Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 13, No. 3, March 2017
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Paradigm Junction and Blue Planet Governance:
An Overview Essay

Don Chisholm

This article was originally published in
The Paradigm Junction Project
15 February 2017


Our Vision Statement…

The era of global tragedy of the commons ends.
The new paradigm begins when Interdependent Regional Governments unite!
To form a chaordic organization called the United Regions
Where coordinated expertise in Earth Science, Human-Nature and Economics,
Provide Regional Governments Guidance to Maximize Real Wealth:
Real wealth is a measurement of a robust ecology
and of the general health and happiness of the people!

This essay summarizes the story within the chapters of a web booklet, Paradigm[i] Junction. The chapters will always remain a work in process with a revision number.

In the early ’70’s the Limits To Growth booklet illustrated that if the Business As Usual (BAU) paradigm of infinite growth were to continue, early in this 21st century planet Earth’s web of life would begin to unravel. Today scientists suggest that as a result of exponential growth in human-activity we have entered the era of the sixth great extinction within the web of life that makes our human existence possible. Global warming is unfolding as science predicted and we now approach peak oil – oil, the energy source of virtually all transport in our industrial world. As illustrated a half century ago human civilization’s growth paradigm is quite incompatible with our finite small blue planet.

The operational premise of Paradigm Junction is that the drivers of growth are easily identifiable. However, implementation of effective corrective measures requires a few high level economic, political and social changes that are unlikely to be implemented as long as the corporate capitalism system, coupled to the debt-based money creation system, continues to function. Fortunately there are many indicators that suggest this this global system may soon collapse. Prior to this final collapse it is essential that we establish an operational shadow economic and political framework of our preferred next paradigm. Fortunately, there are many social change initiatives that are highly compatible with structures and goals of Blue Planet Governance, as described in this essay. If we act soon and decisively, perhaps there can be a smooth transition.


––> Without significant change in humanity’s geopolitical, social and economic growth, our next paradigm is likely to consist of continued ecological deterioration with resource wars accelerating the process. This continuation enhances the likelihood of human extinction along with the continuing extinction of a large swath of planet Earth’s sacred web of life – Gaia[ii].

The Paradigm Junction chapters speculate on the possibility of a much better outcome. In the form of a story to live by, the dynamic social, political and economic mechanics of Blue Planet Governance will quantify the many diverse types of vital Gaian resources and human infrastructure that enable human civilization to exist. Collectively, these resources and infrastructure elements represent real wealth. These metrics provide the information essential for generating the dynamic feedback that is capable of shifting human-activity levels toward levels that could be sustainable within the Gaian web of life on our small blue planet. The principle dynamic element capable of direct regulation of human-activity is our individual and collective access to wealth – i.e. real wealth - which becomes the commodity basis for humanity’s means of exchange of goods and services - its monetary/economic system.

The essential infrastructure of the real wealth monetary economic system will need to be significantly developed prior to the next economic collapse or our window of opportunity may close. Historically, such collapses are well documented, and a recent credible analysis[iii], based on today’s real world data, suggests the next collapse may begin in 2017. Fortunately, today many social change initiatives already flow toward the features within the Blue Planet Governance scenario, such as the use of chaordic organizations[iv], localization, and subsidiary[v] principles.


Blue Planet Governance – A unifying story to live by!

"The industrial context in which we presently function cannot be changed significantly in the immediate future. Our immediate survival is bound up in this context, with all its benefits as well as its destructive aspects. What is needed, however, is a comprehensive change in the control and direction of the energies available to us. Most of all we need to alter our commitment from an industrial wonderland achieved by plundering processes to an integral Earth community based on a mutually enhancing human-earth relationship." Rev. Thomas Berry [vi] – 1988, Dream of the Earth, page 30

Our lives are guided by stories.

We make them up: over time they become real.

Stories form the basis of games we play and the laws we live by.

Once reified, they provide our spiritual, cultural and political guidance.

Most simple guiding stories are capable of change to accommodate changing physical or social realities.

But sometimes stories become intertwined, interactive and interdependent in a large, or even on a global scale becoming a social complexity where various legal jurisdictions control ‘their’ component part of the holistic global story: This can lead to irreversible reification which inflexibly stymies needed change when one or more of the key interdependent intertwined stories is no longer congruent with the world’s physical or social realities.

None of today’s competing/cooperating trading nation states are individually able to change the story of our times and the United Nations simply does not have the mandate to act as a top level arbitrator in such issues.

"Man makes many tools and uses them effectively in various fields of his activity, but he is always exposing himself to the tyranny of the tools he has made. The result is that he is no more master of himself, but an abject slave to his surroundings and the worst thing is that he is not conscious of this fact." Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, Zen philosophical writer in 1949

We have an environmental, atmospheric, energy and population crisis. The reason for making points about our entanglement and reification of obsolete guiding stories is not only to explain why corrective measure have not been taken but also to help dispel the belief held by many educated observers who have considered the human predicament,[vii] and who claim that humans have no control over our current tragic trajectory for a variety of reasons. One is that, as one of nature’s creatures, we are simply incapable of escaping Malthus’ dire projections of overgrowth and die-off. Another common claim is that, like all matter within the universe, we humans are subject to the Maximum Power Principle (MPP)[viii] where all available energy will eventually be spent.

While our trajectory to date makes it appear that either or both of these theories are corrected, the underlying premise of this essay is that humans’ uniquely advanced ability to reason is quite capable of countering these latent tendencies. Individuals, families and relatively small groups have often budgeted energy use and limit population growth as needed, based on a measured assessment of available resources over a relevant period of time. Here, limits to growth, among other considerations, is measured, acknowledge, and dynamic feedback goes into local decision making. However, when individuals or relatively small political regions are politically and economically integrated within a much larger social complexity, as explained above, flexibility and the ability to measure and react is diminished: Hardin’s Tragedy of The Commons [ix] is played out on a global scale. At this level no one is in charge.

