This begins as a response to an interview with Jeff Thomas at International Man https://www.internationalman.com/im-interviews/looking-toward-a-post-crash-world
and expands toward a more generalized article.
Hi Jeff, interesting interview. I look forward to reading more of your material. I am however having some disagreement with the biases from which you seem to draw your conclusions. Thank you for inspiring me to write.
Starting with, … “certainly, literally millions of people would be unable to adapt and would fall by the wayside.” This sounds like a nice cold euphemism for “die in misery”. Can I get some fries with that?
Continuing along your “realistic” view are many factors that count toward a zero-sum game and a world not very nice to live in. Without the nation-states exerting control, international terrorism North America’s natural resources will be fought over by international players.
China will most likely continue to remain a totalitarian nuclear power. Assuming that America were to be de-federalized (as if in a vacuum from other nations), what would keep China’s power elite from trying to slam-dunk a claim while the states are economically distracted? Americas power elite would continue to play brinksmanship, much like the former Soviet transformation. While guns and ammo and all the karma of exported war for oil looms precipitously, human-caused (oh, yes!) environmental degradation proceeds apace.
The myth of “free-market capitalism” is dangerous because it only exists in computer models and theory. People do indeed like to build fences, and occasionally tear them down. As long as it’s actual people who construe the markets, they will always be “contaminating” the model projections with whatever psycho-social traumas are carried along into it. GDP is too narrow a metric for modern Human societies to flourish. It’s zero-sum. There are other win-win models, including Hazel Henderson’s Love Economy and Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators
The fantasy is that there can be a world without rules and regulations of any kind, that “Government” is evil (a metaphysical statement) and must be destroyed. And yet somehow, privately run Corporations (which themselves are highly structured abstract entities governed by laws and rules) are “blessed”, and will provide for our every need. This is just one example of logical inconsistency. In your post-crash world, it is far more likely that Corporations would fill the power vacuum with private militias, becoming defacto governments. The Human condition is not thus improved, but more greatly polarized into walled-garden haves and “the help”.
With regard to, “It takes courage to retain a consistent focus on and belief in liberty, but liberty truly is the answer to a better world”, your cheerful positivism sounds like ungrounded, actually kind of zany, Ayn Randian libertarianism. A global society consists of a great deal more than a post-modern “economy”, and so I don’t see your conjecture as doing justice to the complexity of the approaching singularity. (The 5-level model of human tendency distribution you used is fair enough for discussion purposes, but I’d like to direct your attention to a more vigourous and road-tested model, Spiral Dynamics, successfully applied as the transition map for the non-violent dismantling of former South African Apartheid state. This is just one example of sources of positive possibilities available to a ripening humanity.)
The ideal of liberty as you represent it comes off as a shallow caricature of it’s real nature, an abstract buzzword with distorted meaning. Tossing the whole of the spectrum of human possibility into an unregulated marketspace with one-sided competitive ideals, and saying “there ya go, a level playing field for everybody!”, results in an immediate descent into a desperate gangland dystopia, full of thugs, robber barons, warlords and insider trading. The factions in power will do all they can to keep it, and considering the current levels of technology, probably will. It has always been that way, in every nation the West has tried to “help” become “modern”. That’s been a big part of the whole history of Europe on back through much of recorded history.
My personal belief is that Humanity is capable of evolving into a True Awakened Planetary Civilization (as distinct from an imposed one-world-government, or commercial faux-globalism), and is indeed well on it’s way to doing so in spite of the mainstream media’s persistent attempts to ignore, deny and ridicule its development. What the Spirit of Humanity is undergoing is a more than just a recovery from “expected market fluctuations”; rather a genuine healing process whereby it is seeing and shedding it’s attachment to self-inflicted, parasitic and auto-immune system-like disorders. Humanity will encompass and surpass all of that, as it develops a conscience to itself and it’s optimal relation to all other species.
I think it’s important to see how the so-called and misnamed “free market” is actually the enemy of true liberalism (i.e., true freedom of the individual), because it requires standardized mindless consumers of predictable swill, and is threatened by a society of self-sufficient off-the grid and truly creative DIY entrepreneurs (other than a few it keeps in a can for it’s skunkworks). The current global banking/market system is parasitic and therefore understandably fosters that kind of behaviour among it’s adherents. It must blindly consume everything until there is nothing left. Then it calls it’s poop “product”, and goes around trying to sell it to everyone! :-D! Please! There is nothing about that system that is free. Let me not count the ways!
We can do better.
Lest we continue to be mere tools of unexamined gods which may or may not exist, market forces and unseen hands, I think it’s worth reassessing the legacy we really want to bequeath to our children. I actually agree with the ideas behind of not automatically bequeathing a financial inheritance to be misspent by ungrateful and unworthy heirs. Spend it all, as conspicuously you like! Let the kids earn their own money. But at some point it must be seen that the real challenge is to break the chain of maladaptive behaviour that perpetuates a culture of pettiness, venality and outright stupidity.
It is a challenge to hold a positive attitude, but it just isn’t true that there’s no cause for a rational optimism. There can be passed on a more expansive vision that values Life in all it’s forms, engendering the consciousness that cares enough about the future even beyond seven generations, that recognizes that Women and Men are Equal and different, our Children are valuables that we do not own, the Races are a treasure of diversity, and the Land and Oceans must be preserved (not fracked!) for our survival on this planet.
There are many different and distinct intelligences both inside and outside each of us, and part of the challenge of the human being is to harmonize the systemic agendas inherent at various levels. It’s relatively easy to just look at the current status quo and report on the predictable trends, but it’s important to realize that there are no mere spectators, that all are players. With every expressed thought, we contribute toward the memetic evolution taking place within the global brain, fostering the overall personality complex of Humanity as a pattern within the Gaian organism.
Responsibility is ours, whether we accept it or not.