Proposal to Establish a Planetary Management Institute (Research on Science, Religion and Politics, with Respect to Promoting the Quality of Human Life)
A Proposal to:
The Government of Timor-Leste
[A PRELIMINAY DRAFT, FOR DISCUSSION]
Proposal Submitted by:
Joseph George Caldwell, PhD
Tel. (864)439-2772, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Contents
The author of this proposal, Dr. Joseph George Caldwell, is requesting support from the Government of Timor-Leste to set up a Planetary Management Institute in Timor-Leste. The vision of the Planetary Management Institute, as set forth in Institute’s vision statement (at http://www.foundationwebsite.org/PMIVision.htm ), is the achievement of a planet with an intact, stable biosphere, in which mankind lives in harmony with the other species of the planet.
The author has been writing in the field of population,
energy and the environment for the past 15 years. Most of his writings may be seen at the
Foundation website, http://www.foundationwebsite.org
. Each month, thousands of Internet
users visit this website to view and download copies of books such as Can
It is the view of the author that the solution of Earth’s environmental crisis will involve not only political, military and scientific activities, but a significant spiritual / religious / philosophical component as well. The proposal that follows describes the rationale for establishing a Planetary Management Institute in the context of establishing a dialog between science, religion and politics. It is proposed that the Institute be established as part of an existing University, such as the National University of East Timor (Universidade Nacional de Timor-Leste).
Planet Earth is in a terrible situation. Gaia is dying. Large human numbers and industrial activity are destroying the biosphere, and causing the extinction of an estimated 30 thousand species each year. The respected naturalist Edward O. Wilson estimates that if this human-caused destruction does not stop, approximately half of all species will be made extinct in this century. The human population has increased in size to the point where it now uses an estimated 40 percent of the sun’s energy available to living creatures on the planet. It is crowding out the other species on which its very survival depends.
Each year, the human population increases by over one percent, global industrial activity continues, and the environmental destruction continues. Atmospheric pollution from human industrial activities is so severe that global atmospheric warming is occurring. Each year, more of the world’s rain forests – the so-called “lungs” of the planet – is destroyed by human activity. Despite the dire situation, all leaders of all the world’s nations are calling for increased economic activity and industrial production, not for less. As global petroleum production starts to decline (expected by leading petrogeologists to occur this decade), the world’s leaders are frantically seeking for alternative energy sources, so that a high level of global industrial activity may continue – along with its associated planetary environmental destruction.
There appears to be no end in sight, but for catastrophic collapse – certainly of global industrialization, and increasingly likely of the biosphere as we know it. World leaders are determined to maintain large human numbers and industrial activity for as long as possible, irrespective of the severe damage that these are causing to the biosphere, the increased likelihood of human extinction, and the grave consequences for quality of life of all future generations of mankind. There is no thought of trying to keep human numbers in balance with the rest of the biosphere. All world leaders are committed to growth-based economics and a high material standard of living for billions of human beings – they adhere strongly to the Biblical adage, “A large population is a king’s glory.” Large human population and global industrial society will continue for as long as the energy supply holds out, or until the environment collapses, before they come to an abrupt end.
For many years, the world’s scientists have been sounding alarm bells about human society’s destruction of the planet’s biosphere, but the world’s leaders have ignored and are ignoring their warnings. In 1980, William R. Catton, Jr. wrote his now-classic work, Overshoot, in which he convincingly argued that rapidly expanding populations usually expand to the point at which they exceed the resources necessary to sustain them, and then they collapse (“die off”). Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin wrote the book, The Sixth Extinction, in 1995. René Thom, founder of catastrophe theory, observed that dynamic systems almost always collapse catastrophically, rather than fail gracefully. Jay Forrester, founder of system dynamics, observed this same characteristic of dynamic systems, over and over again. As Jared Diamond points out in his recent work, Collapse, history shows that most civilizations collapse abruptly. Mankind’s current situation seems both precarious and desperate, but world leaders are proceeding “business as usual,” with their exploded populations following them to catastrophic disaster as lemmings to the sea.