Our new story is based on the wisdom of many thinkers and writers, and the text will continue to be sprinkled with references to some of these. For example, Buckminster Fuller famously said:

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

In consideration of building that new model, in his book Designing Freedom, cyberneticist Stafford Beer wrote:

"I am proposing simply that society should use its tools to redesign its institutions, and to operate those institutions quite differently. You can imagine all the problems. But the first and gravest problem is in the mind, screwed down by all those cultural constraints. You will not need a lot of learning to understand what I am saying: what you will need is intellectual freedom. It is a free gift for all who have the courage to accept it. Remember: our culture teaches us not intellectual courage, but intellectual conformity."

A key point in Beer’s book is that only the large governing institutions need change, but that most lower-levels of government activities could remain relatively unchanged. Again, referring to Berry, What is needed, however, is a comprehensive change in the control and direction of the energies available to us.

The story of Blue Planet Governance will be a unifying story to live by because it demonstrates practical ways to untangle our social complexity and free regional governments to measure and respond to their growth limits when they are provided with vital information. This will happen after regional governments and small nations unite to collectively form an organization that will establish essential unifying standards and guidelines and that will provide vital information about their real wealth and well-being and other key data.

Within this text the word human-activity is hyphenated to convey that it means the, product of gross human numbers (population) times our gross activity, as measured in resource throughput. We also use the name Gaia the mythical goddess of Earth, to represent the complex, sun-energized, interactive systems of nature of which we humans are a part. We hope that this personalized name will help us gain a degree of caring fondness and loving respect for the marvelous world of nature that brings us joy and sustenance every day.


Limits to Growth VS TINA

TINA, There Is No Alternate, was coined by UK’s Margaret Thatcher in 1980 to reinforce the idea that the paradigm of the neoliberal, growth-oriented, debt-based, monetary system had no alternate.

And to date, she has been right! We live in (Berry) "an industrial wonderland achieved by plundering processes!" The plundering processes emerged from intertwining stories that jelled over centuries of exploration and conquest that grew out of an empty world perspective. But the intermesh of the global commons, of nation states and of global wars and of trade and commerce left no government room to recognise ‘limits’ and the finitude and fragility of the of the Gaian systems of nature.

For many decades there has been a growing acknowledgment of the obvious, that TINA’s infinite growth in human-activity imperative is incompatible with our finite world. But reification of our human created guiding stories have caused our civilized, monetized, industrialized world to reach social-political-economic gridlock, or paradigm paralysis where BAU (Business As Usual) drives us deeper into overshoot of earth’s resources.

In pursuit of Reverend Thomas Berry’s recommendations in the introductory quote, we set the stage with a metaphorical story of: The Money/Energy dancing duo, as the centuries old couple move to the rhythm of the TINA Tango:

We might think of fossil energy as golden nuggets of highly concentrated energy found in Pandora’s ample box of tricks. The coal, the gas, the oil, all have gone into enabling human population growth to surge from about 500 million to over 7 billion in a mere 300 years. But Energy was not alone in this exponential growth adventure. To capitalize on growth potential, Energy needed a dancing partner capable of a fast tango; it needed a Monetary Economic System (MES) to facilitate the ever expanding volume of exchanges in goods and services that were, and still are, mostly enabled by fossil Energy. Over the years, sapient humans kept modifying the MES in order to expand the money supply to meet accelerating Energy demand to facilitate needed goods and services to accommodate exponential growth in human-activity. Within this roughly 300 year window the MES changed from a commodity basis of gold and silver and then to fiat – bank computer-generated data. Now the MES has infinite expansion capability on the Money side. Indeed, the conductors of the MES orchestra have developed their music such that debt-based ‘M’ will collapse without continuous growth of ‘E’. With such vast amounts of money flowing in and out of banks and industry, it is not surprising that those in charge have developed a sense of entitlement from their success. Constant hegemonism over time has enabled corporations and banks to cajole government rule-makers to tip the money scales heavily in their favour, resulting in today’s vast economic and energy-use inequity.

However, the fossil energy dancing partner, like the rest of the Gaian biophysical world, is finite: And shortages are bringing this tango to its inevitable conclusion while M still grows in the form of debt, inflation and wealth of the 1%. Fossil fuels with a high EROI ratio are ending.[x] If humans were truly sapient, our leaders could change the music to a slow dance (perhaps, The Last Waltz, or Goodnight Sweetheart As couples leave the floor we could adjust the monetary dancing partner in close concert with the diminishing biophysical wealth on our small blue planet.

Note: If the music stops suddenly, tragedy will likely be swift for today’s billions of humans.

From this metaphor we conclude that, in order to exercise any sort of control of the global rhythm of human-activity, our new story must include a form of dynamic regulation of the MES – Monetary Economic System. Other than barter or goodwill, money facilitates all exchanges in goods and services. For the vast majority of individuals, available money is generally a consideration in our purchases. And where women are free and equal, monetary affluence influences enables procreation management. Since we know that human-activity is regulated to some degree by monetary availability, intelligent monetary flow control must become a key regulatory element within our unifying story, which is capable of bringing changes as Berry suggests: "Most of all we need to alter our commitment from an industrial wonderland achieved by plundering processes to an integral Earth community based on a mutual enhancing human-earth relationship. This move from an anthropocentric sense of reality and values to a biocentric norm is essential."

