Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 13, No. 4, April 2017
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


The importance of conservation is growing each year, with increasing concerns over the destruction of biodiversity and the rising awareness of ecosystem services generating new debates on the human-nature relationship. This compact overview integrates the process, theory and practice of conservation for a broad readership, from non-specialists to students and practitioners. Taking a global perspective, it uses examples from around the world to illustrate general themes and show how problems arise from the impact of societal trends on ecological communities.

Provides an integrated account that develops a broad picture of conservation and its relevance to human development; key points at the end of chapters condense many details into valuable take-home messages; and material from original research and fieldwork, giving both beginners and experts a fresh set of examples, ideas and perspectives. Contents:

1. Introduction to conservation; 2. Threats to biodiversity; 3. Evaluation of priorities for species and habitats; 4. Monitoring, indicators and impact assessment; 5. Management of natural and fragmented habitats; 6. Management of species; 7. Sustainable use, semi-natural cultural landscapes, and the matrix; 8. Restoration and offsetting; 9. Environmental policy; References; Index to species names; Index. LINK TO THE BOOK

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

The Way Ahead:
Educating Minds, Lightening the Underbelly
– the Sustainable Solution

Coomar Arunodaya

This article was ioriginally published in
Millennium Post, 10 March 2017


The road to freedom goes through books; salvation lies in knowing. Being educated is when you get to terms with your existence. It is when one gets hold of one's past, present, and future. Without it, we are nothing but puppets in the hands of destiny, government and every institution around it. All the talk about human development and the uplifting of the underprivileged is nothing but a hoax if the state does not make adequate efforts towards educating them.

Recognising the right of children to be entitled to free primary education, leaders from around the globe have decided to include the achievement of universal primary education as one of the Millennium Development Goals. The very idea of sustainable human development which is being promoted by IMF centres on the entitlement of children to a free, quality basic education. In an ideal world, education for all sections of society should be publically financed. The bitter truth, though, is that the world is not that ideal a place yet. 

Every grand and pious idea as this is bound to bump in front of brutal realities of economics – that crude supply-demand truth. Such is the problem with financing public education in developing countries as the state is often found wanting in terms of its financial capabilities. This fiscal crisis (often a mix of several institutional shortcomings) is partly natural, partly man-made. However, the failure of the state in such countries to ensure free, quality education for the underprivileged in such country often boomerangs and emerges as a monumental problem. The cost of educating them is often outweighed by the colossal cost of not educating them. Such is the story of India – a country poised at the crossroads between the glossy dreams of achieving double-digit GDP growth and sustaining its ever teeming population while ensuring that they get hold of their basic necessities.

Despite the Constitutional amendment where Right to primary education has been included as a fundamental right under Right to Life (Article 21), the grim reality of our educational system is there for all to see. The stark urban-rural divide, the inability of the government to ensure a steady flow of 'educated' and not just literate human capital, ready to take care of their employment needs without depending on the state's employment schemes, has been a steady policy flaw. 

'Education', in the purest sense of the term, helps them in breaking the shackles of caste, class, creed, sex, and hierarchies imposed on them by the society – is yet a distant dream for millions of Indians. And it is where the role of public-private partnerships and NGOs becomes very important. 

Any developing society under the march of a steady inflow of capital and technology can never be subservient to the state machinery in ensuring its basic human rights. The grandest of stories of human success in any society has been made possible because of the steady partnership between the civil society and the community. India's success story has been no different. As a country, we have been blessed with a vibrant crop of philanthropists who have devoted their lives towards achieving such pious aims. 

While we often crib against the absence of the state in the most interior parts of the nation, it is time we must approach this problem with a solution-seeking attitude.

The practical solution about providing affordable and quality education to the underprivileged would emanate only when the civil society of our country rises and takes up the responsibility. The role of NGOs in forging a sustainable and solution-oriented partnership with the state cannot be denied. Unless and until, are private institutions take calculated, informative and philanthropically motivated measures to channelise formal education in the hinterlands, the hydra-headed problem of lack of education among the downtrodden will never be tackled.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Coomar Arunodaya is a philanthropic educationalist. Views expressed are strictly personal.

