The solution strategies presented here are based on years of consulting with historians, visionaries, and experts in all of the 12 Sectors. They offer promising possibilities for creating a world in which nobody’s rights are violated and every person has the opportunity to thrive.
Because such profound change cannot happen all at once, there are three overlapping stages of the solutions process: Stage One: Bringing integrity and healing to our current condition; Stage Two: limiting government control to the protection of individual rights and the commons; and Stage Three: living solely by voluntary cooperation – rules, but no rulers.
This three-staged approach is a radical shift from most strategies. Rather than trying to improve the status quo, it integrates traditional progressive, conservative, and libertarian viewpoints, reconciling divisions that have long kept us separated.
You can check out some of our ideas in the areas that most interest you. Please join in the discussion, and let us know what you think.
ARTS SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
Stage 1 – Reform Existing Systems
Crowded streets in Philadelphia on a "First Friday". Photo by visitphilly.com.
In this stage, we would reform systems to increase access to the arts and emphasize their importance. This would require more media coverage, community festivals, art funding, and more.
One successful program that is happening nationwide to increase people’s access to the arts and give artists more public exposure is called “First Friday.” Participating local shops and galleries around the country open up their doors the first Friday of every month, free of charge, and feature different artists for all to see. Implementing more of these programs throughout the country would help to revalue the arts. To learn more about it or start a “First Friday” program in your area check out First Friday Santa Cruz or First Friday Boulder.
As the military budget is significantly reduced and corporate subsidies and Federal Reserve interest are eliminated, there would be more funding available, both private and public, to support artistic endeavors in schools and communities. At the same time, we would need to create more private funding models such as Kickstarter (discussed more below in Stage 2) to transition away from public funding and our reliance on government.
Build Resilient Communities with Art
Communities with more art tend to have stronger economies. The arts attract more visitors, residents, and businesses, which brings more money into the community. The arts also create more opportunity for connection among community members.
Some possibilities to build more resilient communities with the arts include:
Placemaking: hands-on community projects to create communal spaces and improve neighborhoods. Check out the City Repair Project in Portland, OR to get some ideas.
First Fridays: as discussed above, art galleries across the nation open free of charge on the first Friday of every month. Check out First Friday Santa Cruz to see how it works.
Open Studios: Various cities throughout the US have “Open Studio” tours where artists open their studios to the public for multiple days. This helps create connections with artists, lets people see the process of creating art, and allows artists to show and sell their work in more casual settings.
Stage 2 – Limit Government Control
Transition to More Private Funding of Arts
In Stage 2, we would work to limit government control and support the arts on our own. One of the main ways to do this is by using the money we have from paying less taxes to fund our own art projects. There is already a successful fundraising platform called Kickstarter that allows artists of all types – filmmakers, fine artists, designers, inventors, journalists, etc. – to raise funds online through donations from other individuals. It has been wildly successful. As government programs and taxes are rolled back in Stage 2, people will have more money available to contribute to art projects.
Stage 3 – Set Up Systems for Voluntary Cooperation
Theatre of the Oppressed in Action. Photo by Shira Golding.
The key in this stage is to not suppress the arts in any way. People should be able to express themselves freely (as long as they’re not violating anyone else or the property of anyone else).
ECONOMICS SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
Even the most informed experts disagree on how to solve economic crises. What is obvious, however, is that there is a considerable lack of debate on serious alternatives to our current economy. We want to get beyond the usual discussion and explore revolutionary possibilities that actually get to the root of the problem.
Our research and information directly implicates the global central banking system – of which the Federal Reserve is a key part in the United States – in creating the devastation and suffering that so many people are experiencing around the world. Powerful elite bankers have literally hijacked our governments, wielding more influence than any other sector. We have seen and experienced it in the most recent economic collapse – Wall Street bankers who created the problem were bailed out with taxpayer money, ultimately gaining even more power. Clearly, making banks who were already “too big to fail” even bigger is not an effective strategy or solution. Rather, it sets everyone up for more vulnerability in the future and gives banks even more control over our government and over us.
The following solutions get away from typical “quick fix” approaches and are intended to give less power to bankers and more opportunity for prosperity to everyone.
Our solutions are predicated on the core ethic of the “liberty perspective”, and are outlined in three stages:
Stage 1 – Reform Current Systems: Bring Transparency and accountability to the economic system. This includes dismantling the Federal Reserve, restoring money making capacities to Congress, monetizing the debt, and withdrawing support from harmful international banking agencies such as the World Bank, IMF, and Bank for International Settlements.
Stage 2 – Limit Government Control: Decrease government intervention in our daily activities and empower people to create their own currencies, banking systems, and sustainable local economies. This includes getting rid of government subsidies, repealing legal tender laws to allow other currencies to compete, rolling back entitlement programs, and severely limiting taxes.
Stage 3 – Voluntary Cooperation: Use the personal power and prosperity gained from stages 1 and 2 to empower people to care for one another and eliminate involuntary government altogether. This involves completely opening up the market and letting people come up with their own non-coercive governing and economic systems.
Stage 1- Reform
Stage 1 involves reforming Central Banking and getting the economy working for the people, not the bankers. In order to achieve this we propose shutting down the Federal Reserve and temporarily giving its powers to Congress. This would have to coincide with campaign finance reform to get special interests out of Washington and make sure politicians are representing the people. Reform in Stage 1 also includes monetizing the debt and abolishing harmful international banking agencies. You can check all of these out in more detail below.
Dismantle the Federal Reserve
Dismantling the Federal Reserve will likely require mass mobilization against its practices and an education campaign exposing its failures. You can sign up to participate in critical mass actions to Audit and End the Federal Reserve here. As pressure mounts, a strategy must also be in place to ensure a smooth transition so that it doesn’t result in economic chaos. For this, we propose temporarily shifting Federal Reserve powers to Congress.
Although we do not support more government power in the long run, it seems necessary to restore economic functions to the government as we dismantle the central banking system and explore new alternatives. It would be absolutely critical to make all economic decision-making accessible and transparent to the public. Televised hearings, and debates – similar to CSPAN – could help facilitate more public interaction and accountability.
New government functions would likely include printing and lending money at low or fixed interest rates at the Federal, state, and/or municipal levels. We can draw upon successful models from the past and ones that are working today. For example, North Dakota currently has a state bank that has managed to maintain a surplus amidst the economic crisis. In 2008, while the rest of the country was on the verge of bankruptcy, North Dakota had a surplus of $1.2 billion.
Withdraw Support from the IMF, World Bank, and Bank for International Settlements
This international banking trio is destroying the world. They bankrupt countries, charge astronomical interest rates, require unfair loan conditions, and create development strategies that benefit Multinational Corporations rather than the residents of the country.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) - The IMF serves as a sort of “lender of last resort” to developing or struggling countries. Although its stated goal is to “alleviate poverty”, all loans are issued with strict conditions and regulations that usually end up weakening economies, burying governments and their people in debt, and opening up the market to devastating transnational corporations. Watch this video with John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman, to learn more about how it works.
World Bank - Although the World Bank represents 184 countries, it is run by a small group of the most powerful nations who in turn promote their own interests. The President of the World Bank, for example, is nominated by the President of the United States and has always been a citizen of the U.S. Like the IMF, the World Bank also issues Structural Adjustment Loans which place restrictions on how the money can be spent. For example, a World Bank loan may require privatization of the water supply which benefits transnational corporations and undermines the rights of the people. In this way the World Bank can manipulate and control growth in the developing world to benefit itself.
Bank for International Settlements, Basel, Switzerland.Bank for International Settlements - The Rothschild-created Bank for International Settlements (BIS) “serves as a bank for central banks.” It has 55 member central banks but is mainly run by bankers from the United States, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Japan. Unlike the IMF and World Bank, it operates with much less transparency and is not accountable to national governments. Nevertheless, it has significant control over the global financial system by setting capital requirements and reserve controls. Evidence shows it played a key role in Japan’s recession in the late 1980’s and more recently contributed to the financial meltdown in the U.S. by enforcing the Basel II Accords, which required banks to adjust the value of their marketable securities in November of 2007. Private individuals within the BIS are making key economic decisions without public scrutiny. This must come to an end! To learn more, check out Ellen Brown’s Article, The Tower of Basel.
Refuse International Taxes
The UN and other international organizations are pushing policies that could help set up a global taxing system. Cap and Trade is just one example. This would consolidate power even more. Don’t go for it.
Monetize the Debt
With government issuing fiat-currency itself, rather than the Federal Reserve, we could eliminate the national debt. The national debt consists of securities: bills, bonds and notes. The U.S. government could simply issue new fiat currency to buy back all the securities and take them out of circulation. Because securities act as cash this would not increase the overall money supply and cause inflation. Instead it would just eliminate the debt and taxpayers would no longer have to pay interest on it.
If it’s so simple, you might ask, why don’t we just do it now? Because the Federal Reserve currently has the power to issue currency. When the Federal Reserve buys securities, it doesn’t make them void. Instead the securities become “reserves” for issuing many times their value in new loans. This compounds the problem of ever-rising inflation. If we dismantle the Federal Reserve, however, and give its power to Congress, then we can easily eliminate the debt.
