Solutions for Subproblem A - How to Overcome Change Resistance

Solution element strategy

The crux of the sustainability problem is How to overcome change resistance. Once systemic change resistance goes from high to low, the system will "want" to solve the other three subproblems just as hard as it doesn't want to solve them now.

This may sound preposterous until you realize that the solution to the change resistance subproblem adds a considerable number of powerful new balancing feedback loops. Once established, these loops exert such strong social forces that the system flips into a new mode. It's as large a mode change as a car changing from being in reverse to going forward. If the analysis is correct the solution will work because all macro social system behavior emerges from the system's dominant feedback loops. These loops have been modeled. We can see them. It's thus child's play to push and tug on the system to introduce the new feedback loops necessary for solving the problem.

See A quick introduction to how feedback loops work for how balancing loops work.

The analysis shows the root cause of successful change resistance is high political deception effectiveness. It follows that the high leverage point for resolving the root cause is raising general ability to detect political deception. We have to make people truth literate so they can't be so easily fooled by deceptive politicians, articles, television personalities, and so on. Doing that begins with:

The four freedoms

Solution Element 1.
Freedom from Falsehood - The foundation

The four freedoms (illustrated by Norman Rockwell) are part of the foundation of modern democracy. But that foundation is incomplete. It lacks the fifth freedom of Freedom from Falsehood. Until that's added the institution of democracy will forever be corruptible. It will forever be too easily exploited to support the goals of powerful special interests, because if The People cannot tell the difference between the truth and falsehood, they are easily convinced to support politicians and issues who appear to working for the common good, but in reality are working for special interests.

Freedom from Falsehood gives people the right to freedom from falsehood from sources they must be able to trust. This includes all “servants” of the people, such as politicians, public employees, and corporations. A servant is an agent created or employed by Homo sapiens to do something useful for humanity. All servants must remain subservient to Homo sapiens and keep the interests of humans above their own.

What is not prohibited by law is permitted by implication. Therefore if people do not have the legal right to freedom from falsehood, then by implication it's okay for those in positions of power to manipulate citizens by the use of lies, fallacies, the sin of omission, and all the forms of deception, propaganda, and thought control available.

Corruption relies on the use of falsehood to hide or rationalize favoritism. Eliminate falsehood and you have eliminated favoritism. This is because once falsehood is banished, politicians will be forced to compete for supporters on the basis of the objective truth. The truth includes the long term optimization of the general welfare of all members of Homo sapiens. Favoritism conflicts with this goal because it gives someone more than their fair share and hence someone else gets less. This promotes the welfare of an elite few rather than that of the many, so it's not the optimal allocation of a society’s resources.

If We the People do not have freedom from falsehood, then deception in all its Machiavellian and Orwellian forms will continue to appear again and again, because deception is the surest way to rise to power, to increase your power, and to stay in power.

Activists are intuitively coming to the conclusion that Freedom from Falsehood is essential. As one example, in an article on May 15, 2007 Julian Burnside, a prominent Australian barrister, advocated almost exactly that. Here’s the beginning of the article: (Bolding added)

The Future Summit, being held in Melbourne this week, is a hotbed of ideas, solutions and attempts to imagine a better world.

Global warming, reliance on fossil fuels, the growing gap between rich and poor, all have been debated by academics, captains of industry, religious, community and political leaders.

But one solution — put forward yesterday by the top silk Julian Burnside, QC — met with more acclaim than any other, and received rapturous applause.

"If we really want to make things better, I suggest we introduce a law that makes it an offence for politicians to lie," he told the conference.

Julian Burnside has intuitively sensed what the Dueling Loops model analytically shows: that political deception is so damaging to democracy it should be illegal. The way to make that happen is to recognize that as long as the democratic model lacks the fundamental right to Freedom from Falsehood, it is an incomplete and too easily compromised model.

However this new right alone will do little good unless falsehood can be detected. This requires establishing the right new feedback loops. These are divided into three groups:

Making politicians trustworthy

Making corporations trustworthy

Allowing citizens to get the big picture.

The critical importance of universal truth literacy

Truth literacy is the ability to tell truth from deception. Universal truth literacy is just as important to the health of democracy as reading literacy, because if people cannot “read” the truth they are blind to what the truth really is. They are easily controlled by any politician who uses deception to hoodwink the masses into supporting him and his positions.

