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Contents

Introduction ................................................................................................... 9

Chapter 1: Understanding Is A Three Edged Sword ................................... 17

The Layout of This Book ...................................................................................................... 21

Where did this book come from? .......................................................................................... 23

Telling, Suggesting, Proposing ............................................................................................. 29

 

Section I: Our Truth In Science .................................................. 35

Chapter 2: The Second Universal Rule ....................................................... 43

Putting This To Use .............................................................................................................. 57

Chapter 3: The First Universal Rule ............................................................ 63

Types of Growth and Malthus .............................................................................................. 64

There’s a funny thing about History ... ................................................................................. 71

The True Birth of the Universe ........................................................................................... 112

 

Section II: Our Truth in Simplicities ........................................ 117

The First Universal Rule (the ‘Living Growth Rule’) ........................................................ 117

The Second Universal Rule (the ‘Binary Rule’) ................................................................ 118

Chapter 4: The Third Universal Rule (the ‘Combination or Bridge Rule’)121

Chapter 5: The Fourth Universal Rule (the ‘Touchy Feely Rule’) ............ 135

 

Section III: Our Truth in Morality ............................................ 143

Chapter 6: Ireland & Terrorism ................................................................. 159

Chapter 7: Organised Crime ...................................................................... 171

Defining True Morality ....................................................................................................... 187

Rationality ↔ Irrationality .................................................................................................. 201

Chapter 8: Universities .............................................................................. 207

Trinity College Dublin & Hull ............................................................................................ 207

St. Andrews ......................................................................................................................... 217

 

Section IV: The Proposals ........................................................ 243

Chapter 9: The Proposals for Macroeconomic & Monetary Reforms ....... 251

Making everything much, much simpler ............................................................................ 261

You can’t tax €i and €a! ....................................................................................................... 274

Chapter 10: The Proposals for Organisational Governance ...................... 277

Current Corporate Governance ........................................................................................... 279

The Proposals ...................................................................................................................... 282

Chapter 11: Reforming the Education System .......................................... 293

Teaching ≠ Schools ............................................................................................................. 295

Teach Skills, Not Information ............................................................................................. 297

Ability NOT regurgitation .................................................................................................. 300

Educational Fundamentals .................................................................................................. 302

Fund Education, Not Education Services ........................................................................... 304

The Importance of Short Feedback Loops .......................................................................... 306

Changing the Meaning of Labour ....................................................................................... 315

Is it Wise to so Educate the Population? ............................................................................ 321

Chapter 12: The Proposals Regarding Jurisprudence ................................ 325

Let Legal Experts decide the Implementation of the Law ................................................. 328

Chapter 13: The Utter Imbecility of Intellectual Property Law................. 345

What I would propose instead............................................................................................. 364

Summary ............................................................................................................................. 374

Chapter 14: Regulate Through Educate .................................................... 379

Automobiles ........................................................................................................................ 382

Consumption ‘Driving’ Licences ........................................................................................ 391

Child Rearing & Childcare ................................................................................................. 395

True Security ....................................................................................................................... 397

The Likely Effects ............................................................................................................... 398

Chapter 15: Keep the Law Fresh ............................................................... 401

One Book Defines It All ..................................................................................................... 402

The Sunset Provision .......................................................................................................... 404

What About The Constitution? ........................................................................................... 406

Chapter 16: The Proposals for Old Age .................................................... 409

Why Old People are a very serious problem indeed .......................................................... 409

We need to do something and urgently .............................................................................. 413

What we should do instead ................................................................................................. 415

 

Section V: Conclusion .............................................................. 421

Chapter 17: Free The Information, Free The Growth................................ 423

What the System knows about you: .................................................................................... 423

What we should do instead ................................................................................................. 428

The Zero Universal Rule (the ‘Null True Growth’ rule) .................................................... 431

The Consequences of Such a Law ...................................................................................... 432

The Beginnings of Book Two ............................................................................................. 438

Chapter 18: Odds & Ends .......................................................................... 443

Agriculture: Fixed! .............................................................................................................. 444

Food Quality & Animal Cruelty (same thing): Fixed! ....................................................... 447

Mining & Fossil Fuels: Fixed! ............................................................................................ 448

