“Build Back Better”.
The term has recently been in vogue, and used by governments in the English-speaking world and Continental Europe to define a progressive reform approach following the Pandemic. What the term vaguely means is that the recovery offers opportunities to create a new and superior type of system.
That a disparate cluster of Western governments have chosen the same term is associated with the term “the Great Reset” which is being championed by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which holds an annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, and is sponsoring a “Young Global Leader programme” which includes political leaders at different levels from various countries – from heads of state like Sanna Marin, to legislators like Ida Auken – the latter infamous for an article she wrote for the WEF website, which was called “Welcome To 2030: I Own Nothing, Have No Privacy And Life Has Never been better”.
For the Anti-Globalization/Nationalist Right, this new trend of Post-Covid material produced by the WEF was declared as evidence for a sinister “globalist plot” of sorts, which either would utilize the pandemic for its own end, or outright had manufactured the virus and the pandemic/pandemic responses in order to transition Western society away from capitalism and towards some form of totalitarianism.
As a representative of an organisation which actually envisions a post-monetary/post-capitalistic future, I took a passing interest in these claims – though the only sources about the Great Reset and the term “Build Back Better” either were short articles were the terms were mentioned in passing (i.e – “The temporary pandemic subsidies could be utilized as a template for our governments Build Back Better programme”, or “The Vaccine Passports together with Digitalization can become a model for how identification of citizens is conducted in the future.”), articles about WEF itself which were of medium-length and descriptive of the trends of the future, or – in the majority of the cases – more or less hysterical texts which drew maximalist conclusions about tech-dystopias run by “psychopathic communist mega-corporations”.
Comparing the writings of the proponents of “the Great Reset” with those of their detractors, a casual reader becomes none the wiser – since the descriptions vary so much in scope. While the proponents talk in optimistic terms about turning the page and installing new and more robust healthcare systems, the detractors talk about RFID chips and mass sterilizations.
The question is where one could find serious and balanced critique. In the old days, back in the early days of this century, proponents and detractors of various concepts would vehemently disagree about the desirability of political and economic goals, but their view on what those goals were would usually converge. During the heydays of ATTAC, the World Social Forum of Sao Paolo and the leftist Alt-Globalization movement, progressive critics’ generally offered critiques of the WEF programmes based upon their textual content, while the current generation of critics (who mostly are rightists of the nationalist variety) focus on single statements or articles, like that of the aforementioned one by Auken.
This is not conductive for a debate, and it is not inviting for the public to partake in these discussions.
Therefore, because I simply wanted to know better, I purchased and read Mr. Schwab’s book – Covid 19: The Great Reset.
Now I have read it, and this article is an attempt not primarily at critiquing the book, but to describe its contents, and hopefully be of some help to those who wish to better know what it is about.
Summary by points
- The book is divided into two segments, focusing on a macro reset for the international community, supranational institutions and nation-states, and a micro reset for corporations and individuals. For this article, I opted to focus on the macro reset.
- Rather than offering prescriptions for a brave new world of tomorrow, the book offers broad descriptions of the society that the author(s) believe is emerging and of which the onset of the pandemic has spread.
- The political preferences of the authors could be vaguely discerned from the focus of the analyses, as well as the probably unintentional usage of hyperboles – especially at the beginning of the text. Also, in one particular case, the lack of a counter-narrative could discern a certain – guilty or reluctant – advocacy of a political position that deserves more critique and illumination.
- However, the descriptive nature of the text makes it difficult to ascertain what descriptive analyses are in reality prescriptive recommendations.
- The book cannot be seen as a definite statement about the political preferences of the WEF – for a deeper understanding it would probably necessitate further studies of WEF materials, for example choices of lecturers, themes and workshops during their broadcasted seminars (of which they generously have provided a plentitude of on Youtube).
- While the claim that the WEF controls the Western World cannot conceivably be called a serious analysis, there is a serious critique to be made against a society which allows well-connected think tanks to have an outsized influence over the democratic processes.
Covid-19: The Great Reset
The book starts with a hyperbole – namely that the recent Pandemic has “plunged the world into a challenge we have not experienced in generations”, that it means an unprecedented challenge for governments, businesses and individuals to adapt – that many will fall but “a few will thrive”.
