Category Archives: Transformation

on the transformation of our experience of nature as we recognize our part in it

NYC data Science… examples

To help people understand my work here are a couple examples of data science to discover dramatic recent culture  changes in New York City. The work is based on a careful lifelong study of eventful natural change, of all sorts, done by following the stages of growth and decay evident in the natural life-cycles of culture change events.

following the stages of growth and decay evident in the natural life-cycles of culture change

My method depends on finding data that shows clear evidence of growth or decay, as those identify natural processes of irreversible organizational development, in the natural successions of change.   Below are samples from two advanced studies of unexpected dramatic societal change, and a drawing of the markers of change I use to suggest what evidence to look for to discover what’s changing.

The two advanced studies are the mysterious 1991 collapse of the great NYC crack culture (1), and second the mysterious 1970 splitting apart of the US economy into rich and poor sectors on different tracks (2).   Both were simply enormous cultural events that very largely went unnoticed, dramatic “break-outs” of culture change that had been brewing for a long time, and then swiftly changed how we live.   The study of the collapse of the NYC crack culture and many other examples are in the archive of my research from the 80’s and 90’s called “The physics of happening

It gets easier to discuss these culture changes once you sense what is being opened up to view is really the stories of our own lives.  These and patterns of change in things we are all talking about anyway, only with data showing the systematic progression of key measurements of them. The basic science for following markers of change, implied by the physics principle of energy conservation (3), implying that lasting change is a process of organizational development.  So the markers suggest places to ask “what’s developing”.

basic science for following markers of organization change, implied by the physics principle of energy conservation

the markers suggesting places to ask “what’s developing”.

 

1. The collapse of the crack epidemic in NYC began in 1990,

… three years before the mayor who took credit for it took office. The real main player was the strain on the families of the NYC drug cultures involved. They had become particularly traumatized by it, and the rest of society desperately searching for some way to change too.  Everything people wanted to have work started working all at once, when their kids stopped looking up to the drug lords!   They turned to the emerging Hip-Hop mass culture as an exciting alternative to be part of, a riveting story when well told.

What tipped me off was the “decay curve” shape of the NYS murder rate data shown in the NY Times. The abrupt decay curve shape, rapid at first and decelerating over years, without wiggle, is a very clear indicator of a the death of a natural culture, in this case seeming to be from the youth that had once fed it turning away. Continue reading NYC data Science… examples

Scientific Community on Natural Limits

Post event note:

UN meetings on the first year of SDG implementation are over now, were very intense, and in the end quite successful for finding a new way to discuss the neglected issue of natural limits.   The scientific community that understands the connection between our natural limits and economic growth has been totally shut out of the UN discussion for years.   I didn’t get to speak to the main body on that directly, but I finally found a way to talk about the problem, that the SDG’s don’t in any real way count the global impacts of our decisions:

S D   M e t r i c s   L e a v e   M o s t   S o c i e t a l   I m p a c t s   U n c o u n t e d  

It’s to say:

The ISO’s world environmental accounting standards
fail to honor its fiduciary duty to our interests and human right to honest data,
only counting local impacts, leaving all global impacts of financial decisions uncounted and unaccountable.
SD decision makers are the most hurt, kept from knowing most of what they are deciding.

____________

The 17 Goals

It had seemed I would have a chance to speak at the UN, officially representing the long neglected interests  of the scientific community that understands the coupling of the economy and natural limits.  Below is the email I sent a number of scientists and other experts who understanding is not being represented:

Friends,

I found a way for scientists who have long understood natural limits, to get official representation at the UN, in the UN’s community of CSO’s (Civil Society Organizations), as a member of its “Major Groups and Other Stakeholders” (MGoS).    The present work is the review and guidance of the UN’s global Sustainable Development Goals project (SDG’s), and the High Level Political Forum’s (HLPF) oversight of it.   https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf

Please circulate widely.  Non-expert members welcome too.   There is no organization at this time, just me seeing an opportunity to have our long neglected interests given official recognition.  I might start a Google Group with the names or something…  Any statement would be in the interests of the group rather than as if representing a group position

The draft text for representing the group’s interest to the UN is is here.

Time was too short for it to get around, and response was slow, except for the two  great ones I really appreciate getting, so I turned off the Google invitation form .   It still seems to be something that community really should find a way to do though!

