Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 12, No. 8, August 2016
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Best Practices for Solidarity and Sustainability


This page attempts to provide a synthesis of policies and best practices for the transition to a world of solidarity and sustainability.

1. Local, National, and Global Citizen Movements
2. Education for Sustainable Development
3. Net Energy and Energy Return on Investment (EROI)
4. Financial Transaction/Speculation Taxes
5. Shift to Land/Resource Value Taxes
6. Guaranteed Basic Personal Income
7. Industrial Quality Standards and Best Practices
8. Transferring Subsidies from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy
9. Fostering and Deploying Clean Energy Technologies



These themes and questions have emerged from conversation within the Great Transition Initiative. Together they form an initial framework or matrix for collaborative work across many sectors. This comprehensive "high dimensional" method pulls together hundreds of related facets taken from current conversations, proposing means for independent agencies and experts and concerned citizens to work together in an integral and consistent context that far exeeds what any one person or organization could do alone.

1. Local, National, and Global Citizen Movements

"The term Global Citizens Movement (GCM) refers to a profound shift in values among an aware and engaged citizenry. Transnational corporations, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) remain powerful actors, but all of these are deeply influenced by a coherent, worldwide association of millions of people who call for priority to be placed on new vales of quality of life, human solidarity, and environmental sustainability. It is important to note that the GCM is a socio-political process rather than a political organization or party structure." Global Citizens Movement (GCM), Encyclopedia of Earth, November 2007.



Occupy Rio+20 - People’s Petition
Source: Occupy Rio+20

We, members of the Occupy movement and civil society, highlight the critical window of opportunity at the Earth Summit to vastly scale up political, financial & public response to the environmental, social & economic crisis of our time, & to raise ambition to the level that science demands. We are exceeding 3 of 9 planetary boundaries (climate change; biodiversity loss; changes to the nitrogen cycle) and our economy has outgrown the ecosystems we depend on. We denounce debt-created money and demand urgent regulation for a steady-state economy. We vow to respect and protect the beauty and diversity of life on Earth, realising our interconnectedness with nature. Governments, corporations and financial institutions must wake up and dramatically prioritise people & the planet over abusive exploitation for short-term profit & “growth”.

In defence of our rights, freedoms & future, we call for:

1. A direct participatory democratic UN: inclusive rights-based global decision-making; open-source communications. Prioritise youth, women, marginalised voices & civil society formally in negotiations.

2. Ending corporate capture of the UN: end compromising partnerships & transfer of officials. Exclude business lobbyists from talks. Expose & prohibit the bullying & bribing of poor nations by rich nations.

3. Realisation of new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by increased cooperation, commitment, funding & resources, strengthening the Millennium Goals (MDGs) & cancelling unjust poor country debt.

4. Peace & demilitarization, democratising the UN Security Council, a binding global arms treaty, SDG on peace & conflict, nuclear disarmament by 2030 & transfer funds to local sustainable development.

5. A Financial Transaction Tax, abolition of tax havens & a Global Carbon Fee on extraction of fuels, to transparently & equitably fund life-saving adaptation solutions, prioritising resilience & climate justice.

6. Ending fossil fuel subsidies now & extraction by 2020. Invest in non-nuclear Renewable Energy for All: global wind/solar/small-hydro/geo-energy; efficient stoves; zero carbon global electricity by 2030.

7. Outlawing Ecocide as the 5th International Crime Against Peace: prosecute destruction of ecosystems e.g. tar sands, oil spills, mountaintop removal, fracking. Protect the commons & Rights of Mother Earth.

8. Zero deforestation of Amazon rainforest by 2015 & globally by 2020. Rejection of pricing & trading nature, including forests, water & the atmosphere; and rejection of offsetting damage/destruction.

9. Food & water sovereignty & security. Ban land grabs. Protect Indigenous peoples’ land rights. Switch support for biofuels & industrial, chemical & GM agriculture to small organic farming & permaculture.

10. Indicators beyond GDP: measure wellbeing, participation, environmental health, socio-economic equity, gender equality, employment, provision for needs/services, protection of rights, & peace.

