IART Ingrid Katrine Amundsen /
KEYWORDS: GLOBAL-LOCAL COLLABORATION • A GLOBAL REDISTRIBUTION SYSTEM • ALTERNATIVE TO CAPITALISM
and an Alternative Currency System: a Redistributive Economy, that Encourages Resilience, Inclusion, and Increased Equality, as well as it must
Note: due to size problems with this essay, the remaining parts of this project will be uploaded as a PDF-file, after it is completed 2022.
"As the coronavirus continues its march around the world, governments have turned to proven public health measures, such as social distancing, to physically disrupt the contagion. Yet, doing so has severed the flow of goods and people, stalled economies, and is in the process of delivering a global recession. Economic contagion is now spreading as fast as the disease itself. [...]. In this uncharted territory, naming a global recession adds little clarity beyond setting the expectation of negative growth. Pressing questions include the path of the shock and recovery, whether economies will be able to return to their pre-shock output levels and growth rates, and whether there will be any structural legacy from the coronavirus crisis." (Carlsson-Szlezak, Reeves, and Swartz 2020).
Indeed, the global nerve after a historical shock or a so-called exogenous shock is shaky, uncertain, and unpredictable. Our hopes for the future is, nevertheless, one of a glimmering, and sparkling kind. However, because of the pandemic raging around the globe, we can all feel the tensions, just by taking in the news from a television, scrolling social media apps, reading the newspapers, or by listening to the radio. It is, most certainly, a frightening, heartbreaking, and devastating historical event for all of us! And, then there are humanitarian crisis and wars. It is a double shock to all of us. In this crisis we need each other! In togetherness, we need to start asking the right democratic, adaptive, and ethical questions (Piketty 2017, Seres 2021). Because, Krugman (2020c) argued before the coronavirus that "the rules of the game changes" after a profound crisis. But, he referred to the financial crisis in 2008-2009 (Krugman 2020c). The financial crisis was not a global crisis, it only effected parts of the world. However, its measures had global repercussions (Georgieva 2020). The pandemic and wars, adds further dramatic consequences for our global world, our health, our loved ones, our lives, and our livelihoods, as well as for geopolitical stability, the base of economic prosperity; microeconomics, and macroeconomic stability, as well as international relations. In the midst of this turmoil, this brooding global society, we must take a halt. Because, it is more than legitimate to turn existential; on the behalf of our current economic system, and ask ourselves: what is an economy, if it fails to support the majority of humanity, and nature? Because, the corona crisis, also creates vast opportunities to rethink our economic system, for the better. We must ask ourselves: what works, and what does not?
It is time for a fundamental transfiguration or transformation of the economic system. From a dysfunctional economic system; with lacks in adaptiveness (Hylland Eriksen 2019), and redistribution deficiency, we must create an economic system that is more redistributive and collaborative, inclusive and resilient, tolerant and diverse, as well as adaptive on all geographical scales. It has to make humanity and nature, recover, thrive and rise again, and secure a more geographically evenly dispersion of advanced technologies, and resources. It must emphasizse on technological fairness,and constructive competition, at the expense of technological power abuse, monopoly, and exploitation. Additionally, it must accentuate on a healthy economic and political power balance globally, hence it must also address pressing geopolitical matters, macroeconomics, international currents, and urgent global issues tied to natural ecosystem resources, ecological responsibility, and an ecological reconstruction from a collaborative approach. We must base our global economy on renewable energy and renewable resources, in order to create a sustainable economy for the future. Given the situation our global society is in: it is time to change the rules for the better, and create new and holistic or governing just, resilient and green principles for our future, that safeguards a just and a fair redistribution of resources. We must not let this historical shock change our planet, our world, for the worse. Furthermore, we must shape a sustainable economic system, within the frameworks of a global-local governance system with citizen's empowerment, local responses or simply bottom-up approaches: grassroot initiatives. This global-local, social-ecological, socio-economic, socio-ecological, social-technological and socio-technological system, must be able to take on the challenges that our global economy is currently facing. These global societal system challenges are: (1) a societal, climate, environmental and ecological catastrophe, (2) lack of global governance, the one political will and governing principles, (3) a rise in humanitarian crisis due to the pandemic and wars, (4) the divide between rich and poor countries, (5) irresponsible consumption, (6) injustice and justice, (7) redistribution and universalism, (8) socio-economic inequalities, (9) the ecology/economy gap, and at last: (10) the geographic uneven dispersion of technology. The problems are piling up!
But, let's get to the root of the problems: what are the principles and ideas lacking to approach such vast and comprehensive societal challenges from a sustainability, economic and political stance? In short, we sorely need some new and original thoughts, such as: (1) governing principles concepts and ideas at large, (2) a global governance system, (3) public interests to respond to the global governance system, (4) a treaty on exogenous shocks, (4) governing technological principles for artificial intelligence, (5) green optimum currency areas, (6) an eco-social contracts that works, (7) a bundle of visual system inquiries on how to construct an environmentally, climate and ecologically responsible future, as well as (8) governing principles and premises for the green valuta solution, and at last: the (9) architecture for a green valuta system in sum. This brief essay recognizes the vast problems of our current societal system, but it will nevertheless, emphazise on the multiple solutions to these challenges. Nevertheless, even though we need an alternative economic model sorely, it is important to note that the alternative system which will be stated, is not an all-inclusive answer to all these societal problems mentioned. Stay patient clever reader, and keep your hopes high! It's about to get exciting: it's time to step up the game! The most fundamental question in this context is, however: are we up for it? Are we up for a system change of our current economic system? However, the next years are pivotal for the environment and our global economy. It will show us whether we possess the capacity of governing our global economy, in a way that favors the majority of people, and nature. It will show us if there are any structural legacy, to draw from the challenging environmental, climate, ecological, institutional, political, social, and economic challenges we are up against: can we change the gravely and highly problematic situation we are in, for the better?
From critical eye on our current economic system in the abstract, towards narrowing down the scope of this brief paper. The author has had to make her internal trade-offs, based on a careful selection of literature, which may highlight the most pressing and relevant and urgent challenges, and critiques of our current economic system. The uneven distribution of food, and irresponsible production and consumption patterns, will e.g. be addressed more thoroughly in essays planned separate to this brief essay. And, the increased gap between the real economy and finance, will not be analyzed in this text. Because, as Krugman (2020) argue: finance is not a part of the real economy. Therefore, it does not necessarily have direct effects on how our real economy performs, or works. However, finance and its effects on the real economy, requires more of an in-depth study, which this brief essay cannot provide space for. Furthermore, the technology required in societal progress, and in producing problem solving technological innovations, to answer to our environmental problems, is in general not an all fix, that would be naïve to think, unrealistic to achieve, or perhaps even dangerous to rely on (Miller 2017). The dilemmas, catches, and advantages of advanced technology, will be discussed more rigorously in this essay's fourth theoretical section. It will be compared with the challenges and opportunities of eco-pessimism, among other comparisons. More importantly, the author has chosen to address what the majority of people, and nature need the most: the unprivileged and underestimated part of humanity, and nature. And additionally, we must sophistically maneuver among the challenges that the opponents of capitalism are up against, and respond to these urgent issues in a constructive manner. Because evidently, the economic language – is also the language of power (Moene 2020). In other words, free-market capitalism equals power, and dominance. But, a critique of capitalism, will be addressed in a text separate to this brief essay, in order to give it the space and attention, it requieres. Moreover, as problematic the economic and social, political, and environmental, and institutional trends in our global economic system are, we have to confront these demanding societal challenges now. Certainly, these systemic societal problems will only get worse, if we do not pull the problems by the root instantly: we are up against the wall! We must confront the heart of the matter, and get into this powerful, difficult, and demanding "game" right now. As a starter, the essence to our problems about capitalism stems from, or more precisely; the Achilles heel of our global economic system, is presented by the Norwegian economist Jakobsen (2019f), in the following quotes:
"Although competition means that resources are allocated in an efficient and rational way, this does not necessarily mean that the distribution is fair. [...]. When the market economy, both nationally and globally, contributes to the ever-increasing differences, with the consequence that some live in abundance while others starve, it shows that liberalism's demands for equality and justice are not met. [...]. [T]he economy should assure that human welfare, efficient use of resources and adaptation to ecological frameworks are met. [...]. Since a pure market economy has not built in any principles, that ensures us that resources are distributed in a fair way, the consequence of the differential treatment is instead that the distance between rich and poor increases in a self-reinforcing way. [...]. The solution may lie within an economic paradigm based on a foundation that unites humanism with ecological responsibility" (translated from Norwegian by the author, note: the different quotes has been pulled together by the author, see: the brackets in the text, or the full text in Norwegian, in Jakobsen 2019f, p. 70 and 73, or pp. 58-73).
The most pressing challenge of the current economic system seems to be the lack of a fair and just distribution of resources (Jacobsen 2019, p. 70). This, implies that we must create a more equal and redistributive economy: a different planetary economy, which brings together both humanism and ecological responsibility (Jakobsen 2019, p. 73). Jacobsen's perspective builds on Daly and Cobb (1989; in Jakobsen 2019f, p. 180). They argue that mainstream economy shows a lack in the "ability to handle issues related to over-consumption of natural resources and fair distribution of goods." (Daly and Cobb 1989; in Jacoobsen 2019f, p. 180). In their point of view, collaboration embedded in "network-based interaction becomes more important than competition between autonomous market participants." (Daly and Cobb 1989; in Jacobsen 2019f, p. 181): "Everything (also the market) is connected through dynamic relations (the web of life)". Since everything is connected through relationships, they add: "relations are more important than objects, and that the description of change is more central than mapping what is". To achieve such a profound change to our mainstream economy, a move from competition to interaction and collaboration, and a move from analyzing the status quo to engage in transformation, is fundamental. The author, however argue, that rather than a move from competition to collaboration, we need a balance between the two entities, in which collaboration must become more prominent, than currently is the case. This balance, among other key balances in macroeconomics, international currents, and geopolitics, will be addressed in this essay. That brings us to the author's contribution, to this highly challenging and demanding discussion of global system change, to our current economic system. Let me explain the use of existing conceptual theory, principles, notions, and concerns that unfolds heavily in this brief paper:
As a starter, the different parts of this essay are as following: prelude, abstract, introduction, methodology, theory, case comparisons, and the alternative strategy, and a postlud. All these different parts of this essay discuss what already exists, except from the alternative, which discusses transformation into a greening of our future world. Let us get started. The methodological part has five sections. The theoretical part has four sections, and the case comparisons have five sections. The alternative strategy is, however, divided into four sections. Altogether, the highly demanding global system change of our current economic system, is, therefore, explained by the author's next arguments and claims. The methodological argumented are as following: (1) the statement of claiming to create an alternative to capitalism is presented. (2) The discussion of the tabula rasa situation we are in is addressed. (3) A clarification of the author's outsider role stance follows. (4) An emphasizie on pluralism, synthesis, and decomposition, will be claimed. (5) the next methodological tool will be discussed: system transdisciplinarity, and the meta discipline dilemma, as well as connectivity, holism, and transformation. The last methodological tool is (6) the prisoner's dilemma and interdependence. While the fifth methodological tool, moves from methodology to theory: it is an integrated unification of methodology, and theory, which paves the way for global system change to our current political, social, institutional, environmental, and economic model, the sixth methodological tool emphasize on building a foundation for collaboration, to achieve this change. Let's turn to the theory. Because next, the argumentation of the theoretical parts, will be analyzed. The author suggests, as mentioned, a four folded theory discussion. Let's go!
To break it down, it starts out with the author's discussion of the first theoretical section consisting of (1) eight challenges to our current economic system; free-market capitalism. The second theoretical section is (2) capitalism, socialism, political economy, political science, behavioral economics, ecological economics, and welfare states, as well as the Nordic Models. And, in the third theoretical section (3) the author will aim at discussing key balances in macroeconomics, geopolitics and international currents. (4) at last, in the fourth and final part of the theoretical part, advanced technology will be analyzed. The next analysis of the argumentation is nine real life cases that supports the author's core theoretical concept. These nine cases are: (1) USA as an optimum currency area (OCA), and the impossible trinity (IT), (2) New Zealand and Costa Rica's pioneering body of environmental lawmaking, and constitutional reforms, as well as (3) the case on green points in Paris, London, and New York. (4) carbon pricing in the European Union (EU), and carbon taxation, (5) the Bahamian Sand Dollar, (6-7) the Green Recovery Tracker and the MariTEAM Model, and (8) an eco-social contract (UNRISD), (9) adaptive governance in India, and finally (10) open banking in Great Britain, and (11) circularity standards (IEC, NO, WBCSD and KPMG Global, among other businesses), and at last (12) the Norwegian democracy. These case comparisons works as a nutritious foundation for the next part of this project, the alternative, which goes like this:
To be clear: the alternative builds on existing theory, notions, and cases, as well as the author's own visualizations, theoretical concepts, theoretical constructions, system narratives, and concerns. The alternative has eleven parts: First there are (1) twenty eight reinvented and reimagined governing green and just economic principles for a planetary economy. (2) The rise of an adaptive, inclusive, resilient, diverse, inclusive, tolerant, and democratic global governance will be deciphered. (3) Public interests will be analyzed. (4) A treaty for historical shocks will be presented. (5) An eco-social contract will be discussed. (6) A global circularity standard will be suggested. (7) Next, good and bad artificial intelligence (AI) will be analyzed. Then (8) green OCA will be suggested. (9) And next the visual models of the system fragments will be stated. (10) A visualization of the green valuta solution to the planetary economy and its fiscal-monetary model will be addressed, and at last, the future: (11) the global governance of an environmentally and ecological responsible model, will be suggested. Let's take a quick and refreshing dive into eleven models stated in this transformative alternative.
As a reminder: all of the visual models that will be expressed next highlights how our current economic system can start the transformation process into something new: a more just, more equal, ecologically responsible, and ecologically reconstructed global economic society. There are eleven models in the alternative, in which most of them are visual, except the tenth model that consists of rules, and premises. Let's go! (1) First the author make claims for a rule changing global system of constitutional reforms to support nature as a subject. (2) Then the author addresses local-global power in an adaptive governance system. (3) The third visual model of the alternative is the green valuta system as a collaborative and competitive rating system. The (4) fourth visual model discuss the transformation from old principles to reimagined and reinvented green principles. And, the (5) fifth visual model analyze a green class mobility system. (6) In the sixth model the author puts forward a transformation from an egocentric system to an ecocentric system globally. (7) The author suggests an alternation of growth types. (8) A move from behavioral economics to eco-behavioral economics is suggested. The first eighth visualizations, conceptual theory, and system narratives of the alternative, has to work on multiple levels (methodologically, theoretically and visually), and in reality on all geographical scales: the global, the regional, the national, and the local scale. Overall, the eight visual models, conceptual theory, and system narratives, must create an (9) interdependent meta model, or simply: a governing planetary system in fragments. And finally, the author maps out the principles, and premises for (10) an integrated green valuta digital money platform, followed by a fiscal-monetary model architecture for the green valuta system, and at last the global governance system in sum will be presented.
