You can listen to the podcast here (which includes the episode notes and references) or listen on Spotify, Soundcloud, or your favourite podcast player.

The YouTube video has a LOT of imagery and is worth watching

Below is the script I used for the Podcast. You can also get a copy in Markdown format from Github.

“Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them” Alfred North Whitehead.

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, Good Night or Good flight potential Martians.

I’m Michael Kubler the host of this Podcast It’s Tuesday the 2nd of January 2024 and I’ll be discussing how we could create an Abundance Centered Society on Mars

This is the first in a 3 part series which will likely be my most important episodes. It’s the reason I started the Podcast in the first place. As today, I’ll be talking about the Tao of ACeS which are 10+2 points to live by.

You can listen to the Abundant Mars Podcast Episode 1 if you want a more in-depth overview of an Abundance Centered Society and why it’s an ideal economic and social system compared to Capitalism or a number of other proposed alternatives.

The core of an Abundance Centered Society is based around Access Abundance, Systems Design, Automation and especially Cradle to Cradle style Closed Loop material flows.

Access Abundance is about having community access be the default, not private ownership.

Systems design is as you expect. It’s about having a focus on building the systems that support us.

Automation is about using robots, AI and how we’ve built systems, so we don’t need to do menial jobs.

Closed Loop material flows, also known as the circular economy or Cradle to Cradle is about separating biological and technical nutrients. It’s about building things to last and then be upcycled into something new after it’s end of life. Or if it’s a biological material then it should be bio-nutritional and good for the environment.

Listen to Episode 2 if you aren’t sure why we should be going to Mars. Mostly it’s in order to make life multi-planetary. But also because it’s an interesting challenge which can help spark fresh innovation

A common complaint is that we shouldn’t be going to another planet as we are just going to trash it like we are trashing Earth.

This is epitomised by Agent Smith in The Matrix describing Humanity as a Virus 🦠 Yet Humanity doesn’t need to be considered a virus. It’s our profit based monetary incentive which sees damage to the environment and other people, as an externality.

We will need to change how we do pretty much everything. But if we are living in an Abundance Centered Society then we should be actively helping the biosphere, not destroying it.

The episode also goes more into the technical challenges of how we can cope with the harsh reality of living on Mars. Such as dealing with the freezing cold temperatures, thin atmosphere, dangerous cosmic radiation and more.

SpaceX and possibly other companies can build us the rockets to get to Mars and that alone is an amazing technical feat. But living on Mars is going to be an epic challenge. One that will also require us to rethink how we live our lives.

Once there’s thousands of people on Mars, we also need more than just lists of tasks for people to do. We need a culture there.

The default would be to export our existing culture. However existing Capitalism won’t work on Mars. There’s no cheap labour force. No environment to degrade. You can’t treat people badly and have massive inequality. It’s too easy for mistreated people to destroy the Martian base and society. It’s also such a harsh environment that you need automation. You need robots to do the bulk of the work, especially outside. You are creating new systems all the time and need them to work with the other systems. So you need a systems thinking focus.

It’s sometimes over a 40min round trip delay for signals from Earth, so you can’t just rely on someone from Earth to guide you through fixing something. It’s also 2 years between physical trips. You can’t just order a technician to come out and fix the dishwasher when it is broken, especially given the gravity is only 38% that of Earths. You need to be able to fix, improve upon and create nearly everything that’s sent to Mars. It needs to be an Open source society.

You also need people working collaboratively.

Under a Capitalist system you would end up with 5 competing companies providing Internet, 15 different power companies and even more groups fighting over who owns accommodation. You wouldn’t want such organisations working in proprietary, garden walled ways, intentionally not inter-connecting with other similar products. You might not have wifi access simply because you are with the wrong provider. That’s the sort of thing bad movies are made from.

When you are living in a Abundance Centered Society whereby there’s enough closed loop material flows and Access Abundance you no longer have a need for money anymore… It’s a post-scarcity, Post-monetary system. With so many things changing, you need a new culture and mindset.

What would you consider in regards to building such a new culture from the ground up?

I’ve been thinking about this for some years and that’s why this episode is about The Tao of and ACeS a set of 10+2 general principles I recommend for people living in an Abundance Centered Society.

The principles are ways of thinking which can help people know how to make decisions and navigate society. They aren’t complete. I can’t possibly guess everything that’s required. We haven’t got a working Abundance Centered Society yet, so we can’t yet iterate on these. Thus these are just an initial proposed set. Up for reworking and debate. Almost none of these are my own concepts. They are just ones that I feel would have a great place in an Abundance Centered Society.

The Tao of ACeS

I consider it a 10+2 set of points.

The quick version is:

  1. Abundance Mindset – Creating abundance through Cradle to Cradle, systems design, Access Abundance, and Automation.
  2. Responsibility Based – You should look after the systems that support you and your fellows.
  3. Reduction Target – Try to reduce needless violence, waste and stratification.
  4. Scientific Method – We want to pursue abundant knowledge, but apply it ethically.
  5. Dynamic Equilibrium – We should expect change, just as our Universe is always changing.
  6. Dataism – With enough data we can have previous examples to go on, and select the best course of action, even if it goes against our instincts and emotions. This is the next stage beyond Humanism.
  7. Integral – This is about understanding yourself and how to reason, in order to increase your personal sensemaking. This includes psychometric profiling systems like the OCEAN model and Spiral Dynamics Integral.
  8. Intelligence Quadrant – Try to be in the intelligence quadrant, where you do things that are good for you and for good others.
  9. Collective Sense making – This is about taking your perspectives and merging them with others to better understand an issue. It’s also about trying to expand empathy towards all living beings.
  10. Collective Decision Making – This is about selecting the best decision making framework and synthesising the best decisions given the constraints.
  11. Your Own – 11 and 12 are bonus Tao’s for you to work out, either individually or collectively in the future.

Tao is the art or skill of doing something in harmony with the essential nature of the thing. It translates from Chinese as “The Way” or “The Path” and can also be considered the unconditional and unknowable source and guiding principle of all reality.

I’m sure some of you are thinking the TV show Mandalorian “This is the Way“.

Although what comes to my mind is the Tao of Backup. A great microsite with the basic principles of backing up data.

To give you an example the 5 Tao of Backup principles are broadly:

  1. Coverage – Backup everything you can
  2. Frequency – Backup whenever you’ve done work or made changes. Probably daily
  3. Separation – You should have at least 3 copies of your data spread across at least 2 locations
  4. History – Keep old versions of your files, especially in case they become corrupt or you end up with incomplete backups
  5. Testing – Test your backups so you know that if you have to use them, they will work.

Unfortunately the Tao of ACeS is a lot more complicated. But so are the rules we live by in our current Western society.

Before I go into full detail about the first 3 Tao of ACeS I want to explain at least some of the existing Culture and principles we live by in Western society. As the saying goes about fish living in water, they spend all their life in it and so don’t perceive it. I don’t think that’s actually the case, they know of air bubbles and the surface. But I do think that understanding our current system a little more can help you see how we already living by certain maxims which where created by us and which can be changed, or were adapted from biological urges.

If you want to know about the technical issues with Capitalism then I highly recommend Peter Joseph’s movies and presentations or especially his Revolution Now podcast where he goes into great detail about the issues with Capitalism.

My focus here is on some of the seemingly hidden principles we abide by without really thinking much about.

