BUILDING THE POST-PANDEMIC ERA: What must be Done

A: WHAT THE PANDEMIC HAS TAUGHT US

(i) – a) One of the many dangerous weaknesses in the liberal economic model that the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare is that as an organising force, the free market is impotent when facing the enormous task of a real emergency. At the same time, it has demonstrated the importance of having functional, central, public institutions.

– b) Likewise, it has revealed serious concerns regarding globalisation. It has largely been our global trade and tourism networks that have propagated the virus. At the same time, while the global economy has made this pandemic possible, we also see a dire need for a coordinated global response team. To protect us from future disasters like Covid, we need to strengthen transnational institutions like the WHO or the UN. A global economy needs a global governance.

 (ii) – a) The current pandemic crisis lies within an even greater existential crisis – the climate emergency.

– b) The pandemic has a positive side, in that it teaches us lessons concerning the climate emergency, principally that by reducing consumer practices and the transport of people and commodities, greatly reduces carbon emissions and gives space for the ecosystem to recuperate.

– c) This shows us that if the post-pandemic era is to be followed by something positive, it has to be a great revaluation of the global system and the role played by neo-liberal economic policies in that paradigm which has brought us to where we are now. We live in a world threatened by economic growth: now it is time to revaluate the relevance of that threat, understand and make comprehensible its dangers, and create new economic and political models designed for the well-being of all humanity.

B: THE GREAT REVALUATION

(i) The revaluation of the economic model: Devise and implement a new global model based on effectively implementing the UN’s sustainable development goals (such a model could be Kate Raworth’s DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS[1] ); redesign a financial system so that it creates an economy that actually focuses on the authentic needs of society; revaluate business objectives to turn them away from the slavery of creating share-holder profit; revaluate the global economy so that it finally overcomes the shackles of national interests in order to work in the interests of all of humanity.

(ii) The new economics should take into a ccount a revaluation of the labour force model – emphasis on the introduction of new technologies (e.g.: robots) into the essential and emergency services; improvement of labour conditions for workers in general and the transition of mindless, repetitive tasks away from human toward mechanised, robotic labour.

(iii) The revaluation of technology, not only to automate industries, but also to replace all contaminating machines with clean, green technologies.

(iv) An aesthetic revaluation that frowns on too much unnecessary consumerism and looks toward the virtues of recycling and renovation over the competitive ‘cult of the new’. This implies the birth of a new kind of language, a new Newspeak.

(v) A revaluation of religions: encouraging religious leaders to emphasise the human side of their religious teachings over the perpetuation of sectarianisms and conservative dogmas.

(vi) A revaluation of humanity: as something which exists; putting human needs above nationalisms or segregating sectarian ones.

(vii) A revaluation of societies’ indifference to truth: in order to re-instate an authenticity.

(viii) A revaluation of our identities, swinging identity politics away from individual, nationalistic or religious identities to empower the idea of humanity.

(ix) A revaluation of the nation state and patriotisms, in favour of a global political union of humanity.

Kate Raworth’s plan of Doughnut Economics -the safe and just space for humanity

[1] https://www.kateraworth.com/doughnut/

What have we achieved?

How can we honestly gauge concepts like progress and achievement on a social level? Technological advances are obvious – of course they are, this is a technological revolution age – but positive evolution has to be measured against the negative, dystopian-production side of our hi-tech, global-economy world.

Technology has created machines that can transport us over land and sea, and even through the air. It has taken us to the Moon, and we have landed robots on Mars. We are capable of exploring the entire Solar System and we can look with our telescopes into the deepest reaches of the cosmos whilst with our microscopes we can examine the minutest particles that make up reality. We have cured diseases and the average life-span of men and women is increasing at a constant rate. In terms of recreation, we have developed sports and arts that give us a wealth of cultural activities that can be easily enjoyed wherever we go in the world thanks to our marvellous digital technologies.  

Nevertheless, despite all these fantastic attainments, our standards of living are dropping, and the new generations being born today will most probably have a worse standard of living than their parents and grandparents. The havoc being wrought by the climate emergency and the covid-19 pandemic have stripped the emperor bare, and it is now easy for us all to see the enormous weaknesses in the structure of our system. The world we live in is not just full of cracks, it is infested with a plague of bugs that are streaming out of those cracks.

Could it be that we have not really achieved anything at all? Could it be that the opposite is the case? – that our historical process is a constant evolution towards more despair and perdition?

If we have ever achieved anything it must be considered in terms of gain for humanity. But once we analyse achievement in terms of human-gain we find that we have lost so much. The anti-human forces (ideologies, nationalisms and religious dogmas) have always been so strong that the idea of HUMANITY has been reduced to an impossibility that only exists in Utopian fantasies. HUMANITY today equals humanity. So, if HUMANITY is impossible, how can human achievement be possible? Of course it can’t. If we want humanity to achieve anything, we must firstly believe in it.     

