Category Archives: For teachers

Kepler

and the laws that move you from maximizing power to maximizing resilience.

Like many young college women Kepler awoke that morning with other things on her mind than the project she had planned for the day.  She had been dreaming about how she loved her drawers of personal things, in colorful piles, neatly rolled, in little bags and folded, each in its own style and fit together.  Maybe she would become a “collector”, she thought, they gave her such a thrill.   How nature was “quite a collector” too fascinated her too, creating all the natural world’s very special arrangements, with everything having it’s own individual home, utterly improbable in such number and variety, and so highly organized and grouped with fitting parts everywhere.

She’d also been told that lots of scientists thought nature’s patterns came from a natural law of energy, that everything sought to maximize its power, which honestly, just made her wrinkle her forehead…   She did not know, of course, but thought there was something hidden in the magic of how things in nature so often yielded to each other, an obvious secret to how things come to fit so closely.   So she quietly thought perhaps that seemed at least or was perhaps even more important.

What she had planned to do that day was use her old graphic calculator from high school, to do an experiment in rewriting the history of the economy, laughing as she said it that way.   Could you show an economy as being responsive, seeking to get along, rather than just getting more and more aggressive in looking for, in the end, how to get in ever bigger trouble?    What would it be like, she wondered, if people could be responsive as a rule.  The idea had come up in reading that the climate change scientists, the IPCC, had said we needed to reduce world CO2 production to half what it was in 2010.   It was only recently in fact that the world economy had been below that, and now everyone was saying we had to go back but probably couldn’t.    She felt she had all the facts, though.

So she had the idea to just…

– totally redraw the history of ever growing CO2
– to show mankind as being responsive to the approach of climate change

She didn’t get it to work till quite late that night, but it worked!    What she had of course been thinking about, and felt that anyone who mattered constantly worried about behind every other subject, was the strange continual way the human society was so energetically trying to destroy its own future.   The evidence could not be more clear, with the ever faster consumption of everything useful on earth, that an economy maximizing its growth unavoidably does.  Anyone can plainly see that happening, as climate change keeps accelerating faster than expected. Everyone hears about the ever increasing loss of natural species from disrupting ever more natural habitats too, and the impossible debts nations have accumulated making their decision making impossible, and so many other disturbing things.

It wasn’t a “debate” to her.   It also wasn’t her “cause” either.   She also did not really see it as her job to change other people’s minds.    It was just something she personally needed to know, about her own life, and whether it could be meaningful. Continue reading Kepler

How can prosperity be based on “Putting money in to take more out”?

The trick is that there are two ways to do that. 1) you can add the money you earn from investing money, to increase what you then reinvest, so it multiplies what you take out (to put back in to take out more), or 2) you can use the money you earn from investing to take care of the things your investments built, or anything else.

Some links to other discussions of it are below, and a request for your comments.

Here’s an excerpt from a Facebook exchange. It goes another step in explaining why this particular difference, using profits from investments to build more and more to profit from, or to care for things, causes major confusion in our modern world.  We want both, definitely want both!   But they’re mutually exclusive and there’s a kind of “deadline” for making a choice that most people, for some reason, would quite prefer to ignore, as if there was no choice to be made

