The inspiration for this article is a video that I received by email. It is a plea from a child to the adults of the world at a conference in 1992.
- I know we are part of a family five billion strong, 30 million species strong and borders and governments will never change that.
I am only a child yet I know we are all in this together and should act as one single world toward one single goal.
- At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in the world. You teach us to not fight with others, to work things out, to respect others, to clean up our mess, to not hurt other creatures, to share, not be greedy. Then why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do.
- Here you may be delegates of your government, business people, organisers, reporters or politicians, but really you are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles and all of you are someone’s child.
- Do not forget why you are attending this conference, who you are doing this for. We are your own children. You are deciding what kind of a world we are growing up in.
- Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying “Everything is going to be alright, its not the end of the world and we are doing the best we can”. But I don’t think you can say that stuff anymore. Are we even on your list of priorities?
- My dad always says you are what you do, not what you say. Well what you do makes me cry at night. You grown ups say you love us but I challenge you, please, make your actions look like your words.
Online networks will drive the next stage of economic development … but we need five of them immediately
We need to deploy five online political, industrial and social networks to avert disaster by 2012. Existing structures that rely on proprietary ownership of information, distribution channels, institutions and regional approaches are unable to solve our most pressing problems. Even if they could solve the problems, they are simply unable to coordinate a global endeavour in a rapidly closing timeframe. I had previously written that online networks could be delayed for up to 50 years by three epic battles (See The transition to online networks may take six months or 50 years). In some aspects of our global community, we can wait 50 years (and “only” incur an opportunity cost). However, for some specific problems, online networks need to be built, acquire a significant audience, and achieve their objective by 2012.
I believe our opportunity expires in 2012. It closes because a global depression is likely to significantly reduce taxation revenues and resources available to address the problems. Peak Oil, Peak food and dwindling resources are likely to cause conflict. The potential goodwill that could create the online networks required will reduce.
Online network can connect peer to peer, person to person, scientist to scientist in a online network to focus and freely apply the intellect of a global community to solve the global problems. These online networks would mirror the structures that have created Linux. Just like the creation of Linux, these are community projects and they start with an individual.
Why do we need them by 2012?
- Global growth may end and we could have a depression: The global community has enjoyed an unprecedented period of prosperity for sixty years (since the end of World War II). Global economic growth rates have averaged 3% per year driven largely by demographics and new technologies. But what if this period of prosperity would end. The baby boomers begin to retire from 2008 and economies contract and also need to fund retirement. Instead of solving problems with an expanding resources, we would be confronted with solving them with shrinking resources. Communities would need to make real cuts, that are likely to be unpalatable.
- Competition for scarce resources could cause conflict: Key mineral resources are becoming more scarce (See Peak Oil).
- People want peace, but countries are heading for war: Every person wants peace. If individuals are threatened, then they will engage in conflict. However, this desire for peace does not translate into government. There few issues that do not have immediate long-term solutions. There are, however, short-term impediments to these solutions being implemented. If the world is not co-operative, they are unlikely to collaborate.
- Pollution is destroying our planet: There is a global consensus that carbon dioxide emissions are causing climate change. We have witnessed the high number of weather disasters which has caused significant cost and damage to regional communities. The key date for change to global practice revolves around 2012.
After 2012, the world may be consumed by many other pressing issues. The goodwill to work collectively may no longer exist.
What are the types of online networks?
Online networks will (1) identify the problem, (2) develop the solution and, (3) implement them. Separate online networks may be required for each of these activities. We do not have time for a linear process and different types of people are required. Multiple online networks should work concurrently. Online networks may be established by individuals. Governments will need to allow online networks to flourish. Governments and corporations can transfer important intellectual property into the public domain for use by community online networks.
In summary, an online network will use many of the structures and software that was used to create linux. It can be hosted on Amazon’s Elastic Cloud, a grid computing service that can provide the processing and storage necessary to run the world’s largest online communities. This guide is intended to help social and business entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs will have the attributes of a hacker and have identified a unique opportunity to apply online networks.
The attributes of a generic online network business model is available here. This is essential reading for this article. It is also useful if you can see a demonstration online network. Please request access to our demonstration online network for the financial market.
Which problems need online networks?
There are many problems in the world. The Top Ten Global Economic Challenges are discussed here. I have selected five global problems that are substantive issues in themselves but also cause other problems. These are primary problems with secondary impacts. I would apply the Online network business model (generic) principles and create online networks to harness community knowledge and effort to solve them. Perhaps, we will all create or choose to participate in an online network that we are interested in. A new way to make a community contribution?
1. United States insolvency (Political)
Related articles: US insolvency and the decline of the US dollar should hasten the evolution to global markets
Problem: The United States is, or is close to insolvent. After 25 years of imprudent consumption, it owes an unserviceable amount to other countries (mainly central banks and individuals). It can not grow fast enough to pay these funds back. It may simply not be able to pay for goods and services (including oil) from third parties. This situation needs to be managed by the global community. As the world’s leading military superpower, it may use “force” to acquire what it needs or avoid repayment of debt. What happens when the US is unable to repay its debt to China, Japan, Russia? Should these economies forgive debt and not provide for their people.
United States may not be able to repay their debts to foreigners: The United States is insolvent, but still growing at 3%. This growth means that it continues to be a worthwhile place for investment. What if it ceases to be worthy of investment? The US dollar has fallen significantly and may fall further. Why would an investor hold US dollars? Foreigners are unlikely to continue financing the US economy indefinitely. What happens when the US is simply unable to repay its debts. Foreigners will want their money back to build their economies, build infrastructure for the future or fund the retirement of their citizens. What if the US can not repay its debts, or provide basic services to its population?
