FranzKafka

Franz Kafka in the 2020’s: The Hacking Incident of June 2024

Background: The Hacking Incident

In early June 2024, the Earth Organisation for Sustainability (EOS) faced a severe hacking incident on its Facebook Page. This page, used to publicize events, lectures, and social activism projects, had a following of 1,707—smaller than our main group but crucial for community outreach. As a registered non-profit in Sweden, we maintained multiple admins to ensure transparency and community involvement.

During the attack, hackers compromised two admin accounts. These malicious actors invited fraudulent accounts as new admins and attempted to claim the EOS page through Meta Business Suite multiple times. The final takeover was evident when the page’s content abruptly shifted to lewd films, completely unrelated to our mission of sustainability.

Meta’s Response: An Exercise in Frustration

In the aftermath, I submitted two complaints to Meta: one for the personal hacking of our admins and another regarding the page’s capture. Both chats ended quickly, directing me to report the page as hacked. Despite providing proof of our organization’s legitimacy, including our Swedish registration ID, Meta offered no further assistance or follow-up after numerous reports.

A significant change was the disappearance of the support chat. It became apparent that support access had been restricted for accounts not fully verified, despite our use of two-factor authentication. This led me to subscribe to Meta’s services, hoping to regain support access and resolve the issue. Unfortunately, Meta’s support remained unresponsive, leaving us feeling as if they sided with the perpetrators rather than the victims.

The Anti-Social Network

Reflecting on Facebook’s evolution, it was once a vibrant platform for organizing and connecting like-minded individuals focused on sustainability and community building. The site facilitated group recommendations and friend suggestions, fostering a bustling exchange of ideas.

Today, with approximately 3 billion users, including an estimated 150 million fake accounts, Facebook groups are increasingly infiltrated by scammers and bots. Our page is not an isolated case; many others have been similarly compromised. The lack of effective support in such a vast network only encourages further fraudulent activity, undermining the platform’s integrity.

Suggestions for Improvement

Based on our experience, we offer the following recommendations to Meta:

  1. Founder Protection: Ensure that founders cannot be easily removed by other admins.
  2. Co-Admin Bots: Introduce bots with limited rights to prevent hostile takeovers, similar to systems used by platforms like Amazon.
  3. Verification for Page Claims: Require documentation proving the claimant’s association with the organization behind a page.
  4. Content Monitoring: Implement automatic reviews when a page’s content drastically changes, indicating a possible hijacking.
  5. Community-Based Support: Enable trusted users to act as support within their networks, allowing for a decentralized and democratic approach to assistance.

Conclusion: A Cautionary Tale

Our current focus is on reclaiming our page or, if necessary, starting anew while using this experience as a warning to others. Although having multiple admins was a vulnerability, it is unjust to suggest that victims share responsibility for such breaches, much like blaming someone for an assault based on circumstances.

If Facebook’s support continues to deteriorate and fraud becomes more rampant, the platform risks losing its value as a genuine social network. The prevalence of AI-generated content and bot-driven interactions, epitomized by pages like “Farmer Girl,” highlights Facebook’s current challenges. Organizations may soon find themselves devoting more resources to preventing takeovers than fostering real engagement.

Is this truly the direction Mark Zuckerberg envisions for Facebook’s future?

You are needed

If you’d like to support us, please report the now-compromised EOS page and its inappropriate content to Meta.

To further support our mission and stand against those who seek to silence us, consider supporting EOS projects like the Umeå Biodome and the PC game project Climatopia. Advocacy for a sustainable future is crucial.

For more information and to support our work, visit our Patreon.

https://www.patreon.com/yourplanetneedsyou
EndGeo

The End of Geopolitics?

The new Great Game

In the global arena, analysts meticulously dissect the escalating tensions between the Western sphere, helmed by the United States, and an emergent coalition of Eurasian powers led by the People’s Republic of China. This struggle encompasses not just access to raw materials and market dominance but also the quest for paramount prestige and influence among global powers.

Diverse viewpoints prevail among analysts, ranging from the belief in an imminent collapse of China and Russia with the United States emerging as the unrivaled 21st-century powerhouse, to the forecast of a multipolar world where China and India ascend as dominant forces. However, these discussions overlook a looming, all-encompassing reality—the impending spectre of global ecological collapse.

While the debate rages on GDP, military prowess, and the expansiveness of competing trade networks, the impending collapse of ecosystems remains relegated to the sidelines. This oversight pushes our world ever closer to the brink of environmental catastrophe.

A convergence of crises

Consider the alarming statistics—nearly a third of the world’s freshwater reservoirs and soils lie ravaged, while our relentless reliance on fossil-fuel-based fertilizers continues to exacerbate the perils of climate change. Even a concerted effort to curtail emissions will fail to halt the climate crisis due to the cumulative effects of past environmental neglect.

The ramifications of these actions are dire, foretelling the transformation of regions into inhospitable landscapes due to soaring temperatures. The response to such environmental upheaval necessitates drastic adaptations, such as the creation of enclosed cities, mass migrations, or the dire descent into destitution for those incapable of adapting.

Take, for instance, the Middle East—a region perpetually embroiled in conflict. Yet, the discourse around its geopolitical complexities might soon wane as soaring temperatures render vast swathes of it uninhabitable.

The most pressing challenge looms over Asia, where the impending disappearance of Himalayan glaciers threatens the very lifelines of billions dependent on rivers like the Ganges and the Yangtze.

Even Europe isn’t exempt from these impending cataclysms. Southern countries could potentially transform into arid deserts, necessitating widespread migration and a radical reshaping of their agricultural landscapes. Paradoxically, northern Europe might experience more severe winters due to the shifting climatic currents.

A projected global temperature rise of two to three degrees Celsius is set to exponentially escalate the cost of maintaining civilization, leading to reduced disposable incomes and constrained economies. The pursuit of global dominance amidst this crisis becomes an economically prohibitive endeavor.

As conflicts intensify over dwindling resources, the global landscape might witness a trend toward autarky or the creation of heightened class disparities, further marginalizing vulnerable populations. Yet, vying for global hegemony amid such existential crises would amount to a fool’s errand.

Survival in the face of these challenges demands a shift in approach—toward conservation, self-sufficiency, and the widespread equipping of populations with indispensable survival skills. The foreseeable future portends economic stagnation, possibly mirroring historic collapses if political and social systems fail to adapt to the looming cataclysms.

Another way is there

Ideally, transcending this crisis necessitates a paradigm shift—a leadership that prioritizes life over unbridled growth, human welfare over rampant consumerism, and equitable access to life’s necessities for all. Yet, such a profound alteration in trajectory mandates leaders and ideologies radically different from our current trajectory. We would need a shift towards fulfilling the Three Criteria – a global ecological budget ceiling, a shift to a fully circular economy and a global income floor for the Earth’s poor.

Ultimately, the fixation on the US-China power struggle proves futile when juxtaposed against the impending convergence of crises. It mirrors the futility of ancient empires squabbling in the lead-up to the Bronze Age collapse.

Climate

StartUp4Climate & Climatopia – the finale, and a new beginning

Recently, a team which I work with was on the finale of a StartUp contest, and though we did not win we made for a great experience.

We were representing T.E.R.R.A, a company started by the Earth Organisation for Sustainability, EOS, and which is formed to help complement EOS’ other projects. The contest in question was the StartUp4Climate contest, a contest organized by Ellevio and GodEl with support from WeDontHaveTime. We won the People’s vote, and thus became one of the eight finalists to partake in the event.

Yours truly, EOS chairperson Rickard Strandberg, and the director of Unvoid Studio, Tistou Blomberg – a gaming publisher which we collaborate with – travelled to Stockholm to engage in the finale. Our project was – and is – Climatopia, a game which would strive to accurately simulate the relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and economic growth, where the player would control the UN and try to choose between different choices to help save the future.

We were unique among the finalists, of whom most represented companies which intended to find differing ways to either increase energy production without carbon output, or reduce the environmental footprint of various products.

The challenge with honestly ascertaining these products is the question of scale.

For example, hydrogen cars are undoubtedly on an individual level far superior to gasoline cars, but if we shall replace each and every gasoline car with a hydrogen car, would that not need to entail the conversion of humongous amounts of water into hydrogen?

The same with Lithium. How far before we would reach a peak Lithium?

If we would replace all concrete in the world with hemp, we would need a land area larger than India devoted only to the production of hemp.

This indicates that we not only need to switch to green energy, but also to reduce consumerism and also reduce resource usage on a broad front, ideally instituting a global ecological budget ceiling.

This is what Climatopia intends to address.

Hardly surprising, we did not win the finale – it can be difficult in an arena where there is a widespread belief that technological solutions can solve everything. But we learnt a lot about how to make a pitch, and we made valuable connections.

And Climatopia is a much needed game, especially for educational purposes.

Climatopia

Climatopia

A game about reality

Preface: “Climatopia – Bridging the Gap Between Fun and Learning”

“A Journey from a Substitute Teacher’s Classroom to a Vision for Tomorrow’s Environmental Advocates”

A Personal Anecdote: Planting the Seeds of Inspiration

In the world of education, there are moments that stand out, moments when a spark of curiosity ignites in the minds of students, forever altering their perspective on learning. One such moment occurred during my tenure as a substitute teacher, when I introduced a group of seventh-graders to a small webgame called “Pre-civilization Stone Age.” Little did I know that this seemingly ordinary classroom activity would plant the seeds of inspiration for a revolutionary idea called Climatopia.

The classroom theme was the Stone Age, and like many educators, I faced the challenge of engaging students who were not initially keen on listening or reading about the topic. However, in the last 20 minutes of the class, something magical happened. I introduced them to “Pre-civilization Stone Age,” a webgame that challenged them to advance a community from hunter-gatherer societies to neolithic civilizations. The game’s intricate challenges and strategic depth captivated the students. They were drawn into a world where learning became an adventure.

As the days passed, my students became so enthralled by the game’s difficulty that they started playing it in their spare time, driven by the determination to conquer it. To succeed, they had to immerse themselves in the intricacies of human advancement, memorizing the nuanced transitions from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic stages. It was a testament to the power of gamification in education.

A Shift in Perspective: From Climate Denial to Environmental Advocacy

At the beginning of this year, I had set out to write a book, one that would meticulously debunk the one hundred most common fallacies propagated by climate deniers, providing clear and compelling rebuttals. It was a noble endeavour, one rooted in the urgency of addressing climate change. However, as I delved deeper into my writing, I began to question whether this approach could truly reach the audience that mattered most—future generations inheriting our Earth and the crises spawned by unsustainable practices.

It was in this moment of reflection that the concept of Climatopia was born.

Climatopia is not just a game; it’s a vision that fuses the joy of gaming with the importance of environmental education. It draws inspiration from that transformative classroom experience, where students embraced learning through gameplay. With Climatopia, we aim to create an immersive gaming experience that not only educates but empowers players to become environmental advocates.

In the pages that follow, we will take you on a journey through the genesis of Climatopia, exploring its potential to revolutionize education and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards. Join us as we embark on a quest to bridge the gap between fun and learning, empowering young minds to tackle the critical challenges our world faces.

Climatopia: Crafting a Sustainable Future Through Strategy

Game Overview

Imagine a world where the future of our planet lies in your hands. Welcome to Climatopia, a turn-based grand strategy game that casts you in the role of the climate leader for the United Nations. In this immersive gaming experience, your mission is nothing short of averting a catastrophic runaway greenhouse effect.

The Epoch of Change

Set against the backdrop of the years 1987 to 2299, Climatopia offers a unique opportunity to navigate the long-term consequences of climate change and harness the potential of cutting-edge technologies. Your journey begins in 1987, following a pivotal conference in Reykjavik, where you are entrusted with the monumental task of steering the world toward a sustainable future.

Balancing Act: Policies, Progress, and People

In Climatopia, every decision matters. As you strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through innovative technologies, regulations, and even cultural shifts, you’ll discover that the delicate balance between progress and public sentiment is paramount. Radical changes may trigger reduced global happiness, jeopardizing climate policies and destabilizing societies. The challenge lies in finding the equilibrium where progress and happiness coexist.

The Nexus of Wealth and Emissions

As nations prosper, they gain the means to conduct groundbreaking research and development. However, this prosperity can also lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Climatopia challenges you to manage the dual-edged sword of affluence, where wealth provides resources for innovation but also fuels the emissions dilemma.

Nature’s Wrath: Unpredictable Disasters

Adding another layer of complexity, Climatopia introduces random natural disasters. These calamities grow in frequency as greenhouse gas levels rise in the atmosphere, creating a dynamic and evolving gameplay experience. You must adapt your strategies to mitigate the impact of these disasters while continuing to combat climate change.

Mastery Through Strategy

Climatopia is more than just a game; it’s an economy management simulator that cultivates your strategic thinking and prioritization skills. With its challenging gameplay, this single-player experience offers hundreds of hours of engaging and educational entertainment.

As the climate leader of the United Nations, you hold the key to a sustainable future. Can you rise to the challenge and steer humanity away from the precipice of environmental catastrophe? Only time will tell in the world of Climatopia.

Educational Enlightenment in Climatopia: Unveiling the Science Behind Climate Change

Guided by Climate Experts

In Climatopia, knowledge is power, and our commitment to authenticity is unwavering. To ensure players embark on a journey grounded in scientific reality, we’ve enlisted the guidance of climate experts. Their insights help shape not only a realistic gaming experience but one firmly rooted in the principles of climate science.

Informed Decision-Making at Every Turn

As you navigate through the intricate world of Climatopia, each turn is an opportunity to make informed decisions. When pivotal events unfold, informative info boxes will accompany them, unraveling the complexities of climate change, physics, sustainable practices, and cutting-edge technologies. These educational snippets empower players to comprehend the intricacies of the climate crisis as they progress in the game.

A Living Encyclopedia of Climate Knowledge

At your fingertips, Climatopia houses an expansive in-game encyclopedia that delves deep into the facets of climate science and sustainability. Players can access a wealth of information, references, and online resources, fostering a deeper understanding of the topic as they explore the game’s vast universe.

Guardians Against Misinformation

Climatopia serves as a formidable weapon against misinformation. As players immerse themselves in the game, they fortify their knowledge and resilience against climate change denial. For instance, they’ll discover that the sun cannot shoulder the blame for climate change; the cooling effect in the upper atmosphere is a result of the CO2 blanket, not solar fluctuations. Such insights inoculate players against misinformation and equip them to confront climate change denial with facts and evidence.

Showcasing the Dangers of Denial

Within the fabric of Climatopia lies a vivid portrayal of the consequences of climate change denial. Players witness firsthand the ripple effects of misinformation, underscoring the urgency of informed action. The game serves as both an educational tool and a call to arms, inspiring players to become advocates for a sustainable future.

As players invest countless hours in Climatopia, they emerge not only as masters of strategy but as champions of climate knowledge. With each decision, they take a step closer to understanding the science that shapes our world and the power they hold to effect change.

Team

The Earth Organisation for Sustainability have formed a company called the Technate for Ecological and Renewable Resources Advancement (TERRA), and our team of developers right now is constituted by Tistou Willjam Blomberg (Unvoid Studio) and Sergia Volodin.

BeingConcise

Being concise about the climate issue

Introduction

Recently in my country of Sweden, a conservative news columnist has come under fire for suggesting that media reports about a record hot summer were alarmist in nature, and thus she is accused of being a climate change denier, and calls have been raised on the platform previously known as Twitter to de-platform her.

Her defenders on the other hand claim that she is not denying climate change, but offering a critique against the habit of connecting future potential heatwaves as well as weather phenomena with climate change.

What this public spat points out is that the messaging about climate change is prone to misunderstandings, and to a contentious public debate which sows confusion and depolarization.

We live in a time of ecological crisis, in terms of climate change, soil erosion, freshwater depletion and ecosystems deterioration. Each of these crises represents an existential crisis against not only industrial civilization but also for higher lifeforms on our planet. This is not the first global ecological crisis which our species have faced – but it is unique in two regards. This time we are 1) aware of the looming crisis and 2) are largely the cause of the crisis, due to our collective over-exploitation of our biosphere.

In the same time, for various reasons, it is a culturally, economically and politically difficult, nearly insurmountable task for our species to muster a comprehensive and effective strategy to stop damaging the ecosystems which we depend on for our sustenance.

It could be argued that one of the factors which prevent the effective dissemination of the gravity of the situation is information overload. A typical citizen today is bombarded with information, news, outrage, enticement, distractions and fear for all their free time. Attention is divided, and the ability to discern relevant information from trash is diminishing among the generations who are growing up with social media.

Ideally, there would need to be a cultural revolution to reduce the amount of information stasis constantly bombarding a stressed out, anxiety-ridden populace, but in the mean-time, maybe the strategy to disseminate information about climate change could be revised?

Clearing the table – instituting severity levels

Man-made climate change – i.e. how the emissions of fossil-based greenhouse gasses reduce the amount of heat evaporating from the Earth by thickening the Earth’s atmosphere – is a complex issue which affects everything on the planet. It is an elaborate, complex puzzle with tens of thousands of pieces, and scientific institutions do not yet fully grasp its implications.

I would argue that if the media would be sincerely interested in helping to provide the public with a clearer understanding of climate change, its effects would need to be divided into several levels.

These levels would be roughly constituted along the line of the potential severity of the short-, medium- and long-term effects. I will provide one example here below.

  1. Level One (Yellow): Effects which are localized, disturb local economies, increases the likelihood for extreme weather, forest fires, reduce tourism income or lead to higher demand for cooling.
  2. Level Two (Orange): Slow-moving long-term changes which will demand social intervention on a centralized, large scale, for example sea level rise and changes in agricultural productivity.
  3. Level Three (Red): Very severe effects which will not only disrupt human civilization but also permanently affect the living conditions regionally or globally, and threaten to cause civilizational collapse. Examples are the melting glaciers of the Himalayas, the weakening of the AMOC (of which the Gulf Stream is a part) and the greening of the equatorial seas, which threatens plankton reproduction and thence the global reproduction of Oxygen (arguably the greatest threat of climate change).

Ideally, I would argue that the third severity level needs to be emphasized in the public messaging about climate change.

As it looks now, it seems like most of the public associates climate change with two factors – the first one being that the temperatures generally will become warmer and the second that the seas will rise due to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. It would not be surprising if most of the public primarily associated climate change with the risk of increased flooding. This causes several problems with communication, as it opens up the opportunity for climate change denialists to (correctly) point out that the raising of the sea levels is a slow process, that it is expected to take millennia for the Greenland ice sheet to collapse, that rising GDP levels (since they ignore all other factors) will make it possible for countries to invest in sea walls, and that even a poor country like Bangladesh is investing heavily in sea walls and have even regained some land during the last two decades.

The focus on sea level rise is understandable – the public interest is awoken both by the fact that most of our species are living on lowlands and at coasts, and by the Flood myths inherited from ancient civilizations. But it is not a good thing when the public cares for climate change on behalf of an issue which is understood in a flawed and dare I say alarmist manner.

That 75% of the Himalayan glaciers may be gone by the year 2100 (ICIMOD, 2023) is a much more serious threat against the well-being of the peoples of Bangladesh (and India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, China…) as it would represent a collapse of food production, ecosystems, soil and fresh-water reservoirs, and threaten the stability of the entire Eurasian landmass.

Likewise, the weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) due to the warming of the arctic seas could very well cool northern Europe to temperatures which move towards Siberian and Alaskan levels – which would probably be great for winter sports but disastrous for agriculture and heating. This would also represent a permanent and unalterable facet of climate change, which is more difficult to adapt against than building sea walls on the Danish islands.

This is another reason for being cautious on reporting about for example the end of winter mountain sports in Scandinavia, as climate change as a phenomenon is so complex that it affects other systems – like sea currents – which in their turn can affect the outcome in a different but even more undesirable outcome.

When newspapers, governments and green organisations speak about climate change, we should do it in terms of focusing on the threats which are existential in nature. Plankton and seaweed produces around 50% of the Oxygen on the planet. If the phytoplankton living near the arctic waters are threatened by extinction, it can cause a reduction of oxygen regeneration which can threaten animal life globally. This could herald a mass extinction event which will affect us.

Summary

Of course, the certainty of these cataclysms could be put into question – but what we need to act upon is not the chance that they won’t occur or that the trends would be reversed, but that these events may occur. If we would have reasoned around aerosols as the climate denialists or minimizers are doing with the climate, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina would probably have enormous amounts of skin cancer occurrences today, and would have had to adapting into becoming the first ever nocturnal human societies.