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  • Jessie Phyllis Rose Henshaw Speaking of money… Doesn’t “inequity” come from the wealthy PUTTING MONEY IN TO TAKE MORE OUT (and so to then put even more in to take even more out)? It *seems* fair… WHEN IT STIMULATES FASTER GROWTH, but that isn’t determined by people, but nature is it?
  •  Helene Finidori That’s a great statement Jessie. Could we say faster extraction? Also well I guess many want to put some input into something to get a little out (think of mom and pop savings for retirement). The question is to what limit… Could you plug this somewhere on the pattern language site? Because this is typically the ‘more of the same’ that any new solution would like to avoid…
  • Jessie Phyllis Rose Henshaw Yes, I’ll put it there. If I’ve finally said it so people would ask questions, like you just did, then I’ll need help expanding on it so I don’t lose people with the details. The issue is *the balance* between the strains on nature and people and the increasing scale of the whole system.If it were a policy decision, it would be to “stop counting on an ever bigger windfall from the future”. The default way to do that would be to ask everyone to plan for a future of “pay as you go” and people with large investments to use their profits, primarily, to heal the strains on the commons instead of continuing to invest their profits in expanding our burdens on it. Mom & Pop’s savers tend to do that anyway, so no policy required!
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Please add comments on what puzzles you about it, your creative questions or observations. What should we do with our money.   The earth commons we are part of has the profits from a hundred trillion dollars to think about how best to invest, and all the people who expect it to just keep multiplying forever to buy in on the plan too!
If interested in the field of pattern languages, join the discussion of this post on the Pattern Language Site in

Challenging Puzzles and Propositions

“Pattern Languages” give meanings to patterns in nature, theories, relationships or experience, but we often don’t know quite how. Like, we all tend to consider our own conscious view of things to be the world we and everyone else all live in… even though everyone is making up their own view of that. That kind of real world doesn’t fit into any simple explanation, of a world in which everyone is seeing a world that is in large part a reflection of themselves.  It creates a lot to untangle.

Continue reading How can prosperity be based on “Putting money in to take more out”?

‘Big Data’ and the right to human understanding.

One of the fascinating scientific subjects I research is how human understanding comes from narrative. Without getting too technical, narratives about relationships, environments and culture change issues come from people “observing the flows” of the natural processes, the flows by which those changes in our world take place.  The basic starting point, then, is having some way to observe those flows.  No awareness of the flows, *no story*!

This is such an important thing for combating our alienation from the breakdown of traditional cultures, really all around the whole.   It’s quite an unfortunate side effect of the great eruption of wealth in modern times, and the ever more intense global competition fostered by the world economy doing it.   A small part of how it disturbs our ability to tell stories about what’s happening to us in yesterdays post What is a “rights” agenda, with ever increasing inequity?

 

Mining live stories from big data is way to build human understanding

Use maps of natural silos of conversation to find who you need to talk to and how!

I ran across five wonderful examples this week alone, of ways to bridge the enormous cultural and intellectual divides the keep us from arriving at a common understanding of what to do with the earth.     My topic yesterday saw how an economy structured to produce both ever increasing complexity, inequity results in the breakdown of traditional cultures and ways of knowing, a loss of stories for giving our lives meaning.   Learning to see the problems can also be used to find solutions too, of course, the main one here perhaps just learning to see what we’er doing to ourselves.   The thought process leads to seeing what strategies are failing us is not so different from that used for discovering promising new ones.

One identifies where the cultures that guide us lose track of what’s happening to them.   The other discovers exposes the flows of events in a way allowing us to create the new stories that will matter in our lives.   It’s how all human rights are achieved, by recognizing them as the clear story that beings order to a disruptively changing world, recognizing how nature connects the dots, letting us frame not just “good stories” but also “true stories” about finding a sound new path.

The practicalities of recognizing “what’s really happening” so we can use our values to fashion the stories telling us what to do will mostly not need a lot of big words and shiny promises.   You can do it with “big data”, even if today its main use seems to be for controlling personal data to make growing amounts of money from deny people their individuality.  You can also us it to mine the data world to pick up clear signs of whole new cultures emerging you’d otherwise never be aware of, for example.   Having ways of visualizing the eventfulness of change globally, on many dimensions, would be a very *different* kind of “news feed”, a true globally holistic “news feed”.

