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, June 24, 2012

Future of International Film Industry

Creating a non-superficial global cinema will require finally figuring out truly universal values of a planetary culture. These values derive from human biology.

Capturing and holding audiences from all the continents isn't easy. Many have tried.

Modern mass entertainment often serves as a deeper and more important global language than English. That is because present day Hollywood industry inadvertently created a process that increasingly touches upon basic physiological human needs and aspirations. Profit driven use of visuals, characters, and themes (that were scientifically researched to be as marketable and appealing to widest possible multi-ethnic audience) is steadily pushing towards a universal formula. Although we're still at a point where the appealing "supranational" characteristics of mainstream Hollywood involve the usual (explosions, special effects, sex appeal, mental escape through hyperindividualistic protagonists, etc), we will begin to see deeper basic cinematic themes emerge that cut across all cultures in the near future. The basic reasons will be:

1) Same corporate profit motive that gave us the rise of neuromarketing will push for figuring out physiological substrata that makes simultaneous global release movies more emotionally appealing. Digital piracy will make physical movie spaces ever more important for revenue generation. Conversion of movie theaters into expensive 3D/concert/theater type spectacles will need research to be successful. You WILL be satisfied with the global release whether you're in Nigeria, Japan, Ecuador, Texas, etc.

2) Emerging Internet culture finding its way to the mainstream as globe trotting generation Y takes charge of the industry.

3) Dawning realization by Western elites that globalization has stalled. Their scramble to rethink and proactively improve globalization and its integrative forces. Goal of preventing a major and rapid slide into mercantilist (potentially even hostile!) continental economic blocks will see elite efforts to create stronger intercontinental "glue". Efforts towards discovery of media/art/Internet driven truly global culture should be part of the effort. Most states currently subsidize their movie industries behind the scenes as national propaganda PR moves. This practice can be turned on its head if applied towards supranational themes and purposes.

The spread of this Hollywood lingua franca is a microcosm of globalization itself. When analyzing integrative processes of globalization, special attention should be given to the film industry in particular.

Until relatively recently, Hollywood released its mega movies domestically first and abroad only months later. Then, to combat immediate digital piracy from places like China it became a more common practice to have simultaneous global openings for very big budget titles. The preparation and logistical coordination of this represented stage three in the emergence of a truly globalized film industry.

Lets briefly go through the stages:

1) 1950s-1980s: Mass cultural exports of the post-war period. Influx of Hollywood products into occupied territories and satellite states. Increasing cooperation between West European studios/agencies and Hollywood resulting in an international entertainment business sphere. Some partial work done on "universal" values within the ideological framing context of the cold war. Both Western and Soviet intelligence have a heavy role in informational shaping of entertainment to influence perceptions of the present world and prime expectations of how the world's future will develop (the dystopian-utopian spectrum of how the 21st century was popularly portrayed in movies is an interesting example of this). Genuine attempt at discovering universal values is hidden and distorted by individual private and corporate interests behind the militaries of the NATO pact.

2) 1980s-1990s: Hollywood studios rapidly expand beyond NATO's sphere of influence and become truly global as most markets are now accessible. Majority of key studio revenue now comes from abroad. Consolidation in number of transnational media corporations that own the studios. Streamlining of their operations along lines of fellow tangible good producing transnational companies. Rapid horizontal creation of international links to reduce costs and create an immediate global reservoir of cheaper talent, locations, and equipment. Actors and actresses become supranational super celebrities recognized anywhere. Global businesses are increasingly synchronized in space and time.

3) 2000- present: Merging of dozens of national and regional markets into one planetary market that allows rapid global penetration and hype generation (via local auxiliaries). Simultaneous global cinema and disc openings. "Epic" large cash infusion Hollywood movie making style is rapidly emulated by other players like Beijing and Moscow. Besides profit, this is partially done to increase their soft power and control domestically. For non-Western (particularly BRIC) powers to be successful with their mass media projects, they need to absorb/buy Hollywood's cutting edge technical, CGI, and art talent. That is already happening and is currently causing peripheral cooperation/merging between movie studios of all key regional political powers on earth.