Indeed, some parts of the alternative is more rooted in existing theoretical principles, ideas and concepts, while other parts of the alternative is more a result of the authors conceptual, theortical or visual construct. Altogether, the core of the alternative stated should build upon the methodology, theory, and case comparisons, without simply repeating what existing theory says. It has to reimagine and reinvent existing conceptual, notions, principles, and ideas. In short, it must address the achilles heel of our current economic system, presented by Jacobsen (2020e). Let us turn our curiosity to the cut to the core research question of this brief essay. If we put our minds into it: how can we make our global economic system an economy for the majority of people and nature? Is it doable? These research questions, must be answered by the author in the following arguments stated in this brief essay; on the transformation of the global economic society, into a more environmentally friendly, ecological and just global economic society for mankind, and nature.
It is time for a game changer for humanity, and nature! Let us, if only momentarily, try to distract our attention from the pile of problems in front of us. We must not become paralyzed by the amounts of difficulties we are confronted with. We briefly have to ignore the profound feeling of being stuck in a system failure. And then, quickly turn our curiosity to the cascade of benefits and opportunities for nature and humanity, embedded in an alternative and well-functioning planetary economic system. The alternative suggested should, most of all, strive to be fit for a sustainable future: our common future (UN 1987). To achieve this, we must seize the opportunity that have been handed over to us, in the shape of a historical shock. We must, most certainly, exploit the tabula rasa situation we are in, in order to reimagine and reinvent the current economic system we live by, to create a better future for all. However, to accommodate such profound system changes, we must start by running up that hill, or climbing that mountain. Everyone have to take their part in the opportunities and challenges ahead. This, by creating and sharing fascinating and problem solving concepts and thoughts, innovations and actions, technology, and ideas, as well as environmental measures, fit for an ecologically and environmentally responsible, and humane future: a game changer for the majority of people, and nature. But, what if an even more severe and grave historical shock than the corona crisis, should hit the earth? What if everything, as we know it, falls apart? Do we have an alternative?
In any circumstances, it is fundamental to have an alternative plan or method. The most fundamental methodological choice of strategy must therefore; as difficult it might seem, be to create a well-functioning alternative to the capitalist system. This, if it should cease to function, or if our global economy fails to co-work, co-create, and co-evolve with nature on a global-local level. If it fails to support a fairer distribution of advanced technologies. And, if the present economy fails to provide us a more equal and just social and economic system: it will leave the majority, if not futureless, then certainly less prosperous, and with more restricted livelihoods and freedoms, than the privileged few. That's why we need to make the most out of the crisis or double historical shock we are in, to change the rules of the game that we reluctantly have had to play by, up until this point. And then, suggest reform-friendly principles for our future. We must put our trust and enthusiasm in problem solving mindsets, and believe that there are multiple economic system combination possibilities, that has not yet transpired to us or are already present in valuable existing knowledge. Jointly, the existing knowledge, or more importantly new knowledge being created, might be far better suited to approach our urgent societal matters, such as social and economic, institutional and political, as well as technological, and environmental challenges, concerns, and hopes for the future. We are not stuck forever! Given this, the core question that comes to my mind is: why not switch to a more preferable "game", with better future prospects for humanity, and nature? Our current free-market capitalist system, has proven to us that it is surely not as sustainable or resilient, responsible or adaptive, stable or equal, redistributive or collaborative, tolerant or diverse, as we would have anticipated. And, which we legitimately can demand from a well-functioning global economic system, in the future.
To elaborate on this, whether we like it or not, we have to pave the way for system changes of our dysfunctional capitalist model, since it does not work for the majority of mankind, or nature. In other words, our current economic system suppress, or ceases to support our natural eco-systems, biodiversity, the climate, sustainability, the environment and the majority of mankind. "The globalized economy is so destructive, for both humans and ecosystems, that a new economy is needed." (Nordberg-Hodge 2016; in Jacobsen 2019c, p. 288). Furthermore: "The dominant paradigm based on the idea of the economic man must be replaced by an acceptance of the "man in the community"." (Daly 1991; in Jakobsen 2019g, p. 179). We have to change because we have pushed ourselves; our natural eco-systems, our physical surroundings, and humanity, to the limits. Kumar argued in 2002: "We are now at a crossroad, either we can continue on the same path, or we can choose an economy that serves the best interests of the community." (Kumar 2002; in Jakobsen 2019a, p. 238). However, we are still at the same crossroad. Let's get it right this time! Sen supports the vison of the man in the community, and refers to Smith (1997), who argues that
"[m]an ought to regard himself, not as something separated and detached but as a citizen of the world, a member of the commonwealth of nature, and to the interest of this great community, he ought at all times to be willing that his own little interest should be sacrificed." (Smith 1776, p. 22; in Sen; in Jakobsen 2019a, p. 242).
Indeed, this decade may be the pivotal for global system change, in which we must take the right turn in the crossroad, and make a move towards solidarity with the commonwealth of nature. Because, there are human and planetary limits to growth, which we have surpassed (Meadows et al 1972). This, measured by e.g. increased job insecurity and income inequality, and increased ecological footprints, which makes human beings live in economic uncertainty, as well as to live in a dysfunctional economic system: a global society which degrades natural ecosystems and – supports economic and social inequality, as well as political injustice (Meadows et al 1972, Dicken 2011a). In short, we have had to live in an economic system, in which economic growth has caused e.g. increased population, increased food production, increased industrialization, increased pollution, and an increased consumption of nonrenewable natural resources, and it exceeds social, and ecological boundaries globally (Meadows et al 1972, Raworth 2012, 2017). Our core aim must therefore be to create a future world in balance, in which nature's given boundaries, and social limits, are not exceeded (Meadows et al 1972, Raworth 2012, 2017). In other words: we have to e.g. construct an innovative eco-social contract globally, in which each country commit to constitutionally protect nature, and human beings. Additionally, we need an alternative to capitalism; in case of a collapse, an emergency, or most certainly: in case of a continuous system failure to justly support humanity and nature, in an ecological, climate and environmentally responsible, humane, and lifesaving manner.
It is time to find an environmental cure to our societal problems that must be embedded in a structural change, and a radical change of our global society, by the means of a planetary, redistributive, and collaborative economic model. This economic model must put resilience and diversity, a just and tolerant global society, respect and adaptiveness, trust and care, openness, transparency, and governance, as well as inclusion and justice, at the top of the list. It must also transform the economy from being linear to resource generating loop systems that alternates between different growth types to favor humanity, and nature. In order to support this new world order: the post-corona order, with new power configurations, new options to collaborate, new planetary perspectives, and new geopolitical alliances, we must change our global, national, regional, and local economic societies radically. This year; 2022, is a milestone historically. We are in a groundbreaking double shock. This represents a vast and powerful opportunity, to change the unequal, unjust, and unfair economic system we have constructed, which causes an over exploitation of nature. An economic system favors the privileged few, rather than the majority of people, and nature. We need to start rearranging and redistributing the resources we possess more fairly, and more equally socially and economically, environmentally, and politically. To achieve that, we additionally need to start rethinking the organization or the arrangement of our global economic society. And, start a transition towards sustainability, by evaluating tabula rasa options to the arrangement of our present economic system, in which we decide what to keep, what to learn from, and what to throw away. At least: we must make a real effort in trying to lead the economy into more sustainable patterns. These sustainable patterns must supports the majority of mankind, advanced technological fairness, frontline science, entrepreneurial businesses, and nature jointly. We must enable nature and humanity to co-work, co-create and co-evolve, socially, technologically, politically, institutionally, environmentally and ecologically. It is time to open up for a real conversation and a dialogue with nature. The corona crisis and the war in Ukraine might make most of us to rethink our lives and our existence, as well as urgent existential matters tied to our global society. Because of that, we have already become more prone to adapt to changes.
We must accept that we are in a favorable tabula rasa moment! This could be the year of fundamental, and rapid societal system changes, with global repercussions. The world is tossing and turning, and changing as I write. The structures are changing. We must seize the opportunity. But, remember: we create the structures, we are the structures, only we can change them. We must break free from pre-existing chains of societal problems we have nurtured, and start reinventing and reimagining what kind of governing societal principles we need, to improve ourselves, our world. Because, what the earth needs, is what we need too! We too are nature. It is time to clean the table, and take in all the impression from existing economic theories and notions, in order to reimagine and reinvent these. Let us start out by rethinking theoretical concepts, principles, and notions in our mindsets, and try to reimagine and reinvent our existing conceptual theories. We must let the structural changes unfold, and not fight against it. And, do everything in our power to steer the structural changes in the right direction towards an international sustainability transition (IST). It is, most certainly, a pivot moment for ecological and environmentally responsible actions and behaviors. In order to create something original, or odd, fit for a different era: we must take a moment and pause to think, and then innovatively navigate into the unknown, without forgetting or leaving valuable knowledge behind us. The final achievement of this global system change quest, must be to make sure that we have kept the best from the past, learned from our mistakes, and added a twist; an original theoretical concept, which can be applied to the real world. This innovative goal, must be present in all the steps required to solve this riddle: the global system change challenge. And, the result must be fit for an ecological and environmentally responsible, and humanist future: it must work for all of us, and nature, jointly. But, what kind of position is best suited to take on such an ambitious; or perhaps even unrealistic challenge, and unsound quest?
The global upheaval we are experiencing, creates an opening for the objective outsider's perspective of reinventing and reimagining economic theories, and notions, principles, and ideas: a tabula rasa situation, in which we have to sort out what to keep, what to learn from, and what to throw away. Let's try to clarify the difference by being an outsider and being an insider:
"The qualitative researcher's perspective is perhaps a paradoxical one: it is to be acutely tuned-in to the experiences and meaning systems of others—to indwell—and at the same time to be aware of how one's own biases and preconceptions may be influencing what one is trying to understand" (Maykut and Morehouse 1994, p. 123; in Corbin Dwyer and Buckle 2009).
While the insiders have access to meaning systems, notions, and theories, cultures, and interpretations of these, the outsider's obvious advantage is based on the same arguments. But, it is a freedom from these meaning systems, cultures, theories, and notions, as well as its interpretations. This makes the outsider prone to be objective, freed from indoctrinated knowledge, and possess the ability to be innovative, in the best sense. Because: "When we see ourselves and society from the outside, we discover connections that are not so easy to see from the inside." (Kumar 2013; in Jakobsen 2019a, p. 240). Moreover, the author's outsider role, is most certainly, the creative-intuitive, and visual-spatial, human geographer and architect's approach, an holistic and societal perspective, an outsider perspective. Architecture can be seen as the art of conceptualizing and creating spaces, it is more visual-spatial, and creative-intuitive. Human geography can, however, be defined as the art of investigating the influence of differences in geography on human behavior or human phenomena, at different geographical scales, and places. However, Shiva argue that: "The idea of an objective and value-free science is an illusion that arose in Europe during the Enlightenment." (Shiva; in Jakobsen 2019a, p. 250). He further adds that, all knowledge mirrors our cultural roots and identity, which are tied to a specific ethical stance (Shiva; in Jakobsen 2019a, p. 250). The lack or myth of objectiveness and value-freeness in science, is a point of view that is, indeed also, supported by Harari (2017). But, there are still differences between being an insider or outsider to a field of study, in which the outsider tends to be more objective than the insider, when these two positions are compared (Kumar 2013; in Jakobsen 2019a, p. 240). However, Smith (1776) argue that economics is part of the social sciences, and if we apply that kind of notion on economics; I as a human geographer am an insider too, but if we regard economics as a dismal science; as many economists do, I'm an outsider. Therefore, the understanding of what it means to be either an insider or outsider is a question of how we define and perceive economics, and what kind of camps in economics we adhere to: whether it’s heterodox economics, such as e.g. institutional, ecological and sustainable economics, or neoclassical, mainstream, standard and hardcore economics. So to clarify, in order to refer to the dominant economic system, the author will use one of these different terms as synonyms, in writing about the existing economic system, and those economies which are not mainstream, will be adressed to as heterodox economics.
Nevertheless, from the insider-outsider approach, and to the qualitative approach of this methodological section: the author has chosen qualitative research and social science approach towards the global economy, rather than economy as a dismal science (quantitative research):"[w]hile the qualitative research relies on verbal narrative like spoken or written data, the quantitative research uses logical or statistical observations to draw conclusions." (Key-Differences 2018). This means that the author will try to grasp the global economy as a system of governing economic principles, rather than a complex with given rules. It is, thus, important to note, that the global economy as nature is a system and a complex. By this definition, it can be fruitful to regard one selves as an outsider and insider, as the author claims to be. Furthermore, since the author has chosen a qualitative approach in this essay, her goal is to enhance accessibility and democratization of knowledge (open science). In short, the task is to reimagine and reinvent economic theory, and notions, principles and ideas, to fit the purpose of this essay, which is to create a global system change, an alternative. Additionally, the motivation is to construct an integration of knowledge, through synthesis, decomposition, and pluralism, in order to construct a foundation for a planetary economy with societal models, governing principles, and conceptual visualizations for a possible future. We have to learn how to govern the structural changes, in a manner that will benefit the majority of humanity, and nature. Hopefully, the author manage to create order in an otherwise messy and fragmented world, for you – the reader.
Since humanity is part of nature, our global society can be regarded as a natural system guided by principles, or a natural complex guided by rules (Kahil 1990, p. 11). These rules and principles continuously change, whether we like it, or not (Kahil 1990, p. 11). While the economy as a dismal science, may be regarded as a complex governed by rules, qualitative research considers the global society as a system, which may be guided by principles. While principles are looser, less specific, and more of a guiding kind, rules are more specific, and fixed. Principles and rules must work together in a future global society, in which future principles can become rule changing. On the other hand, these rules may have an effect on future principles of our economic system, and e.g. on our social, societal and environmental behavior. But, as Jakobsen (2019f, p. 73) argued "a pure market economy has not built in any principles", which would have ensured us that a distribution and redistribution of resources, should have happened in a just and fair manner, that benefits humanity, and nature. Our global economic society is, therefore, unjust and unfair for the majority of mankind, and nature. Economy as a dismal science have mathematical rules and algorithms, but we lack any kind of collaborative and redistributive governing economic principles, that could have tied together humanity, and nature in a social-ecological or eco-social way. Because, nature is a complex and system, so is our global economy. To create a future planetary economy for mankind and nature, we have to integrate knowledge, and create a holistic perspective on nature and the economy as a complex and as a system (system transdisciplinarity).
