Universal Basic Income Game in beta release!

UBI means Universal Basic Income and guarantees people who are not in work a basic income level. About UBI people have a lot of different opinions – some say it frees up people and their entrepreneur spirit – others say it makes people lazy. How are we going to pay for it? is another objection.

We designed and built this downloadable single player/small group version so you could try out ideas around UBI for yourself.

Continue reading “Universal Basic Income Game in beta release!”

Dunbar shows the way to a world where all have agency

As I write this, COP 25 is going on. Children activists interviewed on stage, including Greta Thunberg, are stating simply that they represent the younger generation who want a chance to be able to live on the Earth in future and they see no action that is going to offer them more than a 50% chance of an inhabitable planet. No change since their last COP, only increasing CO2 levels. They, like most people cannot understand why they, their needs and the voices of scientists and ordinary people have no agency. Maybe there is way … building on insights from chimps.

Continue reading “Dunbar shows the way to a world where all have agency”

Creative works: Common, not economic man

Just started to publish in blog format chapters from my new creative writing project with the code name Common, not Economic man.

The book follows Max Wahlter, a journalist who decided to enter a competition asking for proposals for alternatives to the UN. Understanding that there is a tragedy of the commons but also a sustainable, regenerative future of the commons, Max set out to use the creative inventing technique of imagestreaming to invent this new World Governance, and to win the prize.

The technique of imagestreaming allows users to “visit in one’s mind’s eye” a place that has successfully solved the challenge. The technique suggests imagestreamers record their impressions and analyze and document them.

Max made several visits to this “place” and brought back som really deep insights. However, it was not all plain sailing as he realised the task asked for a lot more intellectual power than he felt like like applying. On the other hand without it he could not solve the problem.

Follow Max’s trials and tribulations to find the pot of gold – the answer to global governance on A Very Beautiful Place. AVBP.net

Passenger cars – the inconvenient truth

The Sankey diagram below covers Sweden but could probably apply to most of Europe and the US. It shows the total energy input into the country and what it is used on. It tells us an inconvenient truth that no-one seems to be talking about: domestic CO2 emissions come largely from use of passenger cars. If we are serious about killing CO2 we have to look at killing the car as we know it. We have hardly started to even dare have that conversation. The other inconvenient corollary is that our transport system is oil-dependent. And oil is finite. We need to redesign from the ground up the way we arrange things. It is high time. Let me explain.

Continue reading “Passenger cars – the inconvenient truth”

Models of sustainability

I know that the term sustainable is old fashioned, and people prefer “regenerative” for many good reasons. However, there are good reasons to take a look back at what sustainability is. One of them is that there are already well-accepted and widely used standards frameworks that, if put together, could give governments, local authorities and corporations best practice guidelines. That indeed would be a lot better than People, Planet, Profits triple bottom line thinking as I will explain.

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Simple quick fixes to capitalism you never knew could be done

My recent article on how come capitalism is an extractive practice, and the later explainer of how it degrades real capital got, for me at least, a lot of interest. Very few, however, asked what could be done about it. Once you know the problem you are a long way to solving it. There are several ways to turn the extractive nature of capitalism around, and they are surprisingly simple. Read on!

Continue reading “Simple quick fixes to capitalism you never knew could be done”

Greening the desert will help us. In many ways.

A group based in the Netherlands, called The Weather Makers, are rolling out an ambitious plan to turn the Sinai desert green. Apart from stabilising weather in the region and possibly an even wider area, the initiative hopes to bring livelihoods to the area, reducing the risk of conflicts among the troubled people who live in the area. The project literally has biblical proportions as it is the site of what ancient scripts refer to as the land of milk and honey.

Continue reading “Greening the desert will help us. In many ways.”

Appreciation for the Circle Way and Medicine Story

This is dedicated to Story Talbot, also known as Medicine Story, who passed away last July, at the ripe old age of 89. Story had dedicated his life to passing on what he called the old ways, traditions and understandings from North American tribes on how to live in harmony with the earth, oneself and each other.  It has taken a long time to gather myself to put down these words. Story’s influence on my life and thinking were so great, and his contribution to our development so profound that I just have to share my perspective.

