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When looking at our daily lives, it is hard to think of activities or goods that don’t involve oil in some way or another. Oil is used in the creation of electricity, gasoline, plastic and many other common items that most people take for granted and have become accustomed to. What many people don’t realize is that oil was created through millions of years through a process of extreme heat and compression of all the fossils of dead plant and animal life. Currently, the rate at which oil is consumed largely exceeds the rate at which the Earth is able to produce it. If you do research into this you will find that we hit “peak oil” in the 1970s – meaning that we have reached the point in time when global oil output reaches its maximum level and the only way to go from here is downhill. The severity of the situation cannot be underestimated and we urgently require transforming our consumption-behaviour in a way that is sustainable for human beings, the planet and all other life we share this planet with.
We’ve constructed an entire society and lifestyle based on the availability of fossil fuels as if they are never ending, while in fact they are limited and will run out. This means that we’ve built a society that is beyond the capacity of the Earth to support and will thus inevitably collapse. This collapse is eminent – and the only question which remains is whether we are going to be passive spectators suffering the collapse, or active participants directing the collapse.
If we choose to be passive spectators, we will simply continue as we are doing things now, and through time, the standard of life will deteriorate for many and eventually some form of disaster will wipe out the virus humanity has become – to restore balance on Earth. In this scenario, we don’t have much of a say and things will just ‘happen’ to us where all we can do is react to the economic and geopolitical disaster as they come along, but it will already be too late to do anything substantial, and much unnecessary harm and suffering will take place.
On the other hand, if we choose to be active participants, we can guide the process of collapse. This means that we won’t just be ‘victims’ of things happening to us, but where we can direct and guide the process of the collapse in a way where we minimize harm and suffering, and can put into place a point of transition where we can minimize the ‘shock’ of being cut off from fossil fuels while moving to renewable energy sources and sustainability.
This collapse, does not only entail the moving away from fossil fuels as our main energy source. It also consists of re-defining our lifestyle as what it means to be a human being as part of a greater Ecological System called Earth, which will affect our decision-making in relation to energy consumption.
Being active participants in the process of collapse, is the preferred route to take – as it lies within the principle of Prevention is the Best Cure.
The main principle guiding decision-making in relation to energy will be that of what is Best for All, both here and for those in the future – to ensure that we do not in any way overshoot the carrying capacity of the Earth and repeat the mistakes of the past.
It will be the end of the world as we know it, but not the end of the world at large. A decrease in energy consumption and move away from industrialization based on consumerism does not have to go hand in hand with a decrease in the quality and standard of living. Within an Equal Money System, we will in fact do quite the opposite, where we will achieve optimum living conditions with a minimal and sustainable use of energy.
The main point which is currently driving the high rate of energy usage is that of self-interest, which is linked to the profit-motive driving society. Through removing the profit-motive and removing self-interest, we can adopt a new style of production of goods and services, where what will be produced are goods that last a lifetime – where possible – and that are always the best they can be. As part of the removal of self-interest and the profit-motive, any form of branding and competition between various organizations producing the same product in slightly different ways to ‘win over’ customers – will also disappear, which in itself will result in a drop of energy requirement in the overall production processes of goods, as such rivalry is in fact counterproductive to responsible energy management and conservation.
Any product designed and produced, will have been done so based on the accumulation of all the information and knowledge available regarding materials, methods, production processes, technology etc.- to align all points within the production and consumption process to what is Best for All.
Within this, concepts such as the application of death-dating/planned obsolescence and redundancy will disappear – which again will result in a significant decrease in the use of energy resources, as well as others, as we won’t be re-producing the same product every two years or so for the sake of driving the economy in the name of profit. Additionally, we will no longer participate in the promotion of psychological obsolescence either – such as for instance the desire to always have ‘the newest phone’ or only buying the products of a particular ‘brand’ because we’ve identified with the brand and want to evolve with the brand’s product line. This form of relationship with goods in society was not always existent, and was a relationship introduced and implemented to accelerate the redundancy of goods for the sake of continued production and consumption in the name of profit. Such relationships are in fact a form of dysfunction, as we shift our attention and focus from creating harmonious relationships between all living things, to developing and creating relationships of harmony between ourselves and our objects of desire. Within this, we’ve created our own ‘separate reality’ with a ‘fake’ form of harmony which only exists within the individual itself – causing actual disharmony as harm and damage to real reality as the physical.
The problem with this harmony in relation to our desires is that it does not last, and in the end, it runs out as the ‘novelty’ wears off – and that is where we will want the next phone and the next phone etc. There is no logical or reasonable explanation why one would want to move from one phone to another, where the only reason one can come up with is because ‘ I like it’ and ‘it fits with who I am’. This ‘who I am’ then becomes a disharmonious disorder that is imposing on the physical reality a consequence because you are forcing your disharmony unto the harmony of nature to its detriment – which evidently, is not Best for All.
The goal is thus the reduction of energy usage paired with the production of optimum goods – and to within this support Dignified and Responsible living on Earth.
