Nowadays, it’s glaringly obvious that our self-imposed planet-wide transactional modus operandi which we suffered through during the (roughly) last six millennia reached its limits. Infinite growth in a finite environment, an obvious logical impossibility, finally proved itself to be unsustainable even in practical, observable terms.
Sometime around 4000 BCE, probably due to environmental reasons (climate change that led to desertification of Egypt, Levant, as well as Indus valley area), human ingenuity came up with a collect-and-redistribute model of sustenance organization. Instead of every farmer toiling for themselves, whole communities started to cooperate in an organized manner — fields were (more or less) collectively tended to, crop was then collected in (holy) granaries, and the resources were subsequently redistributed back to population.
The process was initially overseen by shamans and a simple record keeping in the form of seals, bowls, and weights was put in place. However, while in egalitarian cultures such as Mehrgarh or Harappa (which, as it seems, remained animistic throughout their whole existence) this worked without a hitch, in Levant and Mediterranean something went south — shamans in cooperation with warriors quickly established themselves as elites and first social hierarchies in human history were born.
In order to justify the stratification, shamans invented religion — the first ideology ever — by transforming the animistic concepts into polytheistic pantheons. They also put themselves as sole mediators between the world of spirit and the general population. Considering the natural authority of shamans in animistic cultures, people naturally accepted such arrangement at first.
But as findings in Arslantepe, which was burned down in the first known class revolt in history, attest, people didn’t buy the elitist approach in the long run. In Sumer they circumvented the brute force approach of Arslantepe by inventing writing system for more elaborate record keeping, and so, also the meritocracy that measures human merit, i.e. value, in terms of work (euphemistically called “contribution to society”) exactly as we know it today was born. And the rest is literal history. (Just for the record, that Levantine system also gave us warfare. Hm.)
Well, where I’m from we have a saying that even dog does not shit for free. That pretty much sums up our global mental setup and planetary culture — in order to circumvent the absolute existential necessity to eliminate our greed, we invent ever more elaborate technologies to replace trust in futile attempts to keep said greed somehow in check. All just so we can indulge our egoistic impulses which demonstrably (and literally) kill us in the process.
Nevertheless, there is a silver lining to the whole predicament.
During the millennia of exploitation of everyone and everything in human sight, we also managed to divide Earth on more or less stable set of manageable areas, built extensive infrastructure and distribution nets, not to mention the almost instant information channels and sophisticated automated tools. As can be seen, in our current situation, we don’t need anything substantial to add; we just have to remove.
First of all, we have to remove all incentives for profit. That means elimination of all monetary and credit systems that measure human value in any imaginable way. Including, but not limited to, the trade itself. I like to call it gift economy — everyone gives all what they do for free, hence everyone has everything they need or even want.
This eliminates all bullshit jobs that waste resources on product propaganda (aka advertisement industry) and selective product access (aka business with all its associated job positions). It also eliminates the over-saturation of so-called profitable sectors with people that have no place there, whether it’s by their sheer incompetence or no actual interest in the field just the annual figures.
It also removes the walled competing technologies, patents, and similar. After all, intellectual properties are guarded for the sole reason of bottom line being the bottom line. I mean, we don’t need gazillion types of smartphones or computers, if we can all select from a few form factors of the best technology humanity can collectively muster.
And so on, and so forth.
Of course, implementation of this new social contract presupposes elimination of all existing ideologies. From all kinds of religion and politics, to ideas of nation state, ethnic exclusivity, and similar. That, obviously, requires a planet-wide consensus, but also time to settle in. I’m afraid we don’t have exactly time to just wait for pure bottom-up transition, i.e. “mass awakening”.
Well, but we already have elected, appointed, or otherwise established area managers — I don’t see a single reason why it should be not possible to say, “OK, we will meet on October 1st, 2023 to specify the particulars of transition to the new social arrangement which will be implemented and will come into effect on January 1st, 2024.” In the end, where there is a will there is way. If there’s no way, don’t tell me it’s not possible. Be honest and say you don’t want to. Admit that you are greedy and that you like it; say openly that you have no qualms fucking up your fellow folks.
All in all, I don’t see another way of a peaceful transitioning to a truly “new normal,” one that would not threaten us with a self-inflicted way of dinosaurs. We already tried revolutions and guillotines, but all we ever achieved was reshuffling of the hierarchy. So, dear area managers, are you up to the truly historical task?