Every community could study the eventful flows of changing relationships, personal, cultural, economic, ecological, that matter to it, rather than just listen to media largely composed of chattering entertainers and politicians after money and power.   If a way of mining data for signs of events could show people what’s really happening to their world, and that became the the talk of the community, everyone could participate in shaping the news and the new stories about our human rights tell us to do.   It would give the media a real story to cover too.   The practical job to make that possible, though, is more like science than philosophy.     It’s to learn to recognize that eventful change comes from the emergence of new forms of organization, that generally begin with a viral burst of development, that energize whole systems, altering the balance and roles withing their environments, like organisms that growth from a seed to build new natural capital or flame out.

Shown as the general stages of growth for a new form of organization, from novelty to maturity

Examples

1. –  Changes in Word Use – I am not an expert in semantic analysis, fundamental changes in word use, particularly if following a clear developmental pattern generally do indicate a change in the world of people and their way of speaking about it.    Developmental changes in word usage expose important cultural experiences of the people writing the text.   I’ve used comparisons of the Google histories of word frequencies obtained from scanned libraries of books, their “Ngram” tool. I’ve also used the histories of word use in magazines, newspapers and even Google Scholar, such as to identify

Along with the various other “story mining” methods discussed in the introduction to my scientific method for mining the stories of natural change processes, and method of interpreting them:

Learning to read the eventfulness of our world  –  People who have some personal experience with the environments in which these explosive changes took place, as eruptions of new organization for those worlds,  these documented records of the shapes of their stages of growth provide rich reminders and new challenges to imaging what was really going on to produce the new environments the created.

Papers on “General Systems”(yellow), Papers and Citations for “General Systems Theory” (black & pink)

“Pop Corn” flurries of articles on sustainability as the subject emerged in the NY Times, and Accumulative trend

 

The 1990 beginning of the big eruption of mentions of Hip-Hop in the NY Times also coincided with the historic sharp decline in NYC crime rates, culture change as kids changed who they looked up to.

Use of “complex” followed  growing economic complexity up to ~1960, when we appear to have either lost interest or the ability to keep up, with the fast increasing complexity of our world.

Today one might also use Twitter and other social media, and also collect data on product and book sales and lots of other sources.   Of course, the sources would vary considerably from country to country, but the method would be the same.   What’s important is for the text or numeric data being scanned for “natural coupling” be “neutral” and not influenced by the subject being explored.

What might be possible, putting it all together, is to identify natural cells of social relationships and their interests, cultural “silos” of relationships identified by their ways of using language, in real time. There are security questions whenever new kinds of information are made available, so such maps should be abstract. The most valuable feature of such a “map” of connections, though, is the ability to then see who’s NOT connecting, the isolated constituencies.

You’d see what conversations are intense in one group and missing from another, say between Twitter and the local newspaper as one possible divide., defining two communities with differing values and interests. That would be a great tool for understanding a society, and a great tool for social activist groups, letting them see how to stop “preaching to the choir”, for one example. It wold also give them insight into the words and interests of the groups they need to connect with, but hadn’t known how. Seen that way it’s a “partnership tool”, allowing people to see through the silo walls just enough to make some connections.

More examples, links, applications & … stories Continue reading ‘Big Data’ and the right to human understanding.

What is a “rights” agenda, with ever increasing inequity?

It helps to look at the long term trends to recognize the long term pattern.

In a world of ever increasing inequities we clearly can’t sustain a real “rights agenda”.    Even the strongest of moral commitments is no match for a world economy which in a lasting physical way, is systematically splitting apart.

Sometimes local inequities can seem to be blamed on local conditions, but not when it’s a long sustained accelerating global trend.   That’s what we see in this US data from 2008, showing that growing inequity in household income has been a very persistent trend.   It’s a very familiar subject of discussion and increasing complaint too, that ever increasing shares of the wealth are going to the wealthy.  It’s been a central motivation for the UN’s debates on how achieve sustainable development too.   So the trend as of 2008, if anything, has probably only been getting worse.   Little is likely to change, either, with the SDG’s having no language for reversing the pattern of the wealthy being the only winners in the modern economy.

It’s the household incomes of everyone else that stopped growing.

