As the physicists of our time have tried to elaborate an integrated single theory, capable of explaining not only some but all phenomena of the physical universe, so I have tried on a different plane to develop a single theory through which not only some but all phenomena of the social universe can be reduced to a common denominator. The result is a new and unified political philosophy centering in the theory of size. It suggests that there seems only one cause behind all forms of social misery: bigness.
Oversimplified as this may seem, we shall find the idea more easily acceptable if we consider that bigness, or oversize, is really much more than just a social problem. It appears to be the one and only problem permeating all creation. Wherever something is wrong, something is too big.
(Leopold Kohr, The Breakdown of Nations, 1957)
The Nature of Social Problems
A social problem is generally defined as a situation or condition in need of change to benefit some segment of the population (Spector & Kitsuse, 2009). These situations or conditions usually require solutions such as political remediation, economical intervention, technological implementations, or any one of a number of other remedies aimed at decreasing injustice, increasing efficiency, or applying technical methodologies more broadly. Some examples include poor working conditions, lack of educational opportunities, wealth inequality, and lack of access to healthcare. These problems invariably affect subsets of the population (cancer patients, the homeless, college students, auto workers) and gather public attention only irregularly; exceptionally few social problems affect all or nearly all members of any society (Hilgartner & Bosk, 1988, p. 57). However, one social problem affects virtually every living person, has real and far-reaching social consequences, and yet has gone largely unnoticed by society and unaddressed by public policy: human irrationality.
(John D. Eigenauer, The problem with the problem of human irrationality)
“What do I miss, as a human being, if I have never heard of the Second Law of Thermodynamics? The answer is: Nothing. And what do I miss by not knowing Shakespeare? Unless I get my understanding from another source, I simply miss my life. Shall we tell our children that one thing is as good as another– here a bit of knowledge of physics, and there a bit of knowledge of literature? If we do so, the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation, because that normally is the time it takes from the birth of an idea to its full maturity when it fills the minds of a new generation and makes them think by it. Science cannot produce ideas by which we could live.”
(E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, 1973)
Celebrating human dignity
The first key aspect of Cradle to Cradle in education is to move away from teaching children to feel guilty. We have faced a long period of all kinds of environmental disasters which has created a feeling that it would be better if we were not here. This is why people talking about minimizing footprints. For education, however, that’s not a very positive message.
If this is the basis for education, you will not be able to inspire people to do new things. You can’t be innovative working from guilt because you’re trying to minimize feeling guilty.
So, the first, and far most important thing is to tell children that we are happy that they are here.
I’ve looked at over 50 different types of native tribes and learned that when people feel accepted and safe, they are always generous and friendly. Even the poorest of the poor share their things.
Professor Dr. Michael Braungart, introduction fragments „Inspired by Cradle to Cradle “, 2011
Access to Energy
By: Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, Our World in Data
First published in September 2019; last revised in November 2019.
- 13% of the world population does not have access to electricity.
- In 2015, the number of people without access to electricity fell below one billion for the first time in the history of electricity production.
- In 2016, 942 million people globally did not have access to electricity.
- 40% of the world population does not have access to clean fuels for cooking. This comes at a high health cost for indoor air pollution.
- Per capita electricity consumption varies more than 100-fold across the world.
- Per capita energy consumption varies more than 10-fold across the world.
- Energy access is strongly related to income: poorer households are more likely to lack access.
In this project the science of ‘renewable energy for all’ is regarded to be a social problem.
“The first law in economics, beat poverty and create consumers, is not widely applied and maybe not even understood” (Rob Leegwater 2017)