The Culture under Capitalism

  1. There’s a hidden Pyramid Hierarchy where violence is only allowed to flow down, not up
  2. Cultural definition of Success: Monetary and Material Wealth, Power, Control and Fame.
  3. Rules for Rulers – Are a set of key rules you need to follow in order to get and stay in power. These rules are:
    • Keep the key supporters on your side,
    • Control the treasure,
    • Minimize key supporters

In this episode I’ll just explain the Pyramid Hierarchy. I’ll explain the other cultural points in the next episodes.

Pyramid Hierarchy

Us humans are very social creatures. Without living in groups, we can’t thrive as a species. As such, a large part of our brain and our learning is dedicated towards living in social systems.

As part of that, we have a built in mechanism for determining a status hierarchy.

People higher up in status are generally higher up in a pyramid structure we individually generate in our minds.

The issue is that, especially under Capitalism. Someone higher up in the pyramid is able to cause violence to flow down the pyramid. But we generally get upset if it flows upwards.

For example, if a police officer hurts a homeless person, it’s unlikely to make the news, because that’s violence going downwards. But if a homeless person kills a police officer then it’ll be a travesty. That’s violence flowing upwards. If it turned out that the homeless person was a war vet then that makes it harder because people aren’t sure where in the hierarchy the war veteran is. If it then turned out the police officer was corrupt or something even worse, like a paedophile, then they’ll be dropped down the hierarchy to be classified as a criminal and the homeless person could be considered somewhat of a hero by some.

Depending on who you are and were you live, you might consider the pyramid layers from bottom to top to be comprised of criminals, homeless people, people not like you, people more like you, police officers, politicians, rich people and maybe the president or prime minister of the country and then probably the President of USA as part of the top tier.

We are mostly almost always subconsciously, evaluating where ourselves and other people are in the hierarchy.

However the hierarchy can change drastically depending on the context. The one I just explained is mostly based on the cultural definition of success. That of power, wealth, control and fame.

But it’s different for example, in a family context like at home.

If we are setting the table then as the primary earner for the family I’m often considered to be at the head of the table. Although that’s not my favourite spot so that’s not where I sit.

Because of my skills in programming and entrepreneurship I’m currently the technical co-founder of a SaaS company. When it comes to the technical side of things I’m at the top of the hierarchy, but my co-founder is the product manager and the reason we have the money to develop the software, so whilst partners, he’s still a half step above me.

Contexts can change drastically and the movie Triangle of Sadness shows this really well.

Some spoilers ahead for the movie.

There’s a lot of very rich people on a 1/4 $Billion large cruise ship and they are seen as an authority nearly that of the captains. Below the captain and the multi-millionaire passengers is the first officer, the head of staff and down to the lowliest janitor.

Things go bad, the boat sinks, people end up stranded on an island and quickly are running out of food. Of course the millionaires have no good survival skills on the island. Thankfully the toilet manager, an older Filipina woman, knows how to make a fire, catch fish and octopus, clean and cook them and becomes the main provider. Suddenly she’s now the most important person and she asserts herself at the top of the pyramid. She’s now able to get respect and order things from others she normally wouldn’t be able to.

It’s a great movie that shows the change in status and hierarchy very well, but also hints at the depths some people will go to, in order to keep their status.

There’s a lot more to our current dominant civilisation. I could go into detail about behavioural economics, history, energy systems, complexity and more. However it’s time to look to the future. Time now for the more detailed

Tao of ACeS

Instead of using Money and pricing mechanisms we need a different set of systems that influence how we work and what we work on. Instead of our current cultural definitions of success we need something new.

Whilst an Abundance Centered Society has some core aspects to the economics, I see the Tao as the main tenants of the culture.

The list should consist of the fewest number of tenets whilst still providing the decision making processes and behaviours for the majority of morals, ethics and other things which should generally apply on personal, community and civilisation-wide scales.

The current 10+2 tenants I list here are just suggestions and will likely be part of a living document of sorts. No one currently lives in an Abundance Centered Society and we’ll need to go through an iterative process of trying it out, seeing what works, what can be removed, shortened or replaced with something better.

It shouldn’t get too big. My suggestion is that you cap the number of tenants at 12. After that, if you want to add a new one you have to remove one, or merge some together.

Many of these concepts are a part of the Zeitgeist Movement and Venus Project, however some are new, or are being discussed in Game B and other adjacent groups.

Tao #1. Abundance Mindset – Creating abundance through Cradle to Cradle, systems design, Access Abundance, and Automation

An abundance-centred society is very similar to other proposed systems you might have heard of, like a post-scarcity society, zero marginal cost society or a Natural Law Resource Based Economy (NL/RBE).

It recognises that there will always be some forms of scarcity. For example time, recognition, access to certain places and certain objects.

However, the aim is to have access abundance and at least the necessities of life available for free, to everyone on the planet. This includes air, water, food, shelter, electricity, transportation, education, health, entertainment and more. Beyond that, there are certain strategies which can dramatically increase the amount of abundance we experience, whilst also increasing our quality of life and the well-being of the ecosystem.

Science and technology has provided us with incredible capabilities, with which we can manipulate the environment. Unfortunately, we are doing it with disregard to the environmental costs. An abundance-centered society knows that it has to achieve that abundance whilst remaining within the carrying capacity of the planet, or whatever ecological system it is in, be it a spaceship, a gas giant or a digital world.

Access Abundance and Cradle to Cradle are two important concepts, used to increase both abundance and sustainability.

Access abundance is about a sharing economy. You don’t need to own a drill – you just want a hole in the wall. So you can borrow a drill from the local community tool shed when you need instead of everyone having to buy one.

Few people need to own a car, especially if there’s simply better trains and public transport, or maybe self-driving cars. Meaning you never have to worry about parking again nor washing, maintenance and upgrades. In addition, you can enjoy your travel time by talking with friends, watching a movie, sleeping and more. Not just by listening to podcasts like this.

Going for the cosmo-localism approach of heavy things being built close to you and light things being shared, it makes digital access is especially easy. There’s no need for a massive library of Blu-Rays or DVDs in each home given we can easily stream videos online.

We also don’t all need a vacuum cleaner, but we want clean carpets and floors. Instead of 50 houses each having their own vacuum cleaner, there could be 2 really good, industrial grade, self healing, auto-recharging, robotic vacuum cleaners which will come and clean your carpets. Now you don’t have to worry about it. Not only would that decrease the amount of resources being used by nearly 1/50th it’ll also increase people’s quality of life.

Of course, you can go a step further. With a systems design perspective, you can remove the need for vacuum cleaners by having hydrophobic carpets, which automatically ripple the dirt to the edges.

Cradle to Cradle is a systems design process of creating things with a closed loop material flow, or Life cycle in mind. Ensuring things are either technical or biological nutrients. Items should be either bio-nutritional, and thus short lived but good for the environment, or built to last, but then able to be broken apart into their constituent elements, so they can be reformed into new products with new uses.

The tracking of these materials is known as the technical flow and is similar to the water cycle or the hydrogen cycle. We would track the titanium, copper, plastics, wood and all other such materials. Allowing the materials we’ve mined to be reused again and again, instead of just throwing them away. A true circular economy.

The actual distribution of resources is likely best done using an algorithm, or set of algorithms.

I suggest having it based on a next-generation distributed ledger system. If Bitcoin is 1st generation, Ethereum is 2nd gen, Iota is 3rd gen and Hashgraph is 4th gen, then a specifically developed 5th gen or maybe even 6th gen system is likely what will be needed.

