Appendix E – Funding a New City

In order to get a new city of one million residents started on Earth under this new economic system, some amount of money per resident is going to be required. We need startup money to get the new city started. For example, we will have to buy the land for the new city. We are going to need to purchase some of the raw materials. And so on. And so it raises an obvious question: Where is this startup money going to come from?

Here is something to pay attention to: the world’s nations are already investing money in impoverished people. In the United States, for example, there are many people who receive a “full ride”, or close to it, on welfare. For example:

“In Washington, D.C., and 10 particularly generous states — Hawaii, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Hampshire and California — these seven programs [TANF + SNAP (food stamps) + WIC + utilities assistance + housing assistance + TEAFP + Medicaid] provide a mother with two young children an annual benefit worth more than $35,000 a year. The value of the package in a medium-level Welfare state is $28,500. That may sound low, but it’s important to remember that Welfare benefits are not taxed, whereas wages are…” [ref]

At the scale of a million people, this is a gigantic amount of money being spent – billions of dollars per year – and nothing really to show for it. All of the money is spent by the recipient on things like food, rent and utilities, and therefore the money vanishes.

Even at the lowest levels of funding, immense amounts of money are flowing. For example, each refugee living in a refugee camp today receives funding for food, since refugees in camps typically have no way to grow their own food. An organization like the UN High Commission for Refugees, or an NGO, or an existing country (e.g. Turkey) is funding each refugee camp. The same goes for refugees who are living intermixed in urban areas. One example:

“Here’s how it works: Each needy Syrian refugee family gets a banking card. Family members use it to shop for food at the 450 participating stores and markets; a family of five gets about $135 per month.” [ref]

Looking at this quote, it works out to only $27 per person per month, or 90 cents per person per day. By American standards, that is an incredibly small amount of money per person per day for food (the average American spends $230/month on food [ref][ref]). But if we extrapolate even this tiny level of funding, just for this meager allotment of food, the UN is spending $324 million to feed one million refugees per year. $324 million is not chump change – this is a significant amount of money. And it is all washing away – the money is all spent, with nothing to show for it.

At the Kilis camp in Turkey, they are spending $2 millon per month for 14,000 refugees, or $143 per refugee per month [ref]. This is $4.75 per person per day. To handle one million refugees at this level would require $1.74 billion per year. And keep in mind that these refugees in Turkey are living in abysmal conditions at this level of funding. The $1.74 billion is being spent year after year, and it is delivering a poor experience for the recipients. It is a good experience compared to living in tents in the mud [ref], but a terrible experience compared to life as a salaried worker in a developed country. As one example, the article describes 12 people living in a dwelling of 230 square feet.

The point is, if we spend a few billion dollars to set up a million refugees in a self-sustaining city with a new economy, there are two huge advantages:

  1. The new city that arises is giving its one million residents a fantastic standard of living in a modern, vibrant city, rather than giving them squalor.
  2. The need to spend money on the one million residents ends once the new city becomes self-sustaining.

We are investing the money when we create a new city, rather than wasting it on a terrible and temporary outcome typical of refugee camps, slums and most welfare programs. The residents in this new economy are living in a modern, vibrant, luxurious city. Consider that it is expected to take a decade or more before many of the Syrian refugees can be repatriated to their home country [ref], [ref], if ever, and you can see the value of helping refugees to create new cities that become independent.

[Side note: This analysis makes the financial crisis in Venezuelan all the more tragic. Venezuela has a source of income – it can easily sell oil for cash. If that money were then used to operate Venezuela under this new economy, Venezuela could be an incredibly wealthy country instead of hosting the economic catastrophe that has unfolded over the last several years.]

The same situation is true for many groups of disadvantaged people around the globe:

  • The one billion people living in slums need to be rescued from capitalism
  • The tens of millions of Americans using food stamps need to be rescued from capitalism
  • The citizens of many countries in Africa need to be rescued from capitalism
  • The 11 million inhabitants of Haiti live on an average of $250 per year in per capita income [ref] – an insanely low amount of money – and they need to be rescued from capitalism

How much money do we need to bootstrap a new city with this new economy? Let’s begin to understand it it step by step.

Finding Land

Where can a new city of one million residents be located? The new city is going to need land. Where will this land come from?

Let’s imagine that we are going to take one million refugees and give them 1,000 square miles of land to develop using the new economic model proposed in this book (1,000 square miles represents approximately two-thirds of an acre per refugee). The first thing we need is to find the land for the new refugee city.

The good news is that there is plenty of land available in many different places on Earth. Take, for example, the Middle East. At its peak, ISIS claimed to occupy approximately 100,000 square miles (282,000 square kilometers) of land [ref]. Think about this – a relatively small terrorist organization was able to conquer and occupy a land area equal in size to the United Kingdom, population 63 million [ref]. We simply take back land from ISIS in Syria and use it for the new city. Why not? If ISIS can take control of the land so it can behead and rape people, why not take some of this land and use it to create Heaven on Earth instead?

Alternatively, land can be found in one of the world’s great deserts, for example the Sahara desert in Africa. There is a significant effort already underway in the Sahara desert – It is called “The Great Green Wall” [ref, ref]. Refugees and their new society can fit right into this plan. For example, they can establish forests that will sustain them in the future as their new city develops. The residents can use sustainable practices to reclaim the desert and make it fruitful, as envisioned by the Great Green Wall organizers.

There are places on Earth where land can be incredible inexpensive. Just to give you one example, look at this site:

Save Five Acres for $10

In big bold letters the web site states:

Save Five Acres for $10

Healthy tropical ecosystems are imperative to maintaining our planet. Rainforests give us clean air to breathe, a stable climate, plants that produce medicine, and are home to thousands of animals and people that depend on their protection for survival. But over half of the world’s rainforests have already been destroyed, and a further 70,000 acres are lost every day. At Rainforest Trust, the average cost of purchasing and protecting an acre of lush tropical rainforest is just $1.98.

If land is $2 an acre in a lush rain forest, imagine how much an acre costs in the Sahara desert, or the Gobi desert. Spending $2, or even $100, for an acre of land for a refugee to call home is a no-brainer.

Is the Sahara big enough to support this kind of development? Yes – the Sahara desert covers approximately 3.5 million square miles. At a rate of 1,000 square miles per 1 million people, the Sahara desert could in theory support up to 3.5 billion people. The Sahara desert can easily absorb all refugees and slum dwellers on planet earth today if so desired.

Can the Sahara support agriculture? If Mars can support agriculture and the million-person colony that Elon Musk proposes [ref], so can the Sahara desert. It is interesting to note this fascinating fact about the Sahara:

“During the Neolithic Era, before the onset of desertification, around 9500 BCE the central Sudan had been a rich environment supporting a large population ranging across what is now barren desert, like the Wadi el-Qa’ab. By the 5th millennium BCE, the people who inhabited what is now called Nubia, were full participants in the “agricultural revolution”, living a settled lifestyle with domesticated plants and animals. Saharan rock art of cattle and herdsmen suggests the presence of a cattle cult like those found in Sudan and other pastoral societies in Africa today. Megaliths found at Nabta Playa are overt examples of probably the world’s first known archaeoastronomy devices, predating Stonehenge by some 2,000 years.” [ref]

Here is one way to think about what we are proposing. On planet earth today there is 57 million square miles of land. It breaks down like this:

“The total land surface area of Earth is about 57,308,738 square miles, of which about 33% is desert and about 24% is mountainous. Subtracting this uninhabitable 57% (32,665,981 mi2) from the total land area leaves 24,642,757 square miles or 15.77 billion acres of habitable land.” [ref]

If we create 7,500 cities on Earth of 1,000 square miles each, that is only 7.5 million square miles. That is enough space to house the entire human population. 7.5 million square miles is about one third of the available 24.6 million square miles of habitable land. Or it is about half of all the desert land of the planet. There is plenty of space to house humanity in incredible luxury, and land in remote areas is incredibly inexpensive.

What else costs money?

What else will a resident of this new city need? One thing we discussed in Chapter 16 is that we will need hydroponic (or aquaponic) greenhouses like Thanet Earth to grow vegetables. It is likely to cost $200 per resident to construct the facility.

Residents also need metals, and let’s assume they cannot mine them on the land they receive. Human beings in the modern world need things like steel and aluminum and copper to build things. The important point to understand is that the amount of metal that a single person uses in a lifetime is finite, and metals such as aluminum and copper are completely recyclable. Commodity prices for many things the refugees need – iron, aluminum, glass, etc. – are relatively low. Iron, for example, is currently $80 per metric ton, and steel is $300 per metric ton [ref]. What does this mean? If it is the case that, per refugee, the amount of steel needed in a lifetime is two metric tons, then this represents a one-time cost of $600 per refugee. This steel will go into buildings, bridges, tractors, motors, etc. In the aggregate it is a lot of metal, but on a per-resident basis it is a finite and manageable cost. The situation is the same for aluminum. Same for every commodity metal or mineral.

One thing we mentioned is electricity in Appendix A is electricity, coming from solar cells. We are looking at 20 or 25 kilowatt-hours per resident per day. Depending on location, this is 5,000 watts of solar cells per resident. In a modern solar farm, a watt costs 93 cents installed, and prices are falling [ref].

But the thing is that the city we are proposing can make its own solar cells by investing in the factories it needs to make silicon wafers and turn them into solar cells. Since labor in the new city is “free”, as in freely contributed by residents under the task allocation system, it is a win all the way around. A small monetary investment per resident at the start gives the city the ability to make an unlimited number of solar cells. Even if it costs $100 million to get everything for manufacturing the cells set up, it is only $100 per resident.

Also, the prices we are quoting above are market prices in a capitalistic system, which are inflated by all of the capitalist nonsense discussed in Chapter 7:

  • gigantically absurd executive salaries
  • private executive jets
  • demonically huge dividend payments to people who do no work at all
  • monster advertising budgets
  • absurd asset capture
  • corrupt lobbying and political contributions
  • limousines, executive parties/junkets/vacations, executive skyscrapers and so on.

All of this happens at the solar cell manufacturer, the equipment manufacturer, the banks funding the manufacturers, the middleman selling the panels, etc. All of this absurd and ridiculous theft, corruption, overhead and waste is gone if the city manufactures its own solar cells, solar panels and solar farms.

In addition: Once we have created one new city that is self-sustaining, we can use it to accelerate the development of a second city, a third, and so on. Costs will be significantly reduced going forward.

Taking what we have discussed above and extrapolating, we will be spending money as follows:

  • Cost of land per resident: $100
  • Cost of greenhouses per resident: $200
  • Lifetime cost of steel needed per resident, e.g. two metric tons: $600
  • Lifetime cost of aluminum per resident, e.g. one metric ton: $2,500
  • Lifetime cost of copper per resident, e.g. 400 pounds: $1,400
  • And so on…

Let’s assume that, in round numbers,  it costs $10,000 per resident to set up the first new city, and from there the city becomes self-sustaining. This is the total cost for land, metals, starter factory machinery, etc. The United States spends this amount of money on a typical welfare recipient in about a year. Turkey is spending this amount of money on refugees at Kilis in 3 years, and this money forces the refugees to be living in poverty conditions. There is plenty of money already being wasted to support impoverished people – “wasted” in the sense that the people on whom the money is spent live in poverty as a result of the money spent. It is an inefficient system, with terrible results. Instead, we divert all of this wasted money to build new cities under our new economic model, and now these cities become self-supporting. Rather than poverty, these cities are able to deliver Heaven on Earth to their residents. Our new economy delivers remarkably better results compared to capitalism.