Even without climate change, there is a need to transition to a zero-fossil society before the lack of economically accessible oil does that for us, and builds us into an economic high energy trap. The economic forces which want to keep the perception of the viability of fossil energy are reactionary beyond the level of self-destructiveness, and the economic sustainability of oil must be more vigorously questioned. Not the least, there must be a demand for and a public debate about the banning of the prospecting of new oil fields.

But before that, we need a better debate about climate change.

And the debate we need may need to be more concise and focus on the most serious implications of climate change – especially regarding its effects on glaciers, ocean currents and long-term habitability. There are other severe issues which I probably for brevity’s sake have disregarded in this article, but the point is not what severe problems we are discussing, but that we must primarily highlight them, rather than bringing in everything from the problem of urban heatwaves to the increasing insurance costs of coastal habitation to the end of winter resorts in Scandinavia.

Though all of these issues may be true, the problem of including too many issues in the question of the seriousness of climate change are manifold.

  • The public will be cognitively flooded with climate change to the point of nausea.
  • Pointing out severe and mundane effects in the same setting will blunt the emotional and psychological impacts of understanding the severe effects.
  • The more points will be taken up in the same articles, videos and information briefs, the greater the likelihood that misconceptions could arise and that our opponents could utilize these misconceptions to win tactical victories.

In short, what we need to do is to design the messaging with climate change in a manner which can focus the attention of the public on the need for radical reform, and to achieve that we need to focus on a few core issues (ideally fewer than five) and then repeat them constantly. These issues must be scientifically validated, and must be focused on what constitutes an existential threat with climate change.

The opposition to climate change reform is consisting of probably the most confused political forces in human history, who actively are working to create a political situation which will bring forth the opposite they claim to support (which generally is a free-market capitalist society, while opposition to climate change reforms must bring forth ever more statist and regulatory economics in the future to help correct the course).

What the Earth Organization for Sustainability is doing

Right now, we are in the early process of developing a single player computer game which would simultaneously serve as a simulator showcasing the effects of climate change, and as a strategy game where the player themselves can interact with and initiate policies intended to mend climate change through reforms, technological innovations, cultural changes or other means.

The name of the game is Climatopia, and we hope it will help increase the understanding of this topic.

If you want to help, you can contact us on [email protected] or support us through our Patreon (or Swish number if you live in Sweden).

sustain

The Three Criteria for a Sustainable Earth

As five critical life-supporting systems on our planet are under threat of collapsing, this is not the time to dream about alternate Utopias – instead it is the time to transcend the mental limits of our current socio-economic system.

The central aspect is not how the socio-economic system for the future should operate in every detail, but that it achieves three very simple criteria, which together will create the basis for a steady-state economy, a dynamic equilibrium and human well-being on Earth.

The Earth Survey

We need to know how many resources that are available on Earth, where they are currently used, and how the usage could be optimized. With today’s technology and world population, and the dire situation with the environment, such an on-going Earth Survey is a necessary aspect. 

Today, our civilization is using far more than 100% of the biomass that the Earth can regenerate every year, meaning that we are running an ecological deficit. In the future, we must always ensure that we globally and regionally are below 100% of our “Earth allowance”. 

Thus, instead of a currency system based on debt, we want to measure the wealth of the people of Earth by the state of the world’s ecology.

A circular Economy

In a circular economy, resource flows, product cycles and product usage are tracked, and all products are produced with the goal of optimizing durability, recycling and storage, allowing us humans to minimize our impact on our planet.

The aspects entail recycling, upcycling, miniaturization, modularization, localization and durability. Through our Design, we have envisioned a society where the cost of a product becomes lower when the product achieves more sustainability – which is basically the opposite of how things are working out today.

The costs of products must reflect their environmental impact, which incentivizes the consumption of more ecologically sustainable products and their development.

 A Universal Basic Income

 All human beings deserve the right to life, freedom, safety, nutrition, education and healthcare. For a civilization to be socially sustainable, conditions where people are dying or living lives of fear and uncertainty should be reduced. Every human life is precious, and every human should be able to devote their life to more than just existence and survival. 

 Therefore, we intend for every human being of Earth to own their own individual shares of the planet’s annual renewal capacity. Everyone would be entitled to an income floor on which they can stand and reach for the stars. 

Ultimately, we need to achieve a sustainable global civilization on Earth, and the Earth Organisation for Sustainability is aiming to take a role in this transition towards a better tomorrow.

ProtoPic1[1]

The Proto-technate – A way out of life puzzle

Introduction

A common critique of the Design is that it provides a template for how to arrange and structure the future economic system of humanity, without discussing the transition from Capitalism to Energy Accounting.

To some extent, the critique is often coming from various left-wing organisations, but more commonly they come from detractors, who may agree fundamentally with our critique of the current system, but for varying reasons do not believe it is desirable or realistic to completely overhaul the existing order.

Such questions are often not asked in entirely good faith either, but made in order to define the EOS as politically immature and therefore discard not only any eventual lack of transitionary planning but also the Design itself. After all, why the hassle of contemplating an alternative socio-economic system if we do not intend to institute it?

It should be noted that the above-mentioned rhetorical question, based on fallacious assumptions about the lack of a transitionary goal plan of the EOS, also assumes that the representatives of the EOS have the audacity to propose themselves as the leaders of the global future of mankind, and that the EOS fundamentally is striving to assume power. This is an abject absurdity, and based on the notion that human beings can only be motivated by greed or power.

The purpose of this article is to once again reiterate what the purpose of the EOS and the Design is, but also something more – to offer a tangible transition plan in the face of ecological collapse and a situation where the elites of humanity are unable and unwilling to look past Capitalism for answers on how to arrange the relationship of our civilization and the Earth on which it is dependent.

Summary

  • Energy Accounting is an economic calculation model designed to the conditions humanity is facing during the 21st century, where 8 billion people must share what a planet with a rapidly deteriorating environment and dwindling resources could provide.
  • The EOS is formed around the goal of testing aspects of Energy Accounting and identify how the system responds to real world challenges.
  • Thus, the EOS itself does not intend to make this model of a future society come true, but to establish it as an alternative model for social and economic development (look at the article The Only thing we are asking for).
  • There are basically two routes to institute Energy Accounting – top-down and bottom-up.
  • A bottom-up approach would see a slow, incremental transition of non-state actors combining their productive resources to gradually decouple from the market economy.
  • It is fundamentally not only possible but necessary to combine top-down and bottom-up approaches to the transition issue.
  • We don’t have much time, but we have to do it.

Energy Accounting and the EOS

Our planet is on a rapid trajectory towards environmental collapse, not only in terms of the climate issue, but on a broad front of interconnected areas such as freshwater deposits, soil erosion, biodiversity, ocean acidification and the spreading of plastics and medicine into the food chain. During the second half of the 20th century, this process became increasingly evident. As a direct response, political, activist and scientific movements aiming to slow down, stop and/or reverse this trend were launched – collectively known as the green movement or the environmentalist movement.

Broadly speaking, this movement can be divided into two subdivisions:

  1. Those who believe that the environmental crisis primarily is caused by the employment of dirty or subpar technologies, and that capitalism and the current civilization are possible to keep operating under conditions identical or near identical to its current form.
  2. Those who believe the environmental crisis to be primarily caused by capitalism/consumerism and its imperative for endless growth, and that neither the current civilization nor its economic order is possible to salvage in any form resembling the current model.

The first form of green movement is the one which is prevalent within contemporary green parties, think tanks, green businesses, governments, supranational institutions and scientific institutes. While they believe that consumerism would have to be reduced, they believe primarily in voluntarism and in technological solutions such as renewable energy and electric cars. The most radical faction believe that we might need increased green taxes, and even a shift to more of a welfare state, which they usually call “new economic paradigms”.

The second form is actually consisting of all the other green movements, from eco-socialists and eco-anarchists to deep greens to anarcho-primitivists – movements with visions wildly varying from one another, and only basically agreeing that capitalism is a leading cause towards environmental degradation.

Our movement is the second kind of movement.

Most of the movements and trends which claim that a systemic change is necessary only goes so far as to say that capitalism is impossible to unify with any form of sustainable future for humanity.

A few movements have suggested reforming capitalism or replacing it with other models. Right now, the most popular form of suggestion is known as “Doughnut Economics”.

The model proposed by the EOS is known as Energy Accounting, and means the creation of a non-monetary currency which in its total quantity would correspond to the planetary carrying capacity. Unlike money, energy credits would cease to exist after being used and after a specific amount of time, as they represent production capacity allocated. The recipients of the energy credits would be citizens, cooperatives/holons and public utilities/holons. The cost of any product or service would be correspondent to its total energy cost in terms of extraction, refining, assembly, transport and ecological restoration/compensation, meaning that every externality would be internalized.

The human economy cannot and should not exist independent from the planet which provides the human race with all it needs to thrive. The Earth and its biosphere is an integral factor, and any type of developed economic system which does not take into account the way in which it affects the planet is dooming humanity to future hardships.

Unlike Doughnut Economics, Energy Accounting is approaching the issue of economic reform not from the perspective of what our current system is and how it can be amended, but from the needs of the planet itself. In short, we have made a conscious choice to disregard the financial and monetary models as they currently exist and as they historically have evolved, instead treating the Earth as we would have viewed a novel, alien planet, and humanity as we would have viewed ourselves were we to settle that planet.

This poses a challenge, since the description of Energy Accounting disregards any roles whatsoever for any currently existing financial and monetary institutions on the national and international levels (this does not mean they won’t have a role to play, only that the EOS hitherto have not mentioned them), as well as any type of reform which would be conducted through taxation and/or subsidies or the introduction of carbon sequestering markets.

Another challenge with a fully novel model is that we have not yet seen the economic and social effects of its implementation. Therefore, establishing a detailed transition plan would be counter-productive as we do not yet know what kind of timetable and form of implementation would be the most suitable for the establishment of Energy Accounting.

Therefore, the transition by necessity would be composed of three phases.

The Experimental Phase

Energy Accounting could be simulated or tested.

Simulations would be consisting of computer programmes and of games (virtual or analogue), but these would either rely on algorithms with a programmers array of behaviours, or on human participants who would be informed that they are acting within the context of a simulated environment. In either case, the resources managed would be hypothetical and set under conditions which would be determined by the game master.

The knowledge which can be derived from simulations could be important, but must be combined with data from real life field runs – in short testing.

