Within each economic system, there’s an inherent maximum potential of wealth, due to the maximum efficiency of the system. This efficiency increases by economic growth, because this normally means more output while the input of manpower stays the same.

If everybody had the same low aggressiveness in collecting that wealth, it would be equally easy for everybody to collect the same amount of wealth.

But there are some very aggressive people and organizations, and some very low aggressive (by character or disposition). Which means, the former will leave very little wealth over for all the others, esp. for the latter. In market economy terms, they “succeeded in competition”, but this only means they deprived the weaker or friendlier people of what they could gain by their working. Because for these, it means they get far less paid for work of the same efficiency than the aggressive ones, they have “failed to compete” … they suffer, because much of the wealth is used up in the luxury items of the aggressive and greedy.

In essence, the problem is that wealth is expendable goods. Wealth is what mankind can gain from nature by using their time for working. But wealth deteriorates; a luxury house needs maintenance etc..

The best way to measure who is having too much on the expense of others is to calculate the “time equivalent” of the construction and maintenance effort necessary for somebody’s personal property. If this is higher than a certain legitimate threshold (like, say, three fulltime employee equivalents of time), this can be said to be unjust.

Also, market economy is such a dumb, short-sighted thing. Instead of investing into the far future by very hight quality products that will contribute to the wealth of the following generations also, it’s all about consumables. Which is the least efficient way to maintain wealth.

The need to earn money in the system creates dependency, which creates the fear of consequences. So the need to conform to the system is the origin of fear about what will happen if one does not conform to the system. Which is in permanent conflict with the need to tell “the system” where it is wrong. So to speak, all people are inside investigators of the “system” (their local aspect of world society), which means their conclusions and sharpness of uttering them is seriously flawed, as in any inside investigation. Unlike Jesus: he told people what they are, from a position of independence and strength. The power community / resilient community concept is a way towards a position more like that.

People are always quick to condemn and criticize global developments and situations, but hesitate to apply the same standards and sharpness to their local area in daily living. Because they fear negative effects might fall back on them, as they are in the weaker (dependent) position.

However, also do not forget that Jesus was 30 years long “in the system”, earning his money inside the system, being dependent on the system. Did he not “dare” to talk to people the same way as later, because of this dependency?

I got a new view on communication: non-verbal communication should be considered an asset. Something valuable. People say that 90% of messages are transported non-verbally, so we should see non-verbal communication as increasing the bandwidth of our communication  by a factor of 9!

However, many people see the realm of non-verbal communication rather as a liability, because the messages transmitted are often sent involuntarily, and then misunderstood. To deal with this problem, we simply need to learn to send and to receive non-verbally.

Learning to communicate non-verbally is quite a time-intensive process, but it is necessary to establish a communication link between each two people. Though time-intensive, it is actually great for people who have a shared life anyway: couples, intentional communities etc..

Mastering the channel of non-verbal communication offers many benefits, actually. Especially, it offers more subtle means of communication: ways to express something with less force and less sharpness than possible by any words. (Because words, as explicit entities, have always a lot of inherent weight.) And there are many situations where it is desirable to transport content in a subtle, gentle way.

And here is an idea on how to learn non-verbal communication: you simply need a “feedback mode”, to check what messages you sent (partially unnoticed by you) and what the other party understood. This can be done by agreeing that it is always (at all times in all communication situations) possible to request feedback; which means the other party has to say with absolute naked honesty what he or she understood. That requires a great amount of underlying trust, because saying what one understood also gives deep insights of what one thinks, making woundable. But in partnerships and good friendships, this should be possible.

Two or three days ago, I had an idea what to do to stop the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf.

Just entered it into the public suggestion form that you can reach via deepwaterhorizonresponse.com: Suggestions. And as sort of a “yes I was (virtually) there” souvenir, here is the idea:

This idea is a modified “top kill” variant to cap the flow of oil from the well: instead of pumping drilling mud etc. from the top down into the well, the idea is to use a long metal tube for that.

The tube, perhaps half the diameter of the well bore, would be inserted from the top into the well. The tube should be as long as technically feasible, even up to several hundred meters if possible. If necessary it should consist of multiple pieces that are connected to each other before insertion.

The advantage of this technique, if feasible, would be that it is more like what will be done via the relief well drilling (intercepting the well bore at some depth). In contrast to the “top kill” method, the drilling mud would hopefully accumulate in the well bore more easily, as it can be inserted without pushing against the flow of a gushing well. Means the chances that this works could be better than with a top kill. The advantage over relief well drilling is, it can be deployed immediately, not needing several month of preparation.

Note that, if this method successfully seals the well, it should also successfully have sealed the insertion tube, as that tube will be full of cement also. The tube can be left in the wellbore therefore.

And here is the “proof” that I was there: 😀

There are two possible roles that the law can fulfill: protecting the weak from being exploited, or protecting the exploitation of the weak. In the first case it works for the interests of the poor, in the second case for the interests of the rich.

In the case of employment, trade unions successfully fought to implement laws that prohibit the most severe cases of exploitation. Namely, physical exploitation. What remains is financial exploitation: the ratio of annual wage to yearly gain per employee is mostly far below 1, meaning people do not at all get what their work is worth just because the company owners (or investors) have the right to the company’s organizational “shell” and market power – though that was built up with the labour of employees also!

In the case of self-employment where well-defined customer relations exist that are regulated by law, exploitation is also not much of a problem. Probably less of a problem that in the case of employees, who still suffer from financial exploitation. This includes for example companies like a doctor’s surgery, a pysical retail shop, a web shop, a cab company, a small manufacturer, being a hirer, and all craftsmen and other people who are paid by time. Among them are also freelancers who got a high reputation by some means, and can now demand being paid by time.