In times of trial, mankind looks to its leaders in politics and religion for guidance. In the current situation, no solace is found from either source. The leading geoscientists have been warning for decades of the destruction of the biosphere by large human numbers and industrial activity, but political leaders are deaf to their pronouncements. They will not sacrifice the economic growth and wealth accumulation of Earth’s current generation in exchange for the well-being of any other species, or even of any later generations of human beings. They are not concerned that the number of people living in desperate poverty and misery has exploded to five billion, as long as massive wealth is being generated for the planet’s wealthy few.
World religious leaders, too, are unconcerned with the environmental state of the planet, or of the suffering of billions. They are convinced either that everything that is happening is “God’s will,” or that their holy books prophecy mankind’s apocalyptic demise and there is little or nothing that can or should be done about it. Although they profess to be concerned only with the destiny of the human soul, human physical life is also sacrosanct, to the point where no effective action can ever be taken to protect the environment. If faced with a choice between saving the life of a three-year-old girl or the world’s last pair of Bengal tigers (or any of the thousands of other species committed to extinction each year to provide food for human beings), they will unhesitatingly opt to send the tigers (or other species) to extinction, rather than see the little girl – one of over six billion human beings currently inhabiting Earth – threatened. The quality of human life, the mass extinction of species, and the imminent extinction of mankind, is of little or no concern to the world’s religious leaders. The scale of human or animal suffering, and the continuation of human or animal life on the planet, is not a concern of theirs. The prophecy of the Book of Revelation that “those who destroy the Earth shall be destroyed” is of no concern to them.
In September, 2006, E. O. Wilson published a new book, The Creation. The book is written as an appeal – in the form of a number of letters – from a scientist (Wilson) to a religious leader (a Southern Baptist pastor), to work together to stop the ongoing planetary extinction. Despite all of the years that Wilson has put into this work and despite his many years as a world-class naturalist (Harvard professor, age 77), all he could think to ask the pastor to help save the environment was to ask him – to ask science and religion – to seek “common ground.” This work exemplifies how difficult it is to find a solution to the world’s environmental crisis. Leading religious writers such as Neale Donald Walsch (in his Conversations with God series) state their belief that the solution to the world’s current environmental crisis will be spiritual, not political or military, but no religious leader has set forth any plan for solving it.
Leading scientists such as
In short, world political leaders are pressing for increased industrial activity, which is causing the destruction of the biosphere and mass species extinction, and world religious leaders, fixated on saving individual souls or lives, are quite indifferent to the extinction of any species, including mankind. Science has an answer to the problem – simply decrease human numbers down to the level that existed for millions of years, when human activity had a negligible effect on the planet’s biosphere. But the world’s political leaders do not wish to do this, and the world’s religious leaders do not care one way or the other.
So what is to be done? If it is viewed as a worthwhile goal to save the human species from imminent extinction, and to promote a high quality of human life for future generations, what is to be done?
The author of this proposal, Dr. Joseph George Caldwell, has
wrestled with this issue for many years, and he has developed a number of
insights in the matter. In the 1990s, he
wrote a book, Can
As an active management consultant, Dr. Caldwell has had relatively little time to commit to his research in this field. He has initiated a number of ventures, such as a “Handbook of Planetary Management,” which remain uncompleted for lack of time. Because of the rapidly increasing pace of environmental destruction, time is running out. If the Government of Timor-Leste were to make available sufficient funds to establish a Planetary Management Institute and operate it for four years, he would be able to spend much more time on his researches, and make much more rapid progress than has been possible to date.