Stage 2- Limit Government
In Stage 2, which significantly overlaps Stage 1, we want to limit government functions to the protection of individual rights and to empower people to run their own local economies, create competitive currencies, and allow a truly free market without government intervention. This would involve repealing legal tender laws* to allow other currencies to emerge and compete, eliminating government subsidies, rolling back entitlement programs, and limiting taxes. It would also involve a transition away from state-run banks to privately-run, diverse banking systems.
Repeal Legal Tender Laws
Although Stage 1 involves setting up some kind of service-based government banks, they would not be the only ones. In Stage 2, other currency and banking systems should be encouraged and allowed to compete for customers. Banks could take multiple forms – and they all need to compete in the open market. Some issue local currencies; others are 100% backed by silver or gold; others owned and run by community members, etc. Fractional reserve lending would be illegal to safeguard borrowers from fraudulent banking practices.
Eliminate Government Subsidies and Bailouts
Subsidized businesses have an unfair advantage that allows them to remain competitive. In Stage 2, any business that is unable to compete in the free market, should be allowed to fail without government bailouts or subsidies. Commercial farms, for example, which have brought down the price of food and pushed small, organic farms out of business would no longer be subsidized. Commodity prices would begin to reflect their real value and the best and most trustworthy businesses would rise to the top.
Use Increased Personal Wealth to Take Over Government’s Mismanaged Entitlement Programs
As money is freed up for everyone by decreasing taxes, there would be more opportunity to care for one another rather than rely on government services funded by taxpayers. Services such as Welfare, Social Security, and Medicare would no longer be needed because all people would have more resources with which to support themselves and help support each other. Evidence shows that people who are free to prosper are more inclined and better able to take care of each other than the State. This naturally can bring up a lot of fear from concerned citizens who want to ensure that everyone is cared for at a basic level. However, government programs are very inefficient, often ineffective and do not allow for complete empowerment and recovery the way prosperous people can and do.
Limit Taxes to Protection of Individual Rights and Commons
Most of our taxes in the U.S. currently go to the military and interest on the debt. In Stage 2, taxes would dramatically decrease. They would still be needed to protect from pollution of the commons – the air, water and land that we all share – and basic human protections until Stage 3 is sufficient to protect people, their property, and shared common spaces.
Stage 3- Set Up Systems for Voluntary Cooperation
In Stage 3 coercive government is dissolved and private voluntary enterprise – including justice, insurance and security – competes for the respect of potential customers. People set up systems for voluntary cooperation – no force, no coercion – unless someone is violating someone else. Of course, many questions arise as we transition from a parental type State (telling us what to do and what not to do, what to study, who we can marry, what gets put in our water, who has to go to war for the benefit of corporations, etc). How would we deal with criminals? Schooling? Healthcare? How would the economy function? These are legitimate and important points to address as we make the transition to full and complete freedom for everyone. Fortunately, many people have already thought a lot about this and come up with empowering Stage 3 systems and solutions. The challenge lies in the transition – how do we get there? For the economics sector there would need to be a truly free market and some form of private judicial and security systems. Here are some possibilities:
Establish a Truly Free Market
We have never experienced a truly free market without government intervention. There would be tremendous innovation, diversity and growth to create thriving economic systems. The best banking models, trading networks, and currency systems would rise to the top. Because Stage 3 is based on non-violation, there would also be far more sustainable products and services available.
Set Up Systems for Protection
In Stage 3, state courts would no longer be necessary. To take their place, researcher and host of Freedomain Radio, Stefan Molyneux, suggests using Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs). Each person would have a DRO, similar to an insurance company, to insure their daily activities. DROs would provide insurance for contracts and charge a fee based on the risk of the contract. If someone breaks the contract, the DRO pays for it. DROs incentivize good behavior because that keeps peoples costs down. The DROs also are incentivized to encourage good behavior, because they then make more money from fees and have to pay less for their client’s bad behavior. This is explored more in the Liberty Section and is offered here as just one idea of how a stateless society could deal with crime in a non-violent way.
** Legal Tender means that Federal Reserve notes (US Dollars) are considered a valid and legal offer of payment in the U.S. The Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled "Legal tender," states: "United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues."
EDUCATION SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
State schools are failing: inefficiencies are rampant, teachers are underpaid and lack accountability, and students are not getting the quality education they deserve. The more the state intervenes the worse it seems to get.
We’re promoting a radical shift in education. Ultimately we want to create a society where each individual is free to pursue the type of education that most appeals to his or her passion, need, and learning style to promote critical thinking and creative expression. In order to achieve this we cannot resort to the usual state school solutions – throwing more money at a fundamentally flawed system will not help in the long run. Instead we want to develop strategies that break down the state monopoly on education and empower all people to choose where and how they want to be educated.
These education solutions have to take place alongside solutions in other sectors. They are all interconnected. For example, while there is still public education, we’ll need to decrease the military budget and get rid of interest on the Federal Reserve debt and redirect those funds to finance the transition away from state schooling. Education taxes would also decrease and eventually be eliminated, which would free up funds for families to pay for their own schooling.
The basic strategy we’ve come up for the education sector involves:
Stage 1: Reform Existing Systems – Transition out of the state-school model and encourage alternative schools to emerge by loosening government regulations and allowing people to attend the schools they choose.
Stage 2: Limit Government Control – Make the transition to education without government intervention.
Stage 3: Set up Systems for Voluntary Cooperation – Keep the government out of education and allow people to choose the education they desire.
Stage 1: Reform
Redirect a Portion of the Military Budget into Education
A small portion of the military budget could be redirected into education. A recent poll showed that American taxpayers want more money to go toward education and less toward the military. These funds could go to (1) help state schools get the resources they need to make it through this transition period, (2) a new government scholarship program to finance education of the poor, and (3) develop new models of education and funding solutions for non compulsory education.
Set Up A Scholarship Fund For Those Who Need It
There will be fewer and fewer people who need assistance as taxes are lowered, but there will inevitably be some people in need of financial support as the state school system is overhauled. A state scholarship program could provide temporary relief in this first stage until the private sector is able to take on the responsibility. Funding could come from redirected military funds and elimination of interest on the Federal Reserve debt.
Setting up this state scholarship fund will not be easy. We can learn from existing, though imperfect, assistance programs such as school voucher systems to learn how government funds are set-up, how people receive the funding, and how to determine who qualifies.
Some existing programs to learn from include:
Milwaukee Parental Choice Program – This is the nation’s oldest voucher program for low-income families. Parents receive up to $6,500 to enroll their children in private school. The program has grown significantly from 337 students attending seven schools in 1990 to 18,550 students attending 122 schools in 2008. Studies show that these students have a higher graduation rate than those in public schools and that parents are satisfied with the program.
School Choice Info – There are a variety of school choice programs in Cleveland, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Milwaukee, Vermont, and Washington D.C. that are described on this site. It gives information on legislative history, fiscal impact, research, enrollment, demographics, and more.
Gradually Lower and Eventually Eliminate Education Taxes
Because our goal is to move away from state schooling, the taxes that currently go toward funding schools would no longer be necessary as more private schools emerge and the scholarship program grows. 90% of K-12 education funding comes from state and local sources,  so eliminating these taxes would require a variety of strategies.
Allow and Encourage Diverse Education Programs to Emerge
At this stage, the market would be open for alternative schools and programs to emerge and expand. Families who are unsatisfied with state schools could have their children receive any type of education they desire and stop paying taxes toward the current state schooling system. Those who are unable to afford private schools could receive funding through a scholarship program.
Here are a few successful models that new schools could potentially learn from.
Peninsula School in Menlo Park, CA – A private, progressive school that offers a non-competitive, non-authoritarian learning environment.
Sudbury Valley School – An independent school ranging from pre-school to high school based out of Framingham, MA, that allows students to choose what they want to do every day. It is based on the belief that everyone has a natural curiosity to learn and that student’s will get the most out of their education by initiating their own activities and getting the support they need to do it. They have a compelling structure in which each student and teacher has one vote to make decisions about rules, staff, facilities, etc.
Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are privately run. They are exempt from state rules and regulations, but must meet “accountability standards” that typically require the school to show increased student performance (usually based on state tests). While charter schools have received a good amount of criticism, they do provide some valuable insight. Part of their success is due to the fact that they are run like a business, not a government institution. This transfers to policies and systems that demand accountability. There often are more efficient use of resources, higher teacher salaries, higher teacher performance standards, and a benchmark system to evaluate the school’s overall performance. Some of these systems may help inform private schools as they begin to form.
The “Unschooling” Model
Another approach to education is to ditch the idea of schooling altogether and to support each child’s natural interest to learn. “Unschooling” is a growing subset of the homeschooling movement that is not based on any particular curriculum and does not follow any set structure. The underlying belief is that children are naturally curious and that they will learn as long as they are supported in pursuing their passions. It has been catching on in recent years, with some estimating that the unschooling population is growing by 10-15% every year.
Advance Education to Include More Whole-Systems Thinking and Analysis of Current World Issues
We are living in momentous, challenging, and exciting times, yet very few classes focus on the current state of affairs. Students would benefit and become more engaged if their education reflected real world situations rather than abstract ideas and notions. You can get college credits through Gaia University and Wisdom University to study various subjects on the Thrive website and propose solutions to many of the problems we currently face.