Furthermore, to understand the global economic society as a system, the author applies two cognitive styles to understand our challenges, when facing demanding global system changes. Let us start by defining the two thinking styles suggested: synthesis and decomposition. While the cognitive process of a synthesis is to build or construct a theoretical concept piece by piece or argument by argument, a decomposition breaks wholeness or theoretical concepts into parts, to scrutinize these. This, the author applies to global system changes theoretically. Because, it is easier to understand a system built element by element, or a theoretical wholeness divided into parts, than understanding a whole system at once. Examples of systems are food security, the Nordic Model, the institutional art world, capitalism, and natural ecosystems. Both cognitive styles; addressed to understand holistic systems, such as e.g. the global society, are as mentioned, core processes needed to conceptualize, visualize, and construct conceptual theory, on global system change. More importantly, these two procedures aims at creating coherence, and system understanding in this essay. The strategic choice of either option; a synthesis or a decomposition, is to understand and relate to core research questions methodologically. Such questions stated are: what feels most natural in identifying the characteristics of the problem(s) addressed? What brings the most original twist? Or, what unfolds the concerns of the system analysis? And finally: what kinds of arguments supports the coherence of the system inquiry most thoughtfully? Indeed, the synthesis-decomposition procedure aim at finding solutions to impossible or infinite intellectual quests such as e.g. global system changes, by creating a possible alternative or a different planetary economy. This, is executed by taking into account theory that are pluralist, heterodox, complementary, and eclectic, which may support a variety of approaches to a planetary system change, towards a more environmentally friendly global society. It also expresses my enthusiasm about the myriad of critical and dissenting ideas, embedded in a broader perspective on the field of economy, such as e.g. a system transdisciplinary approaches, or as defined next; pluralism:
"Economics is a hugely varied field, with an amazing colorful array of different paradigms, methods and focuses, and pluralist economics is [a study] that includes all of these [, by] introduc[ing] critical and dissenting ideas" (Fischer, Hasell, Proctor, Uwakwe, Ward-Perkins and Watson 2018, p. 2 and 4).
I have decided to define the key notion; pluralism, because it is perhaps the most unfamiliarly notion of the four terms, mentioned right before the quote. However, these four notions mentioned are befriended. Since heterodixity, complementarity and eclecticism is more familiar to us, these notions are more intuitively defined. Heterodoxity is; in this context, conceptual theory that separates it selves from standard, mainstream or traditional perceptions, such as by being odd or original like e.g. heterodox economics. Complementary; in this brief paper, means that different conceptual theories; alike colors, creates a neutral or a balance when combined such as e.g. a complementary valuta. However, mixing two entities does not always result in a neutral or a balance. At times the result comes from a discrepancy between the expected result and an unexpected and actual result, this result is a so-called incongruence. However, that brings us to the last term; eclectic, which in this short text, may be understood as theories, and notions deriving from a broad range of sources, a relevant mix of quite differentiated theories, principles, and notions, that when applied supports the global system change approach. A way to create order in a fragmented and messy global society is to interpolate. In mathematics it is defined as "the insertion of an intermediate value or term into a series by estimating or calculating it from surrounding known values." (Dictionary 2021a). Drawn from mathematics and applied to social sciences, to interpolate means to align several singular cases or phenomena, in order to create a path (forward) or, in other words, to draw a system understanding from the given cases and phenomena that creates a trajectory. Every alternative conceptual theory and notions, principles and ideas, that supports the author's system account in this essay, is added into the text by using these four methodological notions, as a springboard to accumulate integrated knowledge with relevance for the alternative stated. Altogether, these four terms favors a system account, or a more precisely pronounced; a holistic process, regarding the global society as an interconnected whole. That brings us to the next methodological tool that may; perhaps even further, pave the way for a more holistic understanding of our messy world, in which the author moves from a methodological to a theoretical perspective on the economy of our global society. This joint perspective builds on system transdisciplinarity, holism, connectivity, and transformation that must take a qualitative and integrated stance, on our current global economic system, and on how we can transform it, in order to create a better future for the majority of people, and nature.
It is important to note, that transdisciplinarity needs to be scrutinized or explained more thoroughly, than this essay can provide space for. In short, it strives to create unity or wholeness out of pluralist, eclectic, complementary, and heterodox conceptual theory in this context. Furthermore, what separates transdisciplinarity from interdisciplinarity, is the aim of creating holistic systems and approaches, that fills in the gaps of an otherwise fragmented and incomplete global economic society. Indeed, the quest of transdisciplinarity is to unify and integrate knowledge from different sectors and disciplines. This, in order to create a system account or a holistic understanding; the world as an integrated whole, and to solve our most pressing environmental, economic, social, institutional, and political matters. And, address what structural challenges and systemic opportunities, our global economic society has to handle, through the current era of system upheaval we are experiencing. Indeed, this double historical shock will pave the way for structural processes or system changes to our global economic society, which must be accommodated by system transdisciplinarity, holism, and interconnectivity as methodological tools, to enhance system transformation. Let us start out by clarifying system transdisciplinarity as a notion.
“The notion of transdisciplinarity exemplifies one of the historically important driving forces in the area of interdisciplinarity, namely, the idea of the desirability of the integration of knowledge into some meaningful whole. The best example, perhaps, of the drive to transdisciplinarity might be the early discussions of general systems theory when it was being held forward as a grand synthesis of knowledge. Marxism, structuralism, and feminist theory are sometimes cited as examples of a transdisciplinary approach. Essentially, this kind of interdisciplinarity represents the impetus to integrate knowledge, and, hence, is often characterized by a denigration and repudiation of the disciplines and disciplinary work as essentially fragmented and incomplete.
If we now look at these rough and ready distinctions through the lenses of the three conceptual strands noted above, some interesting results emerge. First, consider the theoretical-practical wisdom distinction. Strictly disciplinary activities tend primarily to be concerned with theoretical understanding, while multidisciplinary activities, and perhaps even some interdisciplinary projects, are more concerned with practical results. Transdisciplinary activities, to be sure, tend toward addressing questions of theoretical understanding, especially those of the unity of knowledge, but the distinction between theoretical concerns and practical questions in interdisciplinary work seems worth making.” (Petrie 1992, pp. 299-333; in Evans 2014).
This systemic transdisciplinary approach, synthesis and decomposition, as well as the pluralist way to address urgent global societal matters matters. It intersects or supports Mokiy's (2020) perspective on 'system transdiciplinarity as a Meta discipline'; with an inherent Meta narrative, Meta theory, and Meta model. Transdisciplinarity strives for unity of knowledge (Nicolescu, 1997; in Moghadam-Saman 2018 ). Moreover, it “[…] involves intense interaction between academics and practitioners in order to promote a mutual learning process between them.” (Steiner and Posch, 2006, 4; in Moghadam-Saman 2018). While this brief paper does not involve an interaction between researchers and practioners, it involves Meta models such as visualizations as a methodological tool, versus descriptive systems, or as in Mokiy's (2020) Meta classification; Meta narratives and Meta theory. The idea of this essay, is to show that Meta narratives or descriptive systems can co-work, co-create and co-evolve with visual models or Meta models; in a synergetic way, to pave the way for a Meta discipline. Because, since it is a interconnected system explanation of the interaction of systems fragments, it is also a Meta discipline. However, in this lies also the weakness of system transdisciplinarity. Indeed, since it takes a holistic approach to our world, it might underestimate the power of details. This is the dilemma of any system transdiciplinary or meta discipline approach. However,
"To solve the problems [our global society is up against], it is necessary that we change our understanding towards wholeness and contexts instead of focusing on parts and division. On the personal level, we must move away from an "I" – to a "we" consciousness, and at the system level, we must move from an egocentric to an ecocentric economy. This means, among other things, that we must develop relationships with others, with the whole system and with ourselves." (translated from Norwegian by the author, Scharmer 2019; in Jakobsen 2019c, p. 272).
Furthermore, we have to change our
"perception of reality which is characterized by separation between people and between people and nature. The solution lies in an awareness that everything in reality is integrated, and that we are part of the whole, and that we all have the whole in us." (translated form Norwegian by the author, Eisenstein 2007; in Jakobsen 2019c, p. 269).
Because, as Eisenstein continues: we are "interbeings", which means "to be one with everything" (Eisenstein 2007; in Jakobsen 2029b, p. 269). Therefore, since we are part of the global economic society and nature, we also have to start creating a "planetary consciousness", and a "harmonic interaction between humanity and nature", to endeavor our societal and ecological problems or challenges (Lindner 2011, Klein 2014; in Jakobsen 2019c, p. 264 and 266). Additionally, we have to connect and communicate, and make "a breech with established routines and frames of understanding" our current global economic system, in order to face the societal, ecological, climate and environmental problems we are up against (Lindner 2011; in Jakobsen 2019c, p. 266). Moreover, to accommodate such societal, ecological, climate and environmental problems stated prior in this brief essay, interconnectivity and holism may, therefore, be the key to understanding the relationships between the people, and nature. Because, Nordberg-Hodge (2016) builds on an integrated view of nature and mankind, in which she argues that such an integrated perspective, has to be conducted through an holistic perception of reality (Nordberg-Hodge 2016; in Jakobsen 2019c, p. 289. We are interconnected socially, economically, ecologically, environmentally, climatically, institutionally, technologically, and politically. We need each other to function and survive (interdependence). This point of view is supported by Zakaria (2020). The economy must therefore have an integrated and interconnected, pluralist and qualitative, as well as a system transdiciplinary approach, that transforms itself, or moves towards a global ecological and economic foundation.
"Manfred Max-Neef points out that economics within a holistic worldview cannot exist in isolation from other disciplines. He gives good reasons why ecological economics must be developed as a transdisciplinary science. [...]. Peter Söderbaum points out that a transdisciplinary approach is required where economics, ecology and social sciences are central. Quantitative growth is being replaced by a focus on qualitative development, which is characterized by increasing complexity." (translated by the author form Norwegian, Max-Neef, Söderbaum; in Jakobsen 2019g, p. 179).
Altogether, interconnectivity, interdependence, holism, pluralism, and system transdisciplinarity, works as the author's core guiding methodological and theoretical principles, in order to create an alternative economic system, and to handle complex global system changes theoretically, such as transformation, which can be difined as a marked system change towards a more sustainable, ecologically, environmentally and climatically responsible global society. Since system transdisciplinarity and interconnectivity, may be regarded as a Meta discipline approach, it supports the author's bird-eye perspective, and the creation of governing principles and ideas, conceptual theory, visualizations, systemic narratives and notions, of the alternative. In short, this methodological and theoretical approach must support transformation of our economic system towards a paradigm shift of our current global economic system – an integrated global economic system change of our global society, in which ecological, environmental, climate and societal changes must co-work, co-create and co-evolve. In order to be engaging, this text is a visionary mix of analytical-logical (coherence and comparisons), creative-intuitive (conceptual theory construction), and visual-spatial (visualizations and holistic approaches) language style and form. And, this brief essay must set the bars high; on how to create alternative conceptual theory, principles, ideas and visualizations on how to improve, and recommend a system approach, on how to better the conditions for the majority of people, and nature of – a future earth. To narrow down this interesting task, let's get into the key roots theoretically, as a foundation for the alternative posed later in this brief essay.
The next conceptual theories, principles and ideas works as a nutritious foundation for the alternative stated later in this brief essay, in which the author's conceptual theory and constructions, principles and ideas, as well as visualizations, rests heavily on. However, the task of this essay is not just to repeat what previous and current economic theory, principles, and ideas says. The most important task of this brief essay is to reimagine and reinvent these theoretical components, to fit the alternative stated later in this essay, in which the author strives to do her best to create something new and original, for our future world. Hopefully, the author will contribute to the vast theoretical ambitions of creating better conditions for the majority of people, and nature, along with other key contributors to this exciting system change challenge, to our current economic model. This theoretical part discusses the principles and concepts from the realm of the economy, law, and politics, such as e.g. political economy, behavioral economics, sustainable economics, institutional economics, ecological economics, and political science. To start with, let's see what the pioneering father of democracy; Montesquieu, have to say about the fundaments of the field of political theory, as one of the most essential roots of political science, in order to create a solid foundation for the alternative, which takes a broad range of economic, social and political matters into account, and utlize these urgent issues to confront environmental and ecological, sustainable and climate challenges in this brief essay as a whole.
Smith is regarded as the pioneering father of the economy. He established economics as an autonomous field, within the social sciences (Fishwick et al. 2010c, Eriksen 2012, p. XII and p. XIII). Until Smith, there was no professional title, and no established and independent field of economics (Eriksen 2012, p. XIII). It is therefore fitting that an essay on the principle and ideas of an alternative global economy, should start out by referring to its origin, and acknowledge the historical roots of economics (Fishwick et al. 2010c, p. 141). However, economic subjects had been discussed as early as by the Greek philosophers. And, even in the hundreds years before Smith, a broad range of texts had been published. But, these were all very fragmentary according to Eriksen (2012, p. XIII). Today, he is, particularly, praised as a prophet for free trade and free competition (Eriksen 2012, p. VIII). However, Fishwick (et al. 2010c, p. 141) argue that his key contribution to the field of economics, has inspired both defenders of free-market capitalism and arguments against public regulations and public interventions on the right side, such as e.g. laissez-faire, as well as the left side of politics and economics, such as e.g. social liberalism, and the labor theory of value. His economic contribution, make up a solid foundation to the stance of new classical economy and market economy (Fishwick et al. 2010c, p. 141, Krugman and Wells 2018a, p. 2). Smith (1776) used verbal reasoning, instead of the mathematical language, and put forward simple principles to explain comprehensive and complex empirical materials, which made his arguments more accessible, and available to the public (1776; in Eriksen 2012,p. XVIII and XXIX). Three of these cut to the core principles were: division of labor and specialization, saving, and self-interest; the invisible hand. His principles was targeted on the field he called the political economy. Hence Smith (1776) problematized what we in our contemporary society have named welfare that is founded on the thoughts of a political economy, which is "the theory or study of the role of public policy in influencing the economic and social welfare of a political unit." (Merriam-Webster 2021). Therefore, Smith (1776) may have paved the way for what we today call welfare states. However, let us head back to Smith's principles. The two of the principles that will be discussed here are: the division of labor and the invisible hand, since these have relevance to the author's conceptual theory in the alternative stated. Krugman (2019) retells Smith's (1776) observations and arguments, on the division of labor, and specialization, the first principle of his thesis:
"He used the example of a pin factory to show how a group of workers, each specializing in one aspect of pin manufacturing, could produce more pins faster than the same number of master craftsmen working alone. Thus, he argued, countries were rich or poor not based on their levels of precious metals or other stores of wealth, but based on their capacity to produce the everyday things their citizens needed and wanted." (Smith 1776; in Krugman 2019, p. 13).