In his work, Dr. Caldwell has devoted much time to considering the metaphysical aspects of the current crisis. He accepts, as has been proposed by others, that a solution to the problem will involve spiritual considerations. He has considered at length the relationship between politics and religion, and between physical science and “spiritual science,” or metaphysics. All of his recent work is posted at the Foundation website, http://www.foundationwebsite.org . The following are some of his works in this area:
The Story of Civilization: http://www.foundationwebsite.org/TheStoryOfCivilization.htm
The Good Life: http://www.foundationwebsite.org/TheGoodLife.htm
Earth Is God’s Dime Novel: http://www.foundationwebsite.org/EarthIsGodsDimeNovel.htm
On Neale Donald Walsch: http://www.foundationwebsite.org/OnNealeDonaldWalsch.htm
Rudolf Steiner: http://www.foundationwebsite.org/HowICameToKnowRudolfSteiner.htm
Since its beginning, mankind has spent countless hours contemplating the relationship of the physical world to the nonphysical, or spiritual, world. Today, the issue is often characterized as considering the relationship between science and religion. The terms “science” and “religion” need to be defined, in order for this statement to be very meaningful. “Science” generally refers to “physical science,” which is concerned with achieving an understanding of the physical universe. It may also refer to “spiritual science,” which is concerned with an understanding of the spiritual (nonphysical) universe. In the past several centuries, tremendous strides have been made in the accomplishments of physical science. In the domain of spiritual science, much work has also been done, reflected in the works of the great philosophers and metaphysicians, such as Dr. Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf Education, Biodynamic Agriculture (organic farming), Anthroposophy, and Eurythmics.
Whether the term “science” is used to apply to physical science or spiritual science, it is concerned with facts – with factual statements derived from experiential observations (whether objective or subjective). Science (physical or spiritual) is amoral. It is not concerned with determining what should be done from the point of view of an arbitrary code of morality. It is concerned with making useful descriptions of reality (either physical or spiritual), which can be used to facilitate accomplishment of goals or objectives (for “good” or “ill”). It is concerned with determining what should best (or well) be done to accomplish a particular goal or objective. The term “science” may also be used to refer to the “scientific establishment.” Science is a tool, such as a hoe or a sword, that can be used by human beings to accomplish their objectives, whatever those objectives may be.
The term “religion” may refer to a specified belief system,
such as Christianity or Buddhism, or it may also refer to an organized
religious establishment, such as the Catholic Church. The relationship of religion to politics has
varied throughout history. In ancient civilizations (e.g.,
The term “religion” may include more than just “mainstream” organized religions. It also includes mystic branches of major religions, such as the Hindu Vedanta, Zen Buddhism, Christian Gnosticism, Hebrew Qabalism, Chinese Taoism, and Islamic Sufism. There are many other paths to spiritual knowledge, including shamanism (Asian, African, American), Theosophy, Anthroposophy, astral projection, yoga, Holotropic Breathwork™, psychotropic plants (peyote/mescaline, ayahuasca), hypnosis, meditation, and prayer.
Today, as in the past several centuries, there has been much
discussion and disagreement of what falls within the domain of science and what
falls within the domain of religion.
Physical science (“science”) and spiritual science (“religion”)
represent alternative paradigms for explaining reality – both physical and
nonphysical reality. Physical science is
objective, and it deals with constructs that may be physically measured,
reproduced, and tested. Spiritual
science, on the other hand, is mainly subjective. It is mainly experiential, and its phenomena
are rarely measurable or reproducible (with few exceptions, such as Remote
Viewing). Through the years, much heated
argument has taken place over the validity and utility of these paradigms. The debate is reflected, for example, in the
Much has been written on the relationship of religion to the
state. In The Republic, Plato describes a society governed by “Guardians” who
are spiritually committed to the welfare of mankind. In the 1800s, the
The author of this proposal is a physical scientist – he holds a PhD in mathematical statistics, and has spent a career in physical science and systems engineering. At the same time, he is deeply spiritual, and it is his sincere belief that the solution to the planet’s environmental crisis will be a spiritual one. Since, by definition, human government involves politics, the solution will involve politics. It will most assuredly involve science, too, since science includes all that we know about the world. It is the author’s view that the solution will include not only politics and science, but also a spiritual component. Since things spiritual fall within the domain of religion, the solution to the planetary crisis will, therefore, involve science, religion and politics.
The author has spent much of the past decade addressing the planetary crisis, and has written much on the subject of planetary management. He has identified conditions under which the planetary crisis may be ended, and has established the Foundation website to disseminate information on this. With the many demands on his time, however, progress has been slower than it could be. He is nearing the end of his professional career, and would like to be able to devote most of his productive time to this effort. With significant financial support, the author would be able to spend much more time on his work in this area. To enable this, a request is made to the Government of Timor-Leste to support his work for a four-year period, through support for the establishment and operation of a Planetary Management Institute in Timor-Leste.
