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A local bakery of a village is happily baking 100 breads every night for his 100 customers. The breads cost 1 euro a piece and the daily turnover is 100 euro. All 100 families in the village are loyal customers. It has been like this for many years and everyone is happy.
One day the wheat salesman came by to say that there is a growing shortage. The price of the key resource has to go up. The baker can still get the usual supply but the situation is critical. The salesman said that everything was done to bring the situation back to what it was before. The baker had no choice and raised the price of his bread with 10 cent. The loyal customers understood and paid the difference gladly, knowing that is was only temporary. The turnover of the bakery raised by to 110 euro per day.
The situation did not change. The wheat salesman returned to say that the prices did not only go up further, he would also have to half the supply. The baker was desperate and went to the local politicians. They promised that everything would be better if they were re-elected but meanwhile he would have to cope with the dip. The baker raised his bread price to 2 euro but could not make more than half the usual amount. He decided to sell the bread in halves. The loyal customers were furious but had little choice. They bought the half’s for 1,50 euro. The turnover of the bakery had risen to 150 euro even though he had produced only half his usual amount. The local newspaper was talking about an economy of growth and certain local business people taking good benefit.
The resource problem continued and got worse, despite the promises of the suppliers and the politicians. In the end the half’s would cost 3 euros and the baker even sold bread by the slice. His turnover went further up, his productivity down and his customers became less and less loyal. They could not afford it anymore. Newspapers report that “the market was grimm”.
One day certain wealthy local citizens decided to make the bakery the deal of a lifetime. They were fed up with the half’s and slices of bread. They wanted their entire loaf of bread every day and were willing to pay 10 euros per piece. The bakery accepted, of course. He had been tought about market working in business workshops. His turnover shot up to record sales. The baker even became entrepreneur of the year and was invited to membership of the local Rotary to discuss “common interests” among the “powerful” every week. His status had grown but in his shop many people could not buy slices anymore, not even breadcrumbs. There were people now living in poverty and hunger in the village. And they are angry…….but the economy was growing.
Now you can think of your own happy ending of the story. What will happen?
Moral of the story: When you hear powerful people say that the economy needs to grow and that it is going to solve all the problems, please think twice, unless you are this baker of course and you have not thought yet of a happy ending 😉
There are various types of economy as you may have gathered when you are a regular visitor to my blogs. We have the economies of:
- Consumption (what we use) – eg. products
- Speculation (what is difficult to get) – eg. a house
- Crisis (what we fear to loose) – eg. insurrance
- Consequences (what we have lost) – eg. healthcare
- Debt (what others expect from us) – eg. banks
- Fiscal (what is demanded from us) -eg. taxes
All these economies are related to each other and fight a battle to sustain themselves in a financial world. They all have a product to sell and populate the left hand side of the picture below (financial leadership). They all have one thing in common: they want you! They want your attention, your money, your dependence and your votes.
The other side of the picture is the transformation economy, the economy of change. This is a very special type of economy. It does not want to control you nor does it compete. It just wants health, harmony and sustainable development. It is automatically activated when things go wrong on the left hand side. It requires awareness, vision and a new sense of reality.
The left hand site just wants growth. A typical tendency is that growth shows health but also sickness through the appearance of intoxicating “antivalues”. These antivalues can be detected easily as we have learned by analysing human history and the history of societies. They have to do with greed, lust, power,etc. The antivalues are normally in the hands of powerful people and institutions who take benefit at the expense of others (deadly parasites) subtracting values from society rather than adding (hence the word “antivalue”) until a crisis puts them out of business and power.
Antivalues make the world sick and in crisis.
New values can cure us from the right hand side, which is always present and active yet not always noticeable. Those values need to grow in strength through applied change. This takes time but also needs space, strength and opportunity.
We only tend to want to cure ourselves only when we are really sick. Before that we behave as if illnesses do not exist. Prevention is not a democratic strength nor recognition of the signes of sickness. For many there are powerful reasons on the left hand side to ignore, neglect and even openly dispute antivalues out of self interest, opposing change with everything they can.
We are living in unique times. Antivalues in the past only seemed to affect our human communities. Now we realise that they also destroy our environment and human health. The transformation economy emerges with all kinds of corrective causes some of which are unique to the era we live in.
We call this the era of the Global Shift (Ervin Laszlo) or Quantum Leap (Jean-Paul Close). The changes that are demanded are of a more universal nature affecting human nature everywhere. It is only becoming visible now (unique antivalues such climate change and pollution) demanding the most intense changes ever.
The transformation economy emerges everywhere through a new type of leadership, Sustainable Leadership. It becomes not only visible (such as Sustainocracy), it provides also a new field of healthy interaction where institutions and societies of the left find their new growth inspiration and renewed strength. The changes that we can anticipate will be referred to in history as one of the most significant era in human evolution. As the left gets sicker the right grows stronger until it breaks through. Then a new economic health period emerges that cleans up the left for a new era of growth. Then it starts all over again.
The current economic structure of our global society is based on consuming goods rather than using them. What is the difference? And why would the consumer type of economy be obsolete? And why should it be replaced by a user type of economy? What consequences does it have for our daily lives? And what consequences will we suffer if we do not change?
