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Note to the reader:
The four chapters of October 2018 Newsletter were based on the articles, letters, reports, research papers, discussions and global dialogues, and messages written by author(s) whose work were published in monthly Newsletters of years mostly 2017 and 2018. All published work can be found in the Global Dialogue Proceedings (check link http://globalcommunitywebnet.com/GIMProceedings/). Scroll down to years 2017 and 2018 and follow the Proceedings sections, and you will find the actual authors lists, with their papers and all references. Global Community Media is a way to communicate workable sound solutions to problems arising in the world. Let us share our problems and workable sound solutions. Sharing information is a necessity to all life and humanity's survival. Our world is changing fast before our eyes, and we must react quickly and hard to protect all life on Earth. No hesitation! Right now and no waiting! Life on the planet is our first priority. We must protect it at all costs. We, global citizens, fight to protect life on Earth for this generation and the next ones. We are the defenders of the environment and the global life-support systems. We know who the beasts are, and how they destroy the living on our planet. We have rallied together all over the world to protect our home, Earth. Just so you all know we don't pay anyone, and we don't pay expenses. We do volunteer work for humanity. We expect volunteers to be responsible and accountable of all their actions. We do soft activism work. We do not have a copyright research expert to do this work. In order to create a harmonious and compassionate Global Civilization, and to protect our planetary environment, the global life-support systems, we want to help you concerning all issues, and you may become a volunteer yourself. Check our volunteer page at: http://globalcommunitywebnet.com/GPA/gpahelpsyou.htm
Table of Contents.
- Global social sustainability to save all life on Earth.
- To offer the young free education and free university education as it is a fundamental human right.
- Corporate 1 % should pay for the climate crisis.
- It's time to start teaching kids about climate change.
- Transitioning to renewable energy is more cost-effective than the present system.
- What must be done to keep global temperature rise below 2C?
- Climate Change has already affected nearly every ecosystem on Earth.
- The time for direct action on climate change is now.
- To encourage sustainable ecological stewardship by reinvesting externalized costs, i.e., profits, into the preservation of resources, and transforming global resources into Commons.
- To transform a natural resource into a commons.
- An effective global resource commons.
- A growing number of both suppliers and consumers who long for the opportunity to preserve the natural resources, will be motivated to preserve the resources they use and to prevent others from continuing to externalize costs.
- The imminent collapse of industrial civilization means we’ll have to organize human communities in a much different fashion from the completely unsustainable, highly-centralized, earth-destroying, globalized system we have now: capitalism of the global 1%.
- A commons must have the capacity to self-regulate its relations with the market and to assure that significant aspects of its common wealth and social relationships remain inalienable, not for sale via market exchange. A commons must be able to develop “semi-permeable boundaries” that enable it to safely interact with markets on its own terms.
- Contemporary struggles for protection of commons appear to be strongly intertwined with ecological matters which implies that there a direct link between the commons and ecology.
- A state has very different ideas than commoners about how power, governance and accountability should be structured. A state is also far more eager to strike tight, cozy alliances with investors, businesses and financial institutions because of its own desires to share in the benefits of markets, and particularly, tax revenues.
- We are entering in an age of aggressive privatization and degradation of commons: from privatization of water resources, through internet surveillance, to extreme air pollution. What should be the priorities of the movements fighting for protection of the commons? What about their organizational structure?
- Why America is terrified of Russia and China? Russia and China quietly advancing their agreement to progressively replace the US dollar's reserve status with a gold-backed system.
- Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative, towards an economy of Peace?
- Solution to avoid the worst impacts of Climate Change.
- The relentless need of people for consumption coupled with the relentless appetite of capitalists for accumulation, is sustaining the planetary crisis, and so the battle for survival is economized and clogged. Despite technological progress, the unholy alliance between human nature and institutional structure creates a dangerous strong-minded and reckless attitude that diminishes prospects for a livable future.
- A legally imposed contraction of the fossil energy supply and a rapid global conversion to renewable energy.
- A united Iran, Russia and China are changing the world for the better. Iran, Russia and China have fully understood that union and cooperation are the only means for mutual reinforcement. The need to fight a common problem, represented by a growing American influence in domestic affairs, has forced Tehran, Beijing and Moscow to resolve their differences and embrace a unified strategy in the common interest of defending their sovereignty.
- Economic integration.
- Beyond state capitalism: the commons economy in our lifetimes. Because our forbears did not account for the biophysical flow of material resources from the environment through the production process and back into the environment, the real worth of natural resources and social labor is not factored into the economy. It is this centralized, hierarchical model that has led to the degradation and devaluation of our commons.
- Requirements for ensuring a socially just, economically secure and ecologically stable global environment.
- Climate Change is an environmental issue and also a human rights issue.
- To Save the planet, businesses and investors must be a part of the solution.
- The assumption of unchecked exponential growth makes no sense. Production facilities would have to be built for the necessary solar panel and wind turbines.
- Our current economic systems have become addicted to “growth at all costs”, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They assume that GDP growth is synonymous with increasing wellbeing and prosperity. However this approach has led to growing inequality, an escalating climate crisis, and the depletion of natural and social capital. We are no longer generating genuine progress. Our approach to economics and development needs fundamental transformation.
- BRICS, the potential and future in an emerging new world economy.
- Trade between Brics and the dollar.
- Brics development bank vs World Bank.
- Challenging the Dollar: China and Russia's Plan from Petroyuan to Gold.
- The reason why the United States has been able to fuel this global demand for dollars is linked to the need for other countries to own dollars in order to be able to buy oil and other goods. It may seem unbelievable, but practically all countries until a few years ago used US dollars to trade amongst each other, even countries that were anti-American and against US imperialist policies.
- This economic arrangement has allowed Washington to achieve an unparalleled strategic advantage over its geopolitical opponents (initially the USSR, now Russia and China), namely, a practically unlimited dollar spending capacity even as it accumulates an astronomical public debt (over 21 trillion dollars). The destabilizing factor for the global economy has been Washington's ability to accumulate enormous amounts of public debt without having to worry about the consequences or even of any possible mistrust international markets may have for the dollar. Countries simply needed dollars for trade and bought US treasures to diversify their financial assets.
- In recent years, it has become clear to many nations opposing Washington that the only way to adequately contain the fallout from the collapsing US empire is to progressively abandon the dollar. This serves to limit Washington’s capacity for military spending by creating the necessary alternative tools in the financial and economic realms that will eliminate Washington's dominance. This is essential in the Russo-Sino-Iranian strategy to unite Eurasia and thereby render the US irrelevant. De-dollarization for Beijing, Moscow and Tehran has become a strategic priority. Eliminating the unlimited spending capacity of the FED and the American economy means limiting US imperialist expansion and diminishing globald estabilization. Without the usual US military power to strengthen and impose the use of US dollars, China, Russia and Iran have paved the way for important shifts in the global order.
- For China, Iran and Russia, as well as other countries, de-dollarizationhas become a pressing issue. The number of countries that are beginning to see the benefits of a decentralized system, as opposed to the US dollar system, is increasing. Iran and India, but also Iran and Russia, have often traded hydrocarbons in exchange for primary goods, thereby bypassing American sanctions.
- The climate crisis and economic policy choices.
- To grow the economy and reduce carbon emissions at the same time can be done with various proponents of degrowth not denying that it is possible to increase the efficiency with which energy and materials are used in the economy. They do not deny that the amount of carbon emitted per unit of output can be decreased.
- An organised agency can be found with the political will and power to set an absolute ceiling on the amount of carbon based fuels that are allowed into the economy.
- A policy that would lead to a very dramatic process of “degrowth” because production is dependent on energy. With fossil energy availability radically reduced by a cap that really bites, the amount of production in the economy would be driven downwards.
- The Earth’s atmosphere is a Nature's resource that ought to be managed as a global commons.
- Why the Extinction Crisis Isn't Just About the Environment, but Social Justice. An anti-capitalist movement against extinction must be framed in terms of a refusal to turn land, people, flora, and fauna into commodities. The genomic information of plants, animals, and human beings is the common wealth of the planet, and all efforts to make use of this environmental commons must be framed around principles of equality, solidarity, and environmental and climate justice.
- The capital for a guaranteed income program for biodiversity hotspots.
- Economic growth (measured as Gross Domestic Product) and value are seen as the same. Meanwhile, the actual value generated outside of market capitalism – the “care economy,” social labor, eco-stewardship, digital communities and commons – are mostly ignored or considered merely personal (“values”). These types of “value” are seen as extraneous to “the economy.” My colleagues and I wondered if it would be possible to develop a post-capitalist, commons-friendly theory of value that could begin to represent and defend these other types of value.
- Cities need to begin making preparations for the incoming tides, and many coastal towns, both in the U.S. and around the world.
- The global socioeconomic system of capitalism, is forcing us to work harder to surpass previous consumption and population numbers until we have devoured everything that maintains life, ending up with a polluted, lifeless, and a scorched planet.
Global social sustainability to save all life on Earth.
An equitable and sustainable development to save all life on Earth requires that self-interest for profits be let go and viewing economics through such a social, political and cultural lens to help us to better understand and improve the human condition. Work occurs in conditions of freedom, equality, security and human dignity. Decent work is central to human existence and usually implies a fair income, safe working conditions, and social protections. Globalization and the associated deregulation within nations have reduced the bargaining power of workers, thereby diminishing the possibilities of ensuring decent work, and now society is in a crisis state. Reduced taxation, the erosion of workers’ rights and protections, the threat of capital flight or relocation of production, have had deleterious impacts on social cohesion. Today society crisis state is truly the result of a growing inequality, material insecurity and the hollowing out of communities which, in turn, are now causing serious political fallout. Now, more than ever, the focus on decent work needs to be brought back to center stage. Without it, we will face massive political, social and economic instability. A basic problem in developed nations has been the single-minded focus of policymakers on GDP growth without looking at the quality or pattern of that growth or considering quality employment as a goal in its own right. This has led to poor human development indicators, including insufficient public spending on the essential social services necessary for realizing the socioeconomic rights of citizens and decent work for all. Many economists and policymakers argue that economic development, by design, must be associated with some environmental strain. Meeting the basic needs of everyone on the planet will intensify resource use and carbon emissions. But this could be offset by reduced strain from richer groups and corporations in both advanced and developing countries. The environmental damage now occurring is neither necessary nor inevitable. In fact, it is largely due to the prevailing development model, which fails to adequately account for environmental costs disproportionately borne by the poor. Achieving wage- and employment-led development led by wage and employment growth while reducing ecological damage requires jettisoning the current economic model. The first aspect that must be dropped is the obsession with GDP growth.
In the 21st century, imperialism increasingly relies on international legal and regulatory architecture—fortified by various multilateral and bilateral agreements—to establish the power of capital over labor. This trend has several implications: the end of the labor aristocracy in the core capitalist countries; the emergence of an implicit compact between different forms of capital in different parts of the world; the fall in wage share of national income in both advanced and developing countries; the inability of nation-states to meet their obligations of delivering social and economic rights to the people; and the erosion of democracy in different parts of the world. The economic results of this new order can be seen in the “stagnationary” tendencies in global capitalism and uneven to faltering development in less advanced countries.
Rising populist and nationalist movements in both advanced and emerging economies threaten to upend the current global order. How do you see these trends affecting the prospects for sustainable development?
The popular frustration and anger expressed around the world are predictable results of global and national economic processes unleashed by a neoliberal marketist approach that has exacerbated inequality, failed to deliver sufficient good-quality employment, eroded workers’ rights and citizens’ access to public services, and made material well-being for most people more fragile and vulnerable. Unfortunately, the political gains from such anger have mostly accrued to the far-right forces that pit workers of one country against workers elsewhere, blame migrants rather than plutocrats for their current plight, and fail to confront large capital in its various forms. This generates not just political instability but also increasingly unstable and violent societies in which older patriarchal and divisive traditions are celebrated rather than transcended.
Global social sustainability to save all life on Earth requires the change to a just and sustainable global future in the coming decades to a form of global development rooted in justice, equity and ecological sustainability. Younger people can lead the world towards a more just, democratic, ecologically sustainable, equitable, and progressive economy and society. It is evident that youth everywhere, forced to deal with a much more insecure and uncertain future, are more open to creative approaches to change that recognize and seek to address various inequalities and injustices.
To offer the young free education and free university education as it is a fundamental human right.
Education is a basic human right and all education should be free for all. However the commodification and corporatizing of higher education has meant that free university education presently only obtains in about 25 countries, and the young are brainwashed into acceptance of fee-charging higher education. The present ruling generations should grant free university education to the young who are inheriting a dying planet. Below are 50 reasons why we must have free university education now.
Learning has been crucial in the evolution of the behaviour of man (Homo sapiens) whether through selection of genes (DNA) or of socially selected ideas and behaviours. Education underpins science-based personal and societal changes to maximize personal and societal health, happiness, dignity and opportunity as espoused by social humanists (democratic socialists, socialists, ecosocialists) , and accordingly all education should be free, whether pre-school (kindergarten), primary education (elementary school), secondary education (high school), tertiary education (university, technical training) or life-long learning. Indeed all education can and should be free. Education is regarded as a basic human right, which is why all developed countries make basic primary and secondary education free (although Educational Apartheid in some countries determines differential access to good quality education depending upon parental wealth, race or home location).
Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children”.
Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states in part: “1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular: (a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all; (b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need; (c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means; (d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children”.
Unfortunately class-, race- , ideology- and wealth-based greed has intervened to pervert and deny the fundamental demand that “All education can and should be free for all.” Higher education can be very low cost and hence can be free.
Society needs experts but why should impoverished young pay for them? All societies and nations need to have a complement of expert scholars and scientists for variety of economic, health, national security and national prestige reasons. However, one must ask why impoverished, undergraduate students barely out of childhood should have to pay for this complement of experts that disproportionately and immediately benefits the society-dominating, mature adult population and the richer and older citizens in particular.
Universal free education correlates with increased life expectancy. Thus on a global comparative scale, avoidable deaths (avoidable mortality, excess death, excess mortality, untimely deaths) is the difference between actual deaths in a country and deaths expected for a peaceful country with the same demographics (birth rate and age distribution). High literacy correlates with low avoidable death and avoidable mortality is almost zero in these prosperous, high literacy countries of Australasia (Australia and New Zealand), Western Europe, North America, and East Asia.
However, within prosperous Western countries having zero avoidable deaths annually on this global comparative basis one can determine that there are numerous preventable deaths from all kinds of notionally preventable causes ranging from adverse hospital events, smoking, and obesity to guns, suicide and homicide. Thus in rich Australia, rich Canada, the rich UK and rich America, annual preventable deaths total about 85,000, 100,000, 150,000 , and 1.7 million, respectively, as assessed on this “rich country comparative” basis. There is an 11 year life expectancy gap between the impoverished and relatively poorly educated population. Education decreases untimely deaths and dishonestly charging people for educating themselves is an obscenity that contributes to preventable death within societies. A major argument for university fees is cost recovery for service provision but this argument is not applied to cost recovery for life-saving medical services.
The rich US Alliance Anglosphere countries (the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) charge students huge fees for university education while committing trillions of dollars to the cost of war, corporate tax evasion and terracidal climate crimes. Thus the US War on Terror (actually a genocidal US War on Muslims) has been associated with a long-term accrual cost of $6 trillion just for the Iraq War and Afghan War and 32 million Muslim deaths from violence, 5 million, or imposed deprivation, 27 million, in 20 impoverished countries invaded by the US Alliance since the US Government’s 9-11 false flag atrocity. Rapacious capitalism means that millions of American workers live as the “working poor” in dire poverty and 1.7 million Americans die preventably each year. The rich US Alliance Anglosphere countries are among the world leaders in income-weighted annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution. Students’ university fees are inextricably part of the wealth pool paying for deadly war, deadly corporate greed, and deadly climate criminality. Free education can help minimize existential nuclear, poverty and climate threats. The 3 key, existential threats to humanity are nuclear weapons (that could wipe out all of Humanity), poverty (that presently kills 17 million people annually) and man-made climate change (that unaddressed could wipe out all but 0.5 billion of Humanity. The informed young and future generations will have to solve these problems and free university education will accordingly help Humanity find the solutions.
Free University Education is the least we can offer as we bequeath the young a dying planet. The 2015 Paris Climate Conference achieved a consensus that a maximum temperature rise limit relative to 1900 of 1.5 degrees Centigrade ( 1.5C) was most desirable and that a universally-agreed catastrophic plus 2C must be avoided. However the world got to +1.2C in 2016, +1.5C will now be reached in 4-10 years, and a catastrophic +2C temperature rise is now effectively unavoidable. Presently about 7.5 million people die avoidably (prematurely) each year due to carbon fuel burning and climate change – from the consequent deadly effects of carbon burning pollutants (7.0 million) or of climate change (0.5 million). This latter estimate of presently about 0.5 million climate change-related deaths annually may be an under-estimate because presently 17 million people die avoidably (prematurely) each year (half of them children) due to poverty and deprivation in the Developing World (minus China), with these impoverished, tropical or sub-tropical developing countries already being severely impacted by global warming. The direst estimates are that the death toll due to climate change could rise to 100 million such deaths per year this century if man-made climate change is not requisitely addressed.
The young and future generations have a daunting task of achieving a required draw-down of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) back to the pre-Industrial Revolution level of 300 parts per million (300 ppm CO2) from the present damaging and dangerous record level of 430 ppm CO2 that is increasing at a record level of 3 ppm CO2 per year. The inescapable obligation that has been imposed on future generations can be described as an inescapable Carbon Debt – while conventional debt can be evaded by default, bankruptcy or printing money, Carbon Debt is inescapable because, for example, sea walls will have to be built or coastal cites will flood and highly productive deltaic lands will be flooded and salinized. There is evidence of ice melt, sea level rise to +5–9 m [metres], and extreme storms in the prior interglacial period that was less than 1 °C warmer than today. The total Carbon Debt of the world from 1751-2016 is about 1,850 billion tonnes CO2 and, assuming a damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent, this corresponds to a Carbon Debt of $370 trillion, similar to the total wealth of the world and 4.5 times the world’s total annual GDP. The world’s GHG pollution is increasing at a recently re-calculated 64 billion tonnes CO2-equivalent per year i.e. the Carbon Debt in increasing at $12.8 trillion each year or at about one-sixth of world GDP annually. One notes that science-trained, Green-Left Pope Francis (controversial as a defender of the unwanted unborn) demanded in his 2015 Encyclical Letter “Laudato si” that the environmental and human cost of deadly greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution be “fully borne” by the polluters (i.e. by a Carbon Price or Carbon Tax that are desperately resisted by the presently dominant neoliberal climate criminal governments). If we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, then it is a dead certainty – yet pro-fossil fuels neoliberal, climate change denier, climate criminal and war criminal leader of the Western world has already signed an executive order allowing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Canada to Texas (which means game over for the climate). Free University Education is the least we can offer as we bequeath the young a dying planet that will very likely be doomed within their generation time span.
Democracy requires informed voters but why should young have to pay to join? Western democracies have been perverted into Kleptocracies, Plutocracies, Lobbyocracies, Corporatocracies and Dollarocracies in which Big Money purchases people, parties, policies, public perception of reality, more political power and more private profit. Only an informed and resolute public can resist this corporate perversion of democracy. If anything, democratic societies interested in the survival of genuine democracy should be paying the young to educate themselves rather than dishonestly imposing a huge financial penalty on education.
Social humanism demands dignity and opportunity for all but why charge the young for their birthright? The world is presently dominated by a greed-driven neoliberal ideology that demands maximal freedom for the smart and advantaged to exploit the natural and human resources of the world for private profit. This perverse ideology already kills 17 million people annually and, unrestrained, is set to destroy most of Humanity and the Biosphere. A humane alternative to the neoliberal perversion is social humanism (socialism, democratic socialism, ecosocialism, the welfare state, Green-Left sustainability) which aims to sustainably maximize the happiness, opportunity and dignity of everyone by evolving interpersonal, intra-national and international social contracts. Sustainably maximized happiness, opportunity and dignity surely constitute a birthright of all young people which is achieved by education and hard work. This birthright should not be constrained or removed by discouraging or exclusionary financial penalties.
Free or trivial cost of accrediting existing linguistic, technical and other skills. The US Alliance Anglosphere countries were founded on genocidal invasion and subsequent immigration. Postwar migration to the US, Australia and Canada brought many skilled people to new lives. Unfortunately in many cases their prior medical, legal, engineering or other qualifications were denied formal accreditation. However non-professional linguistic, technical and other skills were also denied formal accreditation. Thus a fluent Italian speaking brick layer with a deep love and knowledge of Italian culture, literature, art, music and history would receive no formal accreditation for his proficiency, but a young person attending a top, fee-charging university could part with $100,000 to achieve accreditation for proficiency approaching that of the uncredentialled Italian worker. Implicit in the notion of free university education is fair accreditation of existing linguistic, technical and other skills.