There is no doubt that global industrial civilization as we
know it cannot continue. It cannot
continue because it is destroying the biosphere at a horrific rate. The only issue is when and how it ends. As mentioned above, it is the view of many
scientists that the end of industrial civilization will be abrupt. It is likely also to be very violent. The major wars of the twentieth century were
fought over oil, and these “resource wars” will intensify as global petroleum production
starts to fall. Petrogeologists
agree that, at current levels of consumption, the world’s petroleum reserves
will be exhausted by about 2050. The
real difficulties will begin much sooner, however – when global oil production
starts to decline, not when the last oil field goes dry. The beginning of the decline, referred to as
“Hubbert’s Peak” is viewed by many to be occurring
now (it is difficult to say exactly when global oil production starts to
decline because of fluctuations in supply and demand). The two recent wars in
Prior to the advent of technology and the massive supply of fossil fuel to drive it (i.e., prior to about 1650), global human population, based on primitive agriculture, numbered a few hundred million. As mankind began to use technology and tap the energy of fossil fuels, agricultural productivity soared, and human population was able to grow far beyond the previous levels enabled by solar-based agriculture. It is now well over six billion people, and increasing by about 60 million people per year. The planet’s large human population exists mainly because of oil, and when the world’s oil reserves disappear, the human population will fall back to its previous levels. The decline, however, will not be a “graceful” one. It will be a violent one, in which billions of people will die from famine, disease, or war.
Although the end of the Petroleum Age will see an abrupt decline in human numbers and global industrialization, it should be recognized that the end of the Petroleum Age is not the primary reason why large human numbers and global industrialization will end. They will end because they are destroying the biosphere, on which our existence – and therefore theirs – depends. The fact that oil is running out affects solely the nature and timing of the end of global industrial civilization – not the certainty of its occurrence. Even if petroleum were to be replaced by another energy source, the mass species extinction and planetary pollution (e.g., global warming) – that is a byproduct of global industrialization – would continue.
No matter what results from attempts to access alternative energy sources in order to stem mass starvation for as long as possible before rampant species extinction and planetary pollution bring global industrial civilization to an end, the eventual outcome in terms of human numbers will vary little. The energy alternatives to petroleum are few, and they are not comparable to oil in cost or convenience. Mankind is currently using about 40 percent of the solar energy available to the planet’s biological life, and it is not feasible to increase this percentage by much. It is possible to support only a small fraction of the planet’s current population on solar energy. Solar energy, as much as it is touted, is not a feasible alternative to petroleum, for supporting more than just a few hundred million people (at a low level of living, and far fewer, say five million, at a high level of living). Although there is a large amount of coal available, it is not a very good replacement for petroleum, since it generates as much atmospheric pollution (greenhouse gasses) as petroleum, or more; is less concentrated an energy source; is in a less convenient form (solid vs. liquid); is less useful as a source of chemicals for uses other than combustion; and is more difficult to extract and transport. Scientists have been attempting to obtain energy from nuclear fusion for half a century, and that goal is as elusive as ever. There exists sufficient uranium to provide energy from nuclear fission for hundreds of thousands of years, but only if it is used in “fast breeder” reactors, which produce plutonium, which can be used to make atomic bombs. If used in “once-through” reactors (which do not produce plutonium), the amount of available uranium would last for only a few decades.
Because of the mass species extinction presently underway, global industrial civilization – its cause – will end at some point. Because global oil production is peaking now and there is no comparable energy source to replace it, the collapse of global industrial civilization will occur very soon – within the next few years – and it will be very violent. Global industrial civilization is ultimately doomed, and its demise is in fact imminent. Given this situation, the only issues that matter are two: whether mankind will survive, and what the state of the biosphere will be when global industrial civilization ends. There are several possibilities to contemplate. Global industrialization may pollute the planet and damage the biosphere to the extent where mankind is made extinct. Or, global industrialization may end before the biosphere is severely damaged, so that the survivors of the collapse of industrial civilization may inherit a biosphere almost as rich as that which our generation inherited. Or, mankind may survive, but in a biosphere sufficiently damaged that all that is left to future generations of mankind is a hellish life on an ecologically bleak planet.
