Unwinding the Human Predicament Part 4/6

A social contract exists that creates the forces in Part 3

unfinished work, comments welcome alpert@skil.org                       (back to head of paper)


If humankind is more than a tribe of non furry monkeys? If we can imagine outcomes 1000 years in the future and can prefer not to go there? If we identify the behaviors that cause that unwanted outcome and behaviors that go somewhere else? If humankind chttps://its-ss-uqresearchers.s3.amazonaws.com/photo/4920.jpgan shape billions of personal behaviors to produce the alternative future, then we can unwind the predicament.

The shaping of billions of personal behaviors can be quite organic; following from our genetic drives and our autonomic brains. however, these behaviors can also be shaped by a conscious brain. What else do you call it when a man runs into a burning building to save his child. If all he wanted was to propagate his genes, having a bunch more children would be a better use of his time and a lot less risky.

These conscious diversions from simple genetic and autonomic survival behaviors also manifest at a social level. Cultures and institutions bias certain behaviors. These bias' are made explicit in social contracts.

Social contracts (binding agreements among individuals) are formed when individuals (within a group) understand that constraints on genetic or autonomic behavior improves their wellbeing by improving the group's productivity. For example, a traffic signal, a constraint on an individual's behavior at a busy intersection, produces time-savings and injury reduction.

The traffic signal, an element of a social contract, can be put in place by a majority vote. The installation is accompanied by a law that forces everyone to obey the light.

Social contracts expanded from unwritten, to the Hammurabi codes which dealt with ownership and individual rights though the Magna Carta which limited the absolute power of Kings. Most recently social contracts have been broadened to include abolition, suffrage, and civil rights.

Along the way social contracts made imperfect adoptions. Permitting private ownership and use of earth's supporting resources while at the same time disenfranchising the unborn from these same services. For example, burning fossil fuel today prevents future generations from burning it. Maybe petroleum use should be limited to using it in none destructive forms. For example, the production of plastic that can be recycled over and over again.

In a parallel vein a better social contract might give rights to non-human elements of the environment; for example polar bears, or red foxes.

The motivation for a new social contract might reflect knowledge that the existing social contract has turned civilization into something like the Titanic heading for an iceberg. Today's actions diminish our lives and the lives of our children. Our present social contract will kill most humans living this century and reduce the wellbeing of the survivors far below what we presently enjoy.

Below I present a new social contract that can achieve universal average European wellbeing for people who live between 2100 to 2400. Like all other social contracts its going to constrain personal behaviors that previously were unconstrained.

The previous section Part 3 outlined the forces that attain and maintain a desirable sustainability. That is one without injury. The goal of this section is to convert the described forces into an explicit social contract -- enforceable laws that constrain the actions of individuals. Laws that can be placed before today's global population for their acceptance or rejection.

      Let me present these laws in two groups. First the elements that could maintain a civilization after it has made the transition to a sustainable design. These elements are by far the easier to visualize because in this design everyone (present and unborn) already has equal rights within their social group and equal support from the natural environment. That does not mean that they are equally productive with their time, or that they enjoy equal life style. But they all get the same base level of support from the environment.

The second group of elements of the social contract is a bit more involved because it deals with the transition from today's civilization to a new sustainable design. The second group must guide the reduction to zero of the existing civilization and the creation of the sustainable one.

This includes creating the equivalent of making a new space station on earth that uses 2% of the earths land area while decommissioning and returning to nature the other 98%. This task includes scavenging resources need in the new cities and detoxifying those left in place. It will allow the 7.5 billion people, who do not move to the new cities, to be supported gracefully and die from old age.

The imagined transition is guided by the new social contract, which does constrain individuals from performing behavior that was allowed by today's culture and religions. That is entire social structures, (equity holdings, religions, and races, languages and customs will disappear this century. These changes will be larger than the affects of abolition on slave owners.

The dismantlement is a bigger project than that experienced by Rome. Rome was dismantled through 300 years of rape, pillage, and decay. The envisioned dismantling of global civilization this century, will be a designed contraction providing full support for a rapidly declining (aging) population using a contracting energy base.

The vote for either section of the contract is a little tricky because the unborn people and non human elements of the eco system have no voice or vote. All the yes votes must come from existing individuals reflecting (not experience) but a personally constructed abstraction that the new unpleasant path forward (new social contract) is better than the much worse path forward created by our existing social contract.