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.


Source: Canadians for a Sustainable Society, 24 January 2017



It is important to understand the difference between EROI and net energy: EROI is a percentage, net energy is a quantity in physical energy units.

Energy Output - Energy Input = NET ENERGY (units of net energy remaining)

But this is NOT the equation for EROI, which is not subtraction, but division:

Energy Output
___________   =   EROI (energy gained as a percentage of energy spent)

Energy Input

This is what makes EROI a ratio, not just a remainder. Since it is a ratio, it therefore graphs as a curve, not a straight line. While these words appear trivial, the graph appears anything but trivial. That's why it's important to make the subtle distinction between linear subtraction and exponential division.

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

Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World

Martin Adams

Originally published by North Atlantic Books and Unitism, 2015
under a Creative Commons License


Synopsis by the Publisher: "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."


Many of us already sense that our current economic system creates inequality and also engenders the ecological destruction of our planet. What we don’t seem to understand is why: For example, why does it lead to financial insecurity for many, even for those who, by all accounts, shouldn’t have to worry about money? And why exactly are we destroying our planet in our frantic conversion of nature into digits and little bits of paper we call money?

One of the main reasons our current economic system doesn’t work for everyone is because the revenue flow from the commons—which include all gifts of nature—has been privatized. For example, when an oil company makes money, it not only charges money for its effort and for the machinery it uses to extract oil from the ground, it also makes money from the value of the oil itself. The same can be said of the money that people make through their private ownership of land—and what banks make through their financing of private landownership via the mortgage. This privatization of the revenue flow from nature is one of the root causes of economic recessions, ecological destruction, as well as social and cultural decline.

All of nature is community wealth, including—and especially—land. People give value to land through the goods and services they provide to their communities. For example, because people offer more goods and services in the city than in the countryside, urban land tends to be much more expensive than rural land. As communities become more attractive to live in, some property owners—but mostly the financial institutions that finance them—then extract this value by making money from real estate (buildings, like cars, decrease in value over time, but land increases in value the more prosperous a community becomes), and this extraction is one of the root causes of wealth inequality, ecological destruction, and even economic recessions.

Land—even undeveloped land—costs a lot of money in our society. Why is that? It’s because land has an intrinsic value to human beings: We all need land. And because we all need land, those that own land can make money by buying and selling land at the expense of other people who have to pay money to live on it. Under our current land ownership model, property owners only pay other property owners for land as well as the banks that finance property ownership.

While land can certainly be privately used, its value is created by the community and therefore belongs to the community. Land has to be owned in common, and whenever people use land, they need to reimburse their local communities for their exclusive use of it. They can do this by making community land contributions for the land they use. A land contribution approximates the market rental value of land, and the rental value of land is a measuring stick that reveals the financial value of the benefits that land users receive from their exclusive use of land. In most nations around the world, the value of land has already been privatized: If communities were to suddenly impose land contributions upon existing property owners, property owners would end up having to pay twice for their ownership of land—first to the previous landowner (from whom they bought land), and a second time to their local communities.

In order to transition from a land ownership model to a land stewardship model, therefore, local governments and community land trusts would either have to financially compensate existing property owners for the land value portion of the properties in question or offer a transition plan that would allow new property owners to acquire exclusive use of the land without obtaining ownership of the land itself. Land users would then be required to share the value of land with all members of their community through community land contributions. And finally, these contributions would then have to be redistributed to all community members in the form of Universal Basic Income to prevent gentrification, reduce wealth inequality, and create a truly fair economy for all participants.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martin Adams is a systems thinker and author. As a child, it pained him to see most people struggling while a few were living in opulence. This inspired in him a lifelong quest to co-create a fair and sustainable world in collaboration with others. As a graduate of a business school with ties to Wall Street, he opted not to pursue a career on Wall Street and chose instead to dedicate his life to community enrichment. Through his social enterprise work, he saw firsthand the extent to which the current economic system causes human and ecological strife. Consequently, Martin devoted himself to the development of a new economic paradigm that might allow humanity to thrive in harmony with nature. His book Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World is the fruit of his years of research into a part of this economic model; its message stands to educate policymakers and changemakers worldwide. Martin is executive director of

6. Guaranteed Basic Personal Income

Your Most-Pressing Universal Basic Income
Questions Answered

Scott Santens

Originally published in Futurism, 14 March 2017
under a Creative Commons License

What Would You Do?

