Unwinding the Human Predicament Part 4/6

A social contract exists that creates the required forces

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

Bad behavior selected by billions of individuals, when collected together create the forces that destroy our civilization and ecosystem. Different behaviors of individuals, when collected together, could create the forces that would lead to a sustainable civilization and ecosystem.

Our genes motivate us to take the bad behavior and reject the alternatives. A patchwork of experience, education, and religion, struggle to alter our genetic (and dysfunctional) choices. Social contracts are part of this alteration process. bbbb

Social contracts operate on a simple principle that a small constraint on the behavior of all individuals results in a large group benefit. For example, a traffic signal, puts small constraints on all drivers at an intersection while providing the group with increased throughput and safety. At the civilization level, social contracts, for example the Hammurabi code, the Magna Carta, and the bill of rights constrain behaviors that would otherwise create slavery, wife subjugation, and unequal access to the commons.

However, with thousands of years of experience building social contracts, none creates the behavior that could create the forces that attain and maintain a sustainable human/earth system. None gets rid of approved behaviors driving us toward civilization collapse and environmental destruction.

Below I consider additions to, and subtractions from, our social contract that create the required forces. By subtractions, I mean removing elements of the existing contract that today unfairly allocate earth's resources among present and future members of the ecosystem (space, materials, water, air, etc.) By additions, I mean adding behavioral constraints to the social contract, that prevent consumption of resources that can become exhausted, diluted, or contaminated, e.g. fossil energy, phosphates, or atmosphere.

In the previous sections, I outlined forces that
       1) maintain a future civilization in a sustainable state; and
       2) transition our existing civilization to a sustainable one.
Actually creating these two different sets of forces requires two social contracts. One that maintains a non injury producing sustainable civilization. And a second contract that causes the transition from our present civilization of 7.2 billion people spread over the entire world, into a 50 million person global population distributed in three city/states which occupy only 2% of the global land area.

The goal of this section is to convert the two sets of forces into two explicit social contracts (enforceable laws) that constrain the actions of individuals. Laws that can be placed before today's global population for their acceptance or rejection.

The laws that maintain a sustainable civilization after it has made the transition are by far easier to visualize because all constituents (present and unborn) already has equal rights within their civilization and equal support from the natural environment.

The laws that guide the transition have to reflect the scarcity, inequity, and conflict that is presently part of our existence. The laws have to address both existing overshoot, and a rapidly increasing overshoot resulting from the earth's rapidly decreasing carrying capacity (e.g. fossil fuel loss.) These laws also have to reflect the changes resulting from a plan to empty 98% of the world from human impacts. Also that the present in place world population is not migrating to the special city/states and living under the new laws but mostly living in their present places under the old rules. For example, equity holdings, religions, races, languages and customs will all be held by the populations outside the city states until each disappears through old age death.

The proposed dismantlement is a bigger project than that experienced by Rome. Rome was dismantled through 300 years of internal decay and external attack; not to mention the loss of environmental support. The envisioned dismantling of global civilization this century (84 years) will be a designed contraction providing full support for a rapidly declining (and aging) population, and decommissioning of hazards, using a contracting energy base.

The vote for these two new contracts is a little tricky because the unborn people and non-human elements of the eco system that gain benefits from the new social contracts have no voice or vote. All the yes votes must come from existing individuals who hold power under the existing social contract. All the yes votes must be based on images of future conditions, not past experience. The yes vote is based on a personally constructed abstraction that the new unpleasant (because of new social contact's constraints) path forward is better than the much worse path forward created by our existing social contract.

       Group 1 New components of the social contract
                -- maintaining the new civilization after it has transitioned to a sustainable design

The new social contract takes away some personal freedoms and assigns them to civic control. For example the distribution of earth's assets between humans and other species. Ownership of any asset belongs to the next hundred generations. The current generation leases these assets from the owners. These assets are apportioned equally to each member of a constant population.