Stage 2 saw the serious streamlining ("dumbing down") of plots and character backgrounds of biggest budget Hollywood pieces so not too much appeal is lost in the translation for foreigners. Reliance on cartoony cardboard cut out Americana archetypes for characters still continues (with other ethnic archetypes increasingly playing a bigger and bigger role).

Stage 4 will be the most interesting one yet.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wages in a Resource Based Economy

Compensation in resource based economy will be underlined by energy accounting

The main question that technocrats all over the world are asked is "how will we get a herd of 7 billion monkeys to transition away from the current fiat monetarist system towards a real economy based on resource and electrical energy quantities? How will they be motivated beyond promise of self-aggrandizement and greed?"

Simple answer is that transition to a resource based economy will involve all the same gimmicks used by rulers since the dawn of civilization: greed, fame, honors, and promise of some inequality (although much more reasonable and controlled than currently). Some key differences from the present system are an ever rising safety net baseline to meet basic needs of the populace and compensation in material/energy backed units. Late 20th century methods of artificial scarcity management, central bank printing presses, and Soviet rations have run their course.

Here is one basic outline among many: ( sidenote: The Pragmatist is not an unofficial media arm of any existing technocratic organization even if I provide a link to a wonderful technocracy video introduction at the top right corner of the blog. Check it out! There will be many competing energy accounting and resource accounting systems in the coming decades and they will begin to converge in basic themes eventually.)

1) 10 wage compensation levels with level 1 wage as guaranteed minimum income and level 10 wage as maximum income (10 is used here for metric system style simplicity, it could very well be 6 or 8). There are physiological limits to how equal humans are but there are also physiological limits to how unequal they are. One human receiving no more than 10 times the amount of reward, living space, fame, and electrical output is about right. No human, no matter how strong or gifted is more than 10 times smarter, stronger, productive, "better", than the weakest (multiply IQ of 20 by 10 as an example).

2) At the age of consent everybody starts as a level 1, receiving say, 10,000 units of electrical energy as a basic living stipend (in addition to minimum level 1 modular housing unit, level 1 simple food ration, and provision of equal baseline education and healthcare for all). A level 10 would receive a stipend of 100,000 electrical units to do with as he/she pleases since amount and increase in top compensation is pegged to level 1 baseline.

3) Although transition period may involve brief return to deflationary "sound currency", income eventually will be provided in amount of electrical energy available to you for a certain amount of time. For example, a level 3 person may get 30,000 units of energy a year or 576 units a week. If he or she doesn't spend these 576 units that week on art supplies (or additional non-stipend clothing, grooming supplies, level 8 rare food, etc) then the units don't roll over. They "expire" and return to communal use to provide extra kick for energy intensive infrastructure projects. Nobody could thus hoard up or create a banking lending system with their saved up energy within the common grid. Obviously on the side shenanigans can be done with off grid energy supplies and batteries but common grid can be easily kept separate from it. A person trying to compete with common grid and create "energy banking" would be like a mom and pop store creating water/food banking. The energy wage system is a communal and very macro safety/incentive net.

4) Societal honors, social pressures, education, societal attention, and better mating opportunities are the incentive to educate yourself further to qualify for higher wage level compensation. Some may prefer to marry or have sexual relations with apes of only certain levels just like currently. It is relatively easy to create social mechanisms to encourage personal growth, especially when basic needs of shelter, good nutrition, and healthcare are met (one just has to look at how people are compelled to improve themselves and pursue various non-graduation/non-wage related interests on some of the better college campuses).

5) The rise of maximum income wage is tied to rise in minimum income stipend to create incentives for strongest people to improve conditions for the whole herd. Thus if level 10 leadership builds enough new power source infrastructure to raise the amount of electrical power they give themselves from 100,000 units annually to 200,000 units annually, the provision of minimum stipend for level 1 people will also double from 10,000 to 20,000. This way, the gifts of the strongest create a real and automatic trickle down. An enterprising level 10 living in a house 10 times larger than level 1 house may ask his or her level 8-10 colleagues to contribute their energy towards a new experimental project or an idea.

