American denial fuels the US Corporate Empire. Here’s what the Left can do about it
“But the outrage of people who are in or near denial isn’t too low; it’s so high they’re having trouble bearing it. The treatment for denial is to help [them] bear the concern [they’re] already feeling. ‘I know you’re outraged. Here’s how to find relief.’” - Peter Sandman, Crisis Communications Expert
Endless war or the threat thereof, decaying climate, wealth disparity, fraud in the financial sector, corporate controlled political campaigns and “enlightened ones” that have no hope of making fundamental change. You know all the nasty details. Let’s not dwell on those.
This isn’t a sob story.
Instead, this article will show how you can help create a solution for every problem you and your friends and me and my friends talk about. It’s not as bad as you think it is. Although I understand your outrage, because it sure looks bad.
Despite appearances, I’m going to offer an outline of what a potential, real, viable solution to our liberal problems needs to look like. You’re going to be intrigued. You’re going to want to know more.
Want relief from the outrage you’re feeling? Read on.
The problem: Broken Government, lame protests/civil resistance and popular denial.
Look around. It seems oil fuels the American Corporate Consumer Machine. Fossil fuels appear to be at the base of everything that is American. It’s what is fueling the wars we fight, literally and ideologically. It’s in our clothes. It’s in nearly every mode of transportation.
Even that fancy Tesla depends on oil for its tires and pretty much every synthetic rubber part. Remember Pleather? Oil. Tupperware? Oil. That base layer you wear in Breckenridge? If it’s got any “poly” in it, that’s oil too. Factually, anything plastic is made of fossil fuels. Hard to consider any other conclusion: oil fuels the American Corporate Consumer Machine. Right?
American denial fuels the American machine. Most Americans know we have a problem. They may not agree what the problem is. Many will say they know. Yet that thing they offer as the problem is not usually the problem. It’s a symptom.
Whether it’s the core problem or one of its symptoms, both the problem and its symptoms are enormous and complex. They stretch in, through, and between nations and cultures. They make it seem implausible a world could exist without them.
As individuals we’re too powerless to do anything about them. We don’t know how. They can’t be prevented. We resort to finger pointing, demonstrations, anger, sadness and grief. We look to “leaders” like Clinton, Obama and Sanders….or even in our extreme desperation, voting off-party for “Hope”. But how can our hope endure when these personalities end up perpetuating the problems we fear? While Obama will go down as one of our best presidents, he didn’t create any fundamental change. Not of the type I’m about to explain.
So we end up in denial: pretend the core problem and its symptoms don’t exist. Some Americans are so painfully aware of the need for, and simultaneously unable to create, a solution, they do what any rational person would do: seek solace. They do things that have no hope of changing our fundamental problems. We buy Priuses and Teslas. We buy organic. We vote. Replace incandescent with LEDs and fluorescents. We recycle.
“Hey, at least I feel better knowing in my tiny reality I’m doing something.”
Other Americans are throwing in the towel. They are learning to accept the perceived fate: That we’re fucked. Along with the planet.
None of these behaviors are effective, but denial does make us as individuals feel better. Right up to the end. Denial sure feels better than hopelessness or helplessness. In denial, we can ignore the problem. Get on with our lives.
And so, we end up with what we have today in the US: We The People. In Denial. Or Hopelessness. Or Helplessness.
What is hopelessness, helplessness and denial?
A noted communications expert goes into great detail about the nature of hopelessness, helplessness and denial. Feeling hopeless or helpless stems from a lack of efficacy. Efficacy means the ability to produce an intended result. Obviously, a lack of efficacy is the inability to produce an intended result.
Distinctions are made between a lack of self-efficacy (helplessness), which sounds like “there’s nothing I can do”, and a lack of “response-efficacy” (hopelessness) which sounds like “there’s nothing anyone can do.”
Denial allows a person to live with an intensely hopeless and helpless situation. Denial is a state where you are aware of something intolerable, but it’s so intolerable you can’t stand looking at it. You get to denial when you believe neither you nor anyone else can right the intolerable situation.
In a quirky way, denial is helpful. Let’s say an issue is in your consciousness, but it’s so painful to give it attention, you can’t. Maybe your long-term spouse, someone you thought you knew, turns out to be a sociopathic liar, has a drinking problem, is molesting your daughter, or is a serious crook. The issue threatens your worldview, arousing emotions you can’t tolerate. Denial when faced with such an issue can help you cope. You will yourself into believing the issue doesn’t exist.