Human Resurrection (2)

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One of the reasons why we do not believe in humanity is that we believe in the economic plan of the world above and beyond humanity itself. It is as if we think: “In the beginning God created the dollar. On the second day he created Adam and Eve and said, ‘Share this dollar between you, I’ll leave it up to Adam to decide how.’”

Humanity has suffered an anti-human historical process of segregation that has been inspired and fuelled by economies of exchange that have always been equally decisive. But, what must we do in order to turn this around? What must we do to be able to look out onto a truly human landscape for once?

Firstly, it must be accepted that not everyone has something all the time to exchange and/or not everyone who does have something to sell will be able to find another person willing or capable of paying the cost of what is fairly calculated for that exchange.

Once we consider this fact, it is easy to see how the free market is not ‘free’ enough. If it were sufficiently-free then we would also be liberated from the economic condition on survival that forces us to always be exchanging whether we actually have anything to give or not.

In order for the ‘free-market’ to take care of itself, as the neoliberal economists maintain, a large part of humanity will have to surrender to the dictatorship of the self-regulation of markets. This system is neither free, nor just, nor human – and nor is it necessary. From the point-of-view of humanity we are immersed in an economic system that is neither desirable for humanity, because it does not fulfil the needs of all of humanity, and neither is it necessary. So, if it is neither good nor necessary, why do we maintain it?

We maintain it because we cannot see a viable alternative. This is because the economy we have is also the ‘reality’ we have. To see the solution, we will need to look out of the fish-bowl we are swimming in – and there is nothing harder to do than that.

However, we do have a clue. If the problem is the economy and the economy is money, then the solution probably lies in imagining a society free from money. This seems impossible at first, but if we think about automation and start to imagine the development of that automation on an enormous scale (which is an inevitable evolutionary step in civilisation’s progress with or without money) then it is logical that all production will eventually be automated with a minimal requirement of human labour.

Even though this automation will result in a loss of jobs, from a human perspective, this evolution has to be encouraged, although it can only be a positive step forward if it is accompanied by the abolition of money. With money eradicated from the picture, unemployment is no longer an issue. Each will find his or her own way of making their life fulfilling.

The key therefore to changing the economy and allowing humanity to become something, is to abolish money. This idea sounds horrifying at first. What would we do without money? After all, money is the only real incentive we have for making any exchanges: without it, all exchange, and, consequently, all progress would cease … Wouldn’t it?

Despite what most economists proclaim, the economy has not evolved with the progress of technology. In fact, in many cases, it retards technological progress. Scientific progress should be spiking more sharply than it is, and the reasons why it isn’t is quite simple, and has a lot to do with the way our economy works.

For example: the economy has not been able to implement the clean-energy alternatives that are needed on massive scale to kerb the climate emergency, quite simply because it is more interested in the profits to be squeezed out of the extracting and burning of carbon-based fuels. Despite the overwhelming consensus that a switch to clean energy is essential for the survival of civilisation as we know it, corporate powers are milking what they’ve got to the last drop. Even though their tactic of squeezing the last cent out of their business may cause a complete collapse of the biosphere that supports life on earth, the market does not adjust to the needs and desires of the general public. Rather it is a dictatorship that controls the status-quo and will do whatever it can to ensure it remains the main benefactor of what that status-quo has to offer.

If the economy worked properly and well for human interests and human progress then we would not be facing this existential crisis.

Our current economic status quo is impossible to maintain. The free-market has been an immensely dangerous experiment that is failing humanity like no other experiment ever has before.

The alternative lies in facing the reality (the beautiful truth) that technology will liberate humanity from labour and completely revolutionise the way that we look at exchange. Personal fulfilment, and our fulfilment as human beings, does not rest on what we as individuals can receive from others in exchange for what we can give them in return, but rather in the act of giving itself. In order to give, our needs must be guaranteed and every human being should have his or her basic survival needs guaranteed by the paradigm that structures the whole of humanity. That is the first step to human justice and the first step to the great revolution that will amount in a human resurrection.

 

GO TO PART ONE: https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/human-resurrection-1/

Humanity (nothing or something?)

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Given the current unfolding of the Climate Emergency, the mesh of nation states making up the political fabric of the world is proving at the best to be an ineffectual apparatus for tackling the problems and, in the most part, states are impediments to any real solutions to our global predicament. To tackle this crisis, the idea of the State has to be transcended in favour of a unifying, universal concept like Humanity.

Nevertheless, in the present, humanity is nothing. There is no human culture; there are no human rights; there is no human history. For these things to exist, their defining element, humanity itself, has to become something. While humanity remains nothing, we are nothing. Instead of being something we are all sorts of things and we will only ever be something when we stop being all sorts of things. At the moment, humanity is merely a very meagre will, scarcely a hope, and definitely not a tangible desire. In short, it is nothing at all what it should be.