Throughout the explanation I will fall back on a useful example: mobility.
Sustainocracy is such a purpose driven economy based on usage. But first…
In this type of economy we simply purchase whatever we need for a living. This means that we take ownership of the goods. Consumer economy has evolved ever since the start of industrialization. In order to make products available to the consumers around the world we need to install an infrastructure for manufacturing the supplies, retail outlets, waste management of packaging and obsolete stuff, financial systems for payments, etc. The relationship between the consumers who purchase daily needs, suppliers offering products and services, money systems providing cash and loans, governments providing infrastructures and regulations, is based on a composition of value added resources (products), logistics (distribution), financial profits and taxes.
A business network that sells the products focuses on profitable consumption, the government that provides infastructures concentrates on taxable consumption.
Business in each step of the chain needs more and more profits to attend the increasing demands of shareholders. Shareholders own the business and value their ownership through the return they get on their investment. As a consequence the business wants volume sales and cost reduction in a competitive environment. As a side effect this chain optimization causes increased environmental pollution. The effects on human nature are also negative. It causes constant purchase stimulus, creating a mentality of greed, thirst for financial means to purchase more and a mentality of hoarding. There is a growing degree of individualism, distrust, criminality and psychological disorder around “the having”.
Governments see an increased need for infrastructures for logistics and retail activities but also suffer the negative consequences in health, psychological disorders and environmental pollution. The latter is demanding investments in rules, bureaucracy, police, health care, etc. This produces a steady increase in tax requirements along the chain to finance the growing social responsibility around purchasing power. Government hence stimulates further consumption through economies of growth in order to be able to finance the consequences (dual economy).
Obsolete type of economy
Meanwhile the entire structure of society around fragmented money driven and dependent consumer interests, shows a steady increase in problems, such as the reduced availability of natural resources for the increased global productivity, destruction of the environment to facilitate more logistics, the pollution of our habitat and increased global competition. Consequence driven investments in a greener society do not reduce the push for more consumption, on the contrary, it stimulates it even more to cover the costs of those investments. Business and government both use it as marketing arguments to stimulate the economy of growth even further. It all helps to delay disaster but it cannot avoid it. Overconsumption in a consumer economy has a structural damaging effect and leads irrevocably to crises.
Each of the fragmented pillars (government, business, etc) depends on the other’s growth, stimulating it according, increasing the problems faster than solving them internally in every fragmented layer or “slice” of interest. All the crises around the world are a consequence of an obsolete consumption driven system.
The problem of this consumption driven economy is the chain of exchange of ownership all the way up to the end-user. On and between each of the shackles in the chain the business and government interests are keeping the system in place out of self interest. No one in the chain takes responsibility (nor can be individually blamed) for the effects on humanity and our planet. In between the shackles shortages appear that lead to speculation and further value destruction in the chain, increading economies while decreasing quality of life.
Mobility is a consequence of our consumer economy. We privately need mobility for work, social activities, family logistics, recreation and purchasing goods. For each of our requirements we have a whole variety of mobile alternatives, instrumentally at hand. We have a car, a bike, a scooter, maybe even a caravan, a trailer, etc. We can only use one of these instruments at any one time but possess it for our usage at will during the day. We consider this type of mobility part of our democractic freedom. But do we need to own it?
We seem unaware about the amount of resources that we block by keeping up a stock of individual mobility in our own ownership. The amount of space we need to store the options is tremendous, while not in use, while in use and when we arrive at our destiny. Not to mention the different types of infrastructures that are needed to provide safe usage. It all had an important impact on our economics for many decades. But also on our environment and health. This was countered by the growth of a consequences-economy in which healthcare techhnology managed to stretch our lives against a huge healthcare cost.
Today we face the problem that polution, scarcity of natural resources and usage of productive landscape is so big that it has consequences for human health, social stability and sustainable human progress.
If we would change our economy to one where we do not possess our goods but use them when needed, a lot of the problems would be solved. Why don’t we simply change to the new system if this is better for our environment and human health? We cannot because:
- We are used to “having in possession” all our alternatives
- Our society is based on the profit and tax structure related to purchasing, not the usage, to finance itself
The first has to do with mentality and the second with our social complexity. The economy is structured around our culture of possessions not for usage. If we want to change that we need to break up the chain, alter our culture and change our economic system all together. That is extermely difficult to do. This has significant consequences for our society. Let us simply look at the two issues I mentioned.
1. Mentality – culture of “having”
We possess everything simply because our society is based on that culture. If we decide to relinquish possession we could not yet make use of alternatives because their is no reliable infrastructure based on that usage. When I want to move from A to B and have no car or bike available to me then I have to rely on walking, a neighbor or the public transportation system. In very dense populations this may well be organized to an extend but in my small town I need to walk a certain distance to find a bus that goes every 30 minutes. Taxis are expensive as they do not just charge the fair of my travel from A to B, they also charge their own fair just to come to pick me up. A bus would be fine but it goes only so often. Meanwhile I am used to getting my transportation instantly by walking to my car or bike at my fron door.
