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Our City of Tomorrow menu this week consisted of products produced entirely in the city of Eindhoven as part of the sustainocratic cocreation program referred to as FRE2SH (Food, Recreation, Education, Energy, Security and Health). We ate eatable flowers, trout, parsley, lettuce, mushroom, honey, etc. A much larger variety is being developed over time by using the available indoor and outdoor city space effectively everywhere in a sustainocratic cooperative for sustainable human progress and city resilience.
The Eindhoven city trout was delicious
Lettuce and flower beds while partner Ben Nas hosts the open day for public awareness
Food resilience is key in modern smart city development. Current food supplies may seem to provide abundance but the production and distribution worldwide is destroying our landscapes and climate. FRE2SH uses the 4 x Value ideology with Sustainocratic cooperation between citizens, local government, innovative entrepreneurship and applied science to produce high impact local sustainable progress:
- Value for the human being (healthy food, engagement, awareness, security, less financial dependence, better nutrician)
- Value for society (job development, resilience, effective usage of space, reduced mobility, less bureaucracy, quality food supplies, circular economies)
- Value for the environment (less air pollution, less destruction of landscape, reduce ecological footprint, cyclic reuse of waste)
- Integral economic value (reduces societal costs, profitability by connection consumption directly with production, integrated process, holistic city eco system, circular economy, new local value sharing systems)
This way of working in a city is referred to as peer 4 regional development or the participatory society. It combines awareness, education, growth and sustainable human progress in a powerfull multidisciplinary interaction.
When health is recognized as core societal responsibility (Sustainocracy) the care for health approach affects the entire chain of healthcare well before the care demand starts.
My own STIR societal research foundation, together with AiREAS (air quality and healthy city) and the University of Technology of Eindhoven, apply participative learning with a group of 25 international students. We are looking for ways to use technology to affect the healthcare system within the challenges of Sustainocracy. We introduce a whole new way of thinking that can eventually transform the entire healthcare chain.
In the picture above on the “continuum of care” we see the entire healthcare chain and how it develops itself from prevention via early discovery of a health problem, all the way up to the last phases of anyone’s life.
But we miss something….
When we review our current society we notice that in terms of prevention there is little we can do since our political and economic structure, together with the lifestyle that belongs to it, contributes to our health reduction. In AiREAS for instance we look at our exposure to air pollution in relation to our lifestyle. Research revealed that 50% of the responsibility is of our own as we deal with our lifestyle and pollution in an unaware way. But the other 50% is caused by our surroundings and societal cultural management. This causes the enormous cost development of the healthcare chain, loss of quality of life, reduced productivity and millions of premature death across the world.
Before we enter the care continuum we need to ask ourselves in what societal context it is placed and how we could dispute this reality from our evolving self and collective awareness? In Sustainocracy we determined 5 leading core values for sustainable human evolution and progress, such as health and the quality of our air, food and what we drink. When we design society using those core values it will have a direct impact on the entire care chain but also the quality of our life and the related overall productivity of the community.
The students have been invited to the challenge to see how they can use techological instruments (such as games) to persuade citizens to participate in the health driven society. The students need to consider the fact that most citizens, and especially those who live their lives well before any preventive actions are considered, have totally different priorities than making time free for their health. What motivation will trigger them to participate? Are there target groups that are more inclined to participate than others?
A second part of the challenge is to find economic continuïty for the application of the technology by positioning it as proof of concept with measurable social, environmental and economic impact that is taken over by the consumer.
The transformation from an economy of growth into a content economy also claims an entirely new role for government. Current governments are generally “in charge” of the wellness of a country by determining what has to be done and what not in just about everything that concerns a country. In a democratic government the governance is determined by the public that chooses for its favorite representative. The other political powers, the opposition, are then confined to a political debate and by rule “against” any statement of government. This has its logic, challenging government’s moves and propositions with counter arguments even when these seem far fetched and highly artificial when one watches the debates. The problem we face with any government in an economic growth scenario is that all the discussions tend to go about money, growth and money again, since everything has been translated into financial parameters. That is no democracy anymore and we see that any political party, no matter what color or signature, when in charge does exactly the same as the others simply because there is no other choice than the standard middle way around money. In other times when there was indeed a difference, eg. the left wing parties defending the interests of the working class and the right wing parties the interests of the industrials that provided the jobs, there was still a fanatic debate to be observed and hot emotional encounters in the streets. Now that the jobs have been exported to low wage countries and all the individuals also only care about the amount of money one can spend every month, no matter where it comes from (salary, debt, credit card, heritage), the democratic debate has just one senseless signature everywhere.
The entire political organization has evolved into a machinery to try to create economic efficiency in their own territory and negotiate or even demand forcefully from the weaker around the world, the support to keep that machinery going and growing. This is not something of the last few decades, it is an evolution that is reaching its highest point now but started thousands of years ago. Back then the planet Earth was huge, people has no real awareness of any potential scarcity of resources unless it affected them in the small scale of their own territory and got them to set out to get it from elsewhere, often with violent encounters. In the early 17th century the Dutch started the very first multinational to travel and deal with the East Indies. For over 200 years it traveled the world and is still admired by many. In reality the monopolistic nature, the aggressive speculation, power struggles, self enrichment of the leaders and corruption are equally interesting to see as they can now still be found in the boardrooms of banks, industries and also governments when they obsessively deal with money, power and growth. When one takes on the job of a ruler over such enterprise, political or business, dealing just with money, one automatically becomes a representative of this mentality. Back then it affected over a few 100 years the Portuguese (15th century), the Dutch (16th and 17th century), the Spanish and finally the English (18th century) when they started to “rule the waves”. Now it affects the entire human world with 7 billion individuals in the hands of a few 100 speculative families and political groups that keep up the culture of humanity, producing disaster over humanity for the sake of personal wealth. But then again, it was all possible, they had the opportunity and took it. It is all part of the mentality of an aggressive species that has the morality similar to a cockroach.