It should be a final cause, something to will for: something that will motivate us. It should be a matter of will, of work, of discipline as will-as-a-matter-of-un-will. It should be a fundamental desire, of being the essential something we desperately lack because we missed it.

Because of its absence it causes discomfort and bitterness. Humanity desires something for ourselves that has not yet been desired from us, ignoring the fact that what we desire for ourselves must come from us. We desire to be something more: something tangible and real rather than a merely abstract generalisation.

As for final causes: the real final cause will only be apparent when humanity has become something. For humanity to begin to fulfil itself and find purposiveness, it must first be something – be the thing that should be humanity.

Humanity and Nature

Humanity has been moving away from nature since the beginning of the Neolithic era. This moving away is essentially dangerous and it has brought us to the brink of emergency; an emergency that could very soon blow up in our faces.

Nevertheless, our alienation from nature has allowed us to gain a deep understanding of nature that could be used to bring us back, closer to nature again.

Like a married couple on the brink of divorce, there needs to be a lot of soul searching to rekindle the broken partnership, but also a certain amount of distancing from the all-encompassing relationship to be able to appreciate its relevance and worth, perhaps its beauty, again.

To gain this objectivity, marriage counsellors are often brought in. As for our relationship with the world, our marriage counsellor is science.

Our Big Brother

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It seems easy enough to see the difference between the totalitarianism of a Stalinist or Gestapo political regime and the freedom-loving airs of the way-of-life enjoyed in Western democracies. Nevertheless, it would be pure naivety to assume that the liberal or social democratic systems are devoid of controls, and the fact that we don’t feel the sense that we are being brainwashed in a democratic system probably indicates that we are more ideologically driven than we dare to suspect. Big Brother doesn’t need dictatorships to imprint its pernicious ideology into the souls of its slaves, in fact it functions better under the veil of a seemingly democratic environment. In fact, our world of left-right politics is just another stage for Big Brother to perform in; a perfect stage perhaps to achieve its fundamentally oligarchical, plutocratic and megalomaniacal objectives.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of what is today’s biggest political, economic and ethical issue: the climate emergency. Because of its existential significance, disputing the veracity of climate change predictions is, at least potentially, deeply divisive in society and consensus needs to be reached, not only at the nation-state level but also globally, if an ecological disaster is to be avoided.

Given the high-stakes at risk here, reaching such a consensus would be the most logical outcome, especially in the democratic world where power is supposedly controlled by the popular mandates decided on polling days. Nevertheless, despite decades of warnings from scientists of the catastrophic future that is unfolding if radical action is not taken, political and economic change has been slow to come about, if at all, even in, if not especially in, the world’s largest and most solid democracies like the USA, Great Britain or Australia. In may cases it seems that the vast majority of franchised people are voting contrary to their own interests. But how can that be?

Because of this, it must be assumed that democracy itself is not functioning as it should. The divide between believers and non-believers in the climate emergency is to a great extent ideological, with most denial coming from the right-wing of the spectrum. Some of this is economy-ideology driven, with denialists tending to be libertarian opponents to state-interventions, who have little sympathy for the poor and an aversion to welfare. Another part of it, though, is found buried in evangelistic communities where beliefs and desires for the End of Days and its promise of spiritual salvation for believers, make the idea of an ecosystem collapse irrelevant, if not desirable. For both of these groups, the climate emergency scenario is a left-wing conspiracy, despite the fact that is ratified by objective scientific data.

The thought-control; the turning of a blind eye to the scientific facts in order to only believe the more comfortable counter arguments, may be laziness or a need to maintain one’s sanity by staying in the ideological zone, or it might be the result of a certain kind of brainwashing that is more usually attributed to totalitarian systems rather than democracies. Climate denialists’ construction of an alternative reality by cutting and pasting fragments of the whole picture, is a very similar practice to those carried out by the perverted logic of the followers of Stalin and Hitler, or Kim Jong-un. Of course, the Western democracies are not the same as totalitarian states. In democracy, different ideological angles are made visible, and the ruling ideology makes allowances for the other side of the argument to be expressed. But if we examine the bubble on each side of the spectrum, there are Stalinist tendencies on both sides. Through the power of ideology, democracy simply becomes a bicephalous Big Brother, even if the only thing it really hides is its own Big Brother nature. And this is because, to properly function and be effective, Big Brother has no need to hide anything else.

Globalisation and Humanity

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The global economy can only be possible if it rejects the national and embraces the human. To be truly global, it cannot be driven by Americans or Chinese, it has to be the work of humanity. In reality the nation state should already be a thing of the past, but, while the global economy has evolved rapidly and with enormous energy, the political globalisation of the world has stagnated or even regressed into separatisms rather than unifications.

