A Paradigm of Plenty
16 Oct 2011
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)
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)
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:
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 http://andreswhy.blogspot.com “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 http://andreswhy.blogspot.com “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 .
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 .