As described in later sections, the new economic system will be based on Real Wealth where “Real wealth is a measurement of a robust ecology and of the general health and happiness of the people! (as penned by Riane Eisler in her 2007 book, The Real Wealth Of Nations). The Real Wealth Monetary Economic System (RWMES) will be based on a multiple factors (Wealth Factors) that are derived from scientific assessment of the Real Wealth of any region. This enables the power of Per Capita Dynamics [xi] to influence the activities of individuals, corporations and governments and encourages them to live within their real means.

This is in sharp contrast to today’s world reserve currency [xii] that is orchestrated by the US Federal Reserve, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. Most of today’s money is issued as debt by commercial banks. Large ones such as Fanny Mae and Citibank were saved from the 2008 economic meltdown because they have become essential components in today’s governance. The danger presented by corporate control of the money system was foreseen by Thomas Jefferson in 1860 with this comment:

"If the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of the currency, first by inflation, and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property, until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power of money should be taken from banks and restored to Congress and the people to whom it belongs. I sincerely believe the banking institutions have the issuing power of money, are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies."

No doubt, the many thousands of people who control the fiat, debt-based money world will be revolted by the thought of having the MES taken out of their hands. But most of these people are among the “One Percent”, the term made famous by the “Occupy Wall St. Movement” in the fall of 2011 that suffered a slow and agonizing banishment at the hands of TINA - the lack of an alternate.

The proposed Blue Planet Governance design suggests a viable alternate to enable creative leaders within the 99% to take a role in changing the story. Just how such a transition might play out is anyone’s guess, but it helps to acknowledge that, one way or another, we are at a historic Paradigm Junction[xiii] and it is essential to have a viable alternate before TINA’s growth imperative drives us deeper into overshoot of our energy and biophysical world. For several decades respected scientists[xiv] have speculated that humans may be extinct, or nearly so, before the turn of the next century.

A poignant motivating statement is penned by Professor Lester Malbrath:

"Our common journey promises to be challenging and exciting even though difficult. It will be much easier and more likely successful if we face it optimistically with a deep understanding of the pace and character of social transformation. Those given the gift of understanding will become the conscious mind of the biocommunity, a global mind that will guide and hasten the transformation. Those who understand what is happening to our world are not free to shrink from this responsibility."


Figure 1

In mid 2015 public resistance in Germany was growing due to the large numbers of refugees, Chancellor Angela Merkel made a comment to this effect: But we don’t know how many people Germany can safely absorb! This comment underlies one of the greatest human management failures of our times. It’s time to correct this potentially fatal knowledge deficit.

Figure 1 is a block overview of what the geopolitical world could look like 50 years after Paradigm Change, wherein most autonomous regions of the world will have created the United Regions, a global organization that is mandated to establish a package of global standards based on the understanding that, you can't manage what you don't measure [xv], and is therefore guided by:

Ø The sciences that define and measure our biophysical and energy world;

Ø Our accumulated understanding of psychology, human nature and human needs;

Ø The growing understanding and management of complex dynamic systems.

This essay envisions the development of a viable Real Wealth Monetary Economic System (RW-MES), a paperless currency based on the expandable Bitcoin model [xvi]. Real wealth dollars will be based on a basket of measured resource factors. Although somewhat subjective, each of these ‘wealth factors’ are measurable today. This currency will facilitate trade and commerce between regions of the world. This ‘region-oriented’ system can be modularly expandable, region by region, as opportunities arise and more regions acknowledge the benefits. Opportunities are likely to arise from collapsing elements of the existing malignant, growth-driven, economic system, and/or the difficulties imposed by the fossil energy downslope. But prior to collapse it is imperative that we establish a comprehensive alternate to TINA: We must have a plan that can find wide-ranging public acceptance and gain some level of integration as we move deeper into the inevitable Paradigm Junction that will define our common future.

The Blue Planet Governance plan should be seen as a proposal capable of bring about a global syntropy[xvii], a reversal of the entropy that now envelops human civilization. In his 2011 book, What Then Must We Do, Gar Alperovitz[xviii] alludes to the thousands of social change initiatives working towards correcting the symptoms of today’s growth-driven governance. But they work in isolation. Since these efforts tend to run parallel to this Blue Planet Governance proposal, their individual efforts can gain a significant synergetic boost when they become part of this systemic and comprehensive social/political/economic paradigm-change initiative.

Elements of System Design:

Figure 2

Systemic Structures: All good systemic structures, both the mechanical systems and soft systems (related to management), have the structural components listed here.

  • Closed Boundary
  • In a picture of Earth taken from space, as Carl Sagan reminds us, our only home is just, a pale blue dot [xix]. Beyond this, we appear to be hanging in space, all alone. Energy flow, in and out, seems to be our only constant cosmic visitor.

    In systems-thinking, the closed-boundary idea is an important, big-picture means of visualizing both systems and subsystems as relatively autonomous as far as internal functions are concerned. In our area of interest these are closed boundary items:

    Planet Earth, and the United Regions Blue Planet Governance;

    Regions of Earth and their elected government;

    Municipal or city governments;

    Corporations, their shareholders and chairman;

    Individual entrepreneurs;

    Family groups;


    Within each of these largely autonomous units many functions are performed with no external input – other that energy. However, there will be a degree of interdependence even though each system is essentially closed. Our body is to a large degree a fully autonomous system, and yet, to sustain ourselves, we need nourishment from the system of Gaia – air, food and water. The heart and other organs operate semi-autonomously doing whatever they were groomed to do through evolution.

    o Feedback Loops

    Each dynamic system has a measurable output. Part of that output can be fed back as input control criteria in order to increase or decrease the instantaneous output that drives toward the target level or goal.