Jessie

 

Did Keynes & Boulding both really say that?

  • ed note:   The current discussion of the core dilemma of capitalism, as a limitless system for creating growing wealth, is in terms of the crises we now face caused by it, producing socially disruptive innovation and growing financial inequity.   Those include  1) threats of rapidly growing social inequity, 2) unsustainable national and private debt, 3) disruptive scales of job loss from globalization and automation, 4) demands for unachievable ever faster and ever more complex learning and change , 5) the rapid depletion of earth’s resources, 6) disruption of the climate and earth’s ecologies, and of course 7) increasing international conflicts between conflicting economic interests,  and of course,  8) growing risks of grand scale financial collapses due to failing promises, as a kind of general list.  It’s quite a list.   There’s been a very long debate but mostly scattered in pieces and hidden from view.  That’s both because the primary culprit is our whole way of life, naturally hard to talk about, and what to do with “money” .
  • The design of our economic system that defines “capitalism” is very simple.  It’s “the use of investment profits to build up investments”.  That’s it.   Why such a simple practice has a hold on us is that it promises both society and individuals ever faster growing profits without growing work.   Of course that tends to end up badly, having been much too good to be true from the start.   The equally simple design of all natural systems is that “any system needs to build up to get started, and then stop building up to continue”.  The two definitions conflict.   Keynes and Boulding foresaw that the two would come to blows, once the economic system had built up and needed to stop building up to continue.   They saw capitalism could become like a natural system and can change only if investors spend their profits.  The sense of it is that investors would “pay it forward” so their profits would take care of the future rather that keep “paying it back” so old money could take ever more from the future.  It would let our economic system first build up, and then stop building up, to be able to continue, with no guarantees but as a possible path forward.   It’s all too simple as a design problem, as how all enduring natural systems develop and needs the social principle to make sense.  The dilemma is completely unsolvable as a financial problem within capitalism, though, challenging our  whole way of life as a rather immediate concern.   jlh 3/14/16 

____________

The intensification of work for concentrating wealth and profits.  – Click – to see QuarksDaily article on how this process drains our world.

 

_____________

from a 21st century view……

Your question is,  do we all use our profits to extract increasing pay back from others,
building up an ever growing drain on what makes our world profitable?
______
Or do we pay our profits forward to assure our world remains healthy
to grow our own ideals, our families, our communities and our world,
treating profits as a gift to what matters?
______________

 

J.M. Keynes and Ken Boulding were early and mid 20th century “whole system thinkers”.   They were true geniuses, struggling for words to convey how complex systems with all independent parts work as a whole somehow.   It’s truly the profound puzzle of nature, how illogical it is that all the independent parts of systems would act as if they were all coordinated.   They didn’t stop at just looking for simple rules of prediction having no idea where they came from or when they might change.    They also looked for and found elementally simple organizing principles of design, for how the parts of market economies coordinated with each other as whole systems and what drove them, central principles they weren’t able to communicate and that have yet to be appreciated at all.   From their views they did each say that:

the world economy would soon bankrupt itself by over-investment,
as a natural limit to unlimited financial growth,
due to the central driving financial practice of compound investment

Each was also a expansive thinker with their own ways of speaking about broad principles, so they are hard to read too.   It’s only by learning to think about the economy as a whole system, with all its parts working together, and distributing its surpluses and shortages throughout all its connections, that you can piece together from their writings the common finger prints for the above simple principle as what they were clearly saying.

I had some extra help with it, though.   I learned of Keynes’ work on the natural limits of finance from speaking with Ken, having gotten a chance to ask him in person, if he knew of any economists who had studied the limits of compound investment as a natural limit to growth.   I had asked Ken about it in 1983, and was able to understand what he said on the subject, because I had been searching for a few years already for anyone else who had discovered the principle, that growth systems, if not interfered with, would naturally upset their own conditions for growth.   It’s a completely invariant natural principle. Continue reading Did Keynes & Boulding both really say that?

So What’s Pattern Language? Mining design patterns from nature.

This is a good introductory description, excerpted from an email, w/ a little edit.  The abstract and link are for a paper on “Guiding Patterns of Natural Design:Mining Living Quality” for an upcoming Pattern Language of Programming conference.  