Being a global distributed ledger system means that everyone can transparently see what algorithms are running, what the calculations are, and how resources are being allocated where and why. Fully transparent, but also updatable. The late Mario Matiev called this the Resource Engine.

This replaces the majority of politics with working out better algorithms. That said, local cultural requirements will likely also have an effect. An all vegan city or completely anonymous town will be different from one trying to push the boundaries of technology.

What happens if we are actually running out of copper? You can try mining for more, or we can look at where the material is being used and if there are alternatives which can replace it. As copper is used in a lot of electrical cabling, we could progress with research into graphene or ceramic style superconducting materials, and replace a lot of the power lines with superconducting ceramics or maybe some LK99 like material, whilst also reducing our energy loss.

Issues likely manifest as individual, community, global or universal challenges or projects, which people tackle as Tao point 2, having a responsibility for the systems that support us.

In an abundance-centered society there’s a focus on automation and quality systems, so that there are fewer day-to-day tasks you need to deal with. You can still choose to go and garden, cook food or clean your house, but you don’t have to. You don’t have to slave away working in order to survive financially. Although on Mars there is likely going to be a lot of work that needs to be done, so everyone there can physically survive.

It’s expected most people will want to choose a craft or occupation, something they can spend a decade mastering, be it painting or programming, dance or biology. Something that you’ll enjoy.

Note that in an Abundance Centred Society instead of the focus being on capital, the focus is on reduced running costs even if the initial resource and time investment is higher.

Automation is a useful tool for reducing needless suffering and increasing abundance, although on its own it’s not enough, but when paired with a systems redesign perspective, it can be incredibly powerful.

An important part of having a systems design perspective is that you usually need to look at the core problem, or start from 1st principles.

I’ve found that this usually involves zooming out, or zooming in, your thinking to the appropriate level and looking at it from different perspectives.

For example, if you are trying to automate supermarkets, your first thought might be to replace checkouts with self-serve checkout stations, but that’s only changing who is doing the work. You could put RFID tags on all items and let people walk out, detecting what they are taking from the store, which saves the scanning step. Think about it, though. Most people usually drive to the shopping centre, get out of their car, walk into a shop, walk around selecting products and put them in a trolley, take the products out to scan them, repack the items, bring them to the car, put them in the car, drive home, take them out of the car, plonk them on the kitchen table, and then distribute them around the house. That’s a lot of effort.

Analyse the core problem and zoom out to see the whole process from farm to fridge.

People need stuff in their cupboards and food in their fridge, so especially on Mars you would build a distribution system which does just that. Delivering the items as needed, directly into the cupboards and fridges. Maybe it uses little robots on rails, which hold reusable Tupperware style containers, or maybe it uses drones, but the end result is that someone could be cooking dinner and by the time they’ve finished cutting up and cooking the tomatoes, a new set have been delivered, fresh from the local vertical farm.

Another way of thinking about systems design is realising that often what is needed, is a change in the defaults. For example, imagine you are in the city late at night and what you should have is good food, available by default, instead of fast, but unhealthy food.

Knowing when systems need refinement, as opposed to a full redesign, is important and being ready to take on such redesign challenges often means we need both imagination of what is possible, and the application of the scientific method, to know which is the best option to implement. Which is covered in Tao #4 on the Scientific Method.

Tao #2 You have a Responsibility to the systems that support you and your fellows

You have a responsibility to support the ecosystem, social systems and technical systems.

The ecological system is nature. Everything from the fauna, flora and geology. which help capture the sun’s energy and convert it into a form that we can consume, along with the life-supporting nutrients we need and the entire web of life that comes along with such a system.

The plants help convert our CO2 to Oxygen and clean the air. Animals help in a myriad of ways from pollinising to fertilising. Even the bacteria in our gut helps breaks down our food into the essential amino acids we need.

We need an ecosystem to survive and we are a part of that. Not at the top of some pyramid, but as a part of a living cycle.

Think about going to the store and buying some fruit. You might have paid money for it, but you don’t really own that apple. When you consume it you use the life supporting nutrients. But most of it will eventually pass through to the rest of the ecosystem.

In an Abundance Centred Society you wouldn’t buy the fruit as there’s no longer a need for money. But instead you would now have a general responsibility to the tree that bore the fruit, the orchard it came from and importantly, the entire ecosystem it and we are a part of.

You might not be able to directly help that specific tree, but you can help the system in other ways based on your skills and capabilities. A form of paying it forward.

The social and technical systems can be considered human run sub-systems inside of the ecosystem, but they have their own requirements.

The technical systems are things like the production and use of goods and services. They include the chair you sit on, the phone or computer you use, the Internet you access and associated storage and computing power. Even the clothes you wear. When you think of IQ and what you can create, it’s most likely applied to these.

The social systems are our institutions, knowledge bases, ideologies and ethics. Our culture, friends, and family. They include the governance structures and decision-making processes we use, and of course these very tenets. These are usually more of the EQ related things. Generally about people and to a large extent our emotions.

Your responsibility includes supporting and developing these systems and refining or re-designing them if need be.

In general the aim is to design such systems without the need of much menial labour. Reducing the labour needed for general running and maintenance of the systems through automation, systems design or sometimes behaviour change. There’s almost always going to be some manual maintenance required. but the aim is to reduce it as per Tao #3 Reduction Target.

People vary in a variety of ways, the most basic aspects being skills, capabilities and availability.

Thus the actual tasks done will vary from person to person. Likely drawn from a combination of both what their skills are what is considered important and urgent, or important but not yet not urgent, plus and what they are attracted to.

People also have different work intensities and styles. Some might work every day for years, whereas others might spend decades levelling up and then invent something, which removes the need for thousands of others to do such daily work.

That said, as per Tao tenet #8 on being in the Intelligence Quadrant, which should be explained in episode 5, for a definition of a bandit or stupid person. These are people who are consistently doing harm to others and / or themselves. If you end up in the lower quadrants then maybe keep away from doing too much work until you’ve first resolved that and aren’t a detriment.

As part of your responsibility to the systems, you should understand how to balance production versus production capacity.

In a technical system, production would be creating a new chair using a 3D printer, whilst production capacity would be about creating more 3D printers, or possibly a mould of a chair for faster injection moulding production.

For an engineer, production might be designing a new drone or writing software to help the drone fly better with less working rotors if there’s an emergency.

But production capacity is usually about personal recharge and recovery, as well as increasing our personal capabilities. It might be that you spend 3 days working really hard then have a couple of days to relax and recharge.

Or you might spend a couple of weeks on a training course or learning new systems.

Another way of thinking about the right balance is about the need to find the right tension for a violin (or guitar) string – too tense or too slack and it won’t sound right. It needs to be tuned just right. Which is to say that over- or under-exerting yourself too much is detrimental to your physical and mental health, and thus your happiness. This is mostly because of our biology and need to have some glucocorticoid stress hormones in order to even get up and be productive. But too much or too little stress can be crippling. It’s a narrow range.

Given we are changing the cultural definition of success, Your status will be based more on a meritocracy. It’s likely to revolve around how you are contributing to society.

An example is that of two people. One helps a little old lady up the stairs every day. Another is an engineer called Elisha Otis who develops the safety elevator. Now elevators around the Earth are helping millions of people an hour move up and down.

Other people might focus on powering such buildings and elevators with renewables and thus reduce the damage done to the environment and damage to people’s lungs from coal power plants. Although those aren’t an option on Mars.

Now we just need musicians to create better muzak elevator music. Ohh and an omni-vator that can go anywhere in the Mars base would be really good.