A test of Energy Accounting would be conducted in the real world, and would be formed within the context of a semi-closed network, which would manage key resources in accordance with the principles of Energy Accounting.

Our most common model sees two essential resources being allocated according to the principles of Energy Accounting – electricity and food. A prerequisite is that the network conducting the field test itself produces these resources. Why electricity and food have been chosen is because they are essential for the operation of a human society.

Such a network is called a proto-technate.

An embryonic proto-technate with the intent of testing Energy Accounting would not – contrary to what both detractors and a few supporters instinctually believe – be an isolationist commune totally separated from the wider world, for reasons which are quite obvious but which I will describe in greater detail later in this article.

All resources which it cannot itself acquire would be acquired the normal way on the market, though the network could expand – either by the absorption of new holons, or by the already existing participants diversifying their productive capabilities.

The proto-technate would consist of four functionalities.

  • The creation and distribution of energy credits to the holons.
  • The holons which manage the production of the utilities.
  • A separate company owned by the proto-technate responsible for the import of products and services, and the acquisition of land and productive ability/facilities.
  • A system of management which is elected by the participants, and a constitutional charter delineating the rights and limits of the proto-technate in accordance with the Three Criteria, with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with local laws and prescriptions.

Nothing would prevent several experimental proto-technates to exist concurrently. In that case, the unification of several proto-technates must be considered only if it would improve the ecological, social and infrastructural impact of the technates in question. If two proto-technates are unified, they would be considered as one proto-technate, while the holons consisting the proto-technate will keep their autonomy.

Many proto-technates will encounter challenges, either at their initial phase or at any of the latter phases – and some will fall. The experiences – good and bad – will become the basis for further experimentation with post-monetary economic systems.

The evolutionary phase – defeating the “Life Puzzle”

During the experimental phase, participants would be highly motivated activists and researchers who would be motivated by the desire to test Energy Accounting, judge its implementation and decide whether it is able to survive and outperform the current system on social and environmental sustainability indicators.

The next phase, the evolutionary phase, would see a very different type of participant join in – namely those who join in order to improve their own subjective quality of life. This would not be a problem or something which is needed to be combatted, even if the understanding among these participants about Energy Accounting and its intricacies might initially be very flawed or even non-existent.

The question which we then arrive at would be – what would incentivize people to join a proto-technate?

The answer to this is tied to the paradigm of the experimental phase. Beyond the seeding of a proto-technate, which may indeed be marked by uncertainty of the future and hardships, the holons should not strive towards growth for the sake of growth. If it is possible for a proto-technate to expand its productive capabilities, it must be weighed against the labour time the participants have to put into this expansion, and whether it would consume more labour time in the long-term than prior to the expansion.

In short, the proto-technate should operate for the sake of its participants – and here we come to the term social sustainability.

The electricity and food of the proto-technate would be distributed according to the allocation of energy credits made by the holons and the participants. This means that a significant amount of electricity and food will come for free to the participants. Likewise, those living in buildings owned and operated by the proto-technate would not pay any monetary rent. This will make it possible for people to reduce the amount of time under which they have to work outside of the proto-technate, as their life costs would drop and they would be able to sustain themselves on a smaller income.

In contemporary Sweden, arguably one of the best developed societies on the planet and a progressive lighthouse, one of the most common terms is “the life puzzle”. An ordinary citizen is expected to both have a career and a family life, as well as a successful social life. As a full-time job is for eight hours, and both parents are expected to work, children are generally placed at full-time daycare (and occasionally nightcare) centres, where they are to be picked up by the parents. The hours of the day are usually neatly regimenting themselves, with little time for reflection, rest or pastimes. Due to this stress, especially during the crucial toddler years, relationships are falling apart, and many people are suffering from mental breakdowns over their perceived failure to fulfil the ideal of a successful Swedish citizen.

It should be noted that the workloads of hunter-gatherers or medieval farmers were lighter than for contemporary office workers in developed societies.

 Almost everybody are loathing the jigsaw puzzle that is life, but the “life puzzle” is considered a fact of nature in Sweden – almost as natural as rain, air and sunshine.

But what if it wasn’t?

What if people could work less, for a comparable standard of living, and spend more time with their families in a communal setting where they could have more time to live and breathe, where electricity, food and housing would be cheap or virtually free? This would make life in the proto-technate far more agreeable than a comparative life in “normie society”.

Of course, most of the people in the proto-technate would still have regular jobs outside of it, providing taxes to the state. But they would be able to keep more of their income and establish savings as they would not have to pay for utilities – unlike part-time workers in crumbling rental apartments, who would have to put a lot of their monetary earnings into food, electricity and rent.

In short, a system which is intending to create a moneyless society could during its initiation actually make its participants monetarily wealthier. An individual working part-time and living under a proto-technate may theoretically have a larger disposable income in money than an individual who is working eight hours and lives in an ordinary home or apartment.

As the proto-technate expands, this type of discrepancy will grow. Car and machine pools, the ability to acquire clothes, household items, furniture and even homes without any monetary payment will further increase the safety net of those living within a proto-technate, while their actual need for money would decrease. This form of social sustainability would increase individual autonomy and dignity, reduce stress factors and alleviate physical and mental pain. Parents could have more time to spend with their children. Life could become idyllic, calm and rewarding, without fear of economic or social safety.

Of course, many things could go awry during the process.

  • The community could collapse due to internal conflicts or other factors.
  • The community could succumb to complacency and turn stagnant and inward-looking.
  • The community could turn dogmatic and repressive against those who are ideologically objecting or indifferent.

That is why a charter is essential, as it would not only define how positions of responsibility are appointed, term limits and transparency criteria, but also broader ideological and ecological goals. Nevertheless, leeway must be provided that people who join a proto-technate should not need to change or conform to the ideals of the network – our goal is not to create a “new human”, but that humans should be able to be human (rather than hamsters).

The revolutionary phase – the long game

If successful, the proto-technates would gradually both diversify and unify into larger networks, which would work according to the path of least resistance. During this transition, the participants would find that the behaviour they are inclined to adopt given the circumstances would further the cause of Energy Accounting, at the expense of the capitalistic Price System.

At a certain point, people will increasingly stop working inside the regular capitalistic economy, as the proto-technate would be capable of providing their needs – especially with the large-scale adoption of 3D printing and with the increased accessibility to renewables. If this trickle turns into an exodus, it could spark exponential growth for the technate, and also put increasing stress both on states and on private for-profit corporations. On one hand, this trend could incentivize even corporations to collaborate with the proto-technate, acquiring energy and other products in return for their services – while it also could spark a backlash against the proto-technate, and repression from state authorities.

In this sense, the by then tens of thousands of holons comprising the proto-technate would reconfigure and find new methodologies to further their collaboration. In short, it is a long game, a struggle where the holons fight not only for the planet and the Ideology of the Third Millennium, but also for their participants and the wider communities into which they are embedded.

That is also why it is essential that those intent on forming holons try to avoid markers which would be stigmatizing and isolate them from the wider community. Apart from not consciously isolating themselves in communes, they should avoid sporting behaviours or aesthetics which would mark them out as asocial, for example condemning the lifestyle choices of other people, or holier-than-thou social markers. Such choices could initially strengthen the cohesion of the holons, but would defeat the purpose of the struggle. Proselytizing should be avoided, and the learning of Energy Accounting and the Ideology should happen within the holons in the framework of voluntary study circles.

If the holons are viewed positively by the local non-technate communities, and their participants seen as respectable individuals with names, passions and dreams, then attempts of state or group repression against them would either fail or backfire, and help to delegitimize the causes of the detractors of the proto-technate – since what would be seen by the public would be attempts to repress people who desire to live autonomously and to provide for their families.

Another thing which should not be discouraged is for participants in the proto-technate to also take part in civic life in their wider communities. Active participation would not only endear the movement to the public and help in expanding the scope, but also gradually transform the local institutions in a manner conductive for the wider objectives. Nevertheless, political and institutional engagement at the local level must not as its aim have to establish political hegemony, since that would produce hostility and tear apart local society. Rather, the most long-term feasible relationship is one where there is difficult to ascertain where the proto-technate ends and ordinary market society begins. It would reduce the risk for tensions and for resistance to emerge.

Eventually, the proto-technate would not only co-opt institutions, but forming its own academies, universities and think tanks, and start training cadres of professionals who are imbued with the experiences of the Design. This is a long march and a multi-generational project.

Afterword – “But we don’t have time!”

A new 2022 UN report shows that half of the corals of the oceans have died. The world is in a state of an acute crisis. One argument which is often flung against eco-progressive critiques of capitalism is the lack of time. We are following the trajectory of the 1972 Limits to Growth report which would put the collapse of the planetary ecosystems around 2070. Most analysts agree that the tipping point for carbon dioxide reduction to have an impact is this decade, and that the 1,5 degree goal probably already is overdue.

Today, a conflict within the power ranks of the developed world has fully emerged and is polarizing our societies. On the eco-progressive side, there is an alliance consisting of financial-political elites and activist organizations which sees climate change as an existential threat, and which intends to curb it using means within the current system. In general, the activists are not proposing the solutions but rather prefer to leave that to institutions and think tanks such as The Bill & Melinda Gates Founation, or The Stockholm Institute, which nevertheless have more resources to fund studies.

Recently, the Youtube channel Kurzgesagt published a video sponsored by the Gates foundation, describing the foundation’s preferred strategy for the transition. While this topic may be deconstructed in another article, I would be amiss if I would not mention that this statement was not only present in the video but also directly attribute to Bill Gates himself – to the effect that “since the crisis is immediate in scope, we do not have the time to invent a new socio-economic system and replace capitalism, so we have to work within the system.”

It should be noted that climate change currently is a hot topic (often quite literally), but that it is dominating the public perception of what environmental problems the planet currently face. And truth be told, it is an existential threat and one that needs to be addressed. But in the same time, it is a part of a wider problem, which also encompasses soil deterioration, freshwater depletion, biodiversity loss, trawling, the addition of artificial fertilizers to the soil and numerous other environmental crises, local, regional and global. In truth, one could either take the position that these problems are disparate in their point of origin and dependent upon divergent factors, be they technological, social or due to individual error, or that they are systemic. If they are systemic, they may be founded upon two points of origin – the population size of humanity and/or the socio-economic system (these two are not mutually exclusive, but the EOS tends to put a greater emphasis on the socio-economic system, given for example that small developed countries have a greater environmental impact than larger countries on the opposite side of the developmental spectrum, and that the world economy has grown with a factor of over forty times since the early 20th century, whereas the population has only grown eight times, meaning that the economic growth has been five times the population growth).