Alexander’s 15 Principle Elements of Wholeness – adaptation by TKWA archt.

Oh, it’s sort of magic..

the hope of course:

is that this emergence of a sound new way to communicate “wholeness in design”
leads to the world ‘transformation to living design’ everyone is so eagerly awaiting…

Pattern language is a new way of communicating design concepts, created by Christopher Alexander, an architect whose ideas came out of the same 60’s/70’s architecture community as mine did, only starting a decade earlier, and he became a wonderful architectural design teacher.    Anyway, his idea for how to ‘encode’ principles of ‘wholeness’ for architectural design elements was fairly successful, resulting in a series of books beginning with “A Pattern Language” in 1977, and experiments in urban design as recorded in “A New Theory of Urban Design” 1987, and in attracting a significant following.Then his methodology for defining ‘design patterns‘ did the magical thing… of being picked up and translated for use in other fields, a real technology transfer, actually representing the encoding of a set of rather ancient and wonderful architectural design principles, for other uses, i.e. “real magic“!  Where it had an amazing impact was on computer programming, becoming the basis of “object oriented design“, as a way of letting programmers communicate and understand their own design objectives, for both the wholes and parts of their programs.   Till the late 80’s when this new approach to defining design purposes took hold, programmers really had no good way to define the ‘parts‘ of computer programs, or how they needed to work together to make a ‘whole‘.

So having a way to define “working units of design” seems to me at least to be a big part of why modern programming became so successful, like maybe the other real secret behind the communication power of the internet other than micro-chips.  Pattern language lets programmers break computer programs into intelligible workable parts, representing real whole purposes and intentions.   It was Alexander’s loving way of describing the pieces of designs that did that, understanding and portraying design as a search for “living quality“.   And it caught on.  It provides a model for describing

  1. versatile solutions for common problems
  2. as a balance of the forces they resolve

Of course, one of the “forces” is whether we are creating a “living world” or an “inhuman world“, and whether the designs we make can become at home in our environment, to bring us and the earth living quality, or not.  That was the issue he was obsessed with from the start.  So, like I said, a sign of magic.

What’s more of course, is that his method of defining “design patterns” and my pattern science for understanding “natural systems” are awfully close cousins.  You might say they’re much the same thing in several ways, except his focus was on the patterns of wholeness for purposeful design and my focus was on patterns of wholeness in naturally occurring designs.  His “search model” for design patterns was “living quality” and mine was for “what makes life lively”, asked as a physicist who happened to have an education in design too.    So when I was introduced to his work as it had later matured (I really wasn’t “in the loop” or didn’t “get it” before) and I saw how it was being used by non-architects, I finally recognized the connection and now have lots to do!   It’s such a pleasure.

The work is to begin translating between the pattern language I developed for myself for naturally occurring designs, and the one that is becoming the common approach of many professions and communities based on Alexander’s approach, and do what I can to contribute to adding to the versatility of that common approach. Continue reading So What’s Pattern Language? Mining design patterns from nature.

The Image of the Commons… as Fulfillment

Creating a Commons takes thought leadership,
and
Thought Leadership takes midcourse corrections

One thing “thought leaders” need to be aware of is that “leading” always requires mid-course corrections.    Any start-up organization that sticks with growth as its plan and doesn’t switch to a goal for fulfillment has a default plan for destabilizing excesses in what it does, just for not having a goal that is attainable.    The two strategies are both essential but involve different leadership, for a shift from building internal to external relationships!

The natural strategy for building organizations starts with establishing self-identity and expansion by using its resources for capturing more resources.  That serves to grow its internal organization.  If successful it needs to be followed by a change to defining its independence and fulfilling roles in the new environment it finds itself in.  Having defined itself first, is then turns to setting out its own niche within and in harmony with communities of others, having made its identity first to then make its home.

Today the need is for leadership in a world that as a whole acts as if fully committed to destabilizing excess, clearly lacking even the language to talk about anything else.  Changing that seems like the first step then, toward our eventually being able to conceive of and bring about our own fulfillment.

_____________

The Initial Image of the Commons

A vital hive of activity, a self-sufficient family or network structure, in which every part connects directly with every other, an internal world of complementary roles for an economy of cooperation,
a thriving whole and sum greater than the parts.

