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Mats Kaarbø

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Connecting the Dots for a Better World

In a high-tech world, where automation is liberating us from monotonous and often painful jobs and labor and at the same time is providing abundance, one must begin to question and rethink how we could and should conduct ourselves here on Earth and what really matters.

A study done by World Hunger Education Service Associates reveals that our world produces enough food to feed everyone, but that the principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food. http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm

A MIT report shows that we have 4000 years of untapped clean and renewable geothermal energy that can easily meet the energy needs of tomorrow. http://geothermal.inel.gov/publications/future_of_geothermal_energy.pdf On top of that we have solar, wind, wave, tidal and piezoelectric energy sources as well.

So, instead of counting money (as we do today), which has no relevance to the physical world, what if we focused on counting the balance of Earth’s resources? By applying the scientific method for decision-making thus social concern and thus intelligently manage and allocate our finite natural resources based on the carrying capacity of Earth, we could easily create a sustainable planet keeping abundance high, eliminating poverty, decreasing nearly all crimes and violence as a result of eliminating poverty, and move innovation beyond traditional employment thus increasing our quality of life at an exponential rate.

OK, but how could one possibly be able to count and track Earth's resources at any given time maintaining a high abundance for all? Let's visualize it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fSxIT3LixaE

The laws of nature, the way I see it, is the only real true government and regulatory system that has or will ever exist.

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    Oct 10 2012: As long as the melting of the polar ice caps is seen as a business opportunity rather than a warning of impending global catastrophe, then 'what really matters' will fall on deaf ears.

    How would you start to build an economy based on natural laws when politicians and corporate leaders exhibit selective blindness when it comes to the overwhelming evidence from climate scientists?
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      Oct 11 2012: "How would you start to build an economy based on natural laws when politicians and corporate leaders exhibit selective blindness when it comes to the overwhelming evidence from climate scientists?"

      Excellent point, Allan. You start by educating people on whats possible, technically, for a better world and don't start by pointing out their shortcomings as a result of their actions. Then you loose them. Find common ground and get under their skin till they themselves realize how unsustainable and unsane their current values are and hope they change for the better. That's really the only thing you can do. Good luck!
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      Oct 11 2012: politicians? corporate leaders? what about the people? do you honestly think that masses actually care about the climate, but they are oppressed by corporate leaders and politicians? the masses are not equipped with the power of not buying a product or not voting for a politician? the masses don't want to buy gas-hungry cars, but they somehow have to? the consumers are eager to buy wind and hydro power, but they are not offered, so they have to buy gas and coal based? voters do care about kyoto protocol, and vote accordingly, but keep being let down by generation after generation of politicians?
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        Oct 11 2012: Yes I agree that people are just as responsible - possibly more so in some cases, than those we blame.

        You forgot to mention that we are also responsible for the media we get. The media publishes what it likes because we willingly buy into their opinions and become almost blindly loyal to them. The trajectory of opinions thus formed, are governed more by that loyalty - not necessarily the value of the opinions.

        It's similar with politics. Party political loyalty profoundly devalues the valid opinions of individual politicians. Like any belief system, it wipes out the spark of autonomous, incisive intelligence needed to act upon the scourge of merely counting money, and instead counting the balance of the Earth’s resources. And it spreads via the media to impressionable voters.

        Changing such loyalties towards 'crowd intelligence' (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) is in my opinion responsible for the seeming blindness I alluded to earlier.

        Decentralising to locally based government/economies would be a good place to start.
  • Oct 26 2012: This short 15 minute video is related to this topic & a fascinating topic on the application of the scientific method to society. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83LAk3BT7no
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      Oct 27 2012: Federico Pistono is brilliant. Thanks for sharing. Be sure to check out his book when it comes out.
  • Oct 25 2012: Jacque Fresco has been working on this for close to 70 years.
    While many make fun of him and readily dismiss his ideas out of hand,
    should humans be in need of some immediate plan to begin implementing worldwide,
    no one else has one, except for those in power and I don't theirs involves
    any compassion for humanity at all.
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      Oct 27 2012: Yes, I know. I base my framework on his logic, but invite other people to participate in providing sources and material that can either back up or dismiss the claims of building an economy based on the scientific method. Cheers.
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    Oct 27 2012: it is a shame that this forum allows editing comments and opening statements without any check.
  • Oct 27 2012: I will be looking for it.
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    Josh S

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    Oct 19 2012: Wouldn't a truly naturalistic government be dominated by survival of the fittest because that is what we see in nature, right?
    The smartest and strongest would be on top, but let's be honest, noone is going to agree to that in this day and age, especially not in the west.