Tao #3. Reducing needless violence, waste and stratification towards zero


We should seek to minimise needless violence. Be it direct or indirect, structural or ephemeral. Physical, Emotional, Financial or even Intellectual violence.

But mostly the focus should be on reducing destructive physical violence, from fist fights to being stabbed or shot.

We can never achieve zero suffering, at least not as biological entities. Our biology wired us to survive, not to be blissfully happy, and there are forms of suffering that are important for our development, from physical or mental exercise, to the “suffering” of a tree being blown in the wind to strengthen it.

These things harden us and let us better cope with the realities of life in a complex universe.

There is also certain types of creative destruction, as part of the dynamic equilibrium process which will be covered in Tao #5.

Despite humanity’s advances and general reduction in violence in the last few hundred years, there is still a lot of needless suffering. As I record this we have Russia trying to invade Ukraine and Israel and Palestine at a much more intense level of fighting.

One way of dealing with violence is as Gary Slutkin explains well in his TED talk, we should be treating violence like a contagious disease. You don’t want to inflict or spread it.

Think about it. If someone invades your country and kills your friends and family, are you going to keep growing up to be a Doctor or Lawyer or are you more likely to become a soldier 🪖 or what the other side will call a terrorist?

If you grow up in a destitute neighbourhood where dealing drugs and being in a gang are the easiest forms of employment, then it’s going to be very hard to become a software developer or molecular biologist.

If you are treating Violence as an epidemic then you want to Interrupt transmission, Prevent further spread and Change the group norms.

As an example, if you are treating the gun violence in America then you would:

  1. Interrupt transmission – Detect and find the first cases. If it was Covid you’d be swabbing people’s nose for it. If it’s violence it could be having people in the neighbourhood notice when someone gets angry 🤬 e.g they feel that someone else was disgusted by them and wants to go fight them.
  2. Prevent further spread – Find people who are exposed, but might not be spreading violence right now. Like someone hanging out in the same group.
  3. Change group norms – If it was an epidemic you’d increase hand washing or wearing PPE. But in this case it’s about shifting the norms so that violence as a response is reprehensible. Where doing a drive by shooting because you think someone kissed your girlfriend isn’t acceptable. You need community activities, education and remodelling what good behaviours are.

To help facilitate those steps you end up with violence interrupters. People signed up from the same groups, but trained in persuasion and reframing. People who are good at cooling people down from heated emotions. You also have Outreach workers which are effectively putting people at risk or who have caused violence on a treatment plan for 12-24 months to enact long term behaviour change instead of sending them to prison.

You can put up signage and do local campaigns, like tracking how long since the last shooting.

But applying this on a country level you start seeing how there are countries and people still fighting for problems which go back to World War 2 or even before.

We will still need to have the equivalent of laws and ways of dealing with people who break them. However as Dr Robert Sapolsky explains, most people would do the same thing in that persons position. The best option of reducing violence is to reduce the need for it by ensuring adequate access to resources. So the best ways of dealing with people who have stolen things, hurt others or caused problems isn’t to put them in prison. It’s usually to rehabilitate them. If they are doing drugs and being irresponsible, then help get them out of the situation which is causing them to become so stressed and then help get them off the addiction.

If they are prone to violent outbursts then they’ll likely need anger management training, or possibly restraints.

We currently treat mental health in a very negative light and will need to change that in the future.

But I see the target reduction to be that towards a lower baseline, like an asymptote. However that’s not going to hit zero, because we want to increase our anti-fragility.

Also, the corollary to increasing tolerance is the paradox of tolerance. Which says we should not tolerate the intolerant. As per Karl Poppers famous quote.

We should strive to be able to tolerate many different environments, including cultural ones. This means we need to be able to cope with violence from humans as well as the damage that can be caused from the environment.

That’s one of the main reasons I don’t support victimhood culture nor idea supremacists.

As explained in What’s Our Problem by Tim Urban there’s currently 3 main cultures. Dignity Culture, Honour culture and Victim hood culture. Dignity Culture is like the wild west, if someone calls you some words you don’t like then because you distrust authority, but are sensitive emotionally, you beat them up. If someone steals your stuff and beats up your family then you bring justice to your own hands.

Honour culture is the current prevailing culture and if someone calls you words you’d recite to yourself “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”. You try having a thick skin for people saying bad things about you. If someone steals your stuff and beats up your family then you go to the police and get justice. That said, you also attempt to use non-violent communication.

However there’s a growing trend of what Tim Urban calls Social Justice Fundamentalists which would see even tiny things as a slight and instead of having a thick skin and just taking it, they label it a micro-aggression and look to an authority to do something about it. If possible they’ll appeal to the nearby authorities. If it’s not a legal issue that the police will handle then they’ll use support groups to have the person punished. They’ll often use cancel culture and turn everyone against that person, socially casting them out, which is very harming. Such SJF or Social Justice Fundamentalists will even apply current social norms to what people said decades ago. Which is why people like Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was briefly cancelled for joke tweets he made over 10 years before. Even Martin Luther King, was not openly for gay rights as that wasn’t within the Overton window at the time.

The cultures explained as in a schoolyard:

Dignity Culture Bobby calls Johnny stupid. Johnny punches him back.

Honour culture Bobby calls Johnny stupid. Johnny says “I know you are, but what am I”, then walks away.

Victim hood culture Bobby calls Johnny stupid. Johnny runs to the teacher to tell on him and get Bobby in trouble.

Of these 3, being able to take some insults and having thick skin is important. It’s the most tolerant, least violent and most anti-fragile.


Waste comes in a variety of forms, from material to thermal, energy, time, emotional and mental.

Most waste is actually just a form of energy or material for which we don’t yet have a process of managing and putting back into the ecosystem.

Within an abundance-centred society, we live using the Closed loop material system. As with water and carbon cycles, we track the materials flow, from metals and plastics to fibres and electronics. Items are designed to be both long-lasting, easily repaired, and also able to be broken down into their constituent parts, to be reused in new ways. Alternatively, they are designed to only last a short time, but are bio-nutritional and thus good for the environment.

Instead of garbage bins in the park, there’re signs saying “please litter here”, because of the bio-nutritional packaging. There’s also the Tupperware economy – reusable containers that are part of an interconnected distribution system, in which case you would put the strong, reusable containers into an appropriate bin-like receptacle for them to be taken away, cleaned and reused.

In such a Cradle to Cradle system, nearly all material items can be repaired, reused, recycled or composted. However there is still energy used in such processes and therefore, we don’t want to needlessly generate large amounts of waste.

It’s unlikely we will ever be able to prevent the release of all thermal and other forms of waste energy from dispersing, as entropy is hard to stop. However we shouldn’t needlessly waste energy.

The wasting of time, and emotional and mental energies, is likely one of the more interesting challenges. Note that we should definitely spend lots of mental energy, processing thoughts, we will have to go through lots of emotional turmoil in our lives, and we will spend a lot of time doing seemingly little. But most of what people consider time wasters, such as computer games and TV shows, can provide positive benefits, even if they are simply entertainment or as a stress coping mechanism.

But there is a large amount of needless bureaucracy and other actual wastes of time: the filling in of forms and applying for things can be astounding wastes of time. Most paperwork could be automated, simplified or simply removed. Even not knowing when the public bus should arrive, because the website doesn’t work properly is bad enough. But usually you need to pay for your ticket and if you need a special card to track that, then you have to go through lots of effort to get one.