Below I propose six additions to our contract. As you read them, consider your vote for or against the package which I feel are requirements for establishing sustainability.

1) Civil control over global number of human inhabitants:

       Control over the total number of global births each year.
           (objective is to maintain a fixed human population)
       i) universaly applied reversible human sterility.
       ii) birth lottery -- distributes a limited number of permits to reverse sterility.
       iii) birth incentives -- ensures that all the birth permits are used successfully.

2) Civil control over migration:
       Individuals are prevented from living outside of the designated human city/states.
              Prevention of migration maintains:
                    a) The 2% -- 98% split of land assets between humans and other specie.s
                    b) The energy density required to provide services to living individuals
                            (For example, a portion of each person's energy allocation is used to
                                  maintaining hospitals. If the population spread out
                                          the hospital services would decline.                               

3) Civil control of access to non-destructible physical assets (metals and minerals):

       The initial allotment to the city/ states is scavenged from the previous civilization.
       Since extracting these resources from the crust will take more energy than recycling;                   use of non-destructible physical assets is maintained by allowing only processes
            that allow recycling. Processes that leak resources to waste are not allowed.

       Within these recycling constraints stocks can be leased by:
              the public (for example materials embedded in infrastructure) or
              Private individuals (for private use)
              not leased materials are held in warehouses.

       Lessors pay market value for annual leases.
       No ownership into perpetuity.
       Failure to pay lease or to transfer the lease to another lease payer
              results in stock reclamation.
       Prepaid recycling back to warehouse condition is part of the original lease.
       The leases do not allow dilution or use that would prevent recycling.

4) Civil control of the earth's renewing assets like air water, soil, etc.:
       Total human use of renewing resources limited to
              the 2% human portion of earth's renewing flows.
       An equal portion of this flow is owned by each member of a constant population who can
              use it or
              lease it.
       The lessors can be the
              public (for example materials embedded in common infrastructure)
              private individuals (for private infrastructure)
       Not leased renewing assets are held in common.
       Lessors pay annual market value for their lease
       Failure to pay the lease or transfer to another payer of lease results
              in returning the natural flow back to the commons.
       The lessor is not allowed to implement any practice that degrades the natural flow.
       The initiation of lease includes a prepaid indemnity to ensure the flow is not degraded.

5) Civil control of the earth's exhaustible resources e.g. fossil fuels
       or dilute-ables resources e.g. phosphate:
       Nothing can be consumed in the present time period that
              cannot be equally consumed in each future time period.

       Exhaustible resources are not permitted to be leased
              without concurrence of the 100-generation owner.

       Deletable resources are permitted to be leased
              without concurrence of the 100-generation owners.

6) Civil controls on conflict:
       i) maintenance of minimum (high level) of support for each person.
       ii) limits on stratification of wellbeing (e.g. wealth or power)
              (dilution of wealth and power at death)
              (monetary units KWh tokens issued with exporation dates.)

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

During the years of transition from our current global civilization to the envisioned sustainable city/states there are two groups of people and they live under different social contracts. The people that live within the city/states will follow the extended social contract outlined above. However, the 7.6 billion people continuing to live their lives outside of these city/states will have the social contract defined below.

While the objective of the city/state social contract will be to maintain sustainability in the years 2100 to 2400 the objective of this second social contract is help a global population of 7.6 billion people gracefully bow out of existence. That is decrease in size to zero in one human lifetime -- 80 to 100 years. If there are no children in this group, achieving zero population size is automatic.

For the most part, the second social contract is similar to what we have now with the following additions and subtractions.

Universal sterility and lottery permits to allow births.

A birthed child and its parents move to a city/state.

No children live outside of the city/states.

If the permit is won by a person that wants a child but not at this time, is too old to conceive or does not want a child at all, the permit can begive, held, traded, or sold.

The number of permits issued each time period adjusts to ensure an adequate cohort to maintain the appropriate population in the city states. That is replacement of those that died during this period -- old age, disease or accident.