The “will” aspect of denial is problematic: it is what differentiates denial from apathy, apathy being a better place to be. Denial is unconsciously motivated. That unconscious willing of yourself into a denial state can become perpetual. And often does. It happens a lot within families…
Denial: That problem is on my list, but it’s so frightening, maddening, guilt-inducing or saddening I can’t bear to face it. So I will myself not to.
Denial is a great temporary coping mechanism. It can allow steam to blow off of an incendiary situation. But it sucks as a problem-solving approach. Particularly when it becomes chronic.
I believe the American people are in a state of mass denial. This state is partly what fuels what our nation is doing. As family members might willfully ignore the drunk father, or child molester in their midst, giving that person more room to do more harm, mass American denial allows our nation to continue to run unconsciously amok and unchecked.
“Sho’ me da money!”
The other ingredient fueling the American machine is not oil either. It’s money. Money and your denial are a potent mixture. Your denial is the primer. Money is the combustive ingredient. You may think you already know about money. Bear with me as I share some things that may not be obvious.
Accumulation of money is called wealth. There are many ways to accumulate wealth. In rarified American society, where decisions are made which affect domestic and international policy, such decisions are made in favor of wealth accumulation. Even decisions made seemingly in the interest of the American people are made with wealth accumulation in mind. The thinking goes: “Keeping the American people in jobs and happy (in denial) keeps us in power, perpetuating our ability to accumulate our wealth.”
We know wealth accumulation results from legal activities. We also know wealth accumulation can happen from illicit activity. Serious Illegal means are often a shortcut to massive wealth accumulation. So such tactics are seductive. And successful. That’s why so many people do it or at least try to.
It literally is all about the money.
The root of all evil?
You may have never heard it put this way. The kind of money used around the world, whether it’s rubles or rupees, dollars or dinars, they all possess characteristics which make it easy to accumulate wealth pretty much any way you want. Particularly so when the money you want is in the pockets of people who are in denial. They’re easy marks.
Money is a currency. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiat, hard, or digital, money facilitates two-way transactions (buyers and sellers). You know this, yes? There are other obvious characteristics of money and the two-way transactions money facilitates that while obvious, we don’t think about very much. These characteristics are at the root of our problems. The Bible is wrong: It’s not the love of money that is the root of all evil. It is money itself.
For one, money is physical. This obvious, simple fact is a major problem. That you can exchange money between people creates enormous opportunity. This opportunity though creates disastrous consequences too. Because money is transferrable, it can be taken from you against your will. “Against your will” has a much broader case body than you might initially think. It doesn’t only mean “taken at the barrel of a gun” or stolen through identity theft. It also means coercing you into giving up your money. It can mean convincing you through marketing, fraud or force of law to give up your money, particularly for things you wouldn’t want or need if it wasn’t for clever marketing, sales tactics or the force of law.
For many, taxes are a form of your money leaving your possession against your will. Even if you believe in the good works of government, I’m pretty sure you’re not whistling while you work …. on your taxes when April 15th rolls around.
“But wait,” you may say. “Digital money isn’t physical.”
True. It’s not. But we treat it as such. That’s why you pay fees on your bank accounts. It’s why agencies can garnish that money. Embezzlers can get at this money too. So can identity thieves. Digital money may not be physical per se. Functionally though it is physical.
Note that in most cases where your money is removed, whether it’s against your will or not, the party removing the money does so so they can have it.
We all know we can take other people’s money. Most of the time the taking is done in an exchange. In our society, we must take other people’s money: We need other people’s money. We want other people’s money. Your salary, for example, is other people’s money. That’s why your employer gets mad if you don’t earn it. It’s her money!
Some of us believe it’s easier to take money by force or fraud than earn it. It’s hard to disagree with that. After all, you’re not having to give anything in return for it. Most humans I know, armed with the knowledge that they can take other people’s money, against their will by force or fraud, from time to time will yield to that temptation. Particularly when every human being needs other people’s money to survive.
As long as money stands between what we need and want, we will need money. As long as we need money, we are motivated to do things to get it….from other people’s pockets.
