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.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
|Egypt about to get civilized|
It is no longer a secret that parts of the Western hemisphere have become "the old world". This is primarily seen in the New England region of the United States. There are some glaring demonstrations of this phenomenon. One is billionaire oligarch mayor Bloomberg's admiration of the city of London and Amsterdam (and cheerful co-mingling with their managers). The other is the hideous and embarrassing media fawning over the recent hereditary mafia wedding that occurred in London. It appears that American elites have given up on the project of building a unique and divergent socioeconomic system of their own (1790s-1970s period). No longer proud experimenters competing with the old world, they are now happy to take socioeconomic marching orders and get swallowed up by the original oligarchical mother country. The growing frequency of British accents in upper hierarchies in Northeastern United States is very indicative. It is even written that a British accent sounds more authoritative and sells more product if used in commercials in this region!
Northeast is not only exhausted in terms of ideas but demographically as well. The 2010 census showed a major population loss to the southern states. By many metrics, Texas is now the most powerful and still vital center of the old American system (since they are a few decades behind in development of minimal state capitalism, have not managed to squeeze it dry yet, and have a population yet to be as totally demoralized as it is in the northeast).
Lets look at the British experience and see if anything can be glimpsed from their herd's development.
A global oceanic empire with fragmented colonies separated by thousands of miles has an infantilizing effect on the citizenry. That is due to the constant relief of social tensions through colonial emigration and the crown's need to use its strongest people to control the conquered. British citizens who had physiological predisposition towards aggressiveness, impulsivity, and restlessness (Myers-Briggs personality types of ESTPs, ENTJs, ENTPs, ENFPs) always had a socially encouraged outlet. These hardy extroverted breeds could leave the socially rigid crowded home island to seek new financial and farming opportunities abroad at any time (go west, east, south young man). The frontier keeps growing as the oldest settled parts are thoroughly divided into real estate rentier turfs under the boot of the hereditary mafia clans. Many other hardy men who decide to stay get drafted anyway and their energy is expanded on suppressing and controlling alien cultures and weaker peoples. Then of course we have the prisoners being sent to penal colonies and various people pretty much kidnapped to be part of the navy (it wasn't uncommon to hit drunk poverty stricken young lads on the head near pubs and have them awaken on ships, I kid you not.)
With the potential lower class trouble makers gone, the crown needs to worry less about actually allowing the people their say and share of the national resources. Lower classes are culturally (and genetically to a degree) purged of possible future leaders and centers of resistance. Paternalism from above is strengthened and becomes more impudent. Those that stay behind are either too physiologically weak, conservative, complacent and/or nationalistic (ESTJs, ISTJs, ISFJs, ESFJs) to stir too much social unrest. Social and economic reform is left to the elites (where aggressive extroverted genes become overly clustered and fine tuned through interbreeding). The number of elites is small and they are one big happy family who went to the same schools.
Sometimes when social tension gets too great from some military reversal abroad or the economic situation getting desperate, the elites split the parliament and put on a show for the public. Some become "lords" and some become "representatives" of the commoners by deciphering what the commoners want through an upper class lens. In the end, there is always a cheerful compromise. Talented people of middle class status are encouraged to go abroad and become lords themselves within the occupied territories.
The vast majority of the population finds itself either under the boot and bayonet on the home island or in the middle of nowhere and next to hostile natives thousands of miles away. They then view the home island with a sense of nostalgia and admiration. They begin to view the home island as a trade partner and a protector against local rebellions. They start to forget how miserable and oppressive existence was back home. Their children and grandchildren definitely don't know the horrid conditions that made their parents leave (if they weren't drafted or sent to god forsaken lands as punishment for a crime). The crown is viewed as a kind father who brings civilization and not as a belt whipping parent. A super conservative parent who divides and conquers his own subjects. Whites are put against whites with English feeling superior to the Irish. Whites are united against the newer subjects and feel superior to Indians. Indians in turn, are drafted to oppress blacks and so on. (Remind you of anything yet?)
