Winners Take All? or Class-war vs. Humanity

DRAFT ©2018 Michael Lucas Monterey

“A thing is worth whatever somebody will pay for it.”  ̶  Anonymous

We have a problem. Some call it money, wrongly. We could call it ethical illness. Dr. David Suzuki once called it ethicide. It fuels perpetual war, poverty, national debt, insane taxation, Drug War Inc., pollution, social Darwinism, politics for profit and oblivious diversion. It destabilizes and harms the whole world. Not curing it makes it worse. We can cure it, with holonomic axiology, the science of value.

Beginning with the truth seems wise. Problems have causes and contributing factors. Dr. Abdelkader Chachi, PhD., found that the cause of our problem is ancient. (Chachi 2005) Systematic exploitation, currency devaluation, inflation and destabilization either precedes or coincides with the fall of empires and civilizations. Legendary histories of most ancient cultures tell of the world being destroyed because too many people got greedy and fell out of harmony with nature and spirit. Chalmers Johnson saw it happening again, now.(Johnson 2004, etc.)

Judeo-Christian scripture tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil, not money itself. Jewish and Islamic scripture both claim that loaning money for compound interest is evil, condemned by God (Arabic: Allah). The Bible says “you cannot serve both God and Mammon (the demon of greed)” and that there will always be poverty. Finally, the Book of Revelation says our worst problem is not a supernatural Devil, but “powers, principalities and corruption in high places.”

Christians believe that Jesus said “you shall know the truth, and it will make you free.” The truth is that poverty is impossible without money, greed, corruption and confusion. Scriptures may be questionable, yet they refer to real problems, especially evil, ignorance, injustice and tyranny. Unfortunately, as the late great scientist Carl Sagan realized, too many of us are bamboozled, “and the longer and worse we’re bamboozled, the less we want to know about it.” Thus, the late great showman P.T. Barnum thought he should “never give a sucker an even break,” also that, “a sucker is born every minute.” Regardless of the birth-rate, if truth makes us free, not knowing it makes us slaves. That, and the devolution of education, makes wisdom essential to the solution, but not the whole of it.(Berkowitz, Illich, Gatto)

Truly, fully understanding money, love and evil is no easy task, especially for economists. Adam Smith’s moral philosophy notwithstanding, ethics, good, evil and corruption were gradually deleted from Euro-American economics.(Smith 1759-1790) Viral re-education may enable a cure, but full recovery requires wisdom in action. The key issues are simple enough for children and, if we want cultural wellness, AI can help us succeed where, as a group, adults keep failing.

Einstein saw that “the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who do nothing about it,” yet income tax confused him. Warren Buffet once said, “there’s class warfare all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and it’s winning.”(Stein 2006)

Despite Buffett’s agenda, money and better tax policies will never buy a way out of our worst problems. Consider the symptoms. The rate of species extinction may rival the five Great Die-Off level extinctions of the past.(Pearce 2015) AI-enhanced automation and the AI Arms Race evolve ever more rapidly. AI maximizes production, lethal efficiency and profits, minimizing costs and risks. That guarantees increasing job loss. That may soon exceed our global birth rate. In the poorest, most populated, least educated cultures, conversion to archaic religion exceeds the birth rates where more moderate religions prevail.(Burke 2015) Populations in the most developed industrialized nations are aging. Our birth rates thus decline more rapidly. Accelerating climate change causes increasing migration, hundreds of millions more refugees in the next 12 years or so.(Harvey 2018) Losing-class political power declines more rapidly as chaos, fear, plutonomy and desperation increase. Less than 0.01% of people controlling and exploiting nearly 90% of the world’s resources and assets leaves about 13% for about 90% of us.(RWER 2009)

The trend maintains the following ills:

  • maniacal consumption
  • toxic production
  • planned obsolescence
  • atrocious waste
  • ecocide-for-profit, sanctified by law & incentivized by the Fed

Yet, nearly 99.9% of us seem unaware of the illness and its cause. The 0.01%ers seem to think winning is all that matters. For example, Buffett recently said that his class won their class-war.(Kosik 2018) I agree. They succeeded by bamboozling each generation of losers into believing that the “winner takes all” goal of their game is more important than cultural wellness and the quality of life (QOL). So, while they keep eating our little slice of the pie, “the Fed” feeds us numbers that lie.