So if I would want to get rid of my ownership I at least would want to have a reliable equivalent at hand. If I do not own but use then the service of usage has to become better than me as an owner.
The consumer society that I live in also requires that I travel between urban centers. The train system has shown important flaws, especially when we have extreem weather. I hate to see myself as single father, with a responsibility at home, stuck on a freezing train station without being able to get home to attend my children. Having my own means at least gives me a sense of control. Not that it is a guarantee that I get there but at least I have my own hands on the steering wheel. I have instant choices. And that feeling of independence is important to me.
Mentality also has to do with psychology.
Of course I understand that usage instead of property is important from a natural resource or space point of view. And I would be very willing to change my mentality if, and only if, my sense of freedom, security, choice and instant availability would be guaranteed. Ownership provides me with this sense of availability at all times, despite the destructive consequences for my environment. I am conscious of it but also have my selfish attitude. I am willing to jump on my bike when the weather is good, when I feel safe, but do not feel the need or obligation simply because our planet is in jeopardy. Who am I? My neighbors need also their consciousness building. When I see them buying and parking a car in our street for every family member my motivation to relinquish my comfort first has come to a minimum. “Them first” I would be inclined to say, or all at once.
Mentality shift has hence to do with multiple factors, not just my own consciousness and sense of responsibility. It has to do with availability of reliable alternatives, an equivalent sense of comfort and recognition of my efforts (I am not alone). Usage is not just confined to the mobility issue, it has to do with all sustainocratic processes around local four local sustainable human progress (food, security, health, wellness and education). When that is organized I would be pleased to try it out, fearfully because of lack of trust, but responsably as a global conscious citizen.
So change of mentality requires purpose driven cooperation between institutional AND civil interests. Both have to work together to make it happen.
In fact, in an economy based on usage we can learn to respect the usage of our natural resources in a reciprocal way. To do so we would need to address again the essentials of our existence within the context of our natural environment. Sustainocracy is all about that. If we use our environment effectively and with affection we can assure continuity of our existence. But to do so we need to give back what we have taken when we are done. That is the way nature works and it works exceptionally well. In fact, that is the way life and death works also in humankind. When we are born we use material from our environment for our carnal existence and growth. When we die we give it back to our environment through a burial or crematorial. Why wouldn’t we do that with all the other things that we use to serve or please us?
We should but we don’t, simply because we are not organized that way. To do so we need to change all our institutions, their way of functioning, as well.
2. Profit & Tax transformation
When we look again at mobility as significant example we see recently (last decade, with a push forward sinds about 2008) a rapid tendency in urban transformation. This is caused by the expected sharp decline of fosil fuel availability and the rise in cost price. 55% of humankind lives in cities nowadays depending on mobility for everything they need.
Industries and governments that have relied for over 100 years on the profits and taxability of cars as a consumable and luxury item. They are now facing an automotive crisis, starting the transformation within a dense urban setting. The maths of car sales and consumption of fuels does not add up anymore in a social and environmental context for the long term. Old business lobbies still remained strong for a while due to the amount of labour and financial interests in this traditional sector but eventually room has been created to develop alternatives. We see now the tendency of new local for local alternatives in mobility with great creativity at business and governmental level. Still, this is confined to the economy of scale presented by the urban concentrations. It could become much more affective if fragmented policy making would be replaced by holistic sustainocratic cooperations.
The problem any government faces is that the car with all its fuel consumption was one of the biggest taxable instruments to finance the public administration. It was a real cash cow. Just like housing, energy, communications and food supplies. Now that this income is slowly evaporating a dual problem arises. Sticking to the example of mobility we see that new types of transportation, traffic and mobility require new infrastructures, which is a large investment. Meanwhile we are not entirely sure in which way mobility will evolve. This is also the case for any other human consumable. The old taxable cash cows disappear but nothing is definite to replace them. But the old costs of society keep growing.
How do you transform taxation from a consumer to a user economy?
Why would taxation need to remain the same? From a theoretical point of view it does not need to be the same at all. A new society would demand a new way of structuring government and by consequence also its finance. But you cannot instantly transform government and its dominated structures s.a. police, defence, infrastructures, justice, education or health care. They have been build up for many decades, centuries even. Restructuring involves large hierarchical structures of people, regulations, laws, positions of power, etc. It takes not only time. It demands general support, vision, hard work and accepting the psychology of change as a common transformative factor in which fear plays the most common human factor.
In a democracy a transformation is even more demanding and probably even impossible because of the fragmented party politics that have grown far from a common national purpose. Also people who vote tend to vote for what they have lost and not what they can achieve by working together.
When we take sustainocracy as a new structure for society at least all 4 pillars of society work out ideas together.
We all realize that the traditional tax structure and government expenditure needs to be intensely revised. We see that there is a long term continuation of the effects of the old consumer structure on human health and the environmental polution. This affects again the long term government expenditure requirement in health care, and that is not backed by sufficient tax income in the short term of the new structure. Either public debt increases further, or….we all take responsibility (sustainocracy).
Everything needs to transform at the same time.