A quick remark about this postulate is that even the West – which arguably has had the best conditions for the Post-1945 era – has undergone many crises during the preceding decades (the 1973 and 1979 oil embargos, stagflation, the 2008-2010 financial crisis). What made the Covid Pandemic unique was the actions undertaken to combat it – namely lockdowns, vaccine passports and measures of control which in some countries made the economy contract by 20-30%.
It should also be noted that Sweden, which went against the current and instituted were minimal restrictions, during the course of the pandemic did neither do worse or better than the general mortality projection of countries.
The outline of the argument proposed by the book is “to never let a good crisis go to waste” and that governments and other decision-making entities should take the opportunity to for example institute badly needed ecological, financial and political reforms. These are of course well overdue, though it can be argued that the current configuration of global resource usage cannot be solved within the current incarnation of the market system.
However, the book then outlines as its mission to describe trends which we can see emerge.
The Green New Deal
The book outlines that the Pandemic has strengthened trends towards the automation of the service industry, and is mentioning basic income and strengthened focus on healthcare and a comprehensive welfare system at the expense of a focus on economic growth. It does also state that Japan’s model – often derided as stagnant and inefficient – has seen a growth in wealth if we account for the population decline.
These statements are outlined as a description of the trends we will see in the future, and they represent trends which are desirable – at least if you have a low to medium income, is disabled, have small children or other issues which may increase the stress levels on your life.
Schwab and Malleret do not see or describe any trends in the opposite direction. For example, it could be postulated that the rise of crypto-currencies would sap the state coffers from needed tax revenue, and it can also be drawn from experience of the stagflation of the 1970’s and the financial crisis of 2008 that economic hardships which threaten the viability of the monetary stability and financial systems are often counter-measured with infusions of capital into banks and other financial institutions. These measures would often lead to the growth of deficits – and traditionally these have been paid by cuts to the welfare systems – so called austerity policies.
While the EOS agrees with the WEF that there needs to be greater focus on accessibility to resources for all human beings (see the third criterion), there is yet to be seen whether the current monetary and financial system is capable of reintroducing the social democratic model. Canada, which has a government with many Young Leaders, have recently made strides in that direction.
The question is what intent can be derived from the book. The description of what policies states may indulge in seems to line up well with what the WEF prescribes. However, this could well cause confusion when the WEF describes other trends – which are far more controversial. It remains unclear whether or not the book is endorsing or describing these policies – and if the answer is the latter it is unclear why the book has not described trends in the opposite direction.
One of the chief characteristics of international development since the 1980’s has been the gradual increase in the number of supranational institutions, as well as their growing clout and power at the expense of national governments. To a large degree, this transition has coincided with the advent of Neoliberalism and the growth of Information technology, which to a large degree has affected the policies of these structures.
The EU is the most far-reaching example – to a large but unclear degree, it has deprived the states which are members of the Eurozone of their ability to conduct monetary policies, and also of a large amount of their ability to conduct financial policy. While this can provide scope benefits for trade and growth within the current system, it also deprives the citizenry of a large degree of economic and social political power. In an article written back in 2016, I theorised that this deprivation of political power towards treaties like NAFTA or institutions like the EU is one of the main reasons for the growth of right-wing populism.
The WEF has since its increasing visibility been associated with this trend of moving political authority from democratically mandated nation-states to goal-mandated supranational bodies.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Covid-19: The Great Reset is focusing a lot on health, and especially how the WHO and other international bodies and private institutions have helped countries dealing with the supply crisis at the beginning of the Pandemic, and that the authors state that a lot could be learned from this in terms of health coordination and the introduction of health as a focus point for international travel.
There are undoubtedly a few benefits of that kind of standardization, but it is a precarious trend to transfer health policies from the state – not because the state necessarily is a superior provider (which isn’t the case with a lot of developing nations), but because the state, despite everything, has a mandate which can be affected by the decision of its constituents, whereas international institutions only have responsibilities towards their mission statements (which may be affected by numerous nation-states, where the conflicting wills of numerous peoples are diluted down to compromises which will leave most citizens with a feeling of alienation and may not even be ideal to the varying situations on the ground).
Yet again, it is unclear whether the book endorses this development or merely describes it. It should also be noted (and it is actually mentioned by the text in passing) that the crisis caused by the Pandemic also saw countries becoming more protectionist in terms of guaranteeing access to medical equipment and vaccines, at the expense of poorer countries. While the WEF are correct in their assessment that pathogens do not care for international travel, their emphasis on supranational solutions risk causing more deprivations in democratic accountability.
