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2016 - our challenge for 2017 for the sake of our future

Let’s face it, 2016 was a terrible year. War, terror, refugees, Brexit, Trump, record CO2 levels, rising inequality etc. which interestingly are all connected as numerous cause and effect models from show. BTW: in one of the models I predicted early on Trump’s victory. After all it is your and my fault and it is you and me who can change it. Before I explain this a bit more here some horizon scanning on the year ahead, the echo-rooms and the post-truth era and the rise of demagogues, radicalism and nationalism.

Terror, nationalism, refugees etc. are after all a symptom of inequality! The last years in Syria and in the coming years in other countries as well climate change will make more and more people desperate as this model on the science behind climate change ( or this on the rise of nationalism ( shows. In addition we face some challenges from demographic change, automation and digitization. Some people get very rich while others stay behind or even loose their job. They seek to blame someone and demagogues and echo rooms of social media foster a post truth era: Possibly the decisive model (from Susanne, not me) shows how hard it is to convince with facts and logic as for psychological reasons we all cling to our mental models: 

Some even argue that a bit of nationalism might not be that bad and that the EU is a failure anyway. Well, the EU is at stake, indeed: But with a closer look we need even more EU for peace within Europe, for political weight in the world, for higher social and environmental standards and fair competition, and for cultural interchange for the sake of improved cooperation to face the global challenges. I am afraid that a conservative person, a libertarian from the right, from the dark side of the force ;-) has already stopped reading this but nevertheless I’d like to explain why this leftist, communitarian arguments are for the sake of the rich people as well, as for example this model shows: Larger parts of the financial industry are decoupled from the real economy therefore some money earned by rich persons is not spent to create jobs. Automation and digitization are there to increase productivity and while in some countries they create jobs elsewhere they prevent logically way more jobs. It is not because all the poor people are lazy or not smart enough, it is because many of them are victims of circumstances. Fishers from Africa are victims to international industrial fishing fleets so they become terrorists. Farmers in Syria are victim to droughts so they become fighters. Factory workers in the US are victims to automation so they vote for lunatics. And in Europe as well there are signs that the systems become unstable: In southern Europe there are up to 50% of the young people without a job. People blame refugees who after all we all caused. BMW announces to follow Elon Musk’s plans to build cars completely by robots. Consequently, Siemens’ CEO as well as Elon Musk advocate a universal basic income. While I was always against it I have developed two models that have convinced me to like the idea - it is doable:

So, we need higher wages for low incomes or even an universal basic income, we need taxation of the use of resources and CO2 emissions not on employment, we need to tackle climate change, we need concepts to deal with even more refugees in the future (, we need a strong UN and not the systemic sinks of national military or a NATO that fuels Putin’s power, and we need a faster transition towards renewables and a circular economy. For the federal environmental agency of Germany I have developed a quantitative simulation model that shows that we need to set up way more renewables and that surprisingly its economics leads to a big surplus. I hope to publish these insights in early 2017 :-). In Germany we need a new convincing party (I consider to be part of its foundation, you too?) that understands the interconnections of today’s challenges and equally important knows how to communicate them against the already mentioned mental models.

So, while it seems as if we have to wait for politics and others it is us who need to initiate the change as our famous integrated assessment model (IAM) shows: If we change the economy will make offers, politics will find support, media will report, and most importantly, our neighbours will join. This very simple model shows the simple challenge to change: 

So, SIMPLY BECOME AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING and for what future generations will make us responsible:

  • get to know how a ride with your gasoline car (or your next flight) is poisoning the air and causing climate change.

  • get to know how quickly a better insulation of the house you live in amortises itself and how a less extreme (warm in winter, cool in summer) indoor temperature helps to mitigate climate change

  • get to know how important it is for the environment to eat organic food and less meat and diary products. 

  • get to know that most clothes are poisoning the environment and are produced in so called sweat shops.

  • opt for an alternative energy supplier. That will push the transition towards renewables.

  • consider the side effects of any gadget you buy. That, btw, as I have learned will save you a lot of money.

  • get to know that while your first move seems to be inconvenient and expensive and you think others won’t follow anyway, you are wrong with the latter: it is more likely that others will change if you change as it is likely that others change if you do not change.

  • get to know how your material wealth / job and the security (terror, wars, crime) is connected to the necessary change.

  • get to know how easy it is to model and to use models to fight the post truth era in social media with logic.

Finally, you may want to develop your HIDP for 2017:


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