After some time, the British citizens don't even question this mode of existence as it becomes incredibly fine tuned and self perpetuating. The crown and parliament had hundreds of years to learn control and give candy or the belt when needed. British subjects stopped questioning those in charge. The stern crown even dared to call itself liberal, civilized, and enlightened just because it gave the older brothers some leeway in harassing the younger ones. British peoples got to run around the yard doing what they wish while their parent shook fists across the fence at the even more conservative Czars or Emperors next door. Of course the little ones had to do their chores daily.
Then finally came the two big wars and events where up to 3,000 British citizens were being butchered for the crown each day (Battle of the Somme). They also died in huge numbers defending London directly from planes. They started feeling a sense of empowerment and ownership for the first time. So the parent gave them a welfare state. Elites decided that if they continue whipping the older sons they will get punched in the face. So they gave some healthcare and split themselves not into lords and commoners this time but into Labour and Conservative factions. They still dined together, laughed, and were closer socially than republican and democrat heavy hitters in a certain former colony. This worked and the people left them alone. The people did not get a supreme court, constitution, socialism, or checks and balances. The "subjects" (!) still had a monarch whose children tabloids went crazy about.
The British empire reduced the Brits to a groveling mass without true national identity (to upper classes it doesn't matter what color or nationality those at the bottom are) consuming American byproducts like Budweiser and MTV and being flooded by former colonials from Asia without any solution in sight. This system had the effect of stamping out the self confidence of most people left on the home island and depriving them of sense that they can control their destiny. England is now a rust belt dorm house saturated in alcohol, rapid Americanization due to lack of culture (one larger cultural vacuum sucking in another), and distrust of continental people trying to build something new. New England (new in name only) will continue to fall deeper into a similar hole if major changes are not undertaken by a now gradually awakening population.
There is a happy ending to all this. Parasitism cannot last forever and eats itself in the end (sorry you wont get those Libyan or Iraqi oil fields boys and girls). Once the extroverted aggressive genetics don't have sufficient release outlets and begin to build up, wondrous new experimental projects can begin.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Before diving into construction possibilities of such a framework, a few words about why this blog is titled The Pragmatist. The name was selected to be in stark opposition to the widely hated The Economist ("free" trade/ neoliberal claptrap/ capitalist propaganda arm of the British intelligence). The Economist has done more harm via cognitive pollution of world's elites than most state propaganda arms can ever aspire to. Countless countries were left in ruins by the sort of rigid one dimensional Trotskyist-esque globalization peddling that a pretentious rag like The Economist provides.
A silver lining to this was that The Economist's underlining assumption (that a certain type of development is the best) has stagnated jolly old England via its rulers. This is similar to the way the Chinese empire was stagnated by rigid adherence to traditionalist Confucian train of thought in the 19th century. If Chinese elites of old had a similar magazine, say The Confucianist, it would undoubtedly deal with alternative modes of development with the same contempt and dismissive patronizing attitude. Just like their Chinese brethren before the Opium Wars, Anglo elites of today consider the rest of the world to be barbarian even if these barbarians are developing more advanced technology and infrastructure. They may not be into the beauty of calligraphy but the various non-development obsessions (and thus unbecoming of ruling elites) are eerily similar.
Why would this stagnation of the English speaking world be a blessing in disguise? For starters, from a global perspective, the socioeconomic decline of United States and United Kingdom will do as much to discredit capitalism as the decline of Soviet Union did to discredit communism. Thus we will finally exit the era of great ideological jihads that marked much of the 20th century. This will seem incredibly unfair to many in the Western world who will think the decline occurred because some idealized branch of capitalism in their heads was not adhered to enough. They have their counterparts in the former Soviet space. For majority of humanity at large however, it will mean mental liberation from rigid "isms". Failure of US will trigger bitter factional struggles in the cities of Berlin, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, New Delhi and Beijing. It will mimic similar struggles after Soviet collapse and the tidal wave of social change will be tremendous.
