Redefining Wealth

This is the second article of the six-part “A Synergic Future” series. It is a combination of two previous posts: “Redefining the Future (1)” and “Believing the Truth“.

Note: The term “Redefining Wealth” was never used before this in any other posting to the SynEarth Network. However, I did find it used in a draft page titled “A SYNERGIC FUTURE II (collection)”.

Timothy Wilken

The truth is especially hard to believe if it requires that we take action—if it requires that we change. If humanity is to have a future, we must take action—we must change. If humanity is to have a future, we must believe the truth. In an earlier article, I wrote:

Truth #1—Possessions are not necessarily property.

The possession of an object does not mean that the possessor has a moral or rational claim to ownership of the object. The political, economic, and social structures of our present world are all based on our concept of ‘property’ and property rights. If we define property as those possessions that were acquired by 1) either paying a fair price in a free market to the rightful owner, or 2) that which is produced by the mind and hands of the owner. Using this definition, most of today’s possessions are plunder and not property. In today’s world plunder is common and property is rare.

Truth # 2—The Majority of Human Wealth is a Gift

The vast majority of human wealth is a gift free for the taking, and cannot be morally or rationally claimed as property by any individual.

The land and natural resources are wealth provided to us by God and Nature. The sunshine, air, water, land, minerals, and the earth itself all come to us freely. The Earth’s land and natural resources are not products of the human mind or body. They existed long before life and humankind even emerged on our planet. There exists no moral or rational basis for any individual to claim them as Property.

If a claim of ownership can be made at all, it must be a claim on behalf of all humanity both the living and those yet unborn.

From these truths, it follows that if we humans synergically reorganized our world, we would all be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. Today in 2008, if we were to reclaim the gift of all the land and natural resources presently held on planet Earth as individual property. And if we were to further reclaim the gift of Progress from those few who control it today, and then divided these two gifts equally among the 6.7+ billions of us living on the planet, we would discover to our surprise and amazement that every man, woman, and child is wealthy beyond their dreams.

With synergic organization, and careful utilization of the planet’s total wealth for the benefit of all humanity, the carrying capacity of the Earth could be maximized to solve all our human problems and meet our all our needs. And this is without any need to damage the Earth, or degrade our environment.

There would never be any need for humans to earn their livings again. Our livings have already been earned by all those humans who lived and died to give us the great gift of progress. Then all humans would be free to spend their time making their lives meaningful by creating more wealth to be gifted to living and future humanity.

To better understand my proposal for a synergic future, it is important to understand what I mean by wealth.

Redefining Wealth

The collective term we humans use to describe what we value is ‘wealth’.

The human species emerged in the world of space-binding. Here the rule of survival was fight or flight. The values in this world were adversarial. Adversary relationship originates on earth in the animal world. Earth supplies limited space for the animals. Space is finite. Good space is even more finite. This means it is very limited. There is only so much good water, so much good grazing land, so much good shelter, and so much good food. There is not enough to go around. The space-binders must compete for this limited amount of good space. They compete adversarialy. They compete by fighting and flighting. They compete by attacking and killing other space-binders.

Humans living as space-binders follow the adversarial rule. They compete by fighting and flighting. They compete by attacking and killing their enemies. In this world survival depends on securing good space and avoiding bad space. Bad space is where the predators live—bad space is where you lose—bad space is where you die. Bad space has threatened humans for a very long time as Jared Diamond explains:

“For most of the time since the ancestors of modern humans diverged from the ancestors of the living great apes, around 7 million years ago, all humans on Earth fed themselves exclusively by hunting wild animals and gathering wild plants, as the Blackfeet still did in the 19th century. It was only within the last 11,000 years that some peoples turned to what is termed food production: that is, domesticating wild animals and plants and eating the resulting livestock and crops.”

Jared Diamond makes the point, that for 99.9% of the seven-million-years that our species has existed, we have been hunter-gatherers. And, for that same period, our species has been dominated by the adversary way, and all human values have been adversarial values.

Adversarial Wealth—Physical Force

Physical force is what adversarial humans value most. The force to physically control other humans. Adversarial wealth is fighting men, weapons, horses, fortresses, that which gives me the adversarial advantage. Adversarial humanity uses force and coercion to protect life, to promote human well being and satisfy human needs.

The adversary world is a game of with losers and winners. This is a world of fighting and flighting—of pain and dying. To win in this game someone must lose. Winning is always at the cost of another. All humans living in the adversarial world are struggling to avoid losing—struggling to avoid being hurt.

CONFLICT —def—> The struggle to avoid loss—the struggle to avoid being hurt.

Here humans must fight and flee to stay alive, and they do. Always ready at a moments notice to go tooth and nail to avoid losing—to avoid death. Losers/winners is the harshest of games. Winning is always at the cost of another’s life. The loser tends to resist with all of his might occasionally prevailing by killing or wounding his attacker. So both parties can lose, turning the game—losers/winners into losers/losers. If we analyze adversary relationships, we discover that individuals are less after the relationship. 1+1<2. In the adversarial world where the loser forfeits his life 1+1=1. Or in the end game of losers/losers, both adversaries may die in battle, then 1+1=0.