Stage 2: Limit Government Control
Transition State Scholarship Program to a Private, Charitable Fund
With billions of dollars of taxpayer money returned to the people in Stage 2, more and more funds would be available for charitable contributions. Caring for others would no longer be handled (inadequately) by the state, but the responsibility of citizens. Given the current state of the world, it’s clear that the state, while officially responsible, actually fails in its role.
State schools would no longer exist and people would be free to pursue the type of education they desire. The state scholarship program would be phased out and privately run scholarship programs would kick in. For a breakdown of the numbers and how this could work, see Chris Cardiff’s article, What About the Poor?.
Stage 3: Voluntary Cooperation
Get and Keep Government Out of the Educational Process
The key in this stage is to keep government out of schools. There are already 8 million children in the U.S. who learn free of state control, so educational independence has already begun. In this stage, the possibilities are endless….Have fun! Learn and teach what you want! There could be schools focused on solving global crises, sustainability programs, teaching co-ops, internship programs, whole-systems curriculum, crafts, trades, arts, sciences, technology, homeschooling, “unschooling”, etc.
The early colonies actually serve as a model for a functioning education system that honors individual choice. Women, immigrants, African Americans and Native Americans were not honored within this system, but applied today, we could create equal rights for everyone.
Not withstanding the genocide upon which the colonies were established, former Director of Education Policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Matthew J. Brouillette, says “Early America was arguably the freest civil society that has ever existed. This freedom extended to education, which meant that parents were responsible for, and had complete control of, their children's schooling. There were no accrediting agencies, no regulatory boards, and no teacher certification requirements. Parents could choose whatever kind of school or education they wanted for their children, and no one was forced to pay for education they did not use or approve of.”
We can learn from this model. To read more about it, check out Brouillette’s article here.
ENVIRONMENT SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
The environmental crisis is a global issue. We share a planet of interconnected eco-systems. Pollution of the air, water, soil and food affects all life. As we each wake up, individuals can work together to put an end to the devastation.
Below are a sampling of solutions to work toward a more balanced, healthy, sustainable planet. We realize that environmental crises vary from place to place and therefore require unique solutions, however, we propose this three-staged approach as a useful strategy that can be adopted and refined anywhere. Ultimately we envision a world with clear rules, protecting rights and property, but no rulers – no state entity with powers that override individual rights. It will take time and effort to transition to such a condition. (See the Liberty section for further explanation)
What follows are elements of “big picture” strategies – approaches that will take many people’s actions to accomplish. The WCID (What Can I Do?) section addresses individual actions that you can personally take on if you choose. Getting involved in your community is a powerful and immediate way to make the necessary changes.
Stage 1 - Reform Current Systems
Reform the EPA
A key component of Stage 1 involves restructuring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to truly steward ecosystems. Its stated mission is to “protect human health and the environment.” However, there are many instances in which the EPA has failed to do this, putting private interests first. For example, one of the EPA’s main research partners is now the American Chemistry Council (ACC) which represents more than 135 companies including pesticide manufacturers. In recent years the number of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA’s) between the EPA and corporations and industry associations have risen dramatically. In addition, nearly 900 EPA scientists have reported political interference in their work.
Some solutions to avoid corruption and promote true environmental protection may include:
- Publicly elect EPA officials – let the people choose who runs the EPA. This will help keep corporate and political interests out of the EPA and hold leaders accountable.
- Eliminate conflicts of interest – businesses partnering or researching with the EPA would have to prove their actions do not harm the environment. For example, the American Chemistry Council would no longer be able to work with the EPA unless pesticide manufacturers and other harmful chemical companies were banned from their council.
Promote Green Jobs – Lift People Out of Poverty and Reduce Environmental Impact at the Same Time
Photo by Green for All.Van Jones, founder of Green For All and bestselling author of The Green Collar Economy, proposes that we solve the environmental and social crises at the same time by creating more green jobs. The idea is to organize, train, and provide jobs for urban America – in solar installation, green building, weatherization, etc. – in order to lift people out of poverty, improve energy efficiency, lower health risks, and reduce our overall ecological footprint. At Clear Compass, we believe it is key to employ this strategy only in Stage One transition of our solutions strategies – creating no new taxes, but using only funds freed up from such destructive and non-productive tax expenditures as military and war spending, interest paid unnecessarily to the Federal Reserve, and subsidies to factory farms.
Televise Real-Time Debates and Discussions Among Environmental Experts and Representatives from Other Sectors
Millions of people are working to solve various environmental crises. Why not hear from them and learn more about the issues? TV and Internet videos can help reach a wide audience and get people involved. To get the most out of it, these forums would need to be live, un-scripted, and open to people of diverse backgrounds and opinions.
Abandon Cap and Trade System
The global cap and trade system sets limits on carbon emissions for businesses around the world. It is set up so that the worst polluters can buy “pollution credits” from those who stay under the limit and pollute less. Supporters argue that this not only sets realistic goals to decrease pollution, but economically incentivizes businesses to pollute less.
It may sound like a good idea, but there are serious negative consequences to cap and trade: It…
- Authorizes a global taxation system to undermine national sovereignty and to fund a global centralized authority
- Creates the next financial “bubble” (after dot com, real estate and taxpayer bailouts) for financial elite to artificially boom and bust for only their own benefit
- Penalizes some industries without applying to others
- Still allows for excessive amount of pollution
- Relies on self-reporting from industry
Another way to deal with pollution would be to hold polluters criminally liable through the justice system for violation of other’s property. We each own our lungs and air pollution violates those boundaries. Sufficient penalties make polluting prohibitive so it is phased out and the real costs of healthy goods will become apparent.
Account for Externalized Costs
Humans rely on nature for their survival. Without accounting for our impact along the way and tracking how well forests are regenerating, other species are surviving, and water systems are maintaining themselves we are threatening all life on this planet.
Accounting for externalized costs is no easy task and very few models exist to achieve this. Some propose shifting the tax burden from personal income taxes to environmentally destructive activities as has been done in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. We’re not comfortable with this because more taxes leads to more violation and we’re trying to achieve less violation.
But we really don’t know how to do this. It will likely take a lot of people sitting down together to come up with a viable strategy. So we’ve made this a “Big Q” – click here to join the discussion with others.
Label Genetically Modified Foods
There is currently no way to know if your food is Genetically Modified despite the fact that there are significant environmental and health hazards associated with GMO’s. Mandatory safety testing and labeling are steps toward transparency that empowers and protects the consumer. Labeling could be similar to other systems – such as Fair Trade, Organic, and Free Range – and would raise awareness around the dangers of genetically engineered crops. There is already a Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods and the Organic Consumers Association is doing a lot to educate about GMO’s and stop them altogether. As people learn the truth about GMOs, an informed marketplace will naturally reject them.
Promote Renewable Energy and “New Energy” Technology
The burning of fossil fuels is polluting the air, fueling war and global conflict, and breeding dependency on oil-rich countries. But efficient, sustainable alternatives exist that can revolutionize the energy industry.
The best strategy we’ve come up with so far includes:
- Decrease our reliance on oil and use it to make the transition to renewable alternatives
- Employ alternative energy sources including wind and solar to power a large portion of the world
- Stop suppressing and further develop “New Energy” resonant technology devices to make clean, abundant power accessible everywhere.
Exciting innovations in the solar and wind industries have been emerging in recent years – prices are more competitive; energy generation is more efficient; and adoption is more common worldwide.
Wind - Global wind generating capacity went up almost 26% in 2006.  Denmark is now powered by at least 15% wind power and other countries around the world are making similar advances. In the U.S. there is enormous potential for growth in the wind industry. As Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute says, “The U.S. great plains are the Saudi Arabia of wind power.” Texas, North Dakota, and Kansas alone have enough wind to power the entire nation.  Now is the time to make the shift- we have the technology, resources, and ability to make it happen.
Solar Power and Creative Financing for Installation - Solar is growing by more than 40% every year and is taking off in countries such as Germany, China, and Japan. It’s also estimated that the sun-drenched southwestern United States has the ability to generate 7,000 gigawatts of electricity, about 7 times the amount currently generated from all sources in the U.S.
One of the main set-backs to solar energy is that it requires a large initial investment. So Berkeley, California came up with a solution- called the Financial Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST) program- which requires little or no down payment from home-owners. How do they do it? The city funds the projects by issuing bonds and adding a surcharge to the home’s property taxes. Over the course of 20 or 30 years, whoever lives in the home makes low-interest payments back to the city. In many cases the payments are close to the same amount saved in energy bills, making it a win-win scenario. Similar programs are being adopted throughout the U.S. including Austin (TX), Boulder (CO), Portland (OR), and Santa Cruz (CA).
“New Energy” Technology - A source of infinite energy is available to everyone – we don’t need to be polluting our environment and fighting over control of fossil fuels. There are numerous devices already proven that access boundless energy in clean, safe and inexpensive ways. These devices have been brutally suppressed by vested interests for many years, but have huge potential for humanity. To check it out in more detail, go to the New Energy Technology section of this site.
