Paul Fernhout: Comments on Integrity at Scale

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Paul Fernhout

Just from the topics, it seems like a more coherent version of this stuff I wrote in 2004:  Achieving the Star Trek Society.

“This essay shows how a total of $14000 billion up front and at least another $2085 billion per year can be made available for creative investment in the USA by adopting a post-scarcity worldview. This money can help further fund a virtuous cycle of more creative and more cost saving efforts, as well as better education. It calls for the non-profit sector to help shape a new mythology of wealth and to take the lead in getting the average person as well as decision makers to make the shift in worldview to their own long term benefit. … Let us consider ways to free up money for the non-profit sector (or
reducing working hours) by cutting wasteful government and consumer
spending in these areas with (annual estimate of easy savings):

* Healthcare ($800 billion),
* Military ($200 billion),
* Prisons ($125 billion),
* Agriculture ($40 billion),
* Transportation ($250+ billion),
* Housing ($350+ billion),
* Manufacturing (very variable),
* Media (very variable),
* Banking ($14000 billion up front, $320 billion annually), and
* Education (very variable).

This is a total of $14000 billion up front and at least another $2085 billion per year. And this is even without considering any lifestyle changes such as from widespread adoption of Voluntary Simplicity … which will ultimately result in the largest savings in the US and worldwide (but I discuss no further here). ”

Jumping into just one page of that on energy:  their analysis, while with many good ideas like making fossil fuel users pay the true costs, is already somewhat obsolete as far as technology and socioeconomics given where solar energy is going (cheaper than fossil fuel in five years).

““Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors within three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, the global research director for General Electric Co. (GE),” Bloomberg reports.”

Essentially, that will play out over the next ten to twenty years just based on conventional economics, and the only issue is that something even better might come along (like some form of fusion energy).

Trying again, jumping to medicine:

“Given the unique structure of medicine, cost discipline cannot come from within.  Cost discipline inherently must come from without. … If there is one lesson to be drawn from the affordability successes of other countries, it is this.  If a nation is to have affordable prices in medicine, it must create an external regulatory authority that will enforce vigorous price discipline on all the players.”

Misses the point. Most US medicine is a scam. I just had a neighbor get two stents at a cost of US$90K (tried last year to get him to eat better), which would be enough for my wife and me to live for two years and create amazing tools that might upgrade the nature of political debate in the USA, and yet his suffering was needless and his underlying issues are not cured and the money was wasted because:  “Scientific Studies Show Angioplasty and Stent Placement is Essentially Worthless

I lowered my blood pressure about 20+ points and lost about 50 pounds by eating differently (more vegetables, fruits, and beans) following Dr. Fuhrman’s suggestions and similar advice. So, again, that analysis misses the point.

Jumping to education:

“One approach builds on the existing culture, for better or for worse. The second approach defines a challenging success standard, then works like crazy to figure out a solution strategy that achieves genuine success. … One must pack a school with success factors.  If one is to cause success for every child, lots of things have to work right all at the same time. ”

I’ll agree with points there on problems like a praise culture. But ultimately school is a bad (Prussian) idea that needs to be discarded, for reason I outline here (based on Gatto, Holt, etc.) such as the shift from learning-just-in-case to learning-on-demand:

Why Educational Technology Has Failed Schools

Free/Libre and Open Source Solutions for Education

Toward a Post-Scarcity New York State of Mind

The fact is, I’ve studied this sort of stuff for so many years that I’m so out of step in so many areas (and sure, I’m probably wrong here and there too) that I no doubt sound like a loony. Renewable energy not an issue? We should eat more vegetables and take vitamin D and 70% of health problems will go away? Schools need to be just shut down and our communities revitalized and the money given to families as a basic income? Lunacy, plain and simple. 🙂

Anyway, that is just from two minutes each skimming three chapters. I can see the ethical tone, but you need ethics plus insight and knowledge to be effective. That book seems to have the ethics, but the insights may be lacking at least in those areas I’m familiar with. (suggestions elsewhere may well be better, and maybe if I read those three chapters more in depth I agree with nuggets of wisdom here and there, admittedly I swept through it with a bias and a self-promoting case to prove). Which is why we need better tools for all this like Doug Engelbart has championed, to do that collectively. We need to move beyond individuals writing books to collective structured arguments and multi-perspective analysis.

–Paul Fernhout
The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies of abundance in the hands of those thinking in terms of scarcity.

Phi Beta Iota:  The above commentary refers to Reference: Integrity at Scale Free Online Book.

See Also:

Graphic: Medard Gabel’s Cost of Peace versus War

Review: A Democratic Approach to Sustainable Futures — A Workbook for Addressing the Global Problematique

Review: Designing A World That Works For All

Review: The World Sensorium — The Social Embryology of World Federation 1946