Isn’t it disappointing that despite pandemics occurring in the past1, governments seem to have learned very little2? Events that can be trapped early appear to be left to chance.3 What is happening?
Well, what we are seeing is the collateral damage caused by the pursuit of misplaced happiness. Artificial scarcity in the form of misinformation–planned and perceived obsolescence4 along with insecurity — allows a mindset of hoard, withhold, and deprivation5 to develop. This scarcity-based mindset seems to me to reinforce the age-old pursuit of happiness. The classic rat-race to accumulate property, wealth, and power. Not global well-being.
We have inherited the rules of the game that perpetuate and support the current system. I remember reading in the book, “The Mind in the Making” by James Harvey Robinson, that “In every age, the prevailing conditions of civilization have appeared quite natural and inevitable to those who grew up in them. The cow asks no questions as to how it happens to have a dry stall and a supply of hay. The kitten laps its warm milk from a china saucer without knowing anything about porcelain. The dog nestles in the corner of a divan with no sense of obligation to the inventors of upholstery or the manufacturers of down pillows. So we humans accept our breakfasts, our trains and telephones and orchestras, and movies, our national Constitution, our moral code and standards of manners, with the simplicity and innocence of a pet rabbit.”
Critical thinking6 is a prerequisite for a better world. I don’t mean overriding suspicion or over-interpreting evidence. We must aim for coherence while being receptive to evidence and view the system with a healthy level of skepticism. I mean scientific evidence, not anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence7 has its place but it’s weak and can be dangerous and, in most cases, misleading. They can be convincing when they start using scientific jargon and a testimonial from a so-called scientist but it takes scientific literacy (meaning having a well-versed interdisciplinary background in this and related fields) to see through the smoke and mirrors. Why would they use smoke and mirrors? Because business is exceptional in the pool of ignorance.
In this series, my suggestion has been to move towards a Global Resource-Based Economy. A Global Resource-Based Economy is not like anything you have encountered before. Resist jumping to conclusions and pay attention.
A Global Resource-Based Economy is a concept that outgrows the current global operating system of profit and fosters the well-being of people and the preservation and restoration of the environment.
Systemic change comes by changing the environment. Changing the environment means the physical and social environment.
- In transforming the physical environment, we consider managing the Earth’s resources sustainably, conserving energy and resources–doing more with less. We would be designing an environment to reinforce behavior to a value system that perpetuates living systems.
- In modifying the social environment, we need to meet human needs equitably, providing education to an updated value system corresponding to a Resource-Based Economy. Evolve a new way of communicating, adopt universal functional ethics, and use scientific scales of performance or statistical data, evidence, and empirical methodology, assisted by computer algorithms to govern global operations.
Why change the physical and social environment? If we don’t change the conditions, we will see a repetition of the same old destructive patterns of behavior. That means whatever we decide to change them to would need to be sustainable.
Resource sustainability can be achieved by:
- using nonrenewable resources at or below the rate at which an alternative can be developed,
- using renewable resources at or below the rate at which the resources can renew themselves,
- if unavoidable, releasing pollutants at or below the rate at which they can be made immediately harmless by the environment.
Social Sustainability demands that we fulfill the deficiency and growth needs8 equitably by:
- Giving everyone access to:
- Clean air,
- Clean water,
- Arable land,
- Relevant education,
- Functional and resilient shelter,
- And an integrated health care system that cares rather than profits.
- Guaranteeing safety and security without the need for police, armies, and navies.
- Providing equal opportunity and encouraging all to pursue personal growth for the greater good.
- Ensuring systemic resilience through careful engineering and constant education, education that would bring about a competent public.
All of this would need global cooperation, collaboration, and trust. High social capital needs to be an outgrowth of the system bringing about a sustainable future.
That is why Jacque Fresco developed the idea of a Global Resource-Based Economy. Now what is it and how would it deal with global problems such as pandemics?
A Resource-Based Economy, in many ways, mimics the human body. Imagine the human body reacted to problems the way the current system does. For instance, you cut your toe and your immune system responded as slowly as governments do, discussing it for days on end and debating, denying, ignoring, downplaying, and voting. We would have gangrene up to our knees! Well, guess what? Here we are with ‘gangrene’ up to our knees.9
A systems approach to problem-solving is critical. A systems approach is an overall approach to a problem, one that manages the interacting variables thoroughly. A Resource-Based Economy looks at all the parts with an overall systems approach and manages them in a way that helps us achieve human well-being equitably. Equity not equality, meaning taking everyone’s well-being into equal consideration. A systems approach to problem-solving would have the healthcare system built in every area of human life. That would be an actual attempt to keep healthy people healthy!
What does this mean? A Resource-Based Economy would automate jobs identified as repetitive and dangerous. Automating tasks and at the same time giving access to the necessities of life would reduce stress-related health issues while minimizing the possibility of workplace injuries and fatal accidents. The system will strive to end the need for pollutants, transitionally accepting only pollutants released at or below the rate at which they can be made immediately harmless by the surrounding environment. Public areas, transportation, homes, furniture, devices, clothing could have sensors to observe people’s health10 and adjust our surroundings to manage everything from your desired arousal level to your general health.
If a disease enters or develops in your body, nanotechnology would be able to detect the threat quickly. The ambulance will be outside your door before you even feel any symptoms.
If due to unforeseen circumstances, a new infection were to emerge, this interactive system will help trap and mitigate the issue at the source before any further spread is allowed. In every area of the world, a special contingency team exists that will have protocols derived through interdisciplinary studies to ensure that any threat is isolated. Generalists respond almost as quickly as the immune system in our bodies. Again, most of these protocols would be able to be implemented to work automatically. We need data management for planetary and human well-being.
A Resource-Based Economy is not a one-way data collection scheme that benefits only a few, like today. There is no vested interest so there is no advantage to misuse and abuse the data collected from the population. A Resource-Based Economy is a transparent system that facilitates input from the environment and a competent public. Updating and improving it benefits all equitably.
Now, a Resource-Based Economy is not perfect, but, I am sure you can admit that the chances of a pandemic developing in such a setup are low. We have to make a change in the way we think about ‘problem-solving’ and societal operation to reflect a total global systems approach. Global cooperation and collaboration are necessary if we are to tackle global problems.
Adhering to present-day values, we won’t exceed our present-day problems.
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2. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/covid-19-how-spanish-flu-changed-world/ ;
5. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Antecedents-of-Hoarding-Behavior%3A-A-Marketing-DeMaria-King/e2ee6e42a89bc3585ab927fe9e8bdb71c2d0b44f ;
9. https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2020/06/24/WEOUpdateJune2020 ;
10. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/biosensor ;