If I Ruled The World

IMG_8899

I’m having a bit of fun today with this post, in fact I intend to indulge myself on my blogs quite a bit over the next few weeks.  I thought ruling the world was a good place to start – although I’m not really going to pretend that I rule the world, that’s too complex a post to write.  Instead I’m going to pretend that I ruled the UK and had enough influence over the world for my changes to actually work. 

Naturally, since I have no qualifications to write this post, I don’t believe any of these ideas will work as described, consider them as playful ‘exaggerating for effect’.

First up are the things that I would stop doing as soon as practical, I’m going to need to free up some cash, so I would:

  1. decommission our nuclear submarines and any other nuclear weapons, and offer them up to be used by, and paid for, the UN to police international law
  2. dramatically reduce spending on medical treatments designed to provide short term life extension especially to the elderly, a crazy amount of the NHS budget goes on propping up the last few years of life
  3. stop the high speed rail link, the country doesn’t need to fund services for the countries highest paid citizens
  4. eliminate the opportunity for ‘bankers’ to make money by moving money around, buying and immediately selling assets and otherwise not adding any value to anyone else in the country
  5. stop all subsidies to industries that are not of strategic importance
  6. stop the escalation in house prices that provides a false sense of wealth to those that live in them, but that’s dooming our children
  7. get as many people as possible out of prisons that are costing us a fortune and back into their homes (with GPS trackers), with their children, where they belong, and put them to work (see later)
  8. shrink the armed forces and repurpose them (see later)

Then I’d start to work on some cultural changes, a very long term project, to address the things that are not easy to legislate.  Establish a culture where:

  1. rich people believe that they should give away most of their wealth before they die. Giving away their wealth should become their dominant passion, their purpose in later life.  Foundations should spring up to help rich people give this money away in a highly professional and impactful way that doesn’t disrupt the economy.  The Bill and Malinda Gates foundation is the inspiration for this.  Children of rich people should know that they are better off without too much inherited wealth and encourage their parents to ‘do the right thing’
  2. having children and claiming the associated benefits is not an alternative to working for a living
  3. over consumption is something to be ashamed of, multiple homes, massive houses that are more like country clubs, diamond encrusted anything, more cars than there are days in the week, more jewellery than can fit in cupped hands
  4. everyone understand that economic growth doesn’t lead to improved happiness
  5. living sustainably is not lifestyle choice it’s a personal imperative.  Every person should expect to make the world a better place, every generation should expect to see real concrete progress on improving the world:  happiness, top soil, pollution, inequality, poverty, resources, fresh water reserves …
  6. encourage people to take ownership of problems personally, it’s not someone else job to pick up litter, to check on their elderly neighbour, to help those less fortunate.  This is David Cameron’s ‘big society’ and I want it
  7. increase the scope of people we think of as ‘us’ and reduce those we think of as ‘them’.  It’s not acceptable for the developed world to sit back, content, behind sea defences while the rest of the world floods, well fed while others starve…. 
  8. the privileged feel empathy and responsibility, not contempt, for the under-privileged who are driven by circumstance to a life of crime or quiet desperation

These changes should free up some cash, lets spend it:

Housing and the environment

  1. Build five new towns of high quality, highly insulated, solar roofed, community rich,  homes that can only be sold for the same price (adjusted for inflation) that were purchased for and as a result are highly subsidised
  2. Change the building code to mandate the highest levels of insulation that makes commercial sense over the life of a property, funded through subsidy, and paid back through small council tax increases on these new properties over their life
  3. Retrofit most rental housing with high levels of insulation, making them safe, warm and dry – dramatically improving the comfort levels for some of the most underprivileged in society
  4. Put all those prisoners to work, on creating or refurbishing footpaths, cycle paths, planting hedges, clearing wasteland, retrofitting rental housing
  5. Mandate that any south(ish) facing reroofing project needs to be with solar roofing panels
  6. Provide high speed broadband to almost everyone

Sustainability

  1. Put a value on all natural resources, coal, gas, beaches, salt marshes, fish etc.  Any business seeking to exploit these resources needs to be better than sustainable, i.e increase the fish population, improve the natural sea defences, reduce airborne CO2 …
  2. Weigh all bins when collecting, charge for non-recyclable waste, pay for recyclable waste, spot-check the bins and fine offenders
  3. Create solar panel shaded desert farms, with water collectors or desalination and grow food underneath them
  4. Create a new international smart grid
  5. Work tirelessly towards a culture that seeks to improve the sustainability of the world each year, make the health of the planet a more important metric than GDP and Inflation
  6. Gradually move towards Cradle to Cradle certification for everything, start with everything funded by the government