    § Level and Rates

    Feedback error, or signal, is a measure of the difference between actual condition and the desired condition (goal). The feedback information must consider both the level of the corrective action needed, and the rate at which the system is to making the corrective action. The rate of approaching target is another consideration in most systems.

    Ø Goal

    As the New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra famously stated, If you don’t know where you are goin’ that’s where you’ll end up! And that is our problem today. Other than the infinite growth imperative of TINA, human civilization does not have a viable defined goal.

    The pinnacle goal of the Blue Planet Governance processes is to eventually reduce human-activity to a level that that can be sustained within the Gaian system of nature.

    Ø Observed Condition

    Regarding the Gaian system that sustains us, there are very large error signals. Observed conditions indicate the planet’s systems of life are significantly different now, as compared to before the human footprint grew so large over the past few centuries. Lester Brown, David Suzuki, International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Ecological Footprint organization, and dozens of other individuals and organizations give reports on the state of the land, the water and our fellow species that now indicate our whole system of life is in a state of rapid decline. The growth paradigm of today has no means of integrating this dire information into vitally-needed sociopolitical heading change.

    Ø Discrepancy

    The amplitude of error signal determines the needed level of corrective feedback.

    Ø Desired Action

    The desired action is to establish feedback that will dynamically regulate human-activity in such a way that global society will be on a course toward sustainability, but at a maximum rate of change that functioning human societies can tolerate.

    Management System:

    Government systems designers can adopt a great deal of wisdom from large corporations that have established a form of systems dynamic called Quality Assurance. A few decades after WWII, after his ideas were rejected in USA, Edward Deming took his dynamic ideas to Japan auto makers. As their cars were considered inferior at the time, they accepted Deming’s proposals. The results were spectacular! After application of Deming’s new dynamic systems approaches, the quality improved rapidly, and soon Japanese cars and other products were considered among the world’s best. The principles Deming introduced are now used throughout the progressive industrial world and the techniques have been enshrined in the International Standards Organization (ISO) [xx]. When a company has received an ISO-9000 approval, they are recognized has having adopted the ISO standards of quality-regulated manufacturing.

    A multinational manufacturing corporation works with hundreds of semi-autonomous departments and branches, often in different nations. The common goal is to produce a quality product that will bring profits. The QA system can be seen as a well-documented governance system that establishes goals, measures all steps along the way of the manufacturing process. Any measured deviation from standards is corrected through positive or negative feedback. One principal ingredient in human management is ‘subsidiary’, to have maximum autonomy and responsibility at the lowest practical level. Regular third-party audits ensure system information integrity. The envisioned Blue Planet Governance will use such concepts.

    The idea of a chaordic organization [xxi] is another applicable management tool. The organization called the United Regions (UR) will be a chaordic organization that exists for the benefit of the collective of autonomous regions of the world that are the UR creators. The executive branch members of UR will be elected by the regions. The needed scientists, economist, actuaries, psychologists and other specialists are to be appointed by the UR executive branch. The UR operates like the corporate headquarters of a global company. Every regional government is a UR stakeholder.


    "Aleksander Herzen, speaking a century ago to a group of anarchists about how to overthrow the czar, reminded his listeners that it was not their job to save a dying system but to replace it: “We think we are the doctors. We are the disease. All resistance must recognize that the body politic and global capitalism are dead. We should stop wasting energy trying to reform or appeal to it. This does not mean the end of resistance, but it does mean very different forms of resistance. It means turning our energies toward building sustainable communities to weather the coming crisis, since we will be unable to survive and resist without a cooperative effort." ….from Chris Hedges’ 2010 book Zero Point of Systemic Collapse

    For the past half century, Donella Meadows was a leading-edge thinker about future issues. She was co-researcher and writer of the controversial book, Limits to Growth, in 1972. Three decades later, in 1992, the Meadows team published, Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse and Envisioning a Sustainable Future.

    The late Donella Meadows was quite experienced in the business of the future, quoted here is an abstract of a keynote speech she gave at a meeting of the International Society for Ecological Economics, in 1994.

    "Vision is the most vital step in the policy process. If we don’t know where we want to go, it makes little difference that we make great progress. Yet vision is not only missing almost entirely from policy discussions; it is missing from our whole culture. We talk about our fears, frustrations, and doubts endlessly, but we talk only rarely and with embarrassment about our dreams. Environmentalists have been especially ineffective in creating any shared vision of the world they are working toward -- a sustainable world in which people live within nature in a way that meets human needs while not degrading natural systems. Hardly anyone can imagine that world, especially not as a world they’d actively like to live in. The process of building a responsible vision of a sustainable world is not a rational one. It comes from values, not logic. Envisioning is a skill that can be developed, like any other human skill. This paper indicates how."

    In his 1998 book, Earth at a Crossroads: Paths to a Sustainable Future, Professor Hartmut Bossel uses the term pathways to the future in his envisioning effort. Bossel’s book is primarily about dynamic systems and how they can apply to social organizations such as governments. As such, Bossel’s pathways scenario has many details that are closely aligned to the Blue Planet Governancemodel including the need for a new and different monetary system. In a paragraph to justify the need to change society to operate by dynamic principles, Bossel explains why something less will simply not work. In a “Reality Check for Path B” he states:

    "Path B flies in the face of current mainstream economic thinking. It would require drastic changes in the current system. It would have to turn around very strong current development trends. So is it realistic? And above all, is it really necessary to change the current system so much to make it sustainable? Couldn’t we perhaps just introduce small changes in the present system to achieve the same result? No. In looking for another riverbed of future development, one tries to find a solution that is as close as possible to the old one. Path B is as close to the old one as sustainability would allow. If one compromises on this or that, the path is no longer sustainable."

