(Thirty-minute lockdown read ) My previous post asked the question of what skills will be needed to rebuild …
Artificial Intelligence., Business and Economy, Capitalism, CORONA VIRUS., Coronavirus (COVID-19), Distribution of wealth, Extinction, Global warming, Globalization, Inequility, Technology, The Future of Mankind, Visions of the future.
( An essential twenty-minute read)
It all depends on how governments and society respond to coronavirus and its economic aftermath.
As we know COVID-19 is highlighting serious deficiencies in our existing system.
Hopefully, we will use this crisis to rebuild, produce something better and more humane. But we may slide into something worse.
My focuses on this post are on the fundamentals of the modern economy: global supply chains, wages, and productivity.
I argue that we will need a very different kind of economics if we are to build socially just and ecologically sound futures.
In the face of COVID-19, this has never been more obvious.
The COVID-19 pandemic is simply the amplification of the dynamic that drives other social and ecological crises: The prioritisation of one type of value over others.
From an economic perspective, there are four possible futures:
Descent into barbarism, robust state capitalism, radical state socialism, and a transformation into a big society built on mutual aid.
Coronavirus, like climate change, is partly a problem of our economic structure. Although both appear to be “environmental” or “natural” problems, they are socially driven.
Yes, climate change is caused by certain gases absorbing heat. But that’s a very shallow explanation. To really understand climate change, we need to understand the social reasons that keep us emitting greenhouse gases.
Likewise with COVID-19. Yes, the direct cause is the virus. But managing its effects requires us to understand human behaviour and its wider economic context.
Tackling both COVID-19 and climate change is much easier if you reduce nonessential economic activity.
The epidemiology of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. But the core logic is similarly simple. People mix together and spread infections.
We can see from Wuhan that social distancing and lockdown measures like this are effective.
Political economy is useful in helping us understand why they weren’t introduced earlier in European countries and the US.
We are now facing a serious recession and we are living with an economic system that will threaten collapse at the next sign of pandemic.
The economics of collapse is fairly straightforward.
Businesses exist to make a profit.
If they can’t produce, they can’t sell things. This means they won’t make profits, which means they are less able to employ you.
Businesses can and do (over short time periods) hold on to workers that they don’t need immediately: They want to be able to meet demand when the economy picks back up again. But, if things start to look really bad, then they won’t. So, more people lose their jobs or fear to lose their jobs. So they buy less. And the whole cycle starts again, and we spiral into an economic depression.
In a normal crisis, the prescription for solving this is simple.
The government spends, and it spends until people start consuming and working again.
This pressure has led some world leaders to call for an easing of lockdown measures.
But normal interventions won’t work here because we don’t want the economy to recover (at least, not immediately). The whole point of the lockdown is to stop people going to work, where they spread the disease.
If we want to be more resilient to pandemics in the future (and to avoid the worst of climate change) we need a system capable of scaling back production in a way that doesn’t mean loss of livelihood.
At its core, the economy is the way we take our resources and turn them into the things we need to live.
Looked at this way, we can start to see more opportunities for living differently that allow us to produce less stuff without increasing misery.
So how do you reduce the amount of stuff you make while keeping people in work?
You have to reduce people’s dependence on a wage to be able to live.
Currently, the primary aim of the global economy is to facilitate exchanges of money. The dominant idea of the current system we live in is that exchange value is the same thing as use-value.
This is why markets are seen as the best way to run society. They allow you to adapt, and are flexible enough to match up productive capacity with use-value.
What COVID-19 is throwing into sharp relief is just how false our beliefs about markets are.
There are lots of contributing factors to this. But let’s take two.
First, it is quite hard to make money from many of the most essential societal services-key workers low-paid employee. This is in part because a major driver of profits is labour productivity growth: doing more with fewer people – automation.
Second, jobs in many critical services aren’t those that tend to be highest valued in society. Many of the best-paid jobs only exist to facilitate exchanges; to make money.
People are compelled to work pointless jobs (they serve no wider purpose to society: ie. consultants, huge advertising industry and a massive financial sector) because, in a society where exchange value is the guiding principle of the economy, the basic goods of life are mainly available through markets.
This means you have to buy them, and to buy them you need an income, which comes from a job.
Meanwhile, we have a crisis in health and social care, where people are often forced out of useful jobs they enjoy because these jobs don’t pay them enough to live.
While state-capitalist society continues to pursue exchange value as the guiding light of the economy. It also enacts a massive Keynesian stimulus by extending credit and making direct payments to businesses.
The expectation here is that this is will be for a short period.
Could this be a successful scenario?
Possibly, but only if COVID-19 proves controllable over a short period.
Limited state intervention will become increasingly hard to maintain if death tolls rise.
Increased illness and death will provoke unrest and deepen economic impacts, forcing the state to take more and more radical actions to try to maintain market functioning.
Barbarism is the future if we continue to rely on exchange value as our guiding principle and yet refuse to extend support to those who get locked out of markets by illness or unemployment. It describes a situation that we have not yet seen.
Could this happen?
The concern is that either it could happen by mistake during the pandemic, or by intention after the pandemic peaks.
Potentially just as consequential is the possibility of massive austerity after the pandemic has peaked and governments seek to return to “normal”.
This would be disastrous. The subsequent failure of the economy and society would trigger political and stable unrest, leading to a failed state and the collapse of both state and community welfare systems.
Then there is the possibility that we could see with a cultural shift that places a different kind of value at the heart of the economy.
The state steps in to protect the parts of the economy that are essential to life: so that the basic provisions of life are no longer at the whim of the market. The state nationalises hospitals and makes housing freely available. Finally, it provides all citizens with a means of accessing various goods – both basics and any consumer goods we are able to produce with a reduced workforce.