The US Data for a global trend, of rapidly systematically increasing economic inequity.*
*The estimated trend for “the 1%” is based on US and Global data
showing US & Global GDP having continued to grow as before. 

 

To understand the root cause you need to think about it as a symptom, a symptom of how the global economic system is behaving.   The key piece of information is that “What is happening, is happening for the world economy as a whole”.     Around ~1970 what happened to the US economy, as the bellwether for the world,  is that the wealth of the wealthy kept growing exponentially, more or less just as before.   Nothing else did.

The shape of the Data explains the operation of the system

Continue reading What is a “rights” agenda, with ever increasing inequity?

A World View of Off-Shore Energy use

There’s been a long debate and mystery caused by economic accounting for the world’s energy use not being able to trace the trade in economic energy services, the amount of China’s energy embedded in our TV’s and the amount of of France’s energy embedded in Soviet block heavy industry… etc.  

(See also “Pictures of WhatGDPMeasures” with 11 figures and brief explanations tracing the Money/Energy link)

A country’s Share of the World’s GDP per Share of World Energy, measures

“Relative Economic Energy Dependence” ‘NEED’

a strong indicator of how much of its economy is fed by off-shore, mostly ‘fossil’, energy services, most often not being counted in national energy accounts.   Countries do have different energy productivities, but World competition actively selects competitive energy uses wherever they are found.  So like waves on a pond… the national accounts vary in relation to each other, and the global accounts are smooth and reflect the gradual changes of the system as a whole.

A. – World averages compared to OECD and Non-OECD performance

We see in Figure A strong diverging trends in GDP and Energy use for OECD and Non-OECD groups, along with converging steady trends for the ratio Energy/$GDP, over the past 40 years.

  • As the less developed remain smaller, but grow faster, the more developed are giving them development space.
  • The Energy/$GDP  (intensity) is continuing it’s long historic path of quite steadily decline, NOT diverging, showing how smoothly the interlocked productivities of the world economy “level the playing field” for energy services, delivered to where they are most valued..
B. – The developed countries with less energy supply import energy services from others with more

 

Figure B shows the NEED of the major 8 World Sectors shows much more variation, and you can see some of he fitting shapes that cause the total to be a straight line.

  • The US & Canada are close to the 1/1 average, but steadily rising
  • The EU, Japan and Australia are ~1.5/1 rather dependent on Off-Shore energy services, lacking abundant sources.
  • So the ridh “Energy Poor” economies need to purchase more and more of their energy in the form of energy services from their neighbors, as “how economies work”.
  • It causes a likely mistaken impression the EU is more “sustainable”, greatly outperforming the US & Canada.
  • National Energy Accounts don’t trace trade in energy services, only trade in energy materials, needing a “Shares of GDP” proxy measure as here to find it.

The National Energy Accounts are not set up to trace trade in energy services, only in materials, requiring a “Shares of GDP” proxy measure to find it.

It shows a very good reason why we all need to learn, as in Scope-4 impact accounting for the World SDG, the use of GDP as a proxy measure of average economic energy use,  and also why it works so well.   The “global economy” and it’s highly competitive use of world information on the most profitable uses of energy.   It makes energy use a universal “currency” naturally, as a useful measure of GDP for many purposes, and the use of GDP as a proxy for energy use and environmental “externalities” resulting from our obtaining and using energy to alter the earth for our purposes.

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JLH

a Whole Systems view – Piketty’s “r > g”

A wide and welcome discussion of our economy’s tendency to produce increasing “inequity” has followed the US publication of Thomas Piketty’s book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, and offered me many chances to comment for general readers with interest in the deeper scientific questions.   I think my best so far were my most recent two, for the special issue of the AAAS journal Science on “The Science of Inequality.  It’s really great to now have this chance to discuss the core dilemmas involved.

