( A deep read of twenty minutes)
Democracy is the process by which we get ourselves organized to perform capitalism.
To claim back power we must turn those shiny mirrors our Smartphones into shields, passports and carriers of personal sovereignty.
The good news is that for hundred of years humankind has enjoyed a growing economy without falling prey to ecological meltdown but the margin for error is narrowing with global warming. All the talk, all the conferences, all the summits, all the promises and protocols have so far failed to curb emissions.
Because despite all our achievements we are under constant pressure to produce more and more stuff. We risk the future on the assumption that technological will come up with a solution’s in the future.
What is the price going to be?
If every thing is for sale the connection between capitalism, democracy, and liberalism is in the process of being broken.
The new modern deal is Humanist.
Soundless revolutions, silent reformations, undreamed ideas, new religions, must not be neglected, if we would grasp the unity of history in its highest sense.…The unapparent future….bids us to consider the whole sequence up to the present moment as probably no more than the beginning of a social and psychical development, where of the end is withdrawn from our view by countless millenniums to come.
However the world does not come to an end when the nine billion names of God are uttered. Freedom of speech is not over when we have uttered a certain thing.
We are the ultimate source of meaning, and free will is therefore the highest authority of all.
This is for this reason that democratic elections give expression to the ultimate political authority the People. It will end when we final hand our future to AI.
Whoever determines the meaning of our actions – whether they be good or evil, right or wrong, beautiful or ugly, also gains the authority to tell us what to think and how to behave.
If we are not careful (because human opinion is necessarily fragile and ephemeral) absolute truths and the meaning of life, not to mention the Universe will soon be based on some external laws from some superhuman source other than God.
Creating meaning for a meaningless world will become impossible without Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all its forms of Algorithms that will and are already affect every facet of daily life.
WE MUST DETERMINE BY OURSELVES WHAT IS GOOD, AND WHAT IS EVIL, WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG, WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL AND WHAT IS UGLY, WHAT IS IGNORANCE AND CORRUPTIBLE, WHAT IS TRUTH AND WHAT IS FALSE. NOT A MACHINE. Knowledge = experiences x Sensitivity.
IF WE LOOSE OUR FEELING THERE IS NO POINT IN BELIEVING ANYTHING.
Over the last century, capitalism has repeatedly revealed its worst tendencies: instability and inequality and its failures have turned democracy against liberalism. Across Europe, economic interventionism, nationalism, and even open racism have exerted a greater attraction for those casting their democratic votes than the causes of freedom, deregulation, and equality before the law.
Free markets have not only enlarged the gap between rich and poor, but have also reduced average incomes across the developed and developing worlds.
In turn, liberalism’s intellectual self-identity has been left in tatters.
Liberal theorists are now desperately trying to keep the ship afloat. But instead of addressing the challenges head-on they have turned to the past for solace and validation. While this new liberal historicism may have a certain rhetorical appeal, it fails to convince.
At root, liberty is a concept grounded in the individual.
It is the freedom to be all that one is, to actualize the fullness of one’s potential as a human being endowed with the capacity for creativity and the ability to make autonomous value judgments for ourselves. However surrounded by the confused, jargon-ridden babble of political commentators today, it is perhaps easy to forget that liberalism is defined by a commitment to liberty.
While each of us may wish to be free as an individual, individual freedom is dependent on us all being free; and that means that we all have to cling to our shared humanity, our shared dignity and not to be manipulated by profit seeking un-vetted Algorithms.
The world was moving toward a politically border less and highly interdependent global economy that might have foster prosperity, international cooperation, and world peace. This is no longer true. Now thanks to un vetted Algorithms we are witnessing a world characterized by intense economic conflict at both the domestic and international levels. Today we are returning to the huge 19th-century-sized gaps between the richest 1 percent and everyone else.
Rescuing the “disappearing middle class” has become every aspiring politician’s slogan, but this is also coming to an end with targeted Social Media Profiling, (conducted by Algorithms) that are and will produce extreme inequality that will infect all of society, as rich corporations that own these Algorithms move to protect their positions, by buying the politicians, mass media and other cultural forms that are for sale.
Capitalism is today’s version of the what and democracy is the how.
Capitalism does not say that “all men are equal”; it even has difficulty in saying that we are all “created equal.”
If we truly want to move beyond capitalism we have to break away from the employer-employee core relationships. It means no longer assigning a relatively tiny number of people inside each enterprise to the employer position of exclusively. It means that every worker has an interest in the enterprise, a share in its profits its loses and decision-making.
While democracy is a consensual hallucination of people concerned with how to divide opportunity fairly or democracy is a process for ensuring that each gets an equal session with the eye while capitalism fosters a desire to keep the eye and not share it. An end in itself, not a means.
Democracy as a rule book is not intended to operate only until a particular individual or class has enough money. It is hard to govern the human heart with rules. The democracy rule book, though it hovers above our laws has not succeeded in making humans cherish democracy.