Thankfully in an Abundance Centered Society, whilst we will track resource usage, we can do so in a general and automated fashion. We don’t need to require people to pay for everything and it will dramatically reduce a lot of needless line ups and wasted time.

Even simply having free Wifi means IoT and lots of devices will be able to connect freely and easily, opening up whole new areas of possibilities.


The reduction of needless stratification helps address the extremes of wealth and poverty, especially when paired with competition, often reduce our ability to innovate and be productive.

The work by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in the book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better explains this well.

Social Stratification is the hierarchical or vertical division of society, according to rank, caste or class. Humans have elements of both pair-bonding and tournament, alpha male systems. Thus, like many animals, we will automatically and nearly subconsciously rank people according to different traits, be it dominance, intelligence or skill at playing Super Mario Brothers. However, intentionally reducing access to required resources, based on such ranking, is something to be avoided, as it causes structural violence and reduces individuals’ capabilities. Remember, people have different traits, and you shouldn’t judge a fish for it’s ability to climb a tree.

Most people can accept a difference of say 3x between the richest to poorest. But the difference in income inequality between the richest 1% and the bottom 20% is at least 104x as much and CEO pay is 324x that of worker pay as of 2021 in USA.

Going back to the pyramid hierarchy, the less you earn, the lower down the pyramid you are and there’s a more pshyco-social stress that occurs. This affects everyone from the 2nd highest earner down to the lowest.

That means you can look at nearly any index like:

  • Life Expectancy
  • Math and Literacy
  • Trust
  • Social Mobility

and they are all lower in countries with higher social stratification. Even in countries like USA or Australia which have a high GDP per person, has worse measures than countries with a lower GDP per person but also less social stratification, like Japan, Sweden and other nordic countries, but even countries like Spain.

In other stats, these were higher and worse in countries with higher social stratification. Things like:

  • Infant Mortality
  • Homicides
  • Imprisonment
  • Teenage Births
  • Obesity
  • Mental Illness
  • Drug and Alcohol addiction

All worse on these social problems the higher the social stratification.

Even if it does help the poor more, reduced social stratification helps everyone, the rich and poor alike.

Also, we all do better, by us all doing better.

You could be the richest person on the planet, part of the 0.001% who own way more than their fair share, however if you get sick – be it cancer or some rare disease – you will still die.

But it’s possible that someone currently in a developing country has had the education and has the right mental model to create a cure for what ails you, but instead of researching and developing it, they are stuck doing menial tasks to pay off medical bills or student debt and aren’t given the opportunities they need to explore that. But even people who are rather well off are still going to have reduced innovation, reduced health and other issues because they are comparing themselves to the richest people in the world.

By the same token, I wouldn’t want the life of Elon Musk, currently the richest person alive. When every minute of your time is measured in tens of thousands of dollars and you run multiple businesses, it’s hard to enjoy spending time with your family or even just resting.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the research shows money does buy happiness, but only up to a point. If you earn $120 a year, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to even buy enough water. At $1,200 a year you are still destitute and living in poverty. At $12k/yr you are likely living in a house, not a cardboard box and probably have a mobile phone. At $120k/yr you can live with your family in a nice house, have a car, go out travelling once or twice a year. So for $120k/yr in countries like Australia and USA, if you earn more, you don’t really increase your happiness. Instead if you started earning $12 Million a year you would become more stressed, but your quality of life would not drastically improve, even if you think it would.

In an Abundance Centered Society you don’t need to work in order to financially survive. You will still want to contribute to society and the systems that support you and your fellows. So the financial stresses will be replaced with other motivation.

By reducing violence, waste and stratification towards zero whilst having abundance, is what puts pressures on the systems to be changed, hopefully towards the good of all.

Meta analysis

I want to discuss why I’ve selected these Tao and think they are important. Also mentioning the good and bad points about them.

  1. Abundance mindset Why Our current monetary system expects infinite growth, but on a finite planet and we are hitting the limits of growth and have overshot the carrying capacity of the Earth. Unfortunately due to inertia it’s going to be hard to change, so an Abundance Centered Society is a new system which makes the existing model obsolete.

Because there’s no existing biosphere to make use of, Capitalism wouldn’t do well on Mars, hence getting ACeS working on Mars is a good first step.

An Abundance Centered Society also tackles the current issues that our monetary based system causes and allows us to reach a new stage of human development instead of having to regress.

Whilst other alternative economic systems have been proposed, none tackle as many of the issues as an Abundance Centered Society.


  • We will have a stable system, that’s not actively destroying human wellbeing nor the environment.
  • We won’t have to think of humans as a virus, destroying everything
  • We shouldn’t be worried about building a bunker and trying to survive some sort of apocalypse like end of civilisation.

Bad The downside to a Cradle to Cradle based system is that building things will be harder, or at least hard in a different way. No longer will things be built to break down just after the warranty expires, instead they’ll be built to last, but also using fewer different chemicals, especially shunning anything that’s toxic to humans.

For example you wouldn’t have a juice box anymore, those usually contain 6 layers of paper, polyethylene, and aluminium foil. In an ACeS you instead would have containers made of glass, metal or plastic. But not a crazy miss mash that’s hard to recycle. Those containers would also be washed and reused many thousands of times.

So things would be done differently.

Access Abundance also means getting rid of most Private property. You still have personal items. Your underwear is yours to use and so is your bed. But any materials repurposed from when you have grown out of them or moved on, will be very well sterilised and unwoven into a new set of raw materials.

Getting rid of money, private property and inheritance and is going to be a big mental leap for many. Some might not be able to make the jump directly and there’s some alternative economic ideas floating around that are trying to be a stepping stone.

Because it’s such a big leap, applying an Abundance Centered Society to Earth will require a big change, moving the Overton window a long distance, changing what’s considered acceptable in society. This will take time.

It’s hoped that such a change will be easier for the people going to Mars as it’ll be a part of their training and they’ll have a 7 month trip over to get used to it. Plus it’ll be such a different environment that the existing norms just don’t apply.

  1. Responsibility based Why: Because we need something other than a monetary based social system and hierarchy.

The other options include things like meritocracy but that’s hard to quantify.

More of a disaster scenario is using Whuffie / Sesame credit or some sort of Social credit. Where people rate others behaviours.

It was shown well in the Black Mirror TV show. Season 3 episode 1 called “Nosedive”, with Bryce Dallas Howard playing as Lacie, who gets bad ratings from people and so can’t fly to a friends wedding and instead ends up having to drive in a crappy car, has to walk, makes a fool of herself and ends up with a rating so low she goes to jail.

Or even better is the book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, one of my favourite authors.


  • A responsibility based system means people are trying to look after each other and the system
  • It should be inherently anti-fragile
  • It allows for a lot of different ways people can contribute, both individually and together
  • It helps for people be in a flow state. Trying to do work that’s just a bit above their current skill level. One of the most rewarding things people can be doing.


  • Responsibility based is somewhat vague and hard to quantify. Although I’m sure people will try using systems like Copiosis’s Net Benefit Reward. The fact that it’s hard to quantify is also a positive, it should be hard to game the system using shortcuts.
  • There’s possibly more meritocratic systems out there, I just don’t know of any.
  • Whenever you focus on a particular metric it’s at the expense of others. So what else are we missing? Maybe a focus on exploration or family.
  • It could, and is unfortunately likely to be taken to the extreme. For example, just because there’s systems out there that don’t directly support us, doesn’t mean we should actively destroy them. Thankfully reducing violence should help counter some of those extremes.
  • An Abundance Centered Society, with the focus on automation and systems design, means there should be a lot less work for people. This is good, but a downside is that people might find themselves seeming to be a freeloader, not able to contribute to society very easily. It could take decades of education and personal development before people can make meaningful contributions. Whilst the first few hundred thousand people on Mars are likely to be rather busy, eventually there will be a time when people don’t need to actively work to survive. Which is perfectly fine, except we have a built in, possibly biological need to find and root out freeloaders who aren’t contributing. Something we’ll need to contend with.
  1. Reduction Target Why: Because we need to aim towards something and these seem like good aims.