Food and the environment

  1. Invest heavily in replenishing and improving the health of the countries top soil,  by changing farming methods, our food security depends on it and we are losing it at a reckless rate.  Put the Soil Association in charge
  2. Switch the focus of agriculture away from grains and oils to vegetables, fruit and grass fed meat and eggs.  Use leading edge intensive organic farming techniques.
  3. Make all set-aside land productive
  4. Provide incentives to farmers wanting to invest in greenhouses with LED lighting, to reduce our dependence on imported food
  5. Create protected ocean parks to rebuild our fish stocks
  6. Put all the out of work fishermen to work protecting and managing these parks, creating man made reefs, and clearing the ocean bed of millions of barrels of industrial waste and the ocean surface of plastic that we’ve dumped over the years

Poverty

  1. Increase the minimum wage dramatically and reduce benefits
  2. Mandate that all larger companies create a employee welfare department, separate from HR, that works tirelessly to improve working lives, provide this department with lots of government support in terms of laws, solid research on welfare at work, grants for bold experiments by companies.  Also support these welfare departments to encourage welfare at home too
  3. Subsidise supermarkets so that they can provide high quality low cost healthy foods to anyone on benefits, focusing on locally grown unprocessed vegetables, fruit, whole grains, milk, cheese, meat and eggs
  4. Link increases in pay and benefits for the highest paid employees to the pay of the lower paid employees, a rising sea really should lift all boats

Health

  1. Shift NHS funding away from treating acute symptoms when they are expensive, to a more holistic and preventative ‘upstream’ approach
  2. Make sure everyone has a comprehensive medical check-up every 6 months, we look after our teeth better than the rest of our bodies and mind
  3. Make available a 6 monthly counselling session, focused on how to live a rich purposeful life, work on making attending this session a cultural norm.  Arrange this through employers where possible
  4. Work hard to nip chronic conditions in the bud, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, diabetes etc. all respond well to intensive early holistic intervention/prevention
  5. Allow people to buy a government backed insurance policy for their care in old age care, in the home or in a home.  This reduces the need for NHS funding, but also reduces risk and anxiety for those who can afford it.  Redirect savings to those who can’t afford to buy insurance
  6. Mandate that all research results are published, regardless of whether it succeeds or fails
  7. Gradually reduce the emphasis on expensive drugs to treat symptoms and increase the emphasis on personal lifestyle, culture, working conditions and environment to address the underlying causes

Policing and Defence

  1. Refocus the armed forces on peace keeping, disaster response and national policing  (police can also be armed forces reserves)
  2. Invest more on rapid response, highly skilled, special forces with associated air support
  3. Invest more on drones and satellites and AI to monitor compliance with international law and sustainability goals
  4. Invest more on national policing, especially cyber crime
  5. Dramatically increase spending on global cyber warfare defence
  6. Reduce national armies, invest more in shared policing of international law through an effective United Nations
  7. Make all drugs legal, but well regulated.  Invest in education, research into safer drugs, managing addiction, helping addicts, no drug use in public places (like smoking), age limits etc.

Education

  1. Shorten the school day, start at 10am so that teenagers can sleep later, and always provide after school homework, sport or activity clubs
  2. Gradually shift to a model where homework is when children do individual, focused, online learning and testing.  Time in school should be about applying learning through activities and projects, ideally these should combine what children have learned in several disciplines. Teacher need to think of themselves as coaches, consultants or project managers. 
  3. Ensure that a high quality library of educational materials is created and made available, free, to the world. It should be online, compelling, of the highest standard, integrated into a learning platform that checks student engagement and progress
  4. Provide a simillar library of projects and activities and the associated resources that can be used by teachers to apply what the children have learnt online.  Teachers should have considerable flexibility in the activities they choose to suit their children’s interests and the teachers skills and passions
  5. Encourage teachers to contribute content to this library in areas where they have real passion, to complement the core content, focused on creative projects and activities that can be used when applying what the kids have learned online
  6. Remove the requirement for special schools to teach the national curriculum, instead each child should have a personal curriculum designed to support their life goals/abilities
  7. Provide everyone with better life skills education

Government

  1. Eliminate political parties, all candidates should stand alone, funding for election campaigns should come from government grants.  Candidates can still affiliate themselves with policy ideas
  2. Make available, Independently assessed, research grants to politicians who want to develop new and innovative policy ideas, but make sure the research proposals are well designed and make the results openly available to all parties.  In place of political donations allow funding of this research
  3. Make all government funded research open-access
  4. Significantly reduce the effectiveness of lobbying (not sure how)
  5. Pay politicians well to encourage the best of the best to see it as a career worth following, provide extra inducements to those with experience of science and engineering

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *