Do you ever have one of those moments where you read something and you’re immediate reaction is, WTF? Well, here’s my WTF moment for the day, where I can’t type as fast as my mind seems to be spitting out the words in response to the following tweet from the World Future Conference in Washington D.C.:
“To go to space to stay, it has to pay. There has to be an economic element.” – @Bob_Richards #WorldFuture2016
Now, if you’re a #World Future2016 keynote speaker, as @Bob_Richards is, WhyTF are you banging on about economics in relation to space exploration (namely the desire to populate the moon)? Economics is an outmoded concept for this planet, devised over a long period of time and currently culminating in late stage capitalism, in “developed” countries, where companies and governments are trying to keep it all together by kicking the can down the road in the hope that we don’t get to realise that economics, capitalism, the acquisition of money, etc., is all a load of BS.
So, people of the World Future Society, just how “futuristic” is your thinking when you can’t get past Cantillonian, Smithian (is that how you refer to Adam Smith?), Keynesian, blah blah…, economics?
Late Stage Capitalism, for all its faults, and there are many, is still the dominant political force in the world. What’s perplexing is that with so much disaffection aimed at the present world structure, dominated as it is by Late Stage Capitalist thought, there exists little in the way of alternative thinking that might lead to a better way of managing progress in the world.
Such disaffection can be seen in many Western capitalist societies. Examples of this, and this is not an exhaustive list by any means, are: the coming farce of the 2016 U.S. elections, which will evidently be so judging by the proposed presidential nominees, where neither candidate appears to be winning over the masses, despite the hype saying that they are; the EU referendum in the U.K., where so many untruths appear to cloud the issue entirely and where voter apathy could lead to a very low turnout; the battle in France between its workers and their protests against a socialist government that aims to strip away worker rights; the brain drain happening in other E.U. countries who cannot retain talent due to economies stagnating; and the list goes on ad infinitum.
Couple this disaffection with some inventive “economics” designed to maintain the status quo: negative interest rates; 40 year mortgages; prime/sub-prime mortgage repackaging; and what we end up with, at some point in the future, is a system [capitalism] that has to keep reinventing itself in order to hang on, by its finger tips, to the power it so craves. An alternative to such crazy thinking might be to replace it with another kind of crazy thinking. Unlike factional and fictional depictions of anti-capitalist sentiment – Puritanism (English Civil War period) and The Sparrows (Game of Thrones) – where the alternative to excess is rather pious and boring, there is a very simple way to counter a capitalist model that seems only ever to benefit the few, and not the many.
The answer is to pay every citizen a fixed annual salary. In return, each citizen will do a job (probably the one they’re already doing or are already qualified to do). Citizens continue to spend. Businesses thrive. The rich can stay richer than the rest of the population. But, the poverty and hardship suffered by many is obliterated overnight. Money is not real in the sense that it is an abstract concept that is made to feel real because of the mechanics of capitalism, where if you don’t have enough money you’re life can be made to feel pretty crumby. It doesn’t have to be that way. There just needs to be more discussion around the issue, because if we can’t conceive of something it is unlikely to happen. #MoneyForAll