So what exactly would you do, if you were guaranteed $1,000 per month for the rest of your life? And yes, that’s around what the amount would most likely be here in the United States, at least at first. So think about that amount for a moment, and don’t think about what others might do with it, think about what you would do with it. Perhaps you would do more of what you enjoy. So what is that?


Didn’t They Try This in Russia?

You’ve compared this idea to communism, so let’s focus on that first. In doing so, let’s also talk about what was actually done in the former Soviet Union and not what was intended. What they actually did there, simply put, was transfer the means of production from those who ran the businesses based on market forces, into the hands of a bureaucracy who made decisions based not on market forces but on politics and cronyism. This is a terrible idea. But why is this a terrible idea?

The market works because it is a means of figuring out what people want, the degree to which they want it, and the means of getting it to them. Let’s take bread as an example. In Russia, they thought everyone should have bread. That was a decision made by those in power, and they then tried to make that happen, whether everyone wanted bread or not. This did not work so well, and there were shortages. Plus, those with the connections got more than enough while others got none. Trying to give bread to everyone, although noble in gesture, was a failure.

The Magic of Markets

So how do we do it here in America right now? The makers of bread make bread, and sell it to stores, so that people with the money to buy bread, can buy bread. If bread isn’t getting bought, less bread is made. If all the bread is getting bought, more bread is made. Those who make the bread aren’t making a top-down decision on how much bread to make. They are listening to market forces, and the decision is bottom-up. This is perfect, right? Just the right amount of bread is getting made and at just the right price. No, it’s not. Why? And how can this be improved?

Right now only those with the means to pay for bread have a voice for bread. We love to use the term, “voting with our dollars”. So is the outcome of that daily election accurate? Does everyone have a voice for bread? No, they don’t. There are people with no voice, because they have no dollars. The only way to make sure the market is working as efficiently and effectively as possible to determine what should be getting made, how much to make of it, and where to distribute it, is to make sure everyone has at the very minimum, the means to vote for bread. If they have that money and don’t buy bread, there’s no need to make and distribute that bread. If the bread is bought, that shows people actually want that bread. So how do we accomplish this improvement of capitalistic markets?

With Unconditional Basic Income (UBI)

By guaranteeing everyone has at the very least, the minimum amount of voice with which to speak in the marketplace for basic goods and services, we can make sure that the basics needs of life — those specific and universally important to all goods and services like food and shelter — are being created and distributed more efficiently. It makes no sense to make sure 100% of the population gets exactly the same amount of bread. Some may want more than others, and some may want less. It also doesn’t make sense to only make bread for 70% of the population, thinking that is the true demand for bread, when actually 80% of the population wants it, but 10% have zero means to voice their demand in the market. Bread makers would happily sell more bread and bread eaters would happily buy more bread. It’s a win-win to more accurately determine just the right amount.

And that’s basic income. It’s a win-win for the market and those who comprise the market. It’s a way to improve on capitalism and even democracy, by making sure everyone has the minimum amount of voice.

Can We Really Improve Capitalism or Is This Just Theory?

If you want actual evidence of how much better capitalism would work with basic income, look at the pilot project in Namibia:

“The village school reported higher attendance rates and that the children were better fed and more attentive. Police statistics showed a 36.5% drop in crime since the introduction of the grants. Poverty rates declined from 86% to 68% (97% to 43% when controlled for migration). Unemployment dropped as well, from 60% to 45%, and there was a 29% increase in average earned income, excluding the basic income grant. These results indicate that basic income grants can not only alleviate poverty in purely economic terms, but may also jolt the poor out of the poverty cycle, helping them find work, start their own businesses, and attend school.”