Rampant Consumerism: Fixed! .......................................................................................... 450

Environmental Degradation: Fixed! ................................................................................... 451

Restoring the Primacy of the Family: Fixed! ..................................................................... 451

Restoring God to the Centre of Human Endeavour: Fixed! ............................................... 451

Business Training Costs: Fixed! ......................................................................................... 452

Prostitution: Fixed! ............................................................................................................. 452

Global Poverty & Terrorism: Mostly Fixed! ...................................................................... 452

The Next Evolution of Science: Probably Fixed! ............................................................... 453

Chapter 19: Special Section: The Economics of Human Happiness ......... 457

Chapter 20: Creating The Future ............................................................... 463

Connecting with Meaning is Education .............................................................................. 465

Nosce Te Ipsum, γνθι σεαυτόν ........................................................................................ 467

Reality is an Illusion ........................................................................................................... 470

You are the World ............................................................................................................... 472

What to do next ................................................................................................................... 475

Chapter 21: A Summary Through Soundbites .......................................... 477

Wealth ................................................................................................................................ 477

Reality ................................................................................................................................ 477

Morality ............................................................................................................................... 478

Economics & Accounting ................................................................................................... 478

Corporate Governance ........................................................................................................ 479

Education ............................................................................................................................. 479

Law ..................................................................................................................................... 480

Criminal Justice ................................................................................................................... 480

The Young ........................................................................................................................... 480

The Old ............................................................................................................................... 481

 

Appendix A: Creative Steps Leading To Present ...................................... 483

Appendix B: The Cost of a Child .............................................................. 489

The Under Sevens ............................................................................................................... 490

Appendix C: Correlation of Fresh Water and Crop Quantities for Selected

Crops ......................................................................................................... 491

Reading List .............................................................................................. 493

Index .......................................................................................................... 495

Endnotes .................................................................................................... 497

 

The Book's Introduction

It is a strange thing to start a book knowing that I will never finish it. Despite being the culmination of over five years of research and a journey stretching over nearly ten years, it has nearly killed me twice and I am not entirely sure if it is wise that I should keep tempting providence! Nevertheless, it is my hope and intent to keep releasing updated versions of these books as our knowledge improves – and you, dear reader, can contribute to future versions via the theoretical web portal at http://www.neocapitalism.org/.

These three books form a trilogy which result from my best attempt to answer three simple questions, with each book explaining the same message but in increasingly powerful ways:

         i.            What is the simplest understanding of the Universe which applies to all parts, all scales, all timespans no matter how large or small at once simultaneously?

        ii.            What would that understanding mean for us?

      iii.            How might that be useful in deciding how to structure our society?

These might seem to be unusual questions to be asking in our modern age. If you’re in the West, depending on your political persuasion, either the planet (and civilisation) is utterly doomed via a toxic combination of terrorism, oil shortages and global warming and shortly World War III will begin; or we are living in the most golden age ever experienced, with unprecedented freedom, wealth & mobility with general global agreement that some variant of European culture is the one to aspire toward. So how does such a philosophical approach help in the slightest?

It is true that Western European culture has become the undisputed dominant culture over every other on the planet. Most of the planet aspires to become more like us – speak like us, think like us, become their particular variant of us. Yet, while most of the planet tries to catch us the leaders, we the leaders seem to be feeling a bit ill. While our material economy continues to grow without limit, there seems to have set in a slight feeling of nausea which whilst imperceptible most of the time, rears its ugly head as our suicide rate climbs, our youth sinks ever lower in self-abasing and self-destructive acts and our natural environment declines[1].

This is not happening by accident. We are being given the signs that it is time to change. We don’t have to – and if we fail to heed the signs now, many more opportunities will be provided for us to change direction. Nevertheless, the longer we wait, the louder the signs will become and the more upsetting the roar for change will become. One thing is for sure – we will change one way or another, the only question remaining is how much it will be under our own control.

It is my opinion, after answering those three questions above, that the fundamental solution to most of our current problems is speeding up growth. I don’t assume this like many authors do – I spend sections I and II explaining in simple words how I understand how the Universe works i.e. I tell you my answer to question one above. I then go on to explain in section III in simple words my answer to question two – with examples from my personal experience as I think pertinent. If you agree with my answers, then increasing growth does become obvious, and thus I proceed to answering question three for the remainder of this book through the many chapters in section IV.