Huge university fees and Carbon Debt cripple students for life. It is now widely believed that the Baby Boomers born in the 1940s and possibly their children may be the last Anglosphere generations to be better off than their parents. In Australia even young professional couples now find home ownership an impossible dream in Sydney. In America the working poor can spend most of their paltry income on minimal housing rental. This is compounded by the imposition of huge tuition debt in the Anglosphere. However the real killer for the young is inescapable Carbon Debt. The damage-related cost of carbon pollution has been estimated at about $200 per tonne of CO2-equivalent (greenhouse gas pollution measured in terms of equivalently global warming masses of carbon dioxide). It can be readily estimated from historical greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution data that the total Carbon Debt of the world from 1751-2016 is about 1,850 billion tonnes CO2 (1.85 trillion tonnes CO2) and, assuming a damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent, this corresponds to a Carbon Debt of $370 trillion, similar to the total wealth of the world and 4.5 times the world’s total annual GDP. The world’s GHG pollution is increasing at a recently re-calculated 64 billion tonnes CO2-equivalent per year i.e. the Carbon Debt in increasing at $12.8 trillion each year or at about one-sixth of world GDP annually. Unlike conventional debt that can be simply wiped out by default, bankruptcy or printing money, this horrendous Carbon Debt for future generations is inescapable – future generations will have to act or die. Thus climate criminal Australia has a Carbon Debt (in US dollars) of $7.5 trillion that is increasing at $400 billion per year and at $40,000 per head per year for under-30 year old Australians, this Carbon Debt dwarfing the average Australian lifetime university tuition debt of circa $20,000.
Man’s behaviour has evolved through selection of favourable genes (altered by mutation of DNA) that hard-wire reproduction-enhancing behaviour, and through societal selection of favourable ideas and behaviours that also favour reproduction and survival of offspring. Some of these evolved behaviours are contradictory. Thus greedy behaviour has been selected and has led to the dominance of the One Percenters (1% corporate world's billionaires ) who now own half the wealth of the world. However neoliberal greed is opposed by the Ninety Nine Percent (99% most people on the planet) presently outnumber the One Percenters 99-fold, the worsening Climate Genocide may result in only 0.5 billion people surviving, and these survivors will be comprised of the more prosperous of humanity. As sentient creatures, humans can overcome bad genes and bad greediest people including user-pays, fee-charging higher education. Educating the young as a fundamental and altruistic obligation will overcome the greediest people.
A new and decent social contract,socially-enriching humanism is needed to replace the presently dominant terracidal neoliberal ideology that demands maximal freedom for the smart and advantaged to exploit the natural and human resources of the world for private profit. This perverse ideology already kills 17 million people annually and, unrestrained, is set to destroy most of Humanity and the Biosphere as a blindly speciescidal, ecocidal, omnicidal and terracidal ideology. A humane alternative to the neoliberal perversion is social humanism (socialism, democratic socialism, ecosocialism, the welfare state, Green-Left sustainability) which aims to sustainably maximize the happiness, opportunity and dignity of everyone by evolving interpersonal, intra-national and international social contracts. It is natural for a mother to teach skills to her children and it would be absurd and obscene for mothers to hand a cost-recovery bill to their children when the kids turn 18. All education can and should be free and that includes free university education, free tertiary technical training and free life-long learning
With the world now facing the inevitability of catastrophic global warming beyond a plus 2 degrees Centigrade temperature rise, the least our present ruling generations can do to the young (and unborn) that they have betrayed is to grant them free university education to empower them to help make the future globally sustainable. Young people (born and unborn) face the daunting task of reversing several centuries of profligacy and returning the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to a safe and sustainable 300 parts per million (ppm) CO2 (300 ppm CO2) from the present damaging, dangerous and coral-killing 430 ppm CO2 that is increasing at a record 3 ppm CO2 per year. We need a climate revolution now, and if the young cannot even secure free university education using the above arguments, what hope is there for a world needing a return to 300 ppm CO2 ASAP? Global Community proposes free university education and young people who are serious about saving what remains of their world must utterly reject the mendacious, endlessly greedy, speciescidal, ecocidal, omnicidal and terracidal neoliberal 1% who have egregiously betrayed them. Young people have the numbers and the energy, if not the money, and should be unstoppable globally in their demand for free university education.
Corporate 1 % should pay for the climate crisis.
America Pacific Northwest forests are on fire. Several blazes are out of control, threatening rural towns, jumping rivers and highways, and covering Portland, Oregon, Seattle, and other cities in smoke and falling ash. Temperatures this summer are an average of 3.6 degrees higher than the last half of the 20th century, according to the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group analysis published in The Seattle Times.
Fire crews have been battling fires for months. In spite of all the effort, though, officials expect the fires to continue burning until major rains come sometime this fall. Meanwhile, firefighting coffers are running dry as costs run into the hundreds of millions. The scale and costs of these disasters pale in comparison to the impacts of hurricanes Harvey and Irma: Accuweather is estimating the combined cost of these unprecedented storms at $290 billion. (Then there is the flooding in India and Bangladesh—less noted in U.S. news media—where 40 million were affected and 1,200 died.) What these disasters have in common is that they are all exactly the sort predicted by climate models, and they will get terrifyingly worse over coming years. So who will cover the costs? Who will pay for the first responders, for sheltering and relocating climate refugees, and for rebuilding homes, businesses, and infrastructure? Our planet is quickly getting hotter, more volatile, and more dangerous. But Republicans are working to cut nearly $1 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and to give large corporations and the wealthy a big tax break. So who should pay for the climate disasters? A report published in early September by the journal Climatic Change helps pinpoint a possible answer. According to the report, 90 companies are responsible for 42 to 50 percent of the increase in the Earth’s surface temperature and 26 to 32 percent of sea level rise. Some say we are all to blame for the climate crisis, at least all of us who get around in cars and planes. But there are reasons that these 90 companies owe a major debt to the entire planet. First, many of them knew what damage they were causing. According to the report, more than half of the carbon emissions produced since the industrial revolution were emitted since 1986, when the dangers of global warming were well-known. But these companies buried their own research findings and doubled down on fossil fuel extraction. Second, many of these companies spend vast sums promoting climate denial and undermining support for renewable energy, electric vehicles, and other responses to the climate crisis. Industry lobbyists and think tanks, flush with money from fossil fuel companies and their executives, distort our democracy, making government accountable to their interests rather than to We the People. Third, by doing these things, these companies prevented action during the brief window of time between climate science becoming clear and it becoming too late to avert disaster. Now we are very short on time. This year’s fires and floods are just the beginning. But we can still make choices that would curb catastrophic outcomes. To make that difference, we need an all-out effort now on all fronts—in agriculture, transportation, and energy generation, conservation, and efficiency upgrades. That will take a lot of money. A good place to start would be requiring those who caused the climate catastrophe to pay. The 90 companies could start by helping families and communities recover from the floods, wind damage, and fires, and helping homeowners and cities everywhere build resilience for withstanding the effects of future disasters. But they shouldn’t stop there. The companies that are responsible for the damage should pay their share for the transition to a carbon-free future. There is a precedent for this. Tobacco companies too had been hiding and dismissing the evidence that their product caused massive damage. Big Tobacco and Big Oil even hired some of the same scientists and public relations firms to obscure the damage their industries were causing, according to ClimateWire. The 1998 tobacco settlement of lawsuits brought by nearly every U.S. state required the major tobacco companies to pay over $200 billion toward the increased cost of health care resulting from smoking and for prevention education. There are far more victims of the fossil fuel industries’ deception—billions of people today, future generations, and many other species.We’ve got a precedent, we’ve got a dire need, and we have clearly defined culprits.
By far, the nation that started, and still is pursuing the largest production of greenhouse gases ever since WWII is America. And America is responsible for the global warming of the planet and, therefore the increase in the Earth’s surface temperature, the rising of sea level, climate change and worldwide disasters. America is to be largely blamed for the climate crisis, and should pay.
It's time to start teaching kids about climate change.
The atmosphere is all around us, it’s the air we breathe. We can’t see it, but without it, humans, animals, and plants couldn’t live on Earth. It’s made up of tiny parts called molecules. Who’s heard of oxygen before? That’s one of the molecules! A really important one that plants breathe in is called carbon dioxide. We are upsetting a natural balance of the Earth by producing more and more greenhouse gases that keep heat from the sun inside our atmosphere, while cutting down plants that use up carbon dioxide. The result is that our planet is getting warmer, which is causing dangerous changes. Once students have a common foundation, it is easier to teach that the problem of global warming as both an environmental and social issue. Why is this a problem? We’re polluting the air, and people can’t breathe. Sometimes in other countries people have to wear masks because the air is bad to breathe.
Hurricane Katrina happened because of global warming. Instead of discussing scientific concepts we hadn’t studied, such as how warmer waters influence air masses and weather patterns, It is best to focus on the connection between the storm surge, rising sea levels, and coastal erosion. When ice melts and melts and melts in Antarctica, where does it go? This analogy can help students visualize global rising sea levels and coastal land loss. To illustrate one of the ways climate change is affecting our state, show coastal land loss in Louisiana in fast motion over 50 years. You can literally see peninsulas about two hours from New Orleans shrink to tiny islands. The land lost in Louisiana is our natural sponge to soak up huge waves from hurricanes before they get to where people live. Now, it is important to explain that all those global leaders who met in Paris have an important job to do.
Many people can’t seem to wrap their minds around the idea that if we want lessening climate change problems and curtailment of other sorts of devastation like massive spills and air pollution, we need to use less fossil fuels. We also have to stop taking away more and more of the natural world for economic development, stop personally using up ever more resources to climb up the socio-economic ladder and stop increasing the human population. After all more people will require more and more jobs provided based on further gobbling up the biosphere, as well as even more resources in use. Imagine facing this sort of misery when you are in your nineties? How can you possibly imagine picking up your life and putting it back together at that age? You don’t have necessarily the energy, will or wits (mental capacity) to do it. Devastated people, including many who barely escaped with their lives and who lost their homes, flocked to her town in the thousands as a potentially safe haven. Yet everyone is on standby alert in the event that it, too, has to be evacuated at any moment since fires all but surround it! How alarming is that for my friend and all the rest of the people? Nerve racking!
Clearly, we all (except the poorest of the poor) have to cut back on lots. We have to cut back on fossil fuels, resource use and economic development. If we don’t, our world will be in a shambles way worse than it is now. We humans have to smarten up. We need to start transition town movements now! Yet how many people can we convince to follow this model at this stage of disintegration of the environments around us? (Most are still in la-la land in terms of a need and desire to change their ways.) The terms transition town, transition initiative and transition model refer to grassroot community projects that aim to increase self-sufficiency to reduce the potential effects of peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability.
Transitioning to renewable energy is more cost-effective than the present system.
Transitioning the world to 100 percent renewable electricity isn't just some environmentalist pipe dream, it's feasible at every hour throughout the year, and is more cost-effective than the current system, which largely relies on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. A full decarbonization of the electricity system by 2050 is possible. Solar power and battery storage are critical parts of the transition. Falling prices will also lead to widespread adoption of the technologies. The existing renewable energy potential and technologies coupled with storage can generate enough energy to meet the global electricity demand by 2050. To make the change will bring the total levelized cost of electricity on a global average down to $65 per megawatt-hour, including curtailment, storage and some grid costs, compared to $89 megawatt-hour in 2015. Globe's electricity mix by 2050 will consist of solar photovoltaics (70 percent), wind energy (17 percent), hydropower (9 percent) and bioenergy (4 percent). Energy transition is no longer a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but of political will.
By following this path, greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector will come down to zero and drastically reduce total losses in power generation, the study found. Not only that, the renewable energy transition would create 36 million jobs by 2050, 17 million more than today. There is no reason to invest one more dollar in fossil or nuclear power production. Renewable energy provides cost-effective power supply. All plans for a further expansion of coal, nuclear, gas and oil have to be ceased. More investments need to be channeled in renewable energies and the necessary infrastructure for storage and grids. Everything else will lead to unnecessary costs and increasing global warming.
This is the not the first time researchers have suggested that the planet's road to 100 percent renewables is possible. Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson and 26 co-authors published a study and created clean energy roadmaps for 139 individual countries. The chosen countries emit more than 99 percent of all carbon dioxide worldwide. Here are the key findings of the current study:
- Existing renewable energy potential and technologies, including storage can generate sufficient and secure power to cover the entire global electricity demand by 2050. The world population is expected to grow from 7.3 to 9.7 billion. The global electricity demand for the power sector is set to increase from 24,310 TWh in 2015 to around 48,800 TWh by 2050.
- Total levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) on a global average for 100% renewable electricity in 2050 is €52/MWh (including curtailment, storage and some grid costs), compared to €70/MWh in 2015.
- Due to rapidly falling costs, solar PV and battery storage increasingly drive most of the electricity system, with solar PV reaching some 69%, wind energy 18%, hydropower 8% and bioenergy 2% of the total electricity mix in 2050 globally.
- Wind energy increases to 32% by 2030. Beyond 2030 solar PV becomes more competitive. The solar PV supply share increases from 37% in 2030 to about 69% in 2050.
- Batteries are the key supporting technology for solar PV. The storage output covers 31% of the total demand in 2050, 95% of which is covered by batteries alone. Battery storage provides mainly diurnal storage, and renewable energy based gas provides seasonal storage.
- Global greenhouse gas emissions significantly reduce from about 11 GtCO2eq in 2015 to zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, as the total LCOE of the power system
- The global energy transition to a 100% renewable electricity system creates 36 million jobs by 2050 in comparison to 19 million jobs in the 2015 electricity system.
- The total losses in a 100% renewable electricity system are around 26% of the total electricity demand, compared to the current system in which about 58% of the primary energy input is lost.
The research was co-funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation and the Stiftung Mercator.
What must be done to keep global temperature rise below 2C?
The world agreed to limit the global temperature rise to “well below 2C”. Ever since the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change, scientists and policymakers have been scrambling to define exactly what meeting this temperature limit will mean in policy and investment terms. The level of investment needed to achieve such an ambitious energy transition is sizeable. The IEA scenario would require an average investment of $3.5tn per year in the energy sector up to 2050. Nearly all this extra investment would need to go into low-carbon technologies on the end-use side of the transition – such as electric cars, heat supply and building renovations – with required investment increasing tenfold by 2050. This would need to be supported by policy signals to ensure such technologies become the “market norm”. Investment in energy supply, meanwhile, would stay more or less level: fossil fuel investment would decline, but this would be offset by a 150% increase in renewable energy supply investment by 2050. The largest share of the emissions reduction potential would come from renewables and energy efficiency. Wind and solar would together need to become the largest source of electricity by 2030, while nearly 95% of electricity would be low-carbon (including nuclear and CCS) by 2050. Seventy per cent of new cars would be electric – up from 1 in 100 today – the CO2 intensity of the industrial sector would fall by 80%, and all of today’s buildings which still exist in 2050 would be retrofitted. Overall, the energy intensity of the global economy would need to drop by a yearly average of 2.5% up to 2050. Renewable energy’s share of the primary energy would increase from around 15% in 2015 to 65% in 2050, leading final renewable energy use to be four-times higher than it is today. This would translate to an average increase of 1.2% per year in renewables’ share of the energy mix. Energy intensity improvements would double to around 2.5% per year by 2030 and continue at this level until 2050. Nuclear power would stay at 2016 levels, while CCS would be used only in the industrial sector. Use of fossil fuels remains significant in 2050, although global coal use declines rapidly. Oil use would also fall. However, natural gas is kept as a transition fuel for difficult-to-manage sectors, such as heat and transport.
The use of natural gas as a bridge to greater use of renewable energy should be limited, unless it is coupled with high levels of CCS. There is a risk of path dependency and future stranded assets if natural gas deployment expands significantly without long-term emissions reduction goals in mind. Assuming a well managed transition, the financial exposure for all companies worldwide at $320bn, with the vast majority of this from coal plants. However, it warns that delaying the transition by a decade would more than triple the amount of investment at risk of being stranded to more than $1.3tn, assuming the same carbon budget is kept. The risk of stranded assets is highest for the building sector because of the construction value that would be lost due to the needed future renovation of building stock to avoid it relying on fossil fuels.
The ongoing subsidising of fossil fuels in many countries, combined with the failure so far for a carbon price to account for the true cost of burning fossil fuels, means today’s markets are distorted. To unlock these benefits, the private sector needs clear and credible long-term policy frameworks that provide the right incentives. Global GDP will be boosted by around or $4.6tn, by 2050, through economic growth and new employment opportunities. The cumulative GDP gain from now up to 2050 amounts to $19tn. Even in its worse-case scenario, GDP is boosted by 0.6% in 2050. The energy sector (including energy efficiency) will create around six million additional jobs in 2050. Job losses in fossil fuel industry would be fully offset by new jobs in renewables, with more jobs being created by energy efficiency activities. The overall GDP improvement will induce further job creation in other economic sectors.
In fact, when externalities such as reduced air pollution and other health benefits are considered, the overall benefits will be between two and six times greater than the system costs of decarbonisation. In its scenario, 20% of the decarbonisation options identified are economically viable without consideration of welfare benefits, while the remaining 80% are economically viable if benefits, such as reduced climate impacts, improved public health, and improved comfort and performance, are considered. In absolute terms, reduced externalities can bring benefits of up to $10tn annually by 2050. Costs and reduced externalities of decarbonisation in 2050. Benefits from reduced externalities exceed the costs of decarbonisation by a factor of between two and six, with health benefits from reduced air pollution alone exceeding the costs. Drastic improvements in air pollution, cuts in fossil fuel import bills and lower household energy expenditures would complement the decarbonisation achieved, if well designed policies are used.
As a summary, the costs for action will be more than offset by a combination of fuel savings, avoided climate impacts and reduced air and noise pollution, even before wider economic impacts in terms of jobs and growth are taken into account.G20 accounts for around 80% of the world’s total primary energy demand – including almost 95% of its coal demand and nearly three-quarters of its gas and oil demand. Overall, it is responsible for more than 80% of total CO2 emissions. However, G20 countries are also the key driver of low-carbon technology deployment, holding 98% of global installed wind power generation, 96% of solar PV and 94% of nuclear power capacity. Its passenger vehicle fleet represents almost 95% of all electric vehicles worldwide. This means G20 governments will have to play a crucial role in meeting the obligations under the Paris Agreement.
Climate Change has already affected nearly every ecosystem on Earth.
Climate change is already affecting life on Earth, despite a global temperature increase of just 1°C. Nearly every ecosystem on the planet is being altered, and plants and animals are being so affected that scientists may soon be forced to intervene. More than 85 percent of ecological systems on Earth, land and sea, have been affected by climate change. Temperature extremes are causing evolutionary adaption in many species, changing them genetically and physically. These responses include changes in tolerances to high temperatures, shifts in sex-ratios, reduced body size, and migration of species. Understanding the extent to which these goods and services have been impacted allows humans to plan and adapt to changing ecosystem conditions. The changes have manifested in some species shifting to higher or lower ground as the planet heats up, while others are becoming smaller, as a higher surface-area-to-body-mass ratio makes it easier to stay cool. For example, six species of woodland salamander in the Appalachian Mountains have undergone an average eight per cent reduction in body size over the past 50 years. Slightly smaller lizards might not sound like something to overly concern humans, but there is evidence this response is also affecting important sources of food. These multi-level biological impacts of climate change will affect humans. Increasing disease outbreaks, inconsistent crop yields, and reduced fisheries productivity all threaten our food security. Average global temperatures have risen 1°C since the industrial era. These observations have had broad and worrying impacts on natural systems, with accumulating consequences for people. Minimizing the impacts of climate change on core ecological processes must now be a key policy priority for all nations. It is important that governments to follow through on the promises made in the Paris climate agreement, which aims to keep global warming below a 1.5°C threshold, although an increasing amount of scientists are sounding the alarm that even those pledges may be too little, too late. Time is running out for a globally synchronized response to climate change that integrates adequate protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services. It is no longer sensible to consider this as a concern for the future. If we dont act quickly to curb emissions it is likely that every ecosystem across Earth will fundamentally change in our lifetimes.
The time for direct action on climate change is now.
Throughout much of this history, particularly in the 21st Century, people have been challenging the dominance of the oil, gas and coal industries and pushing government to confront climate change. Even before Trump came into office, there were massive protests during the Obama administration against the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline and other carbon infrastructure throughout the country. People protested the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission(FERC), which is an arm of the oil and gas industry disguised as a federal agency. Obama’s FERC commissioners were a rubber stamp for the industry, now, Trump’s FERC continues the practice.
People were escalating actions during the Obama era sayingProtests were on an upswing before Trump was elected. Last September, Bill McKibben recalculated the climate math showing how time was running out.From the first day of the Trump administration people were taking action. Climate activists blockaded Trump’s inauguration making it more difficult for people to attend. In addition to protests against specific carbon energy products, people mobilized for #DayAgainstDenial Protests across U.S. to call attention to climate change. People pushed businesses and local governments to pledge to reduce carbon emissions resulting in over 1,400 U.S. cities, states and businesses vowing to meet Paris climate commitments. Last week, nine eastern states jointly agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent more than their previous target. There is widespread climate change action, which is ‘unstoppable’ despite Trump’s policies. In fact, Trump’s presidency may be leading to an escalation in movement action as people know we can no longer hope to win by simply voting or speaking out. People are showing they are willing to risk going to jail for a livable future. And, we have begun to see cases where juries are not willing to convict people for climate change protests.
Climate change affects each of us and is an issue that unites us. When crisis hits, we need to act as a community in mutual aid of each other. Those community relationships can be built now so we are ready in times of crisis. The only way we can mitigate and adapt to climate breakdown is by working together toward the common goals of reducing our carbon footprint, moving to a net zero carbon energy economy as soon as possible and putting in place the infrastructure needed to adapt to the climate crisis.
To encourage sustainable ecological stewardship by reinvesting externalized costs, i.e., profits, into the preservation of resources, and transforming global resources into Commons.
