Graph Example

Here is a loosely formatted illustration of the content structure.


  • Recoverables are goods which can be reused after transformation.
  • Non-recoverable goods are those which after transformation cannot be reused, like dissipated heat. For sake of illustration, restrict to energy.
  • Market economy: distribution of goods according to a price set in the ‘market’.

The concept ‘market economy’ when described more precisely may very well be listed as a measure.


  • Subsistence (in particular, survival)
    • Quantification: minimum intake of water, protein, minerals, and so on.
    • Means: for water, a well needs to drilled, and so on.
    • Ends: a decent life.
    • Scenarios: to fetch water, I do not want to walk more than two miles a day.
  • Save money


  • Problem G: atmospheric heating caused by anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gasses (as well as feedback.)
    • One of the causes: squandering (problem S below.)
    • Goal (i.e. to be attained by solving the problem): subsistence
  • Problem X: impending exhaustion of non-renewable energy sources.
    • The causes are squandering (problem S below) of energy and, of course, energy consumption.
    • Goal: subsistence.
  • Problem S: squandering, that is, destructing goods or transforming energy into heat without the intended use to the full extent.
    • Effects: problems G and X.
    • Causes: see the instances below.
    • Goal: subsistence (save resources, reduce harm) and save money.
  • Problem SE: squandering non-recoverable goods, that is, energy. Instances:
    • Problem SES: squandering of energy in shops, which is to say, commercial ones.
      • Cause: the energy cost is easily reflected in the product price (market failure.)
    • Problem SESD: open shop doors when it is cold outside.
      • Cause: the idea that customers need to be able to enter the shop hands-free (false attribution of needs.)
    • Problem SESA: illuminated advertising in shops during closing time.
      • Cause: the idea that nocturnal advertising raises sales (false imputation of requirements.)
  • Problem H: harmful use (as opposed to harmful squandering.)

The entities ‘shops’, ‘customer’ and ‘advertising’ refer to the concept ‘market economy’ and so do the corresponding problems SES, SESD, and SESA. This indicates that, would the market economy change, then these entities and problems may vanish. In other words, the market economy is a cause of being of the shops, customer, and advertising. See the definition of cause for further information. The cause of being may be stated explicitly.

Other problems are causes as stated for problem SE and common causes such as overpopulation, human vices and delusions.

Measures as such:

  • Measure R: rationing, using one of the many mechanisms, like Sprumont’s uniform rationing.

Measures against problems:

Against problem S (squandering):

  • Measure F: forbid and sanction squandering (and explain why this is necessary.)
    • Against: problem S (squandering) and therefore also problems G (atmospheric heating) and X (resource exhaustion.)
    • Advantage: virtually nothing is lost; people will obey even without inspections because they can hold authorities accountable for their frugality (‘I do not want problems with the authorities.’)
    • Disadvantage: when conceived unreasonable, it evokes resistance or even increased squandering; it requires inspections, administration, sanctions, jurisdiction, and so on.
    • Instances:
      • against SES (forbid energy waste in shops)
      • against SESD (forbid open shop doors when cold outside)
      • against SESA (forbid illuminated advertising during shop closing time)
  • Measure R (rationing, see above) against S.
  • Measure W against S: waste control like mechanical light timers in public areas.
  • Measure P against S: use solar panels and other renewable sources to generate the energy. Disadvantage: the generated energy is needed elsewhere (not to mention the energy for production.)
  • Measure E against S: energy price increase. Disadvantage: the rebound effect.
  • Measure M against S: show consumption on meter. Disadvantage: a mere number hardly is an incentive to reduce consumption.

Against problem H (harmful use): rationing

So, rationing is mentioned twice, which is why it is listed as a separate measure. As long as other measures occur once only, they can be stated along with the problem which they are directed against. Notice that there are no particular measures against problems SES, SESD, and SESA because that would require banishing vices or dispelling delusions.


  • rationing is labelled organisational
  • mechanical light timers are technical or perhaps also behavioural.

Trivially, the common cause of all problems is the mere existence of entities which experience these problems. This common cause is denoted by the letter E. Though trivial, this common cause leads to fundamental questions about overpopulation, civilisation, and the like.

If an entity suffers from a problem long enough, it will succumb to it. Such termination of an entity is the effect common to all its problems (when persistent) and is indicated by the letter T.

The causes and effects of the example can now be summarized in the following causal graph, where every two phenomena have a common cause and a common effect. The graph is equipped with types and subtypes.

The graph can contain cycles (causal feedback) if the order of time between events is ignored. For example, air-conditioning running on fossil fuel causes the mean temperature to rise, which in turn intensifies the use of air-conditioning.

The causes of being have not been indicated because they can easily be deduced. For instance, a shop is the cause of being of a shop door and of a shop advertisement: it is the second ‘S’ in ‘SES’. Yet, causes of being are important so they should not be overlooked.

Graphs have only been added as an illustration — users should be allowed to enter text only.