Also, business needs to transform. When new entrepreneurial initiatives appear that substitute the old traditional ones we see an equivalent need for transformation of social financing and government responsibility. Business is much more inclined to assume local responsibility for reliable public services in which circular economy of usage replaces the linear economy of ownership. Government is then forced also to change from a regulating and consequence driven authority to facilitating structure that introduce flexibility, transparency in change and cooperation. On the one hand this would attend the uncertainty of the future. On the other hand one needs to spread the investment over all parties and not just through governmental channels. Taxation cannot cover both the government transformation AND social transformation all by itself. Today we see many governments already with a rising national debt beyond reasonable proportions, just to avoid change. More debt to induce change would be unacceptable. Moreover we concluded that a society based on usage requires the transformation of everything, not just government.
That is where sustainocracy comes in and places the responsibility with all social parties involved. One single connecting specialist or pair of persons will do the trick. Me for instance. Taxation in the long term in an economy of usage can have similar proportions than the economy of consumption today. The money would however be used in a different way. But in the short term the tax income is much less. We see then a tremendous need to coordinate such transformation step by step in order to avoid a total financial chaos. Tax can then be something more than just money. In fact we all become local for local responsible for the circular economy of usage, creating the added value ourselves and sharing the benefits. In the consumer economy we see that people simply need money to keep the economy going. In an economy of usage people need to invest their talent and personal energy to create things to share (s.a. food, energy, housing, etc). Money is less important. Much more important is the level of co-creation.
This requires vision and coordination that cannot come from just government itself nor any other institutional structure. They are all too dependent on each other through the old chain of interrelated financial dependencies. The current institutional world would sooner drop into a huge crisis than take the initiative to transform together. That introduces the new connective leadership (no power, lots of authority) of members of the sustainocratic STIR Foundation. They assume the role of new purpose driven leadership that allows the institutional partners to join the challenge based on independent equality, rather than dependent inequality. Each participates with its one levels of power, authority and added value.
The challenge is hence extremely local, yet global at the same time, geographical and vertically institutional, and very human as well. It affects for instance the way multinational business develops and transforms from a global manufacturer to a local facilitator. Maybe in between business can still develop a mix of centralized manufacturing specialization and local holistic service responsibilities, with forward and backward logistics and reuse of resources. But if the transformation is not coordinated with business and governance involvement at the same time it will not happen.
As a consequence we can very well justify the complexity of the transformation from a logical and even scientifical point of view but not easily from a practical, operational one. We cannot pinpoint anyone today as a sole holistic responsible for sustainable human progress, unless one totally independent person stands up to do so (like I do in Eindhoven). The huge material interests that still make up the old world of the having, the consumer economy, have a tremendous blocking impact on the level of transformative change. This is being countered by a strong building up of explosive (agression) and creative (new initiatives) stress. It is becoming much better for the establishment to join sustainocracy and gain again instruments of effective power then to remain trying to patch up the old system our of unsustainable self interest.
Organically change may occur when old age parties find each other in purpose driven sustainocratic missions. But change will also occur through crises en chaos when powerful structures insist on their self interests beyond the limits of the ethically reasonable. There is a balance that needs to be found between the controled temporary maintenance of the old and the speed of change towards the new society. The process can be extremely dangerous for human kind yet can also be changed positively if sustainocracy is accepted by global institutional leaders, together.
The theoretical and ideological need for transformation between a consumer and user type of society and economy is beyond dispute. It can be morally, ethically and scientifically proven. The complexity of both mentality change and transformation of institutional positioning is however so large and significant that it takes local and global leadership to make it happen. As such the existing hierarchical leadership is not independent enough from their fragmented structures of power. Holistic leadership only exists at individual human level, cannot be institutionalized, just accepted as linking sustainocrat.
The fragmented institutional leadership, no matter how powerful in the old world, will eventually have to join the table of sustainocratic leadership. Institutions are human instruments, like a hamer, a screwdriver or a shovel. If we cannot get humankind to stand above its instruments we will face a huge humanitarian disaster. It is up to the human being in charge of such institutional instruments to accept taking seat at the table of human sustainocratic leadership.
The sustainocratic initiatives that we take in Eindhoven and Holland could be a source of inspiration and guidance to avoid human disaster and make change happen in a peaceful way. Then global business, governmental and scientific leadership would have to accept sustainocracy as I present it and join the table for the sake of their own leadership. Since such combination is unprecedented in the world it is hard to establish for the first time. But not imposible as I have done it before. If it is posible on a local for local level for the first time we should be able to address the issue on a global basis too.
Worth a try? Why not….Who should be at the table? Who cares to help?
Today I received the news that my paper on the “universal working model for sustainable progress” was accepted for the “Sustainability and Spirituality” conference in Hungary on Sept 21-23 2012. It is great to gain some international exposure for a method that I worked out in theory and also put into practice in my own living laboratory (The city of Eindhoven and the The Netherlands).
