Sunday, May 20, 2012

Practical Solutions

This post is aimed at anyone that thinks our current economic system is doing more damage than help to people. By people, I mean the majority of people. I concede that perhaps 8% or so of people in the world may honestly benefit from capitalism. They are the ones that have broken past a certain barrier, so that instead of being behind the wave, they are ahead of it. Effectively, 8% of humanity is swimming downstream and the other 92% are swimming upstream.

I can already see the knee-jerk reaction to this: "But that just means that those 8% were more hard-working and just took all opportunities available to them, the other 92% are just lazy/ineffective/inefficient!"

In fact, inherent in capitalism's design, 92% of the world's people MUST support the other 8%. It is the effort of swimming upstream for the 92% that provides the slipstream for the other 8% to swim downstream. Therefore, if you are lucky enough to be born into the elite, you will, barring seriously terrible life events, remain there. And if you are unlucky enough to be born poor, again the economic system dictates that one should remain there.
And of course there are exceptions. Occasionally, someone DOES slip through the cracks. It happens. What doesn't happen is a person making that alone. It takes the effort and sacrifice of several people to push just one through the cracks. And  then all too often, the person that has made it to the 'top' or at least improved his or her social status, forgets everything and everyone that helped him or her there in the first place. Those of us that are not necessarily rich, nor poor (the 'middle' class, perhaps the people that belong in between the 90th and the 97th percentile) are a very insecure bunch. We are constantly reminded that all the poverty we see around us, could just as easily BE us. And for this, we are conditioned to dissociate ourselves as much as we can from anything that may 'bring us down'. We are taught to hate the poor and see them as responsible for their situation.
And that is why class mobility is not the answer. It is too slow, and only an absolute minority of people can ever achieve it. The rest of us are left to drive the economic engine. The fuel of the engine is your labour, your happiness, your success. Can you see it burned away in front of you, all in the service of someone else?

So all of this begs the question: What are we going to do about it? Those of us who are well-enough educated to see that a crisis is looming, but not well-resourced enough (at least alone) to fix it? Those of us who are morally opposed to the way capitalism dehumanises the majority of people, but don't see any clear solution?

What we have to understand is that those of us who are in this small band of people are a minority. The reason, of course is that the authorities (who are in service of the elite, as always) have tried their utmost to prevent anyone from graduating into this class of people. They have done this by only making career options available to people who follow the capitalist system. Sure, there's an education out there for you, as long as you want to be an accountant, an advertiser, an investor, a doctor or an engineer. As long as you're the kind of person who they're sure will become corrupted by money and not become a problem to them (because what you think of as 'looking out for yourself' is actually looking out for them), then they will offer you a career. 

Those of us who can see that it is only getting worse in capitalism-land and have the skills to do something about it, must therefore serve as the early adopters of a new system. Early adopters are often ostracised by society as a whole, because they are seen as attempting to fix something that, in the minds of society at large, isn't broken. We are so conditioned from a young age that capitalism is the ONLY economic system that could ever work - because hey, look how badly the Russians, Chinese and Koreans fucked up communism? That happened, according to the propagandists, because any opposition to capitalism is doomed to failure. What they have done is create a strawman (dirty commie! hippie! anarchist! terrorist!) and played word association games with it, and introduced a false dichotomy, as though there were only TWO possibilities of economic system in the world - capitalism, and whatever those weird people did.

What we need to do, as the early adopters, is start a new system. My suggestion for this is to do some research into what exactly it takes to run a functional, self-sustaining eco-village. How many people, how long our project is expected to take before we break even, and what outside help we need. We need to break the association between rural villages with backward-thinking and conservative people. We need to redesign 'rural' life into one that embraces change, forward-thinking attitudes, dynamism (see my earlier post on this) and most importantly, TECHNOLOGY. Technology is, in my opinion, what will improve our lives to the point that there no longer needs to be physical labour and the unhappiness that comes from doing that. Technology drives us forward, towards progress. 

Once we've worked out how many people we need, we must then recruit multi-talented people who can help us realise our goal. We can buy farmland by putting our assets together, and use the farm as a place to start our new society. It is time to get out of the overcrowded, polluted city. It isn't doing our health any favours to sit for long periods in traffic and constantly experience all the frustration that comes with having not enough space. The city is a fundamentally inefficient place, because it has been stretched to its logical limit and beyond. The frustration of this will set us back so much that we should no longer tolerate such conditions.

Some of us in South Africa  may have seen films such as Zeitgeist and wondered whether the only sort of support for these claims stems from an international base. In fact, I recently came across a book called The Human Alliance, written by Michael Ruppert (who is from Midrand) that deconstructs how a far more humanitarian society could be established, how it may function and what flaws may arise. I would recommend having a look. The book is updated and reprinted frequently, which represents the commitment to an ideal of dynamism in the sort of way that is helpful to understand it. If you can find a copy, read it. (The books are still in the process of distribution). 

In closing, I would like to say why this is all so important to me: I am of the opinion that once humanity evolves past the need for money, we will be a species of more tolerant, helpful and happier people that  will continue to improve and excel, no longer at the expense of any other species or members of its own. It is therefore something of a personal goal, a goal that is forever evolving, to becoming as unreliant on the capitalist system as possible while maintaining a healthy and happy standard of living. Or stated another way: Having the sort of life that I would truly be happy to bring children into, to the point that I would intentionally aid the process of creation of life that the collective consciousness has given rise to.

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