This project is based on the reality that resources and state of environment are directly intertwined with the health of a society and its economy. This basis is founded on two points of focus: first, how resource scarcity and ecological destruction inevitably cause social and economic hardship (and thus conflict). Second, how technology allows us to fundamentally prevent that problem from occurring.
Yet while the scarcity of resources carries a negative economic impact, an abundance of resources inversely causes economic growth – all the more so if that abundance is effectively indefinite. To fully embrace that growth, this project strongly emphasizes investments within novel technologies and systems to make unlimited energy and resources a reality on large scales.
The economic model that this effort seeks to operate within is neither capitalism, socialism nor even “social democracy” – an oft-referenced capitalist/socialist hybrid that’s seen in many European democracies. Rather, this model takes a wholly distinct approach to a society’s economic framework because it establishes parameters outside of a finite resource paradigm.
The economic model behind Universal Energy is called “Collective Capitalism” because it hinges on the belief that the systems of capitalism work best when all social sectors are operating from a position of maximum strength. This idea in and of itself is not controversial – few would argue that a collectively stronger, more educated, healthier and less impoverished society functions at greater performance than not. Yet using an ideological approach (liberal, conservative, technocratic, theological) to achieve this status is far more elusive than a technology-driven approach that can help build the foundations by tangible means of indefinite provision.
Indeed, it’s much easier to provide water, energy, food or fuel to everyone when you can inexpensively synthesize them to effectively unlimited scales. Only technology can make that happen. And it can make that happen right now, today.
But synthesizing the resources for social operation is simply the first step. Our country today sees immense human capital devoted to low-paying occupations simply to provide the basic resources required to sustain an existence. Living "paycheck to paycheck," this dynamic fundamentally compromises the mental acumen and inherent capability of individual people to apply their time and sweat equity to engage the mechanisms of capitalism to advance themselves and, accordingly, society as a whole.
Collective Capitalism, as a mindset, seeks to use technology to provide a basic floor of resources to everyone at a low cost. This, in turn, allows society to collectively operate from a place of maximized capability - both unburdened from the externalities of scarcity, and supercharged by ample supplies of resources that anyone can use to build, discover, create, and achieve.
It’s the system we should have had, and wish we had, but was missing the key component of effectively unlimited energy and resources.
To illustrate further, consider some social improvements made possible by an abundance of inexpensive resources.
More Disposable Income: If we were to assume a reduction in the cost of electricity, fuel, water and heat to correspond with Universal Energy’s target reduction of 83% ($0.02 per kilowatt-hour), it would dramatically slash the cost of living for most American families. Within these four areas, this model estimates a total cost savings of some $8,150 per-year for a family of four.
Extrapolated to a per-person basis across a society of 330 million people, that comes to an aggregate total of $670 billion that can be injected into our economy, saved for retirement or invested into real estate, businesses or financial products.
Across our society, that translates to $6.7 trillion per decade.
Reduced Business Costs: According to the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) 2012 (the last year full data is available), American business consumed a total of 1.243 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity. At a national average cost of 10.67 cents per kilowatt-hour for commercial enterprise and 6.92 cents per kilowatt-hour for industrial applications (heavy manufacturing), that respectively totals $132.63 billion and $86 billion. The CBECS survey further assessed that American business consumed 2.193 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2012. This consumption cost $7.78 per thousand cubic feet for commercial enterprises, and $4.21 per thousand cubic feet for industrial applications. That respectively totals $17 billion and $9.23 billion.
According to the Department of Transportation, commercial vehicles accounted for about ten percent of all vehicle miles driven. Extrapolating this to our national annual fuel consumption of both gasoline and diesel, this model estimates that American businesses annually spend $176 billion per year on fuel.
This creates a total cost liability of between $326.28 billion and $271.88 billion depending on commercial or industrial sector. If we were to split the difference, that would come to a figure of roughly $300 billion per year.
If this averaged figure of $300 billion per year were subjected to an 82% cost reduction (Universal Energy's pricing target), that would present a cost savings of $246 billion per year. As this translates to $2.46 trillion per decade, such cost reductions present a capital abundance that can further enable businesses of all sizes to invest in their own growth and future success.
Increased Job Growth: Reducing the operating expenses of businesses stands to provide several avenues for job creation beyond the potential presented by large-scale investment in next-generation energy and resource technologies. Remaining competitive in this new frontier will require as much investment in personnel as technology, both in terms of manufacturing, maintenance, marketing, managing and deployment logistics as samples of a far longer list. This means jobs.
If we circle back to the estimated $246 billion American businesses would annually save under Universal Energy, assessing a 25% tax overhead for a salaried employee at $50,000 per year ($62,500), this reduction in energy and fuel costs alone would be sufficient to create 3.94 million new jobs.