The social contract governing people outside the city/states will retain many elements of today's social contract: rule of law (code, courts and enforcement,) private ownership of earth's resources. It will allow consumption of exhaustible fossil fuels; and a market economy. They will be able to keep living pretty much as they have in the past.

However, there will be these additional constraints. They will:
       not enter or interfere with the new city/states.
       tax themselves to build-out the infrastructure of the new city/states.
       allow/facilitate scavenging of resources to fill the city/state's warehouses
       decommission (detoxify) abandoned infrastructure outside the city states
       transfer without cost to the city states proprietary science and technology
       when the global civilization cannot maintain the world's art collections they will transfer,
               without cost to the city/states
       commit no acts that
              increase the footprint of the city/states
              damage the renewing capacity of earth e.g.
                    like nuclear winter
                    severe climate change
        end diversion of resources to military use.

Their freedom of movement about the world does not change,
       except for exclusion from the 3 city/states.

They continue to develop technology.

Allow condemnation by eminent domain the resources to build the city states.
       Ownership transfered to the commons of the city/states.

Ownership of land and infrastructure outside the city states can be transfered only among people living outside the city/states. Being a member of a city state means you have no material holdings outside the city/state. Eventually these transfers will not be possible, no one outside the city/states will be available to take possession. In which case all of the world's private property transfers to the commons allocated to non-human species.

By 2100, 98% of the land area on earth will be abandoned because no people live there. People will either die of old age in their existing places or they will move to other cities where services are better and die there.

Because the material stock piles within the city/states can be scavenged from abandoned areas that acquisition will not reduce supplies in the conflating civilization.

Conversion of existing militarily facilities and staff to civilian projects;
       conflation tasks,
       city/state build out,
       detoxification of hazards infrastructure,
       scavenging to supply city/state warehouses, and
       transport of people and critical infrastructure from abandoned cities to
              the remaining operational cities.
       maintenance of support systems.

In voting for and implementing these new social contracts there is great risk of conflict with the minority group who voted against the new contract. Certainly the American civil war demonstrated that huge resources, material and human, can be squandered in changing items in the social contract. Since these resources are needed to make the transition, great efforts must be made to minimize these conflicts.


================ Some mechanics of transition ===============

Expected decrease in the earth's carrying capacity will create conditions never before seen in human history. For example:

Supporting fossil energy supports are expected to decline to half by 2050 and over 90% by 2100

the consumer population, outside of the city/state, because
       no births plus
       the deaths from old age,disease, starvation, and conflict
will decrease ~ 90 million a year

Since there are no young people born, each year the population will lose the youngest age cohort. It will not need the infrastructure to support that cohort. For example after the first five years, the world will have no pediatric sections in the hospital, no diaper manufacturers, no preschools etc. The people involved in these projects will retire or retrain.

Present consumption levels will not decrease until
       the infrastructure that needs supporting contracts or
       energy deliveries won't support the infrastructure.

The injuries caused by insufficient issued birth permits will be severe until the fertile cohort in the 7.6 person population is zero. Nominally 50 years. The replacement cohorts (nominally 500,000 people 250,000 women) living within cities will be able to have whatever number of children they want.

The ownership of industry outside of the cities will consolidate into a smaller group. Mostly by by the gifting of inheritance.

The automotive Industry will produce a smaller number of cars because the
       the number of people in the car buying cohort is decreasing eventually to zero,.

Just as farm towns became ghost towns, most towns outside of the city states will diminsh to zero populations. People will go live in larger cities where there are more and more convenient services.

Farms, industrial buildings, and rental property will cease to have value without consumers.

Expected conditions in 2100
       non renewable resources like fossil fuels fossil water, and uranium will be diminished and possibly cease to be extracted from-the crust.

The remaining  energy deliveries for the city states estimated at 360GW of hydro electric power will be maintainable for 400 years or until new energy source comes on line.

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10/13/2014 last rev 9/26/2019

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

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