New avenues for surveillance
On page 166, Covid-19 (the book) describes that the pandemic will most likely lead to a demand for more surveillance and monitoring for health reasons, and that new technologies are already in the making which will make it possible for institutions such as governments and corporations to for example measure the blood pressure and heart-rate of every citizen in real-time, which together with geo-location can help authorities map an image of the feelings, thoughts and aspiration of the individual citizen. The book itself states that it could become the basis for a totalitarian society, explains the mechanisms for its arising and the technologies needed for it to occur, but does not describe any type of resistance or counter-trends (like for example more advanced VPN or cloaking technologies, or the advent of parallel economies, based on Crypto or RBE principles). Rather, the type of resistance described is formatted in passive terms, with “individuals feeling that the system is oppressive, but choosing to try to keep their personal dignity.”
While the authors seem to lament the loss of personal or communitarian freedom replaced by a techno-managerial system, they seem unable or unwilling to imagine any type of conceivable, realistic alternative to this dystopia.
Critics of Schwab, the WEF and the book seem often to believe that the main purpose of the WEF is to institute a techno-totalitarian future – which often is envisioned as an extreme version of the type of cancel culture and banning waves which often affected right-centrists and right-wingers during the waning years of the Trump Presidency and the Pandemic, and that this is the hidden, nefarious purpose of their every action. To a large extent, Schwab seems to increasingly replace George Soros as a Blofeld-esque bogeyman in this mythology.
Supporters of the WEF views the book as a well-intentioned call for a more compassionate, fair and equitable system.
Most people (who aren’t a part of the Young Global Leaders or those 0,0001% of the global population which is ostensibly following the WEF, which as of this moment has 717 subscribers on its main Youtube channel) seem to not know so very much about it and some would even believe that the terms have been created by conspiracy theorists.
What then, is the Great Reset?
The book is not that very helpful in that regard, though it briefly touches upon multiple subjects, all from Green Energy to social policies and international cooperation. If we look at the introduction video with the same title for the Davos Agenda of 2021, it is described in this manner:
“The pandemic has radically changed the world as we know it, and the actions we take today, as we work to recover, will define our generation. It’s why the World Economic Forum is calling for a new form of capitalism, one that puts people and planet first, as we come together to rebuild the world after COVID-19.”
The only thing that stands clear is that a change is needed, and that this type of change will be a “new form of capitalism” (which is described as “stakeholder capitalism”, which would “put planet and people rather than profit, first”), and that “we must come together to rebuild the world after Covid-19”.
Who are that “we”?
Among those featured in the video, with short quotations combined with a type of music that indicates that something great is going to happen, is a high-ranking official of the International Monetary Fund, the UN Secretary-General, the CEO of Mastercard, the CEO of Salesforce, and a high-ranking operative of the WEF itself.”
This leaves room for an interesting, critical perspective which has unfortunately not been aired more.
The Great Reset in actuality is a quite apt term, even if it is quite vague.
It is envisioned as a reset of capitalism itself, which is (rightfully) seen as unsustainable, and that by moving towards a type of capitalism which “takes into account” the interests of stakeholders (“working class people, indigenous peoples, environmentalists, eco-systems”) the “bad parts of capitalism” could be replaced with “good parts”, and a “good capitalism” where the inner contradictions of the systems would be negated could arise.
This is not a new idea. Already in the 1840’s and 1850’s, the early Victorians believed that charity and Christian compassion could birth such a type of society. To some effect, the 20th century Labour movement realized that in bits, though if we take a global outlook, what in reality happened was that the exploitation of the human body in debt slavery, child labour and sweatshops transferred towards the developing world (which during the 19th century merely had been the place where resources and raw materials were extracted).
From a purely ecological perspective, the ideology underpinning the Great Reset is a techno-optimistic type of green market-based social liberalism. It is an ideology that deals a great deal with hope and sentimentality as its basis, and with the perceived unity of interests between the ruling elite and the people – or rather those parts of the people who are platformed by the ruling elites for five second snippets of Sandfordian statements like “it is important that we all come together for the greater good” and “humanity has never been at such a crossroad as today”. Within the EOS, we call that type of ideology “Cornucopianism”.
The vision offered is one of a capitalism without inner contradictions, where the important actors are the leaders of major supranational institutions, powerful governments, multi-national corporations and think tanks such as the WEF. Human rights activists, indigenous leaders and other types of grass-root representatives are sometimes invited to hold speeches for the leaders of “the international community”, but are seldom parts of steering committees and workshops.