 

This book is all about Freeing Growth: at a personal, familial, societal, cultural, economic, religious AND scientific level – and in so doing, we free up overall growth. And I’m going to be as specific as I can though most of the implementation detail will be left for Book Two – in particular, I have studiously avoided the use of mathematics in this volume which has imposed a general lack of detail, though much more so in some topics than others.

That sounds very ambitious, and indeed who am I to speak in any way authoritatively about any of these issues whatsoever? The answer is that I am a nobody, just a fresh graduate from St. Andrews University, and feel free to completely ignore me – indeed, I am entirely expecting that this book will be completely ignored. I don’t mind this so much – I truly believe that writing this book, and its contents, is the right thing to do despite how futile or how much upset it might cause. Why I should have this strong belief I will come to later, probably in Book Three.

What I propose are a series of very small changes – so small that everyday life would be entirely unaffected – but enacted across many different areas all at once, stretching from finance to infrastructure, through religion & education and beyond fuel & food. I freely admit that I am not an expert in most of those areas and I frequently contradict the opinions of the experts in their fields. However, I have something that they do not – I am trying to harmonise each discipline under one, simple, holistic framework and therefore I can see things which they cannot easily see. Equally, I am going to make a very large number of mistakes and miss highly important details because I simply do not know any better – hence why these books will be improved and republished over time.

One thing many people do not realise is that there is no one single true way of seeing anything in the world. You can believe anything you like so long as it does not contradict the evidence. This is not to say that there are not better ways of seeing the world than others – in fact, the history of the entire Universe is best seen as an ever increasingly powerful way of understanding the world and we are no exception. As a simple example, Newtonian mechanics (think billiard balls hitting one another) is a less powerful form of Relativistic mechanics (think space and time bending like a rubber sheet). For 99.9% of object movement which concerns us human beings, Newtonian mechanics is perfectly accurate and has the advantage of ease of calculation – yet, it is not as powerful as Relativistic mechanics which can accurately describe more phenomena more precisely.

If science isn’t your thing, then here’s another simple example: why do most people need several trial relationships before they are ready to get married? As a child, a person has a simplistic understanding of what it is to be in a couple which they mostly inherit from watching their parents. From the evidence that they have seen, this is usually pretty good (e.g. every child always has a list of things that they will never do to their own children when the time comes). The next stage comes as young teenagers become instinctually and culturally driven to get together and then most people modify their understanding of relationships to include more complex friendship elements. However, this understanding is usually still not powerful enough to make a relationship work, so it requires several practice runs before a person has a sufficiently powerful understanding to make a relationship last more than a few months. Indeed, many even require several marriages to work out all the kinks – most especially the one that the person you marry won’t be the person you’re married to after a few years.

At no stage was the person’s understanding wrong – it was just the best that that person could achieve at the time. Much of the time, growth in power of understanding is limited by lack of evidence, practice and good sources of education – but a good indicator of sickness is when a person simply cannot ‘compute’ reality and ends up repeating a variant of the same mistakes repeatedly. This phenomenon, denial, is a major theme running throughout these three books and we will come back to it again and again because denial is at the core of limiting our growth. Some will surely say that this book is very right-wing: yet I did not start out this voyage on the political right, I came from the left to the right because enforcing better behaviour upon people does NOT make them into better people – it simply creates pseudo-psychopaths who pretend to be better people but are in denial as to who they are, what they are doing and why they are doing it.