The image of the Commons – art by Jack Deocyzk

____________

The More General Pattern of the Commons

Each silo of culture is the home for

a different way of living,
a hive of commune-ication 
a self-identit
pulsing with life,

none of which are nearly as alone in the universe and their internal images of completeness make it seem.

The pattern of the commons

________________

jlh

Are we protecting our symbols? or protecting the earth?

Warm greetings, real math.

________________

 

We publicize the “special places” that are threatened, and people respond, yes.   But we have to face that after 100 years of doing that, the environmental movement that our conservation groups and actions have been at the center of, has protected lots and lots of **special places** but is still not protecting the **ordinary places**.

Protecting thousands of special places, the ordinary places left unprotected

The effect of our organizing has been as if we didn’t know the ordinary places were just as threatened as the special ones, by the same visible and ever expanding encroachment from our economy.  Don’t we need to get that straight?   Don’t we need to be much more direct in saying that the threats to the special places (that get everyone’s attention) also symbolize the threat to the earth as a whole?

Places like Tucson we haven’t protected

If we do that it could materially change the common goal, recognition that really save the earth we need to **remove the threat**, not just **protect the things that symbolize the threat**.   Isn’t that a change in view we need to bring about?

Continue reading Are we protecting our symbols? or protecting the earth?

‘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.

A World SDG – global accounting of responsibilities for economic impacts

______________________

Offering a true measure of economic sustainability,
internalizing the costs of externalities caused by delivering world GDP,
initially using shares of GDP to measure shares of GDP impact responsibility;
potentially making the world economy 100% accountable.

It’s the “right way to make money”,
taking responsibility for the true shares of our costs to the future.

 

Investing and doing business in the common interest, 

…calls for balancing costs and benefits, no longer just counting operational impacts locally as before, adding up only the impacts over which we have direct control (and can’t hide).   Now we need to do impact accounting inclusively, combining in one account both direct operational impacts and direct economic demand impacts estimated as our global shares of the GDP impacts we pay for.   That’s the essential step to inclusive accounting, and balancing our benefits from GDP with our real shares of responsibility for the whole economy’s accumulating GDP impacts.  It’s needed to guide our choices for moving toward a sustainable future.

To apply it we need to recognize that the supply-chain and service-chain impacts are a *shared responsibility* of the those managing the operations the result from, and the economic demand caused by paying for them.  Now the World SDG offers a scientific method for measuring the responsibility of economic demand.  Businesses and investors need to make sound sustainable decisions about supply chains reaching around the world, and need accurate information on what is being paid for and profited from to do that.  Consumers, shareholders and regulators can then also make sound decisions about what the markets are profiting from.  For the glaring cases, regulators could variably tax the profits from dangerous impacts, funds to be transferred to subsidizing the profits for scaling up alternatives, making the investor and buyer jointly responsible with the seller for the important side-effects of their economic services.   In principle both buyer and seller are co-equally responsible, liable for long term costs of short term profits, and for being transparent.  This way of doing the accounting would help pave a clear path ahead for the economy of the future.  06/26/17, 11/5/18

______________________

Updated Preamble to the 2014 UN Proposal

Following these notes is the original text of the World SDG proposal, to the UN Ministerial “Open Working Group 7” and the UN NGO Major Group and its Commons Cluster, for negotiating the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).  It offers a “whole system accounting” method to give all stakeholders the same transparent information on measurable Environmental, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) impacts of the economy, to help guide economic choices for our future.  What makes it work is a new scientific method for much more accurately distributing real responsibility of economic decision makers for their decisions.   That new science, for how the world economy works as a whole, is what allows all stakeholders to see their own and each other’s real scale of impacts on the whole caused by their economic decisions.  It becomes a learning tool for then guiding our choices for the benefit of the whole, creating a holistic awareness of what’s at stake for consumers, business, investors and governance, and guide efforts for achieving the SDG’s.

Latest 2016 research statements, The links below are to recent UN Statements regarding how our standard ways of measuring sustainability are very selective, and leave the great majority of economic impacts on our future uncounted[1,].  My recent video comment to the UN [2,] on this grand accounting problem is in the webcast of its high level political policy forum for sustainable development (HLPF), its July 11 Session 4: Fostering equitable growth and sustainability . Watching the hour of statements from many experts, countries and organizations will show you how the UN works, and avoids discussion of our ever expanding impacts.   My statement is at minute 0:40:40, and others by Youth, Women & Indigenous Major Groups are at minute 1:09:00 to 1:21:00, and quite excellent too.