Political deception is an age old, world wide problem. Its success has led to more corruption, war, economic catastrophe and oppression than any other single cause. For example, how did Vladimir Lenin rise to power and consolidate his and the communist party’s iron grip after the Bolshevik Revolution? Some by force, but mostly by the fog of deception. It was he who gave the world this chilling quote:

"A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth."

But if citizens can tell that lies are not the truth they don’t work, no matter how many times they may be repeated. In fact, once a person has been fully inoculated against deception, each further repetition of a bold lie only serves to drive them further away from the deceiving politician.

Dueling loops modelThe average person is never taught anything like the Truth Test (see below) in school or the workplace. Thus their immunity to deception is largely a matter of cultural chance. For truth literacy to become a cultural norm and achieve its full success, it must become as essential to a person’s education as reading and writing.

History has shown again and again that those who are not truth literate become the unknowing slaves of the masters of falsehood, as the cyclic nature of the Dueling Loops race to the bottom versus the race to the top plays itself out over and over. A cycle ends when corruption becomes so extreme and obvious that the people rise up, throw the bums out, and become much harder to deceive for awhile. But as good times return, people become lax, and another cycle begins. These cycles never end, because presently there is no mechanism in the human system to keep ability to detect deception permanently high.

The appalling effects of this cycle, during which corrupt politicians and special interests  are dominant most of the time, is historic evidence that truth literacy is more important to society than reading literacy. This applies even more so today as we enter the 21st century, because if the truth is not seen in time, Homo sapiens will surely perish by his own hand due to environmental collapse.

The right new feedback loops to create universal truth literacy

“I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.”

Honesty and politics do not mix, because presently the winning strategy is to use dishonesty to win in politics. But if we introduce the right new feedback loops truth literacy will become the norm rather than the exception. People will at last be able to tell truth from falsehood most of the time. Here are three sample solution elements for doing that:

Solution Element 2.
The Truth Test

The Truth Test is a personal skill, much like other skills such as frugality, language, and mathematics. It is designed to handle nearly all arguments the average person receives in seconds or minutes. The rest take longer or an expert.

The objective of the Truth Test is to reduce deception success at the individual level to a very low, acceptable amount. It consists of four simple questions:

1. What is the argument?

2. Are any common fallacies present?

3. Are the premises true, complete, and relevant?

4. Does each conclusion follow from its premises?

The Truth Test allows people to see the widespread fallaciousness of the arguments they receive from corporate proxies, such as corrupt politicians, many news sources, and articles. Once citizens can no longer be fooled by unsound arguments, they will elect better leaders and support better positions.

For an extensive description of the Truth Test see the Truth or Deception pamphlet.

Truth test modelThe truth test works by introducing the reinforcing feedback loop shown. Once a person completes initial study of the Truth Test the cycle of Lifting the Blanket of Deception can begin. Use of the Truth Test increases the amount of falsehood spotted on everyday arguments. This increases quality of decisions. Once a person perceives this has happened, an increase in knowing you benefited from better decisions occurs. This causes that person to study and use the Truth Test even more, and the main loop starts over again.

Nothing can grow forever, so these reinforcing loops have balancing loops associated with them. Examples are the increased time and cost of using the test, and the increased complexity or cleverness of arguments. Each of these causes diminishing returns, which keeps the Lifting the Blanket of Deception loop from growing forever. For simplicity these additional loops are not shown.

As just one example of how the Truth Test might affect society, imagine what a talk show might be like if the host was trained in the Truth Test and was familiar with Truth Ratings. After a particularly fallacious string of comments from a guest, such as one from a biased think tank, the host might reply with “By the way, while you and I have been talking, my assistant was jotting down how many fallacies and truths you uttered, and what kind. Did you realize that since you began ten minutes ago, out of a total of 24 propositions, 6 were ad hominem attacks, 4 were based on biased samples, and 8 were false enemies or pushing the fear hot button without any justification? This leaves only 6 reasonably true propositions. In other words, in my opinion your sequacious punditry is false 75% of the time. THAT is the real news here. And…, let me see, my assistant reminds me that it was about the same last time you were on. What do you say to that?”

The silence that followed might be the sound of the beginning of the race to the top.

