Welcome to Pinko / Myopsy, where the dead horse of 'Capitalism'™ shall be thouroughly flogged and subsequently eviscerated on the Altar of Truth by the Blade of Reason.
Not to worry, 'Capitalism™' was never particularly compatible with democracy to begin with. In fact, some would say that Capitalism™ is antithetical to democracy.
Thankfully, we here at Pinko are prepared to offer a free, open-source upgrade from the anti-democratic, BS 'fake-capitalism' to the: new and improved, highly democratic:
Or as we like to call it: Deep Green Socialism (DiGS)
(we're still working on finding a name that's not going to offend someone)
Green Social Democracy
What GSD is
Deep - This is a reference to the term 'deep-democracy', coined by American psychotherapist, Arny Mindell to describe a political system that enables a deeper, more democratic level of socio-political interaction. In a deep democracy, citizens will have direct influence over public policy, without the need for the parasitic political class that we have grown so accustomed to. It is now possible to achieve this with the aid of the Internet.
Green - 'Green' of course, refers to the concept of 'green politics' - which is to say - a political ideology which places high importance on environmental goals, while achieving these goals through broad-based, grassroots, participatory democracy (thus, 'green politics' are inherently 'deep democracy' politics by virtue of their grass-roots approach). Green politics are advocated by supporters of the Green movement, which has been active through Green parties in many nations since the early 1980s. We here at Pinko believe that the goals of green politics are essentially compatible with the goals of the 'Zeitgeist Movement' (TZM) -- a grassroots movement whose stated focus is on increasing society's awareness of the suggested need for global social change for the better of all of the world.
Yes, Socio- Capitalism. A true, 'free-market' capitalist economy -- just like democracy -- is a social construct in which all participants are given equal legal protections and access to information and resources. In a truly democratic capitalist society (a deep democracy) the corporation is replaced by the community and members of that community are permitted to contract with one another for the goods and services that they need to prosper.
Can You DiG It?
The problems we face in the 21st-Century simply cannot be solved in a culture of money, waste, and human exploitation. Today, money is used to regulate the economy for the benefit of the few who control the financial wealth of entire nations. Unless the underlying causes of planned obsolescence, environmental neglect, and outrageous military expenditures are addressed immediately, we as a species are doomed to extinction.
Wait... What is Myopsy?
'Myopsy' is a neologistic portmanteau of biopsy and myopia or 'visual impairment'. Used figuratively, the 'short view' is the myopic view. Thus, if someone cannot think beyond their immediate frame of reference or does not have the ability to see the far reaching consequences (long view) of their actions, we would call that person myopic - suffering from the condition known as 'myopsy'.
Modern society - capitalist society - is increasingly myopic in a manner that has the most devastating consequences. Modern capital speculation is a quick-flip industry that cares nothing for what it produces and exists only to extract value. Thus, we end up working harder to produce less. Despite being one of the richest countries on he planet, American workers have less leisure time than workers in any other developed country.
Clearly, markets do not, cannot and will not regulate themselves...
The term 'open source' comes to us from the world of software development and refers to a set of production and documentation standards that promote access to the end product's source materials or 'code'. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology. Before the term open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of phrases to describe the concept.
'Open source' eventually gained hold with the rise of the Internet, and the corresponding need for a massive retooling of computing source code. This in-turn enabled a self-enhancing diversity of production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. A new, three-word phrase: "open source software" was born to describe the environment that the new copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues created.
Author Douglas Rushkoff defines an open source democracy as 'what happens when the open source development model is applied to the economy'. In 'Applying the Theory' he observes:
"...It would mean coming to appreciate the rules of the economic game for what they are: [arbitrary] rules. Operating in a closed source fashion, the right to actually produce currency is held exclusively by the Federal Reserve. Quietly removed from any relationship to real money such as gold or silver by Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, US currency now finds its value in pure social construction.
"Whether or not we know it, we all participate in the creation of its value by competing for dollars against one another. For example, when a people or businesses borrows money from the bank (an agent, in a sense, of the Federal Reserve) in the form of a mortgage they must eventually pay the bank back two or three times the original borrowed amount. These additional funds are not printed into existence, but must be won from others in the closed source system. Likewise, every time a student wants to buy one of my books, he must go out into the economy and earn or win some of these arbitrarily concocted tokens, US currency, in order to do it. Our transaction is brokered by the Federal Reserve, who has a monopoly on this closed source currency.
"What if currency were to become open source? In some communities it already is. They are not printing counterfeit bills but catalyzing regional economies through the use of local currencies, locally created 'scrip' that can be exchanged throughout a particular region in lieu of Federal Reserve notes or real cash. The use of these currencies, as promoted by organizations such as the E.F. Schumacher Society, has been shown to accelerate the exchange of goods and services in a region by increasing the purchasing power of its members. There is no Federal Reserve surcharge on the creation and maintenance of cash, and no danger of government currency depreciation due to matters that have nothing to do with actual production and consumption.
