Sunday, May 05, 2013

All Together Now

An open society is not stable. (In an open society public decisions are made through rational discussions between members of that society.) People always try something new, and if they are on their own, they will change their society. Electronics and Genetics are only the last important change, turning our global society upside down, in a long string of changes promoted by open societies in a short period of time, starting with the ancient Greeks. And it only gets worse, the speed of change increases every decade.

Open societies are usually horizontally integrated (see Open Society) and they can cope with change much better than their poor counterparts, the closed societies, which are usually vertically integrated (VIS). (In a closed society change is arrested by dogma, terror, dictatorship, and it takes place in convulsions, at large time intervals.) You can't imagine how disruptive have been these new technologies to the Russian and to the Chinese societies, for example.

After the fall of communism globalization resulted. This allowed the rich Western elites to extend their area of interest to the whole planet. Horizontally integrated societies (HIS) find it now much more difficult to control their governments, because their governments colluded with multinational corporations and became stronger than the horizontally integrated societies which enabled them to conquer the planet in the first place. Also, communism is no longer a danger, such that the poor can be taxed to subsidize the rich during the economic depression.

Technological change places direct pressure on HIS's, too. According to Toffler, political institutions should change to adapt to the new technologies. When large businesses and government officials use the Internet to move their billions around the globe at the speed of light, they can not be controlled through a vote on paper every four years. Example: at the New York Stock Exchange, powerful computers intercept online buying orders and use their speed to buy those shares before the online order is completed. As a result of the increased demand, the online user buys the shares at a price a little bit bigger then when he placed the order and the difference goes to the one who owns the fast computers. Such problems can't be regulated through a four years vote on paper. And it is not about money only, it is about power, because the very way we protect property is in question. Digital private information, satellites, drones, we can't control them when we vote on three issues every four years. The problem of citizens' control over their governments in HIS's is serios enough to make the control of the Internet by large corporations and governments the main political issue of our time (for copyright protection, of course).

Lack of global government is also a major problem. Because of technological advances we do now have a global society and economy, but no global government. By global government I don't mean a centralized government, I personally support a distributed government, as I will soon explain, but we certainly need some government. For example it becomes clear that we need some population control policy. It would suffice to tax everybody's income with some percentage and distribute the money to mothers with one child. This should be enough to cover the cost of raising one child. With such a policy in place, very few women would choose to bear more than one child. But we can't do this. The pressure on our ecosystem is increasing to a point where people will support our traditional population control strategy: yet another war.

The solution is to voluntarily cooperate to solve our common problems, to govern ourselves a little bit more. Just as the French analphabet, superstitious and violent peasants had to learn basic mechanics and how to read the paper in the morning before they go to vote, we need to learn some more basic sociology, economics, political science and we need to begin to control our governments in real time, imposing limits on the mistakes they make on daily basis. I thought that it should be easier now, when we accept reason and science as the basis of our decisions, than it was in 1780's, but it is not. People continue to support well documented policies that destroy our economy and society. Why? Because the global society is vertically integrated. Every little individual is motivated to be stupid, to support austerity, to shut up when he sees injustice, to be irrational in the way he thinks, and so on. As I said here, there is no rational discussion in a VIS, only declarations of loyalty.

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