Think about that for a second. Crime plummeted and people given a basic income actually created their own jobs and actually ended up with even greater earnings as a result.

Or how about this psychology experiment as evidence for increased productivity?

“The participants given a choice between either two or three puzzles each spent about 5 minutes working on the puzzle they selected. But those who were also given the option not to participate spent about 7 minutes working on their selected puzzle. Explicitly choosing to do something rather than not to do it greatly increased the amount of time people spent on the task.”

This suggests that if we create the option for people to be able to choose not to work, genuinely choosing to work may result in even greater commitment, because it is suddenly a matter of choice and not force. Choice is a powerful motivator.

Speaking of motivation, what does the science have to say about money as an effective motivator for complex and creative tasks?

Larger Rewards Lead to Poorer Performance

“This is one of the most robust findings in social science, and also one of the most ignored. I spent the last couple of years looking at the science of human motivation, particularly the dynamics of extrinsic motivators and intrinsic motivators. And I’m telling you, it’s not even close. If you look at the science, there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does… That’s actually fine for many kinds of 20th century tasks. But for 21st century tasks, that mechanistic, reward-and-punishment approach doesn’t work, often doesn’t work, and often does harm.” —Dan Pink

In the 21st century, as we continue quickly automating away half our jobs in the next 20 years — jobs less cognitively-complex and more physically-laborious — we need to enable ourselves to freely pursue our more creative and complex ventures. Some of the best work happening right now, is the stuff being done in our free time — that is unpaid — like Wikipedia and our many other open-source community creations, not to mention all the care work performed for our young and elderly. Basic income is a means of recognizing this unpaid work as having great societal value, and further enabling it.

Or how about the multiplier effect as evidence of enhanced capitalism?

“All those dollars low-wage workers spend create an economic ripple effect. Every extra dollar going into the pockets of low-wage workers, standard economic multiplier models tell us, adds about $1.21 to the national economy. Every extra dollar going into the pockets of a high-income American, by contrast, only adds about 39 cents to the GDP.”

This means that by redirecting that money pooling at the top doing comparatively very little, accumulating in ever increasing amounts through continual redistribution upwards from the bottom and middle of the income spectrum, and recirculating that clotted money back down to the bottom and middle, this would actually expand the entire economy while making it more sustainable and more inclusive. This is how the body works. This is how engines work. This is how systems work.

A system cannot exist in perpetuity that is designed for one-way flow. Thomas Piketty has recently demonstrated in his sweeping Capital in the 21st Century that our current system is exactly that — one way. It is up to us to create a true circulatory system for the engine of capitalism. Without monetary circulation, the system as a whole will come to a grinding halt. If Piketty is right, then holding on to an ideology of income and wealth redistribution as “theft” may just be like a heart refusing to pump blood anywhere but the brain.

Capitalism 2.0 Sounds Great and All but Can We Afford It?

Basic income is entirely affordable given all the current and hugely wastefulmeans-tested programs full of unnecessary bureaucracy that can be consolidated into it. And the cost also depends greatly on the chosen plan. A plan of $12,000 per U.S. citizen over 18, and $4,000 per citizen under 18 amounts to a revenue need of $2.98 trillion, which after all the programs that can be eliminated are rolled into it, requires an additional need of $1.28 trillion or so. So where do we come up with an additional $1.28 trillion?

• A land value tax has been estimated to be a source of revenue of about $1.7 trillion.

A flat tax of around 40% would be sufficient. Due to the way such a tax works in combination with UBI, this would effectively be a reduction in taxes for about 80% of the population.

• A 10% value added tax (VAT) has been estimated to be a source of revenue of about $750 billion. That could be increased to reach $1.3 trillion or added to other sources of additional revenue.

• These other sources of revenue could be a financial transaction tax ($350 billion), a carbon tax ($125 billion), or taxing capital gains like ordinary income and creating new upper tax brackets ($160 billion). Did you know that for fifty years — between 1932 and 1982 — the top income tax rate averaged 82%? Our current highest rate is 39%.

