Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Paradigm of Plenty .

A Paradigm of Plenty
Andre Willers
16 Oct 2011

Synopsis :
The fruits of production are distributed according to the Scarcity or Plentitude thereof .
The Competition Paradigm handles scarcity . But we need a Plenty Paradigm to handle the problem of too much . Luckily , Ostrom has provided a framework for the future (see para 4 below)

Discussion :
1.Scarcity :
The Human Competition Paradigm developed as result of the invention of agriculture .
The key is that the fluctuations between good times and bad times were magnified .
In good times , population expanded to carrying capacity in Malthusian fashion .
There were no reserves in goods , time or space .

In bad times ,
Not enough water , food , clothing , shelter , etc gives rise to competition for these resources .
Social systems , usually hierarchical , evolve to distribute these , usually involving some power-law in the numbers of individuals in various strata .
Empires , feudalism , capitalism , communism , socialism are all facets of this process .
Taxes become involuntary and controlled by top end of the social structure , giving also control of the armed forces of the collective (normally called the State)

2.Plenty :
The exponential increase in wealth since Jethro Tull invented the planter in 1700 AD has led to major changes in the underlying structures of human socio-economic institutions
2.1Malthus : Wealth grew faster than even geometrical human population growth .The largest population groups (China , India , Europe , America ,Africa) all have been affected.
Their population growth is falling while their wealth is growing .
2.2Resources are growing more plentiful through science and technology , and the pace is higher than that of population growth . The GDP per capita in any state is the highest it has ever been , and set to grow .

3.What does this mean ?
3.1Less than 10% of the workforce is needed to produce all the Maslow basic needs for any society.
3.2That means that 90% or more are essentially unemployable .
3.3They cannot earn an income according to the Scarcity Paradigm .
3.4They essentially have no credit , since they cannot promise a repayment from a future income stream .
3.5Yet the wealth continues to accumulate at ever increasing rates into the the few hands at the top of the hierarchies .
3.6The relative disparities (cf Gini ) lead to unbearable strains .
3.7A destructive war making everyone poorer (like WWI) is no longer an option , because of the power of nuclear weapons .
3.8The same technology that enables the plenty also gives an alternative option : peaceful protests ,escalating into controlled armed conflicts where necessary . (Happening now)
3.9Organized via social media like cellphones , facebook , etc . There are no leaders .
Just the sea rising up like a tsunami .
3.9Controlled in the sense that it is a world-wide class conflict , not triggering nuclear responses.

4.What does a Plenty Paradigm look like ?
Luckily , for a change , academia has something useful to say

A Society of Plenty like this is a rich Commons .
Like the cod fisheries of the North Sea and Newfoundland before mismanagement destroyed them in a Tragedy of the Commons .

Like the air you breathe is right now . The CO2 level is already being mismanaged , and oxygen levels are not far behind . These are planetary Commons .

How this can be established and governed without turning it into a Tragedy of the Commons has been done by Elinor Ostrom , who received the the 2009 Nobel for Economics for this work

To quote from Wiki : (comments in brackets are my own ).

“ Ostrom identifies eight "design principles" of stable local common pool resource management:[10]
1. Clearly defined boundaries (effective exclusion of external un-entitled parties;
2. Rules regarding the appropriation and provision of common resources that are adapted to local conditions; (Equal sharing of debts and rewards)
3. Collective-choice arrangements that allow most resource appropriators to participate in the decision-making process; (Consensus decisions-no leveraged hierarchies)
4. Effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to the appropriators; (Policing)
5. A scale of graduated sanctions for resource appropriators who violate community rules; (Opportunity to learn from mistakes )
6. Mechanisms of conflict resolution that are cheap and of easy access; (Fair and Fast Justice . See how Inquisitorial Justice systems like Chinese , French or Sharia does it.)
7. Self-determination of the community recognized by higher-level authorities; (Autonomy within clearly defined levels . Something like a Federation.)
8. In the case of larger common-pool resources,organization in the form of multiple layers of nested enterprises, with small local CPRs at the base level. (Clear and quick relations with others. A potential sticky point with states.)
Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action Ostrom, Elinor, Cambridge University Press, 1990 “

5.A very probable Scenario :
Humans are an hysterical species , and uses this hysteria to great effect .
See “Inside the Ignition of an Hysterical Focus” Jun 2010 and others

5.1An Hysterical Focus is forming .
To a lesser extent (Rupert Murdoch et al) , it already has . But the extent is growing exponentially in typically Small-world Network fashion .

The whole planet's resources will be used to examine the question of whether the Scarcity Paradigm is still applicable , or even desirable . It is unstoppable .
Some wars (ie Libya) have already started , but note the limitations .

The end result will very likely be a Plenty Paradigm , based on Ostrom's Principles .

5.2How fast ?:
Very fast . 2-3 years from Jan 2012 .

5.3How bloody ?
Not very .The plenty paradigm is not competitive .

5.4Are there examples ?
There is the formation of the EU or North Africa at present .
A good illustration is the nationalization of all water in the Republic of South Africa . All water resources , above or below ground , on public or private property were turned into a Common Good in 1995 . The rules they followed were very similar to the Ostrom rules above .
The interesting thing was that there was no resistance on the ground from the farmers .Nothing . The reason was that the farmers knew that the resource had to rationally controlled , but the previous regime was too much under the influence of rich vested interests to make the necessary laws .

An Hysterical Focus causing a paradigm shift from Competition to Plenty will leave many top executives rather exposed . Since the new regimes will not be competition based , they will be much more lenient . They should cut deals early on . Ditto for dicey national leaders , banks and sundry others .
A planetary revolution does not leave many hiding places .

5.6Share Markets .
The “Growth at all costs” and the Quarterly performance appraisal will be casualties . Growth will be much more sedate . Shares with high P/E's and bubbles will tank .
Hedge funds and derivatives not doing plain commercial duty will fare badly .
Speculation in general will have tough time .

Surplus capital will be channelled into planetary reconstruction .
See “Work for All” Aug 2011

5.7A milder , gentler place .
There will be many more woman executives .
If you want to drive an overpriced , overpowered sports car at suicidal speeds on public roads , I suggest that you do it soon .

Ironically , the space-program will get much bigger and more effective . If NASA survives , it will be severely shorn . They will not put all their eggs in one basket .
Besides , all those hyper-competitive males have to some place without killing each other .
Risky space endeavours seem ideal

Any large , overgrown institution or company will be broken up .
Competition has not gone away . It will just be managed .

5.8The Military
The military traditionally was a construction Corps , fighting against the elements or other humans (cf Roman Legions) . Plenty of work for them in repairing the planet and going off-planet .

A nice place to bring up children .
The Matriarchy wins .


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