The fact that we now talk about footprints, CO2, dirty air, plastic in the oceans, etc only started about 40 years ago. But this awareness does not change the inherited, historical culture of greed and growth that we translated into economies and that drives the political discussion and also the public interest. So why should this suddenly come to end, transforming the selfish cockroach into a (spiritual) butterfly?
Combination of unique factors
We can relate to the results of the Dutch VOC that went down under in corruption, scandals and greed. That was just a minority of people compared to the amount of people that try to outsmart each other today on the world market of speculation, tricks and misbehavior. In the end they will go down the drain, just like the ones that preceded in history and for exactly the same reasons. Especially in time of global crisis in just about every hierarchy that we can think of the secrete codes of conduct that bind the people who pretend to pull the global strings will be broken by themselves. Evil tends to punish itself.
The big difference today is that the speed of backfiring of evil tricks is very fast because of the global interconnected nature of all we do. We see that the bank’s greed exploded into our face after only a few decades of speculative actions. Dictators in Northern Africa and Middle East suddenly face the rise of their populations and within a year disappear from the scenery. Those who feel safe and in power today can be confronted with their own evil tomorrow. That is the effect of the growing educational basis of vast amounts of people that form self-conscious communities willing to claim freedom and auto-determination. Internet, twitter, gsm, fast travel, etc make the human world transparent to everyone including the mismanagement of those who believe in their own power. The borders are opening in a firm step to globalization and even now that politicians start seeing that this undermines their old positions of power it is too late. We are becoming rapidly global citizens that have a growing solidarity between all people. Many people have tasted the wealth of wellness through capitalism and become aware that the same wealth is also possible without the centralized power structures of the few. No one wants to be controlled by the banks, tax offices or dictating commodity speculators, which are the same few that make us vulnerable through their speculation and debt systems. When people cannot pay their debt because of the immorality of the debt system the reaction will be against the system to maintain their wealth but without the impositions. The same goes with food, energy, etc. To avoid (civil) war against banks, governments, business or personal power positions, all these organizations become aware of their own growing vulnerability and need to change attitude. There is no basis anymore to keep up the power positions and the most logical and even wise decision is to use their wealth to invest in their own transformation rather than trying to stop it.
New role of government
In a content economy the full attention of government goes to the wellness of its population within the context of a globalized world. This new focus is a very simple statement which will result in an in depth transformation of government. The very first question one can ask is what role a central government would play in all this? Centralized country governments are the structures around speculation and self interests of a territory but have hardly a role in a situation of bottom up self-sufficient wellness creation. On the contrary, even while they would have the natural tendency to try to avoid interference of their own public.
In a globalized human world around content economies the emphasis is on the small, local communities where social cohesion and self-sufficiency produces purpose driven human interaction. The smallest community with government attention is hence the village or city quarter. What kind of government would be needed above that? To control or govern what? Nothing really, except maybe a cooperative structure among the self sufficient communities for trade among the communities, infrastructures or the strategic interaction to exchange goods, experiences or help each other in aspects related to safety, calamities, migrations, etc. The multi-dimensionality of regional sustainable progress involves the local based interaction of different responsibilities as already introduced in the previous blogs. There is no hierarchy anymore just focus on key responsibilities s.a. applied technology, applied scientific research, local health & vitality and local self sufficient dynamics, all people interacting together on the basis of sustainable progress.
Regional government hence will be small, concentrated on local regional development based on sustainable progress but connected to the global network of communities (local 4 local 4 global or glocalization). Government takes territorial, facilitating responsibility in co-creation with the other pillars for progress. The structure of government will be defined by the community itself without politics but from the individual proven drive and insight of the holistic picture.
The transition has already been happening for some decades as cities started to resemble small countries within the countries, with their own positioning in the world economies and an image of their own. In Europe we see more and more central, general decision making being dealt with in the European Union while provinces or local autonomic regions take more and more responsibility through auto-determination and self-sufficiency. Most government combine now social responsibilities with their speculative origins, creating tremendous bureaucracies over time that are now collapsing because one cannot speculate with human health and prosperity anymore. Global humankind is too well informed to allow new pyramids of power to develop so the financial collapse of the bureaucrats will place the responsibilities back with the public. These will organize their own governance using the know-how, techniques and adaptive flexibility that modern tooling provides us today. The steering that is necessary to manage the freedom effectively is already being experimented with in various scenarios. Sustainable progress is the perfect leading trigger to keep everyone focused. It is only a matter of time for the transformation to show its effects, eliminating the old power structures and hierarchies without excessive violence and with determination. The new government already exists, it is only not yet fully effective or visible because of the old dominance of the hierarchies that still exist and try to keep themselves in place. The more the financial and other crises expand and take their toll the more renewal we will see around us, and many who are now sitting home watching all this on their TV sets may suddenly find themselves standing up and taking the initiatives for self-sufficient sustainable progress in their own street. It can happen just like that.