For the past 40 years, I have been convinced that the three greatest challenges human society must face and overcome in order to create a better world are the following:
2. Excessive global population growth - Humanity counted only 1 million individuals 10,000 years before Christ. They rose to about 200 million at the beginning of the Christian era, then to 1 billion by the year 1800; 1.6 billion in 1900; 2.5 billion in 1950; and to today’s 7.5 billion and we estimate that humans will be over 9 billion in 2050…. We are too many and population growth is excessive: the planet with its ecosystems and human institutions cannot withstand this growth. It must be slowed, at first and then stabilized to the current population size, which I consider optimal. Global land area is 150 million Km2, of which about half is not inhabitable (glaciers, permafrost, deserts, lakes, mountainous areas above 2000 meters, rivers, and coastal areas), leaving about 75 million Km2 that I believe would be optimal for an average population density of about 100 people per useable Km2 and a stable world population of around 7.5 billion (that is, current levels).
3. Pollution/extreme weather phenomena/global warming due to excessive consumption of fossil fuels - In the world today there are about 6 million deaths due to air pollution (of which 85,000 in Italy alone), of which the primary culprits are fossil fuels. Extreme weather phenomena, desertification, hurricanes, floods, etc., create hundreds of billions of dollars in damage and increase every year both in quantity and intensity due to global warming for which fossil fuels are the primary culprits. Lastly, the threat of global warming of 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, would create enormous damage for hundreds of millions of people… And yet all the technologies needed to prevent these disasters exist, we only have to want it.
From these three great problems derive many others such as wars, epidemics, terrorism…
Well, if all the Nations of the world would impose 3 taxes for each of the above-mentioned 3 problems, we would be able to build a better world within a couple of decades.
I believe these 3 taxes should be as follows:
1. WEALTH Tax - A progressive tax for wealth redistribution. The tax would exclude the first home and the first 200K Euro of any other form of wealth. It would be a tax of 1% on the next wealth bracket up to 50 million. The tax would rise to 2% on the remaining wealth.
2. Tax on Births – No taxes for the first two children. Subsequently a 1000 Euro tax per year for the third child up to the age of 15 and a 2000 Euro tax for every subsequent child up to the age of 15 of each child. This tax would be applied in all countries on all citizens, whether they are locals or immigrants, even in countries with low birth rate such as Italy, to avoid that within a few decades the country transforms into an excessive cultural and religious population mix with strong social tensions (integration processes require many decades as well as individual and social will for integration).
3. Carbon tax – A carbon tax both on CO2 local emissions as well as on imported products on the basis of the CO2 generated to produce and transport them. This tax should be sufficiently substantial – minimum 50$ per ton of CO2 produced – to compensate at least in part for the collateral disasters generated by fossil fuels.
If all, or at least the majority of countries in the world adopted these three taxes, the world would rapidly transform into a more just and livable place. Yet even if only a few countries implement these taxes, they would rapidly gain in competitiveness and quality of life and would be soon imitated by other countries.
Lastly, even if only one country applies these taxes, such as Italy for example, it would gain rapidly enormous social and economic advantage and would be imitated by many other countries.