This is what democracy looks like. This is Harmony with Nature. This is the Future We Need for a just, resilient, thriving world. Join Global Days of Action on June 5th & 20th to raise our voice to challenge & bring hope to Rio+20.

A high priority of global citizenship is education, either informally through personal contacts and public means of communication such as the internet, or more formally via programs sponsored by educational institutions. At a time when both developed and developing nations seem to be engulfed in political and financial corruption, education in noviolence is especially important. If a global revolution is coming, let it be a nonviolent revolution!

If a global revolution is coming, let it be a nonviolent revolution!

2. Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) worldwide - at all levels - is a high priority. UNESCO has a worldwide program, but universities and other educational institutions must contribute. The family is the best school of sustainable human development.



ESD best practices should include practical (and field tested) means to advance public policy for sustainable development. It is hoped that ESD will overcome the ambiguity of the term "sustainable development" to make it clear that infinite growth in a finite planet is a practical impossibility in the long-term. What really matters going forward is "sustainable human development."

The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences
A Guide for Individuals and Communities

The Essential Principles of Energy Sciences
A Guide to Teaching Energy Literacy

3. Net Energy and Energy Return on Investment (EROI)


At each point in the energy supply chain:

(in energy units, eg., MegaJoules)

(dimensionless ratio)

Thus, Net Energy and Energy Return on Investment (EROI) -- or Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) -- are conceptually the same measure. Generally, EROI is closely correlated with "financial return on financial energy investment" -- a measure of financial return in dollars -- as long as "constant [year] dollars" are used.


"Energy Return on Investment (EROI) refers to how much energy is returned from one unit of energy invested in an energy-producing activity. It is a critical parameter for understanding and ranking different fuels. There were a number of studies on EROI three decades ago but relatively little work since. Now there is a whole new interest in EROI as fuels get increasingly expensive and as we attempt to weigh alternative energies against traditional ones. This special volume brings together a whole series of high quality new studies on EROI, as well as many papers that struggle with the meaning of changing EROI and its impact on our economy. One overall conclusion is that the quality of fuels is at least as important in our assessment as is the quantity. I argue that many of the contemporary changes in our economy are related directly to changing EROI as our premium fuels are increasingly depleted." Charles Hall, Introduction to Special Issue on New Studies in EROI (Energy Return on Investment), Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 10, 7 October 2011.


As the time window of opportunity may be shorter than expected, it is imperative to work out short-term energy strategies in conjunction with long-term strategies. A 2009 study by Richard Heinberg and the Post-Carbon Institute includes a comparative analysis of 18 energy sources according to 10 criteria, as follows:

Searching for a Miracle: ‘Net Energy’ Limits & the Fate of Industrial Society
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute, September 2011

Energy Sources

1) Oil
2) Coal
3) Natural gas
4) Hydropower
5) Nuclear
6) Biomass
7) Wind Power
8) Solar Photovoltaics
9) Active Solar Thermal
10) Passive Solar
11) Geothermal Energy
12) Energy from Waste
13) Ethanol
14) Biodiesel
15) Tar Sands
16) Oil Shale
17) Tidal Power
18)Wave Energy

Criteria for comparative analysis:

1) Direct Monetary Cost
2) Dependence on Additional Resources
3) Environmental Impacts
4) Renewability
5) Potential Size or Scale of Contribution
6) Location of the Resource
7) Reliability
8) Energy Density
9) Transportability
10)"Net Energy" or "Energy Returned on Energy Invested" (EROEI)

The tenth criterion, "Net Energy" or "Energy Returned on Energy Invested" (EROEI), is critical: "This measure focuses on the key question: All things considered, how much more energy does a system produce than is required to develop and operate that system? What is the ratio of energy in versus energy out? Some energy “sources” can be shown to produce little or no net energy. Others are only minimally positive."

A summary of the results is as follows:

Comparison of Fuel Sources, Post-Carbon Institute, 2009


"The present analysis, which takes into account EROEI and other limits to available energy sources, suggests first that the transition is inevitable and necessary (as fossil fuels are rapidly depleting and are also characterized by rapidly declining EROEI), and that the transition will be neither easy nor cheap. Further, it is reasonable to conclude from what we have seen that a full replacement of energy currently derived from fossil fuels with energy from alternative sources is probably impossible over the short term; it may be unrealistic to expect it even over longer time frames.

"The core problem, which is daunting, is this: How can we successfully replace a concentrated store of solar energy (i.e., fossil fuels, which were formed from plants that long ago bio-chemically captured and stored the energy of sunlight) with a flux of solar energy (in any of the various forms in which it is available, including sunlight, wind, biomass, and flowing water)? ...

"Based on all that we have discussed, the clear conclusion is that the world will almost certainly have considerably less energy available to use in the future, not more, though (regrettably) this strong likelihood is not yet reflected in projections from the International Energy Agency or any other notable official source. Fossil fuel supplies will almost surely decline faster than alternatives can be developed to replace them. New sources of energy will in many cases have lower net energy profiles than conventional fossil fuels have historically had, and they will require expensive new infrastructure to overcome problems of intermittency...

"How far will supplies fall, and how fast? Taking into account depletion-led declines in oil and natural gas production, a leveling off of energy from coal, and the recent shrinkage of investment in the energy sector, it may be reasonable to expect a reduction in global energy availability of 20 percent or more during the next quarter century. Factoring in expected population growth, this implies substantial per-capita reductions in available energy. These declines are unlikely to be evenly distributed among nations, with oil and gas importers being hardest hit, and with the poorest countries seeing energy consumption returning to pre-industrial levels (with energy coming almost entirely from food crops and forests and work being done almost entirely by muscle power).

"Thus, the question the world faces is no longer whether to reduce energy consumption, but how. Policy makers could choose to manage energy unintelligently (maintaining fossil fuel dependency as long as possible while making poor choices of alternatives, such as biofuels or tar sands, and insufficient investments in the far more promising options such as wind and solar). In the latter case, results will be catastrophic. Transport systems will wither (especially ones relying on the most energy intensive vehicles—such as airplanes, automobiles, and trucks). Global trade will contract dramatically, as shipping becomes more costly. And energy dependent food systems will falter, as chemical input and transport costs soar. All of this could in turn lead to very high long-term unemployment and perhaps even famine.

"However, if policy makers manage the energy downturn intelligently, an acceptable quality of life could be maintained in both industrialized and less-industrialized nations at a more equitable level than today; at the same time, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced dramatically. This would require a significant public campaign toward the establishment of a new broadly accepted conservation ethic to replace current emphases on neverending growth and over-consumption at both personal and institutional-corporate levels."

These conclusions are confirmed by many independent analyses done as far back as the 1970s and as recent as January 2012. The data is noisy, but the signal is always strong and always the same: barring a technological miracle (or an "act of God") it does not appear possible to replace fossil fuels with any or all of the renewable ("clean") sources and maintain the same rate of energy flow through an industrial economy. This brings to mind the applicability of the precautionary principle to the energy availability situation worldwide.


With proper funding, it might be possible to use biophysical input-output analysis to explore energy policy tradeoffs going forward. For a given year, let

X = n-dimensional total production vector ($)
U = n-dimensional final demand vector ($)
A = NxN matrix of direct inputs (i.e., aij = input from industry i to industry j)

Note that the n industries include the energy extraction, production, and delivery sectors, as well as the pollution abatement and environmental remediation sectors. The basic Leontief equation for total required production is

X = AX + U
X - AX = U
(I-A) X = U
X = (I-A)-1U

Let, for a given energy resource r,

Y = n-dimensional industry energy input vector (i.e., production energy intensity vector, y=1,...,n, in joules/dollar), and

Z = n-dimensional public consumption output vector (i.e., consumption energy intensity vector, z=1,...,n, in joules/dollar)

Then, for the total economy,

Ey = X . Y
is the total amount of energy resource r (in $ . joules/$ = joules) required by the economy during the year, taking into account both direct and indirect inter-industry energy flow requirements; and
Ez = U . Z
is the total amount of energy resource r (in $ . joules/$ = joules) used by consumers of all products during the year.

One problem with input-output analysis in economics is that the interindustry coefficients are in dollars of input from industry i to dollars of output by industry j. Given the volatility of monetary issues (inflation, deflation, politics, etc.), data in dollars are always problematic. From the perspective of biophysical economics, it would be preferable to use coefficients in physical units, i.e., the ratio of units of industry i input to units of industry j output. This would allow for analysis of technological tradeoffs with much of the "noise" filtered out. Dollar conversions can then be applied to translate EROI results (in biophysical units) to financial return on investment in dollars. While input-out models provide a static "snapshot" model of the economy at a given point in time, the biophysical coefficients could be formulated as functions of time in order to take into account the time required for technological changes to be implemented.

Given the technological complexities and social risks of a transition from a high-EROI to a low-EROI economy (as painfully experienced, for example, in Cuba during the early 1990s and North Korea during the early 2000s, both due to unanticipated oil shortages) it is arguably reasonable to spend significant effort (and dollars) in developing better analytical tools to ease the pain.


The input-output method of analysis is static, i.e., it is based on a "snapshot" of the economy at a given point in time. It is most useful when detailed (and short-term) comparative evaluation of specific energy sources and technologies are required -- oil versus coal, oil versus wind, oil versus solar, etc. Even in such cases, the data refinement effort pursuant to make the interindustry coefficients time-dependent may or may not be possible.

A broader analysis may be required in order to include long-term dynamic interactions between social, economic, and environmental variables in conjunction with plausible energy transition scenarios. Then analysis at a higher level of aggregation might be indicated, and it may be more expedient to use simulation models such as Limits to Growth -- with "resources" more specifically reformulated as "energy resources" -- to examine the repercussions of the transition from high-EROI to low-EROI economies and lifestyles. There is a need for "Revisiting the Limits to Growth After Peak Oil." This is the kind of analysis that will be attempted with SDSIM 2.0.

The social-economic-ecological system is too complex for any single method of analysis, or any combination of existing methods. The best practice is to start with the policy questions or issues to be addressed and use the method(s) that would yield the best insights for consideration by citizens and policy makers. In this regard, the recently emerging method of behavioral economics is promising and may be useful to capture changing patterns of human decision-making during the transition from high-EROI to low-EROI societies.

Another good practice is to recognize that modelers are scientists, not policy makers or problem solvers. Modelers are scientists using models and simulation experiments to test a hypothesis under "controlled" conditiones that may or may not to amenable to replication in the real world. There must be constant dialogue between scientists and decision-makers. But conflating science and decision-making generally exacerbates confusion and seldom leads to practical solutions.


4. Financial Transaction/Speculation Taxes

Financial transaction/speculation taxes are a disincentive to excessive greed in pursuing financial transactions of dubious social value, such as the so-called "financial derivatives."


The following section is about reforming tax codes so as to protect the integrity of the human habitat. The following is a excerpt from one many recent reports calling for taxing financial transactions to support the transition to clean energy:

Reclaiming Power: An energy model for people and the planet, Friends of the Earth,
2 December 2011.

"New research by Friends of the Earth presents an alternative energy model that would tackle climate change and enable everyone to gain access to energy.

"Our current energy model is not working:

  • Our dependency on fossil fuels is driving dangerous climate change
  • Our traditional energy model fails to serve 40 per cent of the world's population adequately
  • 1 billion of those without electricity will never be reached by expanding national grids

"The alternative:

"Friends of the Earth proposes an energy model based on a system of global feed in tariffs whcih guarantee cash back for local renewable energy generation. This model would help to:

  • Tackle climate change by shifting energy away from polluting fossil fuels
  • Deliver low-carbon, decentralised energy
  • Address poverty and development through universal access to clean, reliable, affordable energy
  • Rapidly lower the cost of renewable energy technology, making a low-carbon transition easier and cheaper worldwide

"This mechanism should be publicly funded by rich countries who have committed to help developing countries adapt to climate change

"Sources of funding could include:

5. Shift to Land/Resource Value Taxes

There are taxes that focus on depletion of natural resources ("depleter pays principle") and/or the deterioration of natural resources ("polluter pays principle"). One key tax reform proposal that deserves further consideration is the "Land Value Tax" (LVT), originally proposed by American economist Henry George in 1879. The underlying concept is to shift tax burdens from earned incomes to unearned incomes via taxes on the usage of land/natural resources.

An International Declaration on Individual and Common Rights to Earth
Originally composed and declared at a meeting of the
International Union for Land Value Taxation held in 1949

We hereby declare that the earth is the common heritage of all and that all people have natural and equal righs to the land of the planet. By the term "land" is meant all natural resources.

Subject always to these natural and equal rights in land and to this common ownership, individuals can and should enjoy certain subsidiary rights in land. These rights properly enjoyed by individuals are:

  1. The right to secure exclusive occupation of land
  2. The right to exclusive use of land occupied.
  3. The right to the free transfer of land according to the laws of the country.
  4. The right to transmit land by inheritance.
These individual rights do not include:
  1. The right to use land in a manner contrary to the common good of all, e.g., in such a manner as to destroy or impair the common heritage.
  2. The right to appropriate what economists call the Economic Rent of land.
The Economic Rent is the annual value attaching to the land alone apart from any improvements thereon created by labor. This value is created by the existence of and the functioning of the whole community wherein the individual lives and is in justice the property of the community. To allow this value to be appropriated by individuals enables land to be used not only for the production of wealth but as an instrument of oppression of human by human leading to severe social consequences which are everywhere evident.

All humans have natural and equal rights in land. Those rights may be exercised in two ways:

  1. By holding land as individuals and/or
  2. Sharing in the common use of the Economic Rent of land.

The Economic Rent of land can be collected for the use of the community by methods similar to those by which real estate taxes are now collected. That is what is meant by the policy of Land Value Taxation. Were this community created land value collected, the many taxes which impede the production of wealth and limit purchasing power could be abolished.

The exercise of both common and individual rights in land is essential to a society based on justice. But the rights of individuals in natural resources are limited by the just rights of the community. Denying the existence of common rights in land creates a condition of society wherein the exercise of individual rights becomes impossible for the great mass of the people.



MISSION – "The Earth Rights Institute (ERI) promotes an approach to development that is ecologically, socially, economically and culturally sustainable. Through initiatives in education, research and advocacy we act to end wide-scale poverty worldwide, secure a culture of peace and reverse environmental degradation. We insist on the importance of empowering communities of the global south to manage and direct their own development, conceiving strategies and cultivating expert knowledge at the local level. Instead of training experts in methods and theories originating in a foreign context, models for local development should be taught in a local context. Ultimately, theoretical and practical study of improving the lives of people of the Global South must be anchored in the Global South."

EDUCATION and RESEARCH – ERI’s Living Labs, located in sub-Saharan Africa, provide the opportunity for hands-on education in sustainable development. We create a space of exchange between villagers, students, researchers, professors and experts from both Africa and around the world. Our EREV program offers fully accredited academic study abroad semesters in sustainable development and microfinance. This program joins teams of Senegalese and international students for a semester long program in which students work with local communities of a partner eco-village to design and implement development projects. We now offer a summer program through the University of California Los Angeles. For more information visit Earth Rights Ecovillage Institute.

BUILDING ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES – Much of our work focuses on the promotion and implementation of the Eco-village, a model of development which encourages communities to minimize their ecological footprint through conservation and effective use of natural resources, such as permaculture and Jatropha plantation. Eco-villages are a model that supports healthy human development. In accordance with the social norms and values of each community, eco-villages govern by consensus decision-making, based on an active choice to respect diversity.

ADVOCACY - ERI participates in and organizes awareness and advocacy campaigns that promote a healthy and sustainable world for all its inhabitants. ERI advocates a fair market economy, and is concerned in large part with land rights and land value capture/taxation policies that promote easy access to land and ownership, fundamental elements of sustainable development policies.

