Shifting for Solutions

A problem-solution research effort by Needful Provision, Inc. (NPI)

NPI will now engage in a research effort to make the public aware of benefits of any specific change, or shift, in national priorities and policies. Given adequate resources, we will advise the U.S. Congress, and legislative bodies worldwide, of any critical need to undertake specific “shifting” actions in the interest of their populations.

As an example of a necessary shift, we can no longer afford to spend billions of dollars in subsidies to expand the burning of coal and oil ---an activity that is known to increase the quantity of environmentally destructive “greenhouse” gases. Instead, our subsidies need to support the development of alternative energy systems.

Many economists have long endorsed the need for tax shifting by lowering income taxes while raising taxes on environmentally destructive activities. In Germany, a recent shift of taxes from labor to energy has already lowered fuel use by 05 percent. Finland added a tax on carbon emissions, and this tax has lowered those emissions some 01 percent annually since 1990. In the U.S., a high tax on environmentally destructive chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) helped to end their use. Tax shifting works, and it does achieve the desired results.

By reducing taxes on income, labor becomes less costly thereby helping to create more jobs. When you shift the tax to environmentally destructive activities, tax revenues remain relatively stable and the environment is better protected.

If we properly shift foreign aid priorities, population stability can be achieved in those areas where there is already extensive over-consumption of both natural and capital assets. A part of this shift must include stabilization of falling water tables, reduction of soil erosion, and economic inclusion of now isolated, impoverished populations. A failure to accomplish such a shift will result in population increases that cannot be supported. Poor and angry populations will continue to provide the “seedbed” for terrorism and high levels of conflict. Effective foreign aid is the least expensive solution to these problems. The basic tools of effective foreign aid are food, medicine, education, and microlending.

In order to long survive, we must shift from a dishonest market to an honest market. The current, dishonest market seldom adds indirect costs for goods and services, it does not place a value on natural systems preservation, and sustainable yield thresholds are not respected. What we now have is an economic formula that guarantees decline in many areas. Accounting systems that overstate income and leave most costs off the books have encouraged all of this.

Global military spending now exceeds $800 billion per year. The military forces and military hardware created have a limited, short-term capability to achieve or sustain peace in this world. A shift is needed to allow 20 percent of these funds to be used for the resolution of those problems that typically cause conflict. The road-to-peace is conflict resolution rather than greater military force. A part of such conflict resolution is the creation of hope and opportunity for over 2 billion people who now live in poverty. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose by engaging in, or supporting, conflict. More military force does not solve the problems, but only acts to suppress the symptoms on a short-term basis.

On an annual basis, the industrial nations subsidize large, corporate farming operations at a rate exceeding $300 billion per year. These farm subsidies cause the economic destruction of family farms, worldwide, and increase food prices as much as 50 percent in the developing nations. Moreover, the corporate farms seek to maximize their profits by using hormones, antibiotics, assorted chemicals, and GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Use of these techniques is known to produce less healthful foods low in the polyphenolics needed to reduce the threat from diseases. Nearly 1/3rd of the world’s populations consider these corporate produced foods to be contaminated and unfit for human consumption. To provide all people with healthful and affordable foods, we must shift most of the subsidies to small family farms and organic food production.

Inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses usually created early U.S. economic miracles. Yet, today, we are experiencing more and more government control and regulation of our economy ---and from the USSR model, and similar models, we know that state controlled economies generally fail. There needs to be a shift back to the basics that resulted in our economic successes. Such a return to basics includes the restoration of the honesty, morality, and high standards of ethics that generally created the foundation for our greatest economic achievements. In addition, we must return to the position of having private control over the majority of our research dollars. The current government control of most research, and research funding, is an invitation to disaster.

Booming stock markets, giant mergers, and frantic financial speculations provide huge rewards to a very small minority. Meanwhile, living standards have stagnated or declined ---while the burdens of work and insecurity have grown. Concentration of wealth has increased the numbers of poor and fostered oligarchies interested in preserving wealth and power at the expense of the poor. A redistribution shift is needed to reduce numbers of poor, and provide a more equal access to wealth. Such a shift has already started in Western Europe. A global shift in wealth distribution will be needed to achieve real global security.

The U.S. tax codes have allowed wealth to be accumulated in foundations created for the support of various philanthropic purposes. However, some of this wealth is now being misused by administrators and boards with their own personal agendas having little to do with creating public good. In other cases, charitable giving is limited to a few select groups having a quid pro quo relationship with a specific foundation. Still other foundations have very limited geographic and programmatic focuses, so many in real need have no access to billions of dollars in foundation funds. Wealthy people direct most foundations, and they usually favor charities run by wealthy people. Despite very good intentions, those who need help the most now get the least help. There needs to be a shift to improved management and equality of funding access at all U.S. foundations. Every available dollar is needed, to help resolve the world’s most critical problems.

On 9-11 (11 Sep 2001), the horrific terrorist attacks on that day suddenly made us aware that a major reliance on hi-tech intelligence collection is not sufficient. There needs to be a shift back to more human intelligence collection, and that shift has already started. The War on Terrorism, and the War on Iraq, again emphasized the fact that military force alone is not sufficient. As we discovered in Vietnam (Viet-Nam), we also need to better perfect intelligence operations, covert actions, special operations, psy-ops (psychological operations), civil affairs, civic action, population control and homeland security, internal security, rule-of-law, nation building, and so on. In brief, we need to look at some of the lessons from Vietnam ---and shift our military operations to take full advantage of what we already know to be effective.

There are many areas where shifting actions will be needed to help solve an array of problems. As time and resources permit, detailed shifting plans will be developed for each. None of this will be possible without first making a shift in the U.S. political process. Today, many members of the U.S. Congress effectively “rent” themselves to wealthy, politically powerful special interests ---and these are usually the same interests that obtain their wealth from the destruction of our environment, or by engaging in other destructive activities. The same situation exists in many nations. Thus, all shifting actions will depend on an initial shift to create systems that will end special interest control of those who make the laws.

As a charity, NPI does not engage in political action or lobbying activities. However, NPI volunteers can engage in research to explain the benefits of specific shifting actions. The shifting actions herein suggested are for purposes of example, and may or may not be representative of recommendations derived from NPI’s pending comprehensive research. NPI’s current research efforts are focused on the need to shift the direction of education in the U.S., and other nations. Our objective is to determine the types of program shifts needed to provide better educational opportunities, and make quality education available where it is lacking. Persons, or groups, wishing to assist this new research effort should send an email to NPI (email: