An other and better world is possible: the Society of Agreement

Political movements, specifically in the far-left and ecologically-minded part of the spectrum, claim that “another world is possible”, which would be different from the society we currently have, with its huge inequalities and collective climatic suicide.

These political movements have however generally fallen short from describing what such an alternative society would be. When required, they describe a few, dis-connected and partial experiments.  This is not enough, because what is needed is to connect these partial experiments with one another.

This failure has significantly weakened their capacity to convince people to engage in the type of radical change that they promote. It is normal and sane to hesitate when you know what you lose (the comfort of the known world, even if its future is bleak), and don’t know what you may gain (because nobody is able to describe to you concretely what it would look like).

In order to avoid this trap of (legitimate) fear that I outlined above, I made the effort to describe, with some detail, a comprehensive description of what a happy and sustainable society of 2050 and beyond could look like, with the prospect of sustaining human civilisation indefinitely. I called it the Society of Agreement, because it identifies the two key issues to be solved as: (1) agreeing among humans and (2) agreeing with ourselves and with our environment, by aligning with the scientific state of the art regarding the laws of human well-being and of nature.

I described it using a mind-map, so as to facilitate the navigation between all its aspects, and to keep an easy overview. You can find it here.

The CosmoPolitical Cooperative that I support aims at radical transformations of society, towards (1) environmental sustainability, (2) social justice and (3) pan-European democracy, in a 30-40-50 Strategy towards this Society of Agreement.

Costa-Rica as a role model for humanity

The ultimate goal of public policy in the 21st century may be expressed in very simple terms: ensure good living conditions to the population – while respecting the 9 environmental planetary boundaries that set limits to our production and consumption (climate change; rate of biodiversity loss; interference with the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles; stratospheric ozone depletion; ocean acidification; global freshwater use; change in land use; chemical pollution; and atmospheric aerosol loading). Is this goal achievable? The answer is yes, because it has already been achieved by one country: Costa-Rica. The good news is: this achievement is the outcome of deliberate policies, not of mere chance.

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The shareholders aren’t any more the most legitimate to govern companies

Source of data in the image: World Bank, stocks traded, turnover ratio of traded shares.

When asked about who should govern companies, the most obvious answer seems to be: the shareholders. And the reason: because they are the owners. Period. Debate closed. Recent discussions about the increased role of other stakeholders, be they the workers, representatives of external interests such as those of the environment or of suppliers, are seen like nice add-ons, little more than an inflexion to a generally valid rule.

I disagree, and believe that the role of the shareholders in the governance of companies should be radically reconsidered.

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Equality – and social security – is better for everyone, and for a sustainable future

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone was published in 2009. Written by [British epidemiologists and economists] Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, the book highlights the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption“. It shows that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries [than in equal rich countries]. (Excerpt from the Equality Trust website launched by the authors, with links to further details on each of the “health and social problems” listed).

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