It seemed that dividing the tasks of the work, into specific and specialized maneuvers, made the whole process of creating commodities, more efficient and profitable. The key to understanding the division of labor is therefore: specialization. However, to introduce the next, and his core principle; the invisible hand, the author has turned to Smith (1776) in Krugman and Wells (2018a):
"Smith wrote: "[H]e intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote and end which was no part of his intention." Ever since, economists have used the term invisible hand to refer to the way a market economy manages to harness the power of self-interest for the good of the society."" (Smith 1776; in/and Krugman and Wells 2018a, p. 2-3).
In other words, Eriksen (2012) explains the principle accordingly: "[t]he principle behind the invisible hand is that individuals who pursue their own goals, together can create an effect that they have not intended." (Smith 1776; in Eriksen 2012, p. XVIII). Smith's strong trust in this marked mechanism, lead him to support international free trade. Furthermore, Smith (1776) claimed that the invisible hand was so successful, because people possessed an inner drive to be morally just, and to picture themselves in other people's situation (Smith 1759; in Eriksen 2012, p. VII-IX and XII). Self-interests was modified by peoples subconscious knowing that the society would not consider egoism as an attribute worth following, when it came to decision making (Eriksen 2012, p. VIII and IX). Hence Smith's conceptual theories created a foundation for decision making in microeconomics (Eriksen 2012). At the turn of the millennium, nobel prize winner in economy, and an authority within the field of economics according to Erikson; Samuelson, argued that by stating this driving principle of the economy, Smith (1776) discovered something peculiar, and problematic about the efficiency of the economy's self-regulating 'invisible hand' at the same time (in Eriksen 2012, p. X): have the markets become to efficient?
"Adam Smith discovered a remarkable feature of the market economy. With perfect competition and no market failure, markets will push as many useful products and services as possible out of the available resources. [...]. At the dawn of the industrial revolution, he pointed out the great leaps in productivity that were the result of specialization and division of labor." (Samuelson; in Eriksen 2012, p. X).
Brown, further argued that Smith was a supporter for an egalitarian view of the society, and was a steady defender of social justice, as well as being a vital voice against suppression (Brown; in Eriksen 2012, p. IX). The Norwegian economist Moene, claimed that Smith was "The Champion of the Poor" in a newspaper article (Moene; in Eriksen 2012, p. IX). Rothbard (1995), nevertheless pulled out the strongest criticism on Smith. He stressed that Smith (1776) had had an impact on the growth of socialism, Marxism and unionization, which he himself did not support (Rothbard 1995; in Eriksen 2012, p. X). Rothbard (1995), further argued that Smith (1776) failed to explain why the capitalists' profit was justified, which made it easy for socialists to claim that any exchange of values and shares was suppression (Rothbard 1995; in Eriksen 2012, p. XI). However, Eriksen (2012, p. XIV) strongly defends Smith (1776), and argue that Smith was a "liberal defender of freedom and social progress for the whole of the society" (Eriksen 2012, p. XIV). And, he claimed that "increased division of labor was the key to increased prosperity" (Smith 1776; in Eriksen 2012, p. XVI). Smith (1776) stressed that population growth was the most clear indicator of economic growth and prosperity (Smith 1776; in Eriksen 2012, p. XVI). More people equals bigger markets, and more people equals better work effort proportionally (Smith 1776; in Eriksen 2012, p. XVII). Furthermore, since capital accumulation was a criteria for increased division of labor, it also became the criteria for increased prosperity according to Smith (1776; in Eriksen 2012, p. XVII).
From prosperity to coordination of the market and productivity: Smith (1776) argue that there are two types of befriended mechanisms that coordinates the society's productivity: (1) coordination through transactions in the market, and (2) coordination through real investments that is governed by the profit rate. The sum of these two kinds of coordination of the market is that "the members of society are optimally supplied with goods, despite the fact that there is no plan behind the way the market works." (Eriksen 2012, p. XIX). However, an efficient market does not mean that it is just environmentally, politically, institutionally, socially, or economically. Eriksen (2012) nevertheless argue: while the invisible hand coordinates the allocation of resources, it is the market price that signals the quantum of commodities supplied to the market (Eriksen 2012, p. XX). To be clear: Smith (1776) was an optimist, when it came to peoples embodied moral code, and economic development, which went hand in hand to push humanity towards greater prosperity, and freedom according to Smith (1776; in Eriksen 2012, p. XXI). These arguments, are worth contemplating on, before heading to Malthus' principle of population, embedded in conceptual theories, and notions on productivity.
But, the truth is that free markets can sometimes can be a hinder to advanced discussions of more redistributive and universal human development, such as the quest for more equality and justness in our global-local society. In practice, it may enhance egoism, which are not based on moral codes, but are basically a prove of mere self-interests, rather than a fair play of environmental, political, institutional, social, and economic justice and equity, evolving and working together with free market forces. Additionally, too efficient free markets may lead to overconsumption and environmental destruction, such as e.g. climate emissions, destructions of eco-systems, and deforestation, which may compromise healthy consumption patterns, quality, ecological responsibility, and an ecological reconstruction. Is there a way to fix this problematic and unjust game? Is there also a way to make competition fairer, and healthier? Is there a way to take matters of social, political, institutional, economic, and environmental justice more seriously, than currently is the case? And, what are actually free markets, free competition, and free trade: freedom for whom? Or, should it rather include freedom from economic exploitation, freedom from environmental destruction and climate emissions, less inequality, freedom from unjust, and an absence of capitalist monopolies? Do we, as Chang (2010c) argue, need less efficient financial markets, without compromising the clear and outspoken values and benefits of specialization, fair, motivational and playful competition, economic development, and prosperity? And, what kinds of effects does too efficient markets have on the real economy? While the author will not address the financial market/real economy divide, due to the lack of relevance for the core intellectual question raised in this essay, the other questions are, however, at the heart of the analytical discussions of the theoretical sections in this essay. These questions will be used to decipher and support the core problem of this essay: how can we make the current economic system, a global-local society for the majority of people, and nature? And, what kinds of ethical discussions, democratic compromising, and struggles on equity, free-market capitalism, ecological responsibility, advanced technology, human limits, and planetary boundaries do we need to go through in order to get there?
Smith (1776) discussed struggles, both class struggles and power struggles, which make up the foundation of Marx's conceptual theories, principles, and notions on this topic. Therefore, let us start out this discussion by a brief analysis of Smith's (1776) inquiry into class struggles, and then move on to power struggles. His arguments on class struggles goes like this: (1) there are three classes: workers, capitalists and landowners, (2) Every class identify themselves in relation to the means of production: the workers own their work effort, the capitalists owns the capital, and the landowner owns the soil. (3) Every class' pay is defined according to their connections to the means of the production: the workers receives their salary for the work done, the capitalists earns their profit, and the landowners receives their ground rent. (4) The price of the commodity is tied to the worker's salary, the profit on the capital, and the ground rent. (5) The workers salary and the profit, moves towards a natural level. (6) The worker must make sure that their expenses are covered, and the profit is dependent on the sum of capital in the economy according to Eriksen (2012, p. XXIII). However to make account for the problem of circularity in these price theory arguments, an alternative theory was more popular to apply to the current economic society (Eriksen 2012, p. XXIII). It was the labor theory of value, which stated: "one could determine the exchange ratio between goods by measuring the work effort involved" (Eriksen 2012, p. XXIII). Thereby, on the left side of politics and economists, the invisible hand, is an inspiration for the labor theory of value:
"Smith was an adherent of what is known as the “labor theory of value” (LTV). At its most general, the LTV explains that the value (and price) of goods is determined by the amount of labor that went into their production. Sometimes the LTV is generalized a bit more to include other inputs, turning it into a “cost of production theory of value.” What is important here is that in all forms, the LTV and its broader interpretations see the value of outputs as being determined by the value of the inputs that went into producing them." (Horwitz 2019).
That said, let us turn to the arguments of Smith's theories on power struggles, as a continuance of his arguments on class struggles. These arguments are as following: (7) the creation of value between the three classes happens through a power struggle, in which the workers are the weakest link, and in which each class will strive to maximize their share and value, by using different methods. The fight or struggle for greater shares and value was therefore not just a class struggle, but also a power struggle according to Smith (1776; in Eriksen 2012, p. XXV). However, (8) Smith (1776) argue that the capitalists, might try to develop monopolies, to increase their profit and cease to compete fairly, and thereby make allies against their consumers, and their employees, as well as against nature. Nevertheless, (9) Smith (1776) also argue that the capitalists have great knowledge in the creation of value and shares for their businesses or industries or nature, or their countries, and create jobs (Smith 1776; in Eriksen 2012, p. XXV). (10) Because, according to the invisible hand, capitalists that seeks to increase the profits for their businesses, will in sum, create an effect that they did not intend to (Smith 1776; in Eriksen 2012, p. XXVI). That brings us back to the start, the invisible hand, the coordination of the market, and specialization.
Altogether, the kind of information in this section on Smith will be useful later in this text. So, let us try to keep these arguments in mind. However, as we move forward to the next literary task: Ricardo's principles of the political economy, and taxation, the author will have to remind herself to pay extra attention to: free trade and the principle of comparative advantages. It's time to get focused on Ricardo (1911); acquire knowledge and understanding; from his principles on the political economy, and taxation, in order to become mesmerized by his intricacy! The key to understand both Smith (1776) and Ricardo (1817) is specialization and coordination at different geographical scales, which gives us quite different outcomes to contemplate on. Next you will discover the beauty of how these two simple and clear cut abstract theoretical concepts or principles, can be applied to understand economic phenomena that are tremendously apart from each other, both in its nature and characteristics, as well to comprehend the author's analysis of its weaknesses and dilemmas for the global-local economic society, and ecological responsibility.
Because, the concepts of specialization and coordination, creates vast problems for social, political, institutional, economic, and environmental justice simultaneously: can we manage to produce, coordinate, and redistribute commodities, advanced technology, and resources more fairly? And, without compromising the power of geographical differences, human and environmental limits, and at the same time fight for more social and economic equality. Is it doable within the limitations of the free market's need for efficient specialization? Can this, be understood within the concept of division of labor, and within the concept of coordination of commodities, advanced technology, people, and resources in free trade, driven by comparative advantages? These are questions open for discussion, however, due to the limited space of this brief essay, the author will focus on free trade and comparative advantages. Furthermore, also up for discussion: can the concept of the invisible hand manage such outspoken and profound market failures, and deficiencies; mentioned in this brief essay?
By arguing for three premises, Malthus took on his position as a public figure in the middle of the population growth controversy. He argued: (1) "that population cannot increase without the means of subsistence"; (2) "that population invariably increases when the means of subsistence is available"; and (3) "that the superior power of population cannot be checked without producing misery and vice" (Malthus 1798; in Winch 2013b, p. 20). In Malthus's own words (1798b):
"the power of population being a power of a superior order, the increase of the human species can only be kept commensurate to the increase of the means of subsistence by the constant operation of the strong law of the necessity acting as a check upon the greater power." (Malthus 1798b, p. 18).
I find that this quote from Malthus (1798b), is the key to understand his hypothesis, or the principle of population. It is the so-called Malthusian Trap. In short, a gap between the population growth and subsistence emerged, in which productivity could no longer support the unchecked population growth: that's the trap (Winch 2013b, p. 21-22). To be clear: Malthus core principle of population, says that in order to support humanity, in an ideal world, the subsistence has to grow as fast as the population growth in order to support mankind. But, Malthus (1798b) argued that this was evidently not the case. Agriculture ability to provide for subsistence, because of limited land supply, lagged behind what was needed to support population growth. If his prophecy was right, humanity would use up the resources that it needed, in order to support the future of the majority of people (Fishwick et al. 2010g, p. 75). His claims are as following: Malthus (1798b, p. 18) stressed that if population goes unchecked, it would increase in a geometrical ratio (linear growth), but humanity's needs to survive (subsistence or productivity) would increase in an arithmetical ratio (exponential growth). While a geometrical ratio for linear growth is e.g. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc." an arithmetical ratio for exponential growth is e.g. "1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, etc." (Malthus 1798b, p. 17-18). But, when Malthus wrote his essay on the principle of population, he used the United States of America (USA) as a base for his calculations. Hence, Malthus (1798b) assumed that population would only double itself every twenty-five years, which was shown in the previous and available data on the USA, at his time (Malthus 1798b, p. 16). His hypothesis: that subsistence or productivity does not support mankind, is groundbreaking, and still, or even more alarming currently. Clarifying such a problematic and immense societal trend, that early in the stage of macroeconomics, is an achievement. However, the quest of creating a principle for population growth, which was supposed to be "a universal one capable of explaining past, present, and future condition of mankind wherever it was to be found" proved to be far too ambitious (Winch 2013c, p. 4). And, his assumptions that population growth could be calculated at a geometrical ratio was, however, somewhat false. By the data he had, he could not predict the future scenario of human population growth, other than up to his arrival. Something happened with the world's population growth that he could not foresee: he did not predict the future outcome of population trends after his lifetime. Because, according to The World Counts (2021):
"Around 1804, the world population reached 1 billion people. In 1927, the 2 billion mark was made. And then, the world population really took off. In the following 84 years, the world population grew by 5 billion people reaching 7 billion in 2011. And the growth continues. By 2023, world population reaches 8 billion people. Around 2037 it could hit 9 billion and by 2056 a massive 10 billion people." (The World Counts 2021).
This means that the world is growing by 200.000 thousands of human beings each day, which contributes to a long-term S-curve of population growth, rather than at a linear growth rate as Malthus assumed (Malthus 1798b, The World Counts 2021). And, this growth in population was not expected by Malthus (1798b). He did not take such a scenario into his accounts. However, was the situation even graver than Malthus (1798b) would anticipate in his calculations? According to data the earth's capability of providing us subsistence to survive, is being critically tested when it comes to distribution of e.g. food and clean water for everyone, and to support other vital aspects of living. How we deal with this urgent issue, is a matter of life and death for people who experience being exposed or being part of a humanitarian crisis. In 2001-2019 , there were 20.45 million refugees, 43.5 million internally displaced people, and 4.15 million of asylum seekers (Statista 2019). Moreover, while fertility rates are on the rise in many African countries, such as e.g. Niger (6.8), Somalia (6.0), Democrartic Republic of Congo (5.8), Mali (5.8), Chad (5.6), Angola (5.4), Burundi (5.3), Nigeria (5.3), Gambia (5.2), and Burkina Faso (5.1), there is a sharp demographic decline in countries around the globe, such as e.g. South Korea (0.9), Puerto Rico (U.S. territory) (1.0), Hong Kong (China SAR) (1.1), Malta (1.1), Singapore (1.1), Macau (China SAR) (1.2), Ukraine (1.2), Spain (1.2), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1.3), San Marino (1.3), Moldova (1.3), Italy (1.3), Andorra (1.3), Cyprus (1.3), and Luxembourg (1.3) (in World Bank 2019; World Population Review 2021d).
