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New Technologies & New Political Thinking Provide Impetus

Significant progress has now been made in several key technologies, especially those involved with energy, transport, agriculture, food, data communication, education and computer ‘intelligence’ (AI).

Also, at last, political thinking and economic thinking is just beginning to see the wood from the trees.  It has now become clear that brute capitalism and economic thinking based on money systems do not provide a long-term solution for most people of the world.  Many people are beginning to start thinking the way CST does – new ways need to be found to solve the world’s core issues, and this means re-thinking the drivers for ‘growth’ and indeed how we define wealth and happiness itself.

The success of the massive companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook et al, (FANGS) has show that the for the general peoples of the world these massive businesses do not provide for a better life in the medium or long-term.  We need to find better vehicles for humanities instinctive quest to succeed without losing the balance between freedom and social cohesion.

The actions of the UK government since the crash of 2007/8 shows comprehensively that attempting to balance the books just moves problems from one place to another. This policy has proven that we need a much better understanding of economics and the real resources available to us.   The basis of policy decisions must be about how best can we use existing resources to provide long-term improvement - rather than just attempting to cut costs.

So, today CST is updating 'the way forward’ and address global issues. We are confident from our past success that we can predict potentially useful ways to solve the core global issues.

Summary of core global issues:

These work together, and must therefore be addressed together:-

CST has always stated that the world’s resources, while finite, are indeed enough to create a sustainable environment for the likely growth peak of ten billion people globally.  With the latest technologies, CST provides the updated plan for the future.

1) Political Governance:

This is key as any change needs a robust long-term process to enable success.  CST has already covered how the UK could move to a much more successful system of governance based on ‘Select Committees’.   Other commentators are now just starting to talk about similar change.  CST believes the UK is still (even after the debacle of Brexit) a good place to showcase new political systems, after all we did export the first wave of democratic systems.  The proposed change is based upon moving the core long-term planning away from ‘party politics’.  Utilising the current select committee system provides a base for this process.  (See Select Committees).

If the UK could show the way, (god knows we need to take the high ground after Brexit), others would indeed follow as the results would challenge all political thinking across the globe.


2) Climate change, extinction, energy production, distribution and transport systems:

The technologies and costs of energy sources have changed radically over the last ten years.  Many people still do not realise that solar and wind costs have fallen dramatically and are now on par with fossil full energy production.  Furthermore, new developments in battery technology, their mass production (courtesy of Tesla), new storage facilities, and fuel cell technology (Toyota et al) provide for new workable, global strategies for base energy loads, energy storage, energy distribution, transport, manufacturing systems and home energy provision.  It is now all do-able!

There are many different potential scenarios.  These can be mixed and matched to fit local resources and geography.    For instance, in the UK, we could use the current (methane) gas distribution system (to many home and businesses) for distributing hydrogen gas.  In fact we used to do this before north sea gas came online.  This time however we could produce the hydrogen from coal or fracted methane provided we sequested the CO2.   There is a well known cheap industrial process to provide hydrogen from methane and steam (reformation).  The CO2 is in the correct form to sequest directly from this process. 

Of course the costs of sequestration add to the production costs, but it means that we would have abundant clean hydrogen for the foreseeable future.  Vehicles can be a mix of battery and fuel cells for long range, while vehicle batteries themselves can be part of a smart grid to smooth out energy peaks for homes and factories.

With such technologies and a commitment to new infrastructure, there is no need to attempt to limit energy use.  In fact, new technologies such as robotics and AI rely on significant increase in energy use, and we need to promote these technologies as fast as possible to solve the other major issue.  Clean water production across the globe is also very energy intensive.

Japan is presently considering a large distribution system based on hydrogen with fuel cells for future transportation – all provided by Australian coal, with all CO2 being sequested.

Africa, India and other parts of the world are ideal for massive solar farms.  As the costs continue to come down and the energy efficiency of solar continues  increase, these economies could move easily and cost-effectively to solar.  This solar energy can be stored as hydrogen, with efficient fuel cells for industrial processes food production (see later). Hydrogen is also perfect for large transportation including trains, buses and air travel.  Countries in Africa could become net exporters of solar energy, maybe turning the excess into hydrogen as the capital costs of hydrogen conversion equipment comes down and efficiencies improve.

Such core distribution and infrastructure schemes require government backed schemes, leaving such projects and joined up thinking to business will not provide these long-term critical solutions.


A key part of most industrialised global city areas is local transport.  We all know the long-term damage vehicle emissions cause and the inefficiency of having people using singular methods of travel.   Now on the horizon, are several technologies that combine to provide exciting solutions for many cities.

The new technologies are electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles (especially buses, lorries), driverless vehicle technology, 5G mobile networks and smart phone applications.  Put these together and any city can provide a high quality, efficient, green transport network that beats anything already in place anywhere.

