for Money Week in December 2013 titled “Is this the end for growth?” Which illustrates EROEI, but you have to log on to read it.
Alternatively the no hassle Wikipedia is at your service:
Production that is sold forward can be in many different forms. Here is a list of the major ones that we are likely to find in a BABE
Water: Sea water, Rainwater, Spring water, Mineral Water and Utility water.
Fuel: Coal, Gas, Petrol, Diesel, LPG, Logs, Electricity.
Food: Fruit, Nuts, Grains, Pulses, Vegetables, Meat, Eggs, Dairy Produce.
Clothing: Hats, Shoes, Bedding, All types of clothing.
Shelter: Tents, Caravans, Mobile Homes, Flats, Houses, Commercial Property.
Transport: Bicycles, Trailers, Horses, Cars, Vans, Trains, Boats, Planes.
Leisure: Hobbies, Crafts, Sports, Personal Development.
Labour: All types of labour from unskilled to Highly skilled.
Governance: Police, Judiciary, Emergency services, Diplomacy.
Communications: Letters, email, Telephone, Radio, T.V., Newspapers, Magazines, Books, Oratory and Conversation.
Healthcare: Decontamination, Testing, Diagnosis, Environmental protection, Drugs synthetic and Natural, Therapies.
Education: Literacy, Manners, Awareness, Social interaction, Skill development.
One of the missing titles is finance, The arrangement of credit is one of the most un-streamlined parts of the western economies, which is why in the U.K. “Financial Services” account for such a large part of the economy in terms of GDP, but it is in a large part a non-productive sector, in that it is just data-shuffling activity. It is only productive in the same way that a Casino or Bookmaker is.
A Barter Currency is based on tangible production to be delivered at some point in the future, which is measured in Kilowatt hours if it is units of “Jubbly” (JUBILEE) as described. You as an individual create units of Barter Currency by forward selling your production. All that is required is that what you propose to produce is acceptable to the Barter Currency issuer. This process streamlines credit creation.
Once established, Barter Currency represents a fluctuating portfolio of future production that if it is “Jubbly”, is unique to a particular BABE and its LEAF. The cost of the production in Kilowatt Hours, is quantifiable, so is the scrap value, but the probable price relative to a fiat currency is impossible to predict. However the nature of a BABE is that it can function with or without a Fiat currency.
I must now thank you the reader for your curiosity and tenacity for getting this far. I will conclude with a brief list of the main points that you can have fun with in a social context, should the conversation end up discussing the economy and Bit coin or other types of currency, HOTELS is an aide memoir.
H: Harmony with nature.
O: Owned by lifeforms only.
T: Tangible intrinsic value.
E: Energy based.
L: Locally oriented and governed.
S: Secure against theft and debasement.
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