  • It’s hard to argue that violence, waste and stratification are things that we should increase.
  • We will be dramatically reducing the amount of material waste through a change to Cradle to Cradle Closed Loop material flows.
  • With IoT sensors on nearly everything and a well designed Resource Engine, we can do the required resource tracking without much bureaucracy


  • We might find better targets in the future.
    • But I don’t think happiness is a good thing to aim towards as you’d end up with a Brave New World type of situation with people taking Soma, there’s certainly other both positive and negative targets which could be better. For example being in the flow could be a target to increase, however you can do that by simply playing computer games, or gambling, things which aren’t as beneficial to society. So instead of aiming for it directly, I expect that how much people are in the flow state as a useful indicator, not target.
  • We’ll want to directly measure Violence, Waste and Stratification. However as per Goodhart’s law “when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
  • Over-optimising a system towards certain outcomes can cause issues with the system as a whole.
  • We don’t want zero waste, zero stratification nor even zero violence.
  • Zero waste means there’s no slack in the system, it would be very fragile. It would also likely only be looking at one type of waste, like that of physical materials, but might be very energy intensive or labour intensive.
  • Zero stratification likely means there’s a very very bad case of tall poppy syndrome. You want people to stand out, just in different ways. We’ve got a bunch of different intelligence types like:
    • Linguistic
    • Logical
    • Spatial
    • Musical
    • Kinesthetic
    • Inter and Intra personal
    • Existential
    • and even Naturalistic
  • People should be able to use their skills in useful ways. But at different times in humanity’s development different skills are more important. Farming using to be very important, where as with the rise of YouTube and social media, education and entertainment is becoming more revered. Engineering is likely to be important in the early days on Mars, but maybe when we start doing long space flight, the ability to do spacewalks and withstand lots of long trips in nearly Zero G will matter. The point is, if we have things of societal importance, some projects or goals, then we’ll have some sort of reward function on those things that matter. We’ll reward those people more and direct more resources towards certain skills and there will be stratification. If you don’t reward people, you aren’t incentivising them and you end up without focus. But the rewards shouldn’t be the necessities of life, those should be a given.
  • When I talk about violence, I’m trying to refer to physical harm. However there’s been a push to expand the meaning to include even small emotional harm. But we can’t completely smooth out life, and we shouldn’t. We need adversity in order to make us stronger. Our society also needs to be able to do things like demolish an old house, especially if it’s to make way for a new, amazing archology. You might be sad that your old childhood house is no longer there and feel some emotional loss. But it’s a part of the creative destruction that comes with the ever changing nature of the Universe, which is covered more in Tao 5 “Dynamic Equilibrium”.

Hopefully some of this meta analysis on the Tao points helps give a better view on them. Let me know at or any main social media site for the podcast if you have any further analysis and thoughts.

John’s Story – Fish Crisis

John is sitting in the cafeteria, looking at his phone, working.
He works in Food distribution. Making sure the food that’s harvested is processed, cooked, stored or composted correctly.

His main well known feature is the always fresh fruit bowl.
He setup a regular rotation of the apples, bananas, grapes and other fruits so that after being automatically picked by a robot, a select set would be ripened, then transported to the fruit bowls in people’s rooms or the cafeteria.

If uneaten for a while then before they’d go off they would be replaced with new fruits and the old ones would be used to make things like cakes, shakes or jams.
If people never ate the fruits then eventually the fruit bowl would stop being filled.
Thankfully having a great transport system and robot arms inside people’s dining room made this possible.

Apart from projects like that, it’s actually a pretty easy job given how automated it is. John is mostly needed for the weird edge cases.

In an Abundance Centred Society people get food according to their biological requirements.
For example if you have more muscles or are more active, you need more calories.
If you are pregnant, you need some special vitamins.

The aquaponics systems need to be sized to make enough food for:

  • The people who are on the base,
  • The new people who are arriving from Earth
  • The people returning to Earth
  • and have enough slack in case of various failures
    So you want fairly full food stocks.

On Mars, most people have fortnightly blood tests to ensure they have enough vitamins and minerals and they aren’t loosing too much muscle or bone through atrophy because of the lower gravity.
Their watch acts as an activity monitor.
Those who are at risk often have daily eye blood testing whereby a specialised camera can view the blood at the back of your eye to get things like an approximate blood count and also look for certain disease markers.

Your dietary macros and micros are worked out regularly and most people will order food for the next day so there’s plenty of time for the system to prepare it. When you go to order food the digital menu is organised with some competing priorities. There’s both what types of food you like, what will be easiest to meet your nutritional requirements as well as what the food availability is, like if it’s in surplus, in frozen storage, or if some ingredients just aren’t available anymore.

This means that the menu you can order from is different based on the current availability, although there’s a lot of work done to keep a select set of foods always available.

Thankfully there’s a fairly regular cadence of food expectations.
You know how many people there are and how many serves of grains, meat, fruits and veggies are going to be needed in aggregate.
Things like Apples, Oranges, Bananas, grapes. Plus things like Potatoes, Tomatoes, Lettuce and Cucumber.
Recently they added Mangos, Pineapples, and Avocados which after some years have finally grown up enough to be productive and have added a nice sweet or creamy texture, unlocking new recipes.

The food is grown in large vertical farming systems which are a bunch of hermetically sealed rooms. There’s a lot of control over the light levels, water, nutrients and other aspects.
This allows the horticulturalists to have batches of foods become ripened at different times throughout the year. This reduces the variability over when the fruits are produced. Instead of a lot being available only for a short harvesting period a couple of times a year, the artificial seasons are offset in different batches, so there’s at least a set of each main food group ripening each month. It also helps with the bees they use for pollination.

There’s also grain food. Mostly wheat and soybeans, but also some barley, rye and sugar cane. These are grown in what is basically brightly lit, but barely tall enough to stand in warehouses, with thin soil.

For the plants to grow they need the carbon from the atmosphere. They are great CO2 scrubbers that way. Combining it with the hydrogen from water to make starches and glucose.
So the vast majority of their mass comes from the water and air.
But they also need other nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and others.
This is the equivalent of vitamins for us.

The air and water circulation systems do the heavy lifting. In fact most plant rooms have extra high CO2 levels.
However there is a lot of complexity in actually in providing the extra nutrients.

There’s a 4 way system for those inputs. The waste water system provides the largest input stream, with the combined composting, chickens and Aquaponics systems helping with the rest.

The waste water system helps close the primary loop. People eat food, they can’t absorb all of the materials and pass some of it out. The toilets are hooked up to the waste water system which takes the excrement and puts it all into big, highly aerated vats full of bacteria.
The bacteria eat the poop and turn it into something more biologically safe.
The bacterial sludge is then scraped from the bottom, killed off, blended and then fed into the hydroponics water system.

But there’s excess sources of biological nutrients. This includes food waste from cooking or people not eating everything, and also plant matter left over from the production of things like coffee, rubber, cooking oils and organic hydrocarbons.