Citizens no longer rely on employers as intermediaries between them and the basic materials of life.
Payments are made to everyone directly and are not related to the exchange value they create.
Instead, payments are the same to all (on the basis that we deserve to be able to live, simply because we are alive), or they are based on the usefulness of the work.
A Basic Universal Income.
Supermarket workers, delivery drivers, warehouse stackers, nurses, teachers, and doctors are the new CEOs.
If deep recessions happen and there is a disruption in supply chains such that demand cannot be rescued by the kind of standard Keynesian policies we are seeing now (printing money, making loans easier to get and so on), the state may take overproduction.
There are risks to this approach – we must be careful to avoid authoritarianism. But done well, this may be our best hope against an extreme COVID-19 outbreak.
Mutual aid is the second future in which we adopt the protection of life as the guiding principle of our economy. But, in this scenario, the state does not take a defining role. Rather, individuals and small groups begin to organise support and care within their communities.
The most ambitious form of this future sees new democratic structures arise. Groupings of communities that are able to mobilise substantial resources with relative speed. People coming together to plan regional responses to stop disease spread and (if they have the skills) to treat patients.
This kind of scenario could emerge from any of the others.
What hopefully is clear is that all these scenarios leave some grounds for fear, but also some for hope.
The upside of this is the possibility that we build a more humane system that leaves us more resilient in the face of future pandemics and other impending crises like climate change.
A key task for us all is demanding that emerging social forms come from an ethic that values care, life, and democracy.
The central political task in this time of crisis is living and (virtually) organising around those values.
Not low-paid workers or National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage because their work is so vital.
Successive governments had failed to reduce inequality between rich and poor despite two decades of interventions.
We must now with an uncertain future focus more on the journey, rather than the ultimate destination.
But be no doubt that we are at a crossroad where the low pay culture that has trapped people in poorly jobs is coming to an end.
Capitalism Inequality can not be allowed to continue.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
At the moment rightly so we are all preoccupied with the consequences of our own individual lives and all indicator point to world disaster on a scale not seen by most of us.
However, if and when we return to a semblance of normal the freedom of the press will be in jeopardy when the blame game starts, which is inevitable.
Why will it be?
Because the present pandemic marks the emergence of a new model of watchdog function, one that is neither purely networked nor purely traditional but is rather a mutualistic interaction between the two.
What globalization, technological integration and the general flattening of the world have done is to super empower individuals to such a degree that they can actually challenge any hierarchy—from a global bank to a nation-state—as individuals.
The fear that the decentralized network, with its capacity to empower individuals to challenge their governments or global banks, is not a democracy, but could lead to anarchy.
But the alternative is to give the government a veto over what its citizens are allowed to know.
There should be relentless exposure of politician or businessman, every evil practice, whether in politics, business, or social life if we are to change the world for a better future.
False news forces us to ask how comfortable we are with the actual shape of democratization created by the Internet. It circumvents the social and organizational
frameworks of traditional media, which played a large role in framing the
balance between freedom and responsibility of the press.
Many of the problems can be laid at the feet of the Internet—fragmentation of the audience and polarization of viewpoints.
We cannot afford as a polity to create classes of privileged speakers and
press agencies, and underclasses of networked information producers whose products we take into the public sphere when convenient, but whom we treat as susceptible to suppression when their publications become less palatable.
Doing so would severely undermine the quality of our public discourse.
The risk is that the government will support its preferred media models and that the
incumbent mass media players will, in turn, vilify and denigrate the newer
models in ways that make them more vulnerable to attack and shore up the
the privileged position of those incumbents in their role as a more reliable ally watchdog.
Clarifying that the freedom of the press extends to “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion” and that liberty of the press is the right of the lonely pamphleteer and individual bloggers.
Social distancing must not be allowed to turn into ruling distancing.
Long live WikiLeaks.
An uncomfortable fact is that a free press in a democracy can be messy at the best of times with governments around the world underestimated the coronavirus the political exploitation of the outbreak is now a reality.
Capturing the treatment of television is less comprehensive as it is a visual medium.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
AS IF WE DID NOT KNOW it is posing that fundamental profound question once more.
Are we going to care of the Earth so it can care for us?
It is impossible to say which way the disease will go however there is no doubt that it is creating the biggest restriction of civil liberties “in peacetime”.
We know that we all tracked by Google. Behind all the restrictions governments will adopt powers that they will loath to relinquish when the crises are over.
There is every like hood that the pandemic will strengthen the state and reinforce nationalism. What won’t change is the inequality and greed, rather it will create a less open, less prosperous and less free world.
Of course, it did not have to be like this but it will be the straw that brakes the camel’s back of globalization and it will probably result in uncontrolled Co2 emissions.
In the short term, with decoupling and rivalry coming to the forefront driven by a cascading sense of vulnerability there will be a race to return to full production.
However the Pandemic is proof of our interdependence but we are not or are we heading for a poorer, meaner, and smaller world.
If the Pandemic shocks us into recognizing our real interests in cooperating multilaterally on the big global issues facing us all it will have served a useful purpose.
We all know that it is not enough to think of one nation’s power over another when it comes to climate change. The key is learning the importance that we have all to act together and Covid -19 is going to show that we are failing to adjust our strategy on many fronts to this new world.
Either way, this crisis will reshuffle the international power structure in the way we can only begin to imagine.
If we don’t support each other the result will be instability and widespread conflict within and across nations.
We know that there is a dramatic new stage in global capitalism on the horizon with supply chains be brought closer to home. We are going to see failed states with billions of economic refugees on the move.