Money is amoral
A drone armed with a hellfire missile is sitting in its hangar. It’s primed, checked and ready to unleash that missile upon a wide variety of potential targets. Is the drone evil, immoral, saintly, good, or none of the above? How about the missile? I believe most people would agree neither the drone nor the missile has any of these qualities. They both are objects, right?
The same can be said for a nickel, or a Yuan or a Philippine Dollar. None of these objects, these forms of money, have a moral nature. They are in fact a-moral. Morality comes in in how the money is used. What’s interesting (and we all know this) is money can be used to great positive ends and equally horrific results. It can be used to feed millions, and to kill equally as many by funding wars. Money can be used to facilitate anything. There is nothing, in fact, about money that prevents someone from using money for evil or immoral purposes. Especially when money allows such people to operate anonymously or in secret.
Paradoxically, the fact that money is amoral increases the temptation and one’s effectiveness for taking other peoples’ money. That’s because I can use it to motivate other people to help me take your money, making the task far easier.
I can hire people to create code that is — unwitting to you — downloaded onto your computer. That code then forces your computer to stop functioning and flashes a message on your computer screen to call a 1–800 number. Waiting for your call are other people I have hired (in India) who will walk you through getting rid of that code and restoring the functionality of your computer…..for one hundred of your dollars.
See how easy it is?
The more money you have, the greater your ability to use your money to take others’ money. The greater too the temptation to use your money to gain more money immorally. Particularly if you can do so and be secretive about it. With accumulated money, aka wealth, your ability to do harm is greatly increased.
In every case, in the most evil events throughout history, where human beings egregiously harmed or destroyed large numbers of other human beings, money was there making it all happen. After all, you need people to destroy large numbers of other people.
People need goods and services to survive, and those people need money to get those things. Give people money and they’ll do virtually anything for it: including enslave their kind, incarcerate their kind, quell their kind with tear gas and billy clubs, shields and dogs, and military vehicles repurposed for “crowd control.” They’ll even work to concoct the gas, manufacture the clubs and shields, train the dogs and design the vehicles knowing full well these tools will be used on their own kind!
Without money, evil acts in the world would be the evil acts of an individual. Not the evil acts perpetuated by millions facilitated by an amoral money. Indeed, if money were moral, if it could be made to reward only beneficial activity, i.e. activity we want to see in the world, the world could likely be a completely different place. But money today, in every form, is always amoral.
That’s a problem.
The Money-fueled zero sum game simulation
A zero sum game is when there is only one winner. Everyone else loses. What the winner wins is matched by what the losers collectively lose. Anyone with two brain cells can see that our markets are anything but zero sum games. Most people in our markets — any place money is exchanged for goods and services — are far better off than not. Most of us are winning. Sometimes we don’t win, such as in a recession. But in that case, the vast majority of us aren’t winning.
So why is it that in our markets, we can do some things, but other things we can’t do, because we “can’t afford it” or “we don’t have the money”? You’ve heard versions of these:
“We should pay people a higher minimum wage, but we can’t afford to do that.”
“We should pay teachers more money, but we can’t.”
“We should repair all those old bridges and highways but we don’t have the money right now.”
“We should move to 100 percent renewables, but think of all the jobs we’ll lose!”
“I’d love to have a zero emission factory, but do you realize how expensive that technology is?”
“If we spend more money on that, we won’t have enough money for this.”
“Oh dear, you can’t have that toy. We can’t afford it.”
You know and I know that the money supply is growing and shrinking all the time. But don’t the statements above seem to indicate a lack of available money?
Whether it’s a government, a corporation, a school, a family, or an individual, every entity that depends on money operates as though the amount of money in the world is fixed. And that amount is never enough to do all that we’d like to.
That means, some things some people want get funded while other things other people want don’t. The amount of money spent on what’s done, reduces by exactly that amount the money available to do something else we want done.
Doesn’t that sound like a zero-sum relationship?
Now, take money out of the process and look at the world around you. There are plenty of resources in the world today to do everything we want to have done. There is no physical, resource-based reason why the money supply should prevent the doing of anything we want done. Nothing!
So even though our markets are NOT zero-sum game environments, money appears to simulate such a scenario.
How does that scenario affect our relationships with our fellow people?
If you and I are competing for the same job (a job is an activity that gives you access to another person’s money), and you get the job, you get the money and I don’t. That makes you my competitor. That makes us opponents on the opposite side of an objective (getting the job/money). As my opponent, I think you will do anything to defeat me. I, of course, will do all I can get away with to defeat you, bounded only by my morality. Especially if I don’t know you. It also makes me try to think of ways to keep you from winning. I can fake my credentials. I can lie in my interview.
It’s worse in transactions between a buyer and a seller. Here the expectation is that the other party (the opponent for value and money) is trying to take advantage of us, either by holding back information or outright falsifying it. Or by trying to pay as little as possible.
That may not actually be the case, but wary shoppers always have this feeling. And savvy proprietors always have in mind making as much money as possible, which means, taking as much of other people’s money as they can.
There’s good reason for these mindsets: because both parties often are trying to get the advantage. They’re either trying to give up as little money as necessary as consumers, or they’re trying to get as much money as possible as proprietors while spending as little of their own money as possible.
Imagine what the world would be like if we could cooperate to have our needs mutually met without fearing the other person is trying to take advantage of us.
Stop and ponder that.
Money makes us adversaries in subtle ways. It’s sinister, but we’ve lived with this feeling so long, that sinister nature doesn’t consciously register anymore. It motivates behavior most of us would rather not see in the world. It creates many positive benefits too, yet those benefits can exist in far greater quantity if there was no money at all. After all, we have all the resources we need to do everything we want. The only thing preventing the doing is money sitting there between the resources and our desire.
That and, of course, your denial that this problem even exists.
With money we believe we can benefit at the expense of others, and we do: my monetary gain is your monetary loss, even if I do exchange something of value for your money. Money motivates us to do immoral things because we can gain at other’s expense.
The immoral way is often less expensive than the moral route if you don’t get caught. Money is amoral and uncontrollable and can be taken against your will; it can be used to pay others to help someone take your money.
The zero-sum simulation guarantees that people will be motivated to hurt each other and the planet too. It guarantees people will treat each other as opponents. It guarantees that blacks on average will be kept down, that politics will remain the same, and that war will continue. It guarantees the minimum wage will never be enough. It guarantees that people will steal. It guarantees that governments will spy on their citizens. And why not? When money is involved, everyone is suspect.
Many people have offered ways to overcome these problems. None have succeeded. How do I know? Money is still here, we’re even more in denial than ever before and while some people are doing things to make fundamental change, those efforts, while good-intentioned, are not addressing the fundamental problems.
Let’s look at some of our efforts.
Government: Democracy and Scandinavian/European Socialist Democracy
While liberals believe government can be a force for good, it is actually part of the problem, not the solution. This is becoming increasingly clear as the faces of government change, while the fundamental problems remain the same.
Government is not meant to solve such problems. It is designed to maintain peace and security, which often means preserving things as they are with at best a modicum of progress.
Any libertarian will tell you government has a conflict of interest in solving fundamental problems: For one, it’s an employer, enabling eight billion people world wide access to other people’s money (through tax revenue and therefore government salaries). Were government to solve these fundamental problems, it would go out of business.
Second, government leaders depend on problems as election campaign platforms. Election campaigns give politicians and the millions of people who work for them, access to other people’s money. Problems could be solved much easier if money didn’t stand between problems and their solutions. With no money making solutions eminently possible, why would politicians be necessary?
America is not exceptional. But it can be.
Northern European governments are often heralded as examples of better government. Whether they are or not depends on who is looking at them. Conservatives cringe when they look to Northern Europe. They see high taxes and big government as not worth the social safety net citizens there enjoy. Liberals say these countries are going in the right direction. Yet, even these governments offer solutions to symptoms of the fundamental problems money creates: Not one of these governments has come up with a way to operate without money. I don’t think they have figured out a way to inspire hope among their citizens in the face of our pressing global problems either.
Like ours in the west, these governments give its citizens just enough of a leisure lifestyle to numb themselves — and stoke their denial — with entertainment. But not enough to create alternatives that will free us from debt and the problems that come with money.
American government is not any better. Some outside of our country looking in say it’s worse. Some Americans agree. We’re overflowing with wealth while at the same compared to nearly every other industrialized country on the planet, we suffer the most social problems. Whether it’s bribery, broadband affordability, or business freedom (to name just a few), there are countries that do better than us. No, we’re not exceptional.
But we can be.
