Let's imagine for a moment we had the option to redesign human civilization from the ground up. What if, hypothetically speaking we discovered an exact replica of the planet Earth and the only difference between this new planet and our current one is that human evolution had not occurred. It was an open palette. No countries, no cities, no pollution, no republicans, just a pristine, open environment. So what would we do? Well, first we need a “goal”, right? And it's safe to say that goal would be to survive. And not to just survive, but to do so in an optimized, healthy, prosperous way. Most people, indeed, desire to live and they would prefer to do so without suffering. Therefore, the basis of this civilization needs to be as supportive and hence sustainable for human life as possible- taking into account the material needs of all the world's people while trying to remove anything that can could hurt us in the long run. With that goal of “Maximum Sustainability” understood next question regards our “method”.
What kind of approach do we take? Well, let's see- last I checked, politics was the method of social operation on Earth, so what do the doctrines of the republicans, liberal conservatives or socialists have to say about societal design? Hmmm, not a damn thing. Okay then - what about religion? Surely the great creator had to have left some blueprints somewhere... Nope...nothing I can find.
Okay then - so what's left? It appears something called “Science”. Science is unique in that its methods demand not only that ideas proposed be tested and replicated, but everything science comes up with is also inherently falsifiable. In other words, unlike religion and politics, science has no ego and everything it suggests accepts the possibility of being proven wrong eventually. It holds on to nothing and evolves constantly. Well, that sounds natural enough to me.
So then - based on the current state of scientific knowledge in the early 21st century along with our goal of “maximum sustainability” for the human population how do we begin the actual process of construction? Well, the first question to ask is: What do we need to survive? The answer of course, are Planetary Resources. Whether it is the water we drink, the energy we use or the raw materials we utilize to create tools and shelter the planet hosts an inventory of resources- many of which are demanded for our survival. So, given that reality it then becomes critical to figure out what we have and where it is. This means we need to conduct a survey. We simply locate and identify every physical resource on the planet we can, along with the amount available at each location from the deposits of copper, to the most potent locations for wind farms to produce energy, to the natural fresh water springs to an assessment of the amount of fish in the ocean to the most prime arable land for food cultivation, etc. But, since we humans are going to be consuming these resources over time we then realize that not only do we need to locate and identify- we also need to track. We need to make sure we don't run out of any of this stuff, that would be bad. And this means not only tracking our rates of use but the rates of earthly regeneration as well such as how long it takes for, say a tree to grow or a spring to replenish. This is called “Dynamic Equilibrium”. In other words, if we use up trees faster than they can be grown back- we have a serious problem, for it is unsustainable.
So then, how do we track this inventory especially when we recognize that all of this stuff is scattered everywhere. We have large mineral mines in what we call Africa energy concentrations in the Middle East huge tidal power possibilities on the Atlantic coast of North America the largest supply of fresh water in Brazil, etc. Well, once again, good old science has a suggestion: it's called “Systems Theory”. Systems theory recognizes that the fabric of the natural world from human biology to the earthly biosphere to the gravitational pull of the solar system itself is one huge synergistically connected system - fully interlinked. Just as human cells connect to form our organs and the organs connect to form our bodies and since our bodies cannot live without the earthy resources of food, air and water, we are intrinsically connected to the earth. And so on. So, as nature suggests, we take all of this inventory and tracking data, and create a “system” to manage it. A “Global Resource Management System”, in fact, to account for every relevant resource on the planet. There is simply no logical alternative, if our goal as a species is survival in the long run. We have to keep track as a whole.
That understood, we can now consider production. How do we use all this stuff? What will our process of production be, and what do we need to consider to make sure it is as optimized as possible, to maximize our sustainability? Well, the first thing that jumps right out at us, is the fact that we need to constantly try and preserve. The planet's resources are essentially finite. So it is important that we be “strategic”. "Strategic Preservation" is key. The second thing we recognize is that some resources are really not as good as others in their performance. In fact, some of this stuff when put into use has a terrible effect on the environment, which invariably hinders our own health. For example: oil and fossil fuels, no matter how you cut it, release some pretty destructive agents into the environment. Therefore, it is critical we do our best to use such things only when we really have to - if at all. Fortunately for us, we see a ton of solar – wind – tidal – wave – heat differential and geothermal possibilities for energy production so we can strategize objectively, about what we use and where, to avoid what could be called “negative retroactions”, or anything that results from production or use that damages the environment and hence, ourselves. We will call this, “Strategic Safety” to couple in with our "Strategic Preservation”. But production strategies do not stop there. We are going to need an "Efficiency Strategy”, for the actual mechanics of production itself. And what we find is that there are roughly three specific protocols we must adhere to:
One: Every good we produce must be designed to last as long as possible. Naturally, the more things breakdown, the more resources we are going to need to replace them, and the more waste produced.
Two: When things do break down, or are no longer usable for whatever reason, it is critical that we harvest, or recycle as much as we possibly can. So the production design must take this into account directly at the very earliest stages.
Three: Quickly evolving technologies, such as electronics, which are subject to the fastest rates of technological obsolescence, would need to be designed to foreshadow and accommodate physical updates.
The last thing we want to do is throw away an entire computer system just because it has only one broken part, or is outdated. So we simply design the components to be easily updated, part by part, standardized and universally interchangeable, foreshadowed by the current trend of technological change. And when we realize that the mechanisms of "Strategic Preservation”, “Strategic Safety” and “Strategic Efficiency”, are purely technical considerations devoid of any human opinion or bias, we simply program these strategies into a computer which can weigh and calculate all the relevant variables, allowing us to always arrive at the absolute best method for sustainable production based on current understandings. And while that might sound complex all it is, is a glorified calculator, not to mention that such multi-varied decision making and monitoring systems, are already used across the world today for isolated purposes. It is simply a process of scaling it out.
So, now, we not only have our Resource Management System, but also a Production Management System, both of which are easily computer automated to maximize efficiency, preservation and safety. The informational reality is that the human mind or even a group of humans, cannot track what needs to be tracked. It must be done by computers, and it can be.
And this bring us to the next level: Distribution. What sustainability strategies make sense here? Well, since we know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and since energy is required to power transport machines, the less transport distance, the more efficient. Producing goods in one continent and shipping them over to another only makes sense if the goods in question simply cannot be produced in the target area. Otherwise, it is nothing but wasteful. We must localize production, so distribution is simple, fast, and requires the least amount of energy. We'll call this the“Proximity Strategy”, which simply means we reduce the travel of goods as much as possible whether raw materials or finished consumer products. Of course, it might also be important to know what goods we are transporting and why. And this falls under the category of Demand. And demand is simply what people need to be healthy and to have a high quality of life. The spectrum of material human needs range from core life supporting necessities such as food, clean water and shelter... to social and recreational goods which allow for relaxation and personal - social enjoyment - both important factors in human and social health overall. So - very simply- we take another survey. People describe their needs, demand is assessed, and production begins based on that demand. And since the level of demand of different goods will naturally fluctuate and change around different regions, we need to create a “Demand / Distribution Tracking System" so to avoid overruns and shortages. Of course, this idea is old news, it is used in every major store chain today to make sure they keep up with their inventory. Only this time, we are tracking on a global scale.
But, wait a minute. We really can't fully understand demand, if we don't account for the actual usage of the good itself. Is it logical and sustainable for every single human to, say, have one of everything made? Regardless of their usage? No. That would be simply wasteful and inefficient. If a person has a need for a good but that need is only for say: 45 minutes a day on average, it would be much more efficient if that good was made available to them and to others when needed. Many forget that it isn't the good that they want, it is the purpose of that good. When we realize that the good itself is only as important as its utility, we see that “external restriction”, or what we might call today “ownership”, is extremely wasteful and environmentally illogical in a fundamental, economic sense. So, we need to devise a strategy called: “Strategic Access”. This would be the foundation of our "Demand / Distribution Tracking System” which makes sure we can meet the demand of the population's needs for access of whatever they need, when they need it. And as far as physically obtaining the goods, centralized and regional access centers all make sense for the most part, placed in close proximity to the population and a person would simply come in, take the item use it and when finished, return it when it is no longer needed, sort of how a library works today. In fact, these centers could not only exist in the community in the way we see local stores today, but specialized access centers would exist in specific areas where often certain goods are utilized, saving more energy with less repeat transport. And once this Demand Tracking System is in order, it is tied into our Production Management system, and of course, into our Resource Management system. Hence creating a unified, dynamically updating, global economic management machine, that simply makes sure we remain sustainable. Starting with securing the integrity of our finite resources, moving to make sure we only create the best, most strategic goods possible, while distributing everything in the most intelligent and efficient way. And the unique result of this preservation based approach, which is intuitively counter to many, is that this logical, ground up empirical process of preservation and efficiency, which can only define true human sustainability on this planet, would likely enable something never before seen in human history. Access Abundance, not just for a percentage of the global population, but the entire civilization.
This economic model, as was just generalized. This responsible, systems approach to total Earth resource management and processes, designed, again, to do nothing less than take care of humanity as a whole in the most efficient and sustainable way, could be termed: a “RESOURCE-BASED ECONOMY”. The idea was defined in the 1970's by Social Engineer- Jacque Fresco. He understood back then, that society was on a collision course with nature and itself - unsustainable on every level, and if things didn't change, we would destroy ourselves, one way or another.