The greatest problem of our time is that for centuries we have been steadily weaned away from treating our common resources responsibly and carefully so that they can either regenerate or be repaired or replaced after use. Until the Middle Ages local resources such as pastures, woods and fishing waters were really handled that way. But since the 16th century, when agricultural capitalism first began, these resources were enclosed and privatized by feudal lords. This soon led to the justifying myth that individuals take better care of their own property than communities. It was that myth which wiped out the ancient memories of responsibility for local common resources.
With global resources such as air, water, fossil fuels, raw materials and entire ecosystems it has been quite different. These were once seen as inexhaustibly abundant, enabling everybody to use them for free and without any duties to preserve or replace them. In our day we have barely begun to realize that they are finally becoming scarce. But now it is property law that preserves the ancient perception of their unlimited availability. Since the law imposes few if any restrictions on access, the law continues to absolve owners of any obligation to respect global resources. This kind of freedom is the condition for an endless expansion of capitalism. The essence of capitalism is “to accumulate by dispossession”, since the progress of capital accumulation depends on the capability to find and exploit new external sources of wealth that can be appropriated.
In this sense property rights fuel the expansion of capitalism. They invite property owners to externalize costs on to those resources that ought to be treated as common property. Externalizing costs means using shared resources to the point where they are exhausted while failing to maintain or reinvest in them. The displaced costs are borne by the resources themselves, which are diminished and depreciated, as a way to boost profits. Thus property law encourages the opposite of sustainability. It promotes the relentless consumption of resources and thereby enhances capitalism. What we need is the contrary: to encourage sustainable ecological stewardship by reinvesting externalized costs, i.e., profits, into the preservation of resources, and transforming global resources into Commons. In order to illustrate how this could be accomplished, take German property law as an example. Its central rule is laid down in §903 of the German Civil Law (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, BGB), as follows: “The proprietor is entitled, as far as neither the law nor any third-party claims stand in the way, to deal with his property at his discretion, and to exclude others from any influence.” Now consider what might occur if the legislature would alter this rule by adding the clause, “…provided he upholds the responsibility to preserve the common resources he uses.”
The term “common resources” would refer to Article 20a of the German constitution (Grundgesetz), which requires that “the state protect the natural foundations of life,” and to the notable requirement in Article 14.2: “Property obliges. Its use shall as well serve the common welfare.” The insertion would restrict individual property rights by imposing a duty to preserve any common resource the proprietor has used or caused to be used. In other words, a proprietor would be required to pay for replacement of what he used or consumed (just as he might pay the costs of preserving his private possessions).
Such a legislative amendment is needed because present laws constitute a barrier to sustainable stewardship of natural resources, and a particular barrier to the task of commoning. Without amending the law it would not only be difficult to create and manage local commons as exchange trading systems and complementary currencies, it would be nearly impossible to establish networks that manage the preservation of global resources as commons. Under current laws each single stockholder of a corporation can sue the management for having ordered investments in protection of the environment that go beyond existing law. Because corporations are so deeply committed – legally and economically – to make profits by externalizing costs, how could managers be persuaded to invest this profit into preserving the consumed global resources? It is impossible so long these resources are not acknowledged as common property. Commoning the global resources, or some of them, must therefore begin with lobbying to convince legislative bodies to withdraw any legal rules that allow or even induce persons, companies, councils or governmental authorities to exploit global resources. Those rules must be replaced with responsible regulations preserving global resources.
To transform a natural resource into a commons.
That prerequisite being accomplished (or anticipated), the next step must be to transform a resource into a commons. The German term is allmende, a word that once referred to any local community of free people that decided on their common affairs by their own right; common pasture, common wood were historically just the most recent forms of the allmende before it was disbanded. Today, in reviving the term allmende we mean a common resource alone, but also the community that manages it as a commons. This is what the term “commoning” means: Managing the resource as a commons, in other words actualizing the allmende principle – the principle that the community members moderate their demands on the resource by mutual agreement and mutual monitoring and enforcement.
Thus the core of commoning is that the community members agree on all rules of conduct and procedure, and that they supervise resource use by social control. They determine themselves – often supported by public authorities – how the resource shall be handled and what sanctions for violations shall be imposed. That makes the commons distinct from both the market and the state, which rely upon prices and instructions, respectively, to affect people’s behavior. The members of a commons, by contrast, are motivated by their deliberate convictions, inner direction, or self-determination, at least in smaller-scale commons. Commoners are surely not immune from anti-social behavior such as “free riding” deserving of sanctions, but such punishments are more likely to be effective if they have been agreed upon.
An example of a local resource commons, among many others, is the lobster fishery around the island of Monhegan on the coast of Maine in the United States. In a case study, it is defined as:
an evolving system of largely self-regulating fishery management, an evolution,, a series of experiments, that continues to this day…. It has three major developments: a self-imposed half-year closed season formalized in a 1907 state law; a self-imposed limit on the number of traps per lobster-fisher instituted in the 1970s; and, most recently, an unprecedented, state-sanctioned limited-access fishing regime for the island. The context is nearly two centuries of ever-increasing pressure on the lobster fishery along the Eastern seaboard of the US and Canada and the threat, realized in many places, of depletion and loss of livelihood.
An effective global resource commons.
Perhaps the only example of an effective global resource commons is the famous Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international treaty which was signed 1987 by 48 countries and today has nearly 200 signatories. Over the years, the agreement has “been amended to further reduce and completely phase out CFCs, halons and other chemicals…Several subsequent meetings of the signing countries were convened to track overall progress…The full recovery of the ozone layer is not expected until at last 2049” (Encyclopedia Britannica). The singular success of the Montreal treaty indicates how limited the range of effective agreements between states will be, especially if compared with the series of international conferences on climate protection. For the time being the attempts to build an international climate regime are altogether a trial-and-error process to transform a global open access resource into a global commons.
Apart from treaties between states, there are currently two basic strategies for protecting global resources: emissions trading and commons trusts. Emissions trading requires that the emission of CO2-equivalents be restricted to the amount of emission rights the emitter has bought, and that the overall amount of buyable rights will be reduced over time. Hence the price of the emission rights will rise, the quantity of emissions will be reduced, and the climate system as a global resource will be preserved. A commons trust is an independent non-profit enterprise assigned with fiduciary duties to look after the long-term interests of beneficiary commoners, and the power to sell and restrict emission and extraction rights. The trust should be assigned the sole responsibility of preserving a given common resource and be required to distribute any remaining receipts to the people who hold a stake in that resource. Both concepts depend upon governments to set effective, enforceable rules. But where preserving a common resource results in shortages, governments must withstand the concentrated pressures exerted by buyers, sellers and workers who insist upon economic growth as a source of earnings, sales and jobs. The Monhegan example shows that such pressures can be overcome peacefully, if one group of buyers, sellers, and/or workers who are strongly motivated for sustainable development defend their interest in resource preservation against other groups with somewhat lower legitimation. The state’s role is then to mediate the conflict instead of imposing a regulation influencing people’s decisions by outer stimuli like prices or instructions.
A growing number of both suppliers and consumers who long for the opportunity to preserve the natural resources, will be motivated to preserve the resources they use and to prevent others from continuing to externalize costs.
The above-suggested legal regime – which stipulates the preservation of natural resources and thereby forbids the externalization of costs – would be a general rule intended primarily to stimulate a general understanding that we are as responsible for our common resources as for our private plants, facilities and investments.
At the same time it would be the basis of specific regulations that may prove to be a necessary condition of legal security. Since externalizing is still common practice, however, it would not be reasonable if we left it wholly to government authorities to find out and prescribe how externalization should be avoided or compensated in each of numerous specific situations. The general rule, if it were in force, would open a second way. It would encourage those who prefer cost internalization to contribute to that search process by joining in communities that work out agreements on what is needed to preserve specific common resources after use. These communities can be characterized by four basic elements: 1) community members 2) who moderate their demands on the resource and reinvest in its preservation by 3) mutual agreement and 4) mutual monitoring.
These four elements could themselves meld into a network of commons, because a growing number of both suppliers and consumers who long for the opportunity to preserve the resources, will be motivated to preserve the resources they use and to prevent others from continuing to externalize costs, which until now has worked to the disadvantage of those who want to internalize costs. Thus their activity would be helpful and even necessary to enforce the law, whether by recommending a government mandate or by agreeing on customary procedures as substitutes for mandates. In either case, a commons would likely be superior to an external government authority because competitors can better judge whether and what costs are being externalized than any public prosecutor or district attorney, and criticism by civic and consumer associations can be more powerful in persuading a firm to internalize its costs than the risk of litigation (provided there were a legal basis).
In order to make it easier to join in commons of the type indicated, the legal basis for accountability should be even further broadened by amending the competition law, too, which under the current property law forces competitors to externalize costs. Any hidden externalization of costs should from now on be treated as unfair competition, which is principally forbidden by law in several European countries and most states of the US, although with different provisions. Take, for instance, the German law against unfair competition. It prohibits a supplier from enjoying a competitive market advantage by making deceptive claims about its product(s), as misleading advertisements or taking advantage of consumers’ lack of knowledge.
The amendment would consider it unfair competition if a company hides his externalizing practices rather than paying the full costs of protecting or renewing them. Since the UWG permits competing enterprises and civil associations like consumer unions to sue a firm for unfair competition, one can imagine that conscientious firms trying to preserve global resources would use this legal provision to prevent their competitors from achieving an unfair market advantage. And since courts can decide that profits from unfair competition be transferred to the federal budget, management would prefer to reinvest in and protect global resources rather than to be accused of externalizing costs.
In this way amendments to property and competition laws could help bring into being a network of commons-like communities of enterprises, civil associations and individuals that would monitor the use of global ecological resources. While there is a huge variety of separate problems that have to be solved in this field, encouraging the formation of commons would not only be an effective way to enforce the law but also a way to bring about a general awareness of common resources and everybody’s responsibility for them. This, in turn, could open the door for two hidden implications of sustainability that are already knocking at it but aren’t allowed to enter. First, by getting serious about preserving global resources, and acknowledging that markets are not inseparably joined to capitalism, sustainable development could become separated from capitalism but aligned with the market economy. Second, not only natural resources ought to be treated as global commons, but so should the many socially organized institutions that provide employment opportunities, public health systems, educational opportunities, social integration, income and wealth distribution, and communication systems such as the Internet. To put it in a nutshell: sustainability is commoning global resources by applying the commons principle of wisely moderating demands on common resources. It is time to ask what perspectives will open up when we proceed this way.
The imminent collapse of industrial civilization means we’ll have to organize human communities in a much different fashion from the completely unsustainable, highly-centralized, earth-destroying, globalized system we have now: capitalism of the global 1%.
We are in for some profound changes in the 21st century. There will need to be a move to much smaller, human-scale, localized and decentralized systems that can sustain themselves within their own land base. Industrial civilization and suburban living relies on cheap sources of energy to continue to grow and expand. That era is coming to an end. One of the most important tasks right now is to prepare for a very different way of life. Nonetheless, Obama, Trump and their cohorts have recklessly decided to try to extend our period of dependence on oil for “business as usual” instead of using a significant portion of it, along with a lavish amount of federal funds, to establish a firm foundation for alternative energy provision and the massive, societal changes that are on the way. In other words, they are still trapped in an all-out effort to support globalized industry (including its offshored job market and gargantuan transportation network) instead of their preparing the public for post-peak oil lifestyles, in which human welfare and regionalized community development are emphasized.
Assuredly, facilitation of such a constructive switch would help America across the board. The reason is that the redirection of wealth away from horrific resource wars, macro-scale business and pernicious corporate bailouts toward the creation of robust decentralized economic bases would yield many benefits. The action could generate jobs, serve to protect the raw materials and the natural environments on which communities rely and curb fossil fuel use since many products would be created and used locally. It could, also, lead individuals and groups into gaining the necessary skills and understandings to create assorted merchandise, foster developments of co-ops, as well as strengthen the US economy at the grassroots level. Moreover, their backing of transnational corporate agendas is plainly ruinous for environmental well-being and multitudinous societies across the globe. It, also, ensures that the most affluent class continues to make staggering financial gains at the expense of others. As such, many people face increasing deteriorating circumstances while, in tandem, their surrounding natural world falls apart due to resource plunder and environmental disasters. The results of exceeding the constraints are undeniably clear. They include armed invasions and resource grabs from populations least capable to defend their assets and lands from aggressors, dwindling supplies of critical commodities as thresholds are reached and, ultimately, diminished economic gains, anyway.
All the same, any government employee who advocates for a cutback in energy use or globalized trade would be committing political suicide. He would, also, face a hostile public, including industrialists and farm owners, along with his being shunned by lobbyists and re-election campaign contributors alike.
Simultaneously, it is apparent that “revolving door” politics among corporate executives, politicians and bureaucrats with whom global-scale moguls sometimes collude do, in fact, exist and even lead, in some instances, to regulatory capture. The overall outcome from such a pattern is unchecked corporate exploitation, deceit and power mongering, during which time nations’ general populations become progressively destitute. Meanwhile, the über-class, without meaningful regulatory brakes on free market enterprise, obtains ever greater control over worldwide resources and the financial wherewithal to seize even more control over time. Likewise, the overall arrangement leads to multinational business owners seeking ever-cheaper labor wherever it exists and even if it involves young children or unsafe practices, ever new consumers and an endless supply of raw materials from developing regions with lax (if any) conservation regulations. They, also, abandon countries in which coveted materials, when not already commandeered, are protected by stiff environmental laws. Concurrently, jobs continue to drain from nations if their standard minimum wages are not the absolute lowest to be found or there are no new stores of resources to tap. Social relations are defined today by tolerance of tyranny: of harmful industrial profit schemes, unfair ownership of huge property holdings, and astronomical financial wealth. As soon as the post-peak oil house of cards topples, ‘new’ social structures will be (re)established. There’s a growing number of people already welcoming the end of false wealth’s tyranny and of civilized arrogance. Clearly, our choices in terms of the future that we want to create will in time be largely determined by limitations in oil and other resources. It stands to follow that we can either have a last-man-standing orientation in which only the most affluent and powerful people have lavish supplies of expensive energy and material goods or we can foster deglobalization, which leads into equitable sharing of resources, job creation, strengthening of community ties, assurance that local resource bases are not exceeded and creation of a social foundation that does not increasingly divide the world between the rich and the poor members of society.
The second option, also, protects against the sort of widespread financial collapse that occurs in the buoy model. In such an arrangement, a descending buoy, when additional buoys are hooked by a line to a sinking one, drags the others to some degree downward based on proximity wherein the ones having the closest connections are pulled down the most. Alternately put, guess what happens next when one’s own economy, assets, social well-being and so forth are precariously linked to declining partners. Is it a structurally safe arrangement? All considered, it is easy to notice that some individuals and countries faring relatively well throughout the ongoing recession are ones whose economic foundations have been largely isolated from worldwide influences. Moreover, the nations mostly immune to the downturn tend to be oriented toward serving the needs of their own populations, have been largely regionalized in focus and generally have smaller, comparatively simple, manageable economies, as the US and other countries, in my opinion, should aim to duplicate as much as possible.
In the end, our country’s leaders have three main choices: taking over someone else’s oil fields until they are depleted; carrying on until the lights go out and Americans are freezing in the dark; or changing our life style by energy conservation while heavily investing in alternative energy sources at higher costs. I would add to his perspective that our leaders and the rest of us must, in fairly short order, start creating self-reliant, ecologically healthy communities, ones that are durable and flexible so as to reasonably withstand difficult outside forces, such as lack of sufficient oil or, in the least, the crippling, post-peak oil prices that will come to pass. Only if we successfully do so can we avoid the most dire consequences from the severe deficits to come.
With the current peak-oil interval, we have a grace period when oil is still fairly inexpensive and abundant. At the same time, we cannot expect our government leaders to help society transition off of heavy oil dependence on account of their being controlled by “big business” interests. Therefore, it is up to average citizens to create the reforms that lead into localized economic and social development. If the enterprise is not actively taken in a timely fashion, the resultant chaos will be unavoidable.
A commons must have the capacity to self-regulate its relations with the market and to assure that significant aspects of its common wealth and social relationships remain inalienable, not for sale via market exchange. A commons must be able to develop “semi-permeable boundaries” that enable it to safely interact with markets on its own terms.
The commons are not incompatible with commodity markets. Markets and commons may form mutually beneficial relations with each other. only if commoners can have value "sovereignty" over their resources and community governance. Market players such as businesses and investors cannot be able to freely appropriate the fruits of a commons for themselves without the express authorization of commoners. Nor should markets be allowed to uses their power to force commoners to assume market, money-based roles such as “consumers” and “employees.” In short, a commons must have the capacity to self-regulate its relations with the market and to assure that significant aspects of its common wealth and social relationships remain inalienable – not for sale via market exchange. A commons must be able to develop “semi-permeable boundaries” that enable it to safely interact with markets on its own terms. So, for example, a coastal fishery functioning as a commons may sell some of its fish to markets, but the goals of earning money and maximizing profit cannot be allowed to become so foundational that it crowds out commons governance and respect for ecological limits. Of course, market/commons relations are easier when it comes to digital commons and their shared wealth such as code, text, music, images and other intangible (non-physical) resources. Such digital resources can be reproduced and shared at virtually no cost, so there is not the “subtractability” or depletion problems of finite bodies of shared resources. In such cases, the problem for commons is less about preventing “free riding” than in intelligently curating digital information and preventing mischievous disruptions. In digital spaces, the principle of “the more, the merrier” generally prevails. Digital commoners must also be able to prevent powerful market players from simply appropriating their work for commercial purposes, at no cost. Digital commoners should not simply generate “free resources” for larger market players to exploit for private gain. That is why some digital communities are exploring the use of the newly created Global Production License, which authorizes free usage of digital material for noncommercial and commons-based people but requires any commercial users to pay a fee. The terms by which a commons protects its shared wealth and community ethos will vary immensely from one commons to another, but assuring a stable, benign relationship with markets is a major and sometimes tricky challenge.
There has been an explosion of urban commons in the past several years, or at least a keen awareness of the need and potential of self-organized citizen projects and systems, going well beyond what either markets or city governments can provide. And there is growing interest in platform co-operatives, mutually owned and managed platforms to counter the extractive, sometimes-predatory behaviors of proprietary platforms such as Uber, Airbnb, Taskrabbit and others.
But there are many types of urban commons that already exist and that could expand, if given sufficient support. Urban agriculture and community gardens, for example, are important ways to relocalize food production and lower the carbon footprint. They also provide a way to improve the quality of food and invigorate the local economy. As fuel and transport costs rise with the approach of Peak Oil, these types of urban commons will become more important.
It is not just about growing food but about the distribution, storage and retailing of food along the whole value-chain. There is no reason that regional food systems could not be re-invented to mutualize costs, limit transport costs and ecological harm, and improve wages, working conditions, food quality (e.g., no pesticides; fresher produce), and affordability of food through commons-based food systems.
There are growing “community chartering” movements that give communities the ability to express their own interests and needs, often in the face of hostile pressures by corporations and governments. There are also efforts to develop data commons that will give ordinary people greater control over their data from mobile devices, computers and other equipment, and prevent tech companies from asserting proprietary control over data that has important public health, transport, planning or other uses. Another important form of urban commons is urban land trusts, which enable the de-commodification of urban land so that the buildings (and housing) built upon it can be more affordable to ordinary people. This is a particularly important approach as more “global cities” becomes sites of speculative investment and Airbnb-style rentals; ordinary city dwellers are being priced out of their own cities. Commons-based approaches offer some help in recovering the city for its residents.
Why bring the commons to the management and governance of a city? Urban commons can also reduce costs that a city and its citizens must pay. They do this by mutualizing the costs of infrastructure and sharing the benefits — and by inviting self-organized initiatives to contribute to the city’s needs. Urban commons enliven social life simply by bringing people together for a common purpose, whether social or civic, going beyond shopping and consumerism. And urban commons can empower people and build a sense of fairness. In a time of political alienation, this is a significant achievement.
Urban commons can unleash creative social energies of ordinary citizens, who have a range of talents and the passion to share them. They can produce artworks and music, murals and neighborhood self-improvement, data collections and stewardship of public spaces, among other things. Finally, as international and national governance structures become less effective and less trusted, cities and urban regions are likely to become the most appropriately scaled governance systems, and more receptive to the constructive role that commons can play.
Contemporary struggles for protection of commons appear to be strongly intertwined with ecological matters which implies that there a direct link between the commons and ecology.
Historically, commoning has been the dominant mode of managing land and even today, in places like Africa, Asia and Latin America, it is arguably the default norm, notwithstanding the efforts of governments and investors to commodify land and natural resources. According to the International Land Alliance, an estimated 2 billion people in the world still depend upon forests, fisheries, farmland, water, wild game and other natural resources for their everyday survival. This is a huge number of people, yet conventional economists still regard this “subsistence” economy and indigenous societies as uninteresting because there is little market-exchange going on. Yet these communities are surely more ecologically mindful of their relations to the land than agribusinesses that rely upon monoculture crops and pesticides, or which exploit a plot of land purely for its commercial potential without regard for biodiversity or long-term effects, such as the massive palm oil plantations in tropical regions.
Commoning is a way for we humans to re-integrate our social and commercial practices with the fundamental imperatives of nature. By honoring specific local landscapes, the situated knowledge of commoners, the principle of inalienability, and the evolving social practices of commoning, the commons can be a powerful force for ecological improvement.
A state has very different ideas than commoners about how power, governance and accountability should be structured. A state is also far more eager to strike tight, cozy alliances with investors, businesses and financial institutions because of its own desires to share in the benefits of markets, and particularly, tax revenues.
