by Mike Meyer
The great majority of the American population now understands the situation and it is not good. That population has gone through thirty months of anger, shame, fear, and disgust while watching the collapse of the American political and economic system. Almost everything that was bad has been made significantly worse while hope has only been maintained by avoiding looking too closely at what this means.
While there are still many people who are struggling to identify the causes of the disaster, usually from the perspective of their personal experience and with emphasis for what they feel is most important or most dangerous, the reality is that this is the result of a massive, planetary, cultural disruption. Needless to say that understanding doesn’t do much to help.
We are still seriously screwed whether or not everyone else on the planet is screwed to a greater or lesser degree. That does very quickly come into play in this specific disruption because our most serous problems simply cannot be solved without planetary coordination. That is a new and stunning way of being screwed as we have never really faced that before.
But my focus here is the home front although given the planetary nature of this accelerating disaster some of what is said here may be relevant to readers in other countries. So what needs to happen now?
That has been, I think, obvious for some time but obvious things are commonly ignored. There are many things that people don’t want to see and, if they should see them, will immediately denounce them as fake. That is the pattern that has been set.
This is producing a large and growing mental health problem in America (and elsewhere) as anxiety builds with the realization that we are trapped. What must be done is denounced as lies and the actions that would allow some of the problems to begin to be corrected are immediately labeled as impossible.
The effect of this is growing suicides among Americans, shorter life spans reversing two hundred years of improvement, and an orchestrated loss of confidence in all social institutions terribly exasperating the situation.
Economically, while the planet has been able to significantly build wealth over the last hundred years reducing starvation and abject poverty, the middle class in America and some other post industrial, capitalist countries has been converted into a new precariat class. This is a working class with little or no future beyond the next paycheck that, itself, may or may not arrive. Living paycheck to paycheck with no capital assets and no resources, just enough money to live and high interest credit card debt as the only alternative, has been completely normalized.
In fact that constant announcements of market gains and impossible promises of good jobs just around the corner increasingly fed by claims of theft by ‘others’ who will be made to pay, has led to people accepting this sad condition as the best there is. This is a dangerous situation built primarily on ignorance. This surprisingly positive perception can quickly collapse and will.
Historically the American economic situation has never recovered from the Great Recession of 2007 and the positive perceptions are still identified by only half the population.
Fifty percent say they are better off today than they were a year ago. That 50% still represents a post-recession milestone — the first time since 2007 that at least half of the public has said they are financially better off than a year ago. Gallup
After twelve years with massive wealth accrued to a tiny segment of the population only half the population still hopes that things will be better. This is part of the brutal game being played to manipulate a population that should be looking at the current and impending disasters that surrounds them.
What needs to happen in America is generally understood and is part of the planetary dilemma. The reason for this can be best summarized in this graph:
The actions required are, also, well understood:
- Fossil fuels need to be eliminated as rapidly as possible. That time frame should be no longer than ten years. Whether or not climate engineering solutions can be implemented safely we can no longer poison our planet’s atmosphere. This must include the criminalization of environmental destruction.
- The concept of growth must be converted to sustainable growth with equitable redistribution of hoarded assets. This needs to be done planet wide but it should start in the rich countries that are most out of balance.
- The nature of government needs to be redesigned to fit a networked, post industrial planetary society emphasizing direct democracy and the elimination of corruption with expanded rights for all life in the planetary ecosphere.
If we are to survive and have any hope of prospering these are the minimum changes needed. I think that this states the reality. Of course these changes are all impossible. Nothing like this can be done. That is the current attitude.
The rise of climate disasters are scientifically well defined. We know we are already past the point of being able to avoid massive disruption and destruction of human civilization. The only current question is how fast this will accelerate. Continuous analysis has consistently shown that all estimates were far too conservative and way too slow.
Currently we have between twenty and thirty years to seriously reduce our carbon output in order to slow the disaster. Unfortunately, after some years of slowing the rise of carbon in the atmosphere has again accelerated. This is the result of human incompetence, which may not be correctable, but also criminal actions by illegitimate governments dedicated to greed and theft of planetary resources. This can be corrected.
How do we do the impossible? By realizing that what is now deemed possible makes our children and grandchildren’s lives impossible. We are faced with a paradox.
But there are actually only two positions here. The first is the status quo and the horrible dilemma that we now face on this planet. Nothing can change so nothing will be done and the scientific realities we know are resulting from human activity must be ignored. This will allow the old, white men who have retained power to live out their lives in pleasure. Nothing else matters. They are certain that they will be able to use their great wealth to protect themselves and their immediate families from both the climate disasters and resultant social chaos.
The second position is to begin to act immediately to remove causes for climate disaster and to prevent future recidivism. This requires immediate change to the structure and form of government that has blocked change or has failed to effectively redesign itself to achieve total well being. Insistence in any form of government or economic system that allows exploitation, repression, massive theft of resources, and denial of life resources for sentient beings must be identified as criminal.
What about some compromise between the two? Normal human political activity has been identified as the discovery and implementation of compromise. If action had begun thirty years ago when the nature of climate change was first fully identified a gradual solution may have been possible.
Beginning discussion on the best design for life rafts is not viable as the ship is listing and taking on water. Of course this is a crude metaphor for the human situation now. The planet is not sinking. Civilization may not collapse completely by 2100. But we do know that within eighty years, barely a human lifetime, sea levels will be at least three feet and the centers of continents, Africa, South America, North America, may be uninhabitable due to heat and drought.
This will have produced massive migrations. Even if our population stabilizes by mid century we will still be eight billion plus people. The relatively small refugee migrations caused by climate change and political collapse in the Middle East and Central America have already begun to destroy nation states . We live in one that is self destructing because of this. We cannot allow this to happen.
Please note that the first option, to continue to allow things to go as they are, includes the deaths of millions of people. We see that mentality actively in control of the American government with tens of thousands of refugee children alone in cages. To that primitive, fortress mentality death and suffering of non-white people is completely acceptable.
Obviously we can no longer live on this planet with that mentality.
How do we change America?
Not by waiting for another election in a grossly corrupted political system controlled by a racist, ignorant, non-representative elite. The likelihood of that group, fronted by a not very bright psychopath, committed to theft and lies as a way of life, being reasonable on accepting defeat in a distorted electoral system is a long shot. That is, as I stated above, something that is more generally known and beginning to be openly discussed. We have been warned.
Not by counting on a second party that is so beaten and fearful it accepts almost any crime. Oh well, we can’t do anything anyway. The young newly elected see their future and they know that this must change quickly. But they are at the mercy of the same establishment that has everything vested in the existing, failing system and will do anything to keep it going. Somehow it will work out. No.
But the change is already happening. As paradigmatic change works the process of change has little to do with fixing the old system. It normally simply replaces that system. And that may not even address the old system. Why bother? Build a new system and use that.
We have the forms of direct democracy for the 21st century already in trial. Social media links several billion people together in communities for discussion. Whether Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr, LinkedIn or any of the hundreds of others these are the means by which large segments of our population connects to various communities, problems, opportunities or ideas.
What are the problems with social media? Primarily that they are private and for profit more interested in harvesting information for sale than providing safe, secure, and legitimate communities. What if everyone was a member of a new Online National Community? All government administrators and officials would be there plus all citizens and residents with communities for each area of government and areas for discussion of important issues.
The point is to simply replace Congress and state legislatures with official online communities. Voting would be replaced with formal input on specific issues or proposals. Direct democracy would include input from any citizen.
Other countries are beginning this process. Perhaps the most significant for America is Taiwan. There are both official and unofficial construction of new online communities for direct democracy in the 21st century reality. On citizen sites the national budget and carefully presented versions of major proposals are provided for citizen discussion. This will naturally lead to digital direct democracy.
There are many things that would need to be worked out but I’m willing to bet that it would, at least, be better than what we have now. Remember the politicians, and Trump has again proven this, do little or nothing to run the day to day operations of the United States government except create problems and imaginary ‘emergencies’.
This would illustrate the massive weight of political bureaucracy that is no longer needed. The fastest route is to bypass this. The second stage of thei revolutionary change would be to eliminate state governments and break the nation up into metropolitan areas. An excellent article I’ve cited before suggests one hundred metropolitan areas encompassing surrounding rural and low population areas. At an expected 80% urban population rate in the next twenty to thirty years move administration down to where people actually live and work geographically.
Do we need a president? I would suggest not. As many other countries have decided that role is primarily diplomatic and symbolic. The only requirement is to not be an asshole.
The day to day operations of government do not need politicians at all. Increasingly this will be supplemented, it is already, and managed by intelligent systems. This would provide freedom to the administrative heads of departments, metropoles, and units to be involved in online conversation with citizens. Transparency of government operations would allow anyone to review or even actively join a meeting on any topic. Secrecy should be greatly reduced or eliminated.
Need a working policy, administrative, and working body to oversee the national system? The directly elected heads of each of the one hundred metropoles is a natural governmental body representing their own urban region with its unique character and needs. Budgets for the collective administration would come from this group for initial planning and debate prior to presentation to the online citizens and residents.
What was the United States could devolve into a North American Regional Urban Alliance. Or, those predominantly rural and fringe societies including religious or other special interest groups may wish to move outside the high level rights of the alliance and become voluntary communities. This would provide for diversity of those unwilling to enter the broader urban communities. These would have great freedom excluding only any limits on people wishing to leave that community. This exception would need to apply to children at a reasonable age.
This very rough structure is based on changes already well under way in America and other post industrial states. The structures are already maturing and can be quickly implemented.
From this the current problems, corruption, and governmental crimes that are growing by the day could be quickly eliminated
The first step? Create the official online communities, perhaps with the technical support of Facebook, LinkedIn and others, establish an Alliance Constitutional Group to begin adding a Universal Bill of Rights and then an Alliance Constitution.
Each urban region, and these are already functioning as metropolitan centers , could simultaneously create formal communities and development groups for that Metropole.
If you are part of corporate management this is a development of a collaborative decentralized management system enabled by the technology that is forcing us to change at an accelerating rate. None of this is strange. And it would create a flexible administrative structure for a significant region of this planet.
It would also create a directly democratic and response structure to handle urgent economic changes as we work to limit climate change disasters. With reasonable care each Metropole would be able to determine how to handle climate and political refugees by allocating rural and semi-rural areas for town and communities. This could be handled directly by the executive head and staff of the Metropoles working together.
There is no way we could get to this relying on the political system now in existence. But this appears to be to be much closer to what will evolve if we survive our planetary coming of age.
Survival is the important question and it cannot even be asked in the current system. Time to change to digital, direct democracy.