Stop Subsidizing Environmentally Destructive Activities
An estimated $700 billion a year of taxpayer money is spent by the world’s governments to promote environmentally destructive activities such as coal mining, overfishing, pesticide use, overpumping of aquifers, and the burning of fossil fuels.  To save the environment, we’ve got to stop funding its destruction.
Stage 2 - Limit Government Control
Shift Management of Environmental Commons to the Local Level
Photo by batuwa.“The Commons” are natural resources that we all share in common such as air, water, and soil. There is an ongoing debate about how to manage the commons. What’s best for the environment and for the people? Should the commons be managed by government or sold off as private property? In either case, how would this work? This is what we want to explore.
In stage 2 of the transition of society from authoritarian, collectivist states to true cooperation and freedom, the goal is to move away from government control to decentralized voluntary association. With management of the commons this will likely involve breaking down large Federal agencies and giving more control to local community members. We’ve outlined some ideas for this, but hope to discuss it more with others. Optimal stewardship of limited and vital resources – the commons – is one of our “Big Qs” – the critical unanswered questions for humanity to focus on. There are many unanswered questions that remain – you can join in the discussion by going to the “Big Q’s” Section of the site.
Trusts – A Tool to Manage the Commons
One compelling way to deal with management of the commons is to create trusts that are designed to protect natural resources for present and future generations. This has already been done in a number of places with considerable success, including the Pacific Forest Trust, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, and the Oregon Water Trust. Trusts vary in form but are generally set up to preserve the ecological functions of a natural resource, often by working with people to reduce their impact on the resource or by acquiring land, water, or conservation rights. For example, the Oregon Water Trust is working to restore water flow to endangered streams by working with property owners and farmers to take less from the waterways. We find this an appealing solution - at least for Stages 1 and 2, because:
- the government isn’t making up the rules in a far-off place,
- property owners get to keep their land,
- people in the community work together, and
- commons are preserved for the benefit of everyone.
Air - We all breathe the same air. What goes into Earth’s atmosphere affects everyone. So how do we deal with that? Who gets to regulate the air? Can anyone own it? There are a number of ideas out there. Ideally we would all simply stop polluting. However, we are so far from that ideal that we feel we need to implement realistic solutions that create financial incentive for improved air quality and empowerment for those whose practices are aligned with the preservation of this finite and precious part of the commons. One of the more compelling and new ideas is the “Sky Trust” proposed by Peter Barnes of the Tomales Bay Institute in California.
The Sky Trust would make all citizens equitable owners of the air. Annual auctions would then be held to issue permits for available “dump space.” The limits would be strict and would diminish over time and the proceeds would go to the Trust to be reinvested in clean, alternative energy and/or go to the owners. This would encourage less pollution because over time as less permits are issued the price would naturally rise which makes it less appealing for the polluters. This model is based on the Alaska Permanent Fund, which gives residents of Alaska yearly dividends from state oil income. The Sky Trust varies, however, in that the incentive is to improve air quality and protect the environment. This is a compelling solution because:
- it’s a realistic, do-able place to start that could have big impact quickly
- it doesn’t raise taxes
- it’s market based
- it’s based on fair and equitable ownership
Water - We all need water to survive. So how do we manage it so that everyone has access to clean drinking water? Is private or public management best or a combination of the two? So far, the main private ownership model we have seen is corporate takeover of water supplies. This happened in Bolivia – Bechtel Corporation claimed ownership of their water, including the rainwater, and sold it back for unfair, high prices. The people of Bolivia revolted and ultimately regained ownership.
Foreign corporate privatization backed by force is not fair or appropriate. It prevents people from accessing local water sources and having a say in its management. A more logical and just approach – at least during these transition stages - seems to be either local management of the water commons with true representation of the people in their regions – possibly moving toward a true free market with local companies who must compete for the respect and selections of their customers. This is another important Big Q!
Land - Most of the land in the U.S. is privately owned but a large portion is also owned by the government. Land in the care of the government is not necessarily well cared for – it is often leased to companies to make more money. These temporary leases encourage unsustainable treatment, because once the land is “used” -by clear cutting trees, overusing soil, and over-pumping aquifers, the land can be returned. The arrangement undermines incentive for long-term stewardship. For example, a good portion of national forests in Oregon are leased to logging companies, who are funded by Union Bank of California, who come in and clear-cut. Because the businesses don’t own the land, they don’t have much incentive to care for it over the long term. The result is a decimated forest.
However, about 4/5 of forestland is privately owned and at least 1.5 million acres are still disappearing every year. Because there is no explicit distinction between trees as a resource for lumber and their critical role in ecosystems, we have not yet come up with a fair and sustainable way to deal with this issue. Land ownership is part of the Big Q associated with the long-term stewardship of natural resources, and specifically, the commons.
Stage 3 - Set Up Systems for Voluntary Cooperation
The environment varies so much from place to place that it doesn’t make sense to have sweeping federal solutions to environmental crises. Rather, people should have a say within their community about how to deal with local environmental issues. In this stage we move away from state imposition, toward a truly free market. Protection of individual rights and the principle of non-violation would remain a key aspect. Enforcement would be private and eco-systems violations would be resolved in private courts.
We can only guess what this stage will look like. But to get an idea, here are some examples of how non-violation and a truly free-market could work in the environment sector:
The Food System
In Stage 3, under the law, nobody could violate another person or their property. Violators would be held criminally liable. This not only protects people, but the environment as well. For example, farmers who apply pesticides to their crops could be sued by consumers, neighboring communities, or even workers who experience health issues associated with the chemicals. It would quickly become financially impossible for these farmers to stay afloat, either causing them to go out of business or to change their farming practices. Not only does this improve human health, but non-organic, petroleum- based pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers would be eliminated and more environmentally friendly growing practices would naturally emerge.
Labeling of food- such as GMO’s proposed in Stage 2 (limiting government) – would no longer be mandatory or enforced by government. Rather, people would be forced to compete in the free market, and private “eco-labeling” alternatives would draw customers to the obvious, better alternative. In fact, GMO’s would likely be obsolete because their vendors would be continually sued for violating others and would become unable to purchase insurance. Farmers would compete for business and their goods would reflect the true cost of production, free of government subsidies and inclusive of externalized costs. Bureaucratic government agencies would no longer determine the definition of “organic” or “free range” or other state run programs. Instead independent agencies whose reputation would depend on reliability would take on this function, and diverse criteria and certification models would emerge. The best, most rigorous programs would come out on top because they would be the ones that earned the trust of consumers, insurance companies and dispute resolution organizations.
 During the Bush administration’s first term, the EPA had 57 CRADA’s, up from 34 during Clinton’s second term. For more on this see this article: Chemical Industry is EPA’s Primary Research Partner:
 An online questionnaire was sent to 5,419 EPA scientists in the summer of 2007. Of the 1,586 that replied, 889 reported interference within the last 5 years. This LA Times Article reports the details: http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/24/nation/na-epa24
 World Watch Institute. Vital Signs 2007-2008, pg. 36.
 See Lester Brown’s Eco-Economy, pg. 103-104.
 From Lester Brown’s Eco-Economy, pg. 240. His numbers come from the 1997 Earth Council Study entitled, Subsidizing Unsustainable Development.
 For more details on these trusts see the Worldwatch Institute’s “State of the World 2008” Report, “The Parallel Economy of the Commons.”
 Worldwatch Institute, “State of the World 2008.” Pg. 148.
GOVERNANCE SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
The solutions we propose here are aimed at giving people more control over their lives and more opportunity to create thriving communities. Stage 1 involves reforming current government systems to increase transparency and accountability while we begin a transition away from government control. Stage 2 involves limiting government to managing the commons. Stage 3 involves setting up systems for voluntary cooperation and empowering people to run their own communities without coercive, involuntary government.
Stage 1 – Reform
The American political system is corrupt and crippled. Change in this sector is key to implementing solutions in all other sectors. We can only generate the changes that are needed – such as economic reform, an audit of the Federal Reserve, new energy solutions, labeling of GMOs and more – if we have accountable politicians who can be expelled if they fail to meet the people’s demands.
Clean Up Elections
As long as we are dependent on representatives, we need to make sure politicians we choose are actually elected. In the U.S., electronic voting machines can be hacked and it’s too hard for people to vote.
What can we do about it?
Transition to a paper ballot system in all voting precincts to ensure accuracy and have a verifiable paper trail.
New Mexico has already successfully transitioned to a state-wide paper ballot voting system, proving that it can be done (see our success story to learn more about it).
Change the voting day and make it easier to vote.
In the U.S. we vote on a Tuesday, which makes it hard for a lot of working people to make it to the polls. Shouldn’t we make it as easy as possible to vote? An organization called Why Tuesday? is working to bring this issue to the forefront – check out their work and spread the word.
Adopt Ranked Choice Voting or Instant Runoff Voting
Ranked choice voting gives third party candidates more of a chance of getting elected. It allows voters to rank candidates in order of their preference, by assigning #1 to the most preferred candidate, #2 to the next preferred and so on. If your # 1 choice doesn’t receive a majority vote, then they move on to #2. This system has been successful elsewhere. It’s already used to elect the President of Ireland, members of the House of Representatives in Fiji, members of the Australian House of Representatives, and the Parliament in Papua New Guinea.
Campaign Finance Reform
Campaign costs in the U.S. have skyrocketed in recent years, not just for Presidential campaigns – with Obama raising nearly $750 million – but for Congressional seats, State Legislatures, and local offices as well. It seems the more money you raise, the more likely you are to win. This results in a flawed election system. Political candidates spend most of their time raising funds, rather than debating the issues and getting to know their voters.
Corporations are some of the biggest contributors to political campaigns, which buys influence. For example, the major Wall Street Banks who were bailed out with taxpayer money after the recent financial collapse are among the top all-time donors from 1989-2010. A study by the Center for Responsive Politics revealed that among the top 100 donors are most of the major banks who were bailed out. The rankings are as follows:
|Rank (1-100)||Organization||Total Contributions|
|28||JPMorgan Chase & Co||$19,396,748|
|40||Bank of America||$16,569,591|
The list of top donors ranges from media moguls, to labor unions, to medical associations, to oil companies. The result is corrupt leadership, working for moneyed interests rather than the people.
What can we do about it?
In Stage One we can level the playing field so that political campaigns aren’t just fundraising competitions and so everyday people have a chance to run for public office. Public financing or “clean elections” currently offers the most potential.
Clean election systems have already been adopted by 7 states including Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Vermont and the cities of Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico. These programs have been very successful. 77% of Maine’s Legislature was elected with public funds. The next step is to implement clean elections at the Federal level.
Redirect Funds from Wasteful Government Programs to Ones That Need Funding
This is key to success in other sectors as well. Much of the THRIVE three-stage solution strategy relies on redirecting funds, especially from the military budget, to other programs that need funding such as state schools. This is not meant to make government programs bigger, but simply to make them tolerable and function better with the transition to Stage 2, and less government control, always in mind.
Take Action to Audit and End the Federal Reserve
This goes along with solutions in the Economics Sector, and is linked to campaign finance reform since politicians are heavily funded by bankers who control the Federal Reserve. Americans may support an audit of the Federal Reserve, before actually choosing to abolish it. We’re confident that once the actions of the Federal Reserve are exposed, there will be a movement to end the corrupt central banking system. To join in Critical Mass Actions to audit and/or end the Federal Reserve, click here.
Restore the Constitution – Hold Government Officials Accountable to the Law
Both Republicans and Democrats have supported legislation that undermines your rights. For example, the Patriot Act – that allowed the FBI to search phone, email, and financial records of American’s without a court order (among other violations) – was enacted under President George W. Bush and approved by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
Expose Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, and Council on Foreign Relations
Stage 2 – Limit Government
Taxes are collected without our consent and we have no say in where they go. In Stage 2 we would limit taxes to only support government as a manager of the commons. This would free up enormous funds for everyone to support their lives as they see fit. Estimates are that citizens would have between 6 and 10 times what they now have while working the same or less when income tax and inflation are eliminated, both within grasp if we abolish the Federal Reserve and the income tax that was instigated to support it (both established in 1913).
Taxpayers pay for corporate subsidies. This gives corporations an unfair advantage over other businesses. For example, oil companies receive roughly $4 billion a year in subsidies and tax breaks, even though they are making record profits. This makes it harder for others in the energy industry to compete. In Stage 2, any business that is unable to compete in a truly free market would be allowed to fail without government bailouts or subsidies, while those with real virtue would succeed.
Set up Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs)
DROs are one private possibility to deal with violations and give everyone protection. They are similar to insurance companies and would be in the business of insuring contracts – agreements between people. If someone breaks a contract, the DRO pays for it. To learn more about DROs, click here.
Stage 3 – Set Up Systems for Voluntary Cooperation
The key in this stage is to do away with coercive, involuntary systems. Stage 3 is based on protecting the individual, their property, and their right to choose. It is no longer about trusting the government to take care of us, but one of personal and collective responsibility. In this Stage, there would be no more involuntary taxes, so everyone would have more money and they could spend it as desired, including helping others in need and supporting the commons.
End Involuntary Taxation
People will no longer be forced to pay taxes to a government they don’t agree with, and will not be threatened with jail if they fail to pay. People can decide what to do with their money, whether it’s supporting private charitable programs, funding voluntary governing bodies, contributing to neighborhood associations, insurance, education, or whatever they deem valuable enough to pay for.
Set up Voluntary Communities
The beauty of voluntary communities is that they will vary in form depending on people’s needs. We can be creative and pave a new path for ways to live in harmony with the planet and eachother. The Freestate Project in New Hampshire offers an example for making the transition. They are obviously operating under much different circumstances than what we are envisioning for Stage 3, but they are a valuable resource for gaining insight.
Murray Rothbard and Stefan Molyneux have done a lot of work envisioning what voluntary communities would look like. This is an exciting stage where we can truly create sustainable, resilient communities. We will experiment and figure out what does and doesn’t work, and adapt accordingly.
HEALTH SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
Problems in the health care industry are deep and widespread. Pharmaceuticals are pushing more and more drugs and making more and more money; insurance companies are turning down people most in need of health care; per-capita spending is higher in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world; health care costs are rising about 6% every year; and Americans are not getting any healthier.
One thing is clear: our current system, which is working so poorly, needs a thorough transformation. This is not an easy task and many people have devoted their whole lives to creating a better health care system. This section highlights various compelling models and ideas, many of which have been adopted in other countries or are promoted by experts in the field.
Our goal is to move toward a culture where health care:
- is accessible to everyone
- encourages preventive, natural, pro-active treatment
- operates without financial conflict of interest between researchers and providers
Our basic strategy for achieving this is outlined in three overlapping stages. Stage 1 involves reforming existing systems to get health care operating with integrity. Stage 2 involves decreasing taxes and using funds freed up from Stage 1 to help fund a transition away from government control of healthcare. Stage 3 is based on voluntary cooperation, without any coercive government systems, where healthcare is diverse, private, and operating with transparency and choice.
STAGE 1- Reform
Provide Temporary Government Assistance for Those Most in Need
During Stage 1 we would redirect funds from inefficient government services as well as corporate subsidies, the military and the Federal Reserve, into effective programs that need funding, at no extra expense to taxpayers. This would help finance health care for those who can’t afford it.
Reform Government Agencies
The biggest government agencies associated with health include the FDA, the USDA, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of “protecting and promoting our health” by regulating the safety of foods, drugs, cosmetics, radiation technologies and more. Unfortunately it frequently fails to protect consumers. Even those within the agency question the FDA’s safety procedures.
One effective reform of the FDA would be to stop funding it with drug industry money.
A good portion of FDA funding comes from user fees on drugs. This is a clear conflict of interest. The FDA is in charge of approving or denying prescription drug applications. More approvals give them more money. Research shows that since the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) has been in effect, more dangerous drugs have been approved. We can expose the conflict of interest and stop the FDA from receiving pharmaceutical funding since that’s the very industry it’s supposed to regulate.
Some possibilities include:
- Create new transparency laws or regulations. Lobby for your medical provider to provide information on any funding and support they receive from drug companies. Private companies could take on the management of transparency programs to help us rate doctors, similar to Yelp. Doctors would have to display who funds them in their offices, professors would have to list ties to the pharmaceutical industry on their class syllabus, etc.
- Demand transparency of funding. After discovering that many professors had multiple ties to the drug industry, medical students at Harvard were able to get their teachers to reveal industry ties at the beginning of each course. They did it by putting pressure on their administration and spreading the news to the media. This is an effective approach to increase transparency and avoid more government intervention. To read more about the Harvard success story, click here.
Encourage More Whole-Systems Education in Medical Schools
The majority of medical practitioners in the U.S. are trained in allopathy, which emphasizes the use of drugs to treat symptoms of illness. Most medical students don’t take nutrition courses or learn about preventive measures to avoid illness. Here are some ideas to achieve the care and treatment necessary for a truly healthy populace.
- Make Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) part of mainstream curriculum. This has already been done in Cuba with great success. In 2005, faculty members from several U.S. medical schools traveled to Cuba to study the national public health system and found that part of its success is due to the medical education. They observed that Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is “not seen as something to be learned in addition to medical training, but rather as a valid body of knowledge to be integrated at all levels.” The authors of the study suggested making “evidence-based aspects of integrative medicine” a mandatory part of curriculum in U.S. medical schools through the American Commission for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME).
- Support naturopathic medical colleges in the U.S. with enrollment and funding – We need more naturopathic medical colleges in the U.S. that offer rigorous training in traditional MD classes as well as clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, oriental medicine, lifestyle counseling, massage, physical medicine, and hydrotherapy.
Learn About Other Working Healthcare Systems
In 2008, the World Health Organization ranked the U.S. #37 in healthcare. By surveying existing systems we can learn best practices and innovate what has not yet been developed. Cuba and England offer some compelling ideas to inform a temporary Stage 1 transition:
Cuba spends around $251 per person on health care annually, whereas the U.S. spends more than $7,000 per person. In Cuba, everyone has access to quality healthcare and as of 2002, 86% of Cuban physicians practiced some form of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Some interesting possibilities for the U.S. based on Cuba’s healthcare system include the following.