Let us call the system the market/state system because the alliance, and collusion, between the two are so extensive, and their goals and worldview so similar despite their different roles, that commoners often don’t have the freedom or choice to enact commons. Indeed, the state often criminalizes commoning – think seed sharing, file sharing, cultural re-use – because it “competes” with market forms of production and stands as a “bad example” of alternative modes of provisioning.
State power could play many useful roles in supporting commoning. For example, the state could provide greater legal recognition to commoning, and not insist upon strict forms of private property and monetization. State law Is generally so hostile or indifferent to commoning that commoners often have to develop their own legal hacks or workarounds to achieve some measure of protection for their shared wealth. Think about the General Public License for software, the Creative Commons licenses, and land trusts. Each amounts to an ingenious re-purposing of property law to serve the interests of sharing and intergenerational access.
The state could also be more supportive of bottom-up infrastructures developed by commoners, whether they be wifi systems, energy coops, community solar grids, or platform co-operatives. If city governments were to develop municipal platforms for ride-hailing or apartment rentals – or many other functions – they could begin to mutualize the benefits or such services and better protect the interests of workers, consumers and the general public.
The state could also help develop better forms of finance and banking to help commoning expand. The state provides all sorts of subsidies to the banking industry despite its intense commitment to private extraction of value. Why not use “quantitative easing” or seignorage (the state’s right to create money without it being considered public debt) to finance the building of infrastructure, environmental remediation, and social needs? Commoners could benefit from new sources of credit for social or ecological purposes – or a transition to a more climate-friendly economy — that would not likely be as remunerative as conventional market activity.
Direct participation in commoning is preferred and often essential. However, each of us has only so many hours in the day, and we can remember the complaint that “the trouble with socialism is that it takes too many evenings.” Still, there are many systems, particularly in digital commons, for assuring bottom-up opportunities for participation along with accountable governance and transparency. And there are ways in which commons values can be embedded in the design of infrastructures and institutions, much as Internet protocols favor a distributed egalitarianism. By building commons principles into the structures of larger institutions, it can help prevent or impede the private capture of them or a betrayal of their collective purposes.
That said, neither legal forms or nor organizational forms are a guarantee that the integrity of a commons and its shared wealth will remain intact. Consider how some larger co-operatives resemble conventional corporations. That is why some elemental forms of commoning remain important for assuring the cultural and ethical integrity of a commons.
We are entering in an age of aggressive privatization and degradation of commons: from privatization of water resources, through internet surveillance, to extreme air pollution. What should be the priorities of the movements fighting for protection of the commons? What about their organizational structure?
Besides securing their own commons against the threats of enclosure, commons should begin to federate and cooperate as a way to build a more self-aware Commons Sector as a viable alternative to both the state and market. We can see rudimentary forms of this in the “assemblies of the commons” that have self-organized in some cities, and in the recently formed European Commons Assembly. Within the best organizational structure for such work, participants themselves must decide what will be most suitable at that time. The forms will consist of many disparate types of players loosely joined; it won’t be a centralized, hierarchical organization. The future is a “pluriverse,” and the new organizational forms will need to recognize this reality in operational ways. What is your vision of a commons-based society? How would it look like? As human beings, we are hard-wired to cooperate, coordinate and co-evolve together. Especially as the grand, centralized market/state systems of the 20th century begin to implode through their own dysfunctionality, the commons will more swiftly step into the breach by offering more local, convivial and trusted systems of survival.
The transition of “commonification” will likely be bumpy, if only because the current masters of the universe will not readily cede their power and prerogatives. They will be incapable of recognizing a “competing” worldview and social order. But the costs of maintaining the antiquated Old Order are becoming increasingly prohibitive. The capital expense, coercion, organizational complexities, and ecological instability are growing even as popular trust in the market/state and its political legitimacy is declining.
Rather than proposing a glowing vision of a commons-based society, let us be content to pointing out to hundreds of smaller-scale projects and movements. As they find each other, replicate their innovations, and federate into a more coordinated, self-governance.
Why America is terrified of Russia and China?
Russia and China quietly advancing their agreement to progressively replace the US dollar's reserve status with a gold-backed system.
Enveloped in layers of subtle sophistication, there's no way to know the deeper terms Beijing and Moscow have agreed upon behind those innumerable Putin-Xi Jinping high-level meetings. Diplomats, off the record, occasionally let it slip there may have been a coded message delivered to NATO to the effect that if one of the strategic members is seriously harassed, be it in Ukraine or in the South China Sea, NATO will have to deal with both. For now, let's concentrate on two instances of how the partnership works in practice, and why Washington is clueless on how to deal with it.
Exhibit A is the imminent visit to Moscow by the Director of the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Li Zhanshu, invited by the head of the Presidential Administration in the Kremlin, Anton Vaino. Beijing stressed the talks will revolve around – what else , the Russia-China strategic partnership, "as previously agreed on by the countries' leaders." This happens just after China's First Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, one of the top seven in the Politburo and one of the drivers of China's economic policies, was received in Moscow by President Putin. They discussed Chinese investments in Russia and the key energy angle of the partnership. But most of all they prepared Putin's next visit to Beijing, which will be particularly momentous, in the cadre of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) summit on May 14-15, steered by Xi Jinping. The General Office of the CCP – directly subordinated to Xi , only holds this kind of ultra-high-level annual consultations with Moscow, and no other player. Needless to add, Li Zhanshu reports directly to Xi as much as Vaino reports directly to Putin. That is as highly strategic as it gets. In a nutshell, McMaster's spin, jolly regurgitated by US corporate media, is that Trump has developed such a "special chemistry" with Xi after their Tomahawks-with-chocolate cake summit in Mar-a-Lago that Trump has managed to split the Russia-China entente on Syria and isolate Russia in the UN Security Council.
It would have taken only a few minutes for McMaster to read the BRICS joint communiqué on Syria for him to learn that the BRICS are behind Russia. No wonder a vastly experienced Indian geopolitical observer felt compelled to note that, "Trump and McMaster look somewhat like two country bumpkins who lost their way in the metropolis." Follow the Exhibit B centers on Russia and China quietly advancing their agreement to progressively replace the US dollar's reserve status with a gold-backed system. That also involves the key participation of Kazakhstan – very much interested in using gold as currency along OBOR. Kazakhstan could not be more strategically positioned; a key hub of OBOR; a key member of the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU); member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); and not by accident the smelter of most of Russia's gold. In parallel, Russia and China are advancing their own payment systems. With the yuan now enjoying the status of a global currency, China has been swiftly promoting their payment system CIPS, careful not to frontally antagonize the internationally accepted SWIFT, controlled by the US.
Russia, on the other hand, has stressed the creation of "an alternative," in the words of Russian Central Bank's Elvira Nabiullina, in the form of the Mir payment system , a Russian version of Visa/ MasterCard. What's implied is that were Washington feel inclined to somehow exclude Russia from SWIFT, even temporarily, at least 90 percent of ATMs in Russia now are able to operate on Mir. China's UnionPay cards and are already an established fixture all across Asia – enthusiastically adopted by HSBC, among others. Combine "alternative" payment systems with a developing gold-backed system – and "toxic" does not even begin to spell out the reaction of the US Federal Reserve. And it's not just about Russia and China; it's about the BRICS. What First Deputy Governor of Russia's Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov has outlined is just the beginning: "BRICS countries are large economies with large reserves of gold and an impressive volume of production and consumption of this precious metal. In China, the gold trade is conducted in Shanghai, in Russia it is in Moscow. Our idea is to create a link between the two cities in order to increase trade between the two markets." Russia and China already have established systems to do global trade bypassing the US dollar. What Washington did to Iran , cutting their banks off SWIFT – is now unthinkable against Russia and China. So we're already on our way, slowly but surely, towards a BRICS " gold marketplace." A "new financial architecture" is being built. That will imply the eventual inability of the US Fed to export inflation to other nations – especially those included in BRICS, EEU and SCO. The Hollow Men Trump's Generals, led by "Mad Dog" Mattis, may spin all they want about their need to dominate the planet with their sophisticated AirSeaLandSpaceCyber commands. Yet that may be not enough to counter the myriad ways the Russia-China strategic partnership is developing. So more on than off, we will have Hollow Men like Vice-President Mike Pence, with empurpled solemnity, threatening North Korea; “The shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.” Forget this does not even qualify as a lousy line in a cheap remake of a Hollywood B-movie; what we have here is Aspiring Commander-in-Chief Pence warning Russia and China there may be some nuclear nitty-gritty very close to their borders between the US and North Korea.
Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative, towards an economy of Peace?
Let’s be clear, nobody is to be wished death; not the murderers of the Pentagon, or of the CIA, NSA, FBI, not the slaughterers of the Military Industrial Complex, nor the financial assassins of the FED, Wall Street, nor the whores of the mainstream propaganda killer ‘fake news’. No! They will eventually face their own Karma. In the meantime, let them live and drown in their own self-made swamp, or rather their suffocating cesspool of sewer. But we do have to get rid of them, get them out of our lives, get them isolated from our well-being, human well-being, not greed-well-being, as we live today. They must be marginalized. How?
There is a new economic paradigm waiting in the wings, offered by China and Russia, an Economy of Peace. An economy backed by labor, by construction, by research, education, by culture, and by gold. No fiat economy, an economy of Equal Rights and equal benefits for all participants; a non-war based economy, totally contrary of the western usury rent-seeking destructive economy. Who would not be attracted by this new model of Peace Economics?
The new Silk Road, also President Xi Jinping’s OBI, One Belt Initiative, formerly known as “The One Belt One Road” (OBOR), an economic development program spanning the entire super-Continent of Eurasia and North Africa, from Vladivostok to Lisbon, and from Shanghai to Hamburg. Every territory in between is invited to participate, in what is possibly the largest and most wide-ranging economic expansion initiative in modern history. It is a multi-trillion-dollar (equivalent) endeavor that could literally stretch out for centuries, creating infrastructure, work, trade, income, new technologies, education, the palette is almost endless, for many areas still largely deprived of human well-being. The “Road” encompasses land route development from Central China to Central Asia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Eastern Europe, construction of ports and coastal infrastructure from Southeast Asia to East Africa and the Mediterranean. In fact, OBI was initiated by President Xi in 2013 and is already well under way. China’s modernization of Greece’s Port of Piraeus, arguably the largest in the Mediterranean, is already part of it.
It keeps Brussels nervous. The hot-rock of mud and corruption is afraid it may ‘lose’ Greece, a NATO country, from their control. Greece diplomatically assures them ‘loyalty’, nevertheless, thanks to Greek pressure, under these new circumstances, Brussels ‘vassalic’ human rights condemnation and new sanctions directed at China, in Washington’s latest efforts to pressure China on North Korea, were stopped thanks to Greek intervention on behalf of China. Quite a feat, for a small country, downtrodden into financial and abject purposeful economic misery by Germany and the nefarious troika. It shows not only the west’s bluff, but their fear from the East, where Brussels and Washington know very well, the world’s future lays.
This revival of the ancient Silk road with 21st Century technology, as China calls it, also comes with financing to promote basic needs, such as urban planning, water supply, sanitation, food production and distribution. The old axiom of comparative production advantages will be applied in an open market of equals among equals, already begun under the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), signed by Presidents Putin and Xi in May 2015, and rapidly expanding westward. The OBI is sometimes referred to as the Eastern Marshall Plan. But it should rather and more aptly be called the Xi Plan. It comes with the appropriate financial instruments, foremost the Beijing based Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB). The Xi Plan is destined for economic development and peoples’ well-being. Whereas the Marshall Plan was designed for deceit, exploitation and enslavement of Europe with its subservient Bretton Woods Institutions, and it succeeded.
Solution to avoid the worst impacts of Climate Change.
The warning suggests five steps needed immediately. That was a generation ago. They can still help prevent the worst impacts:
1) “We must bring environmentally damaging activities under control to restore and protect the integrity of the earth’s systems we depend on.” It specifically mentions reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air and water pollution. It also highlights the need to address deforestation, degradation and loss of agricultural soils and extinction of plant and animal species.
2) “We must manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively.” This one is obvious. Finite resources must be exploited much more efficiently or we’ll run out.
3) “We must stabilize population. This will be possible only if all nations recognize that it requires improved social and economic conditions, and the adoption of effective, voluntary family planning.”
4) “We must reduce and eventually eliminate poverty.”
5) “We must ensure sexual equality, and guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions.”
The warning recognizes that we in the developed world are responsible for most global pollution and therefore must greatly reduce overconsumption while providing technical and financial aid to developing countries. This is not altruism but self-interest, because all of us share the same biosphere. Developing nations must realize environmental degradation is the greatest threat to their future, while rich nations must help them follow a different development path. The most urgent suggestion is to develop a new ethic that encompasses our responsibility to ourselves and nature and that recognizes our dependence on Earth and its natural systems for all we need.Energy represents an enormous capital investment. In the global energy system, replacement cost is probably $25 trillion or even $30 trillion. That's an investment that turns over in the normal course of things in 30 to 40 years. That's the average lifetime of these energy facilities – refineries, transmission lines, power plants, drilling rigs. You can't take a $25 trillion investment and turn it over overnight. So there's this enormous amount of inertia in the energy system. That's the bad brakes in the car. And the fog is we don't know exactly where the tipping points that could really turn it into a catastrophe are, but there are quite a few of them that are understandable in terms of how they would work.
The relentless need of people for consumption coupled with the relentless appetite of capitalists for accumulation, is sustaining the planetary crisis, and so the battle for survival is economized and clogged. Despite technological progress, the unholy alliance between human nature and institutional structure creates a dangerous strong-minded and reckless
attitude that diminishes prospects for a livable future.
To avoid ecological destruction, prosperity must be separated from economic growth. Endless economic growth endangers our future thus the need to envision a post-growth economy. If endless growth is essential to prosperity and, at the same time, leads to ecological destruction, what should we do? The structural affinity for growth impedes our ability to think clearly about our situation. Growth drives both prosperity and erodes the very preconditions for its sustainability. Within the actual measurement and calculation of economic growth, the real GDP, economic prosperity, and the annual budget, there is a contradiction between relentless expansion of income and throughput, on one hand, and ecological survival, on the other. The actual need for global growth is directly seen as a survival premise to the global capitalist system. Today the fear of a post-growth economy is totally inconceivable. People are told that without growth job creation will falter, leading to high unemployment and social instability, and that is a formula for ending the career of any politician. The complex relationship between growth, jobs, and survival is connected by labor productivity and technological advances. Politicians are mentally locked into a growth-jobs-prosperity process, a mindset which itself is a premise of the modern capitalism system. In order to get beyond this falsehood, we need to understand and debate the fundamental assumptions guiding modern capitalist societies. Many aspects need debating. For instance, we need to question the inequalities between the very rich and the poor that capitalism creates. Without a fundamental change in our ways the poor will still be poor, and the government will have no money to spend. Capitalism is sacrosanct in our ways, and we believe that it is the best way to achieve growth. It is a sociological phenomenon as much as an economic one. As we are educated to believe, there are no limits to growth, because there are no limits to human ingenuity and creativity. We associate the solution to the environmental impacts of unlimited growth to technoligical advances, hoping technology will have a way to save us all. But technological solutions will not be sufficient to save the world. Nothing positive can be accomplished in a society in which the entrenched forces of free market capitalism and the disregard for sustainable solutions of dominant institutions are committed to obstructing the change required. The relentless need of people for consumption coupled with the relentless appetite of capitalists for accumulation, is sustaining the planetary crisis, and so the battle for survival is economized and clogged. Despite technological progress, the unholy alliance between human nature and institutional structure creates a dangerous strong-minded and reckless attitude that diminishes prospects for a livable future.
The world needs an economy in which business provides outputs that enable people to flourish without destroying ecosystems; where work offers respect, motivation, and fulfillment to all; where investment is prudential in terms of securing long-term prosperity for all humanity; and where systems of borrowing, lending, and creating money are firmly rooted in long-term social value creation rather than in trading and speculation. The building blocks of a new economy are within reach. While current trends may well be cause for despair, history is replete with structural changes that redefine economic relations, for better or for worse. We need to question the fundamental assumptions of an economic system that is patently dysfunctional. What is going on today is largely attributable to the failure of growth-based capitalism. We need to address the structural deficiencies in the existing system. We still struggle to open up debates and minds to the nature of the system, to question the political influences seeking to turbo-charge a failed capitalism that continues to spawn growing inequality. Global Dialogue 2019 in fostering a post-growth dialogue, a societal transformation rooted in well-being, solidarity, and ecological resilience.
A legally imposed contraction of the fossil energy supply and a rapid global conversion to renewable energy.
With the response to the climate emergency following two necessary tracks, a legally imposed contraction of the fossil energy supply and a rapid global conversion to renewable energy, the economic onus will inevitably fall on our 33 percenters. First, there is the initial conversion to green energy capacity and infrastructure, the costs of which have been optimistically estimated at $15 trillion for the United States and $100 trillion globally (and the latter will require a large U.S. contribution.) The conversion has to happen over years rather than decades and will have to be heavily subsidized, with the money coming from taxation of higher incomes and slashing of military appropriations and other wasteful spending. And it will have to be regulated so that it provides plenty of employment but no profiteering. Meanwhile, the tightening of fossil-fuel availability and the consequent cutbacks in production will cut deeply into the profits of industries not involved in green conversion. Stock prices of companies not working on the conversion will fall. Owners, investors, and upper managers, the great majority of whom belong to the 33 percent, will take a big hit from all of the above economic forces. And if the economy stagnates or if shortages and inflation strike, then price controls, subsidies, and other assistance will have to be directed at vulnerable households and regions. That will require even greater shifts of income and wealth from the 33 to the 67 percent. Furthermore, the top one-third are not a homogeneous group. Most probably think of themselves as middle class, while up there at the high end are found those seven-, eight- and nine-figure incomes.
For purposes of funding the transition, the fattest target will be the infamous 1 percent at the peak of the pyramid. Nevertheless, rich as they are, all of the 1-percenters roped together wouldn’t have enough income to fund and sustain such a conversion. Those 1.2 million households at the summit are now bringing in about $1.8 trillion a year, Uncle Sam is already raking $600 billion of that back in taxes, and what’s left will dwindle rapidly in a climate-ready economy. Under a climate emergency, the 1 percent’s brobdingnagian wealth can be mostly taxed away, and the proceeds can be put to much higher uses; even so, a windfall of that size won’t be enough to spare the other 32 percent from feeling the pain.
But put the 1 percent and the 32 percent together and now we have a population of close to 100 million people, numerous and affluent enough to shoulder the economic burden of the climate emergency. Who are these 33 percenters? Currently, they are households with incomes that exceed about $90,000 per year. Together, this one-third of U.S. households receives two-thirds of the U.S. population’s total income. The 33 percent own 94 percent of stocks by value. Their incomes are higher now than before the Great Recession hit in 2007, while the other 67 percent’s incomes are still lower. They have an average household net worth of approximately $700,000, in contrast to another 40 percent of households whose average net worth is negative, at -$22,000. The U.S. 33 percent are the global 4 percent, with higher incomes than 96 percent of the world’s people. And 33 percent doesn’t add up to 33 for everyone. Only 18 percent of Hispanic and 15 percent of black households are members of the American top third. Affluence versus survival An economy in which production is aimed at protecting the Earth and meeting human needs rather than maximizing profit could make long strides toward eliminating both great wealth and deep poverty. And, research shows, economic and ecological fairness form a positive feedback loop: if climate mobilization helps shrink inequality, it will drive greenhouse emissions even lower.
Increases in inequality of wealth and income are consistently linked with higher emissions. In explaining this, researchers note that the affluent have the most to gain from climate-disrupting activities and at the same time are able to shield themselves from the worst impacts of climate disruption. Then there is the longstanding observation that the opulent lifestyles of the wealthier classes influence the less wealthy, driving wasteful production and consumption at all income levels. To increase efficiency, that is, according to the economist’s definition: the dollar value of gross domestic product generated per ton of fossil carbon emitted. But that mathematically rigged metric is useless to anyone concerned about climate justice. The problem with inequality is not just that too many people are poor; it’s also that too many are rich, and the rich are too rich. The concentration of income and wealth into fewer and fewer hands (and even put the word "capital" in the title of his book), he did not adequately link increasing inequality to the gross imbalances of power that exist in a mature capitalist society, the imbalances between those for whom wages and salaries are the means of subsistence and those to whom they are an expense to be minimized. Foster and Yates endorsed Piketty’s proposal to address inequality, a wealth tax, but went on to write that simply calling for a tax is not enough, that “this would require in turn a reorganization and revitalization of the class/social struggle, and in every corner of the globe.”
That goes for the global ecological crisis as well. The powerful individuals, corporations, and institutions at the peak of the pyramid who have reaped the benefits of the atmospheric carbon buildup will continue to stand in the way of climate justice, because to act otherwise would cost them too much. It will fall to the 67 percent, along with millions of allies in the 33 percent, to upend the pyramid and tackle the climate emergency head-on.
A united Iran, Russia and China are changing the world for the better. Iran, Russia and China have fully understood that union and cooperation are the only means for mutual reinforcement. The need to fight a common problem, represented by a growing American influence in domestic affairs, has forced Tehran, Beijing and Moscow to resolve their differences and embrace a unified strategy in the common interest of defending their sovereignty.