And we agree with Schwab &/co.
Humanity needs a restructuring of its socio-economic system. Currently we are living on the annual equivalent of what 1,7 Earths could renew each year, we are rapidly destroying the oceans, the soils, the fresh-water reservoirs and the bio-diversity of key life-supporting biomes.
It is highly unlikely that we can achieve a kind of sustainability within anything resembling the current system without new wonder technologies which currently do not exist (proponents of the current system mean that greed is the only driver for innovation which “will” make these technologies a reality).
Cornucopians generally present a binary choice between “Old Capitalism” and “Stakeholder Capitalism”, and claim that the only alternative to the latter is a collapse of the world.
We (as in the EOS) claim that there are more alternatives, and that one must dare think outside the box.
One of the tenets which we need to question is the term “we”. Is “humanity” responsible for the degradation of the planet? Is humanity responsible for the destruction of the ecosystems? Is humanity responsible for the advent of an ecological collapse by 2075?
Or is the culprit a socio-economic system based on a model of growth which automatically transfers 80% of any revenue to the 20% at the top of the income ladder, and where the growth in profits correspond with the growth of resource usage?
This is a system which is both emergent, as in being a consequence of the laws of supply and demand of the market, and designed, in terms of being directed, streamlined and affected by sophisticated institutions and corporations which – when put into place – would want to protect their own continued existence.
And is not the WEF to a large degree consisting of the very same people who are a part of this super-structure which has helped to move the Earth this close towards a sixth mass extinction event?
When we look at the convergence of crises which we already are suffering from, and which will be exacerbated in the future due to the type of socio-economic system that has been imposed on humanity, those who are suffering the most and who will suffer the most are the majority of the Earth’s population, consisting of farmers and workers in the developing world.
The Great Reset may be several things, on a spectrum.
In its most benign but inefficient form, it is a marketing ploy and a way for the corporate and financial elites of the planet to legitimize their continued dominance for themselves internally, by showing how much they care for the planet by producing flashy films and summits in an Alps country famous for clocks, cheese, tax evasion, money-laundering and summer holiday homes for ultra-wealthy dictators. In that regard it would be dishonest, but nothing spectacular – already l’ancien regime of France sponsored portraits of Marie-Antoinette distributing bread to the starving peasant children of France.
In its most malign form, the Great Reset might be a stakeholder capitalism in the sense that it would transform capitalism into an integrated system of corporate, financial, institutional and social leadership, where the elites in a maternalistic fashion would take a keen interest in the life of ordinary people, to the extent that their physical health, their diets, their daily routines and interests, and their values and opinions should be an issue not for the individual and not for their local communities, but for “the Davos boys”.
The WEF may mean well.
The problem is that any real solution to the current crisis would not be a “reset”, but the establishment of an entirely new system – one which would need to do away with the kind of wealth and inequality that makes possible such institutions as the WEF.
Another problem is also that a stakeholder capitalism may become a more authoritarian, dystopian, corrupt and elitist society than what we have today, and therefore far more volatile. The same neoliberal elites which brought us the Great Recession and the rise of right-wing populism are now supposed to lead the revolution towards a utopia based on green energy, progressive politics and a responsible stewardship of the planet, under the guise of a new, “green liberalism”.
This is and remains the real conundrum.
The 2020’s, perhaps more than any prior decade, is characterized by self-contradictions – and with that I mean a mixture between an extreme sense of dread and paranoia on one hand, and an equally extreme naivety on the other hand.
The fear of the unknown – of climate change, pandemics, geostrategic adversaries, terrorists and political extremism – is perforating the very air we breathe. Meanwhile, we are actively pursuing choices which are exacerbating our dependency and vulnerability.
In the economic and political sense, we are moving towards both a greater concentration of wealth and of the de-facto political power in the hands of wealthy and centralized supra-national institutions.
In the technological sense, we are pursuing the further integration of our infrastructure with the world wide web, while cracking mechanisms become ever more sophisticated and accessible.
The increased vulnerability is already a fact, and numerous debilitating attacks have already been conducted.
Prevailing as a narrative is however the notion that the current development is determined and fixed, that the short-term demand for greater dividends must trump reason and collective and individual safety concerns. A sort of technological determinism rules the day, and this technological determinism could risk us sacrificing our freedom and democratic sovereignty, without becoming safer.