In fact, because both superpowers were so intertwined with the ideological systems they mouthed, the discrediting of capitalism will usher in greater change than discrediting of Soviet communism. There will be nothing to fall back on in the minds of both ruling elites and everyday thinking peoples of the world. Chinese and Russian leaderships of today are pragmatic and heterodox yet they still have FDR's social democratic industrial capitalism embedded in the back of their consciousness. China will not be able to fill the void left by US in the minds of world's elites the way US filled the void of SU.
[Note: Democracy will not be similarly discredited since the financial/corporate oligarchies in UK and US provide far less democratic input than the oligarchies of continental Europe. US doesn't have the very basic minimum democratic principle of proportional representation allowing more than two parties. UK's horrid non-inclusive first-past-the-post system makes a mockery of allowing political competition. Lack of democratic input will be singled out by future researchers as the main structural reason why the Anglo kleptocracies reached the levels of irreversible stagnation that they had.]
Well that was more than a few words but The Economist is the devil, it needed to be said. The point is that human intelligentsia wont be free to develop the rest of the herd with ideological "isms" lurking to unconsciously frame all perception. It appears that left brainers are more prone to adapting "ism" systems. That is unfortunate since they tend to be overly represented at the top of various ruling hierarchies.
The more one "educates" oneself about his or her ideology the more neural connections are created within the brain, making it easier to retrieve data. Since left brainers have more sequential processing than right brainers, their brains get the most easily reshaped by system based socioeconomic thought. In other words they build a sort of a neural muscle that aids in spouting one dimensional propaganda. Similar to an athlete just working out one muscle group while letting the rest of the body atrophy. Often having such a brain circuit devoted to a an "ism" feels empowering since:
1) Most of the population (80% who aren't NT/NF) haven't delved into internalizing a system to such an extent. They think anybody with an elaborate enough system must be an expert
2) Half of the intelligentsia (NFPs/NTPs) are right brain dominant and sample data from across a variety of systems and experiences. Their style of conversation relies on drawing horizontally from a wide range of fields. To a left brainer system peddler it would appear that they are dodging the conversation.
In any event, a person deep into system based ideological thinking is prone to debate mode of conversation rather than mutually beneficial discussion where tangible learning can occur. A sort of an interpersonal cold war mentally becomes ever present. An "us versus them" dynamic develops within the intelligentsia. We saw where that leads entire societies.
Previously I touched upon the criteria by which future leaderships will be judged:
1) preservation/expansion of human autonomy
2) speed in construction of energy plants needed for continental infrastructure projects in irrigation, transport, farming, etc.
Providing more infrastructure can never truly become an ideology any more than providing more water and food can be an ideology. If you talk to anybody whose cognitive processes are deeply caged by an "ism", it is highly unlikely that they'll mention the result of less shelter, food, water, energy as the benefit of their ideology. And of course minority death cults can be readily recognized and dismissed out of hand (this unfortunately includes some "post-industrialist" factions of the green movement). Thus we have infrastructure as our first guiding point that is flexible enough depending on the needs of a particular region/climate.
differ on is how to get to more infrastructure for humanity. We can't simply use the process of elimination of what's easier in terms of how to proceed. This may open the door to tyrannical political suggestions. Yet how do we make the above mentioned preservation/expansion of human autonomy a guiding point without it becoming a rigid "ism"?
This is a complex topic that I'll attempt to tackle in the next article. Obviously provision of shelter/food/energy and giving more cutting edge democratic proportional representation builds autonomy of the individual. Yet we can't just say "our guiding point should be infrastructure and we should build more infrastructure and build it quicker in a way that keeps expanding the autonomy of all individuals (second guiding point)". Although it may appear as if there are no trade offs with our guiding points, many political factions can easily spot trade offs that can occur (sacrificing humans in name of infrastructure construction or sacrificing infrastructure construction in the name of humans).
Therefore, the relationship between the guiding points needs to be very carefully developed to preemptively deflect accusations from ideologues of various stripes (namely libertarians and those who want to emulate Chinese dictatorship).