The Truth Test provides a way for citizens of all kinds, including talk show hosts, to spot the truth. But it is a bit of a stretch to expect that truth literacy will sweep the world soon. The Truth Test also provides no irresistible incentive for corrupt politicians to start telling the truth. For that we need:

Solution Element 3.
Politician Truth Ratings

Politician Truth Ratings would provide an accurate measure of the truth of what key politicians are saying and writing. If this objective can be achieved, then construction of a new reinforcing loop causing virtue to triumph over corruption in the political arena becomes possible. Once this new loop is established, it becomes increasingly difficult for political deception to succeed.

Truth ratings work by rating the truth of important statements made by important politicians. They are similar to other types of ratings that have been around for a long time.

Credit ratings quantify the creditworthiness of a person, organization, or government. Product ratings, such as those in Consumer Reports magazine, quantify the worthiness of products. Both are widely used. Truth ratings would quantify the truthfulness of a politician's important arguments in speeches, articles, and so on.

A truth rating is the probability an argument is true. For example a few days after a presidential debate, its truth ratings would come out. They might say that candidate A averaged 45% true, while candidate B averaged 70%. Guess which candidate would probably win the debate in the public’s mind?

If the organization doing the rating was credible and the public trusted the truth ratings, a race to the top would begin. Politicians would compete to see who could be the most truthful in the fullest sense of the word, and therefore the most helpful. Campaigns would become based on reason and truth rather than rhetoric. Due to a trickle down effect from the successful use of Truth Ratings, a race to the top would also begin in many other areas of society where less than the truth has long prevailed, such as advertising, the appeals of special interest groups, editorials, and to a growing degree, the news.

No one person can become an expert on the many critical issues of our day and spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours analyzing each important political argument they encounter. Therefore the public has no choice but something like Truth Ratings.

Instead of individuals continuing the impossible task of deciding the truth of each important argument, rating organizations would do that. Certified rating organizations would quantify the truthfulness of important arguments by applying the Truth Test and providing a written rationale for each rating, so that the public could make its own final judgment. As they read more about the logic behind ratings of interest, the public would gradually become educated in how to apply the Truth Test.

Efforts to provide the beginnings of Truth Ratings are springing up spontaneously. For example, in October of 2006 Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google predicted:

…that, within five years, "truth predictor" software would "hold politicians to account." Voters would be able to check the probability that apparently factual statements by politicians were actually correct, using programs that automatically compared claims with historic data.  

The truth of politician's arguments is not the only behavior that needs to be rated in order to establish the correct feedback loops. The overall corruption of politicians must also be rated. This is done with:

Solution Element 4.
Politician Corruption Ratings

A corruption rating is an overall measure of how corrupt a politician is. Corruption includes falsehood, favoritism, coercion, abuse, criminal activity, the giving or accepting of bribes, knowledge that corruption is going on, and so on.

A major component of a politician’s Corruption Ratings is past Truth Ratings. This would account for 40% or so of the rating. As a politician’s Truth Ratings go up, his or her Corruption Rating would go down.

Corruption Ratings would need to be done regularly, perhaps every two years. The running average of the last ten years or so would be a politician’s rating. Corruption Ratings would become as routine and cost about as much as a high level security check.

Politician ratings and the analogy of credit ratings

Politician Truth Ratings and Corruption Ratings are examples of Politician Ratings. They would be calculated in a similar manner by certified independent organizations. Both could cause the race to the top to become dominant. Because it measures total corruption, Corruption Ratings would play the stronger role. However Truth Ratings are easier and cheaper to perform, and thus would probably make a difference first.

Politician Ratings need not affect all voters to make the critical difference—only the swing voters, who are normally just 10% to 30%. Fortunately it is this group who is most likely to be receptive to a tangible, sound reason to choose one politician over another.

Politician Ratings are analogous to credit ratings. To demonstrate how important credit ratings have become in just one area, the corporate bond market, here is an excerpt from testimony presented to the US Senate on March 20, 2002, to the Committee on Governmental Affairs, chaired by Senator Joe Lieberman: (Italics added)

Simply put, a credit rating is an assessment of a company’s credit worthiness or its likelihood of repaying its debt.

John Moody, the founder of what is now Moody’s Investors Service, is recognized for devising credit ratings in 1908 for public debt issues, mostly railroad bond issues. Moody’s credit ratings, first published in 1909, met a need for accurate, impartial, and independent information.