- Create small community-based health clinics, including home visits for individual patients as well as health education and promotion for whole families.
- Make CAM part of mainstream medical curriculum.
- Make alternative therapies accessible to everyone. Currently most alternative therapies in the U.S. are not covered by health insurance. In 1998 out-of-pocket expenses totaled $27 billion. Alternative treatments are rarely accessed by low-income individuals.
- Adopt the best of all medical practices.
In the U.S., physicians make more money when they see more patients, regardless of whether the patients improve as a result of the care. Other places, such as the U.K., however, have come up with a way to change this dynamic. As one doctor explains in Michael Moore’s film “Sicko”, the more patients he gets to lower their blood pressure, lower their cholesterol, or quit smoking, the more he gets paid. This shifts the focus from quantity of care to quality of care.
STAGE 2 – Limit Government Control of Healthcare
Stage 2 would involve shutting down major government health agencies such as the FDA, Codex Alimentarius, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It would also involve eliminating subsidies to the AMA, pharmaceuticals, and the American Cancer Society. This would save taxpayer money and people would be able to fund health programs and private health agencies that they truly support.
It is important to acknowledge that there is a key role to be played in regulating the food, health and drug industries to meet safety standards. These functions would not simply go away in Stage 2. Instead they would be replaced by competitive private organizations accountable to the private, unsubsidized companies that insure them. Consumers would demand to know the quality of goods, and private regulatory agencies would be much better at ranking and evaluating products than existing governing bodies. Imagine competing organic labels, GMO and non-GMO labels, extensive nutrition facts, etc. There would be diverse models, driven by consumer demand and the need for companies to establish and maintain track records of reliability, rather than corrupt centralized government authorities making all the rules.
STAGE 3 – Set Up Systems for Voluntary Cooperation
In Stage 3, the money that is freed from having eliminated the corrupt economic system of the Federal Reserve and the over-subsidizing of the military industrial complex would be in people’s hands to support themselves and each other with effective and integrated medical services.
In Stage 3 there would be genuine, unsubsidized competition which results in more diverse health care options and better quality services. For example, the insurance industry could grow to encompass varying models. Health insurers could take on a more pro-active role in preventive medicine. Why would they do this? Because it costs less if their clients stay healthy. For example, if a doctor shows that a patient has prevented diseases naturally – such as diabetes by losing weight, lung cancer by quitting smoking, or cervical cancer by getting yearly pap smears – then patients monthly rates could go down. Other insurance companies could require regular health check-ups, similar to dental insurance that requires bi-annual cleanings. This would help shift the focus away from medicating symptoms of illness, to actually preventing illness. It’s also cheaper and incentivizes better choices.
Stage 3 is wide open for innovation in the health sector.
 Scientists within the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health sent a letter to Obama complaining of corruption in January of 2009. They stated, “The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the scientific review process for medical devices at the FDA has been corrupted and distorted by current FDA managers, thereby placing the American people at risk.” See: FDA Scientists Complain to Obama of “Corruption”: January 8, 2009. Original article by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press.
 “Eliminate FDA’s Dependency on Drug Industry Money,” Public Citizen Tells Congress, May 4, 2007: http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=2428
 The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report said Cuba’s spending per capita was $251: http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/indicators/52.html
 In 2007 according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, per capita spending in the U.S. was $7498: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalHealthExpendData/25_NHE_Fact_Sheet.asp.
 Note: These are based on suggestions published by faculty members from several U.S. medical schools who traveled to Cuba to study the national public health system. See: Applebaum, Diane, RN et al. Natural and Traditional Medicine in Cuba: Lessons for U.S. Medical Education. Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. December 2006. Volume 81. Issue 12. pp 1098-1103.
INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
There is significant room for improvement in the infrastructure sector. Throughout the world people lack access to clean water, electricity, sanitary waste disposal, and good transportation systems.
Fortunately, modern technology and infrastructural development has the ability to meet the needs of everyone. It will require a shift from a fossil-fuel based economy to one of renewable energy and a transition from a “raw materials economy” to one of recycled materials.
These solutions are interconnected with solutions in all other sectors. For example, people will need to learn new engineering and green building techniques (Education) and we will need to cooperate across current borders to restore access to clean water (Governance).
There are plenty of exciting possibilities to create sustainable infrastructure systems. Our basic strategy involves:
Stage 1: Repair existing broken systems and promote and employ sustainable systems for new infrastructural development.
Stage 2: Limit government’s control of infrastructure systems and encourage unsubsidized private investment, competition, and innovation to meet humanity’s needs. History shows a disincentive for “the state” to even maintain sound infrastructure, much less to do it at competitive costs.
Stage 3: Develop communities in ways that guarantee non-violation of humans or the ecosystem.
Stage 1: Reform
Repair Existing Systems
I-35 Collapsed Bridge in Mississippi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Currently in the U.S. for every dam that gets repaired, two more are declared deficient; ¼ of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete; and the reliability of most levees is uncertain. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has estimated that a total of $2.2 trillion is needed immediately to repair each area of infrastructure, including public facilities, transportation, energy, and water and environment.
Owners of infrastructure are currently both private and public, which makes funding tricky. In Stage 1, government could redirect funding from the military and interest on the debt to repair our broken systems. Check out funding needed in each area, and proposed solutions by ASCE with this link: http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/.
Televise Debates and Discussion on Infrastructure Issues
Americans rarely hear about infrastructure problems because the banker-owned and corporate-controlled media is hand in hand with the government, and uses it for their own agendas far more than for the smooth operation of our shared operational systems. It would serve everyone to bring in experts to explain the problems in their field and work together on new, innovative solutions. It could be televised and address ongoing questions such as how to fund immediate and ongoing infrastructure needs and how to sustain an integrated, cooperative national plan while maintaining local, community control.
Perform Life-Cycle and Cost-Benefit Analysis of Infrastructure Systems
The cost of infrastructure is ongoing. As new projects are undertaken and old ones are repaired, it makes sense to evaluate all foreseeable costs including construction, maintenance, operation, environmental impact, and any other associated costs. This helps municipalities or the owners of infrastructure to budget for ongoing maintenance, avoid creating systems that are unaffordable, and anticipate future needs.
New infrastructure projects are not cheap. By performing a cost-benefit analysis, you can figure out whether or not the project is worth it. For example, if a city is looking to install a new, expensive rail line, it can determine whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs by estimating future ridership rates, impact on traffic and congestion, improvement of air quality, potential development around the rail corridor, impact on real estate prices, new business development, tourism rates, and the projected revenue for the city. In many cases, what initially seems like a dauntingly expensive project turns out to be financially feasible and a good source of ongoing interest for the community.
Modernize the U.S. Electric Power Grid and Expand Wind Generation
Photo: Charles Cook, Wikimedia Commons
Since 1990, the demand for electricity has gone up 25%. The existing national transmission grid is not designed to meet the current demand, resulting in bottlenecks and an increased risk of blackouts.
One of the ways we can address this is by expanding the grid in wind-rich states such as Kansas and North Dakota to attract investment in wind-power. This would help meet the increased demand and encourage a shift to renewable energy sources. It would also increase revenue for farmers who could lease a small portion of their land to wind companies, allowing them to collect around $2,000/year in royalties for every wind turbine. For more on the benefits of wind-power see the “renewable energy” section below.
Promote, Build and Educate About Green Infrastructure
When it comes to infrastructure, there are many practical green approaches that save considerable amounts of money and are better for our health and the environment. Check out some of the possibilities below.
Green Water Systems
Water is a precious resource. A variety of new green water systems include:
Rainwater Catchment Systems
When a storm comes along, rain can be captured on-site and used for irrigation. Some systems are set up to capture runoff from roofs by connecting downspouts to a catchment tank and then using that water to irrigate plants. This conserves water, saves money for homeowners, and puts less pressure on sewer systems by reducing storm-water runoff.
Permeable Pavement and Surfaces
Large cities and neighborhoods are full of concrete that is impervious, or incapable of absorbing water. So when storms come through, a tremendous amount of water ends up flowing into our sewers and hence our streams, rivers, and oceans. By increasing permeability—with things like permeable pavement, more garden space, and even green roofs—you can decrease the amount of storm-water runoff to surface waters.
If you fly above a city, you may notice that for the most part, rooftops are un-used or under-utilized. In cities especially, this contributes to what’s referred to as “urban-heat island”, or higher temperatures due to dense concentrations of buildings and pavement. This can be alleviated with green roofs, which are planted rooftops that have an overall cooling effect. Green roofs vary in form, but have similar benefits including storm-water retention, energy savings from reduced heating and cooling costs, improved air quality, and increased carbon sequestration. This industry is growing in Europe and has been developing increasing interest in the U.S. in recent years.
Promote New Energy Technologies
As population grows, so does our need for energy. We are most excited about resonant or “free” technologies and their ability to give everyone access to clean, abundant energy.
We realize, however, that new energy devices will require further research, development, and distribution to be widely available and therefore we propose a combination of renewable energy sources to meet the current demand as we transition to a more voluntaryist, free energy model. This means getting rid of dirty, polluting, harmful energy generators and growing the renewable energy sector.