We are going to see the USA no longer as an international leader.
To date, international collaboration has been woefully insufficient.
What is needed it targeted assistance that provides hope that men and woman can prevail in response to this extraordinary challenge.
If it gets Airborne the white full personal-protection suits that presently strike fear into the hearts of us all will be worthless.
AS IF EARTH DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH PROBLEMS THE NEXT NASA PROJECT TO MARS IS SCHEDULED TO LAUNCH IN JULY.
NASA’s 2020 Mars rover.
The rover will collect and cache promising samples for eventual return to Earth.
The first pristine pieces of Mars won’t be coming down to Earth for at least another decade, but the time to start preparing society for the epic arrival is now.
This is an extremely grave point.
On the one hand, we can argue that Martian organisms cannot cause any serious problems to terrestrial organisms, because there has been no biological contact for 4.5 billion years between Martian and terrestrial organisms. On the other hand, we can argue equally well that terrestrial organisms have evolved no defences against potential Martian pathogens, precisely because there has been no such contact for 4.5 billion years. The chance of such an infection may be very small, but the hazards, if it occurs, are certainly very high.
Martian rock that has already arrived on earth contained structures resembled the fossilized remains of bacteria-like lifeforms.
What if such samples turned out to be dangerous, and contagiously so?
Are there some Mars-oriented lessons to be learned from COVID-19.
Here on earth, it is gruelling and potentially lethal work to identify a virus never mind virus from other planets.
It is estimated that there are 1.6 million unknown viruses in birds and mammals. Of these, it is thought between 600,000 and 800,000 are zoonotic, meaning they have the potential to jump from animals to people.
Virulence, contacts and the length of time for which people are infectious are the three factors that determine what is called ‘the basic reproductive rate’ – how far and fast the epidemic will spread.
As with historical infectious disease epidemics, the coronavirus that’s spreading currently is another example of why it’s so important to understand the consequences of interacting with environments humans rarely contact and then distributing widely whatever [they] picked up.
If one looks at the outbreak in Africa, of Ebola and the HIV/Aids pandemic – which to date has killed 35 million and infected 70 million – started about a century ago in Cameroon when a chimpanzee virus was transmitted to a human who almost certainly killed, butchered or consumed it.
Markets were closed during both outbreak, but they are now once more doing a roaring trade selling tropical game including monkeys, chimpanzees, cane rats, bats and snakes. Bushmeat is entrenched in local culture and is often a vital form of subsistence, hence why the authorities are unwilling or unable to announce an outright ban.
Last, with or without artificial intelligence we continue at our collective peril to make imbalance’s in the ecosystem.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
Capitalism and Greed, Capitalism vs. the Climate., Coronavirus (COVID-19), Earth, Environment, Extinction, Global warming, Globalization, Inequility, Natural disaster, The Future of Mankind, Visions of the future.
I know that humans are the only type of species that are suitable to manage the earth but it does not make them the right species!
Did we ever think that we would be living in a world where it is life-threatening to go our side and I am not talking about terrorists or any other Hollywood science fiction movie scenario?
There’s a lot of bad news out there but this is not a death sentence.
It’s time to save the world. ” We can use it as we wish”
No one owns the earth. No one has the right to do whatever they want.
We’re not the only thing that lives here, nor are we more important in any way.
We cannot use the world as we please as our actions are endangering not just us but other species.
Our Earth was meant to be lived on in union with its Ecosystems and we cannot allow that to be broken.
The Coronavirus ( Covid 19 ) is illuminating what is wrong with our world.
So our most crucial life questions are:
What Kind of World Do We Want to Leave to Our Children?
Whatever your interest — whether it’s the environment, health care, poverty, or education — there are simple steps each of us can take to make life better not just for someone in our own community.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” now needs an Earth Declaration.
Here are the top six of my non-legal binding the goals.
Use Global Warming to Solve Global Warming.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
Sustainable Development Goals which will take years for a critical mass of governments to actually rally behind.
The allocation of resources to fight climate change and other environmental issues over the next decade can be achieved by making a profit for profit sake pay. ( See the previous post on a 0.05% World Aid Commission. How it could be implemented so the costs are spread fairly)
End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Global poverty. Reduce inequality within and among countries. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Expand access to clean drinking water, green energy.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation.
The 2020s sounds like such a radical futuristic decade however to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development requires a coherent and plausible conception of social justice. A basic income, a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement.
Stop the sale of arms.
The estimate of the total value of the global arms trade in 2017 was at least $95 billion.* However, the true figure is likely to be higher. On any given day at any given moment in your life, there are at least 15 wars and armed conflicts actively going on all around the world — even if you’re only hearing about a few of them on the news.
There are an estimated 11-12 million refugees in the world today with between 12-24 million Internally Displaced Persons.
Electoral Reform with Citizens’ Assemblies.
These aren’t just focus groups or consultations though but for the members to engage in serious, informed reflection on important policy matters with people they may never normally meet.
As Hubert Reeves ( Canadian-French Astrophysicist) say’s, ” Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and Destroys a Visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshipping “
Feel free to have idea sex between your ideas and mine so we can come up with even better ideas. It’s a way of saying: “We agree that these are the world’s top priorities right now.”
Five minute read.
With all aspects of our life made into a form of viewing entertainment. We live in a world that has become desensitized.
The result is that most if not all of us pay little attention to the state of Earth.
The drawn-out nature of many crises now facing us all underscores the importance of coming together to urgently resolve the root causes of a humanitarian crisis.
It is unlikely the situation will improve.
Where do you even start? Which issues are the most urgent?
So this post is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Rather, it serves as an overview of some of the major issues all global citizens should be aware of.