This segment will describe how Iran, China and Russia have over the years adopted a variety of economic and military actions to repel the continual assault on their sovereignty by the West; in particular, how the American drive for global hegemony has actually accelerated the end of the 'unipolar moment' thanks to the emergence of a multipolar world. From the moment the Berlin Wall fell, the United States saw a unique opportunity to pursue the goal of being the sole global hegemon. With the end of the Soviet Union, Washington could undoubtedly aspire to planetary domination paying little heed to the threat of competition and especially of any consequences. America found herself the one and only global superpower, faced with the prospect of extending cultural and economic model around the planet, where necessary by military means. Over the past 25 years there have been numerous examples demonstrating how Washington has had little hesitation in bombing nations reluctant to kowtow to Western wishes. In other examples, an economic battering ram, based on predatory capitalism and financial speculation, has literally destroyed sovereign nations, further enriching the US and European financial elite in the process. In the course of the last two decades, the relationship between the three major powers of the Heartland, the heart of the Earth, changed radically. Iran, Russia and China have fully understood that union and cooperation are the only means for mutual reinforcement. The need to fight a common problem, represented by a growing American influence in domestic affairs, has forced Tehran, Beijing and Moscow to resolve their differences and embrace a unified strategy in the common interest of defending their sovereignty. Events such as the war in Syria, the bombing of Libya, the overthrowing of the democratic order in Ukraine, sanctions against Iran, and the direct pressure applied to Beijing in the South China Sea, have accelerated integration among nations that in the early 1990s had very little in common.
Analyzing US economic power it is clear that supranational organizations like the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank guarantee Washington’s role as the economic leader. The pillars that support the centrality of the United States in the world economy can be attributed to the monetary policy of the Fed and the function of the dollar as a global reserve currency. The Fed has unlimited ability to print money to finance further economic power of the private and public sector as well as to pay the bill due for very costly wars. The US dollar plays a central role as the global reserve currency as well as being used as currency for trade. This virtually obliges each central bank to own reserves in US currency, continuing to perpetuate the importance of Washington in the global economic system. The introduction of the yuan into the international basket of the IMF, global agreements for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and Beijing’s protests against its treatment by the World Trade Organization (WTO) are all alarm bells for American strategists who see the role of the American currency eroding. In Russia, the central bank decided not to accumulate dollar reserves, favoring instead foreign currency like the Indian rupee and the Chinese yuan. The rating agencies - western financial-oligarchy tools -have diminishing credibility, having become means to manipulate markets to favor specific US interests. Chinese and Russian independent rating agencies are further confirmation of Beijing and Moscow’s strategy to undermine America’s role in western economics. De-dollarization is occurring and proceeding rapidly, especially in areas of mutual business interest. In what is becoming increasingly routine, nations are dealing in commodities by negotiating in currencies other than the dollar. The benefit is twofold: a reduction in the role of the dollar in their sovereign affairs, and an increase in synergies between allied nations. Iran and India exchanged oil in rupees, and China and Russia trade in yuan.
Another advantage enjoyed by the United States, intrinsically linked to the banking private sector, is the political pressure that Americans can apply through financial and banking institutions. The most striking example is seen in the exclusion of Iran from the SWIFT international system of payments, as well as the extension of sanctions, including the freezing of Tehran's assets (about 150 billion US dollars) in foreign bank deposits. While the US is trying to crack down on independent economic initiatives, nations like Iran, Russia and China are increasing their synergies. During the period of sanctions against Iran, the Russian Federation has traded with the Islamic Republic in primary commodities. China has supported Iran with the export of oil purchased in yuan. More generally, Moscow has proposed the creation of an alternative banking system to the SWIFT system.
Private Banks, central banks, ratings agencies and supranational organizations depend in large part on the role played by the dollar and the Fed. The first goal of Iran, Russia and China is of course to make these international bodies less influential. Economic multipolarity is the first as well as the most incisive way to expand the free choice before each nation to pursue its own interests, thereby retaining its national sovereignty
This fictitious and corrupt financial system led to the financial crisis of 2008. Tools to accumulate wealth by the elite, artificially maintaining a zombie system (turbo capitalism) have served to cause havoc in the private and public sectors, such as with the collapse of Lehman Brothers or the crisis in the Asian markets in the late 1990s.
The need for Russia, China and Iran to find an alternative economic system is also necessary to secure vital aspects of the domestic economy. The stock-market crash in China, the depreciation of the ruble in Russia, and the illegal sanctions imposed on Iran have played a profound role in concentrating the minds of Moscow, Tehran and Beijing. Ignoring the problem borne of the centrality of the dollar would have only increased the influence and role of Washington. Finding points of convergence instead of being divided was an absolute must and not an option. A perfect example, explaining the failed American economic approach, can be seen in recent years with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two commercial agreements that were supposed to seal the economic trade supremacy of the US. The growing economic alternatives proposed by the union of intent between Russia, China and Iran has enabled smaller nations to reject the US proposals to seek better trade deals elsewhere. In this sense, the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) proposed by Beijing is increasingly appreciated in Asia as an alternative to the TPP. In the same way, the Eurasian Union (EAEU) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have always been key components for Moscow. The function these institutions play was noticeably accelerated following the coup in Ukraine and the resulting need for Russia to turn east in search of new business partners. Finally, Iran, chosen by Beijing as the crossroad of land and sea transit, is a prime example of integration between powers geographically distant but with great intentions to integrate vital structures of commerce.
The Chinese model of development, called Silk Road 2.0, poses a serious threat to American global hegemonic processes. The goal for Beijing is to reach full integration between the countries of the Heartland and Rimland, utilizing the concept of sea power and land power. With an investment of 1,000 billion US dollars over ten years, China itself becomes a link between the west, represented by Europe; the east, represented by China itself; the north, with the Eurasian economic space; the south, with India; Southeast Asia; the Persian Gulf and Middle East. The hope is that economic cooperation will lead to the resolution of discrepancies and strategic differences between countries thanks to trade agreements that are beneficiary to all sides.
The role of Washington continues to be that of destruction rather than construction. Instead of playing the role of a global superpower that is interested in business and trade with other nations, the United States continues to consider any foreign decision in matters of integration, finance, economy and development to lie within its exclusive domain. The primary purpose of the United States is simply to exploit every economic and cultural instrument available to prevent cohesion and coexistence between nations. The military component is usually the trump card, historically used to impose this vision on the rest of the world. In recent years, thanks to de-dollarization and military integration, nations like Iran, Russia and China are less subject to Washington's unilateral decisions.
Beyond state capitalism: the commons economy in our lifetimes. Because our forbears did not account for the biophysical flow of material resources from the environment through the production process and back into the environment, the real worth of natural resources and social labor is not factored into the economy. It is this centralized, hierarchical model that has led to the degradation and devaluation of our commons.
In considering the essential problem of how to produce and distribute material wealth, virtually all of the great economists in Western history have ignored the significance of the commons, the shared resources of nature and society that people inherit, create and utilize.
Despite sharp differences in concept and ideology, economic thinkers from Smith, Ricardo, and Marx to Keynes, Hayek, Mises and Schumpeter largely based their assumptions on the world’s seemingly unlimited resources and fossil fuels, their infinite potential for creating economic growth, adequate supplies of labor for developing them, and the evolving monoculture of state capitalism responsible for their provision and allocation. Hence, in the Market State that has emerged, corporations and sovereign states make decisions on the production and distribution of Earth’s common resources more or less as a unitary system, with minimal participation from the people who depend on these commons for their livelihood and well-being. Because our forbears did not account for the biophysical flow of material resources from the environment through the production process and back into the environment, the real worth of natural resources and social labor is not factored into the economy. It is this centralized, hierarchical model that has led to the degradation and devaluation of our commons.
Over the past seventy years especially, the macroeconomic goals of sovereign states, for high levels and rapid growth of output, low unemployment and stable prices, have resulted in a highly dysfunctional world. The global economy has integrated dramatically in recent decades through financial and trade liberalization; yet the market is failing to protect natural and social resources, the state is failing to rectify the economic system, and the global polity is failing to manage its mounting imbalances in global resources and wealth. Without a ‘unified field theory’ of economics to explain how the commons is drastically undervalued and why world society is amassing huge debts to the environment, the poor and future generations, policymakers and their institutions lack the critical tools and support to address the massive instability that is now gripping the global economy. Businesses and governments are facing the Herculean challenge of reducing climate change and pollution while alleviating poverty without economic growth, a task for which the Market State is neither prepared nor designed to handle.
Meanwhile, the essential ideals of state capitalism, the rule-based systems of government enforcement and the spontaneous, self-regulating social order of markets, are finding direct expression in the co-governance and co-production of common goods by people in localities across the world. Whether these commons are traditional (rivers, forests, indigenous cultures) or emerging (energy, intellectual property, internet), communities are successfully managing them through collaboration and collective action. This growing movement has also begun to create social charters and commons trusts, formal instruments that define the incentives, rights and responsibilities of stakeholders for the supervision and protection of common resources. Ironically, by organizing to protect their commons through decentralized decision-making, the democratic principles of freedom and equality are being realized more fully in these resource communities than through the enterprises and policies of the Market State.
These evolving dynamics, the decommodification of common goods through co-governance and the deterritorialization of value through co-production, are shattering the liberal assumptions which underlie state capitalism. The emergence of this new kind of management and valuation for the preservation of natural and social assets is posing a momentous crisis for the Market State, imperiling the functional legitimacy of state sovereignty, national currencies, domestic fiscal policy, international trade and finance, and the global monetary system. Major changes are on the way. The transformation of modern political economy will involve reconnecting with, and reformulating, a pre-analytic vision of the post-macroeconomic global commons. Another world is coming: where common goods are capped and protected; a portion of these resources are rented to businesses for the production and consumption of private goods; and taxes on their use are redistributed by the state as public goods to provide a social income for the marginalized and to repair and restore the depleted commons.
Although people’s rights to their commons are often recognized and validated in smaller communities, scaling these lessons to the global level will require a new dimension of popular legitimacy and authority. The world community is rapidly evolving a sense of social interconnectivity, shared responsibility and global citizenship, yet the sovereign rights of people to the global commons have not been fully articulated. In declaring our planetary rights for these commons, we shall be confronting many decisive questions:
(1) Are modern societies prepared to create a framework in which the incentives behind production and governance are not private capital and debt-based growth, but human solidarity, quality of life and ecological sustainability?
(2) How soon, and how peacefully, will the subsystems of the Market State integrate their structures of value-creation and sovereign governance with the greater biophysical system of ecological and social interdependence?
(3) Can the global public organize effectively as a third power to develop checks and balances on the private and public sectors and establish the resource sovereignty and preservation value needed for a commons economy?
These issues will be filtering into mainstream discussion over the next two decades. Already the system of state capitalism is breaking down, threatening the entire planet, its institutions and species. When this collapse can no longer be contained and a global monetary crisis ensues, world society will have the choice of creating an economic system that follows the universal laws of biophysics and commons preservation, or accepting a new version of 18th-20th century mechanistic economics, obliging humanity to continue living off the common capital of the planet under corporate feudalism and über-militaristic regimes. Our decision will likely come down to this: global commons or global autarchy. As an economist, I don’t pretend to speak for the conscience of humanity; but as a human being, my heart tells me that we shall see the beginnings of a commons economy in our lifetimes. The long-forsaken global commons are beckoning.
Requirements for ensuring a socially just, economically secure and ecologically stable global environment.
Ensuring a socially just, economically secure and ecologically stable global environment requires:
a) that rich nations consume less to free up the ecological space needed for justifiable consumption increases in poorer countries; and
b) that the world implement a universal population management plan designed to reduce the total human population to a level that that can be supported indefinitely at a more-than-satisfactory average material standard. This is what it means to “live sustainably within the means of nature.”
Fortunately, various studies suggest that planned de-growth toward a quasi steady state economy is technically possible, would benefit the poor and could be achieved while improving overall quality of life even in high-income countries. Considering the human suffering that would be avoided and number of non-human species that would be preserved, this is also a morally compelling strategy. The foregoing diagnosis is anathema to the prevailing growth ethic, the naive fallacy that well-being is a continuous linear function of income, and politically correct avoidance of the population question. Many will therefore object on grounds that the suggested policy prescription is politically unfeasible and can never be implemented. They may well be correct. The problem is that what is politically feasible is likely to be ecologically irrelevant or downright dangerous. Accelerated hydrocarbon development, better pipeline regulations and improved navigational aids for tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast, for example, don’t cut it as sustainable development in a world that should be abandoning fossil fuels.
The data show clearly that we are at a crucial stage of a slow but accelerating crisis. To be effective and timely, sustainability policy should already be consistent with the real-world evidence. Nature can no longer endure the consequences of “alternative facts.” Failure to implement a global sustainability plan that addresses excess consumption and over-population while ensuring greater social equity may well be fatal to global civilization. Indeed, adherence to any variant of the growth-bound status quo promises a future of uncontrollable climate change, plummeting biodiversity, civil disorder, geopolitical turmoil and resource wars. In these circumstances, should not elected politicians everywhere have an obligation to explain how their policies reflect the fact of global overshoot?
Denying reality is not a viable option; self-delusion can become all-destroying. If our leaders reject the foregoing framing, they should be required to show how the policies they are pursuing can deliver ecological stability, economic security, social equity and improved population health to future generations. Ordinary citizens should assert their right-to-know as if their lives depend upon it.
Climate Change is an environmental issue and also a human rights issue.
Climate change is an environmental issue, the atmosphere, polar bears, and carbon andhuman rights and politics. Thre are three reasons climate change is about human rights:
Let’s explore each of those points.
1. Responsibility, impacts and capacity are uneven.
Responsibility for climate change
The roots of climate change go back to the drawn of the Industrial Revolution, which kicked off in the U.K. in the late 1700s and quickly spread around North Western Europe and then the world. The discovery of coal, and later oil and gas, changed everything.
These three fossil fuels are fossilised organic matter from millions of years ago, hugely energy-dense, which release their pent up energy when burned. Being made from ancient dead plants and animals, they are full of carbon, and when burnt, that carbon goes into the atmosphere. The extra carbon acts like an insulating blanket, blocking heat from radiating out to space, making the Earth warmer. This is known as the “greenhouse effect” and is vital to life. Without it we’d be absolutely freezing, like a planet sized fridge-freezer. But when it comes to blankets, it’s not just ‘the more the better’ is it? You get too hot. And that’s what’s happening now.
Europe and later the other rich nations were blazing it up for decades before poorer countries came on the fossil-burning scene, and by the time industrialization took off in the rest of the world (which is still ongoing) we had already chucked enough carbon into the sky to start changing the Earth’s entire climate. Until the 1960s the top emitters were all rich industrialized nations (with the UK at the top of that list for roughly a century after kicking off the Industrial Revolution). In the mid 20th century China and Russia joined the big boys of carbon pollution. Today China is the biggest emitter, but it’s important to remember that 1) it has well over a billion people, roughly one seventh of the world’s population; and 2) China manufactures a large proportion of the world’s goods. If you put it in per person terms instead, the biggest emitters are all rich countries, with Australia and the USA topping the list. The point is, over the last 200-odd years, the vast bulk of the carbon emissions have come from the rich countries: Europe, North America, Australia, Japan. Apart from Japan, they happen to be Western and white.
2. Climate change deepens existing inequality.
The second key reason why climate change is about human rights, is because due to the uneven nature of its cause, impacts and adaptability, it tends to deepen existing inequalities. As discussed above, the (mostly) white rich nations have by far the most historical responsibility for causing climate change, have benefited the most from carbon-heavy industrialization, and yet it is the mostly black, Asian and Latino countries that will see the most catastrophic climate impacts, despite being poorer and less able to cope with them. But there’s more: obviously many countries are now very multicultural, so race is relevant within countries, too. Case in point of course is the USA: due to the history of racism, black and Latino people are more likely to live in polluted areas. Remember Hurricane Katrina. A much higher proportion of the people who were stranded, lost their home or lost their lives happened to be black.
Of course, you could say it’s not really a case of race, but class. That’s kind of true, although you can’t ignore the reality that people of color tend to be poorer on average. The two are entwined. Arguably the clearest reason climate change is political is because it’s all about class and power. Like usual, the poor are most at risk simply because they are poor so don’t have the required capacity to adapt. They also have less political power, so governments are prone to policymaking that serves the richer classes instead. Whenever a crisis hits, it’s usually the poor who bear the brunt of it. Climate change can also deepen gender inequality, particularly in poor and rural societies that have a gendered division of labor that sees women doing work that is hit by climate change first and worst. For example, women may be gathering water, growing vegetables and gathering firewood, while men of the community are travelling to do paid work in the city or working on an industrial cash-crop farm. In these cases women will have their work more badly hit. Depending on how much understanding of climate change there is in the community, they could potentially be blamed for their lower yields and be seen as less capable, leading to a loss of power and worse prejudice against them. Also existing issues like women having less access to land, less legal rights and social inequality could see single and widowed women finding it harder to cope with climate impacts. Basically, without a huge concerted effort to level the playing field, climate impacts are likely to deepen existing inequalities.
3. Climate action has huge potential to enhance equality and human rights.
Lastly, climate change is political because it doesn’t necessarily need to deepen inequalities; it has the potential to do the opposite. The movements for climate justice and environmental justice are about healing deep wounds of injustice and oppression via environmental action. Climate action can, if done right, be a powerful force for making a society more equal and advancing human rights. It can be a catalyst for positive social change.
A climate strategy could include bringing high-tech green industries to the North of England that has never recovered from the deindustrialization of the 1980s; it could see parks, urban farms and green spaces bought to inner city areas; it could see run-down coastal towns becoming hubs for off-shore wind and marine energy; it could see struggling farms reinvigorated with an increased demand for local food and extra income streams from ecotourism and renewable energy; it could see public transport improve and also become more affordable. Such schemes wouldn’t only lower carbon emissions, they’d also create millions of good jobs, spread wealth more equally across the country, improve public health, regenerate poor neighbourhoods and improve quality of life for everyone – especially those on lower incomes. Also look at the global scale. Climate action has the potential to reduce the sickeningly-enormous gap in living standards, wealth and power between the rich and poor nations via transfers of money and tech. Such actions would not be charity. They would be a good start to paying off the huge debt of injustice discussed earlier. We’re already seeing a glimpse of this: there is an agreement for rich countries to send $100 billion a year in climate funding to poorer countries. Unfortunately this hasn’t been done yet, but it has been signed into the Paris Agreement as a key target. Concerted climate action has the potential to make the world a much fairer place. This is what the climate justice movement is all about.
Sooner or later, we will be moving to a post-carbon world. It could be one in which the rich huddle in their guarded air-conditioned mansions while starving environmental refugees clamour at the gates. Or it could be a brighter more beautiful world, one where we deal with the impacts of climate change with solidarity, cooperation and compassion. What that would look like is uncertain, there are so many possibilities. Personally, I see a world of egalitarian high-density high-tech globally-connected eco-cities surrounded by newly planted forests. So climate change is about way more than carbon. It’s about who lives and dies, who survives and thrives, who has power and who is powerless. Change is coming whether we like it or not, but that change can be harnessed in dramatically different ways. And politics determines what path we will take.
To Save the planet, businesses and investors must be a part of the solution.
Achieving climate and development goals without the full backing of business and investors is not possible. Fortunately, evidence shows that more and more businesses and investors are taking a lead—and saving costs and making money in the process. While the private sector is hugely diverse and different sectors have different contributions to climate change and opportunities to take action, a growing number of businesses have shown that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be linked to significant cost savings and benefits without adverse impact on overall profits or performance.
Indeed, there is evidence that such actions can lead to overall improvements in corporate profitability. At the same time, the emergence of new technologies and the growth of climate policy around the world have created a global market in low-carbon goods and services with a value of around $5.5 trillion, larger than the global pharmaceutical industry. Thus, although many businesses remain powerful opponents of climate-related policies, it is unsurprising that many others are now leading the charge for climate action.
Similarly shareholders and other investor stakeholders are increasingly aware that they need to take responsibility for the emissions associated with financial services provided to clients (called “financed emissions”). Using more than 20 percent of the currently listed coal, oil and gas reserves over the next 40 years would push global warming over the 2°C warming target. This indicates that if we are to meet our climate goals, then a significant portion of such reserves would become stranded assets. Financial investors must end ways to avoid exposure to stranded assets and to take advantage of the growing market in low-carbon goods and services. The scale and influence of major global businesses and investors means that any effort to decarbonize the economy, whether at the global, national or sub-national level, requires their engagement. Public policy plays a key role in requiring or incentivizing businesses to reduce their emissions and in stimulating innovation, but business and investor leadership is also crucial. Such leadership was highlighted in the chair’s conclusions to the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit 2014 and by the Governments of Peru and France, who organized high-level events during recent climate negotiations showcasing business climate action. The Government of France also signaled the importance of business action by mandating the business community to hold a high-level summit dedicated to this topic in May 2015, with nearly 2,000 attendees, which was turned into an annual event with a successor in London in June 2016.
The private sector was active in the run-up to and during the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris—most notably through vehicles such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) Portal, which included commitments of action by 2,090 companies and 448 investors as of April 2016, and the Paris Pledge for Action, signed by over 688 companies and 176 investors with over $11 trillion in assets under management, that committed to help implement and exceed commitments made by governments in Paris. Other initiatives co-led by business that aim to catalyze action around the low-carbon transition include the Low-Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi). It is not just in the climate arena that business leaders have been playing a significant role; in January 2016 the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) was launched with the aim of articulating and quantifying the economic case for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals agreed by governments in September 2015, with global CEOs at the heart of project. The commitments discussed in such fora are almost all the output of international cooperative initiatives. These initiatives bring business and investors together, often with other actors, to deliver activities like target setting and implementation of action such as increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing drivers for deforestation, developing roadmaps for new low-carbon technologies like carbon capture and storage, or agreeing on common reporting and monitoring standards. These initiatives have the potential to shift corporate behavior and scale up impact in significant ways.