"Rather than viewing technological socialism as one side of a zero-sum trade-off between free-market individualism and centralized authority, it can be seen as a cultural OS that elevates both the individual and the group at once."
"Thanks to the dynamic relationships permitted in a networked society, we need not choose between local and closed currencies. A post-renaissance perspective on economic issues has room for both to exist, simultaneously functioning on different orders of magnitude.
"In a society modeled on open source ideals, 'think globally, act locally' becomes more than just a catch phrase. The relationship of an individual or local community's action to the whole system can be experienced quite readily. For example, an open source software developer who writes just a few useful lines of code, say the protocol for enabling infrared communications to work on the Linux operating system, will see his or her contribution interpolated into the kernel of the operating system and then spread to everyone who uses it. He has done more than distributed a line of computer code. He has also enabled thousands of people using Linux to connect cell phones, PDA's and other devices to their computers for the first time. And he did it from his home, in his spare time.
"Likewise, a developer who leaves a security hole open in a piece of software quite dramatically sees the results of his action when a software 'worm', written by a computer criminal, penetrates the mail files of thousands of users, sending replicates of itself throughout the internet, sometimes for years to come.09
"The experience of open source development, or even just the acceptance of its value as a model for others, provides real-life practice for the deeper change in perspective required of us if we are to move into a more networked and emergent understanding of our world. The local community must be experienced as a place to implement policies, incrementally, that will eventually have an effect on the whole. For example, the environmental advocate who worries about the Brazilian rainforest will quit smoking himself before racing off to the next rally held to save the lungs of the planet. The woman organizing against genetic engineering in agriculture will refuse to let her children eat at McDonalds, even if it requires them to bring their own lunch to a friend's birthday party. A consistency between belief and behavior becomes the only way to make our designs on reality real.
"Closed source: no justice, no power
"An open source model for participatory, bottom-up and emergent policy will force us, or allow us, to confront the issues of our time more directly. Using the logic of a computer programmer, when we find we can't solve a problem by attacking one level of societal software, we proceed to the next level down. If necessary we dig all the way down to the machine language.
"For instance, today's misunderstood energy crisis provides a glaring example of the liability of closed source policy-making. The Western World is unnecessarily addicted to fossil fuels and other energy commodities not because alternative energy sources are unavailable, but because alternative business models for energy production cannot be fully considered without disrupting the world's most powerful corporations and economies.
"It really is as simple as that."
Kevin Kelly of Wired writes:
"Rather than viewing technological socialism as one side of a zero-sum trade-off between free-market individualism and centralized authority, it can be seen as a cultural OS that elevates both the individual and the group at once. The largely unarticulated but intuitively understood goal of communitarian technology is this: to maximize both individual autonomy and the power of people working together. Thus, digital socialism can be viewed as a third way that renders irrelevant the old debates."
Debating the size of government without discussing limitations on the size or scope of corporations is useless. Corporations need to be held accountable to the communities that they serve. This includes the people that they employ. Bottom line.
As tired as the Republican/Conservative rhetoric regarding 'small government' is, they do make a valid point. Our government spending -- particularly on on defense -- is bloated and wasteful beyond belief. Once again, we can fault corporate lobbyists, crony capitalism and shady backdoor deals. The sooner we achieve transparency and responsible spending, the sooner we can reinvest in our schools, our crumbling infrastructure and developing a sustainable, green job market.
Resource Based Economy
In a 'resource-based economy', resources are held in a public trust as the property of the people, moving beyond the need for the artificial boundaries that separate individuals in a community. Ideally, in a global, resource-based economy, all of the planet's resources are held as the common heritage of Earth's people, transcending the need for the artificial boundaries that separate all individuals and cultures. This is the unifying imperative.
The term 'resource-based economy' was originated by designer and futurist, Jacque Fresco. It is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few.
As Comedian Lewis Black recently pointed out while brandishing an iPhone: "This thing has more power than a cold war supercomputer and I can't have clean energy?!" Black also thinks we should "Invade BP". Not a bad idea. They could use some wealth-redistribution right about now. And they call themselves a socialized industry.
The New New Deal
Consider the following examples: At the beginning of World War II the US had a mere 600 or so first-class fighting aircraft. We rapidly overcame this short supply by turning out more than 90,000 planes a year. The question at the start of World War II was: Do we have enough funds to produce the required implements of war? The answer: No, we did not have enough money, nor did we have enough gold; but we did have more than enough resources. It was the available resources that enabled the US to achieve the high production and efficiency required to win the war.
Unfortunately this approach only seems to be considered in times of war or national emergency. Between the state of the economy and the current crisis in the Gulf, we'd say a state of national emergency exists.