Then there is the question of the investment in the technologies behind Universal Energy and the job growth that comes thereafter. Such investment on a large scale would create job demand within a multitude of technical skills: physics and engineering, metallurgy, computer science, software development, graphic modelling, automated manufacturing, 3-D printing, quality control, human resources, project management, advertising and marketing (among others).
As these companies expand along with job demand, they in turn will need to expand their acquisition of materials and resources to develop the systems they were contracted to deliver. They will need to buy materials, tools, vehicles, fixtures, office space, uniforms, amenities and everything else that comes from the manufacturing world. All of this will create jobs.
It will also create job demand in industrial sectors these companies depend on to operate, which in turn will create job demand in all of the support and promotion positions that make their own business possible. This job demand will create additional demand for schools and the educators to staff them along with all of the support positions that make their jobs possible.
The result is a cascading increase in job demand corresponding to a cascading reduction in operating costs – not only creating a next-generation economy, but also revitalizing the state of American manufacturing to a subsequently higher tier.
Revitalized American Manufacturing:With the exception of advents in information technologies and weapons development, the overall state of American manufacturing has been ceding ground to emergent global powers since the height of post-WWII boom years. An investment in Universal Energy enables us to chart a fundamentally different course towards a future where the American economy can reclaim its status as a global leader in innovation.
Sparking a social drive to build advanced energy technologies and its corresponding infrastructure gives us a head start on research and development within this new economic frontier. Further, by implementing them first in our country we would become the foremost experts in this sector and those surrounding it. And as we would have engineered the technologies therein and perfected their ideal means of deployment, we would position ourselves to be their best purveyors to other countries.
The potential size of this market internationally is easily into the trillions of dollars over the long term, and our expertise with these technologies would translate to repeat business in contracts for maintenance, upgrades, etc., providing future revenue streams to our economy.
Reduced Social Afflictions: The social investments and derivative results inherent to Universal Energy and Collective Capitalism fundamentally make life easier and less expensive. An abundance of inexpensive energy and resources reduces the cost of living and increases economic and social mobility.
This further mitigates the scarcity and desperation-driven impetuses to engage in criminal activity. Life’s just “better” and people have more time and opportunities to engage in activities that they find value in – be it their family, hobbies, side projects or new ventures.
In these circumstances, it is significantly easier for someone to start their own company, innovate a new idea or product, and/or invest either time or money in another venture they believe will ultimately have social value.
It also expands the purchasing power, investing power and financial influence of the middle class, and extends to them luxuries that were once available only to the social elite.
Effectively, Collective Capitalism leads to a world that is powered by resource abundance, a removal of need and a social safety net that is technology-driven, not by limiting the ceiling or redistributing from the top – but rather by using technology to simply raise the floor and the foundations on which it stands.
In this line of reasoning, it’s worth mentioning that much of our culture today is provided by artists and writers who thrived in generations past. (Indeed, many of the comic book heroes who grace movie screens today debuted 50-80 years ago). There’s reduced market opportunities for today’s storytellers, artists, poets, artisans or philosophers because it’s more difficult for them to make a living. These people once gave society great value, but today their creative capabilities are sidelined by the demands of a more competitive economy.
The financial benefits inherent to the Collective Capitalism afford the provision for abstract social concepts to enlighten the subjects we discuss, goals we set and behaviors we value. Because all core needs are met in this model through technology, the stresses and efforts that were previously required to meet the demands of life are not as present. Accordingly, we no longer need to distract ourselves with fleeting content to make ourselves feel better in the face of these stresses and efforts, allowing us to finally concentrate on what we truly want as people, as we truly want it.
Over time, this will further mitigate existing social problems and increase the scale of shared economic prosperity, which allows our society to look inward and mend its wounds to become stronger and form a more cohesive cultural identity based on an improved quality of life.
Notably, this is an identity that can refresh our reputation abroad. When combined with the provision of Universal Energy’s technologies internationally (allowing other countries to further increase their own quality of life) this affords us a degree of appreciation that can work to re-solidify the United States as the center for global economic and cultural identity. Additionally, it can extend our humanitarian outreach and also lead to stronger alliances. We could create allegiances based on social and economic improvement and a functional end to the afflictions inherent to resource scarcity and environmental destruction. Amid a global climate of heightened economic prosperity and easier conditions for peace, these are allegiances based on far stronger terms than security guarantees through threatened applications of hard power.
Collective Capitalism, powered by Universal Energy, is a platform to build a new American economy for a new American century - one that can help us share prosperity in a world spared of resource scarcity, resource conflict and the ecological destruction wrought by the unsustainable drives to acquire means to fend off the ever-present spectre of need.
It's the basis - and an opportunity - for ever-advancing infrastructure, an ever-advancing quality of life, and stronger foundations for global cooperation. All made possible by next-generation technology.