Consider this: Nobel laureate economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman calls the Trump regime’s propaganda nothing but lies.(Krugman 2018) Ending mass-confusion about money and taxes clearly matters.(Martin 2014) However, mainstream economists will never save us.

Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz offers little or no comfort to the working poor and poorer (Stiglitz 2017). Celebrated humanitarian economist Manfred Max-Neef delivers heart wrenching descriptions and explanations of the problem, but no definite solution or action plan (Max-Neef 2012) E.F. Schumacher came close, seeing economics lacking ethical compassion as like sex without love. He championed Buddhist ethics, compassionate realism and local currencies, as yet unvictorious.(Schumacher 1973) In his lecture on The Wisdom of Leopold Kohr, Ivan Illich cut to the root of the problem:

“Algorithms ‘purified’ value by filtering out appropriateness, thereby taking the good out of ethics.”(Illich 1994)

What could be more inappropriate or evil? Trading goodness for dubious postulates, econometrics and amoral dogma subverted economics. Lacking humanity, it now ignores systemic evil and reality. That made anti-ethical immorality the new normal of kleptocracy, maintaining the plutonomy game for the winning-class.

Existing digital currencies provide no remedy. They perpetuate the game, serving as low-budget hedge funds. They measure ever-changing rankings of volatile national currencies, numbers in cyber-space—not real values, goods, services and benefits. What could be worse? Mining existing crypto-currencies at the current rate could raise the average global temperature by 2℃ within the next 2 decades, submerging coastal real estate where 70% of us live.

Existing social reform & economic justice movements, submovements, factions and groups have not succeeded because they lack the right mix of all the required ingredients:
  1. the intent & objectives necessary
  2. an effective strategy & infrastructure
  3. adequate methods, logistics & funds
  4. sufficient membership & staff
  5. sufficient credibility & popularity

That tragedy of the commons is as unnecessary as it is unsustainable. Chris Hedges describes the destructive realities of the plutonomy game with passion and precision.(Hedges 2018) Noam Chomsky explains our potential for omnicide and ecocidal mania.(Chomsky 2018) Yet, a well-understood set of new rules, definitions and values, a new paradigm, could foster and support a civilization worth sustaining. That requires citizens who can afford that much QOL, and a way to sustain it.

Clearly, only biocentric ethics will foster and support the knowledge and action necessary for higher, Greener QOL. A truly Green paradigm will also support an effective alliance of ethical evolutionaries. A global community development alliance (GCDA) will enable a stable, AI-enhanced global community credit system (GCCS). That will sustain only positive credit and healthy commonwealth. How? The GCCS AI system manager can only “know” and use best practices, best ethics and best sources. That will foster and sustain the right mix of ingredients enabling and sustaining a truly successful global commonwealth.

Remember, in the sandbox of childhood, fair trade is equitable exchange of value for like value, per the Biblical golden rule. Sustaining a stable standard of values for ethical society, reliable currency, debt-free exchange and fair trade requires an ethical cultural paradigm. For example, the economy of Star Trek sustained a fantasy world without money, taxes, debt and poverty. That is only possible without perpetual inflation (devaluation), chaotic instability and systemic evil. The souq system still works in Asia, the Middle-East and North Africa—after thousands of years—with ancient values and per transaction pricing. The Potlatch economy served America’s first Northwestern cultures very well. For countless millennia, wealth was the potential and ability enabling high QOL—with abundant giving, sharing, enjoyment—no poverty, interest or taxes.

How? The IRS wants tax for your “net income” (profit). Pure credit, giving, sharing and the “even trade” of fair exchange are free of profit. Real money was a systemic abstraction of cultural credit, complicated with rules and symbolism, easily subverted and perverted. Perverting money enabled interest, national debt and corrosive tax.

Cyber-currencies, modernized barter systems, microfinance and existing local credit systems are equally vulnerable to dysfunctionality. Why? The existing alternatives to perverse money are more or less tied to subverted beliefs about money and value, and they lack rules and principles redefining credit, wealth and success.

Yet, anything we can understand and describe can be programmed and automated. Banks did it long ago. Cyber-coins depend on it. Naturally, can define a Win-Win system of best principles, policies and rules to create and sustain a new cultural economy, integrating:

  • the functions of the Star Trek Federation’s credit system
  • the priceless souq paradigm and
  • the ancient gifting & sharing ways

Remember, a modern AI system manager can monitor cultural exchange better and quicker than any human economists, bankers or accountants. Fortunately, the GCCS AI management principles, policies and rules make cyber-coin mining unnecessary. The system will be vastly more energy efficient, fast, and less costly than any existing cyber-currency.