Increasing numbers of major companies are taking part in such initiatives, but their coverage is far from universal and the level of their ambition is not yet consistent with a 2°C pathway to stabilize climate change, let alone the aspirational goal of 1.5°C in the Paris Agreement. By collaborating with other private sector partners and with public sector bodies, including national and local governments and international institutions, businesses can significantly increase the impact they are able to have. By working together to set and achieve commitments, businesses can share best practice, prompt positive competition, and improve their confidence that ambitious targets are credible and achievable. By pooling resources to engage with policy-makers, businesses can develop stronger arguments and more efficient engagement strategies. They make their voice more credible by demonstrating greater backing. Finally, to address systemic challenges such as deforestation, or rapid technology substitution, which requires simultaneous action from multiple fronts, businesses are increasingly realizing they need to be part of broad public-private partnerships that can change the terms of a whole market.
The assumption of unchecked exponential growth makes no sense. Production facilities would have to be built for the necessary solar panel and wind turbines.
The assumption of unchecked exponential growth makes no sense. An extrapolation of the historical annual growth rate (39.14%) means that the final doubling of capacity occurs in the last 25.2 months. Huge productions facilities would have to be built for the necessary solar panel and wind turbines – to be used only for a very short time.
What would a more realistic model be? As a biologist, I am acquainted with logistic growth models limited by a capacity factor such as the available food or land. But organisms will reproduce until the capacity is exhausted, often going into overshoot followed by a period of population collapse (die-off). Humans have foresight (at least sometimes). Investors calculate the profitability of investments.
The phenomenon of Climate Change has many other components to worry about as well, in addition to fossil fuel based energy systems. It is not just the transformation of energy scenario alone, which is required. We need an entirely different paradigm to the way we view the nature around us. Even if we assume that the political willingness across the world will allow the possibility of moving over to 100% renewable energy (RE) based scenario by 2040/50, it may not suffice. The enormous number of solar PV modules, wind turbines, batteries, bio-energy units, geo-thermal units, hydropower units, computers, control systems, communication systems, protection systems, energy meters, associated transmission and distribution systems etc. required for such a scenario with a business as usual approach up to 2040/50 will be so much overwhelming that we may end up being the losers anyway. Because, the total energy required by 2040/50 at the global level would have reached such high levels, if we continue with the energy demand growth rate as it is now (which may mean a CAGR of 3 to 5% between now and 2050). In this context, the projected energy scenario in the case of India can be a good example for discussion. The national energy policy draft has projected that India’s (i) energy related Emissions per capita may increase from 1.2 tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent/capita in 2012 to 2.7-3.5 tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent/capita in 2040; (ii) Per capita electricity consumption may go up from 887 kWh in 2012 to 2,911-2,924 kWh in 2040; (iii) CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of electricity supply may be 5.5% between 2012-2040. Most countries from the developing world are likely to have similar growth trajectory, because of which the total energy demand at the global level can be massive by 2040/50. Even if the global energy demand growth rate between now and 2050 is assumed to grow only @ 1% CAGR, the total energy demand would have increased by about 100% as compared to that of the demand today. Even to meet this much energy demand the global economy has to manufacture enormous number of appliances/gadgets/machineries (to generate and distribute commercial forms of energy such as solar power, wind energy, bioenergy, hydel power etc.). Such a vast economic activity alone at the global scale will require the mining and processing of large quantities of the ores of iron, copper, aluminium and many kinds of rare earth minerals, which in turn will require large amounts of energy, most of which may have to come from conventional technology energy sources such as coal power technology. Hence by 2050, the total CO2 emissions (or the total GHG emissions) would have gone much beyond 450 PPM as against the desired level of 350 PPM. And the CO2, which would have been accumulating in the atmosphere during this period, will last for hundreds of years. The ability of various natural elements to control the temperature rise would have been severely curtailed. Many of the natural process, such as glacier melting and ocean acidification, would have become irreversible. The forests and vegetation cover will have to come down considerably, and the pollution/contamination may exceed all limits.
Our current economic systems have become addicted to “growth at all costs”, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They assume that GDP growth is synonymous with increasing wellbeing and prosperity. However this approach has led to growing inequality, an escalating climate crisis, and the depletion of natural and social capital. We are no longer generating genuine progress. Our approach to economics and development needs fundamental transformation.
A global movement is coalescing among a large number of individuals and organizations around the need to shift economies away from a narrow focus on marketed goods and services (i.e. GDP) to one more broadly focused on ‘sustainable wellbeing’. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a step in this direction, encompassing a broad set of 17 goals that go far beyond GDP growth, and include eliminating hunger and poverty, reducing gender and overall inequality, urgent action on climate change, and restoring marine and terrestrial ecosystems. So what is a wellbeing economy? A wellbeing economy has the fundamental goal of achieving sustainable wellbeing with dignity and fairness for humans and the rest of nature. This is in stark contrast to current economies that are wedded to a very narrow vision of development, indiscriminate growth of GDP. A wellbeing economy recognizes that the economy is embedded in society and nature. It must be understood and managed as an integrated, interdependent system.
Wellbeing is the outcome of a convergence of factors, including good human mental and physical health, greater equity and fairness, good social relationships and a flourishing natural environment. Only a holistic approach to prosperity can therefore achieve and sustain wellbeing. A system of economic governance aimed at promoting wellbeing will therefore need to account for all of the impacts (both positive and negative) of economic activity. This includes valuing goods and services derived from a healthy society (social capital) and a thriving biosphere (natural capital). Social and natural capital are part of the commons. They are not (and should not be) owned by anyone in particular, but make significant contributions to sustainable wellbeing. True freedom and success depend on a world where we all prosper and flourish. Institutions serve humanity best when they foster our individual dignity while enhancing our interconnectedness. To thrive, all institutions (including businesses) and society must pivot toward a new purpose: shared wellbeing on a healthy planet. To achieve a wellbeing economy, a major transformation of our world view, society and economy are needed to:
1.Stay within planetary biophysical boundaries – a sustainable size of the economy within our ecological life support system.
2.Meet all fundamental human needs, including food, shelter, dignity, respect, education, health, security, voice, and purpose, among others.
3.Create and maintain a fair distribution of resources, income, and wealth – within and between nations, current and future generations of humans and other species.
4.Have an efficient allocation of resources, including common natural and social capital assets, to allow inclusive prosperity, human development and flourishing. A wellbeing economy recognizes that happiness, meaning, and thriving depend on far more than material consumption.
5.Create governance systems that are fair, responsive, just and accountable.
There are many individuals and groups who have espoused versions of these basic ideas for decades. They may have used different approaches and different languages, but all share common approaches and, above all, a common goal. Perhaps more important are the many individuals and groups already putting the ideas of a wellbeing economy in practice. These include millions of activists and social entrepreneurs of various types from around the world. The challenge is to acknowledge these many diverse initiatives and harmonize these voices, while allowing a diversity of language to communicate with a variety of audiences. WE-All is fundamentally an effort to do just that – to catalyse a cooperative, harmonized, and unified approach to creating a wellbeing economy.
Here are a few examples of the many new directions, experiments, and models of the wellbeing economy already happening around the world.
•The ability to communicate in real time with everyone empowers millions of people at virtually no cost and makes social organizing easier than ever before. Peer-to-peer networking has become a reality, whether sharing information, data, software, goods, services, car rides, accommodation, lending and/or political strategies.
•Renewable energy allows for decentralized systems of production and consumption, turning households into independent nodes of a global network. Costs are now below fossil fuels, despite the $10 million a minute in subsidies that fossil energy still enjoys. Advanced economies and developing nations are already transitioning to renewable energy. Jobs are being lost in the fossil fuel industry, but are on the rise in renewable energies: the US solar sector employs 77% more people than coal mining, creating employment opportunities 17 times as fast as the job creation of the economy as a whole. By 2015, China alone had created 3.5 million renewable energy jobs. In 2016, renewable energy employment was growing at 5% a year globally.
•As the world realises the new era of the ‘anthropocene’ and accepts the UN Sustainable Development Goals businesses around the world begin to protect natural capital and ecosystems.
•The Senegalese government has equipped 100 villages with techniques learned from ecovillages, and aims to creat 14,000 ecovillages. More than a thousand Transition Towns have been initiated across the world.
•As central authorities fail citizens, more states, regions and cities take the lead. From Vermont to California, US states have defied Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement by adopting their own climate change response plans. Civil society organisations are taking the lead in pulling together innovative funding to transform urban areas and at the same time achieve the SDGs. Two hundred city regions will be involved by 2022.
•California committed to double energy efficiency and generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. They will actually achieve this by 2020. Nine New England states require car makers to shift to zero-emission vehicles. New York launched an energy plan to help residents produce and share their own energy. Smart villages using off-the-grid solutions are mushrooming in Asia and Africa. Sweden is on track to become fossil fuel free by 2040.
•Economic and social innovations: Millions of people are rethinking the economy by introducing alternative currencies, most of them in digital format, following the explosion of BitCoin and the ‘blockchain’ process on which it is based. Basic income experiments are underway, in places as diverse as Kenya, Finland and India. Transition Towns have developed a guide for creating resilient local economies and local currencies. The European Union has put forward a circular economy policy.
•More and more countries are joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) so that local people can follow the money generated by companies working within their boarders.
•Regenerative agriculture, pioneered in Africa, South America and South Asia, offers sufficient food for all using methods that restore ecosystems and capture carbon and increase yield.
An economy based on the overriding goal of GDP-growth inevitably crashes through the boundaries of planetary capacity. By affording no value to unexploited resources and assets, and by making no judgments about the quality or meaning or consequence of production and consumption, its growth conflicts with natural and social equilibria. In contrast to this destructive path, the wellbeing economy model specifically strengthens social and natural capital while generating human development. A ‘virtuous circle’ can be created whereby value that is measured in terms of wellbeing feeds the improvements in the human and natural capitals upon which the creation of value depends. The negative impact on the environment will be greatly reduced as the ‘circular economy’ model of resource recycling and systems for up-cycling are integrated into mainstream business models. The ecosystem services that the GDP model considers free of charge will become fully valued components of society’s infrastructure, supported by new common asset governance institutions that connect people more closely to natural ecosystems. Economic ‘growth’ in this model lies not in the exploitation of natural, social, and human resources but in improving the quality and effectiveness of human-to-human and human-to-ecosystem interactions, supported by appropriate enabling technologies.
BRICS, the potential and future in an emerging new world economy.
The BRICS are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Together they make up for almost 50% of the world population and close to one third of the world’s economic output, or GDP. This alone would make them fully independent from the western economy, from the western, what I call, fraudulent dollar-based monetary system. And it will happen – it will happen sooner than the world believes. However, with the current political structure of the BRICS, the relative lack of political and economic coherence, safe for Russia and China, this for the moment is just theory.
The first BRIC summit was held in Russia in June 2009. That was the formal conference to create the BRICS. By 2011, the five countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China – plus South Africa were the five fastest growing emerging markets, and in April 2013, South Africa was added to the BRIC group – to make it formally the BRICS.
For the BRICS to be an effective alternative to the western economy, or the western monetary system, they need a unified political vision, as well as a coherent and unified economic development approach, one that distances itself from the western dollar-euro based system. Unfortunately,today this is not so. But that doesn’t mean it will not happen. It may just take longer than the majority of the world may have liked. Both Brazil and India are totally in the hands of Wall Street, the World Bank and the IMF. In the case of India, you will recall last fall’s deadly monetary fiasco, when PM Narendra Modi decided to cancel more than 80% of the countries circulating cash currency, and as an interim step to replace it with other bills and eventually digitalize the Indian economy.
It is not known how many poor Indians perished, those with no access to bank accounts, those who have no alternative means to pay for food. Uncountable small businesses failed, an important impact on the Indian economy. More, much more inhuman was the impact on the poor average Indians. But – Modi followed the dictate of the west, of Wall Street and the IMF – with a program to test digitalization in alarge emerging economy, implemented by USAID. – How much trust does India under Modi as a BRICS member deserve? And Brazil under neoliberal Temer, who is under accusation of corruption; he has literally handed his country’s economy to the sharks of Wall Street, the IMF and the WB. So, when Temer and Modi stood there holding hands with the other three BRICS members in Xiamen, China on 4th and 5th September – it looked to me like a club that was united only by name. Yet, the theme of this 9th BRICS Conference was BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future. Within BRICS, nothing is ever forced on anyone. When the approaches of its members do not coincide, we work patiently and carefully to coordinate them. This open and trust-based atmosphere is conducive to the successful implementation of our tasks.” 1.Understanding Industrialization / development and the Brics Bank. PK Let’s start with the BRICS development bank, now called New Development Bank (NDB). It emerged as an idea from the Durban BRICS summit in March2013 and was formally created in 2014, and signed as a Treaty in July 2015.
Under the Agreement the BRICS Development Bank, as it was first called – now the NDB, they set up a “reserve currency pool” of US $ 100 billion. Each of the five-member countries was to allocate an equal share of the US $ 50 billion start-up capital, to be expanded later to the US $100 billion. Contributions per country were, Brazil, $18 billion, Russia $18 billion, India $18 billion, China $41 billion and South Africa $5 billion. The problem is that the initial capital and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) of US $ 100 billion was set up in US dollars. How canthey break loose from the western dollar-based monetary system, if their contribution is dollar based?
Also, South Africa and Brazil are heavily indebted – in US dollars. South Africa’s current debt is today above 50% (US $ 153 billion) of GDP which stands just below 300 billion. To comply with their contribution to the dollar-denominated CRA, Brazil and SA may have to borrow from where? – Wall Street, or the IMF, as the CRA is a dollar reserve fund. This puts these countries even more into a dollar bondage, in the hands of the FED and the Bretton Woods Organizations – instead of freeing them from this predicament.
South Africa’s interest on foreign debt of $153 billion was about US $ 5 billion (2016). Foreign debt is almost 52% of SA’s GDP of close toUS $ 300 billion. The US $ 5 billion debt payments are higher than the country’s spending on tertiary education (about R60 billion / US $ 4.6 billion equivalent). This is also a good reason to detach from a debt-based monetary system – and, as originally was planned by the BRICS – migrate towards a BRICS own monetary and international payment system – similar to the one already introduced to the world by China – the Chinese International Payment System (CIPS).
On Industrialization, the NDB will certainly help boost industrialization within each of the BRICS countries, but also among the BRICS countries – and even outside the BRICS nations, as trade will increase. At present the NDB has approved seven investment projects in the BRICS countries, worth around $1.5 billion.This year, the NDB is to approve a second package of investment projects worth $2.5 to $3 billion in total. Although it is not clear what precisely these projects entail, the original idea for the NDB was to support infrastructure and energy projects within the BRICS countries. There is a big need for infrastructure and independent energy production. Of course, infrastructure and energy development, means also industrialization and trade.
PK A solid BRICS cooperation, as well as an own development bank, will most likely attract – and through the NDB leverage – new investments. This was one of the goals discussed during the Xiamen summit. The amount of which is difficult to predict, but Indian PM Modi has talked about an expected 40% increase over the next few years. But even if India or any BRICS country receives foreign investments, it will be difficult to discern which investments are directly related to the new BRICS strength, as so fervently expressed in Xiamen.
More importantly is the diversification of investments, as well as the related trade. There are currentlyseveral countries on a “wait list” to become members of the BRICS. For example, South Korea and Mexico (both are OECD members), Indonesia, Turkey, Argentina, have been mentioned. Trade between emerging and developing markets has already been increasing more rapidly than “globalized average trade” for which WTO imposes the rules. Trade and thus, diversification, between BRICS countries, or better even, an enlarged BRICS block, could really boom. It would be a sort of ‘globalization’ with most trade barriers removed, of a peace-oriented economy, one that strives for the well-being of the people, rather than an elite, and of course, an economy that does not work for the war industry, as does the western dollar-based economy.
For that reason, it will be important that the BRICS detach themselves from the western dollar-based economy and eventually have their own currency. At the Xiamen summit, this was discussed in some ways. The five members have agreed to promote and develop BRICS Local Currency Bond Markets and jointly establish a BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund, as a means of contribution to the capital sustainability of financing in BRICS countries, boosting the development of BRICS domestic and regional bond markets.
This comes pretty close to what the Euro was before it became Fiat money, i.e. it was the European Currency Unit(ECU) that then converted into the virtual Euro, before in January 2002, the Euro became paper and dollar like Fiat money. By now we know that the US drove this European currency effort, establishing the euro as the foster child of the US dollar, totally unsustainable as a unitary currency of a group of countries that have no common political interests and goals, that have no common Constitution. Their only common denominator is NATO, their permanent drive for war. It was clear from the beginning that such a project will be doomed to fail. Hopefully, the BRICS will learn a lesson from this failed exercise, and only with a strong bond that includes political, economic and defense long-term goals, a common currency can flourish. In Xiamen, the BRICS also established the Strategy for “BRICS Economic Partnership and initiatives related to its priority areas such as trade and investment, manufacturing and minerals processing, infrastructure connectivity, financial integration, science, technology and innovation, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) cooperation, among others. All this for sustainable, balanced and inclusive global growth.
This Strategy already is indicative for a different development and monetary approach than was the one that laid the cornerstone for the European Union.
This will be interesting to see emerging. In the medium term, a full integration between the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the BRICS. Several countries are already today members of both associations; for example, Russia and China, recently also India joined the SCO. The SCO also comprises most of central Asia, the former Soviet Republics, and also new Iran and Pakistan. The SCO has already a common long-term objective, in economic development, political vision, as well as defense strategy.
During therecent Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, President Putin and President Xi announced cementing of the fusion between the Eurasian Economic Union(EUAU) and the new ‘Silk Road’, also called “OneBelt One Road” (OBOR), or for short “OBI” – the OneBelt Initiative. Since OBI is largely driven by SCO, i.e. by China, this also means that the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union are part of SCO. Imagine, the economic power of the entire group SCO, EAEU and BRICS…. Western supremacy will be a thing of the past. This means worldwide trading – but without the dollar hegemony, without an economic and monetary systems that allows Washington to impose “sanctions” outrageous and illegal punishments on countries that refuse to follow their dictate. Its high time that this high crime stops. And that we reinstate international law which today is completely ‘bought’ by Washington.
Today it is clear to most progressive and forward-looking economists that the future is the east; the west has practically committed suicide with its constant wars for greed and dominance and disrespect for the very peoples that foot the western empire’s war bills.
Brics development bank vs World Bank.
PK Yes, the original idea was that the BRICS New Development Bank will be able to compete with the WB and the IMF. In other words, by applying non-neoliberal economic policies and with loans that do not impose austerity which, as we know, is devastating for economic development – but will promote peoples’ based development, aiming at a more just income and wealth distribution. This is not yet the case. The problem is that the BRICS bank’s initial capital and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) of US $100 billion was set up in US dollars. Also, as said before, South Africa and Brazil are heavily indebted, in US dollars, an existing bondage that is difficult to break. But not impossible!
The same is true for the Chinese Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), whose capital of currently also US $100 billion is also dollar denominated, and of which about US $18 billion is paid in. It is very likely that the NDB and the AIIB will work together in the future, and jointly break the strangle hold of the WB and the IMF. In order todo so, they both need to totally break loose from the dollar economy – which is about to happen, perhaps soon, with the enactment of the Chinese Petrol exchange in Shanghai, where trading will NOT be in US dollars but in gold-convertible Yuan. A possible solution is an SCO-BRICS currency basket, similar to the IMFs Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket which currently consist of 5 currencies, the US-dollar, British Pound, Euro, Yen and since October 2016 also the Chinese Yuan. This may start out as a virtual currency for external trade, while each country preserves her own monetary system. It looks like a brighter future is ahead.
Challenging the Dollar: China and Russia's Plan from Petroyuan to Gold.
US military power is on the decline, and the effects are palpable. In a world full of conflicts brought on by Washington, the economic and financial shifts that are occurring are formany countries a long-awaited and welcome development. If we were to identify what uniquely fuels American imperialism and its aspirations for global hegemony, the role of the US dollar would figure prominently. An exploration of the depth of the dollar’s effects on the world economy is therefore necessary in order to understand the consequential geopolitical developments that have occurred over the last few decades. The reason the dollar plays such an important role in the world economy is due to the following three major factors:
the petrodollar; the dollar as world reserve currency; and Nixon's decision in 1971 to no longer make the dollar convertible into gold.
As is easy to guess, the petrodollar strongly influenced the composition of the SDR basket, making the dollar the world reserve currency, spelling grave implications for the global economy due to Nixon's decision to eliminate the dollar’s convertibility into gold. Most of the problems for the rest of the world began from a combination of these three factors.
The reason why the United States has been able to fuel this global demand for dollars is linked to the need for other countries to own dollars in order to be able to buy oil and other goods. It may seem unbelievable, but practically all countries until a few years ago used US dollars to trade amongst each other, even countries that were anti-American and against US imperialist policies.
The largest geo-economic change in the last fifty years was arguably implemented in 1973 with the agreement between OPEC, Saudi Arabia and the United States to sell oil exclusively in dollars. Specifically, Nixon arranged with Saudi King Faisal for Saudis to only accept dollars as a payment for oil and related investments, recycling billions of excess dollars into US treasury bills and other dollar-based financial resources. In exchange, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries came under American military protection. It reminds one of a mafia-style arrangement: the Saudis are obliged to conduct business in US dollars according to terms and conditions set by the US with little argument, and in exchange they receive generous protection.