A Resource-Based Economy is simply the scientific method applied to social concern- an approach utterly absent in the world today. Society is a technical invention. And the most efficient methods of optimized human health physical production, distribution, city infrastructure and the like reside in the field of science and technology not politics or monetary economics. It operates in the same systematic way as, say an airplane and there is no Republican or Liberal way to build an airplane. Likewise, nature itself is the physical referent we use to prove our science and it is a set system- emerging only from our increased understanding of it. In fact, it has no regard for what you subjectively think or believe to be true. Rather, it gives you an option: you can learn and fall in line with its natural laws and conduct yourself accordingly- invariably creating good health & sustainability, or you can go against the current - to no avail. It doesn't matter how much you believe you can just stand up right now and walk on the wall next to you the law of gravity will not allow it. If you do not eat - you will die. If you are not touched as an infant - you will die. As harsh as it may sound, nature is a dictatorship and we can either listen to it and come in harmony with it or suffer the inevitable adverse consequences.
So, a Resource-Based Economy is nothing more than a set of proven, life supporting understandings where all decisions are based upon optimized human and environmental sustainability. It takes into account the empirical “Life Ground” which every human being shares as a need regardless, again, of their political or religious philosophy. There is no cultural relativism to this approach. It isn't a matter of opinion. Human needs are human needs and having access to the necessities of life, such as clean air nutritious food and clean water along with a positively reinforcing, stable nurturing, non-violent environment, is demanded for our mental and physical health our evolutionary fitness, and hence, the species' survival itself.
As previously outlined, a Resource-Based Economy's ground-up global, systems approach to extraction, production and distribution is based upon on a set of true economic mechanisms, or 'strategies' which guarantee efficiency and sustainability in every area of the economy.
So, continuing this train of thought regarding logical design- what is next in our equation? Where does all this materialize? Cities. The advent of the city is a defining feature of modern civilization. Its role is to enable efficient access to the necessities of life along with increased social support and community interaction. So how would we go about designing an ideal city? What shape should we make it? Square? Trapezoid? Well, given we are going to be moving around the thing we might as well make it as equidistant as possible for ease hence the circle.
What should the city contain? Well, naturally we need a residential area, a goods production area, a power generation area; an agricultural area. But we also need nurturing as human beings - hence culture, nature, recreation and education. So let’s include a nice open park an entertainment/events area for cultural purposes and socializing and educational and research facilities. And since we are working with a circle it seems rational to place these functions in belts based on the amount of land required for each goal along with ease of access. Very good.
Now, let's get down to specifics: First we need to consider the core infrastructure or intestines of the city organism. These would be the water, goods waste and energy transport channels. Just as we have water and sewage systems under our cities today we would extend this channelling concept to integrate waste recycling and delivery itself. No more mailmen or garbage men. It is built right in. We could even use automated pneumatic tubes and similar technologies.
Same goes for transport. It needs to be integrated and strategically designed to reduce or even remove the need for wasteful, independent automobiles. Electric trams, conveyors, transveyors and maglevs which can take you virtually anywhere in the city, even up and down along with connecting you to other cities as well. And of course, in the event a car is required it is automated by satellite for safety and integrity. In fact, this automation technology is in working order right now. Automobile accidents kill about 1.2 million people every single year; injuring about 50 million. This is absurd and doesn't have to occur. Between efficient city design and automated, driverless cars this death toll can be virtually eliminated.
Agriculture. Today, through our haphazard, cost-cutting industrial methods using pesticides, excessive fertilizers and other means we have successfully destroyed much of the the arable land on this planet not to mention also extensively poisoning our bodies. In fact, industrial and agricultural chemical toxins now show up in virtually every human being tested, including infants. Fortunately, there is a glaring alternative - the soil-less mediums of hydroponics and aeroponics which also reduce nutrient and water requirements by up to 75 % of our current usage. Food can now be organically grown on an industrial scale in enclosed vertical farms. Such as in 50 story 1 acre plots - virtually eliminating the need for pesticides and hydrocarbons in general. This is the future of industrial food cultivation. Efficient, clean and abundant. So, such advanced systems would be, in part, what comprise our agricultural belt producing all the food required for the entire city's population with no need to import anything from the outside, saving time, waste and energy.
And speaking of Energy - The Energy Belt would work in a systems approach to extract electricity from our abundant renewable mediums - specifically wind, solar, geothermal and heat differentials - and if near water potentials - tidal and wave power. To avoid intermittency and make sure a positive net energy return occurs, these mediums would operate in an integrated system powering each other when needed, while storing excessive energy to large super capacitors under the ground, so nothing can go to waste. And not only does the city power itself, particular structures will also power independently and generate electricity through photovoltaic paints, structural pressure transducers, the thermocouple effect, and other current but underutilized technologies.