I hope not, but more or less expect, this opportunity to “come and go” without much consequence.   That’s happened over and over, for a very long time.   I’ve been watching it come up again and again for the past 40 years, and seen how each discussion fails to get to the heart of the issue, and have looked into the long history of “great debates” around it going far into the past.   There are just clearly very deep conflicts between “how we think our money should work” and “how our world apparently works”, that are still with us.  Science should be our tool for solving such problems, but hasn’t.    So it seems we won’t get to the bottom of it until we find the right language to discuss it in.    I think the language of natural systems is what will do the trick eventually, starting with “growth” being nature’s “start-up” plan and design for the invention and development of new types of systems, so the subject of what’s happening to our growth system is a good place to start.   Let’s see!   :-)
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Comments on Piketty’s inequality, “r > g”   

For: – Science,  the Financial Times, the Economist, New Yorker, Capital Institute, the Guardian, Salon, Piketty in ‘The Bully Pulpit”

 >>   Returns on investment seem to outpace the Growth of the economy   <<
(..    so incomes from wealth and work ..   d i v e r g e    ..)

The true reason seems to be our long habit of maximizing growth ** measured as ** maximizing returns for re-investing  …particularly now… when growth is pressing natural limits, and meeting natural resistance and complications that increase faster the harder we press them.    What we need is to understand that turn of events.    JLH

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Comments to the press:

I. on Inequality in the long run by Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez; in the Special Issue on the Science of Inequality, Science magazine – Comment 5/28 link

As with the “Occupy Movement” the diagnosis of the problem here is really wonderful.  And for me it is VERY satisfying that someone finally found a way to raise an actually serious discussion on it.  I’ve also been studying this phenomenon, as a natural systems scientist, for 30+ years though.  So as much as I am really delighted to again hear  the complaint being well expressed, as  “Occupy” also did, I don’t yet see a move toward the level of understanding needed to point to feasible (win win) solutions for it.

One step in that direction would be a discussion of how investors change what they invest in.  This is a “system” after all, and we need to look at how it works. Buy using the profits from a “good bet” to multiply good bets you change the odds, by physically changing the environment being bet on.  That also naturally concentrates unequal wealth, in the hands of investors using that leverage to multiply investments.

Historically that seems at the very heart of all financial manias, like the kinds that develop before great panics and crashes.  The rub is “multiplying sure bets” does almost nothing more certainly than “create bad bets”. That prefer to believe in the manias, though, instead of the obvious is part of the emotional struggle and problem. So… we have contradictions here. We’re still talking as the economists long have, of “ever faster accelerating increases in scale and complexity” as a “steady state”.

OK, in a theoretical world that’s OK.  But here the discussion of “inequity” poses a problem of unfairness, regarding having “unequal shares” of what we now also see is “ever increasing instability”. That’s not ‘OK’.  ;-)

II. on Physicists say it’s simple by Adrian Cho; in the Special Issue on the Science of Inequality, Science magazine – Comment 5/27  link 

Physics is certainly the right tool for this, but you need a technique of getting the universe to slow down tremendously, to let you see how the seeds of swelling inequities emerge and what they lead to. I did that on the way to developing a new physics theorem, that I hope will soon to be widely studied.

The theorem unifies the conservation laws to offer a general “law of continuity in change”. It doesn’t say theories can’t have discontinuities, only that uses of energy can’t, while pointing quite directly to nature’s marvelous “approximation to discontinuities”, her way of multiplying inequities on the way to precipitating dramatic changes in form in the organization in her complex systems.

Unifying the conservation laws shows its important to understand them as an infinite series of conservation laws, for all the derivative rates of change for energy use in physical processes. So as a whole it offers “a law of continuity”. http://www.synapse9.com/drafts/LawOfContinuity.pdf You can simplify the idea of it to saying “it takes a process to change a process”.

