There are rogue politicians and institutions who want to change the world for the better, but their voices are drowned out by countless other greedy and powerful politicians and institutions. Since there are so many problems of such great magnitude that need to be fixed, and there are so many people working so hard to keep them from being fixed from within the system, it’s extremely unlikely those problems can or will be fixed from within the system. Even if the system could be fixed, it would take years, possibly lifetimes for that to happen, and in the meantime, countless people will needlessly suffer and die.
The fastest, most effective way to make the fundamental changes the system needs is to build a new one from scratch. That solution might sound more difficult than fixing the old system, but I believe it’s not only realistic, but also relatively easy. You don’t even need to overthrow any existing government or ask permission to implement this solution. You just need to build a sustainable, organized village and expand it to support more and more people. This process can be started with less than one hundred thousand dollars.
One of the reasons why fixing the current system is borderline futile is because unsustainable cities are economically dependent on outside assistance to survive. Any Pacific islander can attest that dependence on outside assistance makes you the servant of those you’re dependent on. True freedom requires true independence, and that requires internal ecological and economic sustainability.
It doesn’t take much to build an economically sustainable village. All you need to get started is farmland, water and housing. If you construct your buildings with sand bags, you can make durable, well-insulated structures relatively inexpensively. Once you have a fully functioning farm that produces enough food to meet all your inhabitants’ dietary needs, then your farm will be able to support non-agricultural workers who can do anything from metallurgy to computer programming.
The farm should provide work space and living quarters to people who create vital products like clothing, household goods, medicine, and transportation. This will make the farm more sustainable and thus less dependent on outside assistance, which will make the hybrid office/farm village more independent. However, there’s no need to completely cut one’s self off from the rest of society. You still can and should trade with the outside world. The key is that a self-sufficient village doesn’t trade in order to survive. It trades in order to profit, and the more profitable it becomes, the more it can expand and build more farms and more work spaces. The more diverse types of businesses the farm supports, the more sustainable it will be.
A legally operating business that grows its own food, houses its workers on-site and produces a wide variety of goods and services will be able to provide a high quality of life for its members, and that quality of life won’t be threatened by boom and bust cycles of predatory capitalism… unless the farm exploits its work force by selling them goods and services at the highest price possible while paying them as little as possible.
This doesn’t mean the farm has to be Communist, Marxist, Leninist or Maoist though. Profits should be shared among workers. Common sense and common decency says that’s fair. Common sense and common decency also say the executives shouldn’t get to keep the majority of the company’s profits. One fair way to divide profits in this kind of environment is for the company to keep half the profits it produces. It reinvests that money into expanding the business and upgrading its living facilities. The workers don’t need to own their land they live on or the rooms they sleep in. As long as the company allows its members to live in its facilities for free and eat its food for free, then the workers can save their money for a rainy day or a retirement home somewhere else.
The rest of the company’s profits could be divided evenly between all the workers. That will upset some people who will find excuses why they should get paid more, but if everybody’s basic needs are already fulfilled, people will just be bickering about who gets paid more to buy more toys with. Personally, I believe every part in an engine is equally important to make a vehicle drive-able, and a business is like an engine. Everyone is equally important and deserves equal compensation. If you disagree with that philosophy, you can still compromise and pay your workers similar to the military, where everyone is basically paid the same, but workers are compensated for time in service, hazardous duty and other factors. You could also allocate percentages of profits to high earning departments and let the departments split their profits themselves. As long as profit sharing isn’t too unequal, everyone should be able to reasonably accommodated.
Once your city is sustainable, your workers basic needs are met, and your company is making a profit, you can expand the city indefinitely. If your city is built in the shape of a ring, you can connect every office by a single road, rail or walking path. If you build concentric rings as you expand, you can leave a certain percentage of the wilderness between the rings untouched as a nature preserve.
As long as you don’t go out of your way to control your workers with unreasonable, inhumane rules and regulations, the population will be free and happy. The rest of the world can be as brutal as an American prison, but the inhabitants of the sustainable eco-city won’t have to worry about unjust policies of world governments. The more sustainable eco-cities there are in the world, the less governments will be able to bully and exploit their citizens. Eventually those governments may simply become obsolete and crumble on their own, leaving behind fully functioning, sustainable, humane cities that can operate without excessive bureaucracies and laws.
If the entire city is effectively living in the same building with the same computer network, your entire population will be organized and accessible through the city’s intranet. This will allow the company to keep as detailed records on its employees as the military keeps on its members. This can be used for evil, but if the leaders of the city are meticulously screened, trained and controlled, then this system could be used for good. Your people could live like the crew of the Star Trek Enterprise. They would have a cradle-to-grave tracking method that maintains their medical, mental health, education and career details. With that tool, students could be steered towards their ideal career path. Employees could easily vote on policies or leaders. You could even use this information to create the world’s most efficient dating site. The potential use for good this system possesses is limitless.
Building a city is ambitious and expensive, but this whole process can be started with a small farm employing as few as twenty people. It can be expanded over time without subverting or challenging any existing power structure. It represents as social evolution, not a revolution. It doesn’t require any creepy ideologies or charismatic leaders. It’s just a smart way to do things.
These circular cities can be built from sand bags within the legal boundaries of existing nations, or they can be built on/in giant floating disks that can be launched and connected on the open ocean to create floating islands. We’ve had the technology to do this for ages, and it’s more feasible now than ever. If enough floating sustainable free island states are built, they can disgrace the old nations by offering a higher quality of life with less rules, less inequality, less stress and less violence. If everyone had a realistic chance at abandoning the country of their birth then politicians will have to do a better job at governing in order to keep tax payers in. If a country is too corrupt, inefficient and inhumane to retain enough tax payers, then their government will simply crumble without the need for a violent revolution or a charismatic revolutionary leader to rally behind.
That’s how I’d save the world if I had the money. I’d build a better system from the ground up logically and sustainably.
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