Our modern environmental accounting standards were based on ancient habits of not counting things we can now measure the effects of. The is largely limiting the information given decision makers to LOCAL impacts, and leaving uncounted their real shares of the GLOBAL impacts. These categorical omissions from what is counted assure that businesses, investors, government and consumers  will make sustainability decisions quite unaware of most of the impacts their decisions will cause.  What is excluded also tends to be the more neglected and disruptive of our accumulating economic impacts on the earth and society, and so excluding consideration of them in making the decisions that cause them. So sustainability decisions to maximize profits can also be maximizing neglected impacts too!!!

  1. Details of what SD metrics don’t count ImpactsUncountedl.pdf
  2. Video of UN HLPF comment on Growth & Impacts Uncounted 11 Jul 16

Why a World SDG?  

We’ve never had a meaningful balance sheet for the earth, but new science and technology now makes it possible.  Our accounting methods started from doing local accounting of impacts, and so didn’t take a whole system view, and that’s still the case.   So leaving them out of consideration means it’s only slowing the whole economy that slows its increasing whole effects that are continuing to destroy the earth.

I)  The standard way ‘sustainability’ is now measured uses “selective accounting” rules, for addressing ESG impacts, for people, businesses, cities or countries or policies.  It’s to count things almost entirely only for what each one directly manages.   That counts what each planning group would immediately care about, but it ignores the often much larger remote effects of their commerce on others and the planet, a very deceptive one sided view.   For businesses energy use, for example, what is counted is only the energy within its operations, for its equipment and the material uses it manages, or directly traced to them.   Even though doing that takes a great deal of effort, it arrives at a total that is highly inaccurate and misleading, due to the more dispersed categories of impacts uncounted.

II)  The most general exclusion is of all impacts of financial choices, all treated as ‘zero’, though also very clearly resulting in what is paid for and profited from, by consuming all the services of the economy remotely.   The largest part of that exclusion is the financial choice made by businesses to pay their own people, and so economically causing the consumption. Business use of public and private services, and paying investors are also excluded.  Also excluded are all those categories of paid services impact for business supply chains.  So given that we are now relying on environmental accounts for saving the earth, it’s evident that no one before had been checking what decision makers would be told they were making decisions about.

III)   To make real decisions on sustainability decision makers would need to accept co-equal responsibility for their choices to request, pay for and profit from their share of impacts for delivering their share of GDP.  Because our responsibility for what we see happening around the world is not traceable you need to count it statistically, and the new research makes that relatively easy.  It gives co-equal responsibly for directing the work of a business supply chain with the operations of the supply chain.

The original research (3, 4) found the whole supply chain energy consumption and CO2 pollution of 5 times what the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or GreenHouse Gas (GHG) “Scope 1&2” metrics would count, using a wind farm business with heavy technology as model.  For less for businesses using less heavy technology, the true impact might be 10 times what is counted, with the more disruptive remote impacts going completely uncounted.  The old rules were inherited from practices for simplifying accounting and ignoring things that were hard to count.  It reflect the oldest of old habits of thinking, of economies working with separate parts, when since Adam Smith everyone has known they work as a whole.

IV)  The World SDG proposes a data network giving access to a transparent inclusive accounting of measurable ESG impacts, a data platform.   The starting point is a scientific method of dividing up shares of known impacts of the whole economy, for which any part would be responsibility.  The baseline for estimating a share of economic responsibility is the decision maker’s share of the economy, initially counting every share as “average”, and then differentiating if more information is available.   So as an impact calculator, any person, business, or country would enter their “income” and first see a display of the known global impacts for that share of world GDP.  It would be for helping them choose how to invest their time and money, and guide policy.  As research develops, ways to depart from average and take credit for lessening or compensating for impacts would develop.