To see it happen you watch transitions intently enough to slow down the universe for your eyes, closely examining the steps nature takes to get things started, a fire, an eye blink, a plant, or any other “event”. What you find are little bursts of self-organization, following a non-linear trend most people would call “growth”, a process just full of things happening with a bang.

Growth is a distributed process of multiplying inequalities, is the relevance here. It’s a process of continually swelling inequities throughout a system, an explosion of increasing energy use, complex organization and change, that invariably triggers its own change in form. Where I first got the idea was by training my eyes to slow down the flowing changes of natural air currents, so I could watch “what made them so lively”, letting me discover how stable convection cells form from the instability of growing ones.http://www.synapse9.com/airwork_.htm

So, inequity is a natural byproduct of growth, essential to the systems growth builds, and as a process naturally leading to a change in form.  In economics one common way for it to first cause growing inequity and then result in stability is by people realizing they’ve built as much as they can manage.  Then they devote their resources to caring for what they built instead of continuing to build till that destabilizes it.

Is that possible for us?? I don’t know, but I think the physics implies we’re sure to find out.

Continue reading a Whole Systems view – Piketty’s “r > g”

No need to take off our clothes in public… but dropping our ideological fig leaves at times seems required.

I had found a cozy place to work on sustainability from inside the UN, but discovered the words holding the discussion together there had accumulated meanings that were deeply dishonest…   so I’m back on the outside.

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Over the past year I developed two rather wonderful scientific learning methods, as if school courses in “Niche Making 101, 102”, for people searching for how to work with nature.   One is the 3Step method for learning how your economic commons works and the other the World SDG for making the totality of our growing impacts on the earth transparent to each other.   Both were very unexpectedly attacked rather than discussed in the organization I was part of, though, and I’m understanding the offense.

After much suffering, puzzlement and close observation, the harsh reaction to learning by a scientific approach now seems due to it not being sufficiently ideological.    Unfortunately… letting up on the ideologies we may use to stamp the world with is the very first rule for learning from nature.    Finding that people both didn’t seem to know that, or to be willing to try, is an important lesson I wasn’t prepared to learn, especially that my own social network would respond as if attacked by my suggesting good creative ways to do it .

Ideology is an artificial and inflexible but handy social substitute for reality.  By definition ideologies are self-defined, built up as social affirmations in well connected networks.  It makes them strong but also largely unable to adapt and respond.     For people they provide mental comfort, useful knowledge of group habits, and a private coded language only understood in the network.

How  ideologies can open up and become adaptive we often fail to notice, though, how often we naturally change from one to another in the course of a day or week as we engage with different networks.    We change ideologies much as if putting  on and taking  off clothes, often using a change of clothing to do it in fact.    So,… it seems sensitive, but need not offend, to notice that ideologies need to be suited to situations and to grow and change with them, letting us try on different ones for fit.   Ideologies can be temporarily considered as “nice outfits to wear”, and need not be treated as contracts required of others for whom they don’t fit.

Sadly, the dishonest words this viewpoint helps us understand are some of the favorites in the discussion of sustainability.    They’re ways of mixing honorific images of ever accumulating wealth and reducing our footprints on the earth: “sustainable growth”, “decoupling”, “circular economy”, even “sustainable development”.  They’re frequently used to compare “apples and oranges” and coming up with “ever increasing consumption without consumption”.    With that usage our goal and purpose becomes to accelerate the “tragedy of the commons”, that is our whole discussion is about how to avoid.

How you can tell that for yourself is by observing that putting the contradictory meanings of “development” together requires switching back and forth from one ideology to the other, with that switch not being mentioned.     It shows that people, in conversation, are adopting an ideology of hiding when they switch ideologies.    Sadly that seems what we have socialized around doing, unaware of the consequence.    At present nearly anywhere in the global sustainability movement you go (and I’ve really looked around!), you get strong pushback for even trying to bring it up.

Natural emergence and home making
The natural succession of growth and adaptation for sustainable systems, a complex organizational development of internal and external relationships.

