Fundamental Solution

A fundamental solution resolves one or more fundamental causes of a problem. Fundamental cause is synonymous with root cause. Fundamental solutions operate on the fundamental layer of a problem as shown.

Causal chain diagram

The diagram serves as the analytical activist's Problem Solving Map by mapping out the structure of all difficult problems. Follow the causal chain starting at problem symptoms and you will eventually find fundamental solutions that work.

The hardest part is penetrating the fundamental layer, because without the right analytical tools it is invisible.

The map allows you to navigate your way through a problem to a solution that works. To solve a difficult problem you start your analysis at problem symptoms, drill down to the intermediate causes of the symptoms, and then keep going to the fundamental layer. There you will find the root causes. Once these are identified you can design and test fundamental solutions for resolving the root causes. These solutions will replace the superficial solutions that were previously tried and failed.

Why fundamental solutions are important

Examine this list of popular solutions to the environmental sustainability problem:

The Kyoto Protocol treaty on climate change

Carbon taxes

Renewable energy

The Three Rs of reduce, reuse, recycle

Population control

Sustainable forestry

Better pollution laws

Why haven't solutions like these solved the problem? That is the blockbuster question facing all of environmentalism. The movement has promoted solutions like these for over thirty years, with only modest success.

The answer is none of these are fundamental solutions. They are all superficial solutions. All they can to is attempt to solve intermediate causes. Since this does nothing to resolve the root causes causing the intermediate causes, all the above solutions fail, no matter how they are presented or how much effort is put into promoting them or how long they are tried.

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The Twelve Sample Fundamental Solutions

The Common Property Rights book contains 12 sample solution elements for resolving the root causes of the sustainability problem. What's important is not the sample solution elements, but the fact they are fundamental solutions. They are examples of how environmentalism can shift gears from superficial solutions that fail to fundamental solutions that work.

Examples of Fundamental Solutions in Other Fields

Countless difficult problems have been solved by now famous fundamental solutions. Many are so fundamental to the success of their field that they form its foundational bedrock. Here are some of the most famous fundamental solutions of all time:

The Scientific Method resolved the root cause of why scientists could make only slow, meager progress on discovering new knowledge. It was because they had no reliable process for testing whether new knowledge was (probably) true or false.

Darwin's Theory of Evolution identified the root cause of why life in its many forms existed. In a single stroke the theory replaced religious explanations, which were useless for digging deeper into many issues, with a theory that went on to form the foundation for all the life sciences.

The invention of modern democracy solved the age old problem of autocratic rule by kings, dictators, and warlords. The root cause was there was no easy way to remove a bad ruler or chose a (hopefully) good one. The root cause was resolved by the fundamental solution of adding The Voter Feedback Loop.

The invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago solved the millions of years old problem of an unreliable and scarce supply of food. The root cause was total dependence on what the environment naturally provided for food via hunting and foraging. It was resolved by Homo sapiens taking direct control of the evolutionary life cycle of plants and animals. This greatly increased replication rates, the quality of mutations, and survival rates. This fundamental solution changed everything. Homo sapiens was no longer just another species. He was now the dominant species because he alone controlled the very process that created him: the evolutionary algorithm, with its three steps of replication, mutation, and survival of the fittest.

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