    We are moving away from natural laws. We want entitlements, we want equality, we want rights! -and nature doesnt give you any of those rights. Nature doesnt even give you the right to live, you have to fight to survive. Personally, i wouldn't mind this type of government, its so much simpler, but come on now, this would never happen.
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      Oct 19 2012: "Wouldn't a truly naturalistic government be dominated by survival of the fittest because that is what we see in nature, right? The smartest and strongest would be on top"

      The survival of the fittest is not about intelligence or strength, but the adaptability of change.

      "but let's be honest, noone is going to agree to that in this day and age, especially not in the west."

      With that attitude it absolutely won't.
    • Oct 25 2012: In the beginning what you write was true, survival was feirce so the alpha male ruled, however after the further development of the mind smaller less significant reasoned that a group could take down a strength and this was further dominated by psychopaths and or sociopaths moreover nature has nothing to do with mankind so its existence should not be compared.

      And the rest of your statement is examples of what Mats was talking about not doing...so you would be right in stating that is what is sold creating wants but even that has been going on forever (dreaming of a better life and its example of a guy with all of it)...and we should change, so I agree but saying that I also know we are doing what we are doing cause we are suppose to...
  • Oct 15 2012: Without presenting any evidence and taking for granted the knowledge is fairly common, I would suggest that nature is not so easily predictable and can impact the establishment of social habitations in some places. Examples: along the fault lines in California and other sites, naturally occurring earthquakes present a constant danger. Fertile regions along some rivers are affected by periodic flooding. Hurricanes can be exceptionally destructive to environments. The naturally occurring dissertation of whole regions of a biosphere can wipe out all existing life, fundamental to supporting human habitation. Climate change will eventually force us to deal with receding coastal regions.


    While we are imposed upon by the laws of nature, we don't have to follow them to live in a state of equilibrium.

    Considering food and energy production we are not bound by the laws of nature. We can hydroponically grow food in smaller, mobile, spaces year round. We can solve some problems with fission and produce abundant energy outside the normal confines of a natural environment.

    When we put a space station into orbit around the earth we have freed ourselves from the laws of nature that occur on the ground. We can grow food produce atmosphere and energy while in space. We are only limited by the effects of low gravity, radiation exposure and the confined space where we dwell.

    Man's survival in a class I civilization is not limited by the physical laws of nature. Man himself is the one restricting function on the path towards establishing such a civilization. Tapping into the geothermal energy within the earth is the cheapest and fastest way to build a Class I civilization and also one of the fundamental factors identifying such a civilization.

    Geothermal power would free us from the need and use of all fossil fuels. All fossil fuel products can, eventually, be replaced by other chemical products, including the base chemicals made by oil processing.
  • Oct 13 2012: Mats, I read your original post and I agree with the assertion that the earth has ample resources currently to provide for all. It seems there are some small, isolated examples of groups of humans living within this type of pattern, all of which are indigenous people living as they have for centuries. We live in a technologically advanced 'Western' culture. We clearly cannot and would not want to go backwards to a primitive culture and forget the positives aspects to our technological progress of the past, so we need to answer, how do we move forward. I hope we start to see more open discussions like those going on here on TED and elsewhere on the internet, about possible new directions, and put those to the test in medium to large scale experiments with appropriate financial and popular support. Some groups have already started, for instance I've recently heard of "The Atlas Initiative", but it seems the project has been suffering from a lack of financial support.
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      Oct 14 2012: "We live in a technologically advanced 'Western' culture. We clearly cannot and would not want to go backwards to a primitive culture and forget the positives aspects to our technological progress of the past, so we need to answer, how do we move forward."