The second factor, perhaps even more consequential for the global economy, is the dollar becoming the world reserve currency and maintaining a predominant role in the basket of international foreign-exchange reserves of the IMF ever since 1981. The role of the dollar, linked obviously to the petrodollar trade, has almost always maintained a share of more than 40% of the Special Drawing Right (SDR)basket, while the euro has maintained a stable shareof 29-37% since 2001. In order to understand the economic change in progress, it is sufficient to observe that the yuan is now finally included in the SDR, with an initial 10% share that is immediately higher than the yen (8.3%) and sterling(8.09%) but significantly less than the dollar (41%) and euro (31%). Slowly but significantly Yuan currency is becoming more and more used in global trade.
The reason why the United States has been able to fuel this global demand for dollars is linked to the need for other countries to own dollars in order to be able to buy oil and other goods. For example, if a Bolivian company exports bananas to Norway, the payment method requires the use of dollars. Norway must therefore own US currency to pay and receive the goods purchased. Similarly, the dollars Bolivia receives will be used to buy other necessities like oil from Venezuela. It may seem unbelievable, but practically all countries until a few years ago used US dollars to trade amongst each other, even countries that were anti-American and against US imperialist policies.
This continued use of the dollar has had some devastating effects on the globe. First of all, the intense use of the American currency, coupled with Nixon’s decisions, created an economic standard based on the dollar that soon replaced precious metals like gold, which had been the standard for the global economy for years. This has led to major instability and to economic systems that have in the proceeding years created disastrous financial policies, as seen in 2000 and 2008, for example. The main source of economic reliability transferred from gold to dollars, specifically to US treasury bills. This major shift allowed the Federal Reserve to print dollars practically without limit (as seen in recent years with interests rates for borrowing money from the FED at around 0%), well aware that the demand for dollars would never cease, this also keeping alive huge sectors of private and public enterprises (such as the fracking industry). This set a course for a global economic system based on financial instruments like derivatives and other securities instead of real, tangible goods like gold. In doing this for its own benefit, the US has created the conditions for a new financial bubble that could even bring down the entire world economywhen it bursts.
The United States found itself in the enviable position of being able to print pieces of paper (simply IOU’s) without any gold backing and then exchange them for real goods.
This economic arrangement has allowed Washington to achieve an unparalleled strategic advantage over its geopolitical opponents (initially the USSR, now Russia and China), namely, a practically unlimited dollar spending capacity even as it accumulates an astronomical public debt (over 21 trillion dollars). The destabilizing factor for the global economy has been Washington's ability to accumulate enormous amounts of public debt without having to worry about the consequences or even of any possible mistrust international markets may have for the dollar. Countries simply needed dollars for trade and bought US treasures to diversify their financial assets.
The continued use of the dollar as a means of payment for almost everything, coupled with the nearly infinite capacity of the of FED to print money and the Treasury to issue bonds, has led the dollar to become the primary safe refuge for organizations, countries and individuals, legitimizing this perverse financial system that has affected global peace for decades. The problems for the United States began in the late 1990s, at a time of expansion for the US empire following the demise of the Soviet Union. The stated geopolitical goal was the achievement of global hegemony. With unlimited spending capacity and an ideology based on American exceptionalism, this attempt seemed to be within reach for the policymakers at the Pentagon and Wall Street. A key element for achieving global hegemony consisted of stopping China, Russia and Iran from creating a Eurasian area of integration. For many years, and for various reasons, these three countries continued to conduct large-scale trade in US dollars, bowing to the economic dictates of a fraudulent financial system created for the benefit of the United States. China needed to continue in its role of becoming the world's factory, always having accepted dollar payments and buying hundreds of billions of US treasury bills. With Putin, Russia began almost immediately to de-dollarize, repaying foreign debts in dollars, trying to offload this economic pressure. Russia is today one of the countries in the world with the least amount of public and private debt denominated in dollars, and the recent prohibition on the use of US dollars in Russian seaports is the latest example. For Iran, the problem has always been represented by sanctions, creating great incentives to bypass the dollar and find alternative means of payment.
The decisive factor that changed the perception of countries like China and Russia was the 2008 financial crisis, as well as growing US aggression ever since the events in Yugoslavia in 1999. The Iraq war, along with other factors, prevented Saddam from starting an oil trade in euro, which threatened the dollar's financial hegemony in the Middle East. War and the America’s continued presence in Afghanistan stressed Washington’s intentions to continue encircling China, Russia and Iran in order to prevent any Eurasian integration. Naturally, the more the dollar was used in the world, the more Washington had the power to spend on the military. For the US, paying a bill of 6 trillion dollars (this is the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) has been effortless, and this constitutes an unparalleled advantage over countries like China and Russia whose military spending in comparison is a fifth and a tenth respectively. The repeated failed attempts to conquer, subvert and control countries like Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Donbass, North Korea, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Venezuela, have had significant effects on the perception of US military power. In military terms, Washington faced numerous tactical and strategic defeats, with the Crimean peninsula returning to Russia without a shot fired and with the West unable to react. In Donbass, the resistance inflicted huge losses on the NATO-supported Ukrainian army. In North Africa, Egypt is now under the control of the army, following an attempt to turn the country into a state under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Libya, after being destroyed, is now divided into three entities, and like Egypt seems to be looking with favorable regard towards Moscow and Beijing. In the Middle East, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq are increasingly cooperating in stabilizing regional conflicts, where needed they are backed by Russian military power and Chinese economic strength. And of course the DPRK continues to ignore US military threats and hasfully developed its conventional and nuclear deterrent, effectively making those US threats null and void.
Color revolutions, hybrid warfare, economic terrorism, and proxy attempts to destabilize these countries have had devastating effects on Washington's military credibility and effectiveness. The United States finds itself being considered by many countries to be a massive war apparatus that struggles to get what it wants, struggles to achieve coherent common goals, and even lacks the capability to control countries like Iraq and Afghanistan in spite of its overwhelming military superiority.
Until a few decades ago, any idea of straying away from the petrodollar was seen as a direct threat to American global hegemony, requiring of a military response. In 2017, given the decline in US credibility as a result of triggering wars against smaller countries (leaving aside countries like Russia, China, and Iran that have military capabilities the likes of which the US has not faced for more than seventy years), a general recession from the dollar-based system is taking place in many countries.
In recent years, it has become clear to many nations opposing Washington that the only way to adequately contain the fallout from the collapsing US empire is to progressively abandon the dollar. This serves to limit Washington’s capacity for military spending by creating the necessary alternative tools in the financial and economic realms that will eliminate Washington's dominance. This is essential in the Russo-Sino-Iranian strategy to unite Eurasia and thereby render the US irrelevant. De-dollarization for Beijing, Moscow and Tehran has become a strategic priority. Eliminating the unlimited spending capacity of the FED and the American economy means limiting US imperialist expansion and diminishing globald estabilization. Without the usual US military power to strengthen and impose the use of US dollars, China, Russia and Iran have paved the way for important shifts in the global order.
The US shot itself in the foot by accelerating this process through their removal of Iran from the SWIFT system (paving the way for the Chinese alternative, known as CIPS) and imposing sanctions on countries like Russia, Iran and Venezuela. This also accelerated China and Russia’s mining and acquisition of physical gold, which is in direct contrast to the situation in the US, with rumors of the FED no longer possessing any more gold. It is no secret that Beijing and Moscow are aiming for a gold-backed currency if and when the dollar should collapse. This has pushed unyielding countries to start operating in a non-dollar environment and through alternative financial systems. A perfect example of how this is being achieved can be seen with Saudi Arabia, which has represented the crux of the petrodollar. Beijing has started putting strong pressure on Riyadh to start accepting yuan payments for oil instead of dollars, as are other countries such as the Russian Federation. For Riyadh, this is an almost existential issue. Riyadh is in a delicate situation, dedicated as it is to keeping the US dollar tied to oil, even though its main ally, the US, has pursued in the Middle East a contradictory strategy, as seen with the JCPOA agreement. Iran, the main regional enemy of Saudi Arabia, was able to have sanctions lifted (especially from Europeans countries) thanks to the JCPOA. In addition, Iran was able to pursue a historic victory with its allies in Syria, gaining a preeminent role in the region and aspiring to become a regional powerhouse. Riyadh is obliged to obey the US, an ally that does not care about its fate in the region (Iran is increasingly influential in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon) and is even competing in the oil market. To make matters worse for Washington, China is Riyadh’s largest customer; and considering the agreements with Nigeria and Russia, Beijing can safely stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia should Riyadh continue to insist on receiving payment only in dollars. This would badly hurt the petrodollar, a perverse system that damages China and Russia most of all.
For China, Iran and Russia, as well as other countries, de-dollarizationhas become a pressing issue. The number of countries that are beginning to see the benefits of a decentralized system, as opposed to the US dollar system, is increasing. Iran and India, but also Iran and Russia, have often traded hydrocarbons in exchange for primary goods, thereby bypassing American sanctions.
Likewise, China's economic power has allowed it to open a 10-billion-euro lineof credit to Iran to circumvent recent sanctions. Even the DPRK seems to use crypto currencies likebitcoin to buy oil from China and bypass US sanctions. Venezuela (with the largest oil reserves in the world) has just started a historic move to completely renounce selling oil in dollars, and has announced that it will start receiving money in a basket of currencies without US dollars. (This is not to mention the biggest change to have occurred in the last 40 years). Beijing will buy gas and oil from Russia by paying in yuan, with Moscow being able to convert yuan into gold immediately thanks to the Shanghai International Energy Exchange. This gas-yuan-gold mechanism signals a revolutionary economic change through the progressive abandonment of the dollar in trade.
The climate crisis and economic policy choices.
A major issue in climate economics is whether it is possible to halt the growth in carbon emissions and to achieve, instead, a rapid reduction. Carbon emissions will never fall at a sufficient rate in a growth economy. An entirely different way of thinking about climate issues is needed, one that is consistent with the limits to growth paradigm. The alternative way of framing the climate debate is:
• Humanity is faced with the high likelihood of a catastrophic ecological tipping point and this crisis is part of a general crisis at the limits to economic growth
• There are many unknowns at that tipping point – beyond which there might be runaway climate change because of feedback
• This tipping point imposes the need for an absolute limit on what can safely be emitted and what must be clawed back out of the atmosphere – given the uncertainty with a need for a high margin of safety
• This limit trumps any growth agenda because the danger is so great and ecological scale limits must be imposed in physical quantities (e.g. of allowed carbon emissions) before the market can be allowed to operate
• The limits to economic growth require that climate policy be part of a more general transition of society and economy for which efforts must be made to enrol everyone.
• Techno-innovation may have a role in the transition but will not be the sole or even the main method of reducing energy consumption – moral, cultural, behavioural and other changes are also needed.
• Limits need to be imposed as equitably as possible as part of the larger transition
• We need to get on with this task now, as a matter of urgency
To grow the economy and reduce carbon emissions at the same time can be done with various proponents of degrowth not denying that it is possible to increase the efficiency with which energy and materials are used in the economy. They do not deny that the amount of carbon emitted per unit of output can be decreased.
The question at stake here is whether it is possible to grow the economy and, at the very same time, achieve an absolute reduction in the throughput of energy and materials, that is, to decouple growth from increased material and energy usage. More specifically, in relation to the climate crisis, is it possible to grow the economy and reduce carbon emissions at the same time? Various proponents of degrowth do not deny that it is possible to increase the efficiency with which energy and materials are used in the economy. They do not deny that the amount of carbon emitted per unit of output can be decreased.
No good or service can be produced without energy – even “information” requires energy to run the computers or make and print books, magazines and newspapers. As the economy grows it requires more energy and, because virtually all energy in our society is generated by burning carbon fuels, that means more CO2 emissions.
In the past, It was showed that energy production and world GDP are highly correlated and, since most of the energy is derived from fossil fuels, this involves increased emissions. Unless the connection between growth of production and growth of emissions can be broken, and to a sufficient extent, there can be no reduction of carbon emissions without an end to growth – indeed without contraction.
It may be that depleting fossil fuel supplies and the production crunch brought about by rising energy and material costs that was described in an earlier chapter, will achieve a considerable turn down in carbon emissions anyway. This would not be a particularly pleasant resolution of the crisis but it would certainly change the conditions in which the climate crisis would have to be resolved. On the other hand, the global power elite appear to be hell bent on continuing to extract and use carbon based fossil energy if they can, so we cannot totally be sure if things will evolve into this kind of crunch. This is despite the fact that in 2012 the International Energy Agency acknowledged that 2/3 of recoverable carbon in fuels needs to stay in the ground up to 2050 to have any change of staying below a temperature increase of 2degrees C. This matches findings from the IPCC working group 3. (IPCC.WG3.Final Draft AR5. Presentation 2014)
There is plenty of carbon here to bring greenhouse gas concentration levels well above 600 ppm. As we have already seen, fracking for shale gas is just one of several options being pursued to get new fossil energy sources out of the ground in the face of the depletion gradients, bringing with it the threat of high fugitive methane losses. Underground gasification of coal is another technology based on extracting the energy from deep coal seams by partially burning it underground to extract the energy in the form of syngas. When it comes to the surface, syngas can be burned to generate electricity. If this can be made to work, there are unfortunately very large reserves of coal in the world that can still be used as energy sources.
Worse still, attempts are being made to tap “frozen” methane from the oceans called methane hydrates. This is a dangerous process because methane hydrate unfreezes from its crystalline form directly into methane gas and, when it does so, it enormously expands in volume. The process is thus, very unstable and explosive.
The different components to explain the growth (or reduction) in total emissions are growth of the economy measured as GDP per capita (GDP/population); growth of the population; the energy intensity needed per unit of economic output (energy/GDP) and the emission intensity of that energy (CO2e/energy).
It can be readily appreciated that emissions from the last two components can be reduced as a result of:
• Increasing energy efficiency – the amount of energy used per unit of economic output/service is reduced brought about by more insulation in buildings, lighter more efficient vehicles, machinery etc.
• Decarbonising energy sources – the amount of carbon used in generating energy is reduced by switching to renewables – wind, solar, tidal, wave etc. It also requires changes to the grid to balance for “intermittency” as well as switching to an electric infrastructure (e.g. electric cars)
With global population increasing at 1.3% and the global per capita income increasing at 1.4% per year in real terms, the required technical improvement (reduction) in carbon intensity is greater than 2.7% (1.4% + 1.3%) per year. So what has the rate of technical improvement been? Carbon intensity has only been improving at 0.7% per annum. Thus, emissions have been increasing at 2% per annum. While the efficiency with which the global economy uses energy, as measured by the energy/GDP ratio, has continued to improve, the slow decarbonisation of the global energy supply has been put into reverse. The carbon intensity of energy is actually increasing, particularly as more coal is being used. The fact that there is so little sign of hope appears to be because, as depletion has driven up oil and gas supplies and prices, coal is being turned to instead, as well as more emission intensive sources of oil and gas (like Canadian tar sands and shale). Keeping global climate close to a safe range will require a long-term atmospheric CO2 level of about 350 ppm or less. If emissions reduction had begun in 2005, reduction at 3.5%/year would have achieved 350 ppm at 2100. Now the requirement is at least 6%/year. Delay of emissions reductions until 2020 requires a reduction rate of 15%/year to achieve 350 ppm in 2100. If we assume only 50 GtC reforestation, and begin emissions reduction in 2013, the required reduction rate becomes about 9%/year.
Just to stop global emissions growing, if GDP growth rates are 2.7% pa then carbon intensity must reduce at 2.7% per annum, which is nearly 4 times the current rate of improvement. In order for emissions to fall at 10% per annum, if growth continued at 2.7% pa, this would require carbon intensity to improve (reduce) at 12.7 % per annum. This is 18 times the current rate of improvement. Dangerous climate change can only be avoided if economic growth is exchanged for a period of planned austerity within Annex 1 nations at the same time as there is a rapid transition away from fossil-fuelled development within non-Annex 1 nations.
An organised agency can be found with the political will and power to set an absolute ceiling on the amount of carbon based fuels that are allowed into the economy.
Perhaps 1% of the global population accounts for 50% of all emissions and if we take the top 5% we are talking about the top 60% of emissions. It is above all the carbon intensity of the lifestyle of the global elite that is taking us all to climate hell, and it is the lifestyle of this elite that needs to be tackled. Of course, saying this begs the political question of how such a policy can be brought about, but we will park that question at this point and come back to it later. The assumption for now is that some organised agency can be found with the political will and power to set an absolute ceiling on the amount of carbon based fuels that are allowed into the economy. Or, put the other way around, an agency is created with the power to keep most remaining fossil fuels in the ground untouched. This will then, in turn, force a number of other processes such as:
• Lifestyle changes – eating less meat which is an energy and carbon intense foodstuff; cycling and walking more and less travel; more growing your own food; voluntary reductions in consumption with a culture of “sufficiency” reductions.
• Energy efficiency in buildings, production, transport plus…
• Renewable generation: wind; solar voltaics + thermal, concentrated solar power; hydro, tidal, wave power; some bio-
• Technologies to complement renewables: electric storage technologies and grid balancing
• Land use changes, ecological design, organic agriculture with protection against deforestation and degradation of peat lands; and
• Enhancement of carbon sequestration in land and biomass
But is it possible to impose a carbon price (or a cap)? How is it possible to drive a process of decarbonisation? What can be done about emissions from land use changes and deforestation? What is to be done about other sources of global warming like black carbon, methane emissions, N2O emissions, HCFCs and so on? There are lots of questions in climate policy that need answers. It is not straightforward by any means.
The very idea of a “cap” is greeted with scepticism by many climate activists because current policies of “cap and trade” have been so ineffectual. But, to be fair, the word “cap” has been abused. A “cap” should mean an absolute limit but in current policy frameworks it is no such thing. The so called “cap” operated by the European Union does not function as a real restraint. It has been designed to leak because fossil fuel business interests had control of the policy making process and the policy making implementation. The problem is not with the idea of a cap. It should not surprise that the cap and trade policy in Europe has failed. As we have seen repeatedly, policy is written by the polluters for the polluters and when the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme was set up, it was no exception. For a long time, the major fossil fuel suppliers had resisted any restraint on emissions but, at the end of the 1990s, some of them changed tack.
The starting point for understanding how a cap should work are the following easily available conversion figures. They show the carbon content of different fuels when burned, reduced to a common measure. Thus, 1 kg CO2 = 1 Carbon Unit (Note the Global Warming Potential of non-CO2 warming gases like methane are measured in units called “Carbon dioxide equivalents” which are noted with an “e” after CO2, as in “CO2e”). As examples natural gas = 0.18404 carbon units per kWh or industrial coal = 0.31304 carbon units per kWh (a tonne of industrial coal = 2339.1 carbon units) For each physical quantity of a particular kind of fuel, or for each quantity of energy, it can readily be calculated how much CO2 will be emitted when that quantity is burned. If the political will could be found, it is therefore entirely possible to construct a policy administration that could control how much carbon can be allowed to be burned in any time period. All fossil fuel sales would be banned unless first authorised by a permit. The number of permits, which would be denominated in carbon units, would be limited and reduced rapidly year on year.
In order to acquire some of the limited numbers of permits, the fossil fuel sellers would have to obtain them. As is obvious, the permits would be very expensive to buy if the cap were tight enough. The fossil fuel sellers would pass on the permit cost to their customers so that the price of fossil fuels would rise, perhaps very considerably. The prices of goods made with large amounts of fossil fuels would also rise. This would not be at all popular and would particularly hit people with a carbon intensive lifestyle, which, as we have seen already, is largely the very rich. However, poor people would be hit too. That is why it would be necessary that the large amount of money raised when permits are sold, should be recycled back to the population on a per capita or some other equitable basis. It might also be necessary to do more to help the high carbon poor in countries like the USA but that is a detail that I will not go into here. This scheme would cut the carbon intensive lifestyle of the rich most, while making a very large number of poor people better off, at least in the early stages of the process. The reason that they will be better off is that if the revenue from carbon permit sales is recycled back to the public on a per capita basis, then everyone, rich or poor, will get exactly the same amount of the revenue from permit sales. However, the poor tend to have a less carbon intensive lifestyle. Although prices for their lifestyle will rise, they will still get more from their share of the carbon permit revenues than they will pay extra in rising prices.
The 1%”, however, will be paying a huge amount more because, directly and indirectly, their energy intensive lifestyle accounts for 50% of all carbon emissions and carbon will have become very expensive. Despite this, they will only be getting back the same share from the carbon permit revenues as everyone else. A majority would be in favour of maintaining a tight cap, since they gain financially. This is a force to counterbalance the vested interests who would push for a cap to be relaxed or abandoned, and this counterbalance gives a certain political robustness to C&S in the face of shocks and political events. If such a scheme was adopted in 2020, the number of carbon units permitted would need to be reduced by at least 10% per annum to have an outside chance of the planet staying under 2 degrees C. A reduction of available energy of this magnitude, if at all possible, would need to drive a massive reduction of production, chiefly, the production of things that enter into carbon intensive lifestyle of rich people in the manner explained above.
A policy that would lead to a very dramatic process of “degrowth” because production is dependent on energy. With fossil energy availability radically reduced by a cap that really bites, the amount of production in the economy would be driven downwards.
An upstream cap imposed on sellers of coal, oil and gas can cover all fossil fuels entering the economy and would be simple to impose, at least in administrative terms. Most countries already impose duties on fossil fuel sales so there are procedures already in place monitoring the input of fossil fuels into different economies.