No matter how I look at it, wind and solar, considering their externalities, are nowadays not green energy. It simply does not matter if you ride an EV when you essentially charge it with coal, heavy metals, or what is basically a chunk of land paved with environmentally harmful elements.
The greenest solutions we have today are nuclear and hydro, the later of which has also the added benefit of flood regulation. When it comes to nuclear, the strongest argument I’ve heard against it is waste. Now I’m not an engineer, but instead of sending cars to orbit, how technically feasible is it to send nuclear waste to burn up in the furnace of Sun? Or can it be further used in some way? And remember, don’t think in terms of money, just possibility.
Frankly, while I can fish, hunt small game and mushrooms, collect berries, or run a small farm (not so much tending to agricultural animals), I have no clue how to automate or otherwise improve this area, including its environmental impacts. My main, albeit limited, concern is — who would be willing to toil on fields to feed everyone even if they would be guaranteed that their needs would be covered in full? Are there people who love such work? I ask because I certainly feel to be called to do different things.
So, if there’s someone who can provide an input in this regard within the context of the proposed social contract, I’m all ears.
As I’ve mentioned, we already have a pretty sophisticated distribution grid. However, our logistic solutions concentrate on the wrong “target.” We are obsessed with solving the transportation of people while, in fact, people travel because they need to access centralized resources.
Hence, a more logical way would be to ensure that all products and resources are accessible where people reside. That’s something which delivery services already try to tackle, but for the very wrong reason of simply satisfying the convenience of a customer (hence getting a competitive edge and ergo more profit — something which the new contract would eliminate by default).
And again, in my layman’s view, automation of resource logistics (as opposed to transportation of people) is in my opinion easier to accomplish due to less technological restrictions. Eventually, this approach could replace a large chunk of our holy granaries, aka shops, after all and as is obvious, it’s a trend anyway.
In the end, I can imagine the disappearance of a shop entirely — “Alexa, bake me a bread, please.”
As I see it, in the final outcome, few generations (?) in the future, no security forces will be necessary as everyone will be able to “self-police” themselves. But during the transitioning period I can see a few guards in “grocery dispensaries” who would assure that folks don’t succumb to their ingrained habits and plunder the “granary” just because they can.
I can also see the usefulness of security forces during the transition period in pacifying physically violent people and preventing them from further acts of violence. After all, even though the reasons for envy would greatly diminish with the new social contract, primitive hate or jealousy would not disappear overnight. However, such violent folks should not just be locked up, they should be offered an adequate psychological help first and foremost.
And since everything else should be “legal”, that’s that. (On a further thought, also violence against things and theft outside of context of “grocery dispensaries” should be avoided.)
I lived through a few iterations of curricula and I can safely claim that the most educated and levelheaded people come from schools that teach actual peer-reviewed and demonstrable science, don’t promote (or teach) any particular worldview or philosophy, and employ teachers who are not there because of the perks of school holidays and relatively low expectations on achievement (or further work on self-education).
Furthermore, until not brought back to family or community on par with brushing one’s teeth, I would safely let kids from sixteen years and up go through an intensive two year course of meditation and self-inquiry (or equivalent). Those who would be willing to risk it — and brought parent’s permission — I would let even try psychedelics. Certainly hemp, I’m sort of divided on shrooms. I would probably not encourage any chemicals such as LSD, and definitely not ayahuasca and similar hard core stuff. Not until reaching eighteen years, that is. Then, it’s up to each person’s individual choice.
In any case, if kids can drive, work, or fuck and be parents, I don’t see a single reason where’s the problem — those eager to try it do so even today anyway, and don’t even try to tell me that hemp and shrooms are “bad” because you obviously don’t know what you are talking about (even if some shoddy “research” paper supports your view).
Naturally, there are many, many more areas to be tackled (waste management, industrial and food production, house building, power grid, plumbing systems, etc.) and more details to be solved. I’m obviously no know-it-all to even list most of them (let alone all and exhaustively), I’m not even a “systemic thinker” (which is why I don’t aspire to be an area manager), but by now you should get my drift.
So, if you have a constructive idea or two, feel free to share it. For free, of course ;P