Granted, Bill Gates is not wrong. The time we have to curb climate change is probably too short a time to rely only on the orderly introduction of a post-capitalist system. This does not, however, mean that we should not concurrently work for such a transition.

Right now, there is a concerted effort by elites in the developed countries to introduce a “Great Reset” of capitalism, which will combine aspects of the 1930’s New Deal, 1990’s style Globalization and new forms of supranational ecological and epidemiological monitoring and “multi-level governance” (which is when policies are shaped on differing institutional levels following more dynamic, almost ad hoc-like procedures with unclear delineations of responsibilities and execution). A lot of this process will contain aspects which are progressive, such as basic income, but a lot of it will also help entrench and strengthen the kind of supranational elites which have been formed during the “Davos era of global capitalism”.

No matter whether the visions presented by the Gates Foundation and those of the World Economic Forum are similar or whether the think tanks have had any communication, we can see that the visions for change presented by the WEF contains a trend towards a greater degree of supranational institutional power, more surveillance of the population and a greater amount of centralized control. Their vision is one of a post-growth capitalism which will guarantee some basic income, while at the same time entrench those very elites which are valuing long-term investments before short-sighted gains, and would want to see the planet continue, while at they – for quite obvious reasons – are emotionally attached to capitalism and largely unable to imagine any other alternate system.

The kind of system presented by these think tanks could at best be described as “transitionary”, but there is no clarity to where the transition is heading – if anywhere. There are several reasons why established academia and institutions would not look into the exploration of post-capitalist ideas and models. The challenge comes when we are pulled deeper and deeper into an existential ecological crisis, and the experts assigned to deal with the problem are only capable of thinking within the framework of capitalism, and all their tools which they are equipped with presuppose the continued existence of a growth-based system with a fiat currency.

This is why every movement which is making serious research about post-capitalist models is doing an invaluable work, and why those movements should be supported – because the institutions through which power flows are not interested in widening the options we have accessible to the point that those solutions threaten the existence of these institutions in their contemporary form.

The only thing the EOS is asking for, is your help in developing and testing Energy Accounting, or other alternatives to capitalism designed to create an ecologically sustainable future.

The model which we have envisioned is decentralized, built on putting the control of the future institutions directly into the hands of the people, and on finding ways to compensate the potential inconveniences of a more ecologically sustainable future with a higher degree of social sustainability.

In short, the urgency of the current situation and the unsustainability of the current model is an insufficient excuse to not explore alternatives to said model, and since there already are movements pursuing this course, these movements should be supported as well in conducting their experiments and research.

Excluding them from the public view is tantamount to rather see humanity collapse into a new dark age than potentially entering a post-capitalist future.  

Reset[1]

Covid-19: the Great Reset – A review

Introduction

“Build Back Better”.

The term has recently been in vogue, and used by governments in the English-speaking world and Continental Europe to define a progressive reform approach following the Pandemic. What the term vaguely means is that the recovery offers opportunities to create a new and superior type of system.

That a disparate cluster of Western governments have chosen the same term is associated with the term “the Great Reset” which is being championed by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which holds an annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, and is sponsoring a “Young Global Leader programme” which includes political leaders at different levels from various countries – from heads of state like Sanna Marin, to legislators like Ida Auken – the latter infamous for an article she wrote for the WEF website, which was called “Welcome To 2030: I Own Nothing, Have No Privacy And Life Has Never been better”.

For the Anti-Globalization/Nationalist Right, this new trend of Post-Covid material produced by the WEF was declared as evidence for a sinister “globalist plot” of sorts, which either would utilize the pandemic for its own end, or outright had manufactured the virus and the pandemic/pandemic responses in order to transition Western society away from capitalism and towards some form of totalitarianism.

As a representative of an organisation which actually envisions a post-monetary/post-capitalistic future, I took a passing interest in these claims – though the only sources about the Great Reset and the term “Build Back Better” either were short articles were the terms were mentioned in passing (i.e – “The temporary pandemic subsidies could be utilized as a template for our governments Build Back Better programme”, or “The Vaccine Passports together with Digitalization can become a model for how identification of citizens is conducted in the future.”), articles about WEF itself which were of medium-length and descriptive of the trends of the future, or – in the majority of the cases – more or less hysterical texts which drew maximalist conclusions about tech-dystopias run by “psychopathic communist mega-corporations”.

Comparing the writings of the proponents of “the Great Reset” with those of their detractors, a casual reader becomes none the wiser – since the descriptions vary so much in scope. While the proponents talk in optimistic terms about turning the page and installing new and more robust healthcare systems, the detractors talk about RFID chips and mass sterilizations.

The question is where one could find serious and balanced critique. In the old days, back in the early days of this century, proponents and detractors of various concepts would vehemently disagree about the desirability of political and economic goals, but their view on what those goals were would usually converge. During the heydays of ATTAC, the World Social Forum of Sao Paolo and the leftist Alt-Globalization movement, progressive critics’ generally offered critiques of the WEF programmes based upon their textual content, while the current generation of critics (who mostly are rightists of the nationalist variety) focus on single statements or articles, like that of the aforementioned one by Auken.

This is not conductive for a debate, and it is not inviting for the public to partake in these discussions.

Therefore, because I simply wanted to know better, I purchased and read Mr. Schwab’s book – Covid 19: The Great Reset.

Now I have read it, and this article is an attempt not primarily at critiquing the book, but to describe its contents, and hopefully be of some help to those who wish to better know what it is about.

Summary by points 

  • The book is divided into two segments, focusing on a macro reset for the international community, supranational institutions and nation-states, and a micro reset for corporations and individuals. For this article, I opted to focus on the macro reset.
  • Rather than offering prescriptions for a brave new world of tomorrow, the book offers broad descriptions of the society that the author(s) believe is emerging and of which the onset of the pandemic has spread.
  • The political preferences of the authors could be vaguely discerned from the focus of the analyses, as well as the probably unintentional usage of hyperboles – especially at the beginning of the text. Also, in one particular case, the lack of a counter-narrative could discern a certain – guilty or reluctant – advocacy of a political position that deserves more critique and illumination.
  • However, the descriptive nature of the text makes it difficult to ascertain what descriptive analyses are in reality prescriptive recommendations.
  • The book cannot be seen as a definite statement about the political preferences of the WEF – for a deeper understanding it would probably necessitate further studies of WEF materials, for example choices of lecturers, themes and workshops during their broadcasted seminars (of which they generously have provided a plentitude of on Youtube).
  • While the claim that the WEF controls the Western World cannot conceivably be called a serious analysis, there is a serious critique to be made against a society which allows well-connected think tanks to have an outsized influence over the democratic processes.

Covid-19: The Great Reset

The book starts with a hyperbole – namely that the recent Pandemic has “plunged the world into a challenge we have not experienced in generations”, that it means an unprecedented challenge for governments, businesses and individuals to adapt – that many will fall but “a few will thrive”.

A quick remark about this postulate is that even the West – which arguably has had the best conditions for the Post-1945 era – has undergone many crises during the preceding decades (the 1973 and 1979 oil embargos, stagflation, the 2008-2010 financial crisis). What made the Covid Pandemic unique was the actions undertaken to combat it – namely lockdowns, vaccine passports and measures of control which in some countries made the economy contract by 20-30%.

It should also be noted that Sweden, which went against the current and instituted were minimal restrictions, during the course of the pandemic did neither do worse or better than the general mortality projection of countries.

The outline of the argument proposed by the book is “to never let a good crisis go to waste” and that governments and other decision-making entities should take the opportunity to for example institute badly needed ecological, financial and political reforms. These are of course well overdue, though it can be argued that the current configuration of global resource usage cannot be solved within the current incarnation of the market system.

However, the book then outlines as its mission to describe trends which we can see emerge.

The Green New Deal

The book outlines that the Pandemic has strengthened trends towards the automation of the service industry, and is mentioning basic income and strengthened focus on healthcare and a comprehensive welfare system at the expense of a focus on economic growth. It does also state that Japan’s model – often derided as stagnant and inefficient – has seen a growth in wealth if we account for the population decline.

These statements are outlined as a description of the trends we will see in the future, and they represent trends which are desirable – at least if you have a low to medium income, is disabled, have small children or other issues which may increase the stress levels on your life.

Schwab and Malleret do not see or describe any trends in the opposite direction. For example, it could be postulated that the rise of crypto-currencies would sap the state coffers from needed tax revenue, and it can also be drawn from experience of the stagflation of the 1970’s and the financial crisis of 2008 that economic hardships which threaten the viability of the monetary stability and financial systems are often counter-measured with infusions of capital into banks and other financial institutions. These measures would often lead to the growth of deficits – and traditionally these have been paid by cuts to the welfare systems – so called austerity policies.

While the EOS agrees with the WEF that there needs to be greater focus on accessibility to resources for all human beings (see the third criterion), there is yet to be seen whether the current monetary and financial system is capable of reintroducing the social democratic model. Canada, which has a government with many Young Leaders, have recently made strides in that direction.

The question is what intent can be derived from the book. The description of what policies states may indulge in seems to line up well with what the WEF prescribes. However, this could well cause confusion when the WEF describes other trends – which are far more controversial. It remains unclear whether or not the book is endorsing or describing these policies – and if the answer is the latter it is unclear why the book has not described trends in the opposite direction.

Supranational institutions

One of the chief characteristics of international development since the 1980’s has been the gradual increase in the number of supranational institutions, as well as their growing clout and power at the expense of national governments. To a large degree, this transition has coincided with the advent of Neoliberalism and the growth of Information technology, which to a large degree has affected the policies of these structures.

The EU is the most far-reaching example – to a large but unclear degree, it has deprived the states which are members of the Eurozone of their ability to conduct monetary policies, and also of a large amount of their ability to conduct financial policy. While this can provide scope benefits for trade and growth within the current system, it also deprives the citizenry of a large degree of economic and social political power. In an article written back in 2016, I theorised that this deprivation of political power towards treaties like NAFTA or institutions like the EU is one of the main reasons for the growth of right-wing populism.

The WEF has since its increasing visibility been associated with this trend of moving political authority from democratically mandated nation-states to goal-mandated supranational bodies.

