The USD 5000 Per Person per Year Sustainable World Economy

5000 dollar per person per year economy

The chart shows the Greenhouse Gas emissions trajectories of the world’s 4 largest countries. We can devise and predict and hope for a politics in each of these regions to match both what needs to be done and what is going on in each.


India is an important country for making projections about the trajectory of global climate change because it is the last of the 10 largest countries in the world with per person carbon dioxide emissions of less than 2 tonnes per year.

India has an installed electricity generation capacity of around 335’000 MW and carbon dioxide emissions are around 2.4 billion tCO2e per year, that is around 1.8 tCO2e per person per year.

But is this low enough assuming all the world was at this low level? No.

So if even India has to reduce its per capita emissions, how much more drastic the adjustments of all the other large countries are going to have to be over the next 12 years.


The ocean sinks sequester 11 billion tCO2e and soils and forests on land take up around 7.5 billion tCO2e. This total of around 18.5 billion tCO2e sink capacity today is exceeded wildly by global emissions from land use change and fossil fuel production. Today 5 billion tCOe are emitted every year from soil disturbance, deforestation and wrong agricultural practices, and around 36 billion tCO2e emitted annually from fossil fuel extraction, production, consumption and distribution. If we leave land use emissions as they are, 22.5 billion tCO2e from fossil fuel use every year are excess and must be reduced. And the annual emissions are still rising, we should not forget.


To reduce these emissions we must first make all land on Earth a sink, that is reducing land use change emissions from 5 billion tCO2e per year to at least nil and ideally making more forests and thus more sink capacity, thus making land a net sink. This means nationalising land and taking up a a policy of full employment for all workers in agro-forestry. Secondly we should reduce the production and consumption of fossil fuels from a total of around 72 billion boe or 36 billion tCO2e to not only what the sinks can currently bear, which would be around 18.5 billion tCO2e per year, but because of the uncertainties surrounding the feedback effects in the biosphere due to accelerating warming, to what a pessimistic scenario suggests they might bear, which is emissions of no more than 10 billion tCO2e per year.

If the world population is 10 billion this would be the 1 tCO2e per person per year. That is around 2 barrels of oil equivalent or around 2-3 MWh of electricity or a mix of the two. We cannot count on renewable energy installation rates because at the present rate it will take nearly 400 years to switch all of commercial energy to renewable and there is no way to speed up the process. In any case renewable energy cannot be a sustitute for petroleum so many of the machines in the global economy will no longer be useful.


Thus even India’s low emissions are not low enough for a equal sharing of the world’s atmospheric resource. Nonetheless, with a more equitable, just, fraternal and last but not least agro-forestry oriented national land use policy, India should be in the best position of all countries to adjust to and stay at a 1 tCO2e per person per year economy. This is the big question for India. Currently 1% of Indian own 50% of the wealth, and so they are responsible for 50% of the carbon dioxide emissions, that is to say they also hog 50% of the country’s energy. To change from this state of affairs, which is a capitalist GDP growth driven model, to an egalitarian model, India needs the kind of socialist world revolution being demanded by the yellow vests and others elsewhere let alone by India’s constitution. Indian workers should not be burned to death by employers for asking for back wages, but instead there should be a national commitment to full employment, nationalisation of land, nationalisation of money and equitable sharing of commercial energy for basic needs and collective production of basic needs. (1)


But what about the USA? This is the country that is most to blame for the problem of climate change, because it has the military industrial complex that defends it with war and bombs and nuclear arsenals.

As far as the USA is concerned, the story is of a different dimension all together from the one in India, but it has only a quarter of India’s population and has more agricultural land per person so the solutions are easier to find, – if, and this is the big if, there is a political revolution in that country.

The USA’s emission and money contraction trajectory is much steeper than India’s. In the USA the per person emissions have to come down from 16.5 tCO2e per capita per year to the globally equitable sustainable level of 1 tCO2e per person per year by 2030, that is a 94% contraction; and like their carbon emissions, their economy and especially their asset values must contract by 94% too. That is the global sustainability task by 2030 for the USA.

The USA will also have to have the most revolutionary of revolutions to address the 1% who own half of the world’s stocks and shares.