To learn more about Land Rights issues and how you can make a difference sign up for the Earth Rights Institute Land Rights online program


A supply and demand diagram showing the effects of land value taxation. If the supply of land is fixed, the burden of the tax will fall entirely on the land owner, with no deadweight loss.
"Most taxes distort economic decisions. If labor, buildings or machinery and plants (factories) are taxed, people are dissuaded from constructive and beneficial activities, and enterprise and efficiency are penalized due to the excess burden of taxation. This does not apply to LVT, which is payable regardless of whether or how well the land is actually used. Because the supply of land is inelastic, market land rents depend on what tenants are prepared to pay, rather than on the expenses of landlords, and so LVT cannot be directly passed on to tenants. The direct beneficiaries of incremental improvements to the surrounding neighborhood by others would be the land's occupants, and absentee landlords would benefit only by virtue of price competition amongst present and prospective tenants for those incremental benefits; the only direct effect of LVT on prices in this case is to lower the unearned increment (reduce the amount of the socially generated benefit that is privately captured as an increase in the market price of the land). Put another way, LVT is often said to be justified for economic reasons because if it is implemented properly, it will not deter production, distort market mechanisms or otherwise create deadweight losses the way other taxes do." Source: Land Value Tax, Wikipedia


The Georgist News
Serving the Earth Sharing Community
The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
New York, New York, USA

Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World

Author: Martin Adams. Publisher: North Atlantic Books

Synopsis by the author: "What if we lived in a world where everyone had enough? A world where everyone mattered and where people lived in harmony with nature? What if the solution to our economic, social, and ecological problems was right underneath our feet? Land has been sought after throughout history. Even today, people struggle to get onto the property ladder; most view real estate as an important way to build wealth. Yet, as readers of this book will discover, the act of owning land—and our urge to profit from it—causes economic booms and busts, social and cultural decline, and environmental devastation. Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World introduces a radically new economic model that promises a sustainable and abundant world for all. This book is for those who dream of a better world for themselves and for future generations."

Assuming that land/resource value taxes are set high enough that they yield as much public revenue as property/income taxes, how is this revenue to be distributed back to all citizens?

6. Guaranteed Basic Personal Income

Swiss Defeat Basic Income

Keith Zeff

Originally published in Fifty Year Perspective, 17 July 2016


The movement for a basic income was described in a Fifty Year Perpective blogpost on August 2, 2015. The argument for a basic income arises from the prospect that technology will continue to eliminate jobs while replacing only a fraction of them. Consumer products and services will be produced by a shrinking workforce, leaving 50% or more of the working age population unemployed and unable to afford to meet their needs.

The prospect of millions of freeloaders is countered by the suggestion that the income would be relatively minimal; one could get by without working, but would not live particularly comfortably. One author cited in the earlier blogpost suggested that the basic income could give rise to a new era of entrepreneurship. A small businessperson may get through a difficult period, or a creative individual would have the support necessary to survive through starting a new business.

A proposal for a country-wide basic income for Switzerland was put before the voters on June 5, 2016, the first country to do so. Supporters envisioned a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs for each adult and one-fourth of that for each child. The total for a married couple with two children would be 6,250 Swiss francs per month, equivalent to an annual income of about $78,000 in U.S. dollars, an amount which the BBC said reflected the high cost of living in Switzerland.

The Basic Income Switzerland campaign argued that, “In Switzerland over 50% of total work that is done is unpaid. It’s care work, it’s at home, it’s in different communities, so that work would be more valued with a basic income.” Nonetheless, the measure was defeated with 77% of the voters opposing the plan. The Swiss government opposed the proposal, arguing that the cost would be prohibitive, and that fewer people would choose to work if the basic income were approved.

But there was another issue of concern. While Switzerland has a population of only 8.1 million, it is in a part of Europe that allows other Europeans to come and claim residency. One member of parliament expressed that if Switzerland were an island the basic income would be possible. “But with open borders it’s a total impossibility…. You would have billions of people who would try to move into Switzerland.”

The vote by no means spells the end of consideration of a basic income. The Dutch city of Utrecht is developing a pilot project to distribute money to residents who currently receive welfare payments starting in 2017. Finland is considering replacing welfare benefits with a basic income and will test a plan that will provide 8,000 to 10,000 Finns about 550 euros per month for two years.

Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols have come out with a book titled People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy. They recognize that a basic income could attract support of the affluent, theoretically those who own businesses, who will understand that unemployed people will purchase goods and services that returns the money back to the wealthy. Instead of a guaranteed basic income, authors propose removing “certain functions from the marketplace altogether as the society grows wealthier. Enhance democracy, don’t cash it out. Make broadband Internet access free and ubiquitous. Make healthcare free and ubiquitous. Make extensive public transportation within cities and between them free and ubiquitous. Make all education free and ubiquitous. The list goes on and on. At some point, down the road, inequality is eliminated and humans enter an entirely new phase of their history.”

The Economist published an article on universal basic incomes the week of the Swiss vote. It reported that Silicon Valley is interested in a basic income, again as a way of assuring income in a world of robots and artificial intelligence. More surprisingly, The Economist reported that the Cato Institute, a conservative American think tank dedicated to smaller government, believes that a basic income “is the simplest, least intrusive and least condescending way to provide redistribution if redistribution there must be.”


Keith Zeff is retired from two careers, first as a city planner for eighteen years, and later as a commercial real estate researcher for twenty-seven years. His education includes undergraduate degrees in architecture and a graduate degree in political science. His vocation and his avocation have been characterized by an interdisciplinary approach to decision-making. His concern for the future, both physical and social, plus his concern for the future of his eleven grandchildren, led him to research the complexities of globalization, geopolitics, and sustainability. Citing the frequent assertion by politicians that, “I am doing this for my children and grandchildren,” he decided to infer two generations with the title Fifty Year Perspective.

7. Industrial Quality Standards and Best Practices

All humans have a propensity to cut corners. Regardless of how income is taxed (Section 5) and returned (Section 6) to tax payers, there is a continuing need for quality standards in all kinds of human work, and all kinds of industrial production and consumption. Methods and tools for this purpose have been developed in such fields as industrial engineering, operations research, and system dynamics. Industrial engineering is specifically concerned with improvements in manufacturing productivity and efficiency. The International Standards Organization (ISO), an agency of the United Nations, has veveloped a comprehensive set of standards, guidelines, and best practices. The IEEE, and other professional organizations, have developed useful quality management standards for manufacturing, health care, education, and other professions.


What about quality standards for financial institutions? ISO 9000 could be used, but it would seem that the financial services industry should have a dedicated five digit standard. ISO-26000 on social responsibility is a guideline, not an auditable standard. Both stricter regulation and auditable standards are urgently needed for the global financial system.

Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (UNIDO)

Quality standards should ensure that dangerous biotechnologies are not used, even if they are financially profitable:

Public Engagement on Genetically Modified Organisms: When Science and Citizens Connect

National Academy of Sciences, United States of America, 2015

"In a world where science is interpreted through a variety of lenses--including cultural values and political dispositions--how can scientists engage with members of the public to empower decision-making and participation in public policy? The development and application of genetically modified plants and animals, also known as GMOs, has been the subject of multifaceted societal debate by some stakeholders, including scientists. This report summarizes the discussions and presentations that took place at a workshop held in January 2015 by the Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences."

8. Transferring Subsidies from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy

The transferring of subsidies from the fossil fuels industry to the clean energy industry is understandably a sensitive political issue. The fossil fuel industry is enormously powerful. The age of fossil fuels has practically run its course. However, the temptation to keep producing and using "cheap energy" is very strong regardless of environmental consequences. The United States of America has yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol because "it is bad for business." The "easy profits" derived from the exploding manipulation of worthless financial assets is also bad for business, but not yet recognized as such by the general public. Subsidies are tricky business, and there seems to be a paucity of expertise about the societal cost of subsidizing pollution-intensive industries.


9. Fostering and Deploying Clean Energy Technologies

There are many short-term strategies to incentivize the development and commercialization of clean energy:


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