"The global average fertility rate is just below 2.5 children per woman today. Over the last 50 years the global fertility rate has halved. And over the course of the modernization of societies the number of children per woman decreases very substantially. In the pre-modern era fertility rates of 4.5 to 7 children per woman were common. At that time the very high mortality at a young age kept population growth low. As health improves and the mortality in the population decreases we typically saw accelerated population growth. This rapid population growth then comes to an end as the fertility rate declines and approaches 2 children per woman.2 ". (Roser 2017).
Since 2.5 in total fertility rate globally is necessary to sustain the global population, a decrease to 2.0 in total fertility rate globally, would cause a demographic decline. But, the coming population trends are still uncertain, will it continue to rise, will it stabilize, or will it decline? UN's statistics; on the prospects of the global population, summarizes their findings, with the following facts:
"Today, the world’s population continues to grow, albeit more slowly than in the recent past. Ten years ago, the global population was growing by 1.24 per cent per year. Today, it is growing by 1.10 per cent per year, yielding an additional 83 million people annually. The world’s population is projected to increase by slightly more than one billion people over the next 13 years, reaching 8.6 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100 (table 1)." (UN 2017).
The most up to date statistics states that there still will be a 1.1% rise in the global population. Furthermore, was Malthus prophecy far too pessimistic about the future? Even though we have seen a steep growth in population in the world, productivity has not necessarily been falling according to Krugman and Wells (2018e). Malthus core argument in the principle of population was that the pressure of rising population would cause the majority of people to live on the brink of starvation (Malthus 1798; in Krugman and Wells 2018e, p. 678). Malthus claimed that technological improvements would only cause temporarily improvements in productivity, before increase in death rates, and decrease in birth rates, darkened the already grave sceenery, and hit the exponential growth curve (Malthus 1798; in Krugmen and Wells 2018e, p. 678). However, his prophecy on the future of productivity, might have been too pessimistic in its prediction (Krugmen and Wells 2018e, p. 677). Nonetheless, while Malthus's predictions of the future was too pessimistic, his views on the past was right. Up until then, population growth had limited living standards for the majority of the people (Krugmen and Wells 2018e, p. 690). It was, thus, the bounded land supply that limited real income per capita, prior to the time of Malthus according to Krugman and Wells (2018e, p. 690). However, let us try to wrap this up on a positive endnote. Because, as Krugman and Wells (2018e) concludes, on the future:
"[I]n the time since Malthus wrote his book, any negative effects on productivity from population growth have been far outweighed by other, positive factors - advances in technology, increases in human and physical capital, and the opening up of enormous amounts of cultivable land in the New World." (Krugman and Wells 2018e, p. 678).
The future scenery looks far more optimistic, according to Krugman and Wells' endnote (2018e), or should we cautiously keep some of that Malthusian pessimism, in mind? So, the question is really: has Malthus (1798b); with his historical data been too pessimistic, or is Krugman and Wells (2018e); with their up to date data, too optimistic? Or, is there perhaps a middle way? Limited land supply is not the case or challenge of our current global society, or is it? Meadows (et al. 1972) argues that there are limits to growth environmentally. Krugman and Wells (2018e) argues that new supply of land in the New World would add more cultivable land. However, this also implies displacing environmental problems to these countries, caused by e.g. agriculture of their land, that e.g. again may cause deforestation or other environmental issues. Productivity needed for rapidly increasing population growth, does not come without costs for the majority of people's environments, and livelihoods in need of the grace and generosity of nature. The question to contemplate uncomfortably on or optimistically on, is therefore: should we aim at more productivity and continuous population growth? Or, should we aim at or less productivity for the sake of the environment, and the majority of the existing population, and future restrictions on population growth? Or, should we simply take the liftoff into outer space, into an exploration of the universe? However, back on earth: can we look upon 'economic growth' as something more than mere increased efficiency and productivity? Since there are, also, limits to the free market's ability to efficiently redistribute the gains of productivity fairly, we might need to start thinking differently about growth, and the distribution of the means of productivity (Jakobsen 2019f). Is it time to reconsider the principle of population, and the Malthusian Trap? In short, Malthus discussed productivity's limited ways to favor the distribution of future resources, to support human population economic growth on the earth - a negative endnote. However, by the prospects of Pinker (2011) the future continues to look brighter for humanity: we are improving our inherent human capacities, this is e.g. shown in the decline of violence upon or within the human population, across time and geography (Pinker 2011).
Of course, it is important to note that "[i]n dealing with Malthus's reputation as a political economist it is important to recognize that he was addressing himself to a number of controversial questions in a historical context which gave them a special point." (Winch 2013c, p. 9). The French Revolution, was followed by rapid breakthroughs in human conditions, which was a result of a reformation of its political institutions. In Great Britain economic prosperity and agricultural expansion dominated the scenery (Winch 2013d, p. 9). These historical events, among many others incidents, made Malthus's (1798a and b) theories particularly controversial. Questions arose: was he pro nature, but against culture (humanity)? Or, was he a Newtonian, rather than a Social Darwinist? These kinds of questions regarding his reputation as a human being, were questions Malthus had to face in his contemporary society: Malthus's stance on the Malthusian Trap was surely 'against the grain' (Huysmans 1931, Winch 2013a, p. 104). The public pressure he was under, among his fellow craftsmen, can hardly be conceived. That said, let us bring together Malthus thoughts on how the future improvements of the global society, should emerge:
"population must always be kept down to the level of the means of subsistence [or productivity]; but no writer that the author recollects has inquired particularly into the means by which this level is effected [up until the author's inquiry into this matter]: and it is in the view of these means which forms, to his mind, the strongest obstacle in the way to any very great future improvement of society." (Malthus 1798a, p. 9).
Altogether, while the Malthusian theory highlighted human population growth and its challenges for future generations, Marx analyzed the human limits or human effects of a capitalist mode of production; on human beings or labors and their class struggles and power struggles, to form the the next principle of the political economy, which is thoroughly explained, and eloquently discussed in his in-depth critique of the political economy (Malthus 1798a and b, Marx 1867). For further analysis of the next principle, or root of the political economy, stay tuned: it is time to explore the Marxian logics of power struggles and class struggles dynamisms.
Let's start this discussion on the welfare state with the most obvious question, the basics: what do we need welfare states for? Krugman and Wells argued (2018q): "the rationale for the welfare state rests in part on the social benefits of reducing poverty and inequality, it also rests in part on the benefits of reducing economic insecurity." (Krugman and Wells 2018q, p. 512). We simply need a welfare state because, as human beings; luck or misfortune, can hit us all. However, to tell the story of economic inequality, economic insecurity and poverty, and how to reduce these unfavorable societal components or its dehumanizing effects, the author will try to explain this challenge form a Norwegian perspective, with all its grandeur, and misery: what is the price for a well-functioning welfare state? However, to start this analysis of the welfare states, it is important to clarify what a welfare state is. In this emerging curiosity, we should turn our attention to Krugman and Wells, for a clarification, and an enlightenment (2018q):
"The term welfare state has come to refer to the collection of government programs that are designed to alleviate economic hardship. A large share of the government spending of all wealthy countries consists of government transfers – payments by the government to individuals and families that provide financial aid to the poor, assitance to unemployed workers, guaranteed income for the elderly, and assistance in paying medical bills for those with larger health care expenses." (Krugman and Wells 2018q, p. 506).
These are the inherent characteristics of a welfare state. To adress the three core questions of the opening to this brief section on the welfare states, however, the author will try to decipher the logics of the welfare state; its principles and ideas. As Ellingsæter (et al 2020a, p. 21) explains, there are three models of western welfare states: the social democratic, the liberal, and the conservative. In the social democratic welfare state the state is the core welfare institution, in the liberal, the market is more in charge, and in the conservative, the family is the governing welfare institution. This brief section on the welfare state will elaborate on the social democratic welfare state, a Scandinavian approach. The author will, therefore, take a swift look at the Norwegian welfare state, while adressing the political and economic matters of the welfare state (the political economy). While the Northern European countries are so-called coordinated market economies (more state and less market), countries such as UK and USA, are more liberal marked economies (more market and less state). In other words, more state means more socialism, and more market means more free-market capitalism. Because of this there are different balances between free market capitalism, its type of welfare benefits and services, and socialism in these countries.
Furthermore, the Nordic countries have a stronger state, as well as stronger and more active citizens, in order to achieve a favorable, and most needed balance. However, in 2020, USA scored 87% on voter turnout, Sweden 82%, Denmark 80%, Norway 78%, compared to 69% in the UK, and 67% in Finland (World Population Review 2021e). But, 2020 has been a special year, a year of great upheaval and vast turmoil. This has engaged voters, particularly in the US. Nevertheless, all the welfare states have among the highest scores on voter turnout in the world. Citizens in these countries seems to be enthusiastic about their welfare states, it provokes debates, it is questioned, and it receives support. Because, there is something special about a well nurtured welfare state, in which its politically active citizens are particularly excited about: it supports the ideas of fairness, equity, and justice. That is not bad, or? According to Rawls (1971), most people behind a veil of ignorance would "do unto others as you would have them to do unto you if you were in their place" (Rawls 1971; in Krugman and Wells 2018q, p. 507). Hence, the argument support the ideas of justice, equity, and fairness of the welfare states: we rightfully care about each other, thus we also rightfully care about ourselves, and vice versa. Nozick (1974) however argued against Rawls (1971): "justice is a matter of rights, not results, and that the government has no right to force people with high incomes to support others with lower incomes" (Nozick 1974; in Krugman and Wells 2018q, p. 507). Does these kinds of arguments foster egoism or justice, fairness and equity, or simply knowledge based self-assurance?
From knowledge based self-assurance to a knowledge based service economy. Note this: the Norwegian welfare state contextual appearance is in a Scandinavian knowledge based service economy, in which workers are among the highest educated in the world. From 1970-1993, Norway spent the most in the world on public primary education. This is not the case in 2021, but we continue to prioritize public education, like the other Nordic countries do too (Our World in Data 2021). Knowledge in Norway and in the other Scandinavian countries is democratic, and in most cases public. Health is also a matter of great concern in the scandinavian welfare states, in which the Nordic countries continues to support their citizens well-being, and health issues that is competitive on a global level. Health services and benefits are well covered in these welfare states.
Furthermore, the Norwegian welfare state has had to adapt to changes, such as: (1) societal changes, (2) new ideological currents, (3) new professional knowledge, as well as (4) shifting group interests and experiences with established practices (Ellingsæter et al 2020b, p. 372). Additionally, these changes results in more "coordinated income settlement, cooperation between the trade union movement and strong employers' organizations, active employment policy and good vocational training." (translated from Norwegian by the author, Ellingsæter et al 2020c, p. 35). In short, a strong focus on employment and unionization. Altogether, in order to succeed, the Norwegian welfare state has had to be flexible and adjust to changing contextual, and societal inputs as a knowledge based service economy, with a strong driving force of democratic compromising, conflict handling, and consensus in the political landscape. Because of this, Norwegians are prone to adjust to changes.
"Economists Erling Barth and Kalle Moene pointed out that in Norway and the Nordic countries there was a favorable interaction between capitalist dynamics and institutions that were not controlled by the market – strong organizations, coordinated wage formation, a compressed wage structure, central negotiations combined with local negotiations based on corporate productivity. The result was many winners and few losers." (translated from Norwegian by the author, Barth, Moene and Wallerstein 2003; in Ellingsæter et al 2020c, p. 35).
But, why are there so many winners in the Norwegian welfare regime? The Norwegian welfare state and its future, is more and more in the hands of the state and core Norwegian politicians. This political landscape is decided by a tug of war between three types of actors: protagonists (reformers), consenters (followers), and antagonists (opponents) (Ellingsæter et al 2020a, p. 23). Rather than being a tug of war between free-market capitalism and socialism, the making and the continuance of the Norwegian welfare state, is a tug of war between these three types of political actors. Since the Norwegian welfare state has become more decided by the state and core political actors, it makes sense to claim that the Norwegian welfare state has moved more in the direction of socialism (the state and core political actors), rather than free-market capitalism (the market and core capitalist actors). While the economic situation have favored an expansion of the Norwegian welfare state, this is not the case for other European countries, according to Ellingsæter (et al 2020c, p. 27).
While oil and gas drilling and exploration in Norway, have supported a strong state, and an expansion of the Norwegian welfare state; compared to free-market capitalism, in other European countries the economic progress has been weaker. This has put pressure on the role of the state to cut down on benefits and services (Ellingsæter et al 2020c, p. 27). However, the fruits of the massive economic growth in Norway could have been provisioned differently. In more liberal welfare states, such as USA and UK, the focus have been on more private consume and saving, rather than public services, and benefits, even though the USA and the UK are considered as rich countries. The Norwegian state and politicians have rather spread the economic resources, based on economic growth, among their citizens in more redistributive and universal ways, or simply in a more just and fair way. However, there has been a shift from welfare to workfare in the Norwegian, as well as other Nordic welfare states. In Norway this has been executed by more power to the labor market in order to provide for citizens' livelihoods. High levels of working citizens have not just created tax incomes, it is also a shield against poverty. In short, in the new welfare state the welfare state's benefits, services and institutions, are woven together with the public, and solutions on the market only functioned as a supplement (Ellingsæter et al 2020a, p. 372). Ellingsæter (et al 2020a) concludes:
"Although the welfare state until the 1960s was driven by the parties' gathering on income security and redistribution as a common goal, the new welfare state was more of a compromise, where the parties came together to unite conflicting ideas and principles – market and state, autonomy and regulation, solidarity and individual responsibility." (translated from Norwegian by the author, Ellingsæter et al 2020c, p. 383).
Ellingsæter (et al 2020a, p. 21) continues to argue on the Norwegian social democratic welfare state, that it is particularly distinguished from other welfare states in its aim to seek full employment, utilize the principle of universalism, it has a wide risk covering (it covers economic insecurity), it is generous in its benefits, and it has well-developed services that are financed by taxes (Ellingsæter et al 2020a, p. 21). But, these attributes, such as universalism, also thrive in other types of welfare states, but its presence is more moderately. However, the term universalism, might need some clarification. Universalism as a principle for welfare, means that benefits and services are given to everyone in the same situation. This differs from selective benefits and services that are targeted on people that are poor, redistribution. Redistribution can be defined as "[t]he distribution of something in a different way, typically to achieve greater social equality." (Oxford, Lexico 2021). In the context of this brief paper, redistribution will be addressed as a different way to ensure that measures of social, political, institutional, environmental and economic equality, and justice are met. However, universalism is a principle that builds trust between the citizens and the state, since it is a right that is given equally to all people in the same situation. Ellingsæter (et al 2020a, p. 21) even argue that the social democratic welfare states in the Nordic countries, is often presented as the most universal, compared to other types of welfare states, such as the liberal, and the conservative. They continue to argue that the notion of welfare states as being universal, is tied to the political ideology of social democratic politics in Scandinavian countries (Ellingsæter et al 2020a, p. 21). Universialism and redistribution between rich and poor, are the cornerstones of principles of the Norwegian welfare state, and in other Nordic welfare states. More precisely the principle of universalism says that "most schemes cover all citizens, that the benefits are distributed as one right, and that everyone has equal rights." (Ellingsæter et al 2020b, p. 375). The definition of universalism, claims that universalism and redistribution in the Nordic welfare states, are relational, which also is the key to understand the next topic in this brief section on the welfare state.