Sometimes it can seem as though there are too many – from climate change to inequality around the world, too many people living without access to medical care its not worth knowing.
But just in case here is why we are in such a mess.
12.9% of the world is undernourished, about 30% of the adult population is overweight.
Conflict continues to drive displacement and food insecurity but communicable diseases are still responsible for 71% of deaths.
The international community, and in particular wealthy nations, are failing to meaningfully share the responsibility for protecting people who have fled their homes in search of safety.
- 25.9 million refugees globally — the highest level ever recorded
- Half of the world’s refugees are children
- A third of refugees — 6.7 million people — is hosted by the world’s poorest countries
Driven by nearly two decades of conflict and political instability; 9.4 million Afghans (25 per cent of the population) need humanitarian assistance. There are almost 2.5 million registered Afghan refugees living outside the country.
4.6 million Venezuelans have fled the country as of November 2019.
There are over 2 million displaced Nigerians.
Eleven million Syrians (65 per cent of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Democratic Republic of Congo 15.9 million people require humanitarian assistance.
Over 24 million Yemenis (80 per cent of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance,
South Sudan 7.5 million people need humanitarian assistance.
600 million children are not mastering basic mathematics and literacy while at school.
Forests are key to producing the air we breathe, yet these are being depleted at a rate of 26 million hectares every year.
Extinctions are happening at what scientists estimate to be about 1,000 times the normal pace. Not only are we losing flora and fauna, but we are also damaging our ecosystems, and throwing them out of balance
Our oceans are under threat.
Sand and gravel are now the most-extracted materials in the world, exceeding fossil fuels and biomass.
Climate change is another issue.
There is actually not enough fresh water for each person currently living on the planet.
Population growth. The number of people on the planet is set to rise to 9.7 billion in 2050 with 2 billion aged over 60.
More than 61 million jobs have been lost since the start of the global economic crisis in 2008, leaving more than 200 million people unemployed globally.
With 43% of the world’s population connected to the internet, regulatory frameworks are unable to keep up.
In this complex moment in history, in which so many are suffering and the Earth itself is in peril
The cloud of nuclear destruction hangs over each of our days.
But the question remains what kind of society do we want to have?
The reasons behind current trends are many and complex.
The detail of the information that we are beginning to capture about our world is mind-blowing. The granularity of the data we are beginning to collect through advances in technology. While improving our lives through cleaner energy sources, personalized nanomedicine and nano-engineered materials.
In all of these areas, progress will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in conventional jobs and inequality on a global scale not seen before.
But technology alone can not break the self-reinforcing mechanism that causes poverty to persist.
As highly innovative products emerging will, however, promote inequality if only a few have access to this new technology and the knowledge to master it.
Education is probably the single most important tool for turning technology into an engine for opportunities for all.
Public policies, which are currently mainly focused on fostering economic growth, should focus on providing further opportunities, less inequality and a more sustainable economic, social and environmental future.
Technology is not the solution but it is, for sure, a powerful tool towards achieving this ambitious objective.
Whether it’s turning promises on climate change into action, rebuilding trust in the financial system, or connecting the world to the internet there is an overall lack of long-term investment, which has serious implications for global growth.
But the most astonishing canvas is right in front of us if only we would listen with our ear to the earth we might see the light we cannot see.
In short, the world urgently needs a new, global plan based on genuine international cooperation and a meaningful and fair sharing of responsibilities.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
The word came from the “prairie populists”, a 1890s movement of US farmers who supported more robust regulation of capitalism.
“But no one is clear what it is.”
We can’t really talk about populism without talking about our conflicting conceptions of democracy – and the question of what it truly means for citizens to be sovereign.
So is it an ideologically portable way of looking at politics as a forum for opposition between “people” and “elites”?
Or is it simply part of what it means to do politics?
Or is it a lens for looking at our politics?
Or a mode of talking about politics, rather than a set of beliefs?
Or is it an emerging political movement driven by technology, spread by social media, the smartphone and ruled by algorithms.
There is one thing for certain populism is inherent to democracy.
So it would be in the first place a massive mistake, considering the hollow, undemocratic mess we are in, with algorithms making decisions about our collective fate – outside the reach of politics, to ignore its power.
If one looks at the state of liberal democracy today it is becoming more and more a sham. A nice-sounding set of universal principles that, in practice, end up functioning as smokescreens to normalise the exploitations and inequities of our capitalist system.
Nothing can stay depoliticised forever. The questions of populism would have little urgency were it not for the widespread agreement about the shortcomings of the political status quo: About the abyss between the shining ideals of equality and responsive government implied by our talk about democracy and the tarnished reality of life on the ground.
Populism is supposed to explain: Brexit, Trump, Viktor Orbán’s takeover of Hungary, the rise of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, even Putin.
However, neither Trump nor Brexit should be regarded primarily as populist phenomena.
His election and Brexit shows that every status quo – however sturdy – is only temporary, and can always be challenged by a movement that seeks to replace it with something new.
Populists consider themselves as victims of economic exploitation, anti-austerity movements – such as Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece, and Occupy these movements are obviously animated by a sense of opposition.
From this perspective, populism is just another word for real politics.
On the other hand, what most people knew about these parties, at first, was that they were openly nativist and racist. They talked about “real” citizens of their countries, and fixated on the issue of national and ethnic “purity,” demonising immigrants and minorities.
But I say that there are no real populists in politics – just people, attitudes and movements that the political centre misunderstands and fears.
The question of populism, then, is always the question of what kind of democracy we want.
