Over New Year, I read a new book by Muhammad Yumus, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, inventor of microcredit, and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. This book, “A World of Three Zeros: The new economics of zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero carbon emissions”, started me on a learning journey, that led to “Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future”, by Paul Mason, and to several of Mason’s Youtube videos. I also watched several videos featuring the wonderfully articulate Jeremy Rifkin, academic and adviser to the European Union and Angela Merkel. Rifkin’s latest book is the “The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism.” Other discoveries included “Doughnut Economics” by Kate Raworth and “Talking to My Daughter about the Economy: A brief history of capitalism” by Yanis Varoufakis.
The key messages from these sources include:
Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, can be harnessed everywhere and cost very little or nothing once they are set up (zero marginal cost). Conversion to renewables is happening fast.
Mark Z. Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and director of its Atmosphere and Energy program, says that producing all new energy with wind power, solar power, and hydropower by 2030 is feasible, and that existing energy supply arrangements could be replaced by 2050. Barriers to implementing the renewable energy plan are seen to be “primarily social and political, not technological or economic”.
Access to food and water are crucial issues for ensuring a sustainable future. They are part of the climate change conversation. And the environment has limits which we must observe.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enables these objects to connect and exchange data. The growing connectivity of everything includes interconnected buildings, machines, appliances, roads, transport and individuals (Wikipedia).
Bruce Mason writes: “It is absurd that we are capable of witnessing a 40,000-year-old system of gender oppression begin to dissolve before our eyes and yet still seeing the abolition of a 200-year-old economic system as an unrealistic utopia. We lie at a moment of possibility: of a controlled transition beyond the free market, beyond carbon, beyond compulsory work.” (Postcapitalism p.290)
Young people (millennials, 00’s) want access rather than ownership. See airbnbs, uber, Utunes. “The access economy is a business model where goods and services are traded on the basis of access rather than ownership: it refers to renting things temporarily rather than selling them permanently” (Wikipedia).
Our third book, “Co-operacy a new way of being at work” (Hunter et al.) was published in 1997. At that time, we saw the need for enhanced relationship skills: a “whole person” self, peer partnerships, co-operative organisations, networks, and societies. We also saw the possibility “of a co-operative world in which technology serves the greater good of all and supports the transformation of human consciousness. Out of this could come a major shift in human consciousness towards living co-operatively, as one diverse global community in a compassionate and environmentally sustainable society.”
“A name we like for this is the “Relationship Age” … which transcends the capitalism and communism of the “Material Age”. The Material Age assumes the universe is an immense number of separate, self-interested parts competing against each other for limited resources. “The Relationship Age assumes the universe is an immense number of connected parts, each of which co-operates with all the others” (Co-operacy p.11).
For context, regarding this quote from Co-operacy, consider that Wikipedia was founded 4 years after this book was published. Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, was founded January 15, 2001 and is edited by thousands of volunteers from around the world. It is an extraordinary example of global co-operation and the 5th most used website according to Alexa Lists. The first four most used websites (as at February 8th 2018) are Facebook (2004), Google (1998), Youtube (2005), Twitter (2006). And as for the World Wide Web itself, this came about in 1990, invented by computer scientist Tim Berners Lee. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_popular_websites
So, all that we know and use every day in the co-operative world of the internet has emerged during the last 27 years. Could any one of us have imagined this?
The Future is Beckoning.
The time has come for a major rethink within Zenergy. We need to fully integrate new and emerging technology into our facilitation work and also further study future trends, so that we (all of us) can fulfil our vision of “whole people co-operating in a sustainable world”.
We have a Zenergy Leaders meeting coming up in May 2018. If you have comments to contribute to this conversation please scroll down to the “Leave a Reply” field below and make a comment.
Thank you for reading this far and a special thank you to those who leave comments,