The adversarial value system is much intact in our present world. Much of today’s wealth is weapons. Nearly all of today’s nations maintain large armies, navies, and air forces. The number of weapons in private hands is equally enormous. Adversary wealth is physical force.

With the emergence of Neutrality which became institutionalized in 1776, came a new option for humanity. And with this option came a new set of values—neutral values.

Neutral Wealth—Money

Neutral relationships originated in the plant world.

Sunlight provides unlimited energy for the plants. Each individual plant needs only the sun, and adequate water and minerals to survive. Plant survival does not require any relationship with other. This fact makes plants the independent class of life—independent of other.

Humans living in the world of Institutional Neutrality view themselves as independent of others. They should not deliberately hurt another human, but they are also are never required to help another human. Their success or failure depends solely on their own efforts and talents. Individuals have no relationship with each other. Individuals have no awareness of each other, they ignore each other. To survive in the neutral world, you must be self-sufficient. If we analyze neutral relationships, we discover that individuals are unchanged by their relationship. They are neither less or more after the relationship. They are the same. 1+1=2.

Choices which do not hurt or help are neutral. Actions which do not hurt or help are neutral. Relationships which do not hurt or help are neutral. The mechanism of relationship is conducted through a free and fair market with the honest exchange of merchandise of good value at a fair price.

FAIR TRADE —def—> The bartering to insure that the exchange is fair—to insure that the price is not too high or too low—to insure that neither party loses.

Institutional Neutrality is about fairness. The marketplace is a fair and safe place to exchange goods and services. Neither seller nor buyer should be injured in the exchange. Products should represent a good value and be sold at a fair price. All citizens are guaranteed freedom from loss.

The medium of exchange in the neutral world is money. Money is used as symbolic representation of all real wealth. For all intensive purposes in the Neutral world money and real wealth are the same.

Money is what neutral humans most value. The money to purchase help. Neutral wealth is any negotiable security—cash, stocks, bonds, Certificates of Deposit, that which can be exchanged in the fair market. Neutral humanity uses money to buy life protection, to buy human well being and satisfy human needs.

Today, humanity has the option for synergic relationship. If we choose synergy we will adopt a new set of values—synergic values.

Synergic Wealth—Mutual Life Support

In a synergic culture wealth is defined very differently. Synergic wealth is that which supports life for self and others. It is mutually life affirming. This by definition excludes adversary wealth—physical force that hurts other human beings, and neutral wealth—money that ignores other human beings.

Synergic humans recognize that interdependence is the human condition. They recognize that all humans need help unless they wish to live at the level of animal subsistence.

They know that adversarial humans make people help them. This is help obtained with coercion—force or fraud. Those providing the help are losing. When you force others to help you, they do the least they possibly can. Because the helper is hurt, adversary help produces the lowest quality help.

They know that neutral humans purchase help through the open marketplace. This is help purchased from others. This is the way most of us living in the free world get help today. We hire it or we buy it in the marketplace. When I go to McDonald’s, I pay them five dollars to help feed me. The focus in the market place is on a fair price. Because the helper is ignored, neutral help is of average quality.

They understand that synergic humans attract help by helping others. This is help attracted by helping others—when another individual understands that by helping you, they will also be helped, they will automatically help you. When others understand that when you win, they win, they will support and celebrate your success. This is the power of the win-win relationship. Show those who can help you, how they will win by doing so. Show them how they will be helped by helping you. Because the helper is helped, synergic help is of highest quality.

Co-OPERATION —def—> Operating together to insure that both parties win and that neither party loses. The negotiation to insure that both parties are helped and neither party is hurt.

Synergic relationships are mutually helpful. Both parties in the relationship experience a gain. In Synergic relationships, one individual plus another individual is more after their relationship than before: 1+1>>2. Synergic relationships are marked by low conflict with high effectiveness and enormous productivity.

The wealth available to humanity in a synergic future is mutual life support. Synergic wealth resulting from Synergic Organization and Synergic Government can produce a high quality of life for all humanity.

While Adversary-Neutral Organization and Adversary-Neutral Government can only offer a decent quality of life to a fraction of the 6 billion humans currently living on the Earth. And that achievement is possible only with the exploitation and squandering of Nature’s great gift of the fossil fuels.

Petroleum, natural gas, and coal are are called fossil fuels because they are all made from decayed plants and animals that have been preserved in the earth’s crust by pressure, bacterial processes and heat. It takes millions of years for these organisms to chemically change into fossil fuels.

With the exhaustion of the fossil fuels, our current Adversary—Neutral Organizations and Governments can only offer humanity an Earth with a carrying capacity for ~100 million humans. That means a lot of people will die.