Nature doesn’t respond to artful ideology in the least, though.   Not one little bit.    What nature responds to is the growth of new organisms that change from expanding their conquests to then making their niches.   That succession is their (and our) door to joining the commons by making their (and our) homes in it.   Feel good euphemisms for the opposite, stitching together our true ideals into fig leaves for endless conquest philosophies like BAU, actually don’t work.

No need to take off our clothes in public… but dropping ideological fig leaves at times
seems required for how we learn.

Jessie

Sustainable Cities: Caring for the Greater Commons

“Sustainable Cities” is the topic to being the upcoming Open Working Group 7 on SDG’s, Jan 6-10 2014, in the UN’s marathon effort to decide “what we should do with the earth”.   Our cities, as brilliant as places of creativity as they are, find themselves “in a fishy stream…”  See also the final World SDG proposal on the global application of the general principle, that we all are responsible for our shares of the abuses of the economy as a whole in proportion to our owning, investing in and using it

The World SDG uses a method of calculation for any person’s or business’s share of world GDP, for estimating their total share of  responsibility for world economic impacts as “users” called “Scope-4 Accounting“.  The legal view of responsibility is different from “cause and effect” in that, legally, both the people paying for, benefiting from or authorizing a tort harm may all be held as equally responsible as the person actually doing the harm, as familiar for hiring others to commit a crime. 

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Fishing in a fishy stream…

 “Sustainable Cities” started with Caring for our Cities as Commons
Neglecting The upstream burden of their wealth and the World as Their Greater Commons

Statement:

A scientifically better way to measure the true scale of economic footprints is as fractions of the whole.  It’s easy and accurate for scale, treating fractions of world GDP as shares of world resource use and impacts too(1).  Cities thrive as hubs of creativity and growing concentrations of wealth, cells within a greater whole. Without self-restraint, growing parts can become cancers on the whole, profiting by conquering others, not by caring for their world.  A city’s limit is then exhausting their world, as done by ancient Rome, the Mayans and others.

New York City with ~1/10th of one percent of the world’s population has a $1,350 billion/yr GDP, ~2% share of world GDP, so causing ~2% of world economic resource demands and impacts, with its plan for real repeated doubling of all three. Wealth earned on New York’s 13 sq mi uses the products of ~380,000 mi2 of farm land around the world, ~2% of the world’s, with resource pressure causing ~2% of the world’s 1,460 mi2 of deforestation. Its services produce~2% of the world’s CO2, ~141,750 million lbs/yr, ~170,000 lbs. per NYC resident.

The question is, what would make New York and other cities turn from consuming to caring for the world they generate their wealth from(2)?   Now each World Capital, as islands of high GDP, is growing its impacts on the world by growing amounts each year, as if as innocently as living by a lazy stream grabbing floating bags of money going by now and then..                Jessie Henshaw

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Jessie is an environmental and human systems scientist quite familiar with defining units of measure. She’s been doing advanced research on emergent organization in nature and economic systems for over 30 years. The scientific basis for this measurement method is a peer reviewed research paper

1)“Getting the incentives right requires redefining the units of measure”.

2) “Ideal Model: Steering money to what matters

 

Ideal Model: New Architecture for Economic Self-Governance

Prepared for UN Open Working Group on SDG’s, OWG-5, 6 in Dec 2013 Owg 7,8 in Jan & Feb 2014, solving the special “steering problems” raised there as well with: 

 This is a serious effort to describe in natural language a well thought out way for a market economy to follow organic systems principles, and decouple from conquering the earth to reorient its development toward finding its secure place on earth.   It would be driven by our goal seeking social and economic communities developing new markets and partnerships for mutual benefit as markets always serve to steer the economy, but having much better information on what’s profitable, and recognizing the true cost of inaction.   As we find how to do it the economy would also  change from building itself up internally to making itself at home externally.  