All of the world’s political leaders are committed to
continuing or increasing industrial activity.
The world’s political structure is very chaotic – perhaps “anarchic” is
a better word – with over 200 “sovereign” states, each champing at the bit to outproduce each other.
They will strive desperately to replace declining petroleum production
with alternative energy sources, such as coal, but since no available energy
source is comparable to petroleum, it would appear likely that they will, as
they always have in the past, resort to waging war over the ever-diminishing
supply. The “silver lining” in this
cloud of imminent global war over oil (the first “skirmishes” have in fact
Apart from a future filled with resource wars over the diminishing petroleum supply, there is another quite different possibility. Suppose that, instead of fighting over the planet’s dwindling oil reserves, all of the world’s countries unite in a New-World-Order-Synarchistic federation, which takes control of the world’s massive coal reserves, and distributes the energy from equitably to all nation-states. Given mankind’s Babel-fragmentation and war-loving history, this possibility would seem extremely unlikely, but it would represent a possible way of averting an immediate and violent collapse of global industrial civilization. Under this scenario, global industrial civilization would continue for a while longer (several more decades), with the end result that the mass species extinction would continue unabated, the biosphere would be destroyed beyond its ability to support mankind, and mankind would then become extinct.
From consideration of the current situation, in which global industrial civilization is causing the catastrophic destruction of the biosphere, it would appear that there are two alternative outcomes for mankind. First, if global industrial civilization continues (e.g., by replacing oil with coal as oil reserves exhaust), then the Sixth Extinction continues to term, and mankind is made extinct (or, at best, survives on a ruined, bleak planet). The second possibility is that global industrial civilization collapses very soon in global war. In this case, the large human numbers and industrial activity that are causing the mass extinction and atmospheric pollution (greenhouse-gas global warming) quickly drop to very low levels. At that time, the survivors of the industrial age have a choice. They can try to rebuild global industrial civilization, restart the Sixth Extinction, and finish the job of destroying the biosphere and making mankind extinct. Or, they may seek a different course, of attempting to set up a long-term-sustainable society that lives in balance and harmony with an ecologically rich biosphere.
The question that arises, of course, is how to accomplish this objective. The author of this proposal, Dr. J. G. Caldwell, has spent much of the past decade addressing this issue, and he has a number of insights relative to it. It is his opinion that there is little to be done by any external force (individual, organization, single country, federation of countries) to stop the processes of human super-population and global industrialization. As noted, all world leaders are committed to this process, to growth-based economics, to increasing gross domestic products, and to improved standards of living for very large populations. The world economy is a juggernaut that cannot be stopped until it runs out of fuel or runs off the track. It may seem a little fatalistic, but what is going to happen is going to happen. Too many people – both the world leaders and the people who support them – want the current system to continue. Almost none of them are concerned about the welfare (existence or quality of life) of future generations of mankind, and they will continue to strive to increase their own material quality of life even though it means extinction or destroyed quality of life for all future generations.
If global industrialization continues, then the Sixth Extinction
continues to term and the biosphere and mankind are doomed. The only possibility for avoiding this future
is for global industrial society to come to an immediate, abrupt halt. This could happen in a number of ways, such
as an asteroid hitting the planet, a global epidemic, or global nuclear
war. If it does happen, by whatever
means, then there is a chance to save the biosphere and mankind. If it does happen, then what is to be
done? That is the question that the
author addressed in his book, Can
Prior to Can
This approach, of trying to determine the largest possible human population, is doomed to failure as a basis for planetary management. The difficulty that arises is the solution population is always so large that it (and its industrial activity) makes macroscopic changes to the biosphere. Mankind evolved together with, and as an integral and dependent part of, the biosphere. For mankind’s existence in a high-quality biosphere to be assured, that biosphere must remain intact. It is not possible to make macroscopic changes to it, such as we are now doing (extinction of millions of species, global warming, destruction of natural forests) without significantly increasing the likelihood that mankind will become extinct, or will be relegated to a low-quality life in a ruined biosphere.