A lot of that can be dealt with using composting. Putting food scraps in and having it turn into soil. You have to get the mixture of nitrogen to carbon somewhat right and it’s made much faster by using worms.
This system is extra sped up by the use of chickens which can also eat a lot of food scraps and turn them into eggs and poop.

But there’s also a need for Fish in the Aquaponics system which are feed things like the wheat and soybean chaff, plus some of the processed food scraps, and compost materials, to help produce ammonia for the plants.

Ammonia or especially the nitrate it’s turned into by some more bacterial processes in their water is a great source of Nitrogen for the plants.

All of these systems together means there’s very little that escapes the biological nutrient cycle. Once matter enters the cycle it just needs energy to keep it flowing through and thus be keeping people well fed.

The system has to keep increasing in size and has large demand spikes when people arrive from Earth. But there’s usually a 5 to 9 month lead time on new arrivals and you know exactly how many new people are coming.

Still, sometimes there’s some unexpected spikes in supply or demand.

Unfortunately, now is one of those unexpected times.

John learns about what happened

John’s phone rings. He picks it up “Hi Caroline, what’s up?” he asked with a smile on his face.

Caroline started bawling her eyes out and sobbing “They, they’re gone

John: “OK, Caroline, take a deep breathe and tell me again. What happened, who is gone?

Caroline: “I’m sorry John, but they are dead. So many of them are dead!” She cried

John is getting rather worried. Who died. OMG, did a meteor hit a part of the base and he wasn’t notified? His heart raced and he started to sweat as he had a spike of adrenaline.

Caroline cries for a few more moments before blowing her nose. John has to move the phone away from his ear. When he moves it back he can hear her talking, like she’d regained her composure.

Caroline: “The filters were getting clogged all the time, the water was really murky you could barely see anything. So we purged the T2 Aquaponics system and sent the robots in to clean it out. All worked as anticipated. As you know it’s a big system, it’s our biggest Aquaponics setup.

As she stopped to breathe John was screaming inside his head “Who died? How many people?” How could the Aquaponics system kill people? But he patiently waited.

Caroline continued “We needed fresh water, not the muck that was there before. So we tapped most of what was in the large emergency storage tank, knowing that what we’d just sent to the waste water treatment plant would end up there soon enough. But there’s an issue. In order to work even without power the water is stored in a tower, above ground. It’s currently rather cold outside and well, the insulation only works so well and the heating is kept minimal, it’s usually only at 4°C just enough to keep from freezing, so yeah, they died, nearly all of them.

John had already started running for the aquaponics section of the base. He kept waiting for her to explain how something broke and the place flooded or some electrical system fried people. He kept expecting to see some base wide alert show up. His friends faces were flashing in front of his eyes, alternating between smiling and dying in pain.

John couldn’t contain it “WHAT? I don’t understand.
What happened?
Caroline. Please, tell me, do you at least know many people died?

Caroline sobered up, realising what she’d done and replied “What, ohh no one died, it was the fish. All our fish died.
She started to cry again as she explained “The water was too cold for them. They died of thermal shock. When I’d looked at the input water temperature it said it was fine, but of course that’s right by the door, not deep in the water tower. Why didn’t I think about it? Why didn’t I check the water temperature again before re-introducing them? It’s my fault” then Caroline blew her nose again.

John stopped running and his brain switched gears. Ohh, it wasn’t a person. His friends were all OK.
The fish. The T2 system was their biggest. Many times larger than all of the others combined.
John asked “Caroline, how many fish are we talking about?
She replied “Umm let me think. We had to put them into a bunch of holding tanks before we refilled the system. They were pretty crammed in there but if I remove some weight for the water…. I think about 754 tonnes worth
John gasp “Ohh…. Ohhhhh. That’s a lot.”
Caroline replied “Yeah, I’m sorry and now we don’t know where to put them, The system says long term food storage can’t take it all, can’t even get it in there fast enough. Can you help with that?
Before John could form a response he could here someone talking to her in the background “Hey, I’ve got to go” and she hung up.

John immediately switched to the food distribution section of the Resource Engine app. There was normally only fish being added when they died off from old age. Maybe a few hundred kilograms a day.
He could see that they would easily overwhelm the 5 tonnes available in the base’s active reserves, waiting to be immediately cooked and eaten. He put the highest priority on eating fish. For the next few weeks fish was going to be the primary food item on the menu.

Over the next few hours he managed to survey the situation. There was a large mass of dead fish in the Aquaponics system. Mostly a large set of tanks which fed water into the primary grain and hydroponic fruits and veggies.
There was some automated systems for detecting and gathering dead fish in what are essentially giant aquariums. Usually the fish they floated or sometimes sunk but the systems simply weren’t designed for this level of load. They could carry out no more than 1 tonne of fish an hour. It would take a month just to remove the dead fish from the tanks using the existing system.

Thankfully they could fairly easily fill up the holding tanks again, but now with dead fish.

It was pretty obvious what the best course of action was after that:

  1. Try to eat as many fish as possible
  2. Store as many fish as possible
  3. Process the rest of the fish into fish food or as composting feed.

Freezing the fish was easy in theory. You just put them into a storage warehouse that’s not very well thermally isolated. It’s cold outside at the moment.

But the Martian dust is toxic, and clingy so you can’t just leave them outside like in Antarctica. It also sometimes gets above 20°C outside, so you need thermally regulated, partly pressurised frozen storage space.
We also want to keep as much heat as possible, so you ideally want to use a heat pump to freeze the fish first so we can use the heat for the new water.

However the frozen food stores are usually kept as full as possible and there wasn’t easily a 700 m3 (meter cubed) or nearly 9m x 9m x 9m area available. That’s the size of a 2 story building on Earth.

Basically they couldn’t store it, nor freeze it fast enough.
But they could probably store 50% of it.

To even get them there it would require a massive effort to drain most of the water again, have a continuous stream of robots filling up buckets and taking them to be frozen.

John’s mind was racing. He had already messaged Andy about programming the robots and Caroline about the holding tanks. He was now bringing more people into a group chat, seeing if anyone else on the base had some good ways of storing them.
He talked to Caroline and suggested that they keep the water from getting warm, even if that means they have to keep a stream of freezing water over the fish. The water was thankfully close to freezing already. That would reduce the chances of them going off.

The Mars base currently had provisions for up to 5 tonnes of fish to be in short term storage. This was where the fish which had just died would be kept in a standing tank before being selected, cooked and eaten.

Eating lots of fish was fine for most people as there wasn’t many forms of meat. It was mostly fish or the occasional chicken. It’s normally not a problem because there was plenty of protein in the veggies.
Some people were vegetarian and vegan. They wouldn’t even see the fish as a food option.
But for everyone else they already had to scroll quite far down in the menu app before seeing anything else but something with a serving of Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Tilapia or some other fish food menu item.

The group of them worked together and released a notice to the rest of the base letting everyone know what had happened.

Someone pointed out that if it was an excess of fruits then they could turn it into Jam.

So maybe they could setup some of the preservation and tinning equipment for having dried or tinned fish.
It looks like they’d be able to have tinned tuna and sardines that could last years, although it would take weeks to spin things up properly, but they could start drying out lots of the fish now if they used some of the excess heat from the Iron Forge and they’d need some metal anyway to help tin what they didn’t want to dry. Overall they should be able to preserve 250 tonnes worth.