Isn’t wealth supposed to equal prosperity? Isn’t prosperity supposed to equal better lives, better societies? You know as well as I that our societies are a far cry from ideal. Sure Americans have great technology, universities, sciences and the like.
We also have the largest, most expensive military, a major housing crisis, major problems with mental health and homelessness, drug use, a gun addiction and a collective belief that we know what’s good for other countries better than they know themselves. Even our great technology, universities and sciences are subject to money’s corruptive influence. Witness how money can buy “experts”, “authoritative reports” and “academic studies” to support any political point of view.
American capitalism is no solution either, even when government supposedly regulates the system. American government combined with capitalism perpetuates the problem. How can it not? Like individuals, governments need other people’s money, and risk takers — particularly market speculators — believe they deserve other people’s money. It always has been that way, always will be, so long as money reigns.
No, government has solved nothing fundamental.
Cult of personality: Clinton, Obama, Sanders, Perot who?
From time to time, individuals emerge with grand ideas that galvanize popular attention. Their influence is felt often around the globe and, when they’re gone, the after-effect of their presence reverberates through time. Then there’s Ross Perot.
Whether they are politicians, actors-turned politicians, activists, business leaders that want to be politicians, or creators of movements, these personalities stir hope, optimism and energy, drawing our attention to the possibility that we (the people) can make a difference.
But personalities are vulnerable. They’re human. They’re controllable. You can corrupt them, either directly, or by revealing their human frailties. People often expect too much of personalities. Our zeal for them blinds us to their humanity. When their opponents show us their flaws, we feel hoodwinked, so we cast them aside.
Personalities that withstand such scrutiny are easily snuffed out. Those that can’t be killed, or won’t be, are put in places where they must compromise. They lose their original intent. Little is won. Concessions are made. We are let down. Few political leaders have risen to be exceptions. No business leader has solved the problems we’re exploring here. Should they be expected to?
Protests: Tiananmen?, Arab Spring? Occupy? Black Lives Matter?
There was a time when civil protest packed a punch. Back then, government straightened in its chair, listened to its citizens, then changed. Today, protest movements make little headway. It’s too easy to ignore them into oblivion. Overt protests are easy prey for agent provocateurs, sent by government to disrupt, divide and dissolve such movements.
Bigger protests in countries where governments are more ruthless, are easy to literally blow to smithereens. The gun and tear gas are still potent tools for disbanding unruly mobs in dictatorships — even puppet ones propped up by America. In kinder, gentler governments, the counterinsurgency tactic is simple: ignore them. Let those people take time from work, march in the streets, bang a gong. In time they’ll tire out. And if they don’t, who cares really? The status quo is too big to fail. Too callous to care.
Besides, for every movement, isn’t there a counter-movement of equal or greater power and influence? Black Lives Matter has the Police Unions. Gun protests — even those officially waged by the White House — have the NRA. Occupy has the powerful elite class, controlling levers moving government.
Those movements that are successful make incremental progress, progress that does make a difference. They stem the tide of child and sweatshop labor. They raise awareness of pollution and corporate malfeasance. They give voice to the marginal. Get some drunk drivers from behind the wheel. But there are always more issues than there are protests. There are always marginal peoples. Protesting is like whack-a-mole: a new protest issue is always coming out another hole.
Future Utopias: TZM, TVP, time banks, intentional communities
While they still may be considered fringe movements, organizations such as The Zeitgeist Movement, The Venus Project and scores of other organizations are working on interesting alternatives. These organizations envision completely different societies, where money and government as we know it today are non-existent. They promise abundant resources, enough to provide all earthlings with food, clothing, shelter and more all for free. Many are without government, and most have no money in them. That’s a great start.
The trouble with nearly all these is they stand very little hope of happening, mainly because their transition strategies (for the few that have them) aren’t compelling, are flimsy, dismiss critical problems to making a transition possible or depend on romantic, but flawed strategies such as system collapses and popular revolts.
Some of these solutions don’t consider or even strongly oppose modern, global society. They’re against international trade, including mass production and industrialized practices. They believe local is best. They consider moving goods from one part of the planet to another terrible for the planet. These plans see expansion and growth as our main problem (it isn’t). They believe consumerism is a scourge on the planet and those motivated by profit as evil. Neither of these are accurate.