      Oh, absolutely. We would utilize technology to our highest advantage and automate jobs and labor we do not want anymore. Technology is the true liberator that frees us to focus on whats important, whatever that may be. It's not technology that needs to vanish, it's our current mindset. We need to evolve with technology. Technology provides abundance, but our values are hundreds of years old. So the question becomes: "What really matters?"
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    R H 20+

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    Oct 12 2012: I didn't know what 'Natural Law' (NL) was. I had to look it up. It seems that it's defined as laws found in nature, therefore universally applicable, with human reason being the guidance for human morality. You then referred to 'scientific method' (SM) as the basis for decision making in regards to our limited natural resources. Reasoning for moral development has therefore become SM for resource management. But SM, by definition, does not include morality as a component of its method. SM is measurements observed and conclusions deduced in repeatable patterns. It would seem that nature would not be so constrained by such limiting human methodology. Although SM has produced many wonders and is responsible for our progressive way of life, it has produced nearly as many disasters and abominations - I believe precisely because it is without morality. I would argue therefore that SM is now only a tool for discovery, not a determinate of decision-making. Also, we are learning through science, experience, and historical results that much of what we understood of nature is insufficient for new realities. This is throwing our morality into turmoil. So our concept of NL is insufficient, our morality is in turmoil, and SM is not a good determiner of decision-making or, certainly, 'social design'. This is not a good foundation to build a new economy on. In my humble opinion, we need new methods of moral development, new wisdoms gleaned from nature and our expanding knowledge of our universe, to create new wholistic directions of social and economic evolution. NL and SM got us to where we are, but are not enough to get us where we're going.
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      Oct 14 2012: I feel we need to transcend the concept of morality and simply accept our natural laws and live within those boundaries, if we are to have a slightly chance to survive as a species. It all comes back to the question of what really matters. Do we want to end poverty and human suffering or do we want to be "free" to buy anything we want on the cost of others? If we aspire towards the first, morality would be naturally designed into a new social design within the boundaries of the physical world. The only way to do just that is to apply the scientific method for all societal decision, in order to maintain sustainable, if that is something we desire of course.
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        R H 20+

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        Oct 15 2012: Thank you for responding. I think we want the same thing, but disagree on the approach. For me, scientific method is too limited a technique for humanistic and moral (read: social) objectives. Combined with natural law, we would have reason, our current understanding of how nature works (no matter how limited or ultimately inaccurate), and 'measurement' for social decision-making. Is it not reasonable that survival of the fittest (current natural law) and competitive self-determination (current economic theory) is a successful wealth generating system? Scientifically speaking it is, but morally reprehensible on distributive grounds. But our current understanding of morality is impotent anyway. Most critics of 'injecting' morality into social decision making feel that we cannot impose arbitrary morality across cultural lines - that it's a 'personal' decision. Our current capabilities with scientific method are great for manipulating our physical universe, but completely inadequate for determining our direction as humans. So we need something more. I believe we are on the verge of a transformation unlike any before. And just like we can't use a hammer to build or repair a super-computer, current moral and scientific capabilities are inadequate for the future direction of our society. But that's me...
    • Oct 14 2012: I am curious RH and would appreciate some reminders/examples of "disasters and abominations" produced by the scientific method. Just 2 or 3 of the big examples would be plenty if you get the chance.
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        R H 20+

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        Oct 15 2012: 2 that come to mind: Lobotomies and eugenics. Also, economic and environmental exploitation could be interpreted as based on scientific method.
  • Oct 12 2012: More than all this niceness and as pointed out before there are always those who will twist and manipulate until they get what they want, and they'll convince you that you wanted it too.
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      Oct 14 2012: I don't see that happen. I think in an abundant society there would not be any reasons to steal, own or crave anything. Because, if everyone has access to shelter, food, clothes and any other thing they need for free, who would care to buy anything from anyone? So, these kind of behaviors would not exist. There would simply be no reason for them.
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    Oct 12 2012: Yes, I didn't read that study about what you said there but see also my idea of what can be a natural way of doing business like we all have done with pleasure in the past and becouse of that we are now here in this state of evolution but also in an impass with crisis and natural disasters and so on.... Read my thoughts about a goods and services exchange economy in phyramidal way but with a lot of straight and competitive moving peaks :)
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    Oct 11 2012: sigh. this is not what natural law means. look up wikipedia. natural law has nothing to do with resources.

    natural law is an approach to moral. it states that some moral laws follow from the human nature, thus can not be debated, and not subjective. what those human traits would be, and what morals follow from them is debated. but that is the general idea.

    how do you plan to conduct logical reasoning if you don't get your basic terms right?
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      Oct 11 2012: "sigh. this is not what natural law means. look up wikipedia."

