THE FUTURE IS RUSHING UPON US
We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Such outline can be likened to an invisible statue on which drops of paint have been randomly thrown one at a time over the last 2 years. The paint drops are of different sizes and some statue parts have been disproportionately hit. Nevertheless, parts of some tangible form can be discerned at this point. Both deconstructive pieces on what fails (unfortunately roughly 2/3 due to necessity) and constructive ones (on what to have instead) help with this project. This is a sort of a wiki meta article and will be the most linked.
The outline is not born out of wishful or idealist thinking but rather out of attempts to forecast where the world is headed anyway, what makes sense via process of elimination, and what is in the strategic self interest of powerful individuals who run the planet. In other words, this outline tries to conceptualize a summary of solutions to some problems troubling not just all the peoples of the world but a forward thinking faction of the international elites. Solutions must be roughly compatible with the thrust of "reality" in order to be grafted onto it and transform it.
A lot of things covered will be very general and seem rather familiar exactly for that reason. Much will also appear fantastical, overly far reaching, and idealist. That is simply due to the still underappreciated and mind boggling technology spawned possibilities of the 21st century post-capitalist world (move to post-scarcity civilization will be more drastic than was the move to agricultural civilization from hunter gather one). It is funny how people who fully understand and believe in eventuality of cybernetic augmentation also miss out on macro level possibilities of post-money, post-wage slavery, post-scarcity, and post-financial parasitism.
There is also the sheer magnitude of the threats that we must avoid no matter what.
What to avoid at all costs?
A) Nuclear world war (for reasons ranging from imperialism to severe resource inequality resulting in a sort of planetary "civil war" between united cosmopolitan haves and united cosmopolitan have nots)
B) Technological singularity arriving into a world as severely unequal as it is right now (in terms of resources available to some homo sapiens versus others). We do not know when the singularity will happen but we should work with 2040-2050 as the deadline to complete much egalitarianism building preparatory work in the socioeconomic sphere. It is to be understood that the environment must be set up where everybody has the right, ability, and cultural maturity to receive free genetic and cybernetic augmentation as soon as it becomes available.
"Economic" (to be replaced with Technocratic)
Replacement of the failed field of economics with engineering and science. Focus on what physically works and building more of it. This means mass scale infrastructuralist thrust by every center of force on earth. Elites are to be judged on their ability to build infrastructure and innovate construction methods of building it. This also means a constant and flexible integration of parts of diverse systems that work from every society on the globe and constant mutual learning. Not one model is to be held as the right one in its totality and the entire world is to be considered equally developing. This thinking is to be applied to energy production first in order to make everything else possible.
Exponential construction of energy sources growing a lot faster than human population at all times. Emphasis on nuclear (fission/fusion) and complementary solar/space based solar. This engineering/scientific thinking is to be applied to politics and the social sphere as well (a 21st equivalent of the efficiency movement on steroids to take into account all the cutting edge research).
units of energy and mass of resources instead of incoherent abstraction (gambling houses like the NYSE or fiat monetarism). Total discrediting of Anglo-style imperialist monetarist capitalism (and its rich man's propaganda libertarian offshoots) will make technocratic central planning thought mainstream in 10 years time. You've read it here first. Much of what The Pragmatist covered will be mainstream and widely accepted pattern of thought in 10 years time. We already see rapid popularization of 1920s-1930s Technocratic Movement memes via widely culturally disseminated attempts like the Zeitgeist movement. These efforts will be copied, elaborated on, marketed for specific regions, etc.
Some healthy competition among technocratic theorists will arise. This will lead to basic conceptual convergence and synthesis while advocating some decentralization to suit cultural needs of localities. A grand bargain will be struck with a faction of elites holding on to the old neoliberal model of globalization in order to phase it out peacefully and gradually (more on this later). Much of the current "dissident" movement and its arguments is rabidly reactionary and will not make it past the smell test in the future.
Social: Renaissance/Enlightenment 2.0
Constantly awakening humanity at large will help with and will be helped by the above. For things like transcontinental MagLev lines, modular cities, and vertical farming grids to be of the highest quality, the human populations building them should be excited and dedicated. Switching to long term thinking and mass scale planetary construction projects provides a tangible life affirming vision for the human herd. This is essential to reduce the severe nihilism caused by vacuum from death of major religions, ideologies (with corresponding reliance on ready made models), and trust in political leaders (realization they are hairless often borderline psychopathic monkeys like the rest).
A call for mass public works projects is a call for humanity to rise to the challenge and figure itself out as well. To provide very comfortable post-scarcity high energy civilization and to begin colonization of the solar system, the people developing it must be developed on an individual level as well (morally, physically, psychologically, and intellectually). Not only will individuals see progress rise before their eyes but they will reap rewards from it immediately.
nutritious food and shelter as a basic right among other things. This is basic common sense in a mechanizing world where less than 500 million workers are needed to provide all the world's goods and services. These expanded rights will further allow leisure time for the new Renaissance to develop.
