Diane Zilliox stopped by and clapped for it (Thanks). That got me to go back and read it again just to see what I had done in some dark corner of the past.
New civilizations are built by barbarians that get tired of being barbarians. Almost any community/coop idea fails when it is missing some part of its mechanism. Gerard points out below that the roads crumble when the ride economy doesn’t contribute to the infrastructure.
Every profit-structure depends on the civil structure, but goes to great lengths not to pay for it. Amazon and WalMart have the government doing the subsidizing that keeps people from using pitchforks and torches.
The sharing mechanisms are patented and separated from the very civilization institutions that they depend on.
What if we got rid of the patent system? What if everyone paid into an insurance fund for vehicles (automated or driven)? What if everyone shared their food-raising labors?
Oh, wait….that’s called “good society” and people wouldn’t be afraid of driving the neighbor’s car or sharing a meal.
Why are we so obsessed with putting numbers on everyone’s time and value? The blockchain pattern of shifting trust to strangers comes long after people shifted their trust to money (not actual value from people who produce things, but the colored pieces of paper controlled by numbers on spreadsheets in banks).
Human Usefulness is long gone as a factor, but it will cycle around again.
We are conditioned to accept a system that gives tax deductions to corporations to brainwash (advertise to) our children into believing that they are only useful as a conduit of money from one (lesser) hand to another (greater hand).
Our automobiles and airplanes facilitate faster transfer of money, but the principle function is still the same: we are nothing but transport systems for the morally bankrupt system of rape and plunder that aristocrats have been selling under the guise of Manifest Destiny, Exceptionalism and Humanism.
None of these actually exist.
Sure, we can believe that they do, and that belief focuses the efforts of human groups to be capitalized and manipulated by leaders (salesmen), but the bottom line is that the flow of useful value under mercantilism/capitalism/consumerism is always going away from the places and people that need it toward the people who don’t.
Now we are facing circumstances that are testing our view of what is useful, practical and secure. We are wondering about the people and systems that left us vulnerable to predictable risks. We are wondering why our leaders can’t do anything with logic and science unless Wall Street caves in and says it’s OK to turn off the money spigot for two minutes (or to direct the money hose at them). We are wondering why so many people are so vulnerable not just to a virus, but to the loss of the aristocrats’ money sprinklers.
Maybe you’re not.
I am. The difference seems to be that I see the money in that ‘profit’ spigot as the output of a pump sucking the blood out of every citizen and every square inch of the planet.
Another difference may be that I don’t see people as ‘miracles’, but as part and product of the planet; potential custodians and creators adding value to the very soul of their places. I also see our leadership (private and public) using their power and imaginary righteousness to prevent common human potential from being realized. They do so by maximizing the extraction and minimizing the replenishment, all while using Gods and Gateways to foster guilt, ignorance and powerlessness in the minds of the masses whenever they can.
Extraction and death is no way to operate a country, no matter what the advertisers are selling.
I submit this question to anyone wondering about the future of America and the world:
Can you visualize the people you have voted for doing something useful with their hands that improves the resources their grandchildren will need to eat, breathe and be useful?
In other words, will the person you voted for reverse the flow of that spigot so that value is added to the world, rather than removed from it?
I can go either way on that voting. Most of the politicians vying for office might be just as good at causing their own system’s self-immolation as they are at stealing our ‘essence’. The system itself has been so corrupted (search “income tax lobbists”) by every little fanatically competitive lawyer and accountant that there is little hope we can make some significant adjustment to it that benefits humanity’s future world.
OTOH, you can’t think too much about it or you’ll just be overwhelmed and drop into the apathy state that the aristocrats depend on to keep the guillotines in the museums; they already minimized the number of people with access to pitchforks during the Farm Crisis of the ’70s and ’80s. The more people they have trapped in cities, the better they can harvest and squeeze them.
“You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.”
― Wendell Berry