2. Courageous vs. lazy representation – the rise of the politics of courage
Related articles: Peak leadership: the demand for leadership is growing rapidly and supply is declining ;Ã‚Â Peak leadership: is the demand for leadership outstripping supply? ; The rise of online political networksÃ‚Â ;
Representative democracy needs to be “tweaked”, some would say overhauled. That “tweak” is an online network that connects voter, politician and bureaucrat in an online network. We need to move from lazy to courageous representation.
Governments are responsible for safeguarding their citizens. This responsibility starts with providing essential services, encouraging citizens to save for their future and managing government spending. It should end with defence from aggressors. Many countries choose immediate consumption, rather than save for their futures. Recent conflicts have occurred without provocation or substantive reason, spurred a new arms race and greater tension. To make matters worse, some have borrowed money to fund immediate consumption and conflicts on foreign soil. The primary motivation of politicians appears to be to get re-elected, rather than to govern and they are far too willing to engage in the politics of fear.
Courageous representation about political leadership doing the right thing with an appropriate balance between immediate consumption, saving for the future and resolving underlying causes of conflict. Politicians say what they believe and do what they say.
How an online network can help?
Lazy representation can occur because of the dependence upon intermediaries to get the politicians message to the voter. The distribution channel for the message is expensive. Policies for the future become sound bites offering instant gratification. What if a politician could get his message direct to the voter? The internet provides this. Perhaps, the election of a politician could be based upon his online reputation. Voters could review the web sites of politicians which state what they believe and what they will do, rather than rely on traditional distribution channels. We are starting to see greater use of the internet. I would propose something more comprehensive and structured. It may even be global.
The EM online network could simply be restructured to provide this online network. The functions of the network stay the same, but the type of content changes. Please see the example below.
|“Courageous” online political network|
Reports (Financial, environmental, industrial)
Some believe that our global institutions also need to be overhauled. Given the problems confronting the world, if change is required, it is needed today. They were structured for a post World War II environment and these structures may no longer be effective. However, I won’t offer a definitive comment on our global institutions, I simply don’t know enough and can’t offer a solution. A good article on the Global Governance Stalemate is available here. Would someone with the skills like to brainstorm the structure of an online network? If we have courageous representation at all levels of global leadership then, perhaps, restructuring global institutions would be unnecessary.
#3 Climate stability and carbon emissions management (Industrial)
I won’t be highlighting the seriousness of climate change on the earth. If you want to learn more about climate change, please see Garnaut Review , United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , Video: An inconvenient truth and the Stern Review: The economics of climate change . The opening comments by the 13 year old in 1992 are confronting. They suggest to me that the political courage to do what needs to be done may not exist. An online community could motivate politicians as well as focus global community effort to solve the problem. As previously suggested, it is likely that intellectual property would need to be returned to community knowledge. The network could also change political and corporate will and also focus intellectual effort to accelerate finding a solution.
Richard Branson has also offered a $25m prize to promote research into climate change.
A science prize is an important motivator. It does not, however, provide the resources for research and cause research to occur. It relies upon individuals and groups to assemble and coordinate their own efforts.
I see an opportunity for a Linux style online community to coordinate the individual contribution of scientists, government, corporations, philanthropists and the community to pursue/deliver climate stability. Virginearth.com would be an ideal forum for this initiative. Richard Branson and Al Gore could inspire an global online community and encourage government and corporations to contribute essential intellectual property to a solution and deliver climate stability. VirginEarth.com could become an online network catalyst to assemble and focus an online community. This would dramatically increase the success of Virgin Earth achieving an outcome (at minimal cost).
A basic structure for an online network to assist is provided in the following table:
|“Courageous” online political network|
Reports (Financial, environmental, industrial)
#4 Peak oil, food and water, diminishing resources and development of alternatives
Related articles:Ã‚Â Will Peak Oil cause a depression from 2010?
I have previously written an article on Peak Oil (See Will Peak Oil cause a depression from 2010? ). We need an online network to manage the allocation of diminshing resources and the development of alternatives. There are many resources which have limited life and we need to develop alternatives. Does anyone want to try to brainstorm a structure for an online network to drive toward a solution.
Related articles:Ã‚Â Peak food: Are we going to run out of food?
I have previously written an article on Peak food: Are we going to run out of food?. I also recommend a particularly confronting article on the Food crisis US Fed to blame for global food crisis which not only discusses food but also suggests to potential failures in global leadership, governance and institutions. Does anyone want to try to brainstorm a structure for an online network to drive toward a solution.
#5 Investment Capital allocation and services delivery in developing and developed economies
I have written many articles on financial markets. The capital allocation process in financial markets and service delivery in the global economy needs to be significantly improved. There are a number of problems that could be addressed by online networks. Firstly, cyclical investment means we invest more at market peaks, and less in investment troughs. Better investment returns and more economic wealth will be created or retained with counter-cyclical investment. Secondly, capital is concentrated in Tier 1 companies. SME’s find it difficult to raise capital. Google.org has an initiative to accelerate the growth of small and medium enterprises. Thirdly, the developing world needs access to capital to develop small and medium enterprises. Fourthly, The developed world has a shortage of 32 million educated people. capital. The third world is the source of future intellectual capital and produces the necessary people. Immigration laws prevent their migration to where they are needed. It is easier to move the capital to the people, than the people to the capital. This would also reduce global poverty. An online social network could allocate capital or facilitate service delivery across borders. I will be publishing some projects and opportunities on this shortly.