It’s no wonder nearly all these ideas remain on the fringe. For most human beings on the planet, those sitting fat and happy in the bell curve’s bulge, today’s modern society brings immense prosperity, comfort and enjoyment compared to the past. Even considering giving up modern conveniences industrialized, internationally-connected economies bring is a non-starter. Especially for an untested theory.
The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement have achieved considerable momentum over the many years they’ve been around. Both advocate for something called the Resource Based Economy. This ideal is interesting and worth a look. However, their plans for making such a global system a reality is, as acknowledged by many RBE adherents, lacking. Which is why many people, including many members of both groups, still believe such a future remains out of reach. Some of those are beginning to look at and support what we’re up to at Copiosis. And for good reason.
Societal Collapse — power vacuum
A small fraction of members of movements such as those I refer to above believe we won’t see fundamental changes we need until our current system collapses. Assuming such a scenario is on the horizon (many mainstream people not affiliated with such movements are beginning to believe it is, other believe it has already begun) being in the midst of a collapse is the worst time to try to make something better happen.
Want to try to survive a system collapse? I don’t. While it may sound romantic to the survivalists among us, to me, it sounds like misery. And I was once a prepper.
Many civilizations have collapsed. The ones I’m familiar with aren’t around anymore. I think that tells you something about a civilization’s ability to change in the midst of a collapse.
It tends not to.
Gradual collapses are kindler, gentler versions of the kind most people I talk with envision. The kind I most often encounter in conversation includes mass unemployment, drastic financial devaluations, and widespread panic. When I think of these situations, I can’t see how a better world would emerge from the midst of that.
I look at countries such as Syria, Somalia and its civil war, and even little examples such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and realize power vacuums that come with collapse are filled not by new and better ideas, but desperate and romantic remembrances for times past, leading to the rise of despots offering relief by establishing order based on that romantic past, xenophobia, racism or worse.
Speaking of romance, some people (thank god it’s a minority) believe armed revolution is the road to a new world. I disagree. For one, most of us these days are cowards when it comes to giving up our lives for something noble. That said, there is nothing wrong with preferring life over an untimely and likely gruesome death. Especially if you don’t think others will join you in your call for revolution. This isn’t 1776. It’s not 1861 either.
Not only are there not enough people willing to die to make the fundamental change needed via armed insurrection, most people who want change are vastly outnumbered in any terms you might want to use to measure. The wealthy have all the guns, money and resources needed to pay other people to defend what they have against any uprising. So not only does it matter that most are unwilling to die, it makes total sense to feel that way considering a fight We The People would likely lose. Hunger Games scenarios are best kept in the movies.
The best way to solve these problems is not through resistance. It’s through giving in and giving those in power what they want.
Hole up in your personal life
Another approach, one many are taking today, is to make changes where they feel most equipped: their personal lives. In this approach, I buy a Prius, I recycle, eat organic. I vote. I don’t watch TV. Maybe I join MoveOn.org or some other group in hopes of magnifying my effort. It’s a matter of scope of responsibility. It goes like this: I can be the change…but only in my life. Here I feel a sense of efficacy. Even if it is a false sense, I feel better with it. Hopefully, living my example, others will see it and do the same.
Science experts with eyes on our climate argue that individual efforts are not enough to solve our global problems. Leftist organizations such as MoveOn.org, are making the current system better. Their intentions are good and they do magnify personal effort. But they’re trying to work within the system to make the system better while not focusing on the major problems: Denial and money and the system itself.
Fundamental change means fundamental.
Give up: you’re in hopelessness
Here we come to another solution strategy. It’s recognizing problems we’re facing are so huge, there’s nothing not only I can do about them, there’s nothing anyone can do. We’re now back at helplessness and hopelessness. Human beings can’t stand being in these two emotional places, but they do function quite well in denial.
When all appears exhausted and change we’re wanting is still not forthcoming, it’s quite easy to slip into denial. Denial is dangerous though. It allows the problem to fester. It also allows opportunists, unaware of the damage they’re doing, to take advantage. People in denial are easy marks.
There are a number of ways humanity is trying to address all the pressing problems society faces. Some have made some progress. None have addressed the two major problems causing them all: our denial and money and how it functions in our current system.
Don’t fret. There’s still time. Here’s what you can do.
How to get out of this mess
It is possible to create solutions which don’t suffer from the problems mentioned in this bulletin. While there are many ideas out there, the crux of any solution resides in how it is implemented. An idea’s success or failure rests with its plan. That said, let’s take a look first at the idea itself.