Many of the individual people involved in the related processes do it whole heartily. The institutions that I involve have still a strong dependence in the economic world and often lack sufficient backbone to show a sense of value driven responsibility. Here we encounter the true complexity of the paradigm shift from a money dependent society to a value driven one. The first is packed with institutions that have learned to uphold themselves artificially by the chain of financial dependencies, forgetting often the true original purpose of their existence. The value driven community of my model demands from the entities a commitment based on their true identity and contribution through application of competences and responsibility to the results we seek.
There are two moments when institutions become aware of their mismatch with sustainable progress and their confrontation with their lack of genuine and meaningful identity:
- When they fall over when their financial stakeholders withdraw their support in a crisis,
- When they get involved in value driven, co-creative processes and get blamed of incompetence due to internal bureaucracies, hierarchies and lack of capability to commit to true results.
We see this in most institutions, business, government and public services especially. In the second situation they “may” develop the awareness at senior executive level to transform into something that has a deeper meaning then just financial survival. In fact they start looking for genuine meaning and purpose, which is spiritual process. To take this executive action out of the sphere of abstraction I created the practical and measurable pyramid for multi-dimensional, value driven identity development and positioning of any institution.
When a company or institution remains at the traditional ground level in the base of the bottom triangle, it will develop and maintain an old fashioned a deteriorating strategy of financial dependencies. When it starts rising into the pyramid it will include much more value driven commitments that keep the organization alive and connected to a daily reality. The company become more sustainable if it finds a meaningful link with the surroundings.
To develop a true multidimensional value driven image (i.e. moving up the pyramid) represents a complex transformative process that affects the entire structure of the organization and all people related to it, internally and externally in the surroundings. As the value driven processes reposition the organization in society it will encounter a huge amount of organizations that are trying to do the same. The shake out is intense, driving organization to the kernel of their existence with a challenge to excel in their commitment to values rather than financial growth. Money becomes no issue anymore nor profitability. Profit becomes much more relative to results than just financial benefits.
From a multidisciplinary co-creation perspective only such companies will survive and link with value driven ventures in a sustainable way. It are not the products that make the difference but the set of values the company represents. Since these values represent the multiple inner meaning providing purpose to the commitment there will no customer relationships anymore but partnerships with other competence and responsibility driven institutions compatible with one’s own ideas.
Spirituality involves the profound understanding of a cosmic reality (matter, energy, purpose, finite limitations and abundance, her and now, eternity) and an evolutionary reality (dependence and independence, leadership, adaptability, sustainable progress). Business based on profound spiritual meaning is called multidimensional entrepreneurship. The difference can be summarized as follows:
Why don’t politicians support the transformation of society? Why do banks not change their bonus culture? Why do people go to church when they encounter a crisis?
When I try to get overall scientific, business, political or financial support for the transformation of human society into a state of sustainable progress (referred to as the Global Shift) I do not get it. Why? All the crises in the Western world seem to cry out for change yet people only focus to get more of the same. New economies develop based on those that are now in crisis hence knowingly develop their own problems. Why? Why are all these human structures so reluctant to change and destined to repeat their mistakes over and over again? Because all these institutions are not based on “belief”.
It is necessary to be a believer to open up for new realities and hence accept and even conduct progress through the acceptance of change. To understand what I am saying we need to first define “belief”. According Wikipedia belief is:
“Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.”
This definition refers to a “psychological state”, not a proven truth, hence it is subjective to the individual. What do you believe that is true? Proven truth or suspected truth? We tend to accept only what is touchable or commonly accepted as truth. A believer tends to visualize a truth that does not exist yet in the physical or proven world. All our current human surroundings are organized in complex human structures, institutions. These are known, hence true. Anything else, that is not yet included in the human organizational structures is hence unknown and does therefor not exist.
Or it exists when you believe it exists, or could get to exist. True believers open up to things that do not exist yet in our regular life. Everyone who has a hired position inside an institution can only sustain what is known and stops believing. If one would believe he/she would probably question what is served. The only option such people, even so called world leaders, have is to keep in place what has been organized, because it is known. Even when it is in crisis. If they are visionary and see the problems they cause by keeping up the unsustainable they would have to step out of the system to change it. But then they loose their position of power.
From an operational point of view this is logical simply because every human institution is a structure with a particular purpose. It would only change if the purpose of the structure would change or when it goes broke. If those institutions are as significance as a political organization, a financial system of power or a business monopoly, everything will be done to avoid its collapse, not by changing it but by maintaining it, no matter what.
One could expect that common sense would prevail when we see the suffering of so many people caused by this lack of flexibility. But common sense is only based on the same knowledge that is commonly accepted as truth, hence within the same dynamics as where the problems occur.