• There is a place in the world that already pays a regular dividend to everyone living there, universally to child and adult, through a wealth fund it has created through royalty fees paid by companies for the rights to profit from its natural resources. This place is Alaska, and the “Alaska Model”could be applied anywhere as a means of granting a basic income as the social dividend from a sovereign wealth fund of resource-based revenue.

• We could even get more creative by thinking about how we go about giving away other forms of shared resources royalty-free to corporations, like the use of our public airwaves, and patents/copyrights that should have entered the public domain long ago but haven’t thanks to corporate lobbying from those like Disney to protect their profits off of creations like Mickey Mouse. Did you know the Happy Birthday song isn’t even in the public domain? Companies should pay us instead of politicians to keep things out of the public domain, and we could use this revenue as an additional means of growing a resource-based wealth fund.

Suffice to say, there exist plenty of funding options, any one of which are more than sufficient, that if combined could potentially allow for a larger basic income, or a reduction or even elimination of income taxes entirely.

Okay, It’s Affordable… but Wouldn’t People Stop Working?

We studied this question in the 1970s here in the United States, back when Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) was a goal of President Nixon and the House even successfully passed a bill for it. The findings from the accompanying large-scale experiments done in cities like Seattle and Denverfound that surprisingly, hardly anyone actually stopped working, and instead reduced their hours slightly, with men reducing their hours the least — by a maximum of 8%. This slight reduction in hours was then replicated to even less of a degree in Canada’s Minimum Income (Mincome) experiment, with men choosing to work as little as 1% fewer hours.

Meanwhile, we find ourselves today working too much. Having drifted away from the 40-hour work week, we now find 1 out of every 3 of us working more than 50 hours, with many even working more than 60 hours. And what are the effects of this?

“New studies show that working more very seldom produces better results. Employees work many more hours now than they have in the past, but it’s coming at the expense of health, happiness, and even productivity. While it looks good to be the first to arrive and the last to leave work each day, it turns out that putting in 60 hours of work each week may do more harm than good in achieving end results. Through the data, one thing becomes extremely clear: to boost productivity and foster excellent employees, the best thing businesses can do is to bring back the 40-hour work week.”

We want to start working less. It would be good for overall productivity to be working less. In fact, in certain circumstances, we shouldn’t even be working at all. It’s called presenteeism, and happens when people refuse to call in sick.

“According to various studies, the total cost of presenteeism to U.S. employers falls anywhere between $150 billion to $250 billion each year, and those costs are on the rise as presenteeism becomes more frequent in tight economic times.”

Right now people are going to work when they actually should not be going to work, and this is having a negative effect on the entire economy and even our overall health. We need people who are feeling sick to stay home when they should be staying home and not feeling forced to work because they absolutely have to earn that money, or out of fear of losing their jobs if they actually take a sick day.

It’s kind of curious isn’t it? Here we are worrying people will work less if we guarantee a basic income, and the reality of the situation is that people are presently working too much, and it is costing all of us. Combine this with the fact there’s 3 people seeking every 1 available job, and the obvious solution is that we actually want people to be able to choose to work less, to free up more positions for those seeking jobs who are currently being excluded from the labor market.

But Still, What About Those Few Who WOULD Stop Working?

Through the elimination of the welfare trap thanks to basic income, this would mean that anyone choosing not to work — instead opting to just live off their basic incomes — would be earning less than everyone choosing to work for additional income. This could not only decrease unemployment and increase productivity, but simultaneously fix the situation we have right now, where it’s possible for the unemployed to actually earn more in equivalent benefits than the cash incomes of those who are employed.

Plus, the very ability of people to not need a job, makes it that much harder for employers to exploit employees with insufficient wages and poor working conditions. The ability to actually say “No”, means the empowerment of labor on an individual level — no unions required.

Simply put, basic income makes work actually pay.

Why Would (Insert Who You Dislike) Ever Agree to This?

The idea of basic income cuts across all party lines. From the extreme right to the extreme left, we are hearing calls for basic income. Those on the right love its potential to shrink the size of government and do away with minimum wage laws, while those on the left love its potential to reduce inequality and once and for all put an end to poverty. Basic income is not “left” or “right”. It’s forward.