CST has provided a blue-print based on Bristol, we have sent this blue-print (several times) to Bristol’s Mayor.  This plan involves the local council providing a new way of travelling based initially on electric / fuel cell ‘taxis’ run by the council.  The council may even fund the infrastructure simply by forward selling (at a good discount) future ‘taxi’ and mobility services. (See Transitioning a City).

The rewards are immense.  Consider just for a moment the true cost of owning and running a single vehicle.  Capital cost, depreciation, road tax, fuel, MOT/repairs and insurance.  Even the lowest annual cost of a vehicle in a place like Bristol will cost the owner or family (based on 3,000 local miles annually) is over £2000.  Many families have two such vehicles, each parked in Bristols clogged residential roads and creating danger, loss of space and massive pollution.  Most families in Bristol are therefore spending perhaps up to six times their council housing tax rate just to get about. 

With CST’s scheme all inner city vehicles would be replaced by non polluting taxis. These would be immediately on call from a smart app that links people to journeys, sharing whenever efficient. These vehicles would be replaced by autonomous vehicles as and when they prove reliable.  The freeing up of road space (and parking space) would provide for a massive increase in efficiency, creating much improved journey times and allow for innovative schemes for cycling and walking.  Within 30 years, Bristol could have a completely autonomous transport system for the whole of the extended city area with the cost saving going into local social projects and business innovation.  In terms of cost savings taxis costs now are approx £1.60 per mile, so if we take the cost per mile for a low cost owned vehicle at 75p, we can see taxis are expensive.  But when we move to autonomous vehicles the ‘taxi’ costs fall to about 15p per mile and so overall much more cost effective than car ownership.

Such a blue-print can be adapted for most larger cities in the world.

3) Massive global companies, innovation, social structures and the future of work:

We are at an impasse.  We know that the ONLY way of creating additional future efficiencies is by harnessing technology.  Many people are confused when they think of what this really means.  CST has a clear understanding.  The people of the world will always seek improvement – this means improving the efficiency of what we do and make.   This means that humans must harness new technologies for ever more.   It is NOT a way forward to suggest that we should all do less and save the planet – this is irresponsible nonsense.

So, we have a dilemma.  Capitalism has been very good at creating wealth.  The historical thinking was always that everyone had equal access to achieving this.  We now know that across the world, most communities are finding that this process is now broken.  The larger businesses, especially the FANGS have drained the capitalist system so that there is simply little left in many areas ‘for your average person’ to leverage their own wealth.   This does not mean that the world is less efficient, but the new efficiencies have been snaffled by a very small number of people.

So, CST believes we need new social and business systems to create a fairer wealth creation process.  This is completely different to the rubbish spouted about tax and provision for the poor, this is not a way forward as it does not address the underlying issues that are creating the inequalities.

We must embrace new and emerging technologies (as it is the only way to improved wealth creation), but we can explore different structures to provide for a fairer share out and improve the use of all resources (people, waste, infrastructure, capital).

CST has put forward many such new structures for a fairer world.  Business innovation, shared data technologies, new types of business structures, new ways of funding and new collaborative social structures.  While many of these are relatively simple to implement they rely on a significant change to our cultural and economic outlook.  Most people still consider ‘ownership’ of capital or machinery or vehicles or robots to be rooted in stone.  People find it difficult to imagine shared ownership, or indeed no ownership – such as our autonomous taxi that owns and runs itself (see ‘John’s got a new motor’).

...Resourcism vs Capitalism:

Most people consider money as the root of our economic system.  It is not.  Money is simply a tool we created to oil the wheels of trade.  We now consider it the root of the real economy.  But the real economy is based on resources and their availability / scarcity.   So, much economic thinking attempts to move the money about, without consideration of the real underlying resources. 

A good example of this is the UK attempting to limit spending after the 2007/8 crash.  Of course this could not work as it ignored entirely the underlying resources such as people, the available infrastructure already in place and the available tools already in place.  So what actually happened was a reduction in output (wealth), while the immutable costs (such as health, social, care, unemployment costs) were shifted from one location to another.  When a social scheme closed, some or all of those costs just shifted to police enforcement / prisons or health care (NHS).

There was little or no consideration of how we could improve our societies and businesses in the medium or longer-term. The paucity of ideas and innovative thinking by the political class was breathtaking. Now we know that we are all worse off than if we had just done nothing, the cost cutting just exacerbated the underlying problems and these are now worse, causing our society more cost than before to stem them.

CST has seen the effects of this thinking for longer than we like to consider – why do we still think that leaving people (a major resource) to sit on their hands is a useful outcome when we are attempting to increase prosperity?  Why do we view today’s education processes as a cost instead of what it really is – an investment in future efficiency and future wealth.