Globalisation is, in fact, a great dilemma for a capitalism which has traditionally bred the segregation of nations and peoples in order to create the conflicts necessary for the kind of dynamic markets it loves the most. In fact, segregation is so embedded in the identity of capitalism that globalisation-through-capitalism itself becomes one great paradox and sounds like an oxymoron.

Of course globalisation-through-capitalism doesn’t really exist because while we know that a process of globalisation through capitalism is going on, we also know that in order to ever complete this process the world will have to become politically-one, in harmony with itself, and this scenario is anathema to capitalism.

So, the question arises concerning capitalism’s real desires for the globalisation process: How global can we really get in the eyes of capitalism?

Capitalism nurtures itself on rivalry – but: What kind of rivalry does it prefer?

To answer this question, we first have to consider how rivalry can be measured qualitatively. Perhaps it could be measured according to levels of complexity: the rivalry in Lebanon is not the same as the rivalry for the State of California. Lebanon is far more complex, as is all of the Middle East, compared to the U.S.A. When economists and politicians talk about needs for regional stability, they are expressing a desire to lessen the complexity of rivalries in certain regions. Paradoxically, this simplification, as understood by liberal capitalism, demands a totalitarian organisation that must be implemented by invasive war.

The question of the relationship between capitalism and war is a thorny one for capitalism; so thorny in fact that it should have been reason enough to look for an alternative to the system. It never has been, but that does no mean that the thorniness has gone away.

In order to grow, capitalism needs to open up new markets and expand its geographical roads. It also needs access to cheap new materials and regions where labour costs are lower as well. On a common-sense level, no one should want war, but underlying that common-sense there is another pragmatic field that knows there is a profit in war, and there is certainly profit in conflict. Investment in the military is a major business interest for large corporations – and not necessarily only for those that manufacture arms. Our contemporary conflicts generate inflation and create substantial profits.

Neo-liberalism might argue that peace is necessary in order to secure free trade and allow for the unfettered flow of capital, but, when they say this, we need to ask what are the consequences of the rivalry involved in the liberation of markets. Conflict is created through exploitation and the fermenting of inequalities and poverty that are an essential part of the fuel that drives the great engine of capitalism and its rivalry-driven economies. So, it is hypocritical for the capitalist to say it desires peace, for a capitalist-peace is a beehive of humming rivalry and implicit in the noise is an element of dissidence.

So, does capitalism need war to maintain its momentum? Probably not, in the short-term; probably yes, in the long-term. It is hard to envisage a capitalist-motivated universal peace movement, precisely because capitalism would have to change too many of its traditional practices in order to ensure such a peace … It is this essential need for war that makes capitalism profoundly incapable of driving the globalisation process.

In the world today, Power-as-Wealth resides in the dominant, capitalist corporations. If war does guarantee substantial profits and promises an increase in inflation then, especially in times of low-inflation or deflation, the companies may find themselves praying for a war just as, centuries ago, farmers prayed for rain. But, the difference in that analogy is that war can be manufactured whereas rain was beyond the farmer’s control. In short, war will constantly be a temptation whilst Power-as-Wealth resides as the pilot and chief-architect of the structure of our System. And wars need States to wage them.

A real globalisation that would absorb States is, therefore, by no means an objective of capitalism, simply because it is not, and never will be, an objective of the corporations wielding power. A real, global, human, stateless panorama would be useless for corporations because they would lose the pieces they need to move around the board; pieces which allow them to keep the game going.

As pieces of a game, the Nation States are not truly held in any authentically patriotic way by the corporate system, they are merely the pieces of the game that make it possible to play. The nationalist pride that is so prevalent around the world today is really one great farce. While our politicians espouse the virtues of patriotism, especially if a war or an election campaign is coming, the real allegiance in the capitalist-driven system is always a corporate one. Since the 1980s, the real value of wages has declined, whilst capital-gains have skyrocketed.

No, capitalism cannot be expected to be a driving force in globalisation, and with the pressing needs of the climate emergency and the urgency of global solutions to solve it, capitalism is equally powerless to act there.

Our Emperor is capitalism, and it is standing naked before us. We need to find a political force that can find global solutions to the existential crisis we are drowning in, and that force must come out of humanity itself. Humanity needs globalisation, and globalisation needs humanity to drive it.

A proper globalisation, political as well as economic, would be not just a political leap forward for humanity, it would also be a profoundly spiritual jump, allowing humanity to be properly born as a concept, allowing for the unleashing of the enormous creative and innovative powers of a human, Sapiens collective. In fact, the leap created by the authentic unification of humanity may be regarded as a transhuman one, whilst in fact it will merely be the liberation of what we really are, the first step for humanity to reach its home, the global world of humanity.