But of course, this begs the question: How does this technology, and goods in general, get created in the first place? This brings us to Production: The Industrial Belt, apart from having hospitals and the like, would be the hub of factory production. Completely localized overall, it would, of course, obtain raw materials by way of the global resource management system just discussed, with demand being generated by the population of the city itself. As far as the mechanics of production, we need to discuss a new, powerful phenomenon which was sparked very recently in human history and is on pace to changing everything. It's called Mechanization or the automation of labor.
Labor automation through technology is at the bottom of every major social transformation in human history. From the agricultural revolution and the invention of the plow, to the industrial revolution and the invention of the powered machine, to the information age we live in now, through essentially the invention of advanced electronics and computers. And with regard to advanced production methods today mechanization is now evolving on its own. Moving away from the traditional method of assembling component parts into a configuration, into an advanced method of creating entire products in one single process. Quite simply, Mechanization is more productive efficient and sustainable than human labor in virtually every sector of the economy today. Machines do not need vacations, breaks, insurance, pensions, and they can work 24 hours a day every day. The output potential and accuracy compared to human labor, is unmatched. The bottom line: repetitive human labor is becoming obsolete and impractical across the world. And the unemployment you see around you today is fundamentally the result of this evolution of efficiency in technology. For years, market economists have dismissed this growing pattern which could be called “Technological Unemployment” because of the fact that new sectors always seemed to emerge to re-absorb the displaced workers. Today, the service sector is the only real hub left and currently employs over 80% of the American workforce with most industrialized countries maintaining a similar proportion. However, this sector now being challenged increasingly by automated kiosks, automated restaurants, and even automated stores. Economists today are finally acknowledging what they had been denying for years: Not only is technological unemployment exasperating the current labor crisis we see across the world due to the global economic downturn, but the more the recession deepens the faster the industries are mechanizing.
The catch, which is not realized, is that the faster they mechanize to save money, the more they displace people - the more they reduce public purchasing power. This means that, while the corporation can produce everything more cheaply, fewer and fewer people will actually have money to buy anything regardless of how cheap they become. The bottom line is that the “labor for income” game is slowly coming to an end. In fact, if you take a moment to reflect on the jobs which are in existence today which automation could take over right now if applied, 75% of the global workforce could be replaced by mechanization tomorrow.
And this is why, in a Resource-Based Economy, there is no Monetary-Market system. No money at all, for there is no need. A Resource-Based Economy recognizes the efficiency of mechanization and accepts it for what it offers. It doesn't fight it, like we do today. Why? Because it is irresponsible not to, given any interest in efficiency and sustainability.
And this brings us back to our city system. In the center is the Central Dome, which not only houses the educational facilities and transportation hub- it also hosts the mainframe that runs the cities technical operations. The city is, in fact, one big automated machine. It has sensors in all technical belts to track the progress of agriculture, energy gathering, production, distribution and the like. Now, would people be needed to oversee these operations in the event of a malfunction or the like? Most probably: yes. But that number would decrease over time as improvements continue. However, as of today, maybe 3% of the city population would be needed for this job when you break it down. And I can assure you: that in an economic system which is actually designed to take care of you and secure your well-being, without you having to submit to private dictatorship on a daily basis, usually to a job that is either technically unnecessary or socially pointless, while often struggling with debt that doesn't exist just to make ends meet. I guarantee you: people will volunteer their time left and right to maintain and improve a system that actually takes care of them. And coupled with this issue of 'Incentive'- comes the common assumption that if there isn't some external pressure for one to “work for a living” people would just sit around, do nothing and turn into fat lazy blobs. This is nonsense. The labor system we have today is in fact the generator of laziness, not a resolver of it. . If you think back to when you were a child full of life, interested in new things to understand likely creating and exploring... but as time went on, the system pushed you into the focus of figuring out how to make money. And from early education, to study at a university, you are narrowed. Only to emerge as a creature which serves as a cog in a wheel in a model that sends all the fruits to the upper 1%. Scientific Studies have now shown that people are, in fact not motivated by monetary reward when it comes to ingenuity and creation. The creation itself is the reward. Money, in fact, appears only to serve as an incentive for repetitive, mundane actions a role we have just now shown can be replaced by machine. So when it comes to innovation, the actual use of the human mind . the monetary incentive has proven to be a hindrance interfering and detracting from creative thought. And this might explain why Nikola Tesla, the Wright Brothers, and other inventors who contributed massively to our current world never showed a monetary incentive to do so. Money is, in fact, a false incentive and causes 100 times more distortion than it does contribution.
· Sat Jul 30, 2011 @ 02:27am · 2 Comments