Science does not help
If we look at the definition of belief why would science then not be a believer? Doesn’t science believe in its own studies to obtain progress in knowledge? Of course it does and that is also the essence of the difference. Science is a non-believer because it looks for proof through commonly, already accepted knowledge. Science does not want to “belief”, it wants to “know”. This interesting paradox of science is that it is continuously searching for knowledge so needs to accept belief to understand that it still has a long way to go to accumulate all knowledge. We still do not know everything. This automatically means that science needs to accept that new knowledge can dispute any old knowledge. We can therefore know for sure that all knowledge is only believed to be true until is proven not to. A crisis is not enough to prove something wrong. Only something different would prove something else to be more truthful. The problem we face is that science does not easily accept this scientific belief. It claims the truth by accepting proof and then holds on to it. If you do so you block yourself from the possibility that what was proven true can also be proven untrue in time. So science accepts the state of belief to motivate the search for knowledge through guided research but does not accept belief to question knowledge that has been accepted as truthful. Science therefor tends to try to prove the known and tends to avoid the unknown. In the process of providing proof to the known we stumble across new knowledge to be proven. Science seems only to advance by further analyzing the known. It is fixed to a particular track. This means that in essence science is not a believer, just a proof provider to perceived knowledge.
So for change we cannot rely on science and hence find that universities only teach science but not belief or the potential of change. They can’t, even if intellectuals inside the university suspect new tracks of knowledge they find difficulties in their institutions to support deviation to the unknown. Universities depend on the resources provided by the structures that do not belief and hence serve the known, not the unknown. Only a very small part of research funds are invested in finding new realities and these even need to be covered up by arguments that the common structures can understand and support.
The world of statistics
Business and politics do not even worry about belief. They reason from the influence of the masses of people either by exerting power on them or by offering external securities in the shape of goods. There is only one certainty and that is the one of proven support in the shape of votes. In essence any purchase is a commercial vote too. From that point of view all of the world of politics and business is measurable and conducted through statistics rather than belief. The statistics are translated into a standardized system of values, often called money. Financial systems manage money and hence manage statistics, nothing else. By speculating with shortages the statistics move and become measurable instruments of economies that live eventually a virtual life on its own without considering the human being or our natural universe itself. In fact, the way statistics move through artificial intervention of politicians and business people have created a simulated reality that interacts with our true reality and is even perceived to be real through the importance we give to money and material valuable. But it is all fake, even the poverty we see around us is fake simply because the statistics of our robotized systems do not allow people to create a new, self sufficient reality.
Belief means acceptance of change
None of the above provides any true progress because it is all based on commonly accepted truth and knowledge, but no belief in alternatives, simply because they do exist yet. That is why the quantum leap of human evolution will surprise us as it comes. When it happens it will extensively be studied by scientists and even open up new channels of knowledge development, just like financial analysts now know why the credit crisis occurred but back then never saw it coming.
Becoming a believer
People in a state of crisis experience the lack of support of the commonly accepted truth of the obsolete systems but cannot embrace change yet because it does not exist yet. They experience a crisis because securities are falling apart and are not replaced by new ones. They are challenged to think for themselves and accept change by stepping out of the structures in crisis and start deciding for themselves. Since this is extremely difficult for individuals who have taken the old truth for granted they tend to go to church and ask for a miracle. In reality people ask the universe to react by creating a renewal of the universal truth. They ask God but in fact they ask themselves to accept change. We are so used to external securities that we have learned to distrust our selves. People in search for spirituality are opening up for renewal of their faith in humankind and especially in themselves. They experience suddenly the warmth of friendship and social support, self leadership and significance. They become believers, not just in God, but especially in themselves.
I can describe the Global Shift, the transformation of humankind, and find opposition from all common human structures. If it does not exist it is not true. People fight collapse of existing systems simply because they do not have “belief” in letting go. The old systems are known, scientifically analysed and hence true. The new systems are in the world of beliefs without and proof of truth and hence without any guarantee for security. That is also why true progress is made by people who are only considered a genius when reality changes, proving them right in hindsight. Meanwhile they are always seen as a risk to the established truth and crazy, weird or clowns, despised by the systems and laughed at by the masses.
But only believers are truly progressive. They are prepared to see the invisible, to accept that truth is relative to our common acceptance but not at all reliable. Believers accept that other realities exist and set out to find them. They accept to be despised by the masses and ridiculed by the knowledgeable realizing that all those who react that way are locked up in their own prison of disbelief and a reality conditioned by their own limitations.
Even religious believers tend to create dogma’s around the unknown to enable to speak in name of God by creating limitations proper to the human world of “knowledge” rather than abundance of the miracle of the Universe and our adventure as a true believer in progress. If we belief in God we should accept the unknown as our evolutionary challenge to progress and science as simplified form of registering perceived truths until they prove wrong or reconfirmed. We are getting to a point that sustainable progress does not accept anymore virtual statistics as a reality nor scientific proof as absolute truth of knowledge.
Soon we enter an era (the quantum leap) where we accept the unknown as the only constant for our progress. The amount of crisis of the world of knowledge and statistics will be so big that the world will turn around believers who show a new reality, the reality of a humankind based on spirituality, on the belief in our evolutionary quest and eternity. Science will not be proof anymore of knowledge but a reflection of our progress by accepting the stepping up of our adventure by challenging knowledge against the unknown.
When we do that business, finance and politics will cease to exist because they will not be necessary anymore as fragmented human institutions. They will transform into key area of responsibility and related competences that interact to provide sustainable progress by addressing the unknown on a continuous basis. When that has happened we will refer to this a the quantum leap and even give it a scientific understanding leaving it in out past as a significant moment in time when humankind opened up to its own universal destiny.