- The Internet of Things should be understood as the digitalization of infrastructure and the further interconnection of data within a wider cloud.
- The benefits would entail further automation, specialization, the elimination of bottlenecks and increased economic growth.
- During the 2010’s, an increased amount of hacker attacks and “compromizations” of software have been an evident trend.
- The narrative is that “Democracy is under attack” – the answer is an increased amount of centralization, self-censorship and surveillance.
- The technology of vulnerabilities is by itself never questioned, and it is taken as self-evident that we must continue on the current trajectory.
- The effect would be an increased risk for slipping into techno-totalitarianism of a Chinese or similar variety.
- An alternative would be a de-centralized, sustainable holonic structure characterized by inclusion, autonomy and self-reliance.
The Internet of Things and its benefits
A part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the increased digitalization of production, maintenance and infrastructure. We are already seeing how education, transport, retail and appliances become ever-more interconnected on the web. The features of this trend most visible are those which resemble the cyberpunk future envisioned in many works of science fiction – for example self-driving vehicles, stores without human employees, package-carrying drones.
Yet, most people experience far more prosaic changes to their life – most common less usage of cash in their daily transactions. One example could be bus tickets. In not a few cities and towns in cities, tickets could no longer be purchased by the driver. Rather, the weary traveller would have to download an app through their smartphone, use their cellphone camera to record a QR code and pay through apps like Swish which they download through their mobile Bank-ID app. Following this, the amount of freeloading in public transit has had a certain increase among the “above 80’s”, to speak bluntly.
The benefits are obvious. The existence of cash is exposing drivers for both robbers and germs. Counters and credit card readers cost money to install, and produce receipts which the customers do not desire. The overview of the amount of customers is immediately centralized and can be accessible and broken down in studies when for example the redrawing of public transit is made.
The same is true for the wider Internet of Things. Apps can benefit both travellers and businesses when they visit new towns and are recommended stores and establishments corresponding to the conscious, unconscious and subconscious choices indicated by the algorithms surveilling the individual user. This has also created new markets – for example has the recent rise of involuntary celibacy among males a certain correlation with the rise of dating apps, which has commoditized and streamlined the previously so messy and haphazard process of courtship. The next step would likely be a marketization of friendships, which further would serve to alienate the human being but also create a new avenue for growth and a new generation of tech billionaires.
In terms of the infrastructural benefits, they are mostly related to logistics, maintenance and informatics. Instead of having their own server halls, corporations can store their data on the cloud, saving the need for staff and rent. Elevators can be operated and managed from afar. In the future, with self-driving trucks, the challenge imposed by pesky “freedom convoys” can be a thing of the past. In fact, self-driving trucks can unload their cargo in storage halls, offering driver-less carrier trucks the opportunity to move the goods direct to the store.
Already, refrigerators can notify both their owners, their makers and the retailers what the owners are consuming and when the date of expediency will come. Smart jackets and sneakers will be able to tell doctors and producers of sport gear how many calories their owners are burning on a daily basis. Though Neuralink, for all purposes, currently in its most wild form best is described as something between a science fiction-dream and an (in)advertent scam, there is research aiming to connect the human mind to the Internet, in new and revolutionary forms.
All of this development will open up new markets for growth, especially in the so-called Metaverse. Investors, tech companies, a vast army of consumers and western governments are all embracing this new the latest of golden calves. This will be a driver for creative destruction, multiply monetary wealth and serve to shift wealth ever-more from nations and communities into the hands of multinational corporations and conversely into tax havens – all while at best creating a few new jobs down the line. But politico-economic orthodoxy dictates that what market-driven development craves is also the best future for the entire economy.
The question, however, is what the risks are.
Caveats, dangers, hazards
Since the Internet began to emerge in the 1980’s, malware and hacking have followed suit. The DDOS attacks of the 1990’s gradually came to give way to more sophisticated types of criminal activities. Nowadays, as all of society is rapidly being digitalized, all of society is likewise affected by hacking.
Billions of people are affected by identity theft. Refrigerators in Moscow, credit card readers and harbours in Sweden and Tesla cars and university printers in the United States have all for varying purposes been overtaken, controlled and/or held ransom by various groups. The smart cities of the Internet of Things are also extremely fragile and vulnerable, especially as the centralization and internationalization of information creates nodes accessible for anyone with a minimum of resources and talent – in a world with billions of desperate, poor and smart minds.