Fortunately, there is no law of nature or man that requires us to limit ourselves to Adversary-Neutral Organizations and Governments. We can move forward. We can work together. We can co-Operate. We can synergically reorganize. To begin all we have to do is change our minds.

Synergic Wealth—Defined

Recall that Synergic wealth is that which supports life for self and others.  Synergic Wealth comes in two forms: Synergic Trust and Property

Synergic Trust—def—> wealth that comes to us as a gift

This includes the Life Trust—life itself, the plants and animals which are a gift from God, and Nature, and our human bodies which are a gift from God, Nature, and our Parents.

It includes the Earth Trust—the sunshine, air, water, land, minerals, the earth itself all of which come to us freely. This wealth is provided to us by God and Nature.

And, thirdly it includes the Time Trust—the accumulated ‘knowing’ from the time-binding of all the humans who have ever lived and died. Our inherited Wisdom, Knowledge, and Information including Architecture, Art, Literature, Music, Science, and Technology. It is the Time Trust that forms the basis of all human progress.

We humans are the beneficiaries then of three major trusts—the Life Trust, the Earth Trust and the Time Trust. We, humans can not and do not own these trusts. They are not derived of our lives. They are not the product of our mind or labor. We have not paid for them. There is no moral or rational basis for us to claim ownership. They are not property.

If we wish to use and control these trusts, then we must act as trustees, and then only if we act responsibly. As responsible trustees, we must preserve and protect these trusts. We must act as conservationists.

“Conservation is the sustainable use of natural resources—soils, water, plants, animals, and minerals. The natural resources of any area constitute its basic capital, and wasteful use of those resources constitutes an economic loss. From the aesthetic viewpoint, conservation also includes the maintenance of national parks, wilderness areas, historic sites, and wildlife.

“Natural resources are of two main types, renewable and nonrenewable. Renewable resources include wildlife and natural vegetation of all kinds. The soil itself can be considered a renewable resource, although severe damage is difficult to repair because of the slow rate of soil-forming processes. The natural drainage of waters from the watershed of a region can be maintained indefinitely by careful management of vegetation and soils, and the quality of water can be controlled through pollution control.

“Nonrenewable resources are those that cannot be replaced or that can be replaced only over extremely long periods of time. Such resources include the fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) and the metallic and other ores.”

The Life and Earth Trusts are perishable. They do not belong to us. We must protect them for our children, and for all future children. The Time Trust is less susceptible to damage by the user. Using knowledge or technology designs does not diminish their future value, but it must also be used responsibly. We must not hurt others with any trusts that we control. In fact, we should help others to whatever the extent we are capable.

All humans are trustees. We are of course the Life Trustees of our own bodies. We should take good care of ourselves. Take care with our health and nutrition. We are also the Time-binding Trustees of all the knowledge and skills that we personally have mastered from our study of the past. We must strive not to hurt others with this knowledge and skill. We should try and help others to whatever extent we are capable.

TRUST—def—> Wealth provided as a gift—The Life Trust includes our bodies as provided by God, Nature, and our Parents in addition to all other forms of life—the plants and animals provided by God and Nature. The Earth Trust includes the Earth itself and all Natural Resources provided by God and Nature. And, the Time Trust includes all the accumulated knowing and technology from the mental and physical labor of all those humans who lived and died before us. These three trusts can be referred to together as the Synergic Trusts.

In our present Adversary-Neutral Culture with its Pseudo-Independence, it is to common to boast that “I don’t owe anybody anything.” This could hardly be farther from the truth. Without our gifts from the Synergic Trust, we humans would have nothing, not even our lives. Without the gifts from the Time Trust, we would achieve nothing, each generation trapped at the subsistence level of the animal fighting and flighting to survive.

The scientific reality is that we humans owe nearly everything we are or have to God, Nature, and those humans who have lived and died before us. We are dependent on others. And sometimes others can depend on us. We humans are the Interdependent class of life.

Because Trusts are not property, control of Trust is a privilege and not a right. In synergic culture, humans may control Trusts as long as they exercise Synergic Responsibility.

Synergic Responsibility—def—>

1) Trustees must help others through their control and use of the Synergic Trusts.

2) Trustees should not hurt others through their control and use of the Synergic Trusts.

3) Trustees should preserve and protect the Synergic Trusts they use and control. They should not damage the Synergic Trusts.

Synergic Responsibility is an obligation that is incurred by all Trustees of the Synergic Trusts. Any Trustee who violates their Synergic Responsibilities would lose their Trustee privileges.

Synergic Trusts are a gift for all humanity both the living and those waiting to be born. They must be shared equitably and in perpetuity. Synergic Trusts and the mechanisms to preserve, protect and administer them for the benefit and and weal of all humanity must be developed now. They will play a crucial role in a synergic future. This role will be explained in much detail in a later chapter. But first we must talk of that form of wealth called property.