Ultimately we recommend de-centralized, community or even household based power-sources that sufficiently support our lives. This will vary from place to place and largely depend on available energy sources. For example, sunny communities would likely use solar panels, windy regions would want to install wind-turbines, coastal communities could capture tidal energy, and communities with geysers, springs, or volcanic activity could tap into geothermal energy.
A variety of approaches are explored below, check them out.
Global wind generating capacity went up almost 26% in 2006. Denmark is now powered by at least 15% wind power and other countries around the world are making similar advances. In the U.S. there is enormous potential for growth in the wind industry. As Lester Brown says, “The U.S. great plains are the Saudi Arabia of wind power.” Texas, North Dakota, and Kansas alone have enough wind to power the entire nation.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Although solar is still not a main source of electricity, it is growing by more than 40% every year and is taking off in countries such as Germany, China, and Japan.
Solar is an exciting opportunity for the 1.6 billion people who are not already connected to the grid – many of which are in poor, rural communities in developing countries. For example, this video shows how Guatemalans in rural communities are getting electricity for the first time from the sun.
China has already installed at least 40 million solar hot water heaters, the equivalent of 54 coal-fired power plants. It’s also estimated that the sun-drenched southwestern United States has the ability to generate 7,000 gigawatts of electricity, about 7 times the amount currently generated from all sources in the U.S. with a combination of solar plants in the Southwest and wind turbines in the Midwest, the U.S. could easily generate enough electricity to power the nation.
But How Do You Fund Solar Installations?
One of the main set-backs to solar energy is that it requires a large initial investment. So Berkeley, California came up with a solution- called the Financial Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST) program- which requires little or no down payment from home-owners. How do they do it? The city funds the projects by issuing bonds and adding a surcharge to the home’s property taxes. Over the course of 20 or 30 years, the homeowner makes low-interest payments back to the city. The interest payments stay with the home, so if the house is sold the next owner continues making the payments. In many cases the payments are close to the same amount saved in energy bills, making it a win-win scenario. Similar programs are being adopted throughout the U.S. including Austin (TX), Boulder (CO), Portland (OR), and Santa Cruz (CA).
Stage 2 – Limit Government Control
Stage 2 involves limiting government’s control of infrastructure systems and encouraging unsubsidized private investment, competition, and innovation to meet humanity’s needs.
Stop Subsidizing Infrastructure
Part of the reason we are so dependent on oil, coal and nuclear power is because they are heavily subsidized. This gives these industries an unfair advantage and makes it harder for others to compete. In recent years, alternative energies such as wind and solar have also been subsidized by federal and state governments. If we lift all subsidies, then the true costs of these energy sources would be revealed and the most viable, affordable energy would be used. This increased competition would diversify the market and make us less reliant on oil and other dirty and dangerous energy sources such as coal and nuclear.
Stage 3 – Set Up Systems for Voluntary Cooperation
So what would infrastructure look like in a volutaryist society – one without mandatory taxes to fund a “state” authority?
Let’s take roads as an example, because they are the basis of one of the most common, natural concerns when considering a state-less society.
Wouldn’t they get run down?
Wouldn’t a few rich guys just use the roads for themselves?
Wouldn’t we have to stop every ten minutes to pay another toll?
Picture Federal Express (privately owned) instead of the post office. Recall the state of the roads, sidewalks, landscaping and escalators at your nearby shopping mall (which is privately owned). Imagine private owners and contractors competing to please you, the customer (driver), rather than contracts doled out as political payback to bureaucrats, construction companies, or politicians.
Private owners in a true free market are much more incented to attract and sustain your business loyalty than a government, which can sustain itself with your tax money whether they perform what they say they will or not.. Clear cutting of timber, over-use of soil, mountain top removal are usually the result of short-term leases of government run property. People tend to take care of land they own and are less likely to destroy the value of their own long-term investment.
There are plenty of ways to record usage of roads electronically and the funds to pay for that use would come from money you weren’t having to pay in taxes. In a stateless society, remember, paying for wars, interest on Federal Reserve debt and corporate subsidies is no longer necessary. People would be vastly more prosperous than they are today.
Owners of major roads would need lots of capital, so they would tend to be major organizations with investors and boards of directors to whom their executives would be accountable. So sudden or irrational raising of prices would be group decisions and would be made in the light of risking their ethical and business reputation and being shunned by their communities.
Companies which let their roads get run down would risk law suits and the loss of their insurance. They would be competing with others to gain the trust of housing developments, local businesses, shopping malls and others who would insist on long-term price and quality guaranties.
Even though we are unaccustomed to thinking this way, let yourself visualize yourself in a truly free and prosperous society enjoying roadways maintained with beauty, pride and real safety in mind.
Of course there would be challenges that might not have yet been anticipated or solved. An important thing to remember is that this would all be unfolding in a context where we are free from taxation and forced mandates. We are already paying for the roads through our taxes, we just have no say over how the contracts are managed, how they are maintained or who prospers. With so many people using the roads, the cost would be extremely cheap. We are already involuntarily paying the costs of inefficiently run infrastructure - while paying the price of enduring a state having a monopoly over us.
We believe we can unleash human creativity to solve the problems we encounter in ways that honor liberty and human rights, and that letting people choose how to spend the money they earn instead of forcing them to pay it to a state authority is an essential component of the solutions process.
 ASCE Report Card on Energy: http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/energy
JUSTICE SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
Stage 1- Reform
In Stage 1, judges could be elected by publicly funded debates accompanied by publishing of their records. (In other words - based on respect rather than politics).
Reform Prison System
Overcrowded California Prison. Source: Wikipedia
As described in a 2009 publication by the Justice Policy Institute, “Federal, state and local governments are spending a combined $68 billion dollars a year on a system that does not definitively improve public safety, but, instead, destabilizes communities, harms families, and derails the lives of individuals. Research has shown that over the last 10 years, states that have increased their prison populations have not seen concurrent decreases in violent crime. At the same time, the states that have reduced their incarceration rates have seen some of the largest drops in violent crime.” Some initial steps for reform could include redirecting funds from prisons to community support services such as rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment, restorative justice programs such as victim/offender mediation, community service, and restitution. We can learn from other states such as Texas, Nevada, New York, New Jersey and Georgia, who have successfully cut down their prison populations.
Reconciliation with Indigenous Communities
Some of our Big Qs for the Justice Sector are: How do we heal with Indigenous people and with other persecuted populations? And how do we redistribute land without stealing it again? How do we reconcile “property rights” with stolen land and wealth? These important topics need to be explored and addressed with indigenous communities. If you have ideas to share, you can join the discussion in our Big Qs section of the site.
Prosecute Worst Crimes of the 21st Century
The biggest criminals are not people who have committed non-violent offenses such as drugs or prostitution, but those in charge of the Global Domination Agenda. They have literally destroyed the lives of billions of people around the world by manipulating economic markets, currencies and interest rates through fraud, deception and counterfeit – much of which they have bribed the politicians to “legalize.” In so doing, they have un-ethically accumulated the vast majority of the world’s material wealth and resources. They have suppressed alternative health treatments including cancer cures and implemented policies intended to keep billions of people living on less than $2 a day. In Stage 1, we need to identify the worst perpetrators of the Global Domination Agenda and start a truth and reconciliation process to explore the best ways to bring about justice and hold these criminals accountable.
Form Diverse Groups and Think Tanks to Discuss Justice Issues and Alternatives
These discussions could be televised for everyone to see and would help strategize next best steps for Stages 2 and 3.
Stage 2- Limit Government
Judicial system deals only with cases protecting property rights and competes with private Dispute Resolution Organizations
In this stage we limit government to the protection of individual rights and the commons.
Dismantle Justice Department
Stage 2 involves limiting government in all sectors. Dismantling the Justice Department is no small task, and we don't have all the answers for how this should go. What we do know is that the Justice Department is highly inefficient and is largely set up to protect government. The thinking that comes out of Stage 1 would need to include a strategy for dismantling the Justice Department and having new private, non-coercive, systems to take its place.
Set Up Alternative Restorative Justice Systems
This will overlap with Stage 1 as people brainstorm alternatives. In Stage 2, we’ll need to test out alternatives and see what works and what doesn’t work. Some existing and successful restorative justice models described above include victim-offender mediation, Restitution Community service and rehabilitation for both victims and offenders. All of these approaches honor the rights of individuals and, at their best, heal and support everyone involved and impacted by crimes. We can implement these programs along with others.
Create Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs)
DROs are one private possibility to deal with violations and give everyone protection. They are similar to insurance companies and would be in the business of insuring contracts – agreements between people. If someone breaks a contract, the DRO pays for it. To learn more about DROs, click here.
Rewrite Laws to Protection of Individual Rights
The key to rewriting laws in this stage is to make them non-coercive and based on the principle of non-violation. What does this mean? It means no individual has more rights than anyone else – everyone is treated equally. For example, government officials would not have more rights than others. They would not have legislative powers to create and implement law against other people’s will. The legal system at this stage would be set up to simply protect individual rights.