Now, almost a century later, an ‘investment grade’ credit rating has become an absolute necessity for any company that wants to tap the resources of the capital markets. The credit raters hold the key to capital and liquidity, the lifeblood of corporate America and of our capitalist economy. The rating affects a company’s ability to borrow money; it affects whether a pension fund or a money market fund can invest in a company’s bonds; and it affects stock price. The difference between a good rating and a poor rating can be the difference between success and failure, prosperity and bad fortune.

In a similar manner, the difference between a good politician rating and a poor one would be the difference between success and failure for politicians, and prosperity and bad fortune for the public.

But even more interesting is the testimony went on to say:

The government—through hundreds of laws and regulations—requires corporate bonds to be rated if they’re to be considered appropriate investments for many institutional investors.

So too would the government require politicians to be rated if they were to be considered appropriate choices for many citizens. Credit ratings greatly lower the risk of financial loss. Politician Ratings would greatly lower the risk of corruption. If they proved as successful as credit ratings, they would lower it by somewhere around 99%, which would make sizeable cases of corruption about as frequent as Halley’s Comet.

An outstanding example of an independent ratings organization is Consumer Reports. Below is a typical product rating. If reliable ratings can be done for cars and thousands of other products and services, they can be done for politicians.

Consumer reports ratings

Presently Politician Ratings are not required but corporate bond ratings are. This is one more example of how, over the centuries, Corporatis profitis has silently and relentlessly defined the rules of the game to be in its favor.

The right new feedback loops to make corporations trustworthy

In a Corporatis profitis dominated world, most politicians bias their official work to suit the demands of corporations. Thus we need more than the right new feedback loops to make politicians trustworthy. We need loops that do the same for corporations.

Below are three sample solution elements that can make corporations trustworthy. Note, however, they do not resolve the root cause of the endless quest for corporate dominance, which is mutually exclusive goals between corporations and people. The solution elements only help to resolve the root cause of successful change resistance that arises from corporations. This is valuable because we need to reduce that resistance to such a low level that we can then perform a radical operation on Corporatis profits, as described in the sample solution element for subproblem B, Corporation 2.0.

Solution Element 5.
No Competitive Servant Secrets

A servant is an agent created or employed by Homo sapiens to do something useful for humanity. The two most important servants in democratic systems are politicians and corporations. The objective of No Competitive Servant Secrets is to prevent servants from using secrecy to their own advantage, especially corporations.

This is accomplished by complete openness in all that a servant does. No servant may keep competitive secrets of any type, either from their masters or other servants. After all, if a servant is an entity created or employed by humanity to provide people with goods and services, why should a servant need to keep any form of competitive advantage secret, except to gain advantage over its master or other servants?

Competitive secrets are a form of non-sharing and hence a form of non-cooperation. When combined with the mutually exclusive goals that servants have of each maximizing something, such as profits or power, this leads to a destructive competition mindset. But what we want is constructive competition, where agents compete in a friendly, let’s help each other manner. It appears that removing competitive secrets takes independent agents one step closer to cooperation. Therefore full and complete cooperation between servants and their masters, as well as between servants, requires no competitive secrets.

No Servant Competitive Secrets supports the Corporation 2.0 solution element. This reengineers the modern corporation to where its interests no longer conflict with those of Homo sapiens.

No Competitive Servant Secrets is already spontaneously appearing in the form of freedom of information acts, sunshine laws, and so forth. But these are a haphazard collection of ways to reduce servant secrecy. Competitive secrecy needs to be reduced to zero in a comprehensive manner, which No Competitive Servant Secrets finally does.

One type of servant secret is government secrecy. A standard objection to eliminating government secrecy is the need for “national security.” However this objection is really designed to benefit one country (and its military industrial complex) at the expense of others. Military secrecy is a form of competitive advantage. If countries truly want to cooperate instead of compete, then there is no need for military secrecy.

The standard rebuttal to this argument is that if I can’t keep secrets and my competitor can, then they will gain an advantage over me. Rubbish. The same logic can be used to argue if I can’t steal and my competitor can, they will gain an advantage. We have all seen that it is to society’s benefit as a whole to outlaw theft and that it can be done, though the result is not perfect. The same is true for secrecy. A country insisting on military secrecy is a country refusing to cooperate for the common good of all.