The mindset of attempting to maximize human numbers and productivity is extremely ingrained in the human psyche and character. No matter how much human beings have, they always want more. Furthermore, they all know that their ultimate demise is death, and so they tend to be risk-seekers – the worst that can happen if you fail in some attempt is that you will die, and you are going to die in a few years anyway, so why not “go for the gold.” There is tremendous “discounting” of concern in time and space, and of other races, ethnicities, or species. People who live far away in space (e.g., Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan) or in time (e.g., all future generations of mankind) just don’t matter very much, and certainly not if caring for them is going to make a noticeable decrease in one’s quality of life. And other species don’t matter a whit – the human species is causing the extinction of thirty thousand other species every year, and most people couldn’t care less.
An article in the
“Sir Nicholas has received plenty of support from economists
(four Nobel prize-winners have endorsed the report) and a certain amount of
criticism. One complaint is that he has
selected the most pessimistic research and ignored more conservative work. Richard Tol, a
“Sir Nicholas may well err on the gloomy side. And it is certainly impossible to predict
precisely what effect climate change will have had on the world economy in a
century's time. But neither point
invalidates Sir Nicholas's central perception – that
governments should act not on the basis of the likeliest outcome from climate
change but on the risk of something really catastrophic (such as the melting of
This article illustrates very well the risk-seeking, maximizing, severely discounting nature of human decision-making. It seems obvious that, if global warming has any chance of destroying our civilization, then we would take strong steps to stop it. But no, incredibly, even as glaciers are in mass meltdown and polar bears are fast losing their frozen habitat, our industrial civilization goes on without skipping a beat, unwilling to make any changes that might significantly alter our standard of living, willfully accepting the chance that global industrialization, if it continues, may very well cause our extinction.
The approach used by those who seek to maximize human population on Earth is the same as the approach used by those who propose to do little or nothing about global warming. In both cases, the approach ignores (totally discounts) the possibility that a catastrophic disaster might occur. Even worse, it ignores the fact that one of the possible courses of action (attempting to maximize human population in the first example, and continuing industrial activity that causes global warming in the second) may actually cause the catastrophic result.
The scientific discipline that is concerned with the problem of determining good strategies, or decision rules, in decision problems involving uncertainty or chance is game theory (considered to include statistical decision theory). The use of decision rules that maximize utility (value, gain, profit, payoff), without considering the possibility of extinction, is appropriate for games that may be played over and over again, and in which catastrophe (extinction) is not one of the possible outcomes, such as the game of choosing an investment equity. For situations in which one of the possible outcomes is extinction, the appropriate approach is to select a course of action so as to minimize (or keep small) the likelihood of extinction. (Among alternatives that have the same or comparable low likelihood of extinction, it is appropriate to select the one that maximizes a desired payoff, or satisfies some other decision criterion or strategy, such as Nash’s equilibrium solution to a nonzero-sum game.)
A decision-theoretic approach that addresses the extinction possibility quite well is the use of the criterion of “minimal regret.” With this approach, that course of action is selected that minimizes the “regret” that may accrue to the player, when the game is played. In the present context, the “regret” is the possibility of extinction of mankind, or the loss of so many species of the biosphere as to seriously degrade the quality of life for future generations.
The minimal-regret population consists of two components: a single-nation, high-technology (high-energy-use) nation of five million people and a globally distributed primitive population of five million hunter-gatherers. The purpose of the high-tech nation is global population control, by means of a prohibition on the use of technology (economics, development, industrialization) throughout the world, apart from in the high-tech nation; the purpose of the primitive (hunter-gatherer) population is to reduce the risk of human extinction from a single catastrophic incident.