Stage 3- Set Up Systems for Voluntary Cooperation
Judicial system is private and competitive
Come up with new, revolutionary justice systems to protect the rights of each and every individual, encourage good behavior, and non-punitive ways to deal with those who violate others and their property.
MEDIA SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
As owners of the public airwaves, American citizens have the opportunity to make the media accurately reflect their needs. THRIVE has a 3-staged approach that incorporates a whole-system strategy to solutions. Applied to the media sector, Stage 1 involves reforming existing media systems to be honest, diverse, transparent, empowering and informative. Stage 2 involves limiting government control and regulation of the media, making it accessible to as many people as possible. Stage 3 relies on complete voluntary cooperation with no government intervention, and more local participation and management of media.
Stage 1- Reform
This stage involves reforming the media to truly serve the people. This includes:
empowering communities to build and access diverse media sources; reforming the FCC; increasing transparency of media funding; expanding internet services; and decreasing news censorship.
Empower Communities to Build and Access Diverse Media Sources
Large Internet Service Providers are legally protected in at least 14 states making it very difficult or nearly impossible for municipalities to build their own broadband networks and compete with the monopolies. A couple of ways this may be dealt with is by repealing laws that protect Big Media and expanding community based FM radio.
Repeal Laws Giving ISP Monopolies an Unfair Advantage in the Market
A number of cities have been successful at stopping media giants from getting more legal protection in their communities. Along with stopping more laws like this from being passed, we want to repeal already existing laws that unfairly protect Big Media. Check out the list of laws that existed in multiple states as of 2004 so you can join others to take action.
Expand Low Power FM (LPFM) Community Radio
LPFM stations are community-based stations with a signal range of 2-4 miles. They empower community members to easily broadcast within their neighborhood, bringing more diversity, perspectives, and local coverage to the media. In 2000, the FCC made licenses available for these stations, however, it has been limited to rural areas due to intense lobbying efforts by the National Association of Broadcasters who argued that LPFM signals interfere with their commercial signals in high-density urban spaces where audiences are the largest. Making more licenses available to all communities – and banning large broadcasters from snatching them up – would be a quick way to expand the scope of media. To learn more about this and take action, check out the Prometheus Radio Project.
Reform the FCC
Currently there are five presidentially appointed FCC commissioners who serve five-year terms. As the owners of the airwaves, however, it makes sense for the American public to elect FCC leadership rather than have them appointed by the President. Debates and elections would need to be publicly funded in order to keep private interests out of the FCC and properly educate constituents about the issues before voting.
Increase Transparency of Media Funding
Imagine if the media – broadcasters, newspapers, magazines, websites, etc. – had to reveal how they were funded and who owned them at all times. This sort of transparency would help people make informed decisions about the media they rely on by constantly revealing the economic incentives that influence coverage of issues. To discuss how to achieve this, check out the related Big Qs and add your comments.
Expand Internet Services
40% of U.S. homes are not connected to the Internet or have slow dial-up connections – most of which are poor, rural, and minority populations. This is important because your ability to access the Internet and have a fast connection are directly related to your ability to participate in society, get a job, and share and receive critical information. As we move through Stage 1 of the THRIVE solution process, it will be very beneficial to keep these disenfranchised people in mind and redirect government funding from war and interest on Federal Reserve debt to expand services to benefit as many people as possible. Residents of Lafayette, Louisiana were able to get the fastest Internet connection to their town after big Internet Service Providers refused. Check out the Success Story to see what they did - and what others can do - to succeed.
Decrease News Censorship
News is censored all the time: political, legal, and economic pressure can influence what gets reported; and certain stories are misrepresented or simply ignored. For example, in 1991 the George H.W. Bush administration banned media from covering soldiers coming home in caskets after being killed in the Persian Gulf War. Newspapers could not even publish photos, making it difficult to reflect the real, everyday losses of war. The ban lasted 18 years, until April of 2009. With this type of censorship, the media loses its ability to report accurate, honest information and the public is inadequately informed.
Stage 2 – Limit Government
This stage involves limiting the government’s role in media, while still protecting the commons. This means pulling back government regulations, downsizing media agencies such as the FCC, and allowing a truly free market to emerge.
This is uncharted territory and there are many important questions, concerns, and ideas to address in this stage. For example, loosening FCC regulations has historically resulted in more media consolidation, but diversification and decentralization is critical. So how do we loosen government regulations without simply giving corporate media more control? You can discuss this critical question with others in the Big Qs section of the site. Another important question to address in Stage 2 is “how do we apportion available bandwidth to represent those who don’t own or can’t afford to invest in media companies?”
These are the types of issues that need to be debated and discussed publicly. We could create a public interest TV station to cover the progress and open the conversation to everyone. As owners of the airwaves, Americans can demand that a certain portion of broadcasting is devoted to the public interest. The TV programs could cover progress in all sectors, debates from all points-of-view, strategies for moving forward, brainstorming sessions on Stage 3, and much more. If this interests you, join with others make it happen. You can even get credit from an accredited University to develop THRIVE-related solutions. Click here to learn more about it.
Stage 3 – Get Government Out of the Media and Support Local Efforts
In Stage 3, the ultimate goal is a totally free market and complete transparency. We wouldn’t make the transition to Stage 3 until people are sufficiently empowered in Stage 2 and have time to establish effective solutions.
As we get closer to Stage 3, we can explore alternatives to government control and empower communities to create honest, diverse, and transparent media.
States with Pro-Monopoly Protectionism Laws.
For example, in early 2009 two new bills titled “Level the Playing Field” – Senate Bill 1004 and House Bill 1252 – were proposed to stop North Carolina cities from providing broadband. They were brought forth in large part due to success in Wilson, NC where a service called Greenlight provided community members with high-speed Internet after the cable companies refused. Significant citizen pressure stopped the bills from being passed and were sent to “study committees” for review in May of 2009.
SCIENCE SOLUTIONS STRATEGIES
Let’s look to see how to use the lenses of the torus and the Global Domination Agenda (GDA) to optimize our solutions strategies.
In my view the GDA is focused on destroying individual wholeness and centralizing power over others. Surviving and thriving as individuals and as a species depends, I believe, on learning rapidly how to do just the opposite.
Through recognizing the wholeness of the toroidal energy form and the infinite abundance of the energy plenum we inhabit, we can have clean, inexpensive energy for everyone through “New Energy” technology. No war, no pollution, no combustion.
It’s going to take a critical mass of people willing to invest the time and money to provide resources, security, legal defense and publicity to successful inventors. (See New Energy topic)
"Science and new technologies, however, are not sufficient to the emergency we face on this Planet. It is only the expression of Love through response-able action, which is the truly inalienable right and inherent freedom enjoyed by all people who choose to love, that can heal this Living Earth. This is the Freedom of the Spirit. That which denies Love has dominated the Life of Earth for long enough. That which denies Love and Life leads inevitably to disintegration and miserable death. Those who Love are not surprised by the existence of Free Energy. Those who choose to Love are Living Demonstrations of Free Energy."
- Adam Trombly, Free Energy Inventor
Through recognizing the wholeness of naturally grown food – free of oil-based pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, grown in the balance of whole environments of polyculture planting and organic soil, and free of the Genetic Modification of injecting foreign DNA, we can realize greater yields, greater health, and greater prosperity on a healthy, sustainable planet. (See Environment Sector)
Through recognizing the wholeness of each individual and each voluntary transaction as the true basis for a healthy economy, we can eliminate the vast majority of the fraud, counterfeit, subsidies, bailouts and fake financial instruments that are destroying billions of lives as I write. Catherine Austin Fitts has estimated that people would have 3-10 times the assets and income they have now – just through restoring integrity and true freedom to the “science” of economics. (see Liberty topic and Economics Sector)
Through recognizing the wholeness of each person, their emotions and their rights – through skilled communication – we can move toward the life we all dream of where we feel heard, valued and loved as well as free and able to give the same in return.
Evidence continues to mount that we are all holons in a boundless holarchy, free nodes in a fully-interconnected, holographic and fractal universe of infinite energy.
Holon – an autonomous , self-reliant unit
Holarchy – a system composed of interacting holons
Holographic – each part carries a representation of the whole
Fractal - same pattern repeated at different scales
As we align with the fundamental patterning at all levels – from physical, emotional and mental to spiritual, interpersonal and environmental, we are learning from moment to moment experiments in the practical and transcendent science of love. What a gift to be alive in such a challenging and rewarding adventure!
Recognizing the wholeness of our being, which combines the logic of our rational minds with the inclusive capacity of our intuitive knowing, we can connect with that which is beyond our cognitive comprehension – with the belonging, the healing, and to the experience of unity with cosmic consciousness.
In keeping with the three-stage structure of Solutions Strategies for other sectors and topics, here is a very simple overview in the context of Science.
Stage 1 - Reform Government
Get corporate influence out of politics and the politicization of scientific research. Eliminate any funding or lobbying from corporations toward the FDA, EPA, NSF, NEA, CDC, etc.
Stage 2 - Limit Government
Get “the State” out of Science, except to protect the rights of any scientists and inventors whose rights are violated
Science is free to operate without state intervention through systems of voluntary cooperation