Since the Norwegian welfare state is governed by the state, political actors have changed the relationship of the three governing institutions of the welfare state, such as the state (social democratic), the family (conservative), and the free market (liberal), towards a stronger state (Ellingsæter et al 2020a, p. 22). However, the new welfare state turned out to be more decided by political compromising, rather than consensus, and tighter and interwoven connections with the free market, rather than a tug of war between free-market capitalism and socialism (Ellingsæter et al 2020a, p. 374 and 380). Social regulations of the free market and union movements have contributed in limiting the power of the free market in Norway (Ellingsæter et al 275). This should strengthen the social community, solidarity, and strive to rip down existing class divisions, by enhancing social and economic class mobility (Elllingsen et al 2020a, p. 376). To ensure that resources are also just and fair, some benefits and services are added in a selective manner (Ellingsæter et al 2020a, p. 376). So that economic resources are redistributed. Altogether, these measures provides more equality and social integration into the Norwegian society, and it inspires continuously stronger environmental ambitions (Ellingsæter et al 2020a, p. 378). This makes Norway a suitable nesting place for social-ecological system changes, based on learning processes of social interaction and ecological interaction.
In sum, the keywords to a Norwegian style welfare state is: "universalism, generous benefits [and services], high levels of employment, and high levels of tax financing", as well as redistribution (translated from Norwegian by the author, Ellingssæter 2020a, p. 380). Given these above mentioned arguments it is easy to see that the welfare states is relational in three ways: (1) Its principles and ideas are relational (universalism and redistribution, as well as fairness, equity and justice), next (2) the different types of welfare institutions are relational (family, market and state), and in the Scandinavian welfare state there are (3) three types of political actors which interact (reformers, followers and opponents). This is supported by Daly and Cobb, who argued that everything is connected, also the market, the state, and the family, or political actors, and governing principles, and ideas of the welfare states (1989; in Jacobsen 2019f, p. 181). But in Scandinavia more weight has been put on the state, political actors and the governing principles and ideas, such as universalism and redistribution, and fairness, equity, and justice.
This is seen in the New Norwegian welfare state. However, the Norwegian welfare state was not a tug of war between capitalism and socialism, it was a democratic tug of war between political parties with "conflicting ideas and principles" that was in the spotlight (translated from Norwegian by the author, Ellingsæter et al 2020c, p. 383). Moreover, the most obvious challenge to create a welfare state is that it is quite expensive. But, most reliable studies of universalism and redistribution shows that rather than leaving it up to the free market, or the family, leaving it up to political compromising parties, or simply democratic decision making, has proven to be quite a success story in Norway. And, theory on the other Scandinavian welfare states has proved to us that human development, universalism and redistribution to fight poverty, social and economic inequality and economic insecurity, can take place, even though the country is not financed by an oil and gas industry. Finland, Denmark and Sweden all score in top ten of the world's most innovative countries in the last decade (Asheim and Mariussen 2010, pp. 52-56, Ceoworld Magazine 2020). However, due to oil and gas dependence, Norway fails to create innovation among the top ten countries in the world (Asheim and Mariussen 2010, pp. 52-56 and pp. 68-71). Furthermore, welfare is also a matter of political prioritizing, doing what is right for the citizens, and it is a matter of free choice: redistributing and sharing. Or, to leave it up to the free market, such as in the USA and UK; in which human development, such as equality security, economic and social mobility, becomes the injured party. Welfare states that are social democratic creates happy and more equal citizens, and lesser unemployment rates. It is important to note that all formal models and principles may not be applied on all cases or on all countries: different contexts, may need different solutions (see: universalism and eurocentrism in Brohman 1995, p. 121, and in Tvedt 2021). This is why a global/local governance system, has to be adaptive and take into account geographical unevenness, in order to function optimally. However, even though the Norwegian welfare state has been able to redistribute the resources more equally, fairly and justly, it has come at high costs for the environment. This is not unique to Norway.
While all the Scandinavian countries scores high on everything that is about human development, such as e.g. education, social progressiveness, health and happiness, they do not succeed in scoring among the countries with the lowest ecological footprints in the world. The environment will suffer the same destiny in all Nordic countries, such as Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Finland, if not an ecological reconstruction takes place in these countries, in which we become more ecological responsible. While China, scored the highest in 2021 in ecological footprints, USA and India are also in the top three, followed by Japan and United Kingdom (World Population Review 2021b). In 2021 Norway was at the 27th place of the countries in the world with too high ecological footprints, while Denmark and Finland score slightly better, Sweden in particular, score better than the three other Scandinavian countries. Norway e.g. consumes 8 tons of material stuff per person per year. In the first of August in 2021, Norway hit the year, when they had consumed their resources for a year according to Andaur, general-secretary in World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) (Andaur 2021; in TV2 Nyheter 2021). On a global scale, humanity use natural resources or natural capital 1.7 times faster than the earth is able to renew. This number is higher for Norway. Norway, therefore, consumes more resources than what is considered as ecological responsible measured by ecological footprints (Andaur 2021; in TV2 Nyheter 202).
What is the solution to this deeply problematic, and challenging situation? How can we change this situation for the better? While the Nordic countries may learn other countries something about human development, other countries may learn the Scandinavian countries something essential, about having the lowest ecological footprint in the world (NationMaster 2012). We might also come to the conclusion that universalism and redistribution does not fit all contexts (Bohrman 1995, p. 121, Tvedt 2021). We must considering creating some new governing economic principles and models, fit for a more complex and comprehensive, ecological responsible and sustainable future, in which we figure out how changing contextual inputs, in other words: the geographical unevenness of the world, demands different solutions, a different planetary economy. Next, let's try to narrow dawn the scope, and take a look at knowledge regimes in the Nordic Models, or simply governing through knowledge.
Note this: the problems or challenges stated in this following theoretical section, is not completely chronological. This means, that the challenges that are stated, are not necessarily followed by a set of conceptual theories, which will "solve" each key problem. However, the author seeks to order this essay as much as feasible, to create order in a messy or fragmented world. Some key challenges will also be addressed in essays separate to this brief essay. Altogether, every arguments in this system change narrative on the existing economic system; its ups and downs, have been placed in this text to support the core scientific question: how can we make our global economic system; an economy for the majority of people, and nature? Is it doable? Additionally, as the author argued in the abstract: this essay is not an all-inclusive alternative to free-market capitalism. And secondly, some of the problems stated here, will be discussed in this essay as a whole, to support the core scientific question. Hence, this essay has a methodological system approach (system transdisciplinarity). Furthermore, the author hopes that she will sketch out a sufficient narrative of the core problems, and challenges scrutinized. And then, bring fourth conceptual theory that may paint a clearer picture of the system arguments as a whole, as well as fragmentary explanations that has taken claims of the macroeconomic situation, geopolitics, and international relations in our global economic society. Let us see how it this works. We must take a look at what we are up against, by addressing the first key issue, and then build from there. The first problem presented in this theoretical section is a rather grave one. We are in need of some real system changes, to bring fourth impactful solutions, on how to confront a global world in stress, to put it mildly. If you do not agree that there are societal, climate, ecological and environmental concerns, challenges, or problems to how our current economic system works, I challenge you to pay extra attention to the following arguments, and scientific facts of this theoretical section. Stay focused!
These following twenty nine principles can be understood at a system level, and without acquiring any prior knowledge of any other theoretical notions, principles, cases or concepts, in this essay. But, the author strongly encourages the reader, to skim through the abstract and introduction, methodology, theory and case comparisons, to make sense of it all. However, these principles suggested should be simple to grasp, and cut to the core of understanding the alternative stated. Since the author has chosen to take a qualitative research approach in her bird-eye perspective to our current economic system, it means that the author will strive to explain system changes by introducing some principles, or guidelines, which again may result in a holistic quest of changing the rules of the game; the complex, or simply changing the structures. The twenty nine governing just, resilient and green principles, must answer to the pure free-market capitalism's lack of principles that could have ensured us that resources would have been distributed and redistributed more justly, and fairly. It strives to support advanced technology, entrepreneurial businesses, and frontline science, but most of all: the majority of mankind, and nature. You will soon discover that the principles are overlapping. This is made by intent. Since the global society consists of interwoven and messy, complex and comprehensive societal areas, so must the principles that answers to this demanding and unsustainable situation decipher, and sort out. The author's greatest motivation for creating these principles, is for the reader to see how the world is interconnected, this means that the world are made of constituent parts that are connected or linked. Our world must, therefore, work as an optimal and orderly whole by consisting of interdependent functions. While interconnectedness and interdependence are befriended terms, interdependence might need a more precise clarification:
"Interdependence can be defined as the relationship between two or more parties that depend on each other for survival. Every part needs to contribute something to the other party to survive. The connection can be between people, regions, nations, or bussinesses[, or technologies]." (Carbon Collective 2021).
After this clarification, you might have understood that interdependence is fundamental for survival economically, politically, socially and technologically, and interconnectedness is neccessary for resilience: the constituent parts can find new links or connect in other ways when confronted by obstacles. Therefore, this two folded mode of living, is fundamental and quintessential for the perseverance of people and planet. Interconnectedness and interdependence are not new or original terms, but it is worth as a crucial reminder in our fragmented, messy, partly uncollaborated, and uncoordinated global society. It is also worth the effort to try to make sense of and remind the reader about the most relevant conditions and components of our global economic society, which was addressed in the theoretical part of this essay. Because, the alternative builds on, reimagine and reinvent, existing knowledge on the global economic society, stated in the theoretical sections. However, it is important to note that our global society shows clear signs of lacks in global governance that is sorely needed, and which could have improved collaboration in geopolitics, macroeconomics, international relations, advanced technology, entrepreneurial businesses, and frontline science, as well as sustainable development and cross-border digital money coordination, profoundly. This, not just to prevent war, but also to coordinate our efforts, if a pandemic should occur again, or if an even more grave historical shock should hit us. In order to show the world's need for more interconnectedness, interdependence, collaboration, cooperation, and coordination, these principles must, most of all, cover all of the most vital aspect of our global society with relevance to this essay, without merely repeating what previous and current economic theory says. The author has to show how our current global society can start transforming itself and humanity, into a different planetary economy: our green future world. In short, by twisting the principles, new societal system changes can evolve, and an international sustainability transition (IST) can emerge.
"Transitions are long-term process of radical and structural change at the level of societal systems (e.g. sector, city, region)" (DRIFT 2020). A sustainability transition is defined as a “radical transformation towards a sustainable society, as a response to a number of persistent problems confronting contemporary modern societies” (Grin et al 2010 in DRIFT 2020).
Let's get started! The just, resilient and green governing principles moves from simplicity to more complexity, and builds upon each other. The first principle stresses the necessity of collaboration. We have to collaborate more, in order to start the process of transformation into more sustainable pathways. We have to show each and everyone more trust and care, reciprocity, and solidarity, as well as to extend our global consciousness, societally and environmentally. We must also start this journey by engaging in fierce and motivational, playful, intense, and challenging competitive fairness. The first principle, thereby, suggests that we must make an inquiry into collaborative-competitive dynamisms; a more balanced global society. This, in order to enter into the green future that we all want for each other, for ourselves, and nature. In return, these system changes may arise to exceed the current logics of free-market capitalism, by proving to itself to be original in more than one aspect. It might turn out to be a profound game changer for humanity, and nature, if we make it right this time!
In general: what is a treaty? It is "a formally concluded and ratified agreement between states." (Dictionary 2021b). To be more specific, what is a Meta treaty? A Meta treaty is a treaty of and for treaties. Furthermore, what is a Meta treaty for historical shocks? A Meta treaty for historical shocks, is a treaty that can be applied to most exogenous or systemic shocks, whether these are short term or long term, or whether these shocks are geographically uneven or not. To argue for this stance, the author claims that there are emergency measures, which are universal within a group or family of phenomenon, such as in this case, measures that can be applied to different historical shocks. The next emergency measures for exogenous shocks, are made to make it explicit for the reader that we, most certainly, need a global governance, in order to prepare mankind for better relief, urgent reactions, and quick responses to current and future historical shocks. This in terms of collaboration, coordination and cooperation that the ongoing Covid crisis has shown us that we surely need, and which climate scientists have known for far too long. However, this section of the alternative will focus on historical shocks, such as e.g. the Covid crisis, or the climate, environmental, societal and ecological challenge upon us. Most importantly, these measures have been created by the author, to invite the reader into the seriousness of the situation. Let me repeat: this is the hard way of letting you get into the gravity of our most disturbing and alarming challenges for the time being: the probability of an ecocide, and a potential societal, as well as an environmental and climate catastrophe, which is currently affecting human lives and nature in a continuously increasing magnitude and rate (Steffen et al. 2004; in Leichenko and O'Brien 2008, p. 3). This is a joint and urgent challenge we bravely must take on. We cannot push the rewind button, but we most certainly can change, in order to avoid a worst case scenario.
To be more precise, we are in an era of radical change caused by global environmental changes and globalization, which Leichenko and O'Brien have named; double exposures (Leichenko and O'Brien 2008, p. 9). We are exposed to both globalization and global environmental changes at the same time, which have a double impact on humanity, and nature. That is why we; for the time being, are exposed to four different phenomenon, with profound implications for the social, political and economic society globally. This four folded challenge is characterized by an increasing globalization, global environmental changes, wars and the Covid crisis, with inequal and uneven geographical consequences for nature, and humanity, in time, space, and intensity. However, we most certainly share the same sky, the same land, and the same oceans. That is also why, environmental challenges, such as e.g. air pollution, plastic waste, dust or sand storms, extreme weather, sea level rise, and acidification of the ocean, knows no borders, and hit different human lives and places geographically unevenly and unfairly. Nevertheless, we all share the same and urgent responsibility for environmental, ecological, and climate challenges at the planet. But, some countries are unequally effected by weather anomalies. In the following order: Indonesia, USA, China, Vietnam, India, Turkey, the Philippines, Mexico, Iran and Afghanistan, Italy, Thailand, Brazil, France, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have unfairly had to bear the burdens of climate, environmental and ecological change, while the core emitters of the developed world, in most cases, are more spared from these extreme weather events, and anomalies (Statista 2020a). Overall, natural disasters has risen from 337 in 2000 to 416 in 2020 (Statista 2020b). Nonetheless, the situation is complicated, some of the countries with e.g. the highest level of renewable energy, are also the countries with the largest ecological footprints, such as e.g. China, India, and the USA, but this can change (World Population Review 2021b and c). By contrast, in the following order; Sweden, Scotland, Iceland, Nicaragua, Germany, Uruguay, and Denmark, are however, the frontrunners of renewable energy, and according to the World Population Review (2021c):
"Renewable energy is booming. Renewable energy creates new jobs in a growing industry and promises clean energy to help preserve the Earth. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, transportation, rural energy services, and air and water heating/cooling." (World Population Review 2021c).