The size of the minimal-regret population was determined by
taking into account the size of the human population that existed in harmony
with the biosphere for millions of years – a known “feasible” population
solution – and restricting the size of the two components of the minimal-regret
population to use no more solar energy (total) than the known feasible
population. For millions of years, human
population varied between an estimated five million and a couple of hundred
million. A person in a high-technology
society uses about 50-100 times as much energy as a person in a primitive
society. Hence, if the planet could
support up to a few hundred million primitive (low-energy-use) people
indefinitely, it would appear that it could support up to five million
high-technology (high-energy-use) people indefinitely. Allowing for an additional five million
globally distributed hunter-gatherers makes little difference. Additional discussion of the derivation of
the minimal-regret population is presented in Can
The identified minimal-regret population is not the only minimal-regret population. It is one of many “feasible” long-term-sustainable populations. A primary purpose of describing this population is to make people aware of the concept of rational planetary management and long-term-sustainable populations, and to stimulate interest in further work in this area.
The author began writing Can
The purpose of the Foundation websites, as noted earlier, is educational. The objective is to educate people around the world on the nature of the current planetary environmental crisis, and to distribute information about rational planetary management and long-term-sustainable populations. The author is an educator, not a soldier or a politician or a religious leader. He is not attempting to implement a minimal-regret population, or any other type of population, at this time. His view is that it is unlikely that any direct action can be effective in implementing rational planetary management while industrial civilization is at its peak, prior to the passing of Hubbert’s Peak (Peak Oil). When global oil production starts to decline, the world political situation will fulminate, and global industrial civilization will disintegrate. It is at that time – a time of great crisis and opportunity – that it will be possible to take effective action to implement a rational planetary management system. The purpose of the Foundation websites is to promote the concept of rational planetary management, so that at that time, caring, environmentally-sensitive world leaders will be fully informed about the nature of the situation and what is required to address it and establish a long-term-sustainable human population on the planet.
Since 1999, hundreds of thousands of people have visited the
Foundation websites. Countless downloads
have been made from the site, and the Foundation material has been placed on web
servers around the world. The Foundation
material has stimulated considerable discussion and debate. While many people take exception to the
particular minimal-regret population that Can
As mentioned, the author is a scientist – with a PhD degree in a “hard science” (mathematical statistics) and a career as a researcher, research manager, professor of statistics, and consultant. In developing the minimal-regret population concept, he drew on his background in statistics, game theory, and systems engineering. The technical information presented on the Foundation websites is based on hard, logical reasoning – on statistical decision theory, game theory, and systems engineering. As mentioned earlier, however, the author is deeply spiritual, and he has spent much time considering the world’s environmental crisis and its solution from a spiritual, as well as from a scientific, viewpoint.
In 2000, while visiting
As mentioned, the author is an active management consultant. His income is from current earnings, and he
has continuing family responsibilities.
Despite his intense and passionate interest in rational planetary
management, he does not have much time to devote to this avocation. He wrote Can
As discussed, the author is not an activist, either political or military or religious. He is an educator and a writer. He has set forth a number of concepts in the field of rational planetary management, and he would like to have time to investigate them further. The funds of the requested grant would enable him to do this.
Humankind is in grave peril. If something is not done quickly to stop the Sixth Extinction, then mankind will become extinct, very likely within this century. Time is of the essence. It seems that, despite the gravity of the situation, very few people are alarmed. When the author discusses his views in social gatherings, the response that he gets is usually along the lines of “Oh, the situation can’t be that bad – we don’t need most of those species anyway – scientists will figure something out,” or “Oh, global oil isn’t going to exhaust until 2050? Well, I won’t even be alive then!” When politicians debate, they almost never relate their concerns to the sixth mass species extinction, or the passage of “Peak Oil,” or global warming, or the imminent extinction of mankind. Their electorate is not interested in these things, and they are not, either.
Nero is fiddling while
The mathematician and famous economist John Maynard Keynes observed (in his 1930 essay, “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren”) the fatal limitations of economics as a long-term basis for human society:
“Some day we may return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue – that avarice is a vice, that the extraction of usury is a misdemeanor, and the love of money is detestable. But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little while longer.”
The author is in agreement with Keynes that economics cannot
serve as a long-term basis for society.