The only inherent connection between rightwing and leftwing populist movements is that both embrace the same fundamental truth about democracy: that it is an ever-shifting contest over how the default “we” of politics is defined and redefined, of which no one definition can be guaranteed to last.
When populism appears in the media, which it does more and more often now, it is typically presented without explanation, as if everyone can already define it.
It sounded less alarming than “extreme right” or “radical right”.
It will always live in the shadow of the muddled media and political discourse and there can no longer be any doubt that we are going through a populist moment, so which type of populist you want to be.
A liberal democracy populism that is forced by rightwing populism to make good on its promises of equality. That needs to reacquaint with the need to construct a democratic “we” – a people – around their demand to protect liberal institutions and procedures, in opposition to radical rightwing parties who are happy to see them discarded.
Liberal democracy, in this context, has almost nothing to do with contemporary distinctions between left and right. It refers, instead, to the idea that government should facilitate pluralistic coexistence by balancing the never fully attainable ideal of popular sovereignty with institutions that enshrine the rule of law and civil rights, which cannot easily be overturned by a political majority.
A populism that can never be disentangled from the concept’s pejorative baggage. An ideology runs the risk of making effective and worthwhile political strategies seem irresponsible, even dangerously promoting nativisms and short term gains.
Obviously, there are leftwing and rightwing populisms both are motivated not by passion for populism’s core ideas, but by other ideological factors best described as a fuzzy blanket to camouflage nastier nativism.
We are now living through a time when familiar webs connecting citizens, ideologies and political parties are, if not falling apart, at least beginning to loosen and shift and old theories of populism that defined it specifically as rightwing, racist or anti-immigrant is insufficiently wide to describe these new developments in populist politics.
It seems to me that Populists deal in “simplicity,” in “glib, facile solutions” while liberal leaders have been “oblivious” to the sufferings of their people.
So why are the traditional parties of the left in the western world being defeated?
Because the other side doesn’t play fair any more with conflict an inescapable and defining feature of political life.
The juvenile incapacity of both to bring their preferences to the political arena and engage in the complex give-and-take of rational compromise is with Social Media now fraught with a political examination and association accusation and assassination.
With the impersonal forces, of “globalisation” and “technological change voters are deciding that mainstream political parties have done nothing for their static incomes or disappearing jobs or sense of national decline these past two decades.
The “many, not the few.”
Populism is a new, consensus-smashing thing that is now secondary to nativism. Ultimately, they are disputes about which types of politics make us suspicious, and why.
To conclude that the two camps are simply talking past each other would be to miss the extent to which they are in agreement –and what, taken together, they tell us about the current political moment.
We can never know exactly where democracy is going to take us – not this time, nor the next, nor the time after that, but political parties must come to terms that the elephant in the room is that we no longer vote once every five years we vote on Social media ever five minutes.
Unless politics is not achievable, or rewarding, it obviously is sowing the long-term seeds for discontent.
It’s great to see politicians with Twitter accounts but there’s only so much you can do with that. Online participation in local decision-making is possible.
Failing to practice what you preach has ethical and political costs. E-voting is the next step.
Here below is what they are voting on and its not Fifty Shades of Grey Popularism.
Capitalist greed has and is poisoning political life.
Unregulated Algorithms will ensure it continues to do so. Combined with the new realities of the portability of populism’s ideological movements spread by social media it is no wonder that liberal democracy is crumbling around the world.
To keep up with algorithms and their lavishly detailed position papers, their leaders, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Mircosoft, and their inc have little personal sympathy any longer with the travails of working people.
We can only hope that the fear of populism on the left will enable the victory of populism of the right.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
We live in a world where the obvious cannot be addressed.
Each and every aspect of our daily lives, work, relationships are somehow influenced or mediated by technology today, not only as individuals but collectives.
It makes one wonder about the sheer volume of ignorance which not only allows the same problems to persist decade after decade but to even get worse.
It is obvious that our very sustainability is under threat but we remain “Oblivious”
Consider the paradoxical and strategic implications of the fact that people do not perceive things being too small or too big, too far away or too close, too wide or too narrow, too unimportant or too important for us, too slow and gradual or too sudden and fast, always present or usually absent, too often repeated or not often enough to be remarked, too general, complicated and abstract or too simple, too respectable or too unworthy, too familiar or too alien, too similar or too different too few or too many… Imagine the practical implications of such blindness!
Some of the biggest things around us dissolve into background scene, too huge to count and seemingly too big to fail.
To defeat this blindness we must ask what exactly is obvious? Why? obvious to whom? To me? to you? To everybody? Everywhere? All the time?
Decisions about technology should not be irreversibly delegated to technocrats, corporations and tech monopolies.
We think unknowingly with other people’s thoughts.
The conclusion is that our senses and memories cheat us, our common sense is no good and our judgement false.
It is self-evident that basic assumptions are the riverbeds of our thoughts, the compass of our judgment and choices and our actions; most of them we inherited from trusted people and from authorities, they look inherent, seem to be there from eternity, as if out of sight, so that we would not question them.
This is now leading to a ready-made thinking world of algorithms used by Facebook- Utube – Google – Smartphones -Twitter -and Social media. An invisible prison of social media where it is easier to observe other people’s basic assumptions than yours; particularly when they are dissimilar with yours; then, other people have not yet grown into your culture may be useful to detect your unquestionable beliefs; especially very different people coming from somewhere else; or you, visiting somewhere else.
I do not see much good in convincing people not to trust their own mind; we must instead accept and work around this “blindness” without moving our life into monasteries at the feet of gurus or into laboratories at the feet of the experts of the day.
After a while, you don’t notice. They become references.