Today the global GDP is around USD 87 trillion, so global GDP would have to come back down to 1990s levels of the 1990s, which is quite manageable, except that it has to be distributed justly on the basis of population both within and between nations; but as said much more importantly the global 10% who own the world’s stocks and shares worth USD 317 trillion in this world must loose all their wealth; and of all countries the USA will be most changed after this revolution; in other words the stocks and shares value of the global economy and the US economy in particular will have to be zero by 2030. There cannot be private stocks and shares in a sustainable world, there can only be nationally owned money and production and energy shared equitably across the population. The industrial military complex of the United States of America, (in which, by the way, the Pentagon could not account for USD 21 trillion in the period 1998 to 2015, USD 6.5 trillion in 2015 alone) would have to become zero, nil, nothing, it would have to cease to exist.


China needs a revolution to reign in its expansion globally. It’s money system too must change from a capitalist money system based on debt and interest and therefore one of growth and asset creation for the 1% to a socialist one of nationally owned debt free money and no stock exchanges. Other countries namely the other 7 largest nations and the rest have similar challenges at various levels of emissions and national inequality and exit from global capitalism.


The revolutions in Europe we are seeing today with the yellow vests protests are for no other reason than that such sustainability transformations of the global economy to 1 tCO2e per person per year by 2030 cannot be done without a just, equitable, free and nationalised system of land and money.

The emission reductions in the EU have been the most dramatic of anywhere in the world barring Russia over the last two decades. So their sustainability revolution has started first. The demand in Europe is for a raise from EUR 1000 per month for the unemployed to 10% more. Is this affordable in the world? Yes.


In the global economy 1 tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), (the equivalent of around 2 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) or around 3 Megawatthours (MWh) of electricity) enables a country to circulate around USD 5000 of local currency at home.

Thus, – and substituting the notoriously wrong growth-hinged economic measure namely GDP, with a static money measure namely M3, which is the amount of money in the economy, a country can afford to have USD 5’000 per person per year of M3 for 1 tCO2e of sources of GHGs. M3 is the measure of broad money in the economy including all money circulating in the form of private and public debt, coins and notes.

The answer to the yellow vests protesting for an equitable sustainability transition in the world, therefore, is, by 2030 you will be allowed USD 5000 per person per year, so you will be okay, because you have between 3 and 4 people in your families and so your income and expenditure may be more or less what you are asking for, maybe even a bit more. Make the revolution in this context.

Thus assuming that all money in the world is nationalised and made debt free, and assuming a world population of 10 billion, and assuming the 1 tCO2e energy budget per person per year, one is therefore creating a no-growth global economy of an annual income and expenditure per person of 5000 USD per annum; – a USD 50 trillion global economy shared equally between all people and global GHG emissions of 10 billion tCO2e also shared equally.

The sustainability revolution thus has to be an equity revolution. It involves amongst other things abolishing the salary differentials between manual and managerial labour, whites and blacks, men and women, forward and backward castes, adults and children, and most important rentiers and workers. Rentiers would be abolished along with the corporations they own.


To sum up, the triple challenge faced by countries separately and also together is

a) convert money into Government owned debt free money to get out of the growth trap set by banks that create money by lending at interest;

b) liquidate all stocks and share assets to zero value;

c) nationalise land and along with it all fossil fuels, and restrict production, consumption and circulation to around 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent per year i.e. 10 billion tCO2e produced, distributed and consumed by all nations equitably on the basis of population with an equitably allocated new energy backed currency unit for buying and selling these fossil fuels.

This is the world economic order we must get to by 2030 according to the IPCC. Hence the world revolution that yellow vests and others are calling for. Abolish the US industrial-military complex owned by the 1%. Hence the urgent need in India not only to cancel landowner debt, but to nationalise land and give all workers and children a USD 5000 per year income to go to school, work as agricultural workers, grow agro-forests and feed and house all the living beings in India. The same goes for all other countries of the world. (2)


(1) India’s social and economic crisis cannot be better displayed than in this terribly haunting story by Shashikala VP in the Patriot:

(2) For some more details with more focus on the political revolution needed in the USA see yesterday’s article:

Anandi Sharan was born in Switzerland, lives in Bangalore and last year worked in Araria District Bihar, India. She works on trying to find the best money system to help people adapt to climate change especially in India.


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