With quantum decryption follows cracking software which can run billions of passwords simultaneously, and soon retinae and fingerprints won’t be hacker-proof either. The attacks are already happening, yet what is criticised is never the manner in which the technology is implemented.
Rather, the problem is deemed to be the people.
The emergence of techno-totalitarianism
It is evident that we today are living in a society characterized by fear. During the 1990’s, mainstream popular music and comedy flirted with anti-establishmentarian, revolutionary sentiments and dangerous symbols. The attitude towards government power, authorities and media – even from parts of the establishment itself – was characterized by scepticism and cynicism. It was seen as healthy to question the intentions of governments and mega-corporations.
Of course, the prevalent tendency of the then dominant strand of neoliberalism was that history was at an end following the end of the Cold War, and that all expressions of youthful resistance rather than implicit threats were promises of rejuvenation of the system, following the appropriation and defanging of the revolutionary symbols.
Nowadays, the public narrative – especially within the framework of the wider English-speaking world – is rather characterized by a sense of dread and chilled anticipation. Public discourse is gradually replaced by echo chambers, and the struggle between ideas have been replaced by a fight between tribes. The purpose of public discourse is no longer about civic ideals and winning at the marketplace of ideas, but about delegitimizing opponents as extremists, by associating their positions with odious ideologies and tendencies. This trend began with the War on Terror and was initially experienced by ethnic communities of certain backgrounds, but gradually the groups suspected of harbouring extremist sympathies have been expanded.
I would argue that a surveillance state is not per definition an unhappy accident made possible by the emergence of the unsavoury application of new technologies – but a feature of what Zbigniew Brzezinski defined as “the Technetronic Era”.
The very vulnerability – the sheer nakedness, of the cloud, of the grid and of the networked infrastructure – will necessitate an increased amount of surveillance and policing, and therefore a new narrative. The vast openness of enormous quantities of data in the most open society ever realized has paradoxically birthed a siege mentality, where our systems suddenly are very fragile.
Gradually, this process will lead to the ban of anonymous usage of the Internet, to the increased division of the world wide web between vast tech baronies, by increased amounts of subjects not allowed of speaking of. What previously was considered legitimate critique of the practices of pharmaceutical and technological companies is increasingly viewed as subversive and proto-fascist.
And the more the Internet of Things will emerge in all its glory, the deeper surveillance will burrow in the social body, and the narrower the scope of what is deemed acceptable discourse will be.
No matter what political ideology will triumph in the ideological battle for ideas in the current western world, the characteristics of the emergent society will be techno-totalitarian in its characteristics – and the citizen will experience a loss of autonomy, agency and dignity, reduced to a consumer and component, while the arena of politics will continue to shift towards legalistic and clandestine conflicts between tech baronies and financial institutions.
Such a system will moreover be incapable of addressing the environmental crisis and its array of phenomena – climate change merely its most recognizable and well-published expression. A stupefied, brutalized, silenced and distracted citizenry is no longer a citizenry, and cannot be expected to take charge in terms of transitioning the human civilization towards a sustainable future.
Determinism is dangerous
The manner in which the Internet of Things is implemented today can only be described as criminally negligent and hazardous for public health and safety. The solutions to the sensitivity caused by the single-minded pro-business implementation are kryptonite for the fabric of what is worth preserving of soon to be three centuries of Enlightenment thought.
If one would ascribe to the ideas of technological determinism – that we only have one tech tree and that markets should dictate the progress of civilization, and that we are unable to steer development in another direction – then certainly a techno-totalitarian surveillance state would be a reality impossible to escape, and maybe the least worst conclusion of many bad options.
If we instead ascribe to an alternative view, one wherein we all are in power, we will begin to take back the power over our own future and determine our own fate. But that requires not only a critical analysis over the way in which technology today is implemented, but also the courage to imagine an alternate technological society.
When we are empowered
The vision outlined by the Earth Organisation for Sustainability – a vision where you can play an important part – is akin back to the early days of the Internet, back to the future which Linux and early Wikipedia pointed towards.
A vision where the users are in charge, and are building the infrastructure not only of the virtual world but of real life itself.