Servants include corporations. No Competitive Servant Secrets would mean the end of all competitive corporate secrecy. No longer could corporations ply politicians with secret favors and donations, or secretly influence political decision making. No longer could they secretly receive political favors. Because all this would now be out in the open it would stop, because corporations are loathe to draw criticism from the people or the press.

Corporate secrecy includes trade secrets, which would no longer be allowed. The standard defense of trade secrets is they are necessary to provide an incentive for invention. Without trade secrets, a corporation could not make enough profit to pay for innovation.

This argument is fallacious. If corporations are servants and are truly working for the good of their masters, then the incentive to innovate should come from the desire to serve their masters the best they can, rather than to serve themselves as best they can. Trade secrets are really a form of selfishness.

Trade secrets are not necessary for scientists to innovate. Nor were they necessary for the long history of innovations that occurred up to modern times.

The real reason corporations want trade secrets is they are a form of competitive advantage. This increases profits. But why should humans allow their servants to have any form of competitive advantage over other agents, which includes humans? There is no good rebuttal to that or the points raised above. Therefore trade secrets are not necessary and, because they are a form of secrecy that can be abused, they would not be permitted.

If any type of competitive advantage servant secrecy is allowed, then servants can use that as an excuse to hide all sorts of conniving mischief from their masters. Thus No Competitive Servant Secrets means exactly that: No Competitive Servant Secrets of any kind.

Certain forms of non-competitive advantage servant secrecy would be allowed, such as passwords. This is because passwords serve as identification and ownership identifiers, rather than as a form of competitive advantage. Other allowed types involve personal information, law enforcement, jury deliberations, and so on.

Solution Element 6.
Corporation 2.0 Suffix

The purpose of this solution element is to allow people to instantly determine if a corporation’s goals are aligned with those of humans or not. Corporations with a 2.0 suffix can be trusted to not deceive their human masters. This increases ability to detect political deception, a high leverage point.

Corporate name suffixes like Ltd and Inc have long denoted legally defined aspects of corporate behavior. For a 2.0 corporation the suffix might be C2. This would indicate a corporation has been chartered as a Corporation 2.0. Its goals are fully aligned with those of Homo sapiens. It no longer behaves as a selfish short term profit maximizing machine, but as an unselfish, altruistic servant whose role in life is to serve humanity as best it can.

If the C2 suffix is present then, on the average, that corporation and its employees, products and services can be trusted. The suffix serves as a reliable identifier of trust. How vital this is to society’s health may be seen in the beginning to a paper by J. Matthew Wilson on Group Identity and Social Trust in the American Public (Italics added. While the paper deals only with one country, its argument is general enough to apply to all. References have been preserved but are not provided in this book. As of January 17, 2012 it had 7 citations.)

The last decade has witnessed an explosion of social science research on the topic of “social capital.” Beginning with Coleman (1990), followed most notably by Putnam (1993, 1995, 2000), scholars have stressed the importance of civic engagement, collective problem solving, and general public-spiritedness for the health of a democratic polity.  This observation is not new; over a century and a half ago, Alexis de Tocqueville (1840) observed these same virtues to be central and vital to American political culture. What is new, however, is the perception that these qualities are in short supply in the contemporary United States, and that they have declined at an alarming rate over the last several decades (Putnam 1995, 2000). This realization has led to serious scholarly inquiry into the sources of social capital, in an attempt to develop prescriptions for stemming the tide of American civic indifference.

First and foremost among the factors identified as making important contributions to social capital has been trust, whether of other people, of the government, or of both (Yamagishi and Yamagishi 1994; Brehm and Rahn 1997; Berger and Brehm 1997). Only if people believe that others are basically decent, sharing on some level similar values and not seeking to take advantage of them, will they be willing to engage actively in the larger society. In game-theoretic formulations, trust is critical in inducing cooperative behavior and pareto-optimal outcomes (Axelrod 1984; Wrightsman 1992), and the same logic has been applied to real-world social and governmental settings (Levi 1997). Clearly, generalized trust is a central bedrock of social capital.

