Planetary Accounting Network Affording Communities Equitable Access

Hi Larry

Like the general direction of your thinking, and there are some major issues with the specifics of the approach you have taken.

While I agree that there are many more (infinitely so) possible value sets than those based on physical things, your claim that “Material-based wealth is limited, finite and one day will run out” is true in a certain sense, but the time of things “running out” could be hundreds of billions of years away, so it isn’t true in the sense that most people would read it.

Other than in nuclear power plants, we don’t actually use up matter, we simply change its association with other bits of matter – form it into one thing then another, etc. As we develop atomic level recycling, our need for new matter will essentially cease, and most people will only need a few thousand tons of matter at most – trivial compared to the vast amounts of matter on this planet.

If we start looking at living further afield, if we took Mars apart, and used all of its matter to build habitats designed to optimise for security, freedom and efficient use of matter, then we could easily sustain 100,000 times the biomass currently existing on earth (people and other things) – that is allowing every person 10 acres to do with as they please, plus another 10 acres for wildlife, plus 2 acres for common facilities – inside each of the habitats – about 100,000 people per habitat.
Not a difficult feat of engineering once you have fully automated production.

So – no – we’re not really running out of stuff, if we get smart about how we organise and recycle it (which is almost impossible to do inside our current economic system – we seem to agree on that).

Once you start to look at value in detail, it is an intensely personal thing. For most people, their value sets are mostly determined by cultural factors, and thus there are certain similarities present in many people. At a level below that, biological influences also play a role in some aspects of the value sets we use, so that too provides a level of commonality.
And some people have gone far beyond biology and culture in their choices of value sets they use. For some of those people, there may be little or no useful commonality with others.

So the idea that a thing like a Planetary Index (PI) could exist, seems to me to be mostly wishful thinking.

Rather than trying to compile any sort of single index, it seems far more powerful to me to develop suites of tools to allow people with vastly different value sets to cooexist peacefully.

Striking a reasonable balance between vastly divergent value sets will require negotiation of boundaries, ongoingly (periodically).

Some people cannot even agree that the values of life and liberty are fundamental, beyond that the divergence of values is huge. Conformity is a strong negative value for me, inclusiveness a strong positive.

As to organic implementation, that is actually quite difficult, when laws, customs and taxes require things of us that require a lot of time and energy.
In this country, failure to pay land taxes will eventually have the local council take the land and sell it to recover monies owed – the process takes a decade or so, but when someone has the intention of living thousands of years, a decade isn’t long.
One cannot escape the money system easily.
The change needs to be systemic, and it can certainly have organic roots.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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