Clearly, from these Blog of the Future posts, it would seem that nobody is doing anything terribly successful to reverse, slow, or even mitigate our ride to Hell in a handcart. Indeed, there are some who have put a brick on the accelerator (do handcarts actually have accelerators? Please ignore the mixing of metaphors and enjoy the imagery!) and jumped out to watch us surging into the inferno.
Those in power have numerous strategies to maintain or oftentimes to increase their wealth and exacerbate the inequalities inherent in our capitalist economic system. Oppressing the poor forces them to spend their time working to survive, so they have no time to work to change the system. Moreover, propagandist media tells people the situation is improving: whatever particular situation is under consideration, it is always better than you might think. At least according to the media, mostly owned and run, and informed by, those oppressors seeking to maintain the status quo. So that the cognitive dissonance generated by the insistence that all is good with world, compared with actual experience, cannot be considered long enough to be acted upon, an alternative strategy is to divert the public’s attention towards trivia. Celebrity gossip or, in fact, gossip at any level, serve nicely to get the masses talking about things other than the size of the gas bill and the difficulties of affording nutritious foodstuffs. Social media is the new opiate of the masses.
Additionally, the powerful claim to be following the positive paths necessary to improve life for everybody, when there are no significant government attempts to actually research problems, formulate evidence-based policy, and enact those policies which are on sound footings, rather than those on soundbites. The passage of time disrupts monitoring of this. Politicians universally claim that policies have not had time to effect the propounded changes, and collectively proceed to disrupt those policies before they will ever have significant effect. And the media play ball by allowing policies to fall by the wayside so they can replaced by something shiny and new. For the next few minutes.
Those who would claim to be pressuring from inside the system (eg the UK’s Labour party) remain ineffectual as they are bound by what has been put in place to maintain the wealth and power where it is. Wikileaks (et al) exposing the corruption do a good job of bringing into the light things that the powerful would prefer not to be exposed, but it is too little too occasionally. Any changes caused by those exposures are too insignificant to really redress the balance in society.
In my new novel 2089, the difficulties faced by such hacker investigative journalists are discussed, with the fictional group called Bitness exposing everything globally in one go. Check out the novel by clicking on the cover photo shown here.
Investigative journalism in general still maintains high ideals and good practices, but journalism is being censored globally; only propagandists, either corporate or governmental, are permitted, either by force or market forces – note the same word ‘force’.
Pressure groups tend to fight the system from without, so end up either ineffectual or violently oppressed, sometimes through their own actions as they only see destruction of the system as the solution. There are many terrorists groups with high ideals but they resort to violence when they discover no process is available to effect their desired change politically. Sometimes this is with good reason as their ideology need not be congruent with human well-being, but sometimes it is simply down to oppression.
Internationally, all of the above leads directly to the conflicts around the world. Crucially, in considering conflict reduction, virtually nobody in power seems to be suggesting that we just stop making guns! Whilst Egypt, Turkey, Iran and, of course, Israel are big arms manufacturers, these quantities and the scale of the munitions pale in comparison to the scope of what the ‘developed’ countries make and export into the most troubled regions of our planet. And we’re making ever more weapons. It’s the one big industry that seems to be supported by all governments, and yet is the one thing causing the most distress to people globally. The NRA’s call to arms every time there’s a mass shooting is to make sure everybody is armed so that you can shoot the bad guys quickly. It’s pretty much North Korea’s same stated solution to the oppression they feel from outside aggressors.
Could maybe the United Nations work towards the elimination of corrupt practices? The UN is a very positive organization, well-resourced and based on transparent and fair written policy directives. However, it falls down in the practice and enforcement of these. There is a very real problem that the UN is attempting to reconcile and integrate all the cultures on our planet. One person’s corruption is another person’s normal business practice. So which definition of corruption should the UN seek to eradicate? That’s one problem, but not an insurmountable one, the necessary compromise position could be negotiated as is standard for UN activities. The real problem lies in the fact that the powerful in this world are those who would contribute to and vote on the UN’s enforcement activities. Naturally, they will either veto entirely anything that malaffects their wealth and power, or alter the parameters of any UN action so that it fails to root out the practices that most contribute to the essentially dynastic status quo.
But how exactly should they restructure everything? If we had a blank canvas, a new start, what should be the fundamental pillars of society?
In the next edition: What should the new social order be?