The paper deals with interpersonal trust. However, its argument applies equally well to all types of social agents, including corporations. Making this leap allows us to see that corporate “trust is critical in inducing cooperative behavior and pareto-optimal outcomes.” Once we gain that the corporate life form will be cooperating with humans to achieve pareto-optimal outcomes. Such behavior will include solving the sustainability problem as fast as possible because that problem, more than any other, reduces pareto-optimality.

Suppose you’re walking along, meet a stranger, and the first thing they do is smile. From long experience you know they can, on the average, be trusted. This signal of trustworthiness is so fundamental it’s universal and innate. Babies smile. We smile when we see smiles.

But smiles can be faked. So too can corporate images. Today there’s no quick way to tell if a corporation is one you can trust. But with a Corporation 2.0 Suffix either there or not, determining trust becomes as easy and automatic as a smile.

Imagine what would happen if an ever growing group of activists, when given a choice, worked for and only bought from corporations with a C2 suffix. Add to that vision the policy of C2 corporations to, when given a choice, to only buy from C2s. The most powerful life form on earth would begin to see “the importance of civic engagement, collective problem solving, and general public-spiritedness for the health of a democratic polity.”

That’s the kind of world it would be a pleasure to live in for a long, long time.

Solution Element 7.
Servant Responsibility Ratings

These behave much like Politician Truth and Corruption Ratings as presented above. The difference is servants are artificial life forms while politicians are people. When we say “servants” we mean corporations, but later this may include other artificial life forms, such as robots and governments.

The purpose of Servant Responsibility Ratings is to give people accurate feedback on how well each servant is doing in terms of its responsibilities. This increases ability to detect political deception, a high leverage point.

Servant responsibilities are written into each corporation 2.0’s charter. The general responsibility of all servants is to help achieve the goal of itsmaster: optimize the quality of life for all living people and their descendents. The particular responsibility of each servant is to perform some designated role, such as stewardship of a common property or manufacture of a class of products.

Servant ratings would be performed by 2.0 servants themselves, as a normal part of accounting and filing of annual corporate reports with the state. These would be audited as necessary. Servants submitting inaccurate rating reports would be guilty of fraud and penalized accordingly. Repeated or gross cases would cause the servant’s charter to be revoked.

Current servant ratings, along with a C2 corporate name suffix if present, would appear in all advertisements and packaging. This would allow people and other servants to much more intelligently decide who they would prefer to serve them. Once this got significantly underway it would create a reinforcing feedback loop so powerful that The Race to the Top among Servants loop would appear, as servants engaged in constructive cooperation to see who could best serve the needs of humanity.

The right new feedback loops to allow citizens to get the big picture

Solution Element 8.
Sustainability Index

The top problem facing humanity today is the global environmental sustainability problem, because due to large social and ecological delays, it must be resolved proactively now to avoid catastrophe later. To trick the pubic and politicians into not solving this problem now, there is a tremendous fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) campaign underway. This campaign has been so successful that millions of citizens, corporate managers, and politicians have been hoodwinked into thinking that the problem does not even exist, is not that bad, is too expensive to solve, lies too far in the future to worry about, or is so full of uncertainty solution is not required. Environmental sustainability has become such a low priority that it is rarely a significant factor in elections or the national agendas. The corporate FUD campaign has worked all too well.

Much of that mass deception campaign could be stopped in its tracks if citizens and politicians could look up and see, every day, a number that told them point blank how bad the problem really is and a graph showing where the trend is going. The Sustainability Index would provide exactly that. It would be an accurate, universally understandable measure of how well society is doing on solving the global environmental sustainability problem.

Instead of fear about the problem being too expensive to solve, there would now be fear about the cost of not solving the problem. This would really be concern, not fear, because now citizens would be facing a known, measured problem.

Instead of uncertainty about the status or magnitude of the problem, there would now be easily understandable numbers measuring how sustainable the planet is.

Finally, instead of doubt about the accuracy of data, there would now be a strong sense of trust that the Sustainability Index was as correct as is humanly possible. And, instead of doubt the problem needs solving now, there would be just the opposite: a strong national or global desire to solve the problem as soon as possible.

Sustainability IndexWhile no single measure of environmental sustainability is perfect, it's possible for a single number to accurately summarize how sustainable society is on a global basis. This single measure is called the Sustainability Index. It measures how much of the earth’s carrying capacity is being used. If the index is over 100%, then it's unsustainable. Currently it is about 150%.

