Our Energy Crisis: Looking Outside the Big Grid Solutions

One of the biggest problems facing humanity is the problem of electrical energy. As shown in the documentary “Planet of the Humans”, the much touted solutions of solar and wind energy, in the final analysis, require the expenditure of as much fossil fuel to create the equipment and subsidize them when they cannot adequately produce due to weather conditions, as if fossil fuel were just in place without them. And as for the so-called “Green Energy”, it is just a horribly misguided idea which involves massive deforestation. However, it must be noted that the only solutions big energy evidently wants to look at are the solutions which include keeping massive energy grids in place. The big energy corporations do not want solutions which would change the system to smaller grids, local companies, and/or house by house production.

Our current reality seems to be that big corporations, including energy companies, have become intoxicated with and addicted to wealth and control We cannot look to them for leadership in eco-friendly, human-friendly solutions to the world’s problems. Two solutions I know of, and I am not at all the most knowledgeable person about the myriad possible solutions that actually exist, are the (extensively documented) machine developed by Joseph Newman, and an invention by K.R. Sridhar I read about years ago which involved no moving parts but uses a chemical action to produce a significant amount energy. This system uses a unit the size of a microwave, or smaller, to produce enough continual energy to power a house. And there are other options which I’ have heard or read bits and pieces of here and there.

The thing is, these solutions would take much of the business away from the big energy producers we’ve grown accustomed to and place it right in the home being powered. These solutions hold the promise of being ecologically friendly and freeing people from exorbitant energy bills. So of course big energy doesn’t want us to adopt such solutions. And, interestingly, we don’t hear much about them unless we go digging.

The issue of energy production is just one arena in which a problem which is pervasive across many industries is coming to the fore. How do we manage an economy in which technological advances are continually decreasing the workforce needed for factory production and other jobs previously occupied by humans? People still need homes, food, education, etc. And, we need to feel that we are contributing to our communities, our collective wellbeing. It’s part of our reality as social beings.

We need to be actively involved in developing solutions to these challenges. I submit one aspect of the solutions will necessarily involve wealth being less concentrated in the hands of a few and more equitably spread across the whole of the population. I believe such system will incorporate some aspects of most, if not all, economic systems attempted in the past. Primarily, we need to be looking for answers that work for us as a species, as a whole and which take the entirety of our being, our make-up into consideration. Abraham Maslow gives us a solid foundation from which to expand our thinking.

Why do I use Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs so often in my articles? Because it informs us of a concept key to a successful life as a person or for a culture.

I say to-may-to, you say to-mah-to. The importance of the names we choose for our social-economic systems.

In a recent discussion on Facebook, it was pointed out to me that Denmark (and presumably other Nordic countries with similar economies and social programs) are not “socialist” or “democratic socialist” countries. I have to admit, as particularly the descriptor “democratic socialism” has been being used widely in the U.S. to describe the social-economic systems in those countries, I fell into using it. So in an effort to settle the matter once and for all in my own mind, I did what we so often do these days and went searching the internet. I found an article which does pretty conclusively settle the matter: “Scandinavian Socialism: The Truth of the Nordic Model”. In the article the Prime Minister of Denmark makes the following statement: “I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.” He then goes on to add: “Some refer to this as democratic socialism, though this is far from correct. Some economists refer to it as cuddly capitalism, contrasting with what is seen as cut-throat capitalism in other Western countries.

Ok, I stand corrected, but not dissuaded from my very strong opinion that we in the U.S. need to adopt similar healthcare, educational, and social safety-net programs, programs which are paid for via taxpayer funding, as are in place in Denmark and other Nordic countries. My educational background and a lot of my work history is within social programs, social work, mental health. I tend to primarily reference things from this perspective. because a program works for the wellbeing of society, I tend to think of it as “socialism”. I think I’m not alone in that. However, from an economic perspective, while socialism and communism are not literally the same, they do share some important attributes and tend to be lumped together in the thinking of many in the U.S. That is another discussion.

My message here is that we cannot become so locked into labels, one way or the other, that we cannot move past them to, as a society, do the things we need to do best ensure a healthy populace. A populace that experiences life within the culture as welcoming, nurturing, safe, and that encourages each citizen to be a productive, contributing member within our communities. I would go further to say that as a general rule, if someone wants to be “taking from” society, we should require that they also be “giving to” society. To only be either taking or giving is not a healthy thing. However, for this to be anything other than a cruel, exclusive, policy, there must also be the support and training readily available to help those who need it to find real ways to contribute within their own set of abilities.