A resource-based economy will overcome scarcity by using renewable sources of energy, food and materials, as well as computerized, semi-automated manufacturing and inventory and the limitless resource of human potential and collective will. It will maintain safe, energy-efficient cities featuring advanced, ecologically-sound transportation systems, and will provide universal health care, relevant education and universal access to employment. This can be accomplished by creating a new set of economic incentives based on humane values and environmental concerns and which negate the shallow, self-centered goals of individual wealth, property, power and privilege.
This dovetails perfectly with futurist scholar R. Buckminster Fuller's 'systemic worldview'.
Buckminster Fuller was one of the first to propagate a systemic worldview, exploring principles of energy and material efficiency in the fields of architecture, engineering and design. He cited geologist François de Chardenedes' opinion that petroleum, from the standpoint of its replacement cost out of our current energy "budget" (essentially, the net incoming solar flux), had cost nature "over a million dollars" per U.S. gallon (US $300,000 per liter) to produce. From this point of view, its use as a transportation fuel by people commuting to work represents a huge net loss compared to their earnings.
...Primitive societies intuitively understood the interdependent, cyclic nature of the Earth's ecology. How did we forget?
Fuller was concerned about sustainability and about human survival under the existing socio-economic system, yet he remained optimistic about humanity's future. Defining wealth in terms of knowledge, as the "technological ability to protect, nurture, support, and accommodate all growth needs of life", his analysis of the condition of "Spaceship Earth" caused him to conclude that at a certain time during the 1970s, humanity had attained an unprecedented state.
He was convinced that as a result of our accumulated knowledge, combined with the vast quantities of recyclable resources we had already extracted from the earth, we'd attained a critical level of progress that rendered competition for resources largely unnecessary. Cooperation had instead become the optimum survival strategy. "Selfishness," he declared, "is unnecessary and hence-forth unrationalizable.... War is obsolete." While this may sound overly idealistic or 'pie in the sky', it should be noted that the corporations that succeed in today's economy, often do so by virtue of their ability to cooperate with one another.
Fuller also observed that the natural analytic geometry of the universe -- which he termed 'synergetics' -- was invariably based on arrays of tessellating, interlocking and nesting tetrahedra. He developed this idea in several ways, from the idea of close-packing spheres (like cells in an organism) to the number of compressive or tensile members required to stabilize an object in space (spaceframe). This is an apt metaphor for our interconnectedness on this planet - be it environmental or economic.
Sounding like a zen master with a PhD, Fuller once wrote: "...I am not a thing -- a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe." The ancient figure below illustrates the timeless permanence of Fuller's insight. So called primitive societies intuitively understood the interdependent, cyclic nature of the Earth's ecology. How did we forget?
"The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must... be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
The Myth of 'Rational Self Interest'
In a society who's primary economic philosophy consists of stating flatly: "self interest is rational", any form of altruism or desire to help others becomes ipso-facto: irrational. We now know that this somewhat bizarre line of reasoning (known as: 'social-Darwinism') is a deeply flawed relic from some former, harsher, more patriarchal period of history that we have thankfully stepped out of. Clearly, markets do not, cannot and will not regulate themselves effectively.
On a small planet with finite resources -- where we all breathe the same air, drink the same water and eat the same food from the same oceans and farms -- there is simply no logic in competitive behavior. Thus, the cultural meme of so-called 'rational self-interest' will be inoculated - as ignorance always is, eventually - by a deep, shared understanding of 'Enlightened Self Interest' or: 'sustainable altruism'. Examples of sustainable altruism range from micro finance to crowd-sourcing and even include collaborative technologies such as Wikipedia and Drupal.
Overcoming the Myth
This will be a difficult task, but worth it in every way. The real challenge comes from our own cherished, unexamined beliefs about the world. We are collectively inundated by the doctrine of rational self interest on a daily basis by every pundit, politician, product placement and PowerPoint presentation we come into contact with. The American establishment spends billions of dollars keeping that steady drumbeat of propaganda rhythmically and ceaselessly pounding into our collective head.
In order to effectively inoculate ourselves against this 'thought virus' that has infected the body politic, we must learn to identify it and attack it at every opportunity. It is a Jingoistic hook designed to keep things exactly the way that they are... Until recently, it's worked pretty well.
But people are waking up.
Someone somewhere once said something along the lines of: "Unbalanced severity or force is cruelty, whereas unbalanced mercy is a weakness which would permit cruelty." Another way of looking at this goes something like: "Total selfishness is evil, but total altruism is a weakness that would allow the evil of selfishness to go unchecked".
That old saying "it's not what you know, it's who you know" is as true now as it's ever been. This is due largely to the dynamics of 'social capital'. However, it could be stated that social capital is the only actual capital that exists in that human beings must invest an object with value by desiring it. Thus, unless an object is desired by someone, that object is considered worthless. Overwhelming in it's simplicity, this concept - the entire basis of our economy - has become skewed and twisted by the endless co-modification of meaning. Likewise, our perceptions about wealth, value and worth have become perverted and warped as the meaning of what constitutes 'value' is perpetually redefined and muddled by the confusion our schizophrenic society and it's traps of disinformation.
"Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss" is the iconoclastic mantra of the baby boomer generation -- and thank god for it! But implicit in this observation is the assumption that any attempts to challenge or alter the status-quo are motivated by the "rational self interest" of the respective 'boat-rocker'. Any attempts to assert otherwise are met with swift skepticism.
This will really need to be addressed if we are going to get anywhere. Perhaps a simple policy of 'No Gods, No Masters' will suffice.
Lack of Authentic Representation
It can safely be stated that the Republican party fits the role of 'unbalanced severity' (cruelty). This the party of big business and (when it' convenient for them) BIG government. No matter what they say to the contrary. Military spending? BIG! Biometric security devices to make you high school seem more like a prison? BIG! Social programs for underprivileged children? "We want small government!"
Thus, when viewed through the proper filters, everything that comes out of a Republican's mouth can quickly be recognized as a Trojan horse designed to further the meme of 'rational self interest' and to thereby further their profiteering. However, in this map (a computer-generated 'cartographic visualization' of the political maps of US from the 2008 election published by Mark Newman, of the University of Michigan that uses red-blue gradient of purples instead of the traditional blue/red to provide a more accurate visualization of voter breakdown), it looks less like a horse and more like a chimp.
Democrats on the other hand, are the perfect example of 'unbalanced mercy' - a weakness which permits cruelty to take place. Willfully complicent bystanders - they sit back and do nothing to reign in the greed and avarice that the Republicans party propagates.
Are we really expected to believe that these two entrenched parties represent the American people? As comedian Bill Hicks once observed "I think the puppet on the left best represents me. No, I think it's the puppet on the right..." Either way, it's capital that pulls the strings.
Many of us feel as though the act Blogging is more democratic than the act of voting anymore. So why aren't we using our blogs to cast our votes? In the race for public consensus, that's exactly what we do.
This Map uses the same gradient color scheme, but with each of the counties scaled in size to visually show their population. Producing an oddly shaped but recognizable map. It's remarkable it resembles oil floating on water.
It seems like a coupling of some sort is missing. A valuable component that would act as a sort of limited-slip differential between these two otherwise useless camps of political clowns. A self-organizing populist crap-filter to shed light on whatever tacit collusions are polluting the political process. Something Green.
Approaching a Meta-PolitikThis looks much more fair and balanced. More like an accurate representation of our country's diversity. A diversity that we run the risk of losing if we allow the further encroachment of corporate monoculture. What will the potato famine of the future look like? With a viable 3rd Party, we can finally have a high-resolution 'RGB' Democracy and a corresponding 'CMYK' Economy - One that is transparent and represents everyone.
[Update!!! This blog entry has since spawned a website dedicated to Metapolitical discourse, you can find it here: http://metapolitik.org]
We will not get anything from the politicians unless the American people demand it. If the healthcare debacle showed us anything, it's that any even a remotely progressive bill will be dead on the floor before it crosses the room. The only way that we will make this happen is to organize and make serious demands with time-lines attached to them. Truth be told, it's probably going to require all of the people who currently cannot feed themselves to walk to Washington DC and march on the Capital. Seeing as how -- between the unemployment rate, the under-employment rate and the general sorry state of the economy -- that's about 33.3% of the population. It shouldn't be too difficult to muster the political will.
"Rather than viewing technological socialism as one side of a zero-sum trade-off between free-market individualism and centralized authority, it can be seen as a cultural OS that elevates both the individual and the group at once."
We will have to come to a consensus as progressives/radicals/whatever-you-consider-your-orientation. It is our divisiveness that keeps us week. The forces that we are up against are like a seamless wall in their solidarity. The only way to successfully take them on will be with a unified front.We will need to decide: Exactly what form is this revolution going to take?
First off, let's do away with the idea that we need to raise money to participate in the political process. No we don't. Tell a sea of 50-100 million people that they need to cough up some $$$ before they can participate in the democratic process. Go on, I dare you. We are the populist party. The American Labor Party. The Moneyless Party. The Party of Social Capital. And we are richer by far.
One Year from Today
Calling all Laborers! Calling all Environmentalists! Calling all Futurists and Philosophers! All Saints, Sinners and Epistemological Messiahs! All Lambs and Lions! Vegans and Carnivores. All Hippies, Punks and Rastas. All Anarchists and Libertarians! Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Atheist alike! Black, White, Red and Yellow! Come one, Come ALL! We don't need no stinking permit!
"Be the change that you want to see in the world"
See you at the Lincoln Memorial:
June 21st, 2011