Please also remember that systems are like games. New rules enable a new game and new results. If we want fair trade and a lively commonwealth for all, we can have it, but we need to do it. A global alliance and a next-gen global credit+currency system enable our best odds for Win-Win results. Why? Because the GCDA+GCCS solution will foster and support all the programs, projects, initiatives, interaction and the liberation of cultural wealth we need for recovery of ethical society and restoration of habitat, the biosphere that sustains us. It also provides infrastructure and benefits effective enough to win the trust and participation of majority of us, great enough to create global change for the better.

You can get started today, for free, or wait for the winning-class to get ethical and compassionate. Realities, politics and time make the right choice a no-brainer. What is anything else really worth anyway?

WORKS CITED:

Chachi, PhD., Abdelkeder, Origin and Development of Commercial and Islamic Banking Operations, J.KAU: Islamic Econ., Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 3-25 (2005 A.D/1426 A.H); also at academia.edu, re: Islamic Banking

Johnson, Chalmers, PhD., The Sorrows of Empire, etc., 2004 (etc.); also documentaries @ Youtube: Last chapter, Sorrows of Empire, Johnson on US hegemony, etc., Signs of Decay

Kristol, Bill, interview: Peter Berkowitz on Liberal education & illiberal universities, online, Jun. 7, 2015; on cultural devolution; also see works by I. Illich and J.T. Gatto

Smith, Adam, The Theory of Moral Sentiment, 1st edtn. 1759. Also see Smith’s collected works & correspondence, and Dewey’s article, online

Stein, Ben, In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class is Winning, New York Times, p. BU3, Nov. 26, 2006; also online at NYTimes, Business Day, Your Money

Pearce, Fred, Global Extinction Rates: Why do they vary so wildly?, YaleEnvironment360 (online), Aug. 17, 2015; on evidence versus statistics

Burke, Daniel, CNN Religion Editor, The World’s Fastest Growing Religion is…, Apr. 3, 2015

Harvey, Fiona, Climate change soon to cause 140 million refugees…, The Guardian, Mar. 19, 2018; on the World Bank report

Kosik, Alison,  Corner Office, CNN Money, online, interview: W. Buffett on fairness, taxes, etc.

Krugman, Paul, PhD., Health Care, Hatred and Lies, Opinion, New York Times, Oct. 25, 2018, sub.: Hate is how Republicans change the subject from policy; on post-truth propaganda

Martin, Felix, What is money…?, Lecture at St. Paul’s Institute, London, 2014; online

Stiglitz, Joseph, Globalization: Time to look at historic mistakes to plot the future, article, The Guardian, Business, Economics, US edtn. online, Dec. 5, 2017

Max-Neef, Manfred, Keynote address, Zermatt Summit 2012, online; on reality

Various authors & titles, Real-world Economics Review & RWER blogsite, online

Schumacher, E.F., Buddhist Economics, Small is Beautiful: Economics as if people matter, Hartley & Marks Publishers, ch. 4, p. 37, 1999 edtn., humanistic economics, sustainable development; also online at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics (SCNE)

Illich, Ivan, The Wisdom of Leopold Kohr, 14th Annual E.F. Schumacher Lecture, Yale Univ., ed. H. Hannum & M. Rieger, 1994; also online at the SCNE website

Hedges, Christopher, Lecture on commercial warfare, ecocide, etc., Center for International Governance Innovation, Sep. 1, 2018

Chomsky, Noam, Lecture on threats to humanity, etc., St. Olaf’s College, May 4, 2018

Additional Sources

Fromchicago, John, Money-A brief history of the American Dollar, documentary, 2008

Jefferson, Thomas, Jefferson vs. Banksters, Yale University law library

Still, William, The Secrets of Oz & The Money Masters, film documentaries

Lietaer, Bernard, Money Diversity, Live presentation, PopTech 2011

Lanier, Jaron, Who Owns the Future?, The Agenda with S. Paikin, 2013

Greco, Thomas, Jr., Beyond Money, blog, books, etc.

Global, Anonymous, Elon Musk on AI, etc., documentary, 2018

Kasparov, Gary, on optimal AI & Humanity, etc., FICO interview, 2018

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