Global System Change
We the People Achieving True Democracy,
Sustainable Economy and Total Corporate Responsibility
Copyright © 2017
Industrialization and technological development cause many people to believe that human society is advanced and sophisticated. But all of our life support systems are in rapid decline, with some regional exceptions. In addition, there is widespread poverty, hunger, suffering, political turmoil, unemployment and other economic, political and social problems around the world. This is not what an advanced and sophisticated society looks like. Instead, it reflects a civilization in rapid decline.
We have developed great power to dominate nature and other people. But widespread and growing environmental and social degradation show that we have not developed the wisdom needed to use this power wisely. If we truly were wise and sophisticated, nearly all humans on Earth would be living satisfying, prosperous lives, and we would not be doing anything that inhibits the ability of humanity to survive and prosper over the very long term.
The root cause of environmental and social degradation, and essentially all other major problems facing humanity, is our flawed ideas and systems. Flawed economic and political systems compel all businesses, without exception, to degrade the environment and society. If companies attempted to act in a fully responsible manner by voluntarily eliminating all negative environmental and social impacts, they would put themselves out of business. This largely is a system problem, not a company problem. But the corporate responsibility, socially responsible investing (SRI) and sustainability movements are focused mainly on company-level changes. To achieve sustainability and real prosperity, we must substantially switch this focus to system change.
Flawed systems result from flawed thinking and ideas. The primary thinking problem is shortsightedness or myopia – focusing narrowly on the well-being of individual persons, companies or countries, instead of the whole system that enables individuals to survive and prosper. Everything in human society is connected. The economic is not separate from the political, social, environmental, or even psychological, spiritual and religious. But the conscious human mind has difficulty considering the whole Earth system, and its sub-element human society, at once. As a result, we often break society down into parts (economic, political, social) and study them without adequate reference to the whole system that contains them, a process known as reductionism. This produces unintended consequences, such as widespread environmental and social degradation, because major, relevant aspects of reality are ignored when developing human systems.
As Einstein implied, the solution to myopia is whole system thinking. To resolve the major challenges facing humanity and achieve sustainability and real prosperity, we must exit the ivory tower of reductionism and begin reality-based, whole system thinking.
This book is a summary of a whole system book (Global System Change: A Whole System Approach to Achieving Sustainability and Real Prosperity) that illustrates one way to do this. In the whole system book, all major physical (economic, political, social, environmental) and nonphysical (psychological, spiritual, religious) aspects of human society are discussed as parts of one whole system. This perspective illuminates root causes and effective systemic solutions. The book provides detailed descriptions of the many economic, political and social system changes needed to achieve sustainability and real prosperity. The proposed changes minimize unintended consequences because all major aspects of reality are integrated and taken into account.
In the environmental area, the whole system book discusses root causes, public deceptions and systemic solutions for major issues, including climate change, chemicals, genetic engineering, nanotechnology and nuclear power. In the social area, extensive analysis and systemic solutions are provided for important issues, such as population growth, education, food production, crime, privacy and terrorism prevention. Vested interest strategies for misleading and disempowering citizens also are thoroughly examined.
All actions begin in the mind. To change our physical world, we must change the way we think about it. To facilitate this, the whole system book extensively discusses psychology, spirituality and religion. Collaboration and other processes for implementing systemic changes also are thoroughly described. This summary book and the whole system book are intended for business, political and civil society leaders, as well as average citizens – the ultimate leaders of society. Information is presented in ways that all levels of readers can easily understand.
In addition to being published in the whole system book, the last three chapters of that book are being published separately as this book – Global System Change: We the People Achieving True Democracy, Sustainable Economy and Total Corporate Responsibility. The whole system book is about ten times longer than this book. Several sections from it are being published as separate books. Positions and conclusions in the whole system book are extensively supported with logic, references and examples. The book has over 3,000 endnotes. Many positions taken in the whole system book are summarized here. Frequent references to earlier sections in the whole system book show where more detailed and fully referenced discussions can be found. The table of contents of the whole system book is shown in the appendix.
This summary book (i.e. We the People book) emphasizes important actions needed to achieve sustainability and real prosperity. Chapter Seven (the first chapter of this book) discusses how We the People can unite and establish true democracy in United States and other countries. In the US Constitution, the Founders gave all ultimate power to We the People (all citizens collectively). But in his Farewell Address, George Washington warned that vested interests would use political parties to divide the people and suppress their ability to rule themselves. This is exactly what happened.
Dividing the people into conservatives and liberals inhibits their ability to attain the majorities needed to take back control of government and compel it to serve all citizens equally and fairly. During the Civil War, President Lincoln warned that wealthy business owners had gained stronger control of government and would use this influence to unfairly concentrate public wealth in their own hands. Especially since the 1980s, business-controlled government has facilitated concentration of wealth at the top of society, while life became more difficult for nearly everyone else.
