Christmas 2017: Why I’m Hopeful

Readers often ask me to post something hopeful, and I understand why: doom-and-gloom gets tiresome. Human beings need hope just as they need oxygen, and the destruction of the Status Quo via over-reach and internal contradictions doesn’t leave much to be happy about.

The most hopeful thing in my mind is that the Status Quo is devolving from its internal contradictions and excesses. It is a perverse, intensely destructive system with horrific incentives for predation, exploitation, fraud and complicity and few disincentives.

A more human world lies just beyond the edge of the Status Quo.

I know many smart, well-informed people expect the worst once the Status Quo (the Savior State and its corporatocracy partners) devolves, and there is abundant evidence of the ugliness of human nature under duress.

But we should temper this Id ugliness with the stronger impulses of community and compassion. If greed and rapaciousness were the dominant forces within human nature, then the species would have either died out at its own hand or been limited to small savage populations kept in check by the predation of neighboring groups, none of which could expand much because inner conflict would limit their ability to grow.

The remarkable success of humanity as a species is not simply the result of a big brain, opposable thumbs, year-round sex, innovation or even language; it is also the result of social and cultural associations that act as a “network” for storing knowledge and good will–what we call technical and social capital.

I have devoted significant portions of my books–

Survival+

An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times

Resistance, Revolution, Liberation

Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform

A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology & Creating Jobs for All

Money and Work Unchained

to an explanation of how community and self-reliance have atrophied under the relentless expansion of the dominant Savior State.

The social capital and “return on investment” earned from investing time and energy in community and other social networks has been replaced by a check from the Savior State–a transfer payment that surely beats the troublesome work of investing in community in terms of risk and return.

The net result of the Savior State dominating society and the economy is the rise of a pathological mindset of entitlement and resentment–the two are simply two sides of the same coin. You cannot separate them.

Once self-reliance has been lost, so too has self-confidence been lost, and the Savior State dependent–individual and corporation alike–soon distrusts their ability to function in an open market.

This is a truly sad, self-destructive state of affairs, and deeply, tragically ironic. The calls for “help” quickly lead to dependence on the Savior State, and that dependence quickly breeds complicity and silence in the face of repression and predation by the State and its corporate partners.

In a very real sense, citizens relinquish their citizenship along with their self-reliance and self-worth once they accept dependence on the State.

I often mention that the U.S. has much to learn from so-called Third World countries that are poorer in resources and credit. In many of these countries, the government is the police, the school and the infrastructure of roadways and energy. Many of these countries are systemically corrupt, and the State is the engine of enforcing that corruption.

Rather than something to be embraced and lobbied, involvement with the State is something to be avoided as a risk. In everyday life, people rarely encounter the government except in law enforcement or schooling.

As a result, people depend on their social capital and community for sustenance, support, work and connections.

This is not altruism, it is mutually beneficial.

Once a community dissolves into atomized individuals who each get a payment from the Central State, then they no longer need each other. Rather, other dependents on the State are viewed as competitors for the State’s resources.

These atomized, isolated individuals have a perverse relationship with the State and what remains of the community around them: lacking the self-worth earned from work or engagement/investment in a community, then their only outlet for self-identity is consumption: what they wear, eat, drink, etc. as consumers.

This dependence on the State also serves the State’s goal, which is a passive, compliant populace of dependents, and distracted, passive workers who pay their taxes. Thus dependence on the State and a hollow consumerism are ontologically bound: one feeds the other.

The era of debt-based