The Right to an Algorithmic Opt-Out…
How to notice, by ourselves, the obvious turned imperceptible? How to detect it, how to discern it from the merely neutral “obvious” background? How to evaluate the importance and potential of change of something so evident that it escapes your attention? How to wake up to it? How to seek and get help? How to help other people to do the same? What to do when people cannot or do not want to see the obvious? How to awaken people?
The question is still “How to open my eyes when they are open already?”
The intelligent reason should visit its basic assumptions, regularly; but it doesn’t.
Our worst enemy in discerning the obvious is a certainty, to be convinced that we know it all and that the obvious is obvious for us.
The obvious is best disguised into itself. One obvious hide another.
How banal to say that the obvious is that which is right in front of us, readily accessible to our observation, to our senses or being credible knowledge we have!
With commercial profit-seeking algorithms, this hidden price of selective blindness and thus freedom diminished.
if you repeat slogans endlessly they will become obvious for you (even some false ones), and you will end up believing them.
The most amazing for me is to observe how we only apprehend things fit to our size and relative to us. We do not grasp the incommensurable, out of proportion with us, with which we have no common standard of measurement: the trillions of billions.
Because of compression, we have become an incredibly stupid species.
The obvious known comes alive for us to do something about it only when understanding turns it into a personal image, vivid and simple enough to be of our size; otherwise, we stay paralysed and dumb.
Perhaps it because our body believes that big things don’t move and unmoving things are harmless.
Perhaps its because we are weak, unable to face them and we allow our judgment to slumber; we do not see what we do not wish to see, hoping that it will go away or solve itself.
Perhaps only when understood does the evidence become awareness, we are able to respond to, so that we would do something because of what it means.
Perhaps figuring out that the elusive 20th-century social contract is gone, is too enormous for us. Therefore we will go on like cattle to the slaughterhouse.
Why is this becoming true?
Because as Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Philosophical Investigations states.
“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something because it is always before one’s eyes.) The real foundations of their inquiry do not strike people at all. Unless that fact has at some time struck them. And this means: we fail to be struck by what, once seen, is most striking and most powerful.”
Only by understanding how and when common sense fails can we improve how we plan for the future.
Then, question and challenge the obvious at the root: “Why exactly it must be so? Why it is impossible? Who says so? Where is it necessary or impossible? Only here or everywhere? Really?! For whom; for you or for the entire humanity? With what means? At what size? Within what frame of time? Forever? Which pieces in this puzzle would, if changed, make the impossible possible and the necessary less so? Maybe you or somebody else, somewhere else, with different means have other self-evidence.
Where it will end?
Either there will be a technological or psychological breakthrough or we will see worldwide degradation like we’ve never seen before.
Old labels often obscure the obvious.
I’d like to state the obvious:
Problem-solving is the only thing in life that holds value. Anything that isn’t a solution to a problem is pure excess.
The truth is that the world is not a democracy. We don’t all decide what is best – only a select few do.
We are egocentric through and through – but creating a lasting, meaningful change feeds our egos like nothing else.
Unfortunately, creating change takes time, patience and perseverance.
It appears that for every one step we take forward as a global community, we end up taking two steps backwards.
Every problem in the world is a function that is processed in an environment, on a platform with certain bounds, certain rules, and certain major players.
As far as I can see, life has little certain purpose. If there is a real reason for it, then we have to accept that we simply don’t know the reason.
However, don’t give up until you have to – until there is a better, more logical option.
Big ideas can change the world, can’t they?
Of course, we don’t know. Nobody does. It is really about what we want to happen and whether we go out there and make it happen.
Will we be able to shift direction to avoid the worst impacts of climate change?
We face risks, called existential risks, that threaten to wipe out humanity.
These risks are not just for big disasters, but for the disasters that could end history.
Anyone of them might mean that value itself becomes absent from the universe.
In doing so we will get the economy back on its feet again and re-orientate our financial institutions so that they cannot place the world in a similar situation to what we experienced in 2008.
In the daily hubbub of current “crises” facing humanity, we forget about the many generations we hope are yet to come.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
Algorithms Democracy., Cyberocracy., Direct Democracy, Erosion of democracy., Government’s., Information revolution., Modern Day Democracy., NEW DEMOCRATIC EMPOWERMENT, old monarchies and governments, Out of Date Democracy, Political Trust
In terms of almost everything, no one can be sure what the next fifty years will hold nor can anyone be sure just what a government will be doing fifty years from now, never mind next year.
As history has repeatedly shown, political systems come and go.
Given our rapid technological and social advances, (a trend we can expect to continue) we will be looking at many different possible futures because there is a new kind of creature that has entered the world.
When we change the way we communicate, in today’s increasingly interconnected world we change society, creating entirely new systems of thought to deal with complex issues like climate change, and by whom/what and how we are governed.
We are in the throes of the digital age with all of its unknown consequences and it along with Climate Change is ushering in a new phase of the world. Perhaps we are looking at democracy being replaced by Cyberocracy. (Computer(s) make the decisions.)
A precise definition of cyberocracy is not possible at present as it is still hypothetical in form, but it may bring a new emphasis on ‘soft’ symbolic, cultural, and psychological dimensions of policymaking and public opinion.
It will be however a product of the information revolution and it may place a premium on gaining information from any source, public or private, radically affect who rules, how and why.
(That is, information and its control will become a dominant source of power, as a natural next step in political evolution.)
In essence, a smartphone could show us how and can train us in the latest developments to increase effectivity, while making sure a human or a group of people are not directly interacting with the information.
In theory a great idea for efficiency but in practice, those in charge will probably use the information to crush dissent and sell the information off to private companies.