So Why Should You Support Unconditional Basic Income?

Why should you have supported the abolition of slavery back in the late 19th century? Why should you have supported the right for people other than rich white men to vote? Why should you have supported our landing on the Moon? Why should you have supported the ending of the Vietnam war, or the beginning of LBJ’s war on poverty?

Because you want to make our world a better place. That’s why.


Scott Santens writes about basic income on his blog. You can also follow him here on Medium, on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Reddit where he is a moderator for the /r/BasicIncome community of over 35,000 subscribers.

7. Industrial Quality Standards and Best Practices

Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing
in the Age of Globalization

Toly Chen

This article was ioriginally published in
Sustainability, 24 December 2016
under a Creative Commons License

Abstract: Competitiveness is the ability and performance of a firm, subsector or country to sell or supply goods or services in a given market. The competitiveness and sustainability of an enterprise are closely related. Competitiveness has received ever-growing attention in the era of globalization. This Special Issue provides a forum for researchers and practitioners to review and disseminate quality research work on competitive and sustainable manufacturing in the era of globalization and their applications, and to identify critical issues for further developments.

Keywords: competitiveness; sustainability; manufacturing; globalization

1. Introduction

With the trend of globalization, the competition within some industries is becoming increasingly fierce. To survive in the industry, every firm must strive to continually improve its competence in one way or another [1]. For example, some firms do not have their own factories, so they can focus on activities that are more profitable [2], while others continue expanding their manufacturing capacity to further drive down costs [3]. Other common strategies include: outsourcing [4], the blue ocean strategy [5], better scheduling [6,7], factory simulation [8,9], green and lean technologies [10,11,12], applying the competitiveness diamond model [13], cyber-physical systems and cloud manufacturing [14,15,16], developing next-generation technologies [17,18], forming alliances [19,20], etc.

In contrast, some studies have shown that even with considerable research and development (R&D) capabilities, manufacturers cannot guarantee long-term competitiveness (i.e., sustainability) [1,21]. In addition, in the past, support from the government enabled the continued growth of manufacturers in some regions. After such support disappears, maintaining competitiveness and sustainability becomes a big problem [22]. Further, the rise of the Chinese market and of its manufacturers has brought opportunities and threats to existing firms [22,23].

This Special Issue is intended to provide details regarding sustainable development and competitive strategies, and their applications to manufacturing.

2. Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing Approaches

Sophisticated models for assisting the design processes of complex mechanical products are essential for managers or designers to manage design processes and further improve design efficiency. Zheng et al. [24] put forth a supernetwork-based model for designing complex mechanical products. They first identified the key elements in the design processes of complex mechanical products. Then, based on these, they analyzed the sub-elements of the key elements and the relationships between the sub-elements. Finally, sub-networks with sub-elements were built as nodes and their relationships as edges, forming the supernetwork model for assisting the design processes of complex mechanical products based on the sub-networks and their relationships.

The conventional failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) approaches fail to explain the aggregate effects of a failure from different perspectives such as technical severity, economic severity, and production capacity in some practical applications. To fulfill this gap, Nguyen et al. [25] proposed an extension by considering the associated quality costs and the capability of a failure detection system as additional determinants to signify the priority level for each failure mode. Analytical results indicated that the proposed approach remarkably reduced the percentage of defective fabrics, thus significantly reducing wastes and increasing the operational efficiency.

Joining global production networks is critical to fostering local supplier upgrading. However, heterogeneous buyer-supplier relationships have rarely been configured and even incorporated into such networks empirically. To address this issue, Cho and Lim [26] proposed a framework based on which the features of buyer-supplier relationships can be related to the aspects of local supplier upgrading. In addition, the results of a latent class analysis showed that the ways value chains are governed have different effects on various types of technological upgrading.