 

The question of whether growth is good at all has been a major theme of ‘climate change’. There are very worrying signs that some intend to limit growth ‘for the good of the planet’ and it is my greatest hope that this book will do something to prevent that happening. Unlike most commentators on climate change, I have actually read though the IPCC[2] assessment reports (it was one of the subjects of my dissertation for Economics). As I show in Section I, the single most obvious feature of this planet – indeed, this Universe – is exponential growth or decline at every distance & timescale. To deliberately constrain that will be fatal and in the long run, it is a fool’s errand anyway because one is opposing the full torrent of Nature’s will. This is NOT to say that it remains ‘business as usual’ by any stretch and this is the reason why:

Believe it or not, our current economic system is extremely inefficient – even more inefficient than Communism was, and the conventional viewpoint that the Communist Economy collapsed through Economic inefficiency is quite wrong[3]. Believe it or not, our economic growth of the last sixty years of around 2-3% per annum is far too low and could be sustainably in double digits. In fact, it needs to be in double digits, because with the environmental degradation currently happening around us, we need to grow far faster than we have done – because if we don’t, our civilisation will continue to collapse. This isn’t a bad thing in the bigger picture – future civilisations will learn from our mistakes – but for us right here right now, it really is not preferable.

Book One, this book, is the general lay person’s introduction to my proposals and I have deliberately referenced less than half a dozen sources because I don’t want you, the reader, to blindly accept a single word that I say. In fact, as shown later in this book, you’re going to have to take a choice of faith in what I say or not. It is intended for the time pressed person who needs a quick overview of the approach without needing the details and to that end, it contains no reference to mathematics, paradox logic or computer models wherever possible.

Book Two however goes in the opposite direction. It is specifically written from first principles with all the specific technical detail required to understand the proposed changes – somewhat like Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality which sets out, from first principles, our entire current knowledge of how the Universe functions. I fully expect that even those versed in the same fields will disagree in the strongest possible terms with my approach and fundamentally disagree with the travesties I perform to their specialisms. However, it is my aim that there is not a single technical mistake in Book Two and so I will be paying a cash bounty out of my own pocket to every person who first identifies a technical mistake on the book’s website, http://www.freeinggrowth.org/.

Book Three is the most difficult of the three books – it is basically a collection of notes & stories about Books One and Two, but done in a way to evoke the deeper meanings. It details the history of where these books came from, it tries to use creative writing to illustrate concepts which neither English nor Mathematics can currently represent, and it also speculates quite wildly on what in my opinion should happen after the first growth freeing steps as outlined by this book are implemented. It is both the ex ante and ex post of the core – and because of that, is vastly more important though I doubt most will see (or understand) that for now or maybe ever.

 

There are some points I should make before we begin because they profoundly affect the design choices I have made. The first point is that I have kept all my proposed changes compatible with existing systems for two reasons: (i) some regions may adopt these changes before others, and trade must not be interrupted and (ii) I want the least possible change to everyday life such that most people won’t even notice much has changed, just that things are now getting much better for some reason. This has made my proposals more complicated than they need have been were one willing to tear everything down and start from scratch – but well, you can say that about everything in life.

The second point is that as many of the proposals as possible have been designed to be representable within a computer model. As a society, we nowadays do very little without first modelling it on a computer and I find that a good thing – even if there are many things which simply cannot be represented with numbers ever. Sadly, most of our population still assumes that numbers are ‘hard’ (independent of their context) and contain far more absolute truth than they really do.

The third point is that these proposals are deliberately intended to keep the West as the undisputed preeminent cultural, economic and military power on this planet for the foreseeable future. A lot of people are going to have a problem with that – well tough, because I am first & foremost a patriot, and secondly a chaotic system is at its most stable when there is one, undisputed one tonne gorilla of whom everyone is afraid. However, beyond my personal preferences, there is the simple moral matter that we in the West have led the planet to this point – and we have a moral duty & obligation under the eyes of God to clean up our mess and lead our planet into a new and better future.

This requires[4] a more equitable distribution of wealth but it does not require a more equitable distribution of power – in fact, it requires that power be concentrated back with the West as it has dissipated somewhat since the end of the Cold War. Most in this world are not fit to lead and it would be dangerous to allow them out of some misplaced desire for ‘balance’. No, to lead well is extremely hard and can only be competently performed by a very exceptional kind of person working via a very exceptional kind of society – and it is only right that such a difficult duty should be sparingly awarded with ample benefits repaid. In particular, too much of our profits are lost to unproductive & wasteful activity in the West: I spend considerable time in Section IV outlining what I consider the most foolish and furthermore how to fix them.