6) This is very easily calculated by seeing and tracking the total amount of electrical energy available within relatively decentralized global "energy Internet" power grid. Amount of energy flux density within any given area is readily seen as well as deficiencies by relating the energy amount to population per square kilometer. Energy accounting is thus the base of the resource economy superstructure. Calculating energy production and distribution is essential for all other material production, material rationing, and distribution. This is a no brainer and rapid construction of new and better energy sources will be the primary societal and leadership task of level 10 people.

7) Electrical compensation is tied to the amount of schooling that was needed for the task and amount of hours spent on the task. Thus a level 10 after years of training, has to work the entire 20 hour workweek until retirement at the age of 40 (yes those aren't typos, think about the technology enabled progress in leisure time that occurred over the last 100 years from 16 hour workday turning into 8 and so on).

8) To repeat, 20 hour workweek and retirement at 40 (with a generous stipend to almost match the wage level) to allow fresh talent to take control in a fast paced 21st century environment where exponential progress in technological gadgets, implants, biological and pharmacological augmentations makes late retirement a danger to the whole planetary herd. Gerontocracy at all levels is a public safety risk of enormous proportions. The elderly should be comfortably and rapidly retired with allowances for extra talented ones to continue working without societal coercion that presently exists (like losing a home). A level 5 would work 10 hours a week correspondingly. We should see surprising amount of volunteering at this stage of human development by people who are restless to utilize their training after years of school. We already saw rise in mass scale volunteering in Anglo-American space in 1960s-2010s period and in Soviet space in the 1920s-1950s period. If there is a grand exciting societal construction project, a new wave of volunteering will automatically be generated considering the new 21st century incentive structure, safety net support, and moral encouragement.

9) Level advancement can also be provided as honors for certain heroic tasks, extra special inventions, contributions to the herd, etc. This can be democratically decided to prevent corruption. Corruption itself at political level greatly reduced by systems such as examination with democratic popular input for highest scoring candidates. 

10)  Systematic targeting of land monopolies that currently exist in the form of landlordism to prevent too much centralization in energy production and distribution and to eliminate last remnants of feudalism. Modification to underlining land ownership structure from private to communal  is essential to prevent creation of unhealthy regional patchworks where areas with access to harder energy supplies (fission reactors) are able to browbeat neighbors. Eventually, with enough globalization and agreement on level 1 stipend standards for continents, some agreement needs to occur on global level 1 stipend goals.

Upon closer examination, none of this is utopian since controlled inequality and greed/sex based reptilian brain incentives are preserved. If one appreciates the sheer technological potential that humanity is looking at with transhuman augmentation, nanotechnological mass production, AI, AND if one understands that the time horizons we're looking at stretch into the 2050s, THEN the simple replacement of monetarism with more rational energy accounting described above is definitely not utopian. Current 2012 living standards enjoyed by more enlightened human wage slave plantations of Japan, Scandinavia, and Germany would have sounded similarly rather "utopian" to people in the 1850s. Yet we don't have to wait till 2150s due to the technological progress in means of production and distribution continuing to accelerate.

Some unanswered questions

"So will level 4 person get 4 times the food or 4 times the quality of the food or combination of both? Will shelter and food on higher levels also be provided on a stipend basis or will the additional electric units will be required to pay for it? What happens to rich people and their mansions currently? I can already visualize ways to abuse the system, what do we do with the shameless scoundrels? I certainly would like to spend my annual 50,000 units after my 10 hour workweek not on a level 5 shelter but maybe on three level 1 shelters in different sectors and a new kitty cat and maybe 2 cars instead? Can I forgo a stipend in clothing to get more energy units and what happens if..."

It is... too... early... for that.... First it is important to understand why we're on this road to begin with. 

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Meanwhile in Libya

Meanwhile in Libya...

"On 15 May, a diplomatic source briefed by Western intelligence officials stated that, beside the tribal rivalries plaguing the country, there was concern about a growing presence of Islamist militants in some areas, specifically the city of Derna. The source said that hundreds of Islamist militants were in and around the town, and there were militant training camps where weapons were also provided. He said one official had described the area as "a disaster zone." Tensions had reportedly grown between local people and the militants. According to the source, the previous month, a number of town residents went to a camp on the outskirts of the city and forced militants to leave. One of the indicators of the militant inter-factional were also the recent spate of car-bombings in Derna..."

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