    Even though the dynamics of the monetary system would be significantly changed, Bossel goes to great lengths to assure the reader that he is introducing nothing different from others who envision change toward sustainability. He points out that suggested different social scenarios do not need to be immediate, and can evolve over time, at different paces in different places. These thoughts are in close alignment with this Blue Planet Governance proposal, which also speculates on how the social transition may occur, dovetailing with many of the growing number of existing localization movements.

    Here is a list of 14 comments based on Bossel’s book that are in line with the background thinking for Blue Planet Governance:

    Ø Globalisation in its current form be should be seen as evil.

    Ø To change the way the money system operates is a prerequisite for any successful change effort.

    Ø We have common understanding of the nature of and importance of systems thinking.

    Ø Individuals can learn to accept a feeling of moral responsibility toward our common future and those who will follow.

    Ø We must accept that we are a part of nature, not a special species.

    Ø Global standards must be developed and respected with regard to the environment, trade and other areas of common interests. These standards will apply to largely autonomous regional governments.

    Ø While some common standards are essential, a robust system requires diversity of subsystem components such as diverse local cultural practices within communities and regions.

    Ø “The unaccountable shareholder”, must be removed from control of local resources, e.g., absentee private or corporate landlords.

    Ø Private ownership of global resources such as land, minerals, water, etc., must end.

    Ø Money available for human-activity must be dynamically tied to the availability of replenishable resources to support the activity.

    Ø Trade sanctions, tariffs must be the primary tools to coerce reluctant regions into participation in the global BPG agreements and standards – instead of war.

    Ø Subjects related to sustaining the living systems of our small blue planet should be taught in schools from an early age. An understanding of foundational issues must become a prerequisite to the right to vote.

    Ø Regions need to have control over policies impacting their populations.

    Ø Regions need to have their own currencies.

    Ø There needs to be an agreed balance between one’s personal right to procreate, and the right of people of the region to have a sustainable future.

    It is useful to bear in mind that these recommended changes should be seen as simply changing the rules of the game. Humans made the rules, humans can change the rules…. can’t we?

    Historically, when a significant regime change has been forced on a population it is often brought about with the backup of military force. But handed-down cultures of the world resist such change and individuals remain disenfranchised for generations.[xxii] Paradigm change toward the next system must be rooted in a distributed groundswell growing out of localization, regionalization and finally the building of the centralized United Regions. Today we have global communications systems giving us the capability to communicate the benefits of Blue Planet Governance throughout the world. According to scientific projections, time available for change is short: We must break the TINA curse and not let BAU continue its plundering process much longer as grave consequences of Ecocide [xxiii] are being reported daily.

    "So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us." Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, 2014, page 19

    Human Nature:

    An understanding of human nature and human ‘real’ needs must be central to design of the next system.


    Global human activity consists of individual humans, couples, families, communities, regions, states and nations in action. Sociopsychology [xxiv] informs us that our individual behaviour is influenced somewhat by Macro, Meso and Micro levels. However, the level of influence drops rapidly as we move out from Micro, individuals, families and close friends.

    Macro level # 3

    Ignorance of the human predicament, or avoidance, or denial, or a feeling of helplessness, will prevent the vast majority of people from accepting the need for significant change in the story of our times. But from the Pareto Principle[xxv], we speculate that the early leaders may be from 5% or 20% of us willing to accept the reality of our times and who feel personal responsibility to accept the challenge of developing new ways of doing a few things. These leaders can network internationally, they can construct the framework for regional governments by building on existing localization initiatives in the areas of local currencies or worker owned enterprises. And it will be a few of these pioneers who will draft the first stages of documentation to define the constitution of the United Regions.

    Meso level #2

    Here personal choices are influenced by local peer pressure and interactions with neighbours, with church groups and other local organizations, including county, city and/or regional governments. All individuals will feel the pinch of reduced affluence if and when the regional government is assessed with a relatively low wealth factor per capita assessment, especially when they have previously been made aware that their personal choices could have improved the situation.

    The Micro Level #1

    All human activity involves individuals. Since ‘self’ and very close relationships are capable of responding quickly and effectively to outside influence, this suggests that if we are to make a significant heading change in the global ship-of-state the most influential place to start would be at the micro level. And it would be best to focus that influence in an acceptable and familiar manner that is blind to an individual’s culture, religion, or to their acceptance of any or all symptoms or causes of the human predicament. Money is acceptable and familiar to all of us. For most of us, our monetary affluence influences our resource throughput - activity. Where women are educated, free and equal, such affluence also influences procreation choices. The views of family and a close circle of friends often influence these decisions.

    It appears that a dynamically regulated monetary system is the only viable way to modify global human-activity.

    Per Capita Dynamics: Finding a CURE for TINA (CURE - Creative United Regions Endeavors)

    In the Limits to Growth VS TINA section, the idea of a new economic system based on Real Wealth was introduced, where "Real wealth is a measurement of a robust ecology and of the general health and happiness of the people". In the envisioned Blue Planet Governance, the Real Wealth Monetary Economic System (RWMES), becomes the operational currency of the world. It will be based on many factors (Wealth Factors) based on scientific assessment from an ongoing auditing process measuring the Real Wealth of each region of the world. There are wide ranging factors, such as:

  • The status of various ecological categories - hectares of wetlands or forests, etc.;

  • The region’s replenishable water sources;

  • The region’s renewable energy development;

  • The region’s fossil fuel usage (a negative factor);

  • The region’s infrastructure for manufacturing;

  • The region’s infrastructure for education;

  • The region’s infrastructure for entertainment;

  • The region’s quality of life – human wellbeing human happiness;

  • The region’s human population;

  • Etc..
  • It is likely that no region will be self-sufficient in our modern world; therefore the need for inter-regional trade will always be an incentive for inter-regional cooperation, as it is today. A department of the United Regions (UR), the Human-Activity Index (HAI)(details below) will be responsible for producing the standards for making the Wealth Factor assessments. They will be generally expressed on a per capita basis which tends to bring these big issues into the personal realm, thus helping to persuade individuals and governments to respond to the information by moving toward living within their means. Thus, Per Capita Dynamics can be instrumental in influencing the activities of individuals, corporations or regions. Basically, as a region’s population lowers, the Wealth Per Capita goes up.