By redirecting our resources from pressing ever harder on the limits of the earth, and instead aim for relieving the strain on ourselves and the earth, the economy would become relatively more profitable than before as it heals.   A great many of the key goals of sustainability (SDG’s) being stated again and again at the UN, would be achieved naturally this way.    Other critical goals would still take concerted planning and government action, but would become more practical to accomplish.

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Incentives to Sustainably Lower Our Global Footprint 

  • Holistic and accurate measures of  ESG costs of production and consumption
  • An Information System Everyone can understand, for a Self-managing World 
  • Turning the economic pursuit from “conquest” to “homemaking”
  • “Nature’s Capitalism”, first profiting from building things, then by caring for them

Steering Capitalism with a purpose: giving us a good home on Earth

A.            The idea

The natural way economies determine their futures is by “market choices”, as financial, business and consumer markets look for how to get what they want from each other and the earth. Then governments, the press, professions and open societies watch out for the common interest.   That’s what designs of the economy of our future, telling developers what new parts to add or old ones replace.

Those market choices often don’t reflect common interests just for our natural lack of information.  What was done around the world to deliver goods or services is not collected and passed along as they are paid for,   What’s becoming possible is like that, ways to identify future societal costs that business may be held responsible for in the future, practices like adding to global inequities or harming our economic future.

Comparing comprehensive sustainability balance sheets, for finding development proposals with financially and culturally acceptable risks and benefits. Global benefits/People centered, Homemaking

Just one new fact about money can release a great wealth of information on that.  It’s that the “hidden consequences” of using money we don’t immediately see have been scientifically shown to most often be close to “average”[1].  In information terms, that serves to “internalize all externalities”, opening the door to what has eluded us, a way to make sound decisions for the world as a whole.

It would let us build an information system making the choices responsible for impacts transparent for all to see.  For example, spending one dollar generally adds about 1 pound of CO2 to the atmosphere.  We might select the least cost engineering option for ending our addition of CO2 to the atmosphere as a standard measure, possibly bio-char, estimated to cost $.20 per pound of CO2.  That would be equal to an impressive “tax” on GDP, of $.20/$1, an indicator of how poorly the earth’s profits are being used.

People would then clearly see, for example, that as we build more and more for the future economy to take care of, a natural turning point approaches for investors and everyone else, of diminishing total returns.  So as growth becomes seen as a drain on future profits, the most profitable use of profits becomes caring for the environments creating the profits, not compounding our demands on them.


[1]Henshaw, J. 2011 Systems Energy Assessment. Sustainability MDPI. http://synapse9.com/SEA – People are “end users” of the consumption economy AND “end servers” of the production economy.  The “end producers” for any dollar of goods or services are SO wide spread one must first assume, every dollar is distributed as an average share of GDP and reflects the average impacts of the whole, good and bad.

Continue reading Ideal Model: New Architecture for Economic Self-Governance

A “Commons“ is…

A “Commons“

….Is a place, where

An organic culture

defines and makes its home

  • as its defensible and public space
  • for its communities of participants

serving as a “hive” for its internal relationships

  • usually as inclusive and equitable interconnections
  • (everyone to everyone)

serving as a “hub” for its external relationships

  • with its local niche of  ecological partners
  • with its open environment
  • (exploratory connections)
  • with and networks of remote exclusive connections
  • (one to one)

As its “Niche” in the world and “living space”.

 … for example

A “body”   is a commons for its cells

  • But bodies are organized differently than their cells, each needing to be part of a different culture

A “town”   is a commons for its villagers

  • But every town develops from its unique circumstance, so the usual patterns associated with the words are really questions about the individual thing

A “nest”     is a commons for its family or swarm

  • Living things need to sleep, and make secure places where they can “tune out” at night, to reemerge refreshed.
  • and so too the organizations of a commons, that come to a rest at night, to awake refreshed by the reflections of rest.

The Earth   is a commons for life Continue reading A “Commons“ is…