However, the world's total consumption of oil in 2019 was still 40.4% (compared to 48.5% in 1973), electricity 19.7% (compared to 9.5%), gas 16.4% (compared to 14.1%), biofuels and waste 10.4% (compared to 12.6%), coal 9.5% (compared to 13.6%), and other energy sources 3.6% (compared to 1.7%, also in 1973) (International Energy Agency (IEA) 2021). To summarize, there has been a trend towards cleaner energy sources for consumption. More recently, the energy crisis in the world due to the Corona crisis has seen soaring demands for fossil fuels according to DW News (2021). This, comes at a time where most countries on the COP26 conference, has announced their environmental and climate ambitions (DW News 2021). In Europe and across the world, the energy crisis and supply chain and demand miss matches, and the Russia- Ukraine war, among other urgent issues, has, in many countries, caused soaring inflation, which, altogether, has turned into a global economic recession according to DW News (2022). These adversities makes it even more challenging for an international sustainability transition (IST) to take place. But, what are the consequences of the ecological, environmental, climate and societal challenge for nature, and humanity at large? Steffen (et al. 2004) argued: "The nature of changes now occurring in the global environment, their magnitudes and rates, are unprecedented in human history and probably in the history of the planet." (Steffen et al. 2004; in Leichenko and O'Brien 2008, p. 3). This is alarming! But, what does this have to say for nature? For nature this culminates in changes, such as e.g. "changes in water availability", "reduction of species habitat", biodiversity loss, challenges for livable ecosystems, "changing temperature patterns", a rising tide of plastic waste, and "losses or gains in livelihood opportunities" (Leichenko and O'Brien 2008, p. 4). From the consequences for nature to the consequences for humanity. There are few areas of the global society that have not yet been affected by the intense and vast consequences of increasing globalization (Leichenko and O'Brien 2008, p. 3).
"Globalization is the spread of products, technology, information, and jobs across national borders and cultures. In economic terms, it describes an interdependence of nations around the globe fostered through free trade." (Fernando, Anderson and Bellucco-Chatham 2021).
But, what are the effects of global environmental changes, the climate and ecological crisis, globalization and the Corona crisis on the future existence of humanity? The outcome for humanity are differences in social, political and economic challenges, in terms of e.g. inequalities in access to food, clean water, health, technology, education, and science, uneven economic growth, inequalities of income, unequal living conditions, injustice, and the unevenness of political stability and access to power globally, and locally, among many other urgent issues. These changes and challenges, will have unregularly effects, and create divergent sustainability pathways, social and political trackways and economic trajectories, of different individuals, institutions, firms, regions, countries, and continents at the earth. These factors are, as argued, prone to effect the outcome for the future existence of mankind, and nature at the planet unequally. There will, most likely, be "winners and loosers", "privileged and marginalized", as well as "included and excluded" among all human beings globally and locally, and so will also nature be unevenly affected by global environmental changes (Conroy and Glasmeier 1993; Glantz 1995; Kapstein 2000; Khor 2001; O'Brien and Leichenko 2003; O'Loughlin et al. 2004; Dicken 2007; Leichenko and O'Brien 2008, p. 4). This is, altogether, caused by the interplay of the four phenomenon, which gives a four folded challenge, towards tackling the ecological, environmental, climate and societal situation at the planet, for the time being. However, to draw a conclusion from all the theoretical sections in this brief essay, means that the situation of changes and challenges to our global society and nature, is far more complex than the interplay of the four core phenomenon; globalization, global environmental change, wars and the Corona crisis suggests. Of course, some of the consequences of global environmental change on nature, also effects humanity, after all, we too are part of nature.
Nevertheless, let's try to reduce the costs and violence upon humanity and nature, and rather make the transition towards sustainability universally beneficial for the persistence of all human lives, and the commonwealth of nature (Smith 1776). As you can understand, the societal, climate, environmental and ecological crisis is, therefore, a long term and demanding and challenging and comprehensive quest that requires tangible ingenuity, commitment, responsibility, and original system thinking. This is also why our societal, climate, environmental and ecological challenges must involve systemic social-ecological planning, interpolated, multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and interpersonal learning processes and interactions, visionary thinking, cross scale connections, social, political and economic commitment, public pressure, leadership, and endurance in general, not indecisive and short term speculations (Schultz et al. 2015, Cathedral Thinking 2021). Nonetheless, in order to resourcefully support mankind, and decrease the most pervasive damages and destruction of nature, urgent action and funding to vulnerable ecosystems, and support to climate justice is clearly, and sorely needed. Altogether, this system quest simply says: we have to start a genuine and honest fight for our lives, our loved ones, our places, our livelihoods, and nature around the whole globe, by acting on the terms of sustainability. Indeed, we most certainly, must act as we mean it, because failure is not on the menu. Nevertheless, even though failure is not an option; in terms of keeping the target of staying below the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming by 2030 alive, there is no such thing as a perfect emergency plan in times of uncertainties and radical system change. There are bound to be gaps between the anticipated and planned, and the need for flexibility in a state of emergency: anticipate, and be prepared for anything! Having said that, let's get on with the work. Seriously, the clock is ticking, and the hour of faith is approaching, now it's time for us to get our acts together, and change our current systems of behavior. But, before we get to the emergency measures of this brief section on historical shocks it's important; as Greenpeace Southeast Asia argue, that for those hit by natural disasters, resilience can be a "two edged sward" (Greenpeace Southeast Asia 2022). Therefore
"Resilience should never be the burden of just individuals and communities to cope, but the responsibility of governments and corporations most accountable for contribution to this climate emergency to act on." (Greenpeace Southeast Asia 2022).
In sum, we have to "equip societies" with the right emergency measures, so that they can respond to the looming and ongoing societal, climate, environmental and ecological catastrophe upon us, in which these following emergency measures of dealing with exogenous shocks, must be put on the agenda urgently (Greenpeace Southeast Asia 2022). However, for the time being, we are not in a good spot of staying below our 1.5 degrees Celsius warming target by 2030, which can mitigate the most disastrous and dangerous climate changes, chain reactions and tipping points, in order to prevent natural disasters and anomalies, human suffering and deaths, as well as to protect human well-being and livelihoods, and also to avoid an even more profound degradation of nature, such as e.g. deforestation, wildfires and droughts, floods and landslides, as well as a destruction of vital ecosystems, challenges which must be faced and managed, in order to safeguard a livable planet. However, history has proven to us that in times of crisis, human beings and nature, becomes surprisingly creative, robust, adaptive, and resilient, in curbing up the most dangerous and disastrous effects of climate change, and tend to bounce back. Nevertheless, some processes or changes are irreversible and inevitable IPCC scientists argue, such changes are e.g. "the rise of sea levels", "acidification and warming of the oceans", and "the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers" (IPCC in The Guardian; Harvey 2021, p. 1). However, "Drastic reductions in emissions can stave off worse climate changes, according to IPCC scientists, but will not return to the earth in moderate weather patterns of the past." (IPCC in The Guardian; Harvey 2021, p. 1). According to IPCC scientists we got some decent work to do. It is, most certainly, time to step up the game! However, we are in a race against time, because as Foley (2021) argue; in order to stay below the 1.5 degrees Celsius target we have to change our global society radically, in which technology as well as the timeframe must be taken into account urgently: we have to make time our dearest friend again, not our most bitter enemy. Because:
"[The Carbon Law] says to limit global warming to less than 2˚C, as outlined in the Paris Accords, we need to severely restrict the total, cumulative amount of greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere moving forward. This idea is called the “remaining carbon budget” and refers to how much carbon dioxide (and other gases) we can still emit before warming the planet beyond a particular target. The more we burn, the warmer the planet gets. [...]. To keep within the “remaining carbon budget” for 2˚C, we have to cut our emissions drastically, reaching “net-zero” emissions as soon as possible. [...]. According to the Carbon Law, we need to peak greenhouse gas emissions roughly now — and then cut them in half in the 2020s. [...]. That’s not all. The Carbon Law says we need to cut them in half again in the 2030s. And then in half again in the 2040s." (Foyley 2021).
But, what if everything goes wrong, what is the worst case scenario? The worst case scenario is reluctance to change, ignorance, or simply the business-as-usual scenario, which is the most critical obstacle for comprehensive technological changes or a stabilization of our earth systems that may (or may not) be enough to safeguard a future livable planet for humanity (Landry et al. 2019).
Note this: these emergency measures are not chronological, some of them must be planned sequentially, or in another way than the order of these following emergency measures suggests. This, depending of the character of the exogenous shock, the condition of the most affected areas, and the time frame. Therefore, the emergency measures are roughly grouped in given time frames, such as before, during, and after. Additionally, these measures presents only an overview of the most important emergency measures designed for historical shocks, more specifically for an ecological, climate, environmental and societal catastrophe. The measures are imperfect, and transitory in scale, time, and intensity, and are open in its framing, in order to allow for flexibility, tailoring, and interpretation. The most fundamental message of this Meta treaty for systemic shocks is to save human lives, ecosystems, the environment, biodiversity and the climate, in order to benefit current human conditions and the future of humanity, and nature as a whole. Altogether, the following emergency plan or more specifically this Meta treaty is a work in progress.
#1: Write a Meta treaty on how to collaboratively face historical shocks, in order to save as many human lives as possible, and to safeguard nature, and strive to create a globally accepted emergency plan on how to proceed through each steps of a catastrophe, in which the emergency measures of the Meta treaty must be regarded as "a formally concluded and ratified agreement between states." (see: 'treaty' in Dictionary 2021b).
#4: Map out and make a typology of the most likely and unlikely exogenous shocks rated by probability, be most prepared for the most likely shock, etc., and investigate and decipher the differences and commonalities, of distinctive historical shocks (see: 'global risks' in Global Challenges Foundation 2021a).
I am not a gifted fortune teller, I don’t have a magical crystal bowl, nor can I see vividly into the future. But, I have dreams, good dreams and bad dreams about the future, our future world. However, I cannot foresee if artificial intelligence will replace the Anthropocene or not, or even if there is a more preferable middle way. I have, nonetheless as a beginning, tried to make a collection of risks that are already emphasized from the followers to actors and critics of AI technology, by taking the temperature on the Internet. The following challenges and dangers of AI to humanity are, therefore, some of the most outspoken risks that are feared to come into realization if we do not in some way, decide to adhere to existing technological principles and rules, and also create some new regulations on AI to fit a radically changing global society. I think it is in everyone’s interest to bring fourth a commitment to existing as well as to create some new principles, regulations or precautious measures, on how to make AI universally beneficial for people and nature, in form of a global governance, as Sambuli stresses (in Tech for Democracy 2021a and b). This can help us design a set of precocious and structural measures for AI to advance and function optimally and safely within a set of boundaries, defined by our global society to protect mankind, and nature. Some of the most urgent challenges to AI can already be seen in the current and explosive growth of AI technology and developments. And, these challenges are likely to evolve even further if we do not step in, and make the current and future outcomes more favorable. Other challenges or dangers, are more unlikely to transpire in such a scary scenario phrased, hence they are more like bad dreams than a reality. Nevertheless, there is no easy formula on how to make our fears about the future perish and make good fortunes about the future arise. However, we do have a say. If we are prepared and anticipate what's around the next corner, we might enjoy the benefits of artificial intelligence to our global society, and avoid the most dangerous and disastrous consequences of artificial intelligence for our societal activities, human lives and wellbeing, human livelihoods and freedoms or simply we may learn to steer clear of the bulk of risks to societal and human safety and security. But, is the answers to the use of AI in our global society all "good" or all "bad"? Are we simply fortunate or not? Is there not a more preferable middle way, subtle, or constructive outcome, to all this? Why this dichotomy, oppositional or more correctly binary approach?
Because, that's the way most AI machines and binary systems process information or data. According to the binary systems or machines of artificial intelligence, there can only be two rightful and opposite answers in conflictual situations or answers to a question, such as e.g. “true or false” – "fortunate or unfortunate" – "optimistic or pessimistic" – "off or on" – "negative or positive" – "best or worst" – "success or failure" – "yes or no" – “0 or 1”, as well as “good or bad” (Boden 2018g, p. 7). That's how AI robots and computers work. But, while computers and robots of artificial intelligence are mostly binary, people, society and nature are not. However, the binary "thinking" or more correctly computing of AI robots and systems, are conceptually forecasting a possible 50/50% negative/positive outcome for the application of AI in our global society, "true or false"? Whether this is "true" or "false" in this case is framed in six system oriented if-then or conditional sentences.
"A conditional sentence is a sentence that expresses a condition. A condition is something that can only happen IF something else occurs. A conditional sentence contains an independent clause and a dependent clause that almost always begins with “if.”" (Writing Explained 2022).
The first of the six conditional sentences are as following: (1) if no favorable information or data to mankind is added, then AI will, most likely, begin to dominate the global society. This will be a "bad" outcome for humanity and nature. (2) If negative data is added, that adds to an unwanted global situation where the dynamics between artificial intelligence and humanity have become shifted and unbalanced, then this will favor the dominance of artificial intelligence in our global society too. In short, also a "bad" outcome for mankind and nature. However, (3) if the global governance strategy will be applied, then the power relation between AI and humanity will, most likely, become more balanced in the future. This will support a "good" outcome for humanity and nature. Almost also to think like an AI robot, (4) if we (humans) start thinking more rationally and ethically, adaptively and creatively, emphatically and logically, as well as democratically, about the presence and functionality of AI in our global society, then this percentage (50/50% negative/positive outcome) will, most likely, favor a better balance between AI and humanity. This is also a "good" outcome for humankind and nature. "True or false", these four conditional sentences culminates into one alarming and problematic sentence for mankind, which summarizes my fears about the future applications of AI in our global society. Conditional sentence (5): if AI starts to dominate the global society, then humanity will, most likely, become inferior to them. This surely does not sound good, but there are no reasons yet to let our fears lift off. Because, (6) if we manage to control, master and govern AI to meet our own needs, then AI may become universally beneficial for mankind and nature. Altogether, the core task of the application of AI in our global society, must be to positively influence the coexisting of humanity, technology and nature, in which we also bring some useful human knowledge, ambiguity, probability, but most of all richness and abundance to the table according to Sambuli (in Tech for Democracy 2021a). She further argue that rather than being good or bad, AI is good and bad (in Tech for Democracy 2021a). In sum, this perspective may improve our understanding of the purpose of AI in our global society, which as much as possible, must strive to give binary systems – a human touch. Because, as Sambuli states: "Artificial Intelligence [is] A Human Creation with Human Impact" (in Tech for Democracy 2021a).