       Group 1 components of the social contract
                -- maintain a civilization after it has transitioned to a sustainable design (circa 2100)

a) Global Population controls
               calculated from available dense energy and minimum wellbeing per person
       i) universal reversible human sterility.
       ii) birth lottery -- limits the number of births each year
       iii) birth incentives -- ensures that all the birth permits are used successfully.

b) human habitat zones-- limits human activities to designated areas
        (This is how we guarantee
              a)  the envrionmental quaity of a natural earth
              b) the energy density (96,000 KWH per year per person
                        required to provide minimum wellbering.

c) universal commons --
       i) all earth resources held in common ownership of all species, over all time periods.
       ii) no private ownership of earth's resources
       iii) equal allocations to each living person (50 million)
       iv) exclusive use of commons through annual lease plus one time recycling fees
              1) cap consumption of renewables below the natural renewing rates.
              2) cap leases of non renewables to initial stockpiles plus imbeded into infrastracture
                        initial content from scavenging old civilization.
              3) no use of exhaustible non renewables

d) limits on conflict
       i) maintenance of minimum (high level)of support for each person
       ii) limits on stratification of wellbeing


       Group 2 components of the social contract
                -- facilitate the transition to sustainable design in 85 years

People, like slave plantation owners, are not going to give up their private property to common ownership, give up their cash wealth, give up their social status, let themselves be taxed to build out an infrastructure they will never be allowed to live in, accept eminent domain foreclosures, relocate because their present location is no longer efficiently supportable with modern services or disassociate from from their religion, race, or tribe. Mosts importantly they are not giving up their right to fight when they feel they personally or their tribe was treated unfairly.

So the contract has to create forces that make these things happen as gently as possible.

For example, when the global population controls ("a" above) are implemented, habitat zones (b above) happen as a default of a declining population. By 2100, 98% of the land area on earth will be abandoned as there will be no services and thus no one will be living there. People will either die of old age in these remote places or they will move to other cities where services are better.

Universal commons (as presented in part c) i) outside of the 3 city states will be implemented when populations leave.

The implementation of cii, ciii, civ only becomes law within the new city states. Which while restrictive, the people in the cities are lottery winners -- children and parents of these children. When they moved in they were given ownership of their portion of the commons.

Since the new city states occupy only 2% of of the world's land area, the actions of eminent domain are small.

Because the material stock piles within the city states are scavenged from abandoned areas these were not not confiscated by eminent domain acts.

Being a member of a city state means you have no material holdings outside the city state. This is not so extreme. The lack of transport afforded those that live within the city states means there is limited access to these materials or physical spaces.

However, limits on resources squandered in conflict addressed (part d of the social contract) during the transmission period, is delicate and important.

Certainly the American civil war demonstrated that huge resources, material and human life, can be squander implementing new elements of the contract, if the minority voters so elect. The resources are needed to help create these city states.

This has the obvious effects that there will be an extremely small number of child in this civilization. For every 140 kids there will be one. for every140 kids in daycare there will be one, in three years these will be 1 out of every 140 preschools == 139 of 140 will close. Every year after that only one kindergarten out of 140 will be filled with children. after 18 years only 1 high school out of 140 high schools will be open. 4 years after that there will be only 1 out of 140 undergrads institutions. and after that only 1 in 140 grad schools and med schools and law schools will be open.

Only one parent in 140 will have a child to give their inheritance to. 139 will have to give their wealth to someone or something else.

And one more thing, Parents of these lottery children will be able to go live in one of three specially designed cities. It's a real good deal. But it means for every year of the social contract the youngest person outside of the three designated cities will be the age of the new social contract has been in place. 50 years into the new contract, the youngest person outside of the three cities is 50 years of age.

The consumer population will decrease by 90 million people each year. in the 80th year of the social contract, assuming these cohorts will die at 90 assuming everyone lives to 100, 1.9 billion people will be living.

Someone might own most of the GM stock but GM will be making cars for only several hundred million 80 year old car drivers. And that number will still be declining at 90 million a year.

Just as farm towns became ghost towns, most towns will find no customers and will fold. People will go live in larger cities where there are more services.

Ownership of farms or manufacturing or even rental property will cease to have value without consumers.

abandonment will populate the commons.




Expected conditions in 2100
       non renewable resources like fossil fuels and water, and uranium used to exhaustion
       energy deliveries 360GW of hydro electric power.
              For 400 year or until new energy source comes on line.
              recycling will be cheaper than mining


(back to head of paper)


10/13/2014 last rev 8/21/2015

Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to: Alpert@skil.org     (homepage) www.skil.org      position papers

paypal size  (more details)