      I don't blame you for having a limited vocabulary of terminologies and the fact that you state you looked up the term on Wikipedia is evidence that you can't have a big one. But, if you study the interrelationship of the title of this post and the description below that elaborates on the title, you will hopefully realize the premise of my idea.

      "natural law has nothing to do with resources."

      Natural law is defined by nature and resources is a part of that. And my point being is that we have finite resources, which is also defined by nature and therefore we need to manage them intelligently in order to be sustainable.

      "natural law is an approach to moral. it states that some moral laws follow from the human nature, thus can not be debated, and not subjective. what those human traits would be, and what morals follow from them is debated. but that is the general idea."

      Moral has nothing to do with natural law, the way I define it. Moral is any given value system determined by humans or a society and has nothing to do with the physical world.
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        Oct 11 2012: yeah, i have a vocabulary limited to the actual meaning of words. i'm glad that you managed to set yourself free from such nuances. in fact i didn't have to look up wikipedia, i recommended it to you. i have learned about natural law from by economics textbooks, years ago. you are of course welcome to use the word "elephant" to refer to the yellowish-whitish celestial body that orbits the earth. you are free to do so, but it does not make it any more right or less ridiculous.
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          Oct 11 2012: "i have learned about natural law from by economics textbooks, years ago."

          I have to say, it did not surprise me at all that you would say exactly that. But, let's get down to the facts here, in which you have pointed out so conveniently yourself, that 'natural law' has several meanings that depends on the context it is used in. Case closed.

          So my question them becomes, what could you possible add to this conversation other than to superimpose your values that, I get a tingling idea, stem from free-market capitalism? What I am talking about goes beyond the current economic and political realm and instead correlates with the real physical world and until you realize this premise and want to engage in a healthy discussion about it, I would prefer that you didn't comment at all. This is not to dismiss your own opinions, but to inspire a more researched and intelligent debate, from your side, on the premise of what I am talking about.
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          Oct 12 2012: Krisztian: "...i didn't have to look up wikipedia, i recommended it to you"

          Are you seriously recommending a source of information to someone that you have no need to use yourself? Or perhaps are you saying that you have the entire contents of Wikipedia stored in your head?
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        Oct 11 2012: what is alarming, is the fact that after all that hassle, you still didn't bother to read the wikipedia article, and stop embarrassing yourself.
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          Oct 11 2012: For your information, I did read it, but it doesn't hide the fact that I am talking about 'natural law' in the the sense of our relationship to the physical word. If that wasn't clear enough in the description of this conversation, I am sorry that you don't have the ability to phantom the idea of using a generic term that transform in relation to context.
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          Oct 12 2012: Using Wikipedia as an exclusive source of information is the embarrassment.
  • Oct 11 2012: "A study done by World Hunger Education Service Associates reveals that our world produces enough food to feed everyone, but that the principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food."

    Mitt Romney epitomized all that's wrong in this regard when he (who owns 6 homes, including one with a car elevator) said "America" can't afford the $0.10 per adult American per year it costs to fund PBS.

    The same is true with food, now that we know global population growth is slowing more and more, we can safely say the problem is distribution: there are just as many people in the world who are overweight as there are people who are malnourished.

    One could make the argument that hard working people deserve a bigger share of the pie, but should that mean that those at the bottom should not even receive a minimal standard? And what do we make of this when we consider that the vast majority of poor people in the world do have jobs, are elderly or looking for a job, while I guess I must have been asleep on the day that Mitt Romney saved the Earth from an alien invasion in the morning, cured AIDS in the afternoon and invented nuclear fusion in the evening...

    "The idea is simple. Build an economy/society that corresponds with our natural laws. Instead of counting money, we would be counting the balance of the Earth’s resources on a scientific basis."

    This is not unlike the idea behind the "energy accounting" economy (a form of resource based economics) first proposed by the technocracy movement. Currency would be based on an energy standard and some sort of tax system would make it more attractive to recycle instead of mining scarce resources (natural resource reserves are seen as an asset themselves). From past experience with the gold standard we know a fixed amount of transferable currency won't work well (it tends to get stuck in rich people's pockets), therefore the currency has to be non-transferable.
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    p s

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    Oct 10 2012: Ah, Rousseau, me thinks has this one.