Now the problem is the case of the self-employed freelancer. There are no laws that protect him (or her) from even physical exploitation. The freelancer mostly has to give fixed-price offers, and the full risk of miscalculation is his. There is no minimum wage guaranteed by law – and this can drive him out of business. The problem is that a freelancer is in the economically weaker position: he has to fulfill obligations before getting paid, and needs the payment to exist. This seems to be a hole in the law system: for every other economically weaker party, the state created laws (like for tenants, employees etc.), but the freelancer has to negotiate his own rights though being in the weaker position. Bold freelancers can succeed here, but many others fail. It is also no solution to set up very rigid contracts with customers, ideally payment by time; as customers simply would not accept that as they are themselves often forced by their situation to avoid such high risks. And the state does not do something about this except calling it “precarious occupation”. The best thing is leaving this business area as fast as possible …

Looking at the other side of the scale, there are many laws protecting “possession”, and laws that implement rights so that possession generates more possession (the fact that interest rates are not forbidden etc.). Also, politiciany are currently (2008-2010) very eager to minimize the risk of investors by state-based guarantees that their loans plus interests are going to be paid back (see e.g. the Greece sovereign debt crisis). All these are laws that protect and increase the means of the rich (investors, people with a private or passive income etc..). Sad but true, this seems to make up the majority of the German laws, its primary intention.

Summary: I now see that law (or: a legal system) can be a good thing, because it can prohibit people to exploit each other (meaning, the stronger exploiting the weaker ones). Strict legislation and well-defined rights make it possible for people to get along with each other in a large society, even though you do not know the people you interact with personally. So even though you cannot trust the people you interact with, law makes meaningful interaction possible nonetheless because it guarantees you meaningful rights in the case the other party should try to exploit you. In the case of Germany, there are many good aspects where the legal system fulfills this role; but there are also many holes (see above), and many things where overcomplication makes law effectively unapplicable (e.g. through high process costs that you have to pay yourself if you win but the other party has no money).

My more visionary solution is however this: to live in a resilient, autarkic community of trustable people. Within it, very little laws are needed (just about getting and losing membership, and a daily time of “community work” for everybody). And in the external relations, no protective laws at all are needed: the community is autarkic, so is never in the weaker (exploitable) position because it needs nobody from outside. It would for example accept no fixed-price contracts, but demand getting paid by time. If customers do not want this: no problem, the community does not need customers.

There is another side to the medal of law-regulated protection from exploitation: this normally makes it possible for the protected “weak” persons to exploit the state that protects them, by drawing its welfare finances etc. without need, and without motivation to repay by working at ones maintainable capacity. We have such a free rider problem in the German welfare system, clearly. It simply means the waste of resources that are there: the workforce of unemployed but unmotivated workers etc.. (Note that the “free rider” designation is not applied here to the motivated unemployed – exactly those are what the state should be proud to protect from economic calamity by simply not finding a job.) So liberals are clearly right by saying that there is a free rider problem and that it has to be solved; but it does not get solved by the neo-liberal, laissez-faire, capitalist style of economy, as this effectively cancels also all the valuable protection of the weak just becaus of the free rider problem. Which is clearly an overreaction. But still, leftist people, Keynesian economists etc. need to find an answer for the free rider problem within their proposals – or their proposed system is not long-term maintainable. We should look at Scandinavic models for economy how this might be possible. If taxes would be guaranteed to be used efficiently (!) for the good of all (!), why not pay higher taxes? They would come back immediately or mediately (less crime, better educated employees etc.) to oneself. We have only a problem, therefore, in a state that is incompetent to use its tax money that way. See for a discussion of this and related problems: Wikipedia on the New Deal, and this ZEIT article.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” — Robert A. Heinlein

They said, the generalist is gone. We say, the generalist is yet to come. The generalism of the pre-industrial age was no real one, as the world knowledge was quite limited. Now that world knowledge is larger, it becomes clearer what a true generalist might be like. And now that we have computers, it becomes clearer that this is feasible. It is not about knowing everything at every moment and being able to do everything at every moment, as this is physically impossible. But it is about having computers with free software at ones disposal, which serve like a “brain extension”, and to have all the qualifications that are needed to aquire new computer-mediated knowledge and abilities in very short time. These “meta qualifications” were named previously “to know where it is written”, but now this includes also technology use that potentiates abilities. This stuff is the only necessary stuff to be taught in school, instead of factural knowledge. If the “meta qualifications” could be a limited set, and the free software that serves as brain extensions could be comprehensive and well-standardized, that would be great.

Examples: There is no need to be able to draw 3D things by hand, as this ability can be “crystallized” in 3D software. There is just the need to be able to operate 3D software. Likewise with calculations, orthography etc.. However, what also must be included, is the ability to quickly “drill down” and understand and perhaps adapt individual calculations done in the software etc.; being a dumb operator is not being a generalist. But being a “universal scientist, artist, social worker and handicraftsman” is.

Remember my futuristic, utopian blog post about the sovereign community concept just some days ago? Now just yesterday I found out there is one approach for such a high-tech enabled power community underway. I was seriously bedazzled. May I introduce: Factor e. It took me the whole night (literally) to read and watch all the interesting stuff on their website.

Here is the most interesting stuff that I found on the web about them:

The challenge: finances. It is easy to imagine that a not-yet-autarkic community that in addition to autarky first of all needs to acquire autarky by creating the toolbox for it, needs more money than it has itself. While autarky brings independence from money, this is not the case on the road to autarky … . So if you like what they do and share their vision, you can surf over to their “True Fans” page and from there, join their “1000 True Fans – 1000 Global Villages” campaign and join by contributing a monthly USD 10 for two years. If we want to enjoy an open-sourced equipment for autarkic living, we somehow need to make that happen first …