The principle strategy for the World SDG is to improve the decision making regarding investments, thinking of “investment” more holistically, as both “cultural development” and trying “new directions for the economy”.   For operating businesses its ESG balance sheet report would be published along side its annual financial balance sheet report. All stakeholders could view the same “best available information” on all impact factors.   When a new investment proposals want public recognition and perhaps qualify for support, they’d go through public reviews.  First would for general scientific and economic feasibility, then financial, and then for cultural acceptance and political commitment.   From initial to final reviews it would proceed as a “learning practice” going from early concept to final implementation stages.  More successful proposals might be seen as “transformational” and become a teamwork of all the stakeholders, not just the initiators.

Our main sustainability impact metrics (2)

  • LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) accounts for the impacts of recorded uses of technology and materials by individuals and businesses
    • but not the impacts of OTHER spending and economic choices
  • EF (ecological footprint) measures our traceable use and flows natural and renewable resources
    • also not the impacts of OTHER spending and economic choices

The World SDG method combining the omitted economic impacts with scientific measures  (3)

  • EI (economic impact) measures accumulative responsibility of participants in the economy for shares of global ESG impacts of GDP, assumed to be proportional to shares of GDP until improved information is available.
    • Share of GDP is a reliable measure of our use of the economy, on the currently reliable assumption that the measured economy works as a whole, based on the highly regular relationship seen in the first figure below, of a constant ratio of constant whole system growth rates for GDP, Energy & Energy Efficiency.
      Also see the Addendum – Background on the Science and references (4, 5a,b)

______________

Preface

Why a World SDG is both possible and needed is because our world economy works as a whole.  We need a truly global way of understanding the impacts of our decisions, to crate a “Knowledge Commons for Sustainability”.  We recognize that every part contributes to the whole and no part can operate without the whole.  The surprising result of the research is how reliably any share of GDP is likely to be “average” and pay for about the same share of world GDP impacts (4).   1) It first comes from how widely distributed consumption spending is, then 2) how widely money from any expense is distributed in the global economy, to all income levels within all kinds of businesses, as it is passed down a supply chain(5a,b).   It then also relies 3) on how truly global and competitive economic markets and services are, with all parts being disciplined by the same competitive standards for profiting from the resources everyone has access to.   So the baseline assumption that shares of GDP pay for the same average share of GDP impacts is both necessary as a default choice and likely to be accurate.  Making decisions on how individuals and the world can depart from average would then become the focus.  

Everyone could then understand their own benefits from the economy and how they compare with the global impacts of delivering them, seeing the simple facts in a broad context.  For example, a 6 oz (180 cc) glass of wine for $10  seems like a small impact.  As an average share of GDP what we find is $10 is quite likely to have an “average climate impact” of .45kgCO2/$ = 4.5kg for $10 = ~10lb x 16oz = 160 ozCO2 [2006 data] (4).  So the weight of CO2 consumed would be ~27 times the weight of wine.   The catch is that spending $10 on anything else would be the same.  How we use any part of our incomes would be close to having an average share of CO2 AND other global impacts of the economy as a whole, soil loss, deforestation, environmental and cultural disruptions etc.  [for 2016 data due to inflation and efficiencies impacts per $ are ~66%]

So the World SDG accounting model lets you: 

  • Compare our shares of World GDP benefits with our shares of  its measurable Ecological Societal and Governance (ESG) impacts.  
  • Using “shares of the whole” as a common unit of measure for responsibility for the whole
      • by aggregating reliable measures of human impacts and risks to our future, including direct financial liability if there are good estimates

     

    • using the sound initial baseline assumption of “average responsibility per share” pending more complete accounting.

It would provide an accurate accounting for the modern world’s survival on earth.
[ed 8/23/16] 

… a scientifically combined balance sheet for financial and ESG factors,
so people can better understand our economic choices.  

___________________________

.

A World SDG

A World SDG  is a “commons approach”

    • Full accountability for the rising economic costs of an unsustainable future

 

    • Finance motivated to invest in the SDG’s close to our hearts.

 

  • An integrated balance sheet of local and global responsibilities for integrated implementing of SDG’s.

New science makes it possible to give those who profit from growing our costly economic impacts the information they’d need to understand their growing global liability. What would be more profitable choices for all can then reverse that. It’s shocking, really, when one finds what a $1 dollar share of GDP (where the averages apply) is responsible for, as a $1 share of today’s economy’s fast growing impacts.   Every average $1 of GDP is responsible for close to 1lb of CO2 put in the atmosphere!  So in a sentence you just replace “dollar” with “pounds of CO2” to speak about the climate impact of normal earning and spending.   For a consumer with a $50k income, the climate impact is 50k pounds of CO2 per year!