Sustainable progress is hence assured by believers.
Recent articles refer to the graph of youth unemployment in Europe as “scary”. Indeed it is alarming to see that in Southern Europe around 50% of all youngsters between 16 and 24 have no perspective of making a living through any form of employment.
The key problem we face is that there is absolutely no relationship anymore between the basic human needs, values, employment and money. Industrial centralization of manufacturing and productivity to areas of high concentration of cheap labor or facilitating policies for volume related, highly automated activities have taken all basic responsibilities away from the general public. If we go back a few hundred years the main concern of every individual was to produce enough for self sufficiency. Most of our time was dedicated to food production. If we sum up today our basic needs: food, clothing, energy, water, shelter, mobility how much of our time is devoted to achieving it? Nothing! All these activities have been taken away from our daily concern from a labor perspective. We only have access to our basic needs through money, not through our energy or talent.
So where should the energy and talent of our populations go to if the basic needs have been taken away from us in centralized money processes of which we see nothing ourselves? There is nothing except the “care for each other”. Care is something that cannot be centralized as it affects us all directly. You cannot go to a shop and buy a pound of health care produced in China or India. The care taking needs to be done on a personal level. Even though care is needed it is not directly seen as a primary value. In many countries it is financially organized through means that come from primary production processes, i.e. a secondary economy that depends on the primary economy of productivity (the making industry), speculation (housing) and consumption. So if the primary economy fails no care can be financed either and unemployment rises.
But does that mean that people do not have any basic needs anymore nor the need for care? No, of course not. It simply means that we have learned to connect the wrong values to the money system. Europe opened up the borders to liberate the distribution of goods as a primary foundation of our economic progression. But these goods hardly contain European labor which means that there is no reciprocity between what we consume and what we personally contribute to our wealth. If there is no direct relation between our consumption and our labor where do the means come from to obtain them? Either by creating a primary economy of care that covers the expenses of the economy of goods and if this does not exist we create a debt for ourselves. From this point of view our debt evolution makes China grow in wealth because that is where the productivity takes place.
Our debt evolution has been camouflaged by keeping up speculation in the housing market and a booming business in real estate but this only covered a part of the economy while producing an economic bubble through speculative forces of banks and politics.
The solution is to be found in transforming our economies back into a direct connection between our individual needs and our productivity with our talents and available energy. This can start by accepting care, human health, vitality and education, not goods, as main value of society expressed in money. All the unemployed youngsters can find things to do in helping their own community into health, social cohesion and support receiving means back for it to sustain themselves. The second step is to become self-sufficient again in producing the basic needs, using modern technologies to provide abundance without centralization of productivity around the world. Food, water management and energy production become than again issues that keep us individually busy and disconnected from the large global dependencies. All people become then again aware of their own productivity related to the wealth we perceive and produce ourselves.
This transformation of the local economies is easily done if we allow ourselves to change our perspective of wealth from the “having” to the “being”. The opposition of course comes from the centralized power positions around goods and financial controls. To break through these impositions local governments have to step out of the economic grip of these systems and introduce new systems of human values that motivate their populations to invest their talents and energy in each other. This will cause a lot of old systems to go broke and stress will be high when the entire world based on old industrial process is forced to reallocate the resources and their own value systems. In between monetary systems will become obsolete and go broke. Large amounts of debt will be cancelled along the way by mere obsolescence of their existence. Since most of these debts are only related to a few in the old hierarchies of power they can be blamed of speculation over the back of humanity and punished by new laws that the new humankind will develop through this new paradigm.
When we look again at the graphics of youth unemployment in Europe time has come to make the transition. Local leaders would be wise to take the first step to show their commitment to their own people instead of luring still with the old hierarchies that are obsolete and already in the historic area of payback demands of humankind asking them to personally take responsibility for their leadership now and over the last few decades. Politicians and business executives would show signs of wisdom if they now choose side of humankind instead of money. That is probably why articles refer to the graphs as “scary” even though they indicate also the build up of frustration that will explode to make way of renewal. Those who let that happen knowing that peaceful alternatives are at hand already as described above, are also to be blamed when judgement day arrives. When we look back at ourselves today in ten years time, what will we see?
The very basic, key requirement in a content economy is that every individual human participant becomes self-aware, self-conscious of sustainable progress and self-sufficient through auto-determination, self-leadership and independence from centralized structures.
That is a lot of responsibility for a single person! How can you cope with self-sufficiency when the entire world seems to be attached to the strings of centralized controls? If you cut those strings where would you live? Get your food? Your water or energy supplies? Health care? Clothing? How would you get rid of your waste or move from A to B?
The transformation from a growth economy of centralized dependencies to a content economy of self-sufficiency in sustainable progress is not just a simple ideological decision, it is a personal commitment to turn your entire life upside down.
Even on the individual level such new type of society would require a structural renewal of the way you address your life on a daily basis. It would take various years of learning new skills and integrating them into your existence in such a way that you get again a feeling of abundance. The learning period will be tough because your self sufficiency would not produce enough yet for you to adequately survive. You are forced to work together with others who are in a similar process.