The division of the US into two major political parties is a sham that has existed since the founding of this country. Virtually everyone wants a strong economy, prosperous society and stable life support systems. Dividing the people into conservatives and liberals prevents them from working together in their massive areas of common interest and agreement. To achieve sustainability and real prosperity, we must end the civil war between conservatives and liberals. This book describes how to unite citizens under a We the People movement, the name given to us by our Founders. Once united, we can take back control of government, establish true democracy and use the public wealth to equally and fairly benefit all citizens.
Shifting the focus of the corporate responsibility, SRI and sustainability movements from company change to system change also is discussed. Chapter Eight summarizes the Total Corporate Responsibility (TCR®) approach. TCR provides a practical and profitable way for businesses and financial institutions to engage in system change. This is by far the most important sustainability issue. Therefore, companies that aggressively promote system change at the sector-level and overarching economic and political system-level are the true sustainability leaders. Investment funds developed with the TCR model have the potential to drive far greater positive environmental and social impacts than any other SRI approach, while providing superior investment returns.
Chapter Nine further describes the We the People movement and summarizes many of the problems and systemic solutions discussed in the whole system book. A major emphasis is placed on implementing sustainable economic and financial systems. Current systems concentrate wealth of the top of society, produce widespread unemployment and under-employment, drive declining quality of life for the vast majority of citizens, and severely degrade environmental life support systems. Clearly these systems are not sustainable, fair or even rational.
The main Founders of the US, except Alexander Hamilton, strongly opposed a highly centralized, speculative economy. They knew that it would produce the unjust, destructive results we see today. President Franklin D. Roosevelt strongly advocated a just economy that strives to meet the needs of all citizens. His policies produced widespread economic prosperity and the largest middle class in the world. Building on the suggestions of great US leaders, Chapter Nine summarizes many of the critical actions needed to implement sustainable, fair, efficient and highly productive economic and financial systems.
This book concludes by discussing the destiny of humanity. We are surrounded by nearly infinitely greater technological sophistication, coordination, sustainability and prosperity in nature and our own bodies. We are part of nature. Therefore, we have the innate potential to display the vastly higher levels of sophistication, coordination and widespread prosperity seen in nature.
Emulating nature is one of the most important actions needed to achieve sustainability and real prosperity. Solutions to nearly all of the major challenges facing humanity are modeled or implied there. Nature produces no waste, equitably distributes resources among individuals and generations, lives on renewable resources, decentralizes production, and enables nearly all individuals to reach their fullest potential.
As discussed, there is an imbalance between power and wisdom in human society. Rapid environmental and social degradation show that we lack the wisdom needed to use our abundant power wisely. Perhaps the most important aspect of emulating nature is increasing wisdom in human society. The imbalance between power and wisdom reflects the imbalance between men and women. Men innately manifest greater physical strength, aggressiveness and other aspects of power than women. In our competitive society, power is honored. As a result, men usually have higher status than women.
But excessive competition is degrading life support systems and society. Limited competition occurs in nature at the individual level. But the overwhelming force in healthy natural systems and nature overall is cooperation. In the same way that men innately manifest more power, many studies show that women innately manifest greater cooperation, empathy, whole system thinking ability and other aspects of wisdom. As we elevate and honor wisdom and cooperation in human society, it naturally will elevate those who manifest more of these characteristics (women) a position of true equality with men.
We have free will. Virtually every major problem facing humanity results from our ideas and actions. Except for natural disasters, nothing is imposed on us. We caused the problems. Therefore, we can cause the solutions. Destiny is not predetermined. We choose it. Whatever actions we choose will be our destiny.
Essentially everyone wants current and future generations to survive and prosper. With free will, we can choose this outcome. We have the desire, power and innate wisdom needed to attain it. This book and the whole system book from which it comes take the position that the destiny of humanity is to manifest the wisdom of nature in human society, reach our fullest potential, and achieve sustainability and real prosperity. The books describe the whole system thinking, systemic changes and implementation processes needed to achieve this destiny.
Frank Dixon oversaw the sustainability analysis and rating of the world’s 2,000 largest companies for many years as the Managing Director of Research at Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, formerly the largest corporate sustainability research firm in the world. Institutional investors used Innovest research to develop high-performing socially responsible investing products. Extensive corporate sustainability experience made it clear that flawed systems compel all companies to degrade the environment and society. Frank Dixon developed the TCR® approach to provide a practical and profitable way for companies and investors to engage in system change. Following Innovest, he provided sustainability and system change consulting to companies in the US and Europe. Most recently, he wrote the Global System Change series of books. Using a whole system approach, the books identify the major economic, political and social system changes needed to achieve sustainability and real prosperity
Frank Dixon has an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Copyright © 2017 Frank Dixon