World GDP, Energy & Efficiency
Parallel growth rates for world GDP, Energy, CO2 and Efficiency => make average shares of GDP responsible for the same share of those parallel impacts.

Continue reading A World SDG – global accounting of responsibilities for economic impacts

A World SDG: A Sustainable Earth Footprint, and way to thoughtfully manage global systems

This journal entry if for the preliminary presentation of The World SDG to the UN’s Open Working Group on the SDG’s.  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. 

Below is the version circulated in 08 to 10 Jan, Statement of Jessie Henshaw, Working with IPS & NGO Commons Cluster at the UN OWG sessions.  

Updated short PDF  hand-out statement World SDG

Full version  World SDG-UNPost2015Agenda
for NGO Major Group report& as a 2/3/14 blog post here

__________________________________________________

 

Statement to UN “Open Working Group” (OWG) sessions, on: “Sustainable Consumption and Production” &”Disaster Risk Reduction”, for the NGO Major Group: Commons Cluster

A “World SDG”
guiding decision maker choices for the Sustainable Development Goals

 

We have always needed an SDG for reducing our global footprint by a method that thoughtfully manages the global systems, many of which behave so independently as to have “minds of their own”.   We now have two good scientific methods of measuring our local responsibilities for global footprints, in broad spectrum.  That information will FAR more rationally steer the decision making of global markets, and give regulators and consumers a FAR better understanding of what their decisions mean, than the scanty and mostly quite subjective information on how our world works we now have.   So defining the SDG for reducing our global footprints in general, as a way to let every part know how to steer their part of the whole …  becomes possible.

  • LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) accounts for the impacts of recorded uses of technology and materials by individuals and businesses
    • but not the impacts of any our OTHER spending and economic choices
  • EF (ecological footprint) measures our traceable exchange of natural and renewable resources
    • also not the impacts of our OTHER economic choices
  • EI (economic impact) fills that gap, measuring our global shares of measurable or socially prioritized economic ESG impacts, assumed to be proportional to shares of GDP until improved information is available.   So… shares of GDP as a good measure of our benefits from the economy, are used as a measure of our share of responsibility for the whole economy’s impacts.  [and the science shows that “average” is a quite reliable first estimate for the real impact of shares of GDP]  [clarification of descriptions 5/27/15]

It allows us to “internalize all externalities” and define the SDG simply, to slow or reverse all accumulating economic impacts, with their goal being to approach their own limits, safely, within all recognized cultural, economic and planetary boundaries.

Doesn’t disaster risk reduction need to include Assessment of
Disaster Risk Costs??

and informing people profiting from the causes
who could be held responsible?

There are now better scientific ways using EF and EI to accurately measure global and local disaster costs and now there are better ways to assign responsibility for them, means of accurately and honestly associate responsibility for them with the people creating the market demand for and taking profits from the economic causes. There are societal costs attributable to industrial farming, both for pollution and resource depletion that harms our present and future economic wellbeing. There is also the responsibility that can be proportioned to industrial farming for the societal costs of displacing  rural communities with more competitive farming methods, and triggering unplanned migrations to cities of people who lose their livelihoods and are unprepared to thrive where they are going, as well. In the case of climate change, climate hazard costs can be included with other costs, and assessed proportionately to the production of GHG’s, and the responsibility for them being equitably distributed to the people creating the market demands for and taking profits from the economic products and services producing them.   As a systemic approach it is part of what is called “The Ideal Model: “New Architecture” for Economic Self-regulation”. It is widely recognized that humanity is still far from living sustainable on our planet home. Even the Secretary-General’s Rio+20 Gap Report recognized that humanity has already exceeded a number of planetary boundaries and is living well beyond the carrying capacity of the earth. We are polluting the natural environment and rapidly depleting our natural resource base. Clearly we need a well-defined SDG to reduce our global footprint.

A shift from building things to caring for what we built, as natural systems do it…!

LCA examples 

EF examples and implementation see:

EI examples and implementation as a goal, see:

Jessie Henshaw

 

 

 

 

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. 

___________

 

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

_______________

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