Continue reading “Appreciation for the Circle Way and Medicine Story”

A Community of Practice needs Pattern Language

Maybe it is just a sinking feeling you get in your stomach when you think of the global economy, or maybe you have delved into the depths of economic thinking. Either way we are not alone if you are concerned that the great human invention – money – is dysfunctional. Many are commenting on how our economic system – often called capitalism although that is hard to define exactly what it is – is coming apart. The comments are coming from the direction of Marxists, conventional economists, free thinkers and even the World Economic Forum.

In other words, the way we use money is not fulfilling the purpose of distributing wealth, ensuring the basic for survival, or driving stewardship of land and minerals.

People have started taken action. Although in their infancy, alternatives abound, including the REconomy movement – a branch of the Transition Towns movement that seeks to help create social, resilient enterprises based on local conditions. REconomy is very much a grass-roots movement. Those involved in REconomy locally have very little time for coordinating with others, sharing knowledge or engaging in EU-funded large projects. Making something happen on a local basis takes a lot of effort. Despite the initial enthusiasm you can whip up initially, it is a long, hard slog to get your high-street, if you  are lucky enough even to have one (most are gone in Sweden), free of the domination of global brand chains. Indeed its hard enough just to get a local bakery started.

But it IS working. In several places the REconomy movement has increased the number of jobs in local firms, seen businesses be more sustainable and helped foster a sense of community,

The REconomy movement doesn’t have to start its own brand chain. Like many other movements it sees itself as a community of practice (COP). A community of practice is a network of practitioners helping each other get on with their practice, or business. A community of practice does not have to have its own organisation, rules, by-laws, membership fees, shareholders, stakeholders or the like. Just people sharing experiences. It COULD have some or all of that – if it helped – of course. You can commercialize a community of practice. Do that in a fair way and you get a platform co-operative.

A shared language of patterns

One thing that helps communities of practice is to develop a shared language. Terms appear that only practitioners understand the real meaning of – like names of tools used by people pursuing the same craft. But how do you share experience? The answer came from Christopher Alexander who put forward a ‘pattern language’ approach. He believed – and proved it – that you can describe something in a way that others pursuing your craft can follow. They can at least get started, copy what you describe and learn from experience from there.

As Alexander says: “no pattern is an isolated entity.  Each pattern can exist in the world, only to the extent that it is supported by other patterns: the larger patterns within which it is embedded, the patterns of the same size that surround it, and the smaller patterns which are embedded in it.  This is a fundamental view of the world.  It says that when you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it”.

We need to name the patterns in operation. And evaluate them

This is huge. As Peter Senge pointed out in his book the Fifth Discipline, we all go around with patterns in our heads of “good ways to get stuff done” without even knowing. For practitioners of a craft, as their surrounding context changes, for them to change with it they need to be aware of the pattern (or paradigm) they are applying and question whether it will take them into the new context.

This is REconomy : Bringing to the surface the patterns that are hidden but operating, putting them together with the new context, questioning their fitness for purpose and developing new ones.

What follows is a first attempt to create a pattern for how to describe an emerging pattern for REconomy , based on experience.

  • What is the underlying economic paradigm that is working, hidden.
  • What is the context that it is operating in.
  • Explain how the paradigm is unfit for purpose.
  • Summarize the problem or challenge that the REconomy pattern you have discovered will address. you can use question form like “how can we increase employment in locally-owned companies?”
  • Explain what this new pattern will do, how it will help
  • Give your explanation as succinctly as possible with enough detail that it can be tried elsewhere.
  • Include: number of people, the time-frame, the geographical reach and resources needed.
  • Explain how your pattern addresses the initial challenge
  • Provide additional information including other patterns this pattern works with, reference links and next steps to move forward.

More reading

Very useful in this context is to understand the two loops theory of system change. We are in a dying system and a new one is emerging.

Footnote: you might be asking for an example of the way this pattern language could work in practice. If you revisit the article you will see it is written using my proposed structure. Still needs work but a start at least!

Envisioning a Safe House for Humanity

Most of us would like to think that people taking important decisions – ones that affect our lives deeply – would be basing their judgement on deep criteria. We hope that they are being reasonable and rational, balancing long-term and short term, what is fair and what is equitable etc. What many might suspect, however, is that decision-maker’s logic is more ruled by the economics of the situation and the budget covering just the domain of their decision. Indeed, many social experiments like the Stanford Prison Experiment show how authority and social pressure alter decision making. Of course economics are important but should they be the trump card that overrules compassion, equity, decency and plain common sense? The initiative Invest in Peace proposes a safe house for humanity. Continue reading “Envisioning a Safe House for Humanity”