The World and Regional (USA) data is from the Ecological Footprint and Biocapacty, 2007 Excel spreadsheet. This lists footprints per nation and the world in terms of global hectares per capita. The world’s footprint is 2.7 and its total biocapacity is 1.8. Thus its number of planets used ratio is 2.7 / 1.8 = 1.50. The United States footprint is 8.0 and its total biocapacity is 3.9. Thus its number of planets used ratio is 8.0 / 3.9 = 2.05. The Local index is estimated.

We’ve chosen the Ecological Footprint for the index, though any suitable index would do. The carrying capacity of the earth is approximated by the 1.0 horizontal line. This was crossed in the 1970s. It's not hard to visualize that if the footprint is extrapolated a few decades ahead, it will grow to such a high level of overshoot that catastrophic collapse is inevitable.

The index would include projected results (not shown). If society is doing nothing or too little to solve the problem, then people can immediately see that the projected Sustainability Index is still not good enough.

The Sustainability Index would be as widely published as stock market indexes. Eventually, once a suitable data collection system was in place, it would be updated just as frequently, in real time. Local, regional, and national indexes would also be published and compared. Together these would serve as a constant reminder of the true state of affairs, a sort of giant thermometer of the environmental health of civilization.

Solution Element 9.
Quality of Life Index

The purpose of this solution element is to allow people to focus on quality of life as the goal and correct priority of society, rather than on the wrong priority that has displaced that goal. This increases ability to detect political deception, a high leverage point.

Presently the wrong priority (the wrong goal) is quantity of life. In developed countries too many people want more of everything: longer life, more possessions, more expensive possessions, more money, higher status, greater adventures, more entertainment, and so on. Developing countries want the same thing. The only way to get it is economic growth and lots of it. Development, in the eyes of the world, means quantitative growth.

The insatiable quest for more, more, more of everything is driven by the universal fallacious paradigm that Growth Is Good. Why has this fallacy crept over the globe and smothered all other priorities? Because growth benefits the New Dominant Life Form. The higher GDP grows, the larger the ecological niche is for Corporatis profitis. Every euro, yaun, rupee, and dollar spent is one more unit of sales for a corporation. Sales are the primary energy input for that life form. The amount of that input defines the size of their niche in the biosphere. Thus the relentless goal of large for-profit corporations, ever since the life form was born, has been to maximize niche size so as to maximize profits.

Graph of GDP and GPI GrowthEvidence of how well the New Dominant Life Form has been able to do that is shown in the upper curve of the graph for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) growth.

Why is the lower curve so flat? That’s the curve for the Old Dominant Life Form. Poor Homo sapiens. He’s not doing too well in the latest battle of niche succession. Because he’s a puny little genetic life form, he’s been left panting far behind.

The two curves measure progress on the ultimate goal of each life form. Corporatis profitis wants to maximize its niche size, so the upper curve measures total sales. Homo sapiens wants to optimize quality of life for each person, so that’s what the lower curve measures. The GPI curve is flat because that’s all corporate serfs need to survive, so they can continue their feudal role of consumers and employees. The curve has hit an invisible limit.

Behavior like this is not evidence of ill will on the part of corporations to people. There’s no need to bash corporations as monsters. Their production role is highly beneficial. The corporate life form is not evil. It is misguided.

The divergent outcomes of the two curves occurs because every little thing a profit minded manager does gently leans the system toward the direction most beneficial to the life form that manager works for. All these leanings add up. Over time, such as the six decades on the graph, biased decisions accumulate into delicate balances between reinforcing and balancing loops. More profits causes more marketing, R&D, and capital, which causes more sales, which causes more profits, and up marches the unstoppable GDP curve. That reinforcing loop is balanced by the need for employees to earn enough to keep themselves and their families going, in order to produce the next generation of employees. There’s a minimum employees can be paid, in terms not only of wages and salaries, but quality of life factors like environmental health, levels of crime, quality of medical care, etc. Thus what the lower curve shows is the best humans can do, given the structure of the relationship. If there were significant factors that required Corporatis profitis to allow Homo sapiens more genuine progress, the GPI curve would have flattened out at a higher level. 

* * *

Imagine a world in which solution elements like those above have been implemented. It would be a world of reality. The People would be awake. They could see what they have not seen before. Such a world would evolve in an entirely new direction because such a world has never existed before.