- Any idea proposing to replace what we’ve got must promise something better than what we have. Better means that it improves or surpasses what’s being replaced. If the idea takes us backwards, it’s a non-starter for most human beings, who are used to life getting better.
- Any idea which includes debt, monetary systems, and using those things to restrict resource distribution is not a “better” system. It’s just more of the same. In other words, a new system must promise access to all resources for everyone in a context of abundance, which is the natural state of the physical world.
- A new idea must do away with institutional politics. This may sound crazy, only because we haven’t yet seen a system both promising to do away with politics and offering an effective way of delivering on the promise. Yet, any idea that includes politics creates a losing proposition for the minority vote, leaving the majority controlling the speed of progress. Unless the minority has (economic) power over the majority. Progress is the land of the powerless minority, for it is those who dare to create that create progress. And often creators act in the face of extraordinary odds. Those who dare are always a minority. Usually, initially, a minority of one.
- A new idea must inspire each human being to reach for her fullest potential and throw up no barriers on that path. It must not condition them to rely on the leadership of others, to follow orders, or subordinate their innate desires in favor of someone else’s. Each human being is a potential game changer. A better idea should detail how it will unleash that potential.
- The new approach should offer a compelling way to accomplish many functions government does, without government or the effects of government (regulation, taxes, entitlement programs, subsidies, etc.). The very existence of government acknowledges the failure ours socioeconomic systems’ abilities to self-monitor, self-correct and automatically improve its flawed functions. A better approach should not need government interference.
- The new idea should do away with corporate personhood, yet retain value offered by large organized groups employing capital goods for societal and personal gain. It should also replace competitive markets with an environment where information is freely shared, with incentives that motivate direct, fast and efficient sharing of intellectual property, innovations and breakthroughs. All this should happen in a spirit of private enterprise.
- The new idea should offer a way to inspire people to produce from their passions, as passion is what produces the best output of human beings. It should enable automation to the fullest extent possible, allowing humanity to focus on pursuing self-actualization.
- The new idea should offer a compelling way that frees people to pursue environmental remediation — including halting global warming. It should freely offer resources to those doing such work. And it should reward people who produce measurable results which improve, remediate and enhance the planet’s life-sustaining ability.
- The idea must reward both individual and collective efforts to improve society and restore the planet, and it must do so in a way that does not create even the simulation of a zero sum game that penalizes those who weren’t involved in such acts.
- The idea must re-create community while simultaneously preserving the growing interconnectedness between nations and people leading humanity into the future, not the past.
It should also inspire hope for the future for every individual, regardless of their beliefs, experiences, background or other superficial characteristics. Such inspiration should result from an individual’s personal experience interacting with this new idea and seeing results in their life-experience which directly confirms and validates that hope. Hope should not be based simply on someone’s say-so. It should be grounded in personal experience.
Moreover, the system should have a realistic transition plan addressing the following:
- Compensating note holders for the value their debt instruments represent thereby freeing all humanity from debt once and for all
- Compensating asset owners for the value their assets represent to society and to themselves so those assets can be employed to the maximum societal benefit
- It must recognize and quantify the extreme value of the natural environment
- Compensate people for the time they have spent investing in their life’s work, whether that work is valued by capitalism or not
- Recognize the role the current system must play in making the transition happen
- Any transition plan must be based on sound sales and marketing strategies, strategies proven the world over as effective
- Credible transition plans must create demonstrable, real-world results in the lives of ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary cities around the world
- Transition strategies must include wins for everyone, including the one percent
- It must offer opportunity for anyone to get involved, no matter where they live, or what their beliefs might be
- It must allow a single individual the opportunity to make a difference by participating in the transition
- It must offer a transition process less susceptible to agent provocateurs and infiltration as are demonstrations and other movements.
Any approach you examine must have elements that are forward looking. These elements should offer us a way out. After taking that path, we must be in a brand new, inspiring territory. Anything less promises more of the same.
You can use these bullets to compare and contrast solutions you may hear from political, business, community and spiritual leaders, inventors, talk show hosts.
I realize I have set a high bar. Our goals must be lofty however to cross over the mountain of problems we’ve created. If solutions offered don’t check off on all these items, it’s not likely to get us out of the mess we’re in as a country, or as a global society.