Within the current system, everything that is produced is designed to break. This forces people to keep buying more of the same goods in order to replace the damaged or broken goods. The reason behind this is that companies attempt to ensure a constant flow of income and profit. If products were built to last – fewer goods would be purchased, reducing a company’s profits. Therefore, large amounts of energy are consumed within the production process of goods purely for the sake of profit.
If you look at how we waste electricity there are a few points that people seem to generally overlook because they think that there is no other way. Let me explain: right now if you look at an average westernized household you will see that almost all people will have the following electronics in their homes: a computer, a television and sound system, a fridge, a freezer, a toaster, a kettle and microwave. These are just the most common of appliances of which there are many, many more, but I will just use these as an example. When you want to buy any one of these electronics you will see that most stores will have at least 5 different brands of each, which means that there are 5 different companies all building the same product, using resources such as oil and electricity. It can thus not come as a surprise that a shortage of resources is imminent. We needlessly allow numerous companies to utilise the limited resources of the Earth to build a slightly different version of the same product.
Also, on average, none of these appliances will last for more than about 5 years, if they even get that far, before they break. Ask yourself: what if we started focusing more on making a product that is practical, energy efficient and lasts for at least 25 years? What will happen if we allowed only one company to build a particular appliance, while making sure that the appliances produced are as functional – meaning that, you build one machine that is capable of performing many tasks, such as boiling water, making filter coffee, blending, mixing and so on – as energy efficient and long lasting as possible?
Having removed the profit-motive from a company’s activities – within an Equal Money system, such a singular company will be able to focus entirely upon manufacturing the best possible product. This means that each person automatically acquires the best possible version of a product and doesn’t require testing out various brands only to find out that all available products have a similarly short lifespan.
The people working at the company will be those who are passionate about what they are doing, driven to providing the best possible product. There is therefore, no need for a competitive system between companies to motivate the workers’ and the companies’ performance. Driven to perform to the utmost of its ability, the company will challenge itself to perfect the efficiency of their products and production processes so as to provide products that actually improve every single human being’s quality of life.
Having only one company building quality goods that are effective and that last, will reduce our need to continuously replace, upgrade and throw away old machines that are ‘disposed of’ in dumps, landfills or even into the ocean – as what we have recently started doing with all the waste we cannot find space for on land.
Here’s a simple equation and an example of a massive energy consumption reduction in the Equal Money System:
Given that in the current profit driven system it takes 1 unit of energy to produce 1 laptop that lasts, due to planned obsolescence, on average 2 years. Additional 1 unit of energy is consumed when the laptop is delivered to you. In 10 years you therefore need to buy 5 laptops, that cost 5 units of energy to produce and 5 units of energy to be transported to you. Result is 10 units of energy for the Capitalistic system.
In the Equal Money System only the highest quality laptops would be produced, without planned obsolescence designed into them. Given it costs 2 units of energy to produce a laptop that lasts 10 years and 1 unit of energy for it to be delivered to you. In 10 years you only need to buy 1 laptop, consuming 2 units of energy in production and 1 unit of energy in transport. Total is 3 units of energy for the Equal Money System.
That’s 70% less energy consumption in the Equal Money System, in this particular example.
We can further increase this number, through including the cost of dealing with the waste of 5 computers vs 1 computer, including the savings of energy and resources when all the information and technologies to produce the best laptop possible would be freely shared between the producers, etc. But at this stage of the design of the Equal Money System these details are irrelevant. The point is to show you, how, through changing one part of the system we live in, we’ll see massive change that is best for all in another part of the system as everything is inter-connected and inter-dependent as the functioning and workings of the system as human civilization.
Recycling will become an integral part of the production process. Damaged goods will be taken in and stripped and all parts that can be used or remodeled will be. This again will relieve the pressure upon the consumption of resources.
The change in our consumption-behavior as discussed thus far will have an enormous impact in reducing the amount of electricity and oil used. What must be considered, however, is that fossil-fuels will still run out, even if consumption rates drop by 99%. Within an Equal Money System, therefore, large energy consumers such as factories will be facilitated to operate through renewable energy sources. Depending on the type of climate or environment the factories are situated in will determine the type of energy source used. For instance, if the factory is in a windy area, then one will set up wind turbines. If it is a sunny climate, then do solar panels or if it is near to a water source strong enough then it would be hydro generators.
If you take a look at countries like Spain you will see that renewable energy sources are already being implemented as to replace the country’s current dependence on non-renewable in a few years. Another example is Denmark – in 2008 wind power provided 18.9% of electricity production and 24.1% of generation capacity for the whole country. It is thus possible to replace the world’s dependence on non-renewable and unsafe electricity sources. The only reason that it isn’t as widespread as it should be is that there is almost no profit involved in renewable energy sources, as the supply of these resources doesn’t run out. Furthermore, efforts will be done to conduct more vigorous research into other renewable energy sources that are currently being ignored only because they cannot be metered in order to make a profit from them. Within this, we would only focus on research into sources that are stable and safe and will not cause a threat to the safety of humans and the environment.