The current planetary management system, which is destroying the
biosphere, is based on economics. The
long-term-sustainable planetary management system based on a minimal-regret
population is not based on economics. Given this situation, the author is unlikely
to receive support from any foundation, since all of them derive their wealth
from the current economics-based system.
The Government of Timor-Leste is unique in its
ability to support research dealing with the relationship of science to
religion, and may be in position to disregard this philosophical “inconsistency.” The current system of planetary management,
whose growth consumes natural habitat and whose waste pollutes and destroys the
biosphere, has been sewing the seeds of its own destruction since its
inception. Perhaps the requested grant
may provide the spark that will enable a new, planet-friendly system to arise,
The author’s opinion (and that of some leading petrogeologists) is that Peak Oil is occurring right
now. The recent wild fluctuations in the
price of oil would be expected during the Peak.
The oil resource wars have already begun (e.g., the first and second
It is noted that the author is a prolific writer, and that the goal of producing one book a year for four years, if supported by the requested grant, is reasonable. As examples of his productivity, it is noted that the author wrote his 427-page book on tax policy analysis / reform, The Value-Added Tax (posted at http://www.foundationwebsite.org/VAT.htm ) in the course of a year, in his spare time, while working full-time in another field (as director of R&D at the US Army Electronic Proving Ground’s Electromagnetic Environmental Test Facility). The book, Can America Survive?, including the review of about 600 books, much data analysis, and two rewrites, was done in the author’s spare time while employed full-time in other areas. While the author was capable of writing long books in his spare time in his younger days, he no longer has the energy to do so at this stage of his life, and is seeking an arrangement under which he might conduct his research and writing on planetary management as a full-time endeavor.
A one-page résumé of the author is included at the end of this proposal. A detailed professional résumé is presented at http://www.foundationwebsite.org/jgcdev20060829revchron.htm , and a brief biography is posted at http://www.foundationwebsite.org/WhoAmI.htm . The passionate interest of the author in rational planetary management, and the scope of his activity in writing on this subject from both the scientific and spiritual perspectives, is clear from a cursory review of his books and articles posted at the Foundation website, http://www.foundationwebsite.org . In his spare time, he has made substantial contributions to this field; with the support of the requested grant, he can accomplish much more, at a rapid pace.
If the Government of Timor-Leste chooses to fund the proposed research work, it may do so at various levels. As mentioned, the author would prefer to do the work within the structure of an established university. If this is possible, the following is a proposed minimal level of annual funding:
Labor (Dr. Caldwell, secretary, research assistant): USD250,000
Overhead (for equipment, supplies, administrative support, employee fringe benefits (but not facility) and project expenses (workshops, advertising, publications, travel): USD250,000
Total proposed budget for four-year period: USD2,000,000.
This level of funding is viewed as minimal. If the Government desired the participation of other researchers, such as in an interdisciplinary effort involving the participation of several university departments, then additional funds would be required.
Joseph George Caldwell, PhD
Career in management consulting, research, and teaching. Directed projects in strategic planning, policy analysis, program evaluation, economics, public finance, statistics, operations research / systems analysis, and information technology for US, state and foreign governments, and US and foreign organizations. Areas of expertise include health, education, vocational rehabilitation, welfare, public finance (tax policy analysis, Medicaid and AFDC financing), agriculture, civil rights, economic development, energy, environment, population, and defense (US Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Defense). Considerable overseas experience.
of Management Systems, Bank of
1991-1998: Management Consultant (Wachovia Bank, Charlotte; US Agency for International Development, Egypt, Malawi, Ghana; Asian Development Bank, Bangladesh; Canada Trust Bank, Toronto, Canada)
President, Vista Research Corporation,
1982-1991 Director of Research and Development and Principal Scientist, US Army Electronic Proving Ground’s Electromagnetic Environmental Test Facility / Bell Technical Operations Corporation and Combustion Engineering; Adjunct Professor of Statistics, University of Arizona; Principal Engineer, Singer Systems and Software Engineering; Arizona
Consultant or employee to firms in
Married to Jacquelyn A. Caldwell
Religion: Christianity (Presbyterian)
Author of books on
population and defense (Can