Ideally, the point of cyberocracy would be to ultimately overcome the faults that lie in typical bureaucratic systems, effectively creating an artificially intelligent head of state.
Luckily there is a pitfall, in that the control of all gathered information would then ultimately lie in the proverbial hands of a machine, wherein true humanity becomes lost to the legislative and governmental processes.
The consequence of the information revolution may thus mean “greater inequalities. speeding the collapse of closed societies and favouring the spread of open ones.
Algorithms are already undermining the power base of old monarchies and governments, and these same technologies will subsequently “turned into tools of propaganda, surveillance, and subjugation that enabled dictators to seize power and develop totalitarian regimes.
New modes of multiorganizational collaboration are taking shape, and progress toward networked governance is occurring to enable hybrid systems to take the form that do not fit standard distinctions between democracy and totalitarianism.
A double-edged sword that revolves around symbolic politics and media savvy with governments straining to adapt.
For example vast new sensory apparatuses for watching what is happening in societies and around the world. Of all the uses to which the new technologies are being put, this may become one of the most important for the future of the state and its relationship to society.
Each generation must address its own challenges even though it is not yet clear which future will emerge with the current climate crisis.
Policy problems have become so complex and intractable, crossing so many jurisdictions and involving so many actors, that governments should evolve beyond the traditional bureaucratic model of the state.
Only time will tell.
We now have communications tools that are flexible enough to match our social capabilities, and we are witnessing the rise of new ways of coordination activities that take advantage of that change.
Setting priorities among government’s current endeavours need to involve at least four decisions:
Which endeavours should be continued or stopped; Which are most important; Which are the government’s greatest responsibility; and which should have the highest priority?
Back to the present with climate change.
There is one thing for certain that with climate change there will be tragedies not yet imagined. It will drive people into compact groups and we know that if a group of humans get together without some sort of organised leadership they end up killing each other.
So for the good of all humankind, in fact, all life on earth and the earth itself, we need to push ahead in this area. Or else go back to pre-industrial times and abandon modern life as we know it. Staying the course we are on will lead only to ruin.
Government’s greatest priorities of the next fifty years can be found in their greatest disappointments of the past.
My point is, the government doesn’t remind us of the good things in life, not often. When it works, we barely notice, but when things go wrong, the glaring deficiencies of the system present themselves everywhere.
As a result, the Government used to be for the lack of a better word the parent of the group/ nation hated some days and loved other days.
Should they now be limited to the implementation of certain social norms desirable for holding the structure of society in place?
I want to see some politicians with the forethought and imagination to understand this.
That’s because I need to be reminded of what I’m living for, not an Algorithm of everything, not a government elected on lies, false news, predictive algorithms which is a two-way relationship manipulated by social media platforms, owned by monopolies that are no longer trusted by the citizens they represent.
Without knowing how decisions are taken or who the decision-makers are, and without knowing how decisions are implemented or to what end, citizens feel undervalued and disenfranchised. They do not believe that the government is listening to their concerns.
So where are we?
The freedom that we see emerging from the networked environment allows people to reach across national or social boundaries, across space and political division. It allows people to solve problems together in new associations that are outside the boundaries of formal, legal-political association like governments.
If the past is prologue, however, the government will continue to the extent that a society is measured by what it asks its government to do.
Sure the information revolution will foster more open and closed systems; more decentralization and centralization; more inclusionary and exclusionary communities; more privacy and surveillance; more freedom and authority; more democracy and new forms of totalitarianism.
Yet setting priorities is not just about addressing past failures. It is also about protecting past achievements.
To solve the problems and understand the role and limitations of government, will require a new way of thinking and working and a new level of trust and understanding of people.
The revolution in global communications thus forces all nations to reconsider traditional ways of thinking about national sovereignty.
A longer view of history provides little assurance that the new technology favours democracy.
Firstly, governments must be seen as capable and effective in carrying out their activities. Secondly, the government must be seen as treating all people equally and impartially, without favouritism or discrimination.
And thirdly, the dimension of human concern and personal connectedness: government must be seen to be sincerely caring about each person’s welfare.
Digital is offering a great way to respond to this at a service level but is only part of the answer when it comes to mending and building relationships with people.
Even in the best of times, delivery is hard for governments: objectives are not always clear; they change in response to events or leadership transitions.
An endeavour cannot be a top priority, or a priority of any kind if it is not worth pursuing at all. The term “greatest” does not mean either “most successful,” or “most important,” or even “most appropriate.” Rather, the greatest endeavours of the present are the ones in which the government has made the greatest investment.
This fact base speaks for itself.
The first step, then, is to choose three to six priority outcomes—any more will be too many. They can’t all be equally important.
These priorities must be written into the constitution of a nation so they cannot be tampered with.
And establishing the right metric for each priority to ensure it does not yield unintended, negative consequences must be set by citizens assemblies rather than relying on leaders political instincts.
People must feel ownership of the plan by agreeing on criteria for continuation funding.
Communicating is only the beginning.
Stakeholders must be engaged all the way through to delivery of the promised outcomes. Accountability is established,outcome-based budgeting, so that funding is directly linked to and contingent on the delivery of key outcomes.
This, as we know, is notoriously difficult to pull off in a world of silos, disparate agendas, and competition for funding. But a small number of priorities will go a long way toward securing the support required.
Government achievement ebbs and flows with changing economic, social, and political circumstances, with the mere passage of time.
The worst form of government is the tyrannical form, where all power is with one man, a leader who rises from the chaos of democracy, thirsting for power but not having the wisdom or learning to use it wisely.
With the issue of government Citizens, bonds targeting citizens funding will resolve this problem. They could unite as a human race and get our priorities in check so we can find out what’s really out there and perhaps where we really came from.
