I was recently challenged to express my views on public policies. So here it is…
The following statements are based on these principles and assumptions:
- maximization of individual well-being
- maximization of individual autonomy
- minimization of present and future negative side-effects to other individuals and environment
- meritocracy (government based on facts, science, expertise, real results and accountability)
- usage of scientific principles (formulating a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and collecting and interpreting data)
Regarding the last principle, all the claims published here may be regarded as hypotheses which require testing and further validation.
Natural Resources and Environment
Preservation and restoration of natural resources (like water, soil, forests, air) which sustain human life (or all life for that matte), is critical.
A human can survive minutes without air, days without water and weeks without food. Also the quality of all of these influence the well-being of human beings.
The interesting thing is the common factor in assuring a high quality of air, water and food is forests (trees).
Trees increase the concentration of oxigen in the air.
Trees decrease the concentration of CO₂ and dust particles in the air. Dust, smog, and other particles in the air collect on the leaves and tend to stick there. In other words, trees fights air pollution.
Because tree roots and the soil created by trees absorb and store water, forests retain excess water and release moisture into to atmosphere, where it condenses as rain. In other words, forests help generate rainfall and prevent droughts.
Also forests and the soil beneath created by them act as a buffer which retain excess rainfall water. Therefore forests prevent floods and guard humans from property damage and life loss.
Food & Soil
Our food depends on agriculture which depends on the soil we use for it.
Plants create soil by converting anorganic substances and placing them at the surface of soil as humus. Forests/trees are the best at collecting minerals from high depths because their roots go the deepest. Therefore forests are the key to creating rich soils to be used for agriculture.
Also trees reduce soil erosion. This is because their roots physically keep soil from washing away.
Trees require lower maintenance than smaller plants/crops and can survive and produce food years without human intervention.
Forests, like all forms of vegetation, affect the “surface albedo” or reflectivity of a surface and also they absorb more heat than bare soil.
In other words, forests cool local climate.
– declare trees/forests as an object of national security
– ban all export of wood as raw material
– organize a national campaign of reforestation using EU funds (especially near and inside cities in order to reduce air pollution)
– invest funds in researching sustainable forest exploitation (fast growing trees, drought resistant trees, high yield fruit and nut trees, etc)
Economy and Entrepreneurship
Tax and budgetary policy
Agriculture and Rural Development
According to the developmental psychologist Howard Gardener, a human being has more types of intelligence:
- Naturalist (nature smart)
- Musical (sound smart)
- Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning smart)
- Existential (life smart)
- Interpersonal (people smart)
- Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)
- Linguistic (word smart)
- Intra-personal (self smart)
- Spatial (picture smart)
Currently the first years of school are focused mostly on Logical-mathematical and Linguistic intelligence.
Education should prioritize the development of these parts in a human being (in this order): Body, EQ, IQ, Values, and, at the end, Knowledge and Thinking Patterns.
Also the education system should offer a complete and holistic approach which helps a child be prepared for every type of life event (for instance for the process of taking a loan).
This is a big issue… Education requires teachers and schools, and good ones require a lot of money.
But not unless you digitize the process and create an environment suitable for unsupervised learning. For instance computer games are self-suficient: a child acquires skills and knowledge without any adult intervention. So can we create games which educate children? Monopoly is such a game. It teaches business management.
Another way to cover the costs is to allow direct donations from individuals and businesses, and in return the state allows them to contribute to the management of the school and the curriculum.
– Double the budget – educated people are successful people
– Copy a working model – see Estonia (focus on development of personality and family, preservation of nature, values of citizenship, lifelong learning), Ireland (the majority of secondary schools are privately owned and managed but state-funded) or Finland (no need for explanations here)
– Daily physical activities / games
– Group therapy – most children don’t know how to handle the effects of bad parenting and the distructive patterns which come with it
– Life Education classes – they learn to handle everyday situational related to nutrition, hygiene, clothing, finances, laws and rules, environment, entrepreneurship, taking decision, self-defense, etc
– Learn at home, practice at school – the theory can be easily delivered at home video recordings, and at school a child could practice it under the supervision of the teacher (the Khan Academy model)
– Gamification – if you can make from farming a game (e.g. Farmville) then you can make from anything a game and that includes education
– Teaching in English – learning in English allows a child and a teacher to use a lot of free online courses (e.g. Khan Academy)
Digitization, innovation, new technologies
Justice and public safety
The justice system as seen today is system based on:
- written rules
- agents / people which created those rules (legislator)
- agents / people which interpret those rules (judges, lawers)
- agents / people which execute those rules (law enforcement agents)
- agents / people which apply penalties (e.g. detaintion)
There are 2 main issues:
- people – they are slow, prone to errors and subject to biased interpretations
- no means of evaluation the performance of the system
The best system based on rules known in this present moment is a software/digital based system.
A computer-based justice system has some obvious advantages:
- incredible fast – for instance appling a speeding fine can be executed in a fraction of a second without any external human intervention
- consistency – the consequences of a law are not influenced by random factors or personal biases
Some advantages that are less obvious are:
- fairness – the consequences of breaking the law are no longer influenced by the lawyer you hire (depends on how much money you have), the judge you end up with, the relationships you have in the system, etc -> everybody will be equal in the eyes of the law, in the true sense of the word
- testing – any new proposed law can be tested using digital simulations and pre-recorded or pre-defined scenarios -> a law project can be fine-tuned until the desired effects are obtained, without the need of making experiments on “living people”
- forecasting – effects of a set of laws can be computed and anticipated way much before the triggering events happen
- incredible fast and cheap – no need for lengthy trials, or lawyers, the law is applied just based on recorded facts and testimonials
- awareness / warnings – a person or organization can test certain actions or scenarios be informed of any positive or negative effects caused by unknown laws; also they can be automatically informed when they are close to breaking a law of which they are not aware of
- machine-learning generated law – based on a required desired effect a computer program can generate laws without the need of a law expert
- performance evaluation – because every law is digital and every input, output is tracked, statistical correlations can be easily performed -> laws can evaluated from the perspective of their direct and indirect actual results
– allocate funding for researching the digitisation of contracts and laws
– make small trial runs in limited parts of organizations and contexts (e.g. traffic control)
EU and Foreign Policy