Woo and Cho [27] discussed the mechanism under which the cost of wage rigidity is transferred from contractors to subcontracting firms, which in turn aggravates the inequality among the wages of workers in contracting and subcontracting firms. In addition, after studying a Korean case, the intensity of this transferring mechanism was shown to differ from industry to industry. Lu et al. [28] examined consumers’ moral reactions to a product-harm crisis. After conducting a national-wide survey with 801 respondents in China, they found that consumers will react to a product-harm crisis through controlled cognitive processing and emotional intuition. In addition, the survey results also showed that consumers view a product-harm crisis as an ethical issue, and will make an ethical judgment according to the perceived severity and relevance of the crisis.

The Japanese automobile industry has been suffering a huge economic downturn in the recent decade. The rise in costs and the decline in sales led to serious problems in this industry, such as the waste of time in replacing assembly boards for manufacturing lines. To tackle this issue, Wang et al. [29] applied the Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskih Zadatch (TRIZ) approach to provide efficient solutions for the automobile industry. They first analyzed the technical problems using the function and attribute analysis (FAA) model. Then, a contradiction matrix and the inventive principle were applied to find possible solutions to these problems.

Equal channel angular pressing (ECAP) is the most popular and simple process to produce nano-titanium. However, ECAP is time-consuming, power-wasting, and far from sufficient to produce the required ultrafine-grain structure. To address this issue, Wang et al. [30] applied the Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskih Zadatch (TRIZ) approach to improve the performance of ECAP, especially in reducing the production costs.

Because of the dynamic and complex characteristics of foods and their production, environment and sustainability issues are critical to the food industry. Pipatprapa et al. [31] applied the hybrid structural equation modeling (SEM) and the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) approach to find out factors that are influential on the environmental performance of Thailand’s food industry. The results showed that quality management, market orientation, and innovation capability have significantly positive effects on the environmental performance.

Aggregate production planning (APP) is an important task in production planning and control. However, the existing models, either static or dynamic, have several shortcomings. To overcome these, Davizón et al. [32] formulated a mathematical model to achieve optimal control. The mathematical model integrates a second-order dynamical system with a first-order system by considering the production rate, inventory level, capacity, and costs of the work force.

Galal and Moneim [33] formulated a mixed integer nonlinear programming model to determine the product mix in a manufacturing facility to maximize the sustainability index (SI) which is the weighted sum of the economic, environmental, and social measures of sustainability. The weights of these measures were determined using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) approach.

Electronic paper (e-paper) has a lot of important applications. Huang et al. [34] estimated the future market size of Taiwan’s e-paper industry using a hybrid grey model. They incorporated Fourier series and a Markov chain into discrete Grey model (DGM) (2, 1) and the Verhulst model, respectively, and proposed two new models—Fourier Markov (FM)-Verhulst and FMDGM (2, 1). According to the experimental results, the two models outperformed the existing grey models in improving the estimation accuracy.

Lu et al. [35] investigated the effects of the internal technological innovation capability (ITIC) and external linkages (ELs) on the upgrading of the Chinese automotive manufacturing industry (CAMI) in the global value chain. The results showed that compared to ELs, ITIC was more critical to the upgrading of CAMI. In addition, in some regions, such as Shanghai and Chongqing, the effects of EL are far from significant. In contrast, in other regions, more benefits can be gained through suitable clustering.

3. Conclusions

In the era of globalization, many world-class companies have migrated to certain countries or regions for competitive manufacturing, which highlights the importance of competitive manufacturing for any global company’s sustainable development. This Special Issue features a balance between state-of-the-art research on competitive and sustainable manufacturing in the era of globalization. All methods proposed in this Special Issue have been applied to practical examples. Several valuable results were obtained, which support these methods to be viable strategies in planning-related activities.

Acknowledgments: The guest editor would like to thank the Sustainability Editor-in-Chief, Marc A. Rosen, for fully supporting the release of this Special Issue. The guest editor is also grateful to the contributors who shared their research as well as to the reviewers who spared their valuable time to review papers. The guest editor would also like to thank the journal’s staff. Without their support and professional assistance, prepublication would not have been possible.

Conflicts of Interest: The author declare no conflict of interest.


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© 2016 by the author; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Toly Chen is with the Department of Industrial Engineering and Systems Management, Feng Chia University, No. 100, Wenhua Road, Taichung City 407, Taiwan.

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

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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