What it certainly does NOT mean is that the West will callously discriminate against others it views as inferior – as it has too often done in the past e.g. the forced ‘Westernisation’ of aboriginal children which only ended in most Western countries in the 1990s. To be a true leader, one must set and follow a high example and encourage others to aspire higher – and yes, should some become dangerous to themselves and others, severe punishment may need to be applied when all else has failed (most people will be appalled with my proposals for penal reform). I know this sounds paternalistic and encompassing the worst that the West has already done to the World – but that viewpoint in itself is very flawed: I strongly believe that we have done much more good than bad, and our historical record even by those punished by us tends to show that overall in the long run.

It also goes without saying that these books have been written for a Western mentality and its prescriptions to free growth are designed for Western culture and structures (and I include western Russia as well as eastern European countries). Were I writing this for Eastern or Middle Eastern cultures, I would not only write in a very different style, but also propose quite different proposals. Nevertheless, there is something in here for every culture of this planet – I have taken account, where possible, of Islamic and Far Eastern sensibilities & especially their often insightful criticisms of the West.

The fourth point is that these proposals are deliberately intended to make a very great deal of profit for those entrepreneurs who deserve it most. Again, a lot of people are going to have a problem with that – but I ask you, is their problem with success yielding profit or is it with a perception that those who yield most profit didn’t earn it? The former was a tradition of socialist thinking and thankfully is now mostly extinct. The latter however I do have much sympathy with because it’s actually very true – I, like any right thinking person, find it utterly abhorrent how easy it is to make huge profits from either being incompetent or screwing the world over (or worse, both) and these proposals have been very deliberately designed to ensure that very large profits can only arise from benefiting the Universe. Note however that what is best for the Universe is usually, but not always, what is best for planet Earth and equally, what is best for planet Earth is usually, but not always, what is best for human beings. The system of Economics that I propose can be just as heartless as our current one – the difference is that this system has valuing the greater good built into its core, whereas the current system is really one of how best to extract wealth into the hands of the richest which is a legacy inherited from the West’s colonial days.

This is not to say that this new system does not make mistakes. It can cause the starvation of millions of people just like the current one. It can cause war, and genocide. It is particularly weaker on social control than our current one and far more prone to social fractionalisation – but it is hoped that the proposed structures will divert all this energy into constructive rather than destructive growth, though I entirely expect some of the latter as it is only natural.

Most important of all is that my proposals are 100% voluntary – no one gets forced to do anything at all at any stage (though I accept that anyone implementing these proposals is likely to impose rather than offer). It also gives a FAR greater voice to normal people – but it makes it very clear that you have no right to a voice unless you earn it through doing. I have extremely little time for people who sit and moan and bitch about the world and yet are willing to do nothing themselves personally to set it right. Such malcontents simply breed negativity and retard growth in others – and these proposals neuter the influence of these people to the greatest possible extent.

 

Growth is change, and with change there are always winners and losers. Prolonged Economic growth of high single digits is already considered a severe stress on a country – witness the social cracks in Ireland (where I was born and grew up) which has transformed itself over the last twenty years from one of the poorest in the OECD[5] into the fifth richest in material wealth. I know from being Irish just what I am asking when I propose sustained double digit economic growth: societies are torn apart from within and it hurts, it really hurts. But then growth is always painful, and as I know from bitter personal experience, the more growth one does in less time, the more painful it is.

Nevertheless, this needs to be done and the rewards, in the long term, are most certainly worth it. And so I propose one way of how. I hope you enjoy reading about it!

 

Niall Douglas

18th August 2008

 



[1] Let me be extremely clear that I do NOT mean global warming here nor climate change. I’ll go into far more detail later on in this book.

[2] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is a United Nations panel which collates a ‘consensus’ opinion on climate change science from peer reviewed academic sources.

[3] It actually collapsed because it succeeded in preventing exponential growth. The same fate awaits us if we try it.

[4] Yes I did say ‘requires’. As shown later in this book, and proven in Book Two, it is a hard limit of thermodynamics (i.e. that thing from Physics). To be clear, I mean across societies, not across cultures: there can be massive local disparities so long as the disparities are low on a wider scheme of things.

[5] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Member countries are those which embrace free market capitalism i.e. the Western nations.

 


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