Their performance should be measured against agreed international benchmarks a portfolio of targets at varying levels of ambition.
Who would set the levels?
The U.N. is essentially an incredibly weak confederacy it should be disbanded, and a new, better UN made, with a written Constitution. All member countries hereby agree to uphold and abide by all constitutional clauses upon entry to the United Nations and any violation of any of the several clauses herein will be punished with the full force of each member state.
And finally, here are a few endeavours.
Reduce Carbon emissions.
Continue reducing nuclear weapons.
Reduce discrimination, pollution, poverty, and inequality.
Expand health care.
Devolve digitally responsibility to promote and protect democracy with the right to vote by electronic voting.
Create a Digital government performance platform.
As to which type of government is the best for mankind, well, if only we had the answer to that…Hierarchy does not end.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
The beady eye is far from the first voice to ask this question and it certainly will not be the last.
We might even come to “question whether we still have free will.
There is no doubting that the social web has created amazing opportunities to learn, discover, connect, but its downside as it penetrates our daily lives is becoming more and more prevalent in the creation of our future lives and the societies we live in.
If the public discussion is shifting increasingly to online fora, and those fora are having more and more influence over democracy it becomes increasingly important to apply principles to them.
Honest political debate is essential for the health of a democracy.
If discussions of import move into space where they can be readily censored, then we will simply no longer live in a society with a free exchange of ideas, because the playing field will always be tilted.
One only has to look at how social media platforms are amplifying what is wrong with the world.
While we all reveal a huge amount of personal information online we are losing the ability to determine honest facts that democracy depends.
Basically, companies that run social media platforms are monopolies or near-monopolies in their areas of operation, and the only way we can achieve the desired outcomes is through clear, effective legal regulations.
We can’t always control how others use their platforms but we can apply the same regulations that govern all other forms of Media.
The public cannot rely on these company’s self-regulation, because self-regulation raises more questions than it answers.
The fact is that the formation of a platform takes place in a vacuum, whereas the formation of any competitors do not, so they cannot be considered parallels in any way.
If we take companies like Facebook and Google they both derive most of their revenue from advertising. They essentially constitute a duopoly because they have access to the best data about individuals. Every memory, picture, emoji, song, video, link, gripe, fear, hope, want, dream and bad political opinion posted is mined and monetized as data.
As a result of their algorithms, they are creating and reinforcing divided and insular online communities that do not interact with people or information with which they disagreed.
At the end of the day, how Facebook and Google conduct their businesses undermines privacy and raises questions about ethical behaviour in the uses of our information and their role in society.
The Internet is a “utility” like water or electricity. It is essential to modern life, not an optional subscription service.
Determining how to regulate Facebook or any other platform may first require some kind of definition of what it is.
Facebook brags about connecting us to our family and friends — but it also about directly influencing the outcomes of elections across the globe.
It sits on top of industries including journalism, where it, together with Google, essentially controls the distribution channels for online news and, in effect, the way people discover information about politics, government and society.
They ( Google, Facebook, Twitter,etc) have figured out how to take advantage of this dynamic to distribute false information about political candidates and hot-button political issues in order to drive up traffic and advertising revenue.
Protecting our community is more important than maximizing their profits.
They are given protections that no one can sue them for any reason — that is Google and Facebook nither are responsible for the fake news that appears on their sites.
They are completely shielded from any responsibility for the content that appears on their service.
Changes to legal protection (which has been interpreted by judges to provide a safe harbour for online platforms even when they pay to distribute others’ content and decline the option to impose editorial oversight) would likely be devastating to online platforms like Google and Facebook and would transform the way people interact across the entire internet.
However, with legal protection, sites like these could be held responsible for libellous comments posted by readers, Google could lose lawsuits over potentially false or defamatory information surfacing in search results, and Facebook could be sued for any potentially libellous comment made by anyone on its platform against any other person.
The legal bills to defend against libel and defamation claims would be enormous.
We all need protection and the ability to request platforms to provide us with control over online information by making it accessible and removable at an individual’s request.
The government, on the other hand, has a regulatory intent to protect citizens from content that is obscene or violent.
Should Facebook and their like be regulated?
A question that is never going to end.
However, until we recognize that there is no fool-proof safeguard to keep horrific content away from the eyes of children we rely on huge fines to the detriment of us all.
Till then with all internet platforms deflecting criticism, social media will be more psychologically damaging than anyone expected.
We need a radical shift in the balance of power between the platforms and the people.
It is beyond comprehension that we tolerate the present position.
Or is it? When you see the below.
Would you ever be prepared to use a nuclear weapon?
This question is increasingly put to politicians as some kind of virility test.
The subtext is that to be a credible political leader, you must be willing to use an indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction.
We should be baulking at the casual way in which political discourse on this topic has developed which is politically unacceptable and morally despicable.
If a mainstream politician unblinkingly said that they would use chemical weapons against civilians there would be uproar. If a self-proclaimed candidate for prime minister boasted that they would commit war crimes, it would be a national scandal. Nuclear weapons should be seen no differently.
It’s time that nuclear advocates spelt out the reality of what their position means.
The human race is so good at speaking, it’s lost the art of listening.
It might be easy to brush away the febrile atmosphere online as a nasty byproduct of free expression: I don’t want Facebook having everyone’s verified identities. I do want their platform and other platforms to be held responsible legally for content that is false, racest, hateful, rightwing fascist propaganda.
I do know that if the big platforms, as they already do in part, forced some verifiable information to back up use, we could tame this wild west with legal requirements
I’ll give up on the consensus-building when I can open a platform knowing who to hold legally responsible.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.