Some would spoil, but that could be made into a paste and given to the new fish which would be introduced into the system from the other Aquaponics systems. That is, after the T2 system was properly refilled with nicely heated water.

Overall not too bad. John and the others managed to make the most of a bad situation. There had been an increase in fish bones stuck in people’s teeth, but that was about it.

There’s also now a thermometer placed closer to the centre of water tanks, rooms and other places and an estimated average temperature is shown. This is especially important where there’s a large temperature gradient. Not just in tanks which are outside of the normal heated zone of the base, but also rooms which have been deactivated and aren’t heated nor pressurised in order to save energy.

There’s also alarms setup for the main Aquarium water if it gets too cold and it would prevent doing that again.

Johns Capitalism Story

Under Capitalism John is working for the Rossum Food corporation and is their main point man. He is the manager in charge.

He gets a message from Caroline “Urgent: The T2 fish are dead

John heads over and takes some photos and gets the details from Caroline.
He has already drafted a message for the corporation back on Earth.

It’ll be 18 minutes before they even get the message.
Apart from checking that the dead fish extractor was working, they waited idly for what ended up being 2 hours.

The Email

The email response was professional but not pleasant.

Dear John Denver Jr,

Regarding your email titled "Dead fish in T2", we would like to remind you that the Rossum Food corporation is trying to poise itself as catering to the upper middle class and has recently had to compete with companies offering force fed ducks livers or caviar. These competitors have recently reduced their price offerings and started aggressive marketing, as you yourself have previously highlighted to us.
Thankfully they are still many times the price of our fish offering, however Rossum does not want to get pushed into a lower tier market. We want to maintain our $150/Kg price point.

We have discussed the options and investigated the price of long term storage, composting and equipment hire. Given the current rate of food consumption we have calculated an optimal outcome which will prevent us from flooding the market with cheap fish whilst not costing us a lot to dispose of the rest.

As such you are ordered to do the following:

1. Fill up the Martian base's short term food reserves. We understand this should be capable of at least 5 Tonnes and is a part of our free allocation. However don't reduce the price.

2. Put 52 tonnes of fish into long term storage. We've secured a contract with the Mars storage facility and they should be reaching out to you shortly to organise logistics.

3. Fire Caroline immediately. Her incompetence has cost the company over $100 Million in lost potential revenue. This is unacceptable. As per Martian rules, we've released enough funds from escrow so she can buy a ticket back to Earth. But she won't receive a pay check for the current month. We are currently investigating if we can sue her in court.

4. We have credited your personal account with enough to cover hiring a martian digger and a large transport truck for 1 hour. You are to contact the number provided and ask for Joe. You are then to take the digger to a spot over the horizon, away from the view of the base and dig a large enough hole to put the remaining fish into. Then cover them up. We estimate this will take more than 1 hour and you will have to use your personal account to cover the remaining costs. You are the person in charge and this happened under your watch.

Signed, The Rossum Food Corporation

John read the email and sighed.
He showed Caroline the email and she started to cry.
But, how will I survive?” She whimpers.
I’ve only got enough savings for a month unpaid, not over a year and they won’t even pay me for what I’ve already worked?

After a few moments she starts to get angry and says “It’s expensive to live here, 10x worse than living in New York. So either I die of starvation, homeless on Mars, in the next few months, or I can’t afford the flight back and die of starvation, homeless on Mars.”

John said “Maybe you can get another job here?

Caroline chuckled in amused anger.
Have you ever heard of someone getting a job on Mars? You get a Job, train for a year or more and THEN go to Mars. They also have a backup for your role in case you die during your tour. Nope, I don’t think I can survive. All because of some stupid gauge didn’t tell me it was freezing cold water“.

She stormed off.

John called the number and got suited up, ready for a walk outside.
It was many hours later when he returned. Despite using a mining hauler. He had to do 7 trips in the truck.
There was no way the mound would be invisible, but he was guessing no one would question it, at least for a while.

That night John rocked up at Caroline’s place, rolling a large barrel there.
She looked confused when she opened the door.
Look Caroline, I don’t think it’s right what they did to you, nor what they just made me do. I can’t go against their wishes, so don’t tell them I helped you. But here’s some fish. You should be able to last another couple of months just off these and some cheap veggies. You are a smart capable woman, I’m sure you’ll be able to land another job in the mean time” said John.

Thank you John, thank you” she replied and Caroline’s stress seemed to melt away from her. She was so relieved.

But the story wasn’t over.
They had just taken out a large amount of biological nutrients from the system and it would cause intermittent cascading failures.
Over the coming months it would be hard for the vertical farms to get enough nutrients. The fish stocks never recuperated and the prices of food increased. Those on minimum wage were put under even more financial and physical stress as they could barely sustain themselves.

The Rossum Food Corp were happy because being a piece of critical infrastructure they’d managed to get financial compensation from the government for much of their potential losses.
They’d also chased away their competitors who had to raise their prices as their stocks also diminished.

Tao short version (again)

I’ll reiterate the short version before finishing up.

The core tenets of an abundance Centered Society are:

  1. Abundance Mindset – Creating abundance through Cradle to Cradle, systems design, Access Abundance, and Automation.
  2. Responsibility Based – You should look after the systems that support you and your fellows.
  3. Reduction Target – Try to reduce needless violence, waste and stratification.
  4. Scientific Method – We want to pursue abundant knowledge, but apply it ethically.
  5. Dynamic Equilibrium – We should expect change, just as our Universe is always changing.
  6. Dataism – With enough data we can have previous examples to go on, and select the best course of action, even if it goes against our instincts and emotions. This is the next stage beyond Humanism.
  7. Integral – This is about understanding yourself and how to reason, in order to increase your personal sensemaking. This includes psychometric profiling systems like the OCEAN model and Spiral Dynamics Integral.
  8. Intelligence Quadrant – Try to be in the intelligence quadrant, where you do things that are good for you and for good others.
  9. Collective Sense making – This is about taking your perspectives and merging them with others to better understand an issue. It’s also about trying to expand empathy towards all living beings.
  10. Collective Decision Making – This is about selecting the best decision making framework and synthesising the best decisions given the constraints.
  11. Your Own – 11 and 12 are bonus Tao’s for you to work out, either individually or collectively in the future.


Some random facts about me:

  1. Conceived in Australia, Born in England to British and German parents. I grew up in Australia and am now living in the Philippines. I have travelled through Europe, America and South East Asia.
  2. I went to 7 schools and 2 universities. Although never completed a degree. But I’ve got a life long passion for learning.
  3. I’ve been playing a lot of Occupy Mars recently, which is similar to the type of game I’d love to create for simulating Mars survival.

Needless to say, I’ve had a lot of lived experience with a variety of cultural perspectives.

For this months recommendation I want to suggest Cradle to Cradle. The book, the movie and the way of building things. I love the book titled Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things which was written by architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart and came out in 2002. I’ve got a physical copy and it’s not made of paper but a synthetic polymer. But I know more people will likely watch the YouTube video or TED talk.

I’d also like to recommend the Game B people, including Daniel Schmactenburger and Jordan Hall. They’ve created some really good content regarding collective sensemaking on the Rebel Wisdom YouTube channel which you should check out, but are also on other channels. They are at the forefront of civilisation defining philosophy and thought.

Hopefully they, and yourself can review this podcast episode and find some of the flaws with my thinking so I can update the Tao of ACeS with even better solutions in later episodes.

I’ve got Tao 4 to 6 to explain in the next episode.

Let’s go for ACeS

Have a good one

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