This human approach can take shape by adapting two possible concepts; an unbiased and balanced conceptual way and an oppositional binary approach, which both may lead to a successful theoretical and conceptual result. (1) The two sided binary approach are as following: it is either a more darkly tainted or undesirable "bad" outcome, or a more hopeful "good" endnote, to the application of AI, in which we must seek to marginalize the former, and increase the influence on the latter, in order to optimize social and ecological, climate and environmental, sustainable and economic, as well as technological outcomes. The next approach to the application of AI in our global society is (2) a more sophistically and nuanced discussion of a more preferable societal situation in balance with AI; the global governance strategy, which must be adaptive, ethical and democratic (Seres 2021), as well as interconnected and interdependent, integrated and trans-formative, and at last: resilient, just and green. Furthermore, the joint approach of the two folded method mentioned; the binary and the GG strategy, is to create an equilibrium between these two strategies stated. But, back to global governance, what is it? "Global governance brings together diverse actors to coordinate collective action at the level of the planet." (Global Challenges Foundation 2021b). Indeed, to govern a planetary economy in a sustainable way, a guiding global governance with local repercussions and vice versa is crucial, in order to promote collective action. We also need familiar and existing tools such as a sustainable economy and renewables to boost green growth with adhering green jobs, or even more importantly, we particularly need to link this International Sustainability Transition (IST) to advanced technology on an exponential growth trajectory, such as artificial intelligence, in order to speed up the phase of transition, until it reaches its fullest potentials: a universally beneficial and sustainable global society for people and nature. Furthermore, the tasks of a global governance are as following:
"The goal of global governance, roughly defined, is to provide global public goods, particularly peace and security, justice and mediation systems for conflict, functioning markets and unified standards for trade and industry[, as well as to promote a sustainable economy for people and nature to safeguard a livable future planet for humanity]. One crucial global public good is catastrophic risk management [such as environmental, climate and ecological risks] – putting appropriate mechanisms in place to maximally reduce the likelihood and impact of any event that could cause the death of 10 per cent of humanity across the planet, or damage of equivalent magnitude [caused by this kind of exogenous shock]." (Global Challenges Foundation 2021b).
"Global governance, then, is aimed at negotiating responses to problems that affect more than one state or region. Global governance can be considered the response to issues arising from the world´s increasing interconnectivity, and the need for and importance of a process to designate laws, rules, or regulations governing political, economic, social and cultural issues, and which are to be used on a global scale." (Marbella International University Centre 2019).
All in all, the world is in sorely need of interdependence, transformation and interconnectedness to govern the planet in a functional manner, and in the right direction. We have to answer to this challenge, and accommodate tailored and governing technological principles, rules and measures, to get on a fast and transformative track towards an IST, because time matters, lives matters and nature matters. Artificial intelligence and a future global governance has to respond to this obvious and fundamental necessity, in order to create a sustainable global society that works. But, what is the most precise and accurate definition on sustainability? Sustainability is the "avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance." (Dictionary 2022b). A sustainable economy in this context is therefore an economy that respects the needs for an ecological balance at the earth, for current and future generations, in which natural resources and advanced technology are more justly, equally and efficiently managed and governed globally, because resources are scarce and opportunities are unevenly scattered geographically (UN 1987, Krugman and Wells 2018e, p. 6). That's why the global governance and sustainable economy suggested in this brief essay, must work together and be supported by AI to safeguard the most equal, just and efficient use of resources distributed and redistributed on a planetary scale, in order for humanity and nature to thrive. To repeat the key argument: the superior aim of this part of the alternative strategy, is to find solutions on how we can start to create a sustainable society globally; for people and planet, enabled by a sustainable economy and supported and aided by artificial intelligence. But, is this just a "good dream" as in impossible, or is it really achievable? Either way, in order to get there, we have to start out with some existing conceptual theory on artificial intelligence, without getting too sidetracked by the clearly defined oppositional views on AI, and the obvious extremes of the Internet. Here's the unbiased theoretical basics of artificial intelligence as an objective, and rationally more nuanced middle way of scrutinizing AI – a balance (Boden 2018a-g).
To do this successfully, we have to keep some of our good dreams intact, and try to stay optimistic on the behalf of future applications of AI in our global society, in order for a more objective, balanced, unbiased and constructive view on AI to emerge. But, what defines AI according to Boden (2018g)? The most recognized definition of AI is as following: "Artificial intelligence (AI) seeks to make computers do the sorts of things minds can do". Of course: "Intelligence isn't a single dimension, but a richly structured space of diverse information-processing capacities. Accordingly, AI uses different techniques, addressing many different tasks. [...]. And it's everywhere." (Boden 2018g, p. 1). Boden argue that AI has a two folded purpose. At first it's technological. It's simply utilized to solve specific practical or technical problems, in order "to get useful things done" Boden notes. And, the technological artificial intelligence methods or techniques used, are not always like how our mind work; as the widely acknowledged understanding and core definition of artificial intelligence, would assume. Secondly, it has a scientific purpose: AI engineers, workers and scientists use AI models, systems and concepts to solve and figure out key scientific answers, to questions concerning human beings, other living creatures and nature, by applying AI technology scientifically. While some frontline scientists, entrepreneurial businesses and advanced AI technology workers focus mainly on one of these aims, a few are occupied with addressing both tasks (Boden 2018g, p. 2). However, insofar, AI only have two purposes: it's technological and it's scientific. AI as a multi-purpose and more specifically general-purpose AI or artificial general intelligence (AGI) is yet to come (Boden 2018g, p. 6). That is, the best (or worst) is yet to come. Because, there are many roads towards a general-purpose AI, and many pitfalls to avoid, which brings us closer to our next steps of understanding artificial intelligence.
What are the existing types of AI? Boden argues that there are five types of artificial intelligence, in addition to artificial general intelligence (AGI) and artificial super intelligence (ASI), in which the latter two types of AI have not been fully realized or achieved yet. The five types of artificial intelligence are as following: classical or symbolic AI, artificial neural networks or connectionism, as well as evolutionary programming, cellular automata, and at last: dynamical systems (Boden 2018g, p. 5). But, some AI scientists, workers or engineers use a combination of these different types of artificial intelligence, such as e.g. classical AI and artificial neural networks combined. These combinations of different types of AI are so-called integrated or hybrid systems. Of course: "To understand the full range of mentality, all [types of AI] will be needed – and probably more." (Boden 2018g, p. 6). However, let's try to ease the clarification of defining these different types of artificial intelligence, by not getting too lost in their obvious and striking complexity. In other words: let's keep this structured and simple: (1) classical or symbolic AI are virtual machines that, when; often combined with statistics, can model or design planning, reasoning and learning. (2) Artificial neural networks or connectionism are virtual machines that can do pattern recognition, model learning and design aspects of the brain. (3) Evolutionary programming are virtual machines that highlights brain development and biological evolution. (4-5) Cellular automata and dynamical systems are virtual machines that can be used in designing or mimicking the "development in living organisms". (6) Integrated and hybrid systems are virtual machines, that when applying a combinatory of the above mentioned types of AI, can create a future "computational architecture of minds", such as e.g. artificial general intelligence (AGI) and artificial super intelligence (ASI) Boden states (2018g, p. 5-6). This has not yet been accomplished according to Boden, but integrated or hybrid systems may be a step towards solving that task (2018g, p. 6 and 2018a, p. 89). Unfortunately,
"Many AI researchers don't care about how the mind work: they seek technological efficiency, not scientific understanding. Even if their techniques originated in psychology, they now bear scant relation to it. We'll see, however, that progress in general-purpose AI (artificial general intelligence, or AGI) will require deep understanding of the computational architecture of the minds." (Boden 2018g, p. 6).
Boden argue: "Anyone interested in AGI should note that those AI scientists who have seriously considered the computational architecture of the mind as a whole accept hybridism unreservedly." (Boden 2018a, p. 89). However, in order for artificial general intelligence (AGI) to be successful, it has to master language, creativity and emotion, only then it's possible to create an artificial super intelligence (ASI) according to Boden (2018d, p. 50). Question: can AGI and ASI possess consciousness, as living creatures does, or are consciousness connected to life as Seth (2021); among many other experts and scientists on consciousness, claims? Boden stresses: "All minds we know about are found in living organisms. Many people – including the cyberneticians [...] – believe this must be so. That is, they assume that mind necessarily presupposes life." (Boden 2018b, p. 127). But, what is consciouness? In short, it can be defined as "the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world." (Dictionary 2022a). A pro-life AI, must therefore mimic life, in order to become more functional and consciously useful to mankind and nature. And, that's why it is time to emphasize on AI for people, life and nature: our future interactive eco-social, socio-ecological, eco-technological, socio-technological, and social-technological future, or simply what happens at the current and future intersections between ecology and people, society and ecology, ecology and technology, society and technology, as well as people and technology, which must be inserted by economic functions to have a wider societal purpose. And, altogether fuel the emergence of a future life oriented AI and life oriented consciousness guided by a global governance, which must be embedded in trust relationships and knowledge.
Nevertheless, we must also be precautious, turn every stones, and reassure ourselves that we do not in any circumstances create a 'multi-headed troll', which we cannot control, manage or govern. Therefore, we, most importantly, have to be aware, prepared and alert of the worst thinkable or imaginable claims, our bad dreams, in order to understand why regulations and why a global governance is necessary, so that we are able to create a safe and sound future for humanity, and nature. Also, in order to see what kind of problems or challenges we have to be particularly concerned about, and pay extra attention to, in creating the most resilient, just and adaptive principles, regulations or measures that works for our global society, the environment, cutting edge technology, frontline science, entrepreneurial businesses, the economy as a whole, and people. These solutions must simply be fit for future applications of AI and favor all of us. We cannot leave anyone behind. The governing technological principles, regulations and measures must, therefore, draw the attention to a kind of artificial intelligence that may benefit a healthy interaction between people and nature and technology. This healthy interaction, must support a possible just, resilient and green global society, anchored in adaptive, ethical and democratic technological principles (Seres 2021), which, altogether, must be legitimated by knowledge on our existing global society. This valuable knowledge, and cutting edge technology, may shape a future world, inspired and rooted in good dreams about our future, in which we also are cautious, concerned, aware, and not too naïve or blind to the current and future challenges, risks and dangers of artificial intelligence.
I do not know what to expect of the dialogues, between the stakeholders on the potential principles, regulations and measures for artificial intelligence, in the future. Will these kinds of conversations be ignored, confusing, exhausting or will these debates turn into fierce battlefields between powerful stakeholders? Let us dive bravely, but not blindly, into the energetic sea of challenges, risks and dangers of artificial intelligence, before we turn to the other opposite, and then hopefully find a middle way, in contemplating about the future applications of AI. But, how is artificial intelligence really pictured or framed on the Internet? The answer is quite simple: highly binary, into a set of camps divided into two extremes; the techno-optimists and the eco-pessimists, but who are "true" and who are "false", and where is the golden middle way out of this mess? That's the start (but only the start) of this troubled story about artificial intelligence, highly inspired and colored by the binariness and the extremes of the Internet. From a scarisely pessimistic taint on AI: how can artificial intelligence be "bad" for our global society?
If the AI workforce is homogenous, non-inclusive and non-diverse and AI and GG anti-discrimination legislation is not implemented, then algorithm bias will, most likely, support discrimination.
Note this: I am new to the field of artificial intelligence, but from a system angle I might, nevertheless, have some useful nourishment to add to the discussion and insights of how artificial intelligence may be beneficial to our global society and nature, such as by scrutinizing artificial intelligence from a global governance and sustainability perspective. And, this is the strategy or entry I have chosen to improve the understanding of artificial intelligence. As the measures for exogenous shocks, these principles, measures and rules for AI, sustainability and GG are imperfect too, and open in its framing. This will, hopefully, allow for flexibility, tailoring and interpretation, and also set some useful boundaries to progress from. However, the first principles and rules are the existing works done by experts and scientists in the field of artificial intelligence, global governance, sustainability and consciousness, such as Kurtzweil (2013), Boden (2018a-g), McGuinness and Schank (2021), Sambuli in/and Tech for Democracy (2021), as well as Seres (2021), Seth (2021), and Vatn (2022). Their viewpoints may function as an interesting way to start off the journey towards a sustainable future, guided by a GG, and aided and supported by artificial intelligence. More fundamentally, and even as challenging, is the task to improve the ties between AI and GG, and between AI and sustainability, in order to create a new trajectory of principles, measures and rules for the frontiers of artificial intelligence in our global society to excel from. Altogether: rooted in existing and valuable knowledge on the cutting edge technology of artificial intelligence. From existing principles and rules on AI to something different, exciting, manageable, sustainable and new: let's be brave, and dive in!
The task of creating the systemic and visual models that addresses the core theoretical and visual concept in this brief essay, which will be presented next, have been a tricky-subject in my home. But, I will, nevertheless, give it a shot: what else is there to do nowadays? Let's go! (1) The models are holistic, and (2) visual, and the systems (3) simply builds on the previous principles. Visual models and system principles, is what we need in order to change the structures, or to (4) put pressure on the rules of the game, the complex, and the structures. However, the system principles, the conceptual theory, and the visualizations are a unity, the one cannot be understood without the other. Hence, they are (5) interdependent in order to be (6) rule changing, and cannot work separately. Which also means that the societal end ecological alternative to capitalism, have to (7) interact in a functional matter: the models, have to be coherent, logical, and strive to have (8) relevance to the core scientific question stated: how can we make our global economic system; an economy for the majority of people, and nature? Is it doable? These questions were mentioned in a heartfelt moment by the author in the action plan introduction, and have been repeated successively throughout this essay. And, I will stick to the mission of having to deal with, and answer to those perhaps unrealistic, and highly complex questions. Because, this sets the strategic target of the alternative that will be stated in the following visual models, and conceptual theory, and construction of theory. But, it must also add something new or original to the bird-eye perspective on the global society, in addition to reimagine and reinvent existing conceptual theory, notions, and principles. In short, this explanation is all you have to keep in mind or question, when you gaze at the visualizations, have read the principles, and see the constructed conceptual theory: does the whole picture make sense? The next eight visualizations are as following:
Core Systemic Reasons for Emphasizing on Trial and Error to Solve Problems, in order to Fix Current Problems, and tackle Face Future Challenges
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