    Today there are dozens of organizations that focuses on one or another of the wealth factors suggested above. For example, the Ecological Footprint [xxvi] organization has made significant inroads toward assessing many of the needed biophysical elements of many countries. Various satellite systems monitor and measure forests, lakes, etc.. A web search brings up various organizations under such headings as The Human Development Index, or The Happy Planet Index. In a blog article, Professor George Mobus [xxvii] speculates that Net Energy Per Capita, would be a useful social well-being indicator.

    The point here is that, to a significant degree, both human and technical resources are already developed, and that a coordinated effort could very soon establish a measurement of our planet’s human carrying capacity within a limited range of subjectivity. The same effort could also provide the expertise to begin assessing national and regional Wealth Factors. When the per capita information is regionalized, it will tend to become localized, and even personalized.

    In his 2005 book, America Beyond Capitalism, Gar Alperovitz has a chapter called The Regional Reconstruction of the American Continent. Here he provides many reasons why geographically large nations like the USA or Canada are too large to govern effectively, and he gives many reasons why regionalization is necessary to deal effectively with many of our problems, including the population issue. The chapter ends with this quote:

    "Quite apart from population and other pressures that may force change – and the many uncertainties that would ultimately have to be confronted and resolved – over the long arc of twenty-first century, Americans who are committed to a renewal of democracy are unlikely to be able to avoid the truth that in all probability this can only be meaningfully achieved in units of scale smaller than the continent but also of sufficient size to be capable of substantial semiautonomous functioning: the region."

    In the past several decades there appears to be a slow movement away from very large political blocks, as a web search on ‘separatist movements’ will illustrate. In 1991 the USSR peacefully dissolved into Russia and several smaller states. Quebec, Scotland, Greece, have had separation movements that failed, probably because of uncertainty regarding the global MES (Monetary Economic System) that provides their vital link to trade and commerce and the obstacle of TINA: they had no viable alternative but stay. The UK’s vote for Brexit likely succeeded because they had kept the well-established pound sterling as their internal currency, and will expect to continue international trade. A recent article, Trump: The Illusion of Change [xxviii], by Helena Norberg-Hodge, highlights several reasons for the mood for localization. Another recent article suggests the Trump era might trigger the needed phase transition [xxix].

    Perhaps pressure from our full world experience is creating a grassroots tendency, or instinct, to revert back to smaller, autonomous regions, in a ‘circle the wagons’ effort to deal with whatever is coming next. In the meantime, the spectre of global warming looms large on our horizon. But we individuals generally carry on in semi-denial, just doing what we normally do, with no cure in sight.

    Let’s presume that a group called the CURE Team (Creative United Regions Endeavors) can begin to assemble the significant resources at hand. And as they begin to assemble the intelligence sections of the United Regions, the CURE team would soon be able to provide the vital data that has never been available for Angela Merkel or any other world leader.

    Governance Design Outline in Backcast:

    Our backcast [xxx] provides a brief overview of the social/political/economic scene 50 years After Paradigm Change (050APC). As a prototype model it can provide a synergetic common goal for the thousands of disparate efforts now working diligently to CURE this or that symptom of excess human-activity. It provides a sketch of the nature of potential future governance and potential established norms for those living at that time - a time when a large number of autonomous Regions of the world use the Real Wealth Monetary Economic System (RWMES) as the primary means of exchange for goods and services. For simplicity the digital currency will be called Gaia dollars (Gaia$) as issued and controlled by the United Regions’ Bank of Gaia and issued through the bank branches of each of the world’s regions that are part of the UR network.

    The United Regions (UR) grew out of the concept of the United Nations but operates with a significantly different purpose and mandate. It is a chaordic organization designed to serve the collective interests of the many diverse regions of planet Earth.

    The core purpose of the United Regions is:

    To move humanity toward a more harmonious relationship within Gaia.

    The Mission Statement of the United Regions is:

    To create the management infrastructure capable of enabling
    collective human knowledge and science to guide
    the human journey into the future.

    Blue Planet Governance in the year 20??


    Oval Elements of the United Regions:

    In the State of Gaia (SG) scientists measure the well-being of the oceans, the atmosphere and other planetary metrics. Another input is from the audited ecological assessments of each global Region. From these data, the SG produces real-time information about global ecological well-being. The SG data flow acts like a doctor giving a continuous report of the vitality of the Gaian system of nature, the source of all life on our small blue planet.

    The Human-Activity Index (HAI) monitors the well-being of human affairs. The Wealth-Factors, represent the numerous elements that are a measurement of robust ecology and of the general health and happiness of the people, which form the basis of Real Wealth. The wealth-factor scope is wide. For example, there are assessments of the well-being of: biodiversity; corporate enterprise; human happiness; human cultural nourishment; education and energy categories such as energy demand vs local supply, renewables, etc. etc. HAI data flows to the other UR sections for further processing.

    The Global Standards (GS): The Wealth Factor and Arbitrator section deals with establishing a comparative standard for the Wealth Factors from the SG and HAI sections. Each of these raw data metrics are groomed for presentation on a scale from 0 to 100 in order to compare apples and oranges. A panel of judges who are knowledgeable in dynamic processes will arbitrate the scaling process because it is an extremely critical area and the issues are quite subjective. The importance of prudent judgment in this area cannot be overstated as it is largely this group who control the throttle of human-activity by acting as the wheelhouse of humanity, steering our course into the future.

    GS also develops the requirements and guidelines for a Region to become part of Blue Planet Governance. A few of the requirements are:

    Ø To operate a regional Government in accordance with democratic principles;

    Ø To participate in regional wealth measurement and reporting;

    Ø To operate a regional Bank of Gaia (BG-R);

    Ø To accept Gaia$ as the only means of exchange for goods and services, except direct neighborly barter. (There was a period of overlap in the early days as elements of the MES collapsed.)

    Ø To publish the (RB-G) wealth assessment as Wealth Per Capita (WPC);

    Ø To accept that a few of our created ways of doing things (our stories) need to change, such as: there can be no private land ownership, money will be interest free, and a basic living wage will be distributed for all regional citizens.

    The Bank of Gaia (BG) receives data from both GS and HAI and uses the Real Wealth assessment of each Region to establishes the level of money that each Regional banks can circulate. The money is referred to as Gaia$. The Gaia name provides a subtle hint that their monetary currency is directly related to mother-nature as real wealth. All money is digital and transparent at the Regional government level.

    In the Regions

    Based on the BG information, the Regional banks publish a monthly report on their regional Wealth Per Capita. The Wealth Per Capita policy is a first step in bringing the Region’s human population issue into the psyche of the general population along with the concept that ‘your’ procreation considerations are not ‘yours’ alone. Most Regions having an ecological footprint larger than 1:1 will recommend a no individual should participate in the creation of more than one child. Since these issues are now localized, such recommendations from regional government have significant influence at the community and personal level.

    When scientific data indicates that a Region is in significant footprint-overshoot, the normal money supply based on a Region’s Real Wealth would not provide enough circulating currency to sustain a functioning economy. As a temporary measure, the Bank of Gaia creates a Next Generation loan (Wealth borrowed from our next generation) to keep the economy operating during the period of economic shrinkage, until this region is living within its means. The Next Generation debt repayment schedule is well publicized by the regional Government to encourage rapid reduction of human-activity, in both gross human population and resource throughput. The issue of overshoot has become local and personal.

    Regional governments are able to swap Wealth Factor values with other Regions to help improve their Wealth Per Capita WPC rating. An example of this would be: Regions with large cities and manufacturing capabilities can exchange specific Wealth Factors with nearby Regions that are rich in agricultural production or renewable energy surpluses.

    Within the circle of regions, trade barriers are the primary tool for dealing with Regions that do not fully comply with the UR guidelines and standards. There can be no trade with areas of the world that do not join the UR.

    UR Defense: While no region has a military, the UR Defense has bases in several regions distributed globally. The UR military is used primarily to prevent poaching of the global commons, outside of any region’s control.


    Questions & Answers

    Q 1: How large is a region?

    They are as small as practical and yet able to have a regional government large enough to administer local government and the administration to meet compliance with Blue Planet Governance requirements. Scotland, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Quebec and Cuba were among the first group of regions to experiment with the UR concepts. Ecological bioregions form the borders of some regions, while some regions were small countries before paradigm change. Regions are small enough to have the advantages of a feeling of localization, giving individuals a strong feeling that they belong and that they can be an important part of local government. The people of some regions have a significant bond from a common cultural or religious background.

    Blue Planet Governance is an expandable model that can begin from the agreement of either small nations or provinces or states of large countries.

    Q2: Why is the Gaia$ system of money computer-based only?

    Globally, all money in circulation is accounted for, from personal or corporate accounts to regional government holdings. The blockchain distributed full accounting system is essential for the interactive dynamic aspects of Blue Planet Government. Full accounting of global money also has many beneficial side benefits. The Gaia$ of a region can circulate freely within that region but exchanges from another region must be converted to that region’s currency: and the regional government may impose limits on these exchanges in order to regulate the region’s WPC index. Also, with transparent money, there can be no private ‘off-shore’ accounts or other forms of corruption, and there is very little illegal immigration because only registered citizens of the region have a Gaia$ account.

    Q3: How can corporations function in this system?

    Prior to paradigm change the psychopathic imperative of corporations drove their central goal, which was to create profit for shareholders while having no responsibility for externalities. This is now changed, along with a few other changes in the human-created rules that, to some degree, reflect the thinking of Henry George [xxxi]. Some of these changes are:

  • The regional government has full stewardship of the land and commons within its borders.

  • The idea of land ownership by individuals or corporations has ended but leases from regional government give access to the land.

  • Regional governments, not individuals, are the shareholders of all multi-regional corporations. Each region has a ‘corporations department’ that can buy or sell stocks in any global corporation. Many of these corporations had been a multinationals before paradigm change, and are now referred to as multiregional.

  • Entrepreneurs, farmers, merchants and cooperative enterprises operate much as they did before Paradigm Change.
  • Q4: What about an individual’s income:

  • Everyone gets a small but liveable basic income from their regional government. The amount is dependent on the region’s Wealth Per Capita.

  • While there are no personal income taxes, governments acquire revenue from various sources such as holding shares in profitable multiregional corporations and operation of land leases. Also, the regional Bank of Gaia can provide Gaia$ to the regional government for its operations.

  • UR guidelines suggest the highest paid individual should be no more than 10 times the basic fixed income, but this is established by each regional government.
  • That’s the end of the envisioning scenario.

    It’s time for a few good women and men to deal with the sickness of TINA and develop the CURE!

    Are we ready to enact?

    On November 12, 1936 Winston Churchill grew so exasperated with the continuing failure of Britain to prepare for Hitler’s onslaught that he charged in a speech to the House of Commons: "The government simply cannot make up their minds, or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decide only to be undecided, resolve to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all –powerful to be impotent... the era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences."

    The Beginning

    {as opposed to The End :-}


    The chapters of Paradigm Junction are designed as work-in-process document, meeting ISO standards for documentation control & update by those designated to make changes. All chapters can be accessed from the reference section below [xxxii].


    [i] In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn wrote that "the successive transition from one paradigm to another via revolution is the usual developmental pattern of mature science.

    [ii] Gaia Mythical Goddess of Earth: See Lovelock’s theory of the creation of life

    [iii] Gail Tverberg writes about our short term future.

    [iv] Chaordic organization: Largely autonomous regions create an umbrella organization to deal with matters of common interest:

    [v] Subsidiary Principle – Autonomy at the local level:

    [vi] The efforts of Reverent Thomas Berry influenced may people up until his death in 2006.

    [vii] The Human Predicament: was coined by the Club of Rome in their controversial ‘70s book, Limits To Growth, book.

    [viii] As referenced, "The maximum power principle can be stated: During self-organization, system designs develop and prevail that maximize power intake, energy transformation, and those uses that reinforce production and efficiency."

    [ix] Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons – simplified version – When anyone can add their cattle to a common meadow, it will soon perish form overuse.

    [x] For a graphic of fossil energy remaining, browse to page 9 of this presentation by John Howe: The basic message is that we have passed peak oil in 2015, and are now moving into the downslope.

    [xi] Per Capita Dynamics (page 17 above) refers to a system of management where the factors that establish a region’s real wealth are measured, and the level of dollar currency within that region is based on the regions real wealth. Wealth is expressed on a per capita basis. See blog of George Mobus.

    [xii] World Reserve Currency

    [xiii] Reference to the PJ booklet – last footnote, below.

    [xiv] In his book, Our Final Century, Sir Martin Reese (past President the Royal Society) speculates we are likely to destroy the basis of life in the coming decades. Hawking says:

    [xv] While this management consulting site is about increasing corporate profits, the same message applies to reaching goals in any complex system.

    [xvi] See Bitcoin's video on their homepage. Bitcoin makes use of a distributed blockchain system that has a high degree of transparency. Blockchains provide an opportunity to build a global infrastructure untethered from the stability or permission of governments and institutions.

    [xvii] Syntropy: A togetherness movement – or the tendency towards energy concentration, order, organization and life, the opposite of entropy.

    [xviii] Many of these movements are itemized in a 2016 book by Gar Alperovitz, What then must we do? However, as yet these important initiatives toil in separate silos.

    [xix] Earth’s image from deep space looks like a Pale Blue Dot according to cosmologist Carle Sagan.

    [xx] International Standards Organisation ISO

    [xxi] From Wikipedia A chaordic organization refers to a system of organization that blends characteristics of chaos and order. The term was coined by Dee Hock, the founder and former CEO of the VISA credit card association.

    [xxii] Jada Thacker presents an essay giving a historical review of aggression by military and enslavement by debt

    [xxiii] Ecocide, started by lawyer Polly Higgins hopes to make laws against destroying nature.

    [xxiv] social psychology noun Medical Definition of SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: The study of the manner in which the personality, attitudes, motivations, and behavior of the individual influence and are influenced by social groups states: “the study of the manner in which the personality, attitudes, motivations, and behavior of the individual influence and are influenced by social groups”. [xxv] The Pareto Principle, also name. suggests that when stating that, under these circumstances, people will do that. Generally, the 80/20 rules suggests that only 80% will do that, and the remaining 20% will not do that. However, the dividing line is fuzzy with sometimes a wide range of overlapping views. It might be 99% to 1% on some characteristics. It applies to both physical and mental characteristics. Quite often these variations are expressed as a bell curve, with the “80” representing those within the bulk of bell, with the 20 being those at the skirt. See: Social psychologist Milgram illustrated this point when he wrote: “We are puppets controlled by the strings of society. Yet what is also true is that not all puppets jump when their strings are pulled.” This is one of the genetic variations within species that enables evolutionary change.

    [xxvi] The Ecological Footprint organization has been working on determining the biocapacity of individual countries for two decades. The efforts of this organization have made the idea of the human footprint overshoot well known in most countries.

    [xxvii] In a blog article, Professor George Mobus speculates that on the use of, Net Energy Per Capita, as a useful social indicator. Globally, it is in decline, unable to keep up with population growth as peak-oil begins to modify human well-being.

    An organization called, Good Global Governance, Professor Helmut Burkhardt points out that resource consumption is strongly correlated to energy consumption.

    [xxviii] Trump: The Illusion of Change article in Local Futures, 18 November 2016

    [xxix] Trump may bring on a tipping point that can lead to a phase transition as explained by Jeromy Lent.

    [xxx] Backcasting is a planning method that starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect the future to the present.

    [xxxi] Henry George, an early American political economist had thoughts that align with the BPG proposal, such as the belief that people should own the value they produce themselves, but that the economic value derived from land (including natural resources) should belong equally to all members of society.

    [xxxii] Links to all chapters of Paradigm Junction are given below:


    Don Chisholm is the Director of the Gaia Preservation Coalition. He is a retired engineering technologist whose career path dealt with dynamic systems, maintenance, design, management and quality assurance auditing, generally related to the aviation industry. The past thirty years have been spent studying human behaviours, energy, and other areas related to the human predicament. For his complete biography and contact information, click here.

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