A Martian visiting earth would not be able to see democracy. It is intangible, a rule book we have agreed to which says that no-one shall be denied opportunity, freedom of speech, or the due process of the laws.
Democracy denies the Hobbesian war of all against all, (Thomas Hobbes saw people as weak and selfish, and thus in constant need of the governance that could save them from destruction) and capitalism, pretending to prophecy it, creates it and enshrines it at the center of our pantheon, as the true, the human, the only way to live.
Under the democracy rule book, we meet as the village council; our concern is how to preserve the commons for our children’s children. All right, shift paradigms: we are now under the capitalist rule book, meeting as the board of directors of the Intercontinental Sheep-Grazing Company run by Social media ruled by Algorithms owned by Google, Apple, etc. Their discussion, abruptly with technology is about how to maximize shareholder value, by extracting every last possible dollar from the commons this fiscal period.
Our grandchildren are nowhere in the conversation; they are not shareholders. Under the separation of powers implied by the two rule books, we are relieved of the necessity of thinking about the future, because it is someone else’s job.
The substantive corrupts the procedural, when the love of things corrupts the spirit of fairness.
So it not surprising that any ambitious youngster, perceiving the differences between the two rule books, will prefer to give his allegiance to capitalism, because it offers quicker personal progress than democracy. Democracy preaches incremental change, but capitalism offers overnight transformation, the opportunity to sell something a day after you bought it for ten times what you paid.
It was not healthy for our two divisions ( Capitalism versus Democracy) to savage each other.
Cooperation is the key feature of democracy, but capitalism is usually thought of (it need not be) as a zero-sum game in which, if I have more, it is because you have less. Versions of capitalism, like the one I believe in, in which we all grow together, are less interesting to the ambitious, because they too closely resemble democracy.
Everything seemed to suggest that only liberal capitalist democracy allowed people to thrive in an increasingly globalized world, and that only the steady advance of laissez-faire economics would guarantee a future of free, democratic states, untroubled by want and oppression and living in peace and contentment.
Humanity imposes upon us the same basic needs. By virtue of our nature, we all require food, shelter, clothing, security, and a range of other basic goods necessary for sufficiency and survival.
Though deceptively simple, these implications have profound meaning when we consider how individual liberty is to be translated into a social and political construct. If the liberty of each person is to be maintained and maximized, the principles of equity and the common good must be embedded in the structure of society.
And since society is structured above all by law, the law must reflect these precepts. It is only if everyone recognizes the dignity of the human person that they will recognize the inherent value of equity and the common good, and strive to defend and preserve not only their own liberty, but also that of all others in their society using law.
It lies not in economics, or the tides of history. It lies in the recognition of the worthiness of humanity itself. Not wealth-creation which depends on the protection of private property, the “capitalist creep” will invariably demand greater legal protection for individual rights.
In a world still divided by rival national ambitions in which economic factors in effect determine the fate of nations, many conclude that international economic affairs will become increasingly filled with conflict. We are witness the tectonic plates of Nature, democracy, disappearing under automation of AI algorithms.
We make a colossal mistake taking it for granted. We mistakenly believe that capitalism begets inevitably democracy. It doesn’t.
The last battle between democracy and capitalism will be fought on the field of political campaign contributions.
There is a solution:
It is possible to separate fully the political sphere from the economic sphere, so as to confine the democratic process fully in the political sphere, leaving the economic sphere — the corporate world, if you want — as a democracy-free zone.
The answer lies in the political choice that we shall be making collectively. It is our choice, and we’d better make it democratically because the system we have now is even worse than capitalism. Nobody wants to leave the certainty of the devil they know, or think they know, for something that promises to be worse.
We have run out of world to commodify. And now commodification can only cannibalize its own means of existence, both natural and social.
What all of us make is intellectual property, which from its point of view is all equivalent and tradable as a commodity.
Of course it is always a tough argument to propose common interests among subordinate classes. Counter-hegemony is hard. Hackers, like workers or farmers, are distracted by particular and local interests. Class consciousness is rare among hackers. Most of us are rather reactionary — even in the nontechnical trades. But than class consciousness is always a rare and difficult thing.
Finally at the start of this post I advocated that: To claim back power we must turn those shiny mirrors our Smartphones into shields, passports and carriers of personal sovereignty.
Of course this can only be achieved if we can form a world on line pressure group, using the combined power of Smartphones to affect change.
Once the greatness of a nation could be judged by the way its animals are treated now its the power that moves through the smart phone that can be instrumentally conceptualized and strategically deployed, accounted for, and resisted is the driving force that judges.
Democracy is using your social media channels to engage and provide feedback.
The perception of the public, how people view what you do, is just as important as what you do.
I am all ears as to how we can capture the collective power of our phones to lobby the direction of democracy.
To that end, if scholars, activists, and commentators are to contend with the political potential of devices such as the smartphone camera, then it is imperative to account for the simultaneous processes embodied in its mechanics alongside the cultural and social conditions as these devices are often celebrated for disrupting rather than unifying.
The Gap between Democracy and Capitalism is widening.
All comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the BIN.