Obviously, administrative simplicity is only a part of the problem of setting and operating a cap. Driving a contraction of the economy would be immensely unpopular, unless accompanied by multiple other policies and social changes to enable billions of people to achieve dramatic changes in their lifestyles. These changes should be, above all, concentrated on the rich and would have to be made anyway because of depleting fossil energy and materials resources. Needless to say, this is nothing like the working of the policy architecture designed in Europe by BP, its corporate allies and government. The European Union policy was designed, consciously or unconsciously, to deflect direct controls away from the fossil fuel industry onto its customers. It is riddled with loopholes and special clauses that make it easy for large businesses to game the system and generally to make it unworkable. Because of business pressure so many permits have been issued that there is no real restraint on emissions in practice. Rather than having a direct control over what fossil fuels are allowed into the economy, the policy architecture has been focused upon the users and uses of fossil fuels at the demand end. In the jargon, the policy is imposed “downstream” rather than “upstream”. As is obvious, the number of users and uses of fossil fuels “downstream” is much greater than the number of suppliers “upstream”.
It would have made sense to control emissions by capping the amount of fossil fuels going into the system at the source of initial supply. This is called capping the emissions “upstream”. The fossil fuel suppliers would have to have emissions permits (indicated by the yellow rectangles) to cover the emissions caused by the fossil fuels they bring into the system. What happened instead in Europe was that the ETS was imposed downstream on large fossil fuel users. These are companies running power stations, cement works, steel mills and the like. This covers 45% of the EU’s CO2 emissions. Individuals are not covered in this scheme but could be through “personal carbon trading” (PCA), based on “personal carbon accounts”. The problem is that this would be administratively complex. Everyone would have to have their own personal carbon account, presumably by using a carbon card rather like a debit or credit card. In the early stages of the European ETS, most permits to emit were initially distributed to the main emitters for free. This meant that, to the extent that the permits had any market value, it was the companies that captured their value. The mechanism and reasoning worked like this: companies that have to surrender their permits because they have been emitting CO2 reason that, because the surrendered permits have a market value, surrendering them means the loss of this market value to the company. Thus, as far as the company is concerned, this loss when their permits are surrendered is one of their costs of operation. So, even though they were given the permits in the first place, they pass on this “cost” to their customers in increased prices. Because it was designed by pushers of fossil fuels, the European Union established a system that runs on a “pay the polluter” principle. The idea is supposed to be that, over time, more of the permits will be auctioned by states which will capture the revenue raised. However, there has been some dragging of feet on this and governments are reluctant to implement this system in favour of their fossil fuel corporations. Poland has even wanted to use revenues arising from ETS permits to subsidise new coal fired power stations.
The Earth’s atmosphere is a Nature's resource that ought to be managed as a global commons.
What is at stake as regards who gets the carbon permit revenue is the question of who owns the right to use the earth’s atmosphere. The implication of allowing companies to capture the market value of the permits is that the right to use the earth’s atmosphere belongs to them. The implication of auctioning and revenues going to governments is that the right belongs to states. The idea that the earth’s atmosphere might “belong” to all of us – and that all of us have a responsibility for it – does not appear to have ever occurred to economists, corporate lobbyists, officials or politicians. Nevertheless, there have been more astute commentators who have grasped what is going on. Parcelling out shares of the global atmospheric commons to be exchanged among trading partners appears to be strikingly similar to the enclosure of the communal forests in 18th century Europe. Just as the enclosures put in place both property rights and forest protection, denying access to the common people, the assignment of emissions permits ensures protection by granting property rights, eliminating unregulated use by any player involved. Policy is not made on a level playing field and the ETS, with all its weaknesses, is what we have ended up with. It has been complemented within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol with a scheme called the “Clean Development Mechanism”. One can manipulate economic relationships in order to make environmentally benign behaviour pay in money terms. Good environmental/climate ends are achieved by means of incentive schemes which make them financially worthwhile.
The idea was to encourage “developing” country projects in renewable energy, energy efficiency and fuel switching which would not have otherwise taken place. What was supposed to happen was that “emissions reductions” in “developing” countries would entitle projects to credits. The number of credits were to be calculated by comparing actual emissions by the project concerned to a baseline of what would have otherwise have happened if the project had made no efforts to reduce its emissions.
Why the Extinction Crisis Isn't Just About the Environment, but Social Justice. An anti-capitalist movement against extinction must be framed in terms of a refusal to turn land, people, flora, and fauna into commodities. The genomic information of plants, animals, and human beings is the common wealth of the planet, and all efforts to make use of this environmental commons must be framed around principles of equality, solidarity, and environmental and climate justice.
The extinction crisis is an environmental issue and a social justice issue, one that is linked to long histories of capitalist domination over specific people, animals, and plants. The extinction crisis needs to be seen as a key element in contemporary struggles against accumulation by dispossession. This crisis, in other words, ought to be a key issue in the fight for climate justice. If techno-fixes such as deextinction facilitate new rounds of biocapitalist accumulation, . We must reject capitalist biopiracy and imperialist enclosure of the global commons, particularly when they cloak themselves in arguments about preserving biodiversity. Most of all, an anti-capitalist conservation movement must challenge the privatization of the genome as a form of intellectual property, to be turned into an organic factory for the benefit of global elites. Synthetic biology should be regulated. The genomic information of plants, animals, and human beings is the common wealth of the planet, and all efforts to make use of this environmental commons must be framed around principles of equality, solidarity, and environmental and climate justice.
What would be the shape and fundamental goals of an expansive anti-capitalist movement against extinction and for environmental justice? It would have to commence with open recognition by the developed nations of the long history of ecocide. Such an admission would lead to a consequent recognition of the biodiversity debt owed by the wealthy nations of the global North to the South. Building on the demands articulated by the climate justice movement, the anti-capitalist conservation movement must demand the repayment of this biodiversity debt. How would this repayment take place? The climate justice movement’s call for a universal guaranteed income for inhabitants of nations who are owed climate debt should serve as a model here. Why not begin a model initiative for such a carbon and biodiversity-based guaranteed income program in the planet’s biodiversity hotspots? Of the twenty five terrestrial biodiversity hotspots, fifteen are covered primarily by tropical rainforests, and consequently are also key sites for the absorption of carbon pollution. These threatened ecosystems include the moist tropical woodlands of Brazil’s Atlantic coast, southern Mexico with Central America, the tropical Andes, the Greater Antilles, West Africa, Madagascar, the Western Ghats of India, Indo-Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Caledonia. They make up only 1.4% of the Earth’s surface, and yet, these regions are the exclusive homes of 44% of the world’s plant species and more than a third of all species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. All of these areas are under heavy assault from the forces of enclosure and ecocide. A universal guaranteed income for the inhabitants of these hotspots would create a genuine counterweight to the attractions of poaching, and would entitle the indigenous and forest-dwelling peoples who make these zones of rich biodiversity their homes with the economic and political power to push their governments to implement significant conservation measures.
The capital for a guaranteed income program for biodiversity hotspots.
There is certainly no shortage of assets. The 1% rich people on the planet have accumulated their increasingly massive share of global wealth by siphoning off collectively produced surpluses not through hard work but through financial machinations such as dividends, capital gains, interests, and rent, much of which is then hidden in tax havens. Indeed, if we consider the massive upward transfer of global wealth that has taken place over the last half century, it would be fair to say that never before was so much owed by so few to so many. One way to claw back some of this common wealth would be through a financial transactions tax, of even only a very small percentage of the speculative global capital flows that enrich the 1%, would generate billions of dollars to help people conserve hotspots of global biodiversity. Such funds could also be devoted to ramping up renewable energy-generating infrastructures in both the rich and the developing countries. Yet a universal guaranteed income in recognition of biodiversity debt should not be a replacement for existing conservation programs. Instead, such a measure should be seen as an effort to inject an awareness of environmental and climate justice into debates around the extinction crisis. Biodiversity debt would thus augment existing conservation programs while militating against the creation of conservation refugees. Any and all such efforts to work against extinction should be undertaken as acts of environmental solidarity on the part of the peoples of the global North with the true stewards of the planet’s biodiversity, the people of the global South. Only in this way can the struggle against extinction help promote not simply forgiveness and reconciliation, but also survival after five hundred years of colonial and imperial ecocide.
The struggle to preserve global biodiversity must be seen as an integral part of a broader fight to challenge an economic and social system based on feckless, suicidal expansion. If, as we have seen, capitalism is based on ceaseless compound growth that is destroying ecosystems the world over, the goal in the rich nations of the global North must be to overturn our present expansionary system by fostering de-growth . Most importantly, nations that have benefited from burning fossil fuels must radically cut their carbon emissions in order to stem the lurch towards runaway climate chaos that endangers the vast majority of current terrestrial forms of life. Rather than false and impractical solutions such as the carbon trading and geoengineering schemes championed by advocates of neoliberal responses to the climate crisis, anti-capitalists should fight for some version of the contraction and convergence approach proposed by Global Community. This proposal is based on moving towards a situation in which all nations have the same level of emissions per person (convergence) while contracting them to a level that is sustainable (contraction). A country such as the United States, which has only 5% of the global population, would be allowed no more than 5% of globally sustainable emissions. Such a move would represent a dramatic anti-imperialist shift since the US is at present responsible for 25% of carbon emissions. The powerful individuals and corporations that control nations like the US are not likely to accept such revolutionary curtailments of the wasteful system that supports them without a struggle. Already there is abundant evidence that they would sooner destroy the planet than let even a modicum of their power slip. Massive fossil fuel corporations such as Exxon, for example, have funded climate change denialism for the past quarter century despite abundant evidence from their own scientists that burning fossil fuels was creating unsustainable environmental conditions. Such behavior should be seen frankly for what it is: a crime against humanity. We should not expect to negotiate with such destructive entities. Their assets should be seized. Most of these assets, in the form of fossil fuel reserves, cannot be used anyway if we are to avert environmental catastrophe. What remains of these assets should be used to fund a rapid, managed reduction in carbon emissions and a transition to renewable energy generation. These steps should be part of a broader program to transform the current, unsustainable capitalist system that dominates the world into steady state societies founded on principles of equality and environmental justice.
Economic growth (measured as Gross Domestic Product) and value are seen as the same. Meanwhile, the actual value generated outside of market capitalism – the “care economy,” social labor, eco-stewardship, digital communities and commons – are mostly ignored or considered merely personal (“values”). These types of “value” are seen as extraneous to “the economy.” My colleagues and I wondered if it would be possible to develop a post-capitalist, commons-friendly theory of value that could begin to represent and defend these other types of value.
What is “value” and how shall we protect it? It’s a simple question for which we don’t have a satisfactory answer. For conventional economists and politicians, the answer is simple: value is essentially the same as price. Value results when private property and free markets condense countless individual preferences and purchases into a single, neutral representation of value: price. That is seen as the equivalent of “wealth.” This theory of value has always been flawed, both theoretically and empirically, because it obviously ignores many types of “value” that cannot be given a price. No matter, it “works,” and so this theory of value generally prevails in political and policy debates. Economic growth (measured as Gross Domestic Product) and value are seen as the same. Meanwhile, the actual value generated outside of market capitalism – the “care economy,” social labor, eco-stewardship, digital communities and commons – are mostly ignored or considered merely personal (“values”). These types of “value” are seen as extraneous to “the economy.” My colleagues and I wondered if it would be possible to develop a post-capitalist, commons-friendly theory of value that could begin to represent and defend these other types of value. Marx’s labor theory of value has long criticized capitalism for failing to recognize the full range of value-creation that make market exchange possible in the first place. Without the “free,” unpriced services of child-rearing, social cooperation, ethical norms, education and natural systems, markets simply could not exist. Yet because these nonmarket value-regimes have no pricetags associated with them, they are taken for granted and fiercely exploited as “free resources” by markets. The absence of a credible theory of value is one reason that we have a legitimacy crisis today. There is no shared moral justification for the power of markets and civil institutions in our lives. Today, we have a dictatorship of one kind of value as delivered by the market system, which determines for everyone how they can live. Consider how the labor of a nurse is regarded under different value regimes, he said: A nurse working as a paid employee is considered value, creating, a contributor to Gross Domestic Product. But the same nurse doing the same duties as a government employee is seen as “an expense, not a value-creator,” said Bauwens. The same nurse working as a volunteer “produces no value at all” by the logic of the market system. It’s perfectly possible to talk about the ‘good life’ without the notion of value.” The word “value” is useful to merchants and economists in talking about money and markets. But it has little relevance when talking about ethical living or the human condition.
Economists are eager to protect their ideas about “value” as money-based and make them normative. Commoners and others, by contrast, want to broaden the meaning of the term to apply to all of human experience. The conventional economic definition of “value” has a significant rhetorical advantage over other notions of value/s. It can be encapsulated in numbers, manipulated mathematically and ascribed to individuals, giving it a tidy precision. Value defined as price also has an operational simplicity even though it flattens the messy realities of actual human life and ecosystems. This point is illustrated by open value accounting systems and by organizational experiments in finance, ownership and governance.
Cities need to begin making preparations for the incoming tides, and many coastal towns, both in the U.S. and around the world.
To protect coasts against tidal flooding, the city plans to reinforce beaches, build bulkheads, and protect sand dunes that act as natural barriers. The city may also enact rock breakwaters offshore to attenuate waves associated with storms, and erect storm walls and levees in areas that are particularly vulnerable to storm surge. The city’s plan contains a rigorous geological analysis of the landscape and makes recommendations specific to boroughs and neighborhoods based on what types of mitigation strategies the rock and soil in each locale can support. The only question is: will it be enough? The oceans are rising. The statistics bear it out and people can also see it with their own eyes. Over time, our coastlands are going to move further inland and low-lying areas will find themselves submerged. If cities are not prepared, the effects will be devastating. However, with proper preparation, the worst may be avoided. The science of Climate Change has come to be well established. Predictive models indicate its dangers to the existence and survival of the future generations. While future technologies can arrest the dangers and reduce the pace of increase of atmospheric CO2, it has already crossed the alarm level of 430 PPM much above the acceptable limit of 350 PPM. Yet it is not raising the needed alarm bells to eradicate the challenge. The world has come together time and again to address the global challenge. From Rio summit, to Paris agreement to Kyoto protocol has attempted at finding solution to this global challenge. From fixing of responsibility to addressing climate change on developed countries to agreement on development and transfer of green technologies has been part of the agreement. However, the conferences have hardly been able to show signs of arrest the emerging danger. While agreements have been arrived to reduce CO2 emissions, there are also parties which have broken away from the same.
The modern life is full of contradictions. While the dangers are agreed upon, there is reluctance for change. The change does not necessarily mean to go back to pre-industrial ages with lack of technologies and benefits of modern civilization, but to innovate and make a shift towards greener technologies and more sustainable lifestyles. These technologies need to be produced at a scale and made available that it arrests the pace of acceleration of CO2 levels. It does not necessarily mean giving up Cars, but definitely an increase in usage of Mass transportation. It does not mean stopping usage of thermal power generation but to gradually replace it with power generation through renewable energy sources, more particularly solar energy. It does not mean giving up Air condition (AC) completely, but to substantially reduce it. It does not mean negating modernity, but to accept modernity including the flaws and to give it a direction that ensures shift to more sustainable lifestyles. Modernity through industrial revolution did bring in changes which benefitted human civilization. The modern medicines did bring improvement in health and reduced mortality. The educational system did build in a new human being and vocations for meeting the needs of modern society. Transportation technologies reduced the time and spatial dimensions. Technologies reduced drudgery both at home and in economic activities. While these need to be welcomed and built upon, the dangers posed by modernity also need to be agreed upon. Modernity also under the garb of the new economic system also brought in new cultural values. The values related to achieving accelerated growth, industrialisation, increase in gross domestic product, consumption lifestyles, and increased usage of energy for higher level of comforts. It did create a necessary societal shift from pre-industrial to an industrial age. The modern values did break the trend of supremacy of religion over men, separated religion from politics, questioned inequalities – particularly political, and brought in the concept of liberty equality and fraternity. It did have its benefits at the societal level. At the same time it also established the concept of supremacy of men over nature. This also meant that human civilization took it for granted that resources of earth can be utilised in a manner to achieve maximal benefits. The limited capacities of resources of earth to support were not realised. It was only when dangers became imminent that it was realised that there is a limit to which resources of earth can be extracted. And it was agreed that there are ‘limits to growth’. Modernity and the modern economic system has resulted in benefits such as increase in production of food availability, increased availability of health care and medicines, increased availability of modern technologies which can substantially reduce human drudgery. Yet it also true that education, health care and modern technologies are increasingly becoming unaffordable as it is closely linked to an economic system driven by profit motive. The modern systems did bring substantial improvements in lifespan, health and education. But its increased connection with profit driven economy is making access to these basic services unaffordable.
The green technologies of future can have a potential solution to address climate change. But does an economic system driven by cultural values determined by profit motive, take it to a scale and make it available for the masses. Will the green technologies be accessible to all? When even agricultural technologies and gas cylinder hasn’t been able to reach the masses and the producers, how can the greener technologies reach the masses? Similar to acceptance of the earth’s capacities to support modern unsustainable lifestyles are to be agreed upon, similarly limits of the economic system driven by profit motive to make shift to sustainable future needs to be questioned.
The global socioeconomic system of capitalism, is forcing us to work harder to surpass previous consumption and population numbers until we have devoured everything that maintains life, ending up with a polluted, lifeless, and a scorched planet.
Civilisation’s present and ultimate mode, capitalism is the system that can only lead us to our annihilation. This isn’t any individual’s, or any group of people’s fault, it’s the economic system that took form first with the energy of slaves to produce the raw materials that were then manufactured with the energy of fossil fuels. The economic success of that was dishonestly attributed to the capitalist system but it came from the benefit of using slave, which was overwhelm by non-renewable fossil fuels that are burned as renewables. The work force was then educated to use fossil fuels in its entire myriad of uses and also to integrated workers in a system of contradicting values by using competition as the regulator in a social setting that must also be cooperative to be social. To maintain a general satisfaction in a social system that’s driven and motivate with competition, endless growth is needed, but in a finite system it must end when resources are exhausted. However, we also have a double whammy, that of pollution that impairs life and the carbon that’s heating the biosphere and acidifying the oceans, they would end life if the system is maintained to its exhaustion. It’s like been inside a spinning treadmill, the faster a few people run the faster each individual needs to run to stay in position. The only ones that can slow and stop that nonsense are the wealthy people, who have successfully blocked any attempts to head off that stampede, so the wealthiest are riding that wave of people and getting the benefits with little effort. To keep up with that momentum, society must take what it can, leaving nothing. Our options within the capitalist system is limited because competition entices and pressures us to keep doing more of everything or suffer the consequences of losing the little power we still have.
The power that controls the economy is with the 1% they have the power to stop and change that exploitive, chaotic violent world economy. The 1%, power comes from finance which’s depended on economic growth, and that can’t be jeopardised just to save a few millions poor people around the planet who are already suffering, which’s the present worry for concerned people. Sadly the 1% dominates and controls the information services; it’s the only power that is able to disseminate the needed information to change our self-destructive way of life to an inclusive positive one. If we can show the 1% that they’re facing a dire situation in a overpopulate world that’s depleted of vital resources, in an unliveable hot and violent climate. They are likely to avoid continuing on that path as wealth can’t have any value in that unendurable social chaotic violence, when the economy goes from sour to putrid and as well the 1% may be an early victim of vengefulness. Without affordable oil we can’t produce the quantity of coal, gas, and pump the vital water that’s also needed to grow our food, it will curtail transporting all that stuff around the world. The difficulty will also be magnified by global warming which will need much more energy to counteract its effects. Global warming alone can kill us all. One must understand that burning that vast store of carbon that nature managed to accumulate in the ground has never happen before, it will also release the carbon from the permafrost and methane hydrates that will produce a colossal positive feedbacks. To sustain life in those extreme conditions would require more energy but there will be less to share, especially with more people. There’s no certainty of how much time we have to turn the world economy from an exploitative one, to one that functions within nature, as a part of nature before it becomes irretrievable. We desperately need to show the 1% how closes they and we are in producing an unliveable world due to the outcome of capitalist economy. The 1% life is at stake like everyone, they must not only cooperate to live within nature’s ability, but promote it on a world scale. They are the only ones with the power to do so, and it may be the only way to survive. All living things have to have a survival instinct to be alive; it will save us all if we use it. However, that instinct will only kick in when those multi billionaires realise that their life is at stake and they can only be saved if they do their best to save everyone. That would mean an unreserved sharing with all people and a qualified one with nature, the sooner we can accomplish that, the easier and satisfying life will be, for the more cooperative our life is the more satisfying and secure it must be. In a cooperative based society there would be no advantage to be deceitful; people will then revert to honest relationships. That correlation in societies and also as a part of nature infers that people would see exploiting nature as destructive for us. The reason we are destroying our habitat thus ourselves is due to the competitiveness of civilisation and its intensification under capitalism, that competition is capitalism lifeblood and now it’s our foe. The more social one is the more cooperative one must be, the less conflict we have, and as well it’s the most efficient way to live, it’s our nature. That means having to share the efforts and the benefits, even of its unfamiliarity for the 1%.
Although the yearning for peace is deep-seated, it has never been achieved during civilisation due to its competitive nature. If we keep capitalism, the ultimate in competitiveness, it will finish us. Peace can’t be attained with military force; one can’t fight for peace or for cooperation, as they’re an outcome of mutual agreements to benefit everyone. Peace is now possible because we have to have it to survive. People have the intellectual and the emotional ability to work out the multitude of changes to enable us to be fully social and survive, if it’s our goal.