Policies for future (initial list)

Introduction

It is not easy to predict the future of humanity, except when it comes to certain technological trends like digitalisation. Being overly pessimistic or optimistic makes little sense due to two major reasons. First, there is an element of surprise or even chaos in the universe. Unexpected events, whether natural or else can always happen. Secondly, our species has a degree of control of its destiny, even though it is far from complete. So basically, our own actions will shape the future.

The logical response to an unknown future is to use our “Spielraum” (leeway) to its full extent and focus on building a much better future for humanity. Today we see a lot of “Futurists” who try to imagine or guess the future. You could call them the modern-day fortune-tellers. It is certainly intriguing to follow them, yet their predictions have little productive value. As humanity, what we need to have are more “Futurpologs”, who develop policies that shape that future. People who think about ways to bring humanity forward and solve its challenges.

This perceived need is the Raison d’Être of 21 Policy. As a first step, we started compiling a list of public policies that we believe can accelerate human progress. Progress in this context means better living standards and higher life satisfaction for all humans in a sustainable way.

But how do we choose which policies to include in this project, given that progress is such an elusive concept? In our view it makes the most sense to focus on human capabilities and knowledge, sometimes called as “Human Capital”. According to this line of reasoning, human progress is the result of human capital accumulation and its utilization. To accelerate human progress, we would need to increase the total human capital in the world, make sure that capital is optimally used, and sustained.

To illustrate this point let’s start with the importance of human capital. A human who has not been through the socialization process of society and has not benefited from formal education will have little to contribute to overall progress. The unique capabilities of humans are only unleashed as a result of formal and informal education. Without it, there is little difference between us and other animals. Therefore, the most promising starting point for accelerating progress will be to increase the skill and education level of humans.

However, a world full of highly educated people might not automatically lead to progress, as seen in communist societies. People need to have freedom and opportunities to use those capabilities. A human alone can’t contribute to progress, cooperation with others is key. The ease of creating, joining, and leaving organizations is crucial for progress. The continuous flow of ideas, people, and funds contributed to much of humanity’s success as a species.

Lastly, human capital needs to be protected. Preservation of physical and increasingly mental health is necessary. A certain level of safety and stability is required. The environment also needs to be kept in a condition that allows humans to live healthy lives.

Consequently, we focus on public policies that help build human capital, optimize its use, and sustain its existence. The list below is the first draft with short summaries of these public policies.


Building Human Capacity

Government policies that help the creation of human capital: skills and knowledge. 

  • Edu21x: Radical education system reform. Dramatically shrinks the obligatory curriculum to focus on achieving excellence in basic skills such as reading, thinking, mathematics, and collaboration. The rest of the curriculum consists of introductory courses and electives. Technology is extensively used, and most lessons are based on interactive games. 
  • Lighthouse schools: Full-day schools that provide safety, food, tutorship, and care. The objective is to provide children from disadvantaged families with the best possible learning environment
  • Education day: The working week is shortened to 4 days, with 1 whole day reserved for learning. This is a paid day reserved for accredited education institutes and corporate training. 
  • Universal Education Fund: Citizens will be required to put aside funds for their own continuous education. Whenever income is below a certain threshold the State will take over payments. 

Optimize the use of human capacity

Government policies that help the use of total human capital:

  • Open borders migration: Open-Borders agreements between nations-similar to the free movement of people in the European Union. Citizens can decide to partially suspend the agreement using referendums for a limited time. 
  • Open Data Initiative: Personal data collected by one service provider can be transferred to a new provider, making it easy to switch. Companies with a monopoly on huge amounts of data can be asked to share it with startups. 
  • Career Change Program: The government finances career-change internships for middle-aged people, covering the cost of 1 year of employment after free career counseling combined with re-training.
  • Direct democracy- Swiss-Style mini referendums: Citizens can approve or reject important decisions of a country. If you want to introduce or overturn a new policy you will need to collect the signatures of 2% of the citizens of the country which will prompt a referendum on this topic. If the majority of the population agrees the executive branch will be ordered to implement that policy. 
  • New Politicians program: funding and training for new politicians: A new public program will provide funding and training for people who wants to join politics following another career. 

Sustain human capacity

Government policies designed to sustain the health and safety of humans:

  • Obligatory health checks and proactive healthcare: Citizens will be required to go through periodical physical and mental health checks. They will also get proactive healthcare instead of waiting to get unhealthy. 
  • Obligatory private retirement insurance: All citizens will be required to pay for their own retirement even if they are not employed. The contributions of low-income citizens will be taken over by the State. 
  • Nature-Independent energy incentives: Financial incentives for energy sources that are mostly independent of nature. Example: Nuclear energy
  • Non-recyclable tax: Significant tax on products that do not use recycled or sustainable materials. Proceeds to be invested in recycling.
  • Sustainable Salination Incentives: Financial incentives to make salination plants environmentally sustainable.

Remark: why is UBI noch included? While it could be useful in providing financial safety it has no direct impact on building human capital. On the contary, it would decrease both the capacity of the state to invest in people and also the motivation of citizens to invest in themselves.

Do you have a good policy idea that should be included in our list? Send us an email with a short explanation or link to editor@21policy.com