Therefore, it is not surprising that Covid-19: The Great Reset is focusing a lot on health, and especially how the WHO and other international bodies and private institutions have helped countries dealing with the supply crisis at the beginning of the Pandemic, and that the authors state that a lot could be learned from this in terms of health coordination and the introduction of health as a focus point for international travel.

There are undoubtedly a few benefits of that kind of standardization, but it is a precarious trend to transfer health policies from the state – not because the state necessarily is a superior provider (which isn’t the case with a lot of developing nations), but because the state, despite everything, has a mandate which can be affected by the decision of its constituents, whereas international institutions only have responsibilities towards their mission statements (which may be affected by numerous nation-states, where the conflicting wills of numerous peoples are diluted down to compromises which will leave most citizens with a feeling of alienation and may not even be ideal to the varying situations on the ground).

Yet again, it is unclear whether the book endorses this development or merely describes it. It should also be noted (and it is actually mentioned by the text in passing) that the crisis caused by the Pandemic also saw countries becoming more protectionist in terms of guaranteeing access to medical equipment and vaccines, at the expense of poorer countries. While the WEF are correct in their assessment that pathogens do not care for international travel, their emphasis on supranational solutions risk causing more deprivations in democratic accountability.

New avenues for surveillance

On page 166, Covid-19 (the book) describes that the pandemic will most likely lead to a demand for more surveillance and monitoring for health reasons, and that new technologies are already in the making which will make it possible for institutions such as governments and corporations to for example measure the blood pressure and heart-rate of every citizen in real-time, which together with geo-location can help authorities map an image of the feelings, thoughts and aspiration of the individual citizen. The book itself states that it could become the basis for a totalitarian society, explains the mechanisms for its arising and the technologies needed for it to occur, but does not describe any type of resistance or counter-trends (like for example more advanced VPN or cloaking technologies, or the advent of parallel economies, based on Crypto or RBE principles). Rather, the type of resistance described is formatted in passive terms, with “individuals feeling that the system is oppressive, but choosing to try to keep their personal dignity.”

While the authors seem to lament the loss of personal or communitarian freedom replaced by a techno-managerial system, they seem unable or unwilling to imagine any type of conceivable, realistic alternative to this dystopia.

In summary

Critics of Schwab, the WEF and the book seem often to believe that the main purpose of the WEF is to institute a techno-totalitarian future – which often is envisioned as an extreme version of the type of cancel culture and banning waves which often affected right-centrists and right-wingers during the waning years of the Trump Presidency and the Pandemic, and that this is the hidden, nefarious purpose of their every action. To a large extent, Schwab seems to increasingly replace George Soros as a Blofeld-esque bogeyman in this mythology.

Supporters of the WEF views the book as a well-intentioned call for a more compassionate, fair and equitable system.

Most people (who aren’t a part of the Young Global Leaders or those 0,0001% of the global population which is ostensibly following the WEF, which as of this moment has 717 subscribers on its main Youtube channel) seem to not know so very much about it and some would even believe that the terms have been created by conspiracy theorists.

What then, is the Great Reset?

The book is not that very helpful in that regard, though it briefly touches upon multiple subjects, all from Green Energy to social policies and international cooperation. If we look at the introduction video with the same title for the Davos Agenda of 2021, it is described in this manner:

“The pandemic has radically changed the world as we know it, and the actions we take today, as we work to recover, will define our generation. It’s why the World Economic Forum is calling for a new form of capitalism, one that puts people and planet first, as we come together to rebuild the world after COVID-19.”

The only thing that stands clear is that a change is needed, and that this type of change will be a “new form of capitalism” (which is described as “stakeholder capitalism”, which would “put planet and people rather than profit, first”), and that “we must come together to rebuild the world after Covid-19”.

Who are that “we”?

Among those featured in the video, with short quotations combined with a type of music that indicates that something great is going to happen, is a high-ranking official of the International Monetary Fund, the UN Secretary-General, the CEO of Mastercard, the CEO of Salesforce, and a high-ranking operative of the WEF itself.”

This leaves room for an interesting, critical perspective which has unfortunately not been aired more.

The Great Reset in actuality is a quite apt term, even if it is quite vague.

It is envisioned as a reset of capitalism itself, which is (rightfully) seen as unsustainable, and that by moving towards a type of capitalism which “takes into account” the interests of stakeholders (“working class people, indigenous peoples, environmentalists, eco-systems”) the “bad parts of capitalism” could be replaced with “good parts”, and a “good capitalism” where the inner contradictions of the systems would be negated could arise.

This is not a new idea. Already in the 1840’s and 1850’s, the early Victorians believed that charity and Christian compassion could birth such a type of society. To some effect, the 20th century Labour movement realized that in bits, though if we take a global outlook, what in reality happened was that the exploitation of the human body in debt slavery, child labour and sweatshops transferred towards the developing world (which during the 19th century merely had been the place where resources and raw materials were extracted).

From a purely ecological perspective, the ideology underpinning the Great Reset is a techno-optimistic type of green market-based social liberalism. It is an ideology that deals a great deal with hope and sentimentality as its basis, and with the perceived unity of interests between the ruling elite and the people – or rather those parts of the people who are platformed by the ruling elites for five second snippets of Sandfordian statements like “it is important that we all come together for the greater good” and “humanity has never been at such a crossroad as today”. Within the EOS, we call that type of ideology “Cornucopianism”.

The vision offered is one of a capitalism without inner contradictions, where the important actors are the leaders of major supranational institutions, powerful governments, multi-national corporations and think tanks such as the WEF. Human rights activists, indigenous leaders and other types of grass-root representatives are sometimes invited to hold speeches for the leaders of “the international community”, but are seldom parts of steering committees and workshops.

And we agree with Schwab &/co.

Humanity needs a restructuring of its socio-economic system. Currently we are living on the annual equivalent of what 1,7 Earths could renew each year, we are rapidly destroying the oceans, the soils, the fresh-water reservoirs and the bio-diversity of key life-supporting biomes.

It is highly unlikely that we can achieve a kind of sustainability within anything resembling the current system without new wonder technologies which currently do not exist (proponents of the current system mean that greed is the only driver for innovation which “will” make these technologies a reality).

Cornucopians generally present a binary choice between “Old Capitalism” and “Stakeholder Capitalism”, and claim that the only alternative to the latter is a collapse of the world.

We (as in the EOS) claim that there are more alternatives, and that one must dare think outside the box.

One of the tenets which we need to question is the term “we”. Is “humanity” responsible for the degradation of the planet? Is humanity responsible for the destruction of the ecosystems? Is humanity responsible for the advent of an ecological collapse by 2075?

Or is the culprit a socio-economic system based on a model of growth which automatically transfers 80% of any revenue to the 20% at the top of the income ladder, and where the growth in profits correspond with the growth of resource usage?

This is a system which is both emergent, as in being a consequence of the laws of supply and demand of the market, and designed, in terms of being directed, streamlined and affected by sophisticated institutions and corporations which – when put into place – would want to protect their own continued existence.

And is not the WEF to a large degree consisting of the very same people who are a part of this super-structure which has helped to move the Earth this close towards a sixth mass extinction event?

When we look at the convergence of crises which we already are suffering from, and which will be exacerbated in the future due to the type of socio-economic system that has been imposed on humanity, those who are suffering the most and who will suffer the most are the majority of the Earth’s population, consisting of farmers and workers in the developing world.

The Great Reset may be several things, on a spectrum.

In its most benign but inefficient form, it is a marketing ploy and a way for the corporate and financial elites of the planet to legitimize their continued dominance for themselves internally, by showing how much they care for the planet by producing flashy films and summits in an Alps country famous for clocks, cheese, tax evasion, money-laundering and summer holiday homes for ultra-wealthy dictators. In that regard it would be dishonest, but nothing spectacular – already l’ancien regime of France sponsored portraits of Marie-Antoinette distributing bread to the starving peasant children of France.

In its most malign form, the Great Reset might be a stakeholder capitalism in the sense that it would transform capitalism into an integrated system of corporate, financial, institutional and social leadership, where the elites in a maternalistic fashion would take a keen interest in the life of ordinary people, to the extent that their physical health, their diets, their daily routines and interests, and their values and opinions should be an issue not for the individual and not for their local communities, but for “the Davos boys”.

The WEF may mean well.

The problem is that any real solution to the current crisis would not be a “reset”, but the establishment of an entirely new system – one which would need to do away with the kind of wealth and inequality that makes possible such institutions as the WEF.

Another problem is also that a stakeholder capitalism may become a more authoritarian, dystopian, corrupt and elitist society than what we have today, and therefore far more volatile. The same neoliberal elites which brought us the Great Recession and the rise of right-wing populism are now supposed to lead the revolution towards a utopia based on green energy, progressive politics and a responsible stewardship of the planet, under the guise of a new, “green liberalism”.

This is and remains the real conundrum.

Haztec[1]

The Hazards of Technological Determinism

Foreword

The 2020’s, perhaps more than any prior decade, is characterized by self-contradictions – and with that I mean a mixture between an extreme sense of dread and paranoia on one hand, and an equally extreme naivety on the other hand. 

The fear of the unknown – of climate change, pandemics, geostrategic adversaries, terrorists and political extremism – is perforating the very air we breathe. Meanwhile, we are actively pursuing choices which are exacerbating our dependency and vulnerability. 

In the economic and political sense, we are moving towards both a greater concentration of wealth and of the de-facto political power in the hands of wealthy and centralized supra-national institutions. 

In the technological sense, we are pursuing the further integration of our infrastructure with the world wide web, while cracking mechanisms become ever more sophisticated and accessible. 

The increased vulnerability is already a fact, and numerous debilitating attacks have already been conducted.

Prevailing as a narrative is however the notion that the current development is determined and fixed, that the short-term demand for greater dividends must trump reason and collective and individual safety concerns. A sort of technological determinism rules the day, and this technological determinism could risk us sacrificing our freedom and democratic sovereignty, without becoming safer.

Summary 

  • The Internet of Things should be understood as the digitalization of infrastructure and the further interconnection of data within a wider cloud.
  • The benefits would entail further automation, specialization, the elimination of bottlenecks and increased economic growth.
  • During the 2010’s, an increased amount of hacker attacks and “compromizations” of software have been an evident trend.
  • The narrative is that “Democracy is under attack” – the answer is an increased amount of centralization, self-censorship and surveillance.
  • The technology of vulnerabilities is by itself never questioned, and it is taken as self-evident that we must continue on the current trajectory.
  • The effect would be an increased risk for slipping into techno-totalitarianism of a Chinese or similar variety.
  • An alternative would be a de-centralized, sustainable holonic structure characterized by inclusion, autonomy and self-reliance. 

The Internet of Things and its benefits

A part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the increased digitalization of production, maintenance and infrastructure. We are already seeing how education, transport, retail and appliances become ever-more interconnected on the web. The features of this trend most visible are those which resemble the cyberpunk future envisioned in many works of science fiction – for example self-driving vehicles, stores without human employees, package-carrying drones.

Yet, most people experience far more prosaic changes to their life – most common less usage of cash in their daily transactions. One example could be bus tickets. In not a few cities and towns in cities, tickets could no longer be purchased by the driver. Rather, the weary traveller would have to download an app through their smartphone, use their cellphone camera to record a QR code and pay through apps like Swish which they download through their mobile Bank-ID app. Following this, the amount of freeloading in public transit has had a certain increase among the “above 80’s”, to speak bluntly.

The benefits are obvious. The existence of cash is exposing drivers for both robbers and germs. Counters and credit card readers cost money to install, and produce receipts which the customers do not desire. The overview of the amount of customers is immediately centralized and can be accessible and broken down in studies when for example the redrawing of public transit is made.

The same is true for the wider Internet of Things. Apps can benefit both travellers and businesses when they visit new towns and are recommended stores and establishments corresponding to the conscious, unconscious and subconscious choices indicated by the algorithms surveilling the individual user. This has also created new markets – for example has the recent rise of involuntary celibacy among males a certain correlation with the rise of dating apps, which has commoditized and streamlined the previously so messy and haphazard process of courtship. The next step would likely be a marketization of friendships, which further would serve to alienate the human being but also create a new avenue for growth and a new generation of tech billionaires.

In terms of the infrastructural benefits, they are mostly related to logistics, maintenance and informatics. Instead of having their own server halls, corporations can store their data on the cloud, saving the need for staff and rent. Elevators can be operated and managed from afar. In the future, with self-driving trucks, the challenge imposed by pesky “freedom convoys” can be a thing of the past. In fact, self-driving trucks can unload their cargo in storage halls, offering driver-less carrier trucks the opportunity to move the goods direct to the store.

Already, refrigerators can notify both their owners, their makers and the retailers what the owners are consuming and when the date of expediency will come. Smart jackets and sneakers will be able to tell doctors and producers of sport gear how many calories their owners are burning on a daily basis. Though Neuralink, for all purposes, currently in its most wild form best is described as something between a science fiction-dream and an (in)advertent scam, there is research aiming to connect the human mind to the Internet, in new and revolutionary forms.

All of this development will open up new markets for growth, especially in the so-called Metaverse. Investors, tech companies, a vast army of consumers and western governments are all embracing this new the latest of golden calves. This will be a driver for creative destruction, multiply monetary wealth and serve to shift wealth ever-more from nations and communities into the hands of multinational corporations and conversely into tax havens – all while at best creating a few new jobs down the line. But politico-economic orthodoxy dictates that what market-driven development craves is also the best future for the entire economy.

The question, however, is what the risks are. 

Caveats, dangers, hazards

Since the Internet began to emerge in the 1980’s, malware and hacking have followed suit. The DDOS attacks of the 1990’s gradually came to give way to more sophisticated types of criminal activities. Nowadays, as all of society is rapidly being digitalized, all of society is likewise affected by hacking.

Billions of people are affected by identity theft. Refrigerators in Moscow, credit card readers and harbours in Sweden and Tesla cars and university printers in the United States have all for varying purposes been overtaken, controlled and/or held ransom by various groups. The smart cities of the Internet of Things are also extremely fragile and vulnerable, especially as the centralization and internationalization of information creates nodes accessible for anyone with a minimum of resources and talent – in a world with billions of desperate, poor and smart minds.

With quantum decryption follows cracking software which can run billions of passwords simultaneously, and soon retinae and fingerprints won’t be hacker-proof either. The attacks are already happening, yet what is criticised is never the manner in which the technology is implemented.

Rather, the problem is deemed to be the people.

 

The emergence of techno-totalitarianism  

It is evident that we today are living in a society characterized by fear. During the 1990’s, mainstream popular music and comedy flirted with anti-establishmentarian, revolutionary sentiments and dangerous symbols. The attitude towards government power, authorities and media – even from parts of the establishment itself – was characterized by scepticism and cynicism. It was seen as healthy to question the intentions of governments and mega-corporations.

Of course, the prevalent tendency of the then dominant strand of neoliberalism was that history was at an end following the end of the Cold War, and that all expressions of youthful resistance rather than implicit threats were promises of rejuvenation of the system, following the appropriation and defanging of the revolutionary symbols.

Nowadays, the public narrative – especially within the framework of the wider English-speaking world – is rather characterized by a sense of dread and chilled anticipation. Public discourse is gradually replaced by echo chambers, and the struggle between ideas have been replaced by a fight between tribes. The purpose of public discourse is no longer about civic ideals and winning at the marketplace of ideas, but about delegitimizing opponents as extremists, by associating their positions with odious ideologies and tendencies. This trend began with the War on Terror and was initially experienced by ethnic communities of certain backgrounds, but gradually the groups suspected of harbouring extremist sympathies have been expanded.

I would argue that a surveillance state is not per definition an unhappy accident made possible by the emergence of the unsavoury application of new technologies – but a feature of what Zbigniew Brzezinski defined as “the Technetronic Era”.

The very vulnerability – the sheer nakedness, of the cloud, of the grid and of the networked infrastructure – will necessitate an increased amount of surveillance and policing, and therefore a new narrative. The vast openness of enormous quantities of data in the most open society ever realized has paradoxically birthed a siege mentality, where our systems suddenly are very fragile.

Gradually, this process will lead to the ban of anonymous usage of the Internet, to the increased division of the world wide web between vast tech baronies, by increased amounts of subjects not allowed of speaking of. What previously was considered legitimate critique of the practices of pharmaceutical and technological companies is increasingly viewed as subversive and proto-fascist.

And the more the Internet of Things will emerge in all its glory, the deeper surveillance will burrow in the social body, and the narrower the scope of what is deemed acceptable discourse will be.

No matter what political ideology will triumph in the ideological battle for ideas in the current western world, the characteristics of the emergent society will be techno-totalitarian in its characteristics – and the citizen will experience a loss of autonomy, agency and dignity, reduced to a consumer and component, while the arena of politics will continue to shift towards legalistic and clandestine conflicts between tech baronies and financial institutions.

Such a system will moreover be incapable of addressing the environmental crisis and its array of phenomena – climate change merely its most recognizable and well-published expression. A stupefied, brutalized, silenced and distracted citizenry is no longer a citizenry, and cannot be expected to take charge in terms of transitioning the human civilization towards a sustainable future.

Determinism is dangerous

The manner in which the Internet of Things is implemented today can only be described as criminally negligent and hazardous for public health and safety. The solutions to the sensitivity caused by the single-minded pro-business implementation are kryptonite for the fabric of what is worth preserving of soon to be three centuries of Enlightenment thought.

If one would ascribe to the ideas of technological determinism – that we only have one tech tree and that markets should dictate the progress of civilization, and that we are unable to steer development in another direction – then certainly a techno-totalitarian surveillance state would be a reality impossible to escape, and maybe the least worst conclusion of many bad options.

If we instead ascribe to an alternative view, one wherein we all are in power, we will begin to take back the power over our own future and determine our own fate. But that requires not only a critical analysis over the way in which technology today is implemented, but also the courage to imagine an alternate technological society. 

When we are empowered

The vision outlined by the Earth Organisation for Sustainability – a vision where you can play an important part – is akin back to the early days of the Internet, back to the future which Linux and early Wikipedia pointed towards.

A vision where the users are in charge, and are building the infrastructure not only of the virtual world but of real life itself.

Foundational for this new world will be a constitutional document to which millions of autonomous groups of people are ascribing – containing the Three Criteria and the Universal charter of human rights. These groups can vary in their functionality, their geographic dispersion and their ideologies and cultures, but they will all be active part in the formation of a new society, where power is distributed and egalitarian.

Communities will have the control over their own ability to sustain themselves on food, energy, heating and communications. Instead of techno barons fearful of the uprising of gaslighted and repressed subjects, we will have a world of people who respect and love one another, because nobody is under total dependency of anyone else, while all will still of course be interdependent.

Under this world, software will still be prone to breakdowns, malware attacks and sophisticated sabotage, but the damage will be limited by the vast distribution and the dispersion and availability of data. Compromised holons can be aided or isolated by their peers, and overall vulnerability will be reduced by a greater general knowledge of technological systems.

It will be a world of distributed power, where factories and software systems will be open source and available for all people, rather than closely and jealously guarded domains of distant rulers.

It is a world that you can be a part in creating, but it demands that you dare take a stand, and organize where you can have the greatest impact. The sustainable future of tomorrow shall not be a virtual palace economy under the ruler-ship of Tech Pharaohs and Cybernetic Satrapies, but a teeming garden of a billion autonomous groups comprising all of humanity.

And yes, that is probably impossible to achieve. But the more we tend to that garden, the more of that dream we can realize.   

EnergyAF1[1]

Fairness and Energy Accounting

Foreword

Usually, when we talk about Energy Accounting as a hypothetical alternative to capitalism, we are discussing it from an ecological, structural and technical perspective. This is not surprising, by our very roots our movement is concerned with sustainability, and sustainability as a subject is connected to the objective physical reality of the world – a reality which as you know unfortunately doesn’t concern itself with morality or compassion or any human values for that matter.

This does not mean that ethics and fairness are inconsequential. One definition of human societies is that they consist of institutions which are based around systems of ethics, morality and norms. While a few teenage anarchists may want to burn down all norms (because there are entrenched norms which underpin unjust hierarchies and prejudices), a society without norms or without a concept of justice – in short a nihilistic society – would soon enter into a problem when factions would start using force to exert their will.

Ultimately, a society does not only need rules to govern, but to govern well it needs a concept that these rules are fair and ideally would follow a consistent set of beliefs ingraining them into the general interactions of human beings.

One counter-argument against Energy Accounting is that while EA might be possible, it will run counter to – if not human “nature” – then human concepts of fairness. The purpose of this article is to address these concerns and make a case that Energy Accounting as it is conceived by the EOS is a profoundly consistent system of ethics, and that it is more fair – both in terms of the progressive and the conservative understanding of the concept of fairness.

Summary

  • Energy Accounting is not primarily intended to be a system of property redistribution, but a replacement for money.
  • While Energy Accounting removes the concept of exchange, it replaces it with a concept of allocation, taking into account and weighing the contributions of each member of society when determining future income.
  • This will produce a certain amount of merit-based compensation.
  • Energy Accounting removes the concept of long-term savings, meaning that generational wealth in the form of energy credits cannot be accumulated.
  • Fairness in general – both in the conservative and progressive meaning of the concept – means that people should get what they “deserve”. The main difference between the right and the left is that the right ignores unequal starting positions and posits that redistribution will destroy incentives, whereas the left want to create a level playing field to help those disadvantaged by accumulated poverty to advance and hopefully reduce inequality.
  • Money in general works to increase inequality by merit of being storable.
  • Energy Accounting will reduce inequality and eliminate wealth not derived from needs or labour, by merit of being non-storable.

A moneyless unit of calculation

The Energy Survey defines the total production capacity within the ecological constraints of the planet in terms of exergy, meaning the total amount of available energy within a system. This exergy pool will be divided into shares which will be distributed to the public sector, through key holons and to the individual citizens of the Technate. These shares are divided into units which we refer to as Energy Units or Energy Credits (both terms have their own weaknesses, Energy Units can be confused with actual Units of Energy and make readers believe that they are going to have to carry a battery storing energy around, while Energy Credits sound like it is going to be money with a new fancy name, just like the Hyperloop is just a car tunnel with a new fancy name).

Energy Credits distributed to the public sector represents what the people in common own, while those transferred directly into the hands of the individual citizens represent the share of the global production capacity directly owned by each citizen (excluding property such as valuables, clothing, housing and possibly even land).

There are two essential differences between Energy Credits and money.

First, Energy Credits are created upon transferal to the recipients, being holons or individuals. When used, they are allocated towards the production of goods and services desired by the recipient. During the process of allocation, they are transformed into information, which thereafter are unusable as means of trade. Each Energy Credit is only created to be allocated once, and can thus not wander indefinitely through the economy. The reason why is that they reflect the production capacity of the economy of the Technate.

Total Production Capacity = Total amount of Energy Credits

This of course means that during the course of an accounting cycle, the diminishing amounts of Energy Credits reflect the shrinking ecological budget (or, to use a fancy term – climate budget).

Second, of course, when the accounting cycle is finished, the second Energy Survey has been completed and seamlessly the accounts of every citizen and holon will be cleared and refilled with newly created Energy Credits, reflecting the data of the preceding period.

The unused Energy Credits of the preceding period, however, are deleted, and scrubbed from the system. This means that they neither can be accumulated (through trade) or saved – only used.

Why would anyone work?

We have identified three methods for the Technate of distributing Energy Credits to the citizens.

  1. A flat basic income which would be granted equally to all citizens. This would guarantee that no citizen would needlessly, against their will, be subject to debilitating homelessness and poverty.
  2. Energy Credits representing the time and effort put into labour during the preceding period. This method of distribution would ensure that there is an incentive to commit time and effort to work.
  3. Energy Credits representing the popularity and quality of the services provided by the holons of which the citizens are partaking in. In case the services of the holon are non-authentic or undesired by the citizens, this can be represented by a subtraction of Energy Credits, which would motivate the holon to be dissolved and its participants to move to areas where there is an actual demand.

We would recommend the usage of a combination of these three methods of distribution, though we can see significant room for regional variants and democratic participation.

What binds them together under our form of Energy Accounting is that distribution will occur on basis from data of the preceding period. This would mean that the work hours of for example a baker will yield an increased portfolio of Energy Credits for the succeeding period, and so on.

In short, this will mean that a certain inequality of outcome will arise.

Then, what makes it different from money?

Money and inequality

The invention of money arguably was a stepping stone in the advancement of the human species, as it made trade far easier as a means of standardization (previously, consumer items such as beer and dried cod served as currencies in pre-monetary economies). Money was for all purposes quite useless outside of as being a means of capital, trade and exchange, and moreover it was durable and storable over long courses of time.

The key-word, however, is storable. As money, notwithstanding inflation, can be saved, it is at the same time simultaneously a means of exchange and means of capital. As we today live in a world with soon to be eight billion human beings, most available resources on the planet are owned, and access to them is dependent upon the acquisition of money which then can be utilized for purchasing said access.

This creates a situation characterized by the following two axioms:

  1. Those without capital savings need to work for someone with capital savings in order to gain access to capital which they then need to pay for housing, clothing and food.
  2. Those with substantial capital savings can be more picky when choosing what they want to work with, or choose to not work at all.

This situation creates a profound inequality, which also tends to perpetuate itself, because capital is inheritable and can serve to uplift dynasties – especially after the invention of stock markets, which allow those with capital to let their money work for them.

Granted, this system has a proven track record of creating economic growth. A substantial part of humanity today lives in a state of splendour unthinkable even for most middle class and nobility just two hundred years ago. This is far from the case with most of the human race, many of whom are still living as sedentary farmers in the developing world (though cell-phones and Internet access are also affecting the lives of an ever-increasing number of Africans).

However, most of that growth – 80% as a rule – tend to end up in the hands of the 20% wealthiest members of the population. When capital gains grow faster than productivity, the wealth concentration also tend to accelerate. Most of the debate between the proponents of capitalism and socialism during the 19th and 20th centuries have occurred in this dimension and the issue has been about which system is superior in generating growth and also creating fair outcomes.

For the 21st century, the issue will be about a different topic – namely that it is increasingly evident that our current system is overexploiting the planet’s natural reserves and surface, and thus building up the foundations for the largest reduction of social complexity in human history (read; a collapse of gargantuan magnitude).

A fair case for the current system

Cornucopians such as Björn Lomborg, Hans Rosling and Stephen Pinker often point out that while they recognize that inequality is a feature of the current system, it need not be so bad if the economy grows for everyone. In short, an African country which liberalizes and open up its markets will initially feel a shock, but gradually, due to economic growth, people will afford to buy sandals. Their children will then buy bikes. And their grand-children will drive cars on African free-ways. In short, while the monetary system will perpetuate inequality, economic growth (which according to some theorists may even be generated by increased inequality since inequality drives up the incentives for workers to perform and increase their productivity) will lead to a better outcome for everyone in the long run.

Thus, from a utilitarian perspective, inequality may be an acceptable side-effect of economic growth in the long run, if one chooses to disregard the fact that we are living on a planet where we are utilizing the equivalent of what 1,7 Earths can renew in one year!

Thus, the utilitarian argument that eventually, all countries on the planet will catch up with Sweden falls on the fact that if everyone lived as a typical Swede we would need more than 4 Earths for all of humanity. Therefore, what remains are the moral arguments – so lets examine those.

Fairness as a product of labor

Usually, as the conflict is construed in the popular narrative in western societies, the moral conflict between capitalism and socialism is understood as the former believing in legalism – i.e people are entitled to their property rights – whereas the latter believes in social justice – namely that all people should get access to the products and services which the aggregated economy can provide for them.

This view is however only true on the surface level, as both the Right and Left are more closely aligned than either of the two polarities really care to admit. Namely, in regard to the fact that both sides care for fairness as a product of labour.

  • The Right, on its side, asserts that every person should be entitled the fruits of their labour, and thence the concept of taxes and redistribution are inherently problematic, as they (according to the proponents of this morality) transfer wealth from the people who created it to people who took no part in its creation. Note that when we talk about the “Right” in this context, we are focusing on market liberals and conservatives, and not proponents of fascist, reactionary or traditionalist ideologies, whose moralities are founded on irrational and subjective principles which are inherently and openly self-serving.
  • The Left, on the other hand, claims that capitalism is inherently unfair as the starting field on the marketplace is heavily skewed towards people who possess inherited capital, and that poor people often are brutalized and have less choices in what paths they can pursue, and therefore that some redistribution can make up for the power capital holds over labour in society.

Both sides, in theory, conform to the idea that people are entitled to the fruits of their labour. The conflict lies in whether redistribution or capital inequality constitutes the greater evil.

Therefore, Energy Accounting would solve this conundrum and eliminate this conflict altogether.

Why? 

Under the model envisioned by the EOS, the distribution of Energy Credits to each citizens is divided into three individual accounts per citizen. The first one is distributed on the basis of a UBI system where each citizen will acquire an equal share of the global economy. The second one is distributed on the basis of the hours of work provided by the citizen, and the third one on the basis of the performance of the holon (cooperative, corporation, branch, department) within which the citizen is working.

This means that there will not be a total equality of outcome under the model which we propose. If you work more during the Period I, you will receive a higher income during Period II, than another citizen who has worked less. Granted, since there is an income floor, the inequality will not create such effects as homelessness or undernourishment. This follows from the third criterion – all human beings should have access to the planet’s livelihood! Meanwhile, the two other citizen accounts will take into account the meritocratic aspects of society.

Is this relative inequality fair, from a leftist or rightist perspective?

If we look from the perspective of work due to labour, both leftists and rightists would have to accept that the Energy Accounting model is fair, as it would guarantee each citizen access to the fruits of their labour, and award Energy Credits according to the amount of time and effort a citizen has committed to necessary tasks.

What Energy Accounting will eliminate, however, will be capital, in the sense of units of wealth which can be exchanged (Energy Credits are transformed into information when allocated and are not units of exchange) and stored (at the beginning of period II, Energy Credits valid for period I are deleted and each account is reset with period II Energy Credits).

This means that aggregated, long-term inequality will be eliminated. Amassing and hoarding wealth over generations will be impossible, and thus the value of one’s labour will diminish over time, meaning that the disparities of income and thus access to resources can more fluidly change between individuals under a system of Energy Accounting. The concept of “old wealth” and “aristocracy” will be completely abolished, not by political decision but by the very design of Energy Credits.

If you believe that fairness is that people should be compensated in accordance with their performance, and that each person is entitled to the fruits of their labour, Energy Accounting should be seen as a system that strives for a fair(er) outcome, as it gives more people the opportunity to participate on a more equal playing field.