How can we bring in resources to our economic thinking?   Firstly, it needs a global change in cultural thinking.  Maybe, with people becoming more aware of the planet’s finite resources, we may move to consider resources as fundamental to any future thinking.   This new paradigm of resourcism can fundamentally help all economic thinking and planning.  When governments look to help new wealth creation, they must consider all the underlying resources and ask if they are being best utilised. 

When we create new business and social structures we must ask if all the players are equally able to access all the available resources.  This applies to new technologies and especially to the coming revolution in AI and robotics.  We must ensure that everyone has equal access to the new machines – we must not fall into the trap of expecting the capitalist system create fairness, we have already seen it will not.  Without clear thinking we shall end up making classic mistakes – such as suggesting that we tax the robots because they take people’s jobs!  No, the robots should belong to the people and work on their behalf!  See: When the smart robots make the smart robots.

...CST Ideas for New Fairer Social and Business Structures, See:

Integrated Innovation
What’s the next big thing
Building new homes
A new type of organisation


4) Food production, core medicines:

We can now see that intensive farming is not viable long-term.  It is destroying the land and the ecology at an enormous rate.  But there are solutions.  Trials and new production facilities based on vertical, hydroponic, autonomous farms have proven successful.  These suggest that we can produce a lot of food sustainably within high rise buildings using just energy, water and nutrients.  These are ideal for future automation allowing continuous supply of fresh food products, delivered to local homes by autonomous vehicles. 

These units can be placed exactly where the are needed to serve local communities either within or external to city environments.  These link directly to the new energy production and distribution systems considered above. 

As the land is preserved, it can be left to non intensive farming methods and returned to the natural mixed habitat that preserves the ecology.

This is a good case for a new type of social and business structure, where local people work together to create new vertical farming units, new infrastructure and the robotic systems that run them autonomously.  The ownership of this major infrastructure can be shared by the local community, there is no need for large conglomerate businesses to own these autonomous systems and take a cut for doing nothing evermore.  It is in the local people’s interests to provide for themselves and for their local ecology so that they can enjoy quality food and the local land and all that it provides.


Large Pharma has shown repeatedly that even when faced with an existential threat, it puts profit and share price before the survival of people on this planet.  The dearth of new antibiotics is due solely to this fact.  We now have a similar reluctance to test further trials for Alzheimer’s disease has profound implications for older people.  

Governments must lead here.  With CST’s proposal to create long-term planning bodies (Select Committees above), government would be forced to intervene, making sure resources were applied to provide for future core medicines.  We should get on with this now as time may indeed be running out for many of us.

5) Education:
CST considers education to be a human right.  Humans are learning entities, we must respec that. We now have a new globally possibility - to educate almost everyone, everywhere cheaply and effectively.  

Education across the globe must be provided free to all and based on creative and critical thinking.  We must move away from teaching facts and move to teaching understanding of the core processes that underpin ourselves, our world, how everything works along with a better understanding of how to achieve life-long improvement.   This is the only path that may provide for the long-term success of our species.  Without this, we shall surely turn back to ideologies and wars based on mystics, along with the popularist and the bullies.

The MOOC’s show what can be achieved using new technologies within education. CST believes that a central public provision of high level training material in all the main languages is fundamental to attaining excellent education outputs across all nations.  Technology is at the forefront here and is increasing opportunities for improvement in exciting and immersive processes, (game play, VR et al), See Education

We can now already create massively competent educational programs for every subject in many languages.  These could be achieved on a global scale cheaply and distributed effectively either online or for communities without connection by physical data media and simple hand held devices.

Why are we not already doing this?  Other than the great work the MOOC’s are doing (Edx, Futurelearn, Coursera, et al), Governments seem in denial of this need and of this capability.  This must change and the UK could again lead this provision, CST of course has worked out the detail (See http://www.commonsensethinking.co.uk/education.pdf)


6) The rise of the middle classes:

This is going to happen, is happening now.  CST has little idea how this will affect local and global issues, but we feel from our long experience that it will shake rattle and roll.   The demands of such a growing middle class will be similar to those before – more food, more travel, more energy, more goods, more waste.  It is no use telling theses new found wealth creators that they cannot have them, people do not think like that and why should they when we have already been at the trough eating our fill, without a second glance at the unwashed?  (Or the under-fed, the dying, the destitute…)

CST’s way forward will provide for a fairer share of the world's resources, while not harming the ecology but still provide for improving conditions.  With our proposals for governance, energy, transport, food, education we will be able to provide for the expectations of this growing middle class population without war, famine or extinction.


Thank You,


Global Issues - Where are we now?

June 2019

CST has updated our long-term view of the issues we all face.  Over the last ten years or so CST has put forward new thinking and new ideas to challenge the current thinking to help create a better world.  Many of those ideas are slowly seeping into the background debates in the UK and elsewhere. 

CST updates the global plan....