In essence we see the following happening on the individual level but also in business, local government and institutions. The whole thing boils down again into four phases:
1. Acceptance of the new paradigm: This element is key to understand and commit to the process you go through and find the motivation to endure the tough transition period.
2. Personal leadership: Someone only decides to depart from situation A towards a new situation B if the latter provides better perspectives than the first. For may it is a tough decision to make, requiring reassurance through a growing awareness and consciousness as the local, personal or global crises clarify the ideas. Once the decision has been taken you are ready to address to future with determination keeping that desired new situation in mind during the entire process.
3. New professional skills: gradually you will find what skills are required to address your new challenges. We all have many skills already and today, with the usage of internet we have access to a large diversity of knowledge without having to move from our chair. Applying new skills to produce abundance will totally depend on the environment in which you develop your independence. Nowadays technology is very much advanced to produce abundance in nearly any environment on the planet and beyond. It is up to our creativity and adaptability to implement it for our benefit. Some may argue that access to technology costs money and indeed this may be true in the transition phase. But when we look at the abundance of tools that have grown obsolete in the last few decades, or even now due to the crises, we have plenty to pick from at nearly no other costs than that what we need to get the materials to us. Creativity, wit and guts is much more valuable than the tooling that is lying around us unused.
4. Purpose driven cooperation: when we consider true abundance, with the use of modern technology and our own talents and energy we can and maybe need to work together with our neighbors. For certain requirements we need a certain productivity scale to be auto-sufficient. Combining these interests with those who face the same problem will add up 1+1 and make 3.
Such cooperation is even possible on a larger urban scale involving self aware institutions and governance. Dealing with result driven self sufficiency through applied technology one may find the need to involve such institutions even if they still operate in the old paradigm. Consider the challenge of people living in dense urban city environments. How would they be able to cope with content economy if the only way to access food production is by applying the most modern views on urban vertical and spatial agriculture. And even such fragmented self sufficiency would necessarily be combined with innovative usage of water, waste management cycles, energy production and usage.
Such techniques would become multi-disciplinary and multi-functional requiring the cooperative participation of people with a large diversity of skills. Over 50% of the global human population now concentrate their lives in dense urban environments due to the effects of hundreds of years of economic based paradigm. And this amount is only growing. Even if we wanted we could not turn this clock back fast. So a very intense local small scale urban cooperation will need to develop rapidly to create sufficient output to provide the participating people with a minimum amount of life support in the transition phase to avoid an exodus into the country side or total urban anarchy.
It is a totally new area of development that is still in its teens from an expertise point of view but key for the survival of massive amounts of people who have nothing else than their 26th floor, 80 m2 apartment to deal with when the old paradigm collapses further. The current centralized power positions around food, water, energy and other basic supplies have fragmented the local available productivity into single massive product production lines for global distribution. The diversity of products surrounding the cities is extremely limited and scarce, in such a way that it would never be able to help the starving city population in case of disaster. Sufficient local diversity for self sufficiency would take decades of focused transformation to develop. Eg. With the current footprint the nearly 17 million people counting population of Holland would need a territory of 20 stories to supplies its needs. This is of course impossible so we have two options: reduce drastically our consumptive life styles while trying to use space as well as possible or allow the unthinkable the reduction of the population to sustainable levels by allowing them to perish or move to other places….A reversed migration away from the cities would create such devastation in the encounter of the travelling masses that it would represent a human disaster of unknown precedence. The best option we truly have today, while the old paradigm is still holding up, is to do our best to implement the content economy where ever we can right now, taking individual responsibility while we can, having access to resources and knowledge without yet the stress of surrounding chaos.
Right now the STIR Foundation has already started to work with small scale local new cooperative initiatives to at least create sufficient experience in working with new result driven models based on equality and competences, rather than hierarchy and speculation. Many of the human interests cannot be addressed comfortably in this way because they are still trapped in the economized hierarchies. These old power positions will try to milk their cash cows as long as they can before they fall over, even if this finally means that the transformation will come too late or at the expense of huge sacrifice.
All that people like you and me can do today is to accept the fact that we need to take responsibility sooner or later. The sooner we take our first steps at picking up the right skills, establishing the network of contact for early experiments, the better it is. I personally did and know now how painfully difficult it is. By keeping our initiatives low key or outside the reigning systems we remain at a safe distance to experiment at will. When the openings come due to the recessions and massive crisis we can try to expand expertise fast like fractals. Via twitter, blogs, social media we can share experiences in an open way and stimulate more and more people to start developing their own initiatives and join the movement.
Meanwhile remember the psychology of change that affects most people. For some time to come the largest part of the population will laugh at you while you are at it while the systems will try to do what they can to stop you, uphold themselves at the expense of everything or get you back into the old systems through tricks backed by the reigning laws. That’s the name of the game. At the end the content economy will of course affect you positively and provide you and the surroundings with sustainable progress. But before that it is the process of letting go and diving into the in depth transformation that produces all the pain and challenges. It is up to you if you want to take the leap or wait if the whole thing solves itself.