Although there are physiological differences creating limits to human equality, these same differences also provide for a limit on how unequal (in terms of access to resources) the homo sapiens should get. By the time first transhuman breakthroughs begin to occur (cybernetic and genetic augmentations, real A.I., etc) the humans with the most resources should not get more than 10 times those with the least resources. This means that the well off among 8-9 billion hairless apes should have their resources limited to 5-10 times those below them by 2050. This covers size and space of shelter, amount of travel, amount of electric energy, etc.
The best way to achieve this is to make the rise in quality/quantity of resource base of highest ranking members pegged to quality/quantity of resource base of lowest. If top workers have 1000 units of energy available to them, they can get 1100 of units next year IF they raise the amount of units available to bottom workers from 100 to 110. Since the new elites are to be laboring technocrats (engineers/scientists, elites who have to work for privileges instead of living off rents) they would be in position to go about doing just that.
just how much monstrous inequality there really is).
Politics: The world is to be thought of as one country in the process of unification and consolidation
1) This is key to fully allow for the infrastructuralist vision mentioned above. Efforts to rapidly close the gap between resource availability of best off and worst off must be plainly and bluntly articulated by every political leadership. The reasons for these efforts (to avoid WW3 or violent planetary insurgency) must also be articulated constantly with the same bluntness. All the world's land is to be thought of as belonging to humanity collectively (in practice to world federation of sovereigns or supra sovereign unions). This, in addition to shelter as human right will go a long way towards freeing most of humanity from the political domination of the feudal land lords. Governments are to be understood as being the ultimate landowners whereas the shelter itself is to be owned completely and inalienably by the individuals.
global inflationary fiat casino experiment is crashing to an end and will wipe out a lot of wealth of the top 1% (much of it artificial to begin with). The 1% will be vulnerable for a time and provide an opening for central planners and sovereign states to make a comeback and to confiscate oligarch assets, tax, redirect anger from bottom to top, etc.
Although sovereign governments will make a comeback against financial oligarchies, they will understand that planetary unification of sorts within various unions is desirable for reasons of peace, history, and economies of scale (link up publicly owned industrial giants and their resource chains). However, as much as nation state haters may object, it may not be possible to "E.U.fy" every monopoly on violence. That is healthy as long as nuclear stand offs are not allowed to develop.
3) Quality of political leadership is to be rigidly monitored and constantly improved. It is not enough to make people who build and work into our leaders (engineering technocrats instead of current leaders who are shareholders in financial and weapons multinationals). To prudently approach and tackle the solutions to the monstrous problems facing us, we need to keep improving the art of selecting the technocrats. It is advisable that world leaders have live public debates and discussions with each other as often as possible. Populations should compete when it comes to the quality of their leaderships.
improve not just make comfortable). Democratic input will naturally find its place in a much more real way than it can ever hope in today's capitalist dictatorships. Global information networks even provide for opportunity of direct voting and discussion for the first time in thousands of years.
A New "21st Century Social Contract", "Grand Bargain", "An Offer They Cant Refuse"
Just the way the early capitalists entered into co-existence with the feudal lords, the early technocrats will have to enter into peaceful co-existence with the capitalists. The half a billion NTs around the world who are extroverted, aggressive, thoughtful, and have access to Internet based self education for the first time will make an offer to the elites that may sound like the following:
"If you allow us to operate freely and set up regions of total operation then you will not be harmed. Although your indirect political control over the state apparatus will be greatly diminished, although most of your lands and hard assets may be seized with time, your bodies, your families, and remaining assets for comfortable retirement will not be touched. You have played the game of life well and controlled the world. Now you are obsolete and most of you will NOT face persecution for past crimes and excesses. Your children will even be allowed to seek positions in the new technocratic hierarchies. We will have a period of long co-existence where our systems overlap and function side by side and where you will still be able to have some influence. Eventually, like the monarchs of old you will fade into history as every homo sapien on earth is provided for and is no longer physically coerced into working for you.
If you choose to not take this offer you will face decades of unrest and increasing violence since we outnumber you 9,999 to 1. Numbers, technology, talent, and the tide of history is against you. You are outmatched and will lose badly. You will not find safety or honor in any shape or form anywhere you go and this planetary escalation may turn nuclear. You and your children are not guaranteed to live to see the singularity and will not be upgraded to become demigods here on earth. Take our offer of peace, progress, cooperation, and maintain control over something or face losing everything. This is in your best most "enlightened" self interest."
flatly reject any visions that promise high tech corporate neo-feudalism under the guise of "post-industrial green society". No condescending profit based green philanthropy or oligarch backed NGO meddling either. The enduring demand of wage slaves is: shelter and food for all with supporting continental infrastructure (first in northern hemisphere and then the entire earth) to provide leisure time to further build thoughts of egalitarianism.
Attempts to divide and conquer the youth will only last so long. They are becoming too educated and impudent. Instead, time is coming where the elites will be divided among prudently technocratic and conservative neoliberal lines. Forward thinking elites will see the writing on the wall, make the right choice, and stage a comeback hoping to co-opt as much as possible. They will be younger on average than the current banker/ military general bunch. The world may have a real conversation then.
This concludes version 1.0. See you 100 articles later for version 2.0.