Foundational for this new world will be a constitutional document to which millions of autonomous groups of people are ascribing – containing the Three Criteria and the Universal charter of human rights. These groups can vary in their functionality, their geographic dispersion and their ideologies and cultures, but they will all be active part in the formation of a new society, where power is distributed and egalitarian.
Communities will have the control over their own ability to sustain themselves on food, energy, heating and communications. Instead of techno barons fearful of the uprising of gaslighted and repressed subjects, we will have a world of people who respect and love one another, because nobody is under total dependency of anyone else, while all will still of course be interdependent.
Under this world, software will still be prone to breakdowns, malware attacks and sophisticated sabotage, but the damage will be limited by the vast distribution and the dispersion and availability of data. Compromised holons can be aided or isolated by their peers, and overall vulnerability will be reduced by a greater general knowledge of technological systems.
It will be a world of distributed power, where factories and software systems will be open source and available for all people, rather than closely and jealously guarded domains of distant rulers.
It is a world that you can be a part in creating, but it demands that you dare take a stand, and organize where you can have the greatest impact. The sustainable future of tomorrow shall not be a virtual palace economy under the ruler-ship of Tech Pharaohs and Cybernetic Satrapies, but a teeming garden of a billion autonomous groups comprising all of humanity.
And yes, that is probably impossible to achieve. But the more we tend to that garden, the more of that dream we can realize.
Usually, when we talk about Energy Accounting as a hypothetical alternative to capitalism, we are discussing it from an ecological, structural and technical perspective. This is not surprising, by our very roots our movement is concerned with sustainability, and sustainability as a subject is connected to the objective physical reality of the world – a reality which as you know unfortunately doesn’t concern itself with morality or compassion or any human values for that matter.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the most important organizational event for the EOS, and this year’s meeting – which will be held at 5.00 PM CET on the Sunday the 23d of August 2020 will even be more important, as it will represent our deepest institutional change since the incorporation of EOS in Sweden.
The emergence of a global pandemic – in this case manifested as an extremely contagious lung virus, a mutation of SARS – was but a matter of time. Since humanity started to utilize other creatures in agriculture and husbandry, viral mutation rates have seen numerous plagues emerge from the gens animalia to make the leap over to human hosts, from an animal to another. While the excess deaths caused by the sudden overstretch of hospital capacity throughout the world has been tragic, especially as said deaths were preventable, we still should consider ourselves lucky.
Capital is power, and the nature of this power is access to resources. In today’s world, the main differentiation between a wealthy and a poor individual lies in time. Wealthier persons not only have a wider variety of choices at their table, but also the choice to wait with their choice until better opportunities offer themselves. “Beggars can’t be choosers” it is said, and poorer individuals often must make sub-optimal choices in order to reach their objectives – which often are concerned with their survival, dignity and safety. Wealthy individuals could wait for months, yes sometimes even years, before they have to make economic choices which would affect their lives in the same manner. Some individuals are so wealthy that they never in a thousand life-times would have to worry about becoming homeless .
The EOS Board has had its first meeting of 2020, and it marks the beginning of a transition process which shall be finished at August of 2020 and will mark the transformation of the EOS into a truly holonic movement, consisting of multiple autonomous local groups. This development will also the abolishment of the global Board and the division of its responsibilities. It should be noted that this does not represent a novelty but rather is adapting form after functionality in a manner which is consistent.
On the 8th of June 2019, the EOS Biodome in the neighbourhood of Alidhem in Umea, Sweden, was opened in a grand ceremony, where a representative of the urban gardeners received the key from Enrique Lescure. Inside the dome, a green rainforest consisting of squash gradually took shape during late summer, and the structure has now become an important cornerstone of the urban gardener community.
Almedalen is a park in the historical town of Visby located on the island of Gotland, Sweden. Since 1968, it has become an annual recurring event that Swedish political and community leaders are converging in Almedalen, where they can interact with media and the public. This was the first year when the EOS would host an event at Almedalen, namely an exhibition area where the public could interact with us and construct their own biodomes. The date: Thursday the 5th of July 2019.
If the Design is proven to be a viable alternative to the current socio-economic system, and therefore is introduced, it would mean nothing less than a complete cultural and social transformation of the human civilization, and a shift of many values once considered essential and hailing back twelve thousand years.
Examples of concepts which would be altered would be ranging from trade and accumulation to inheritance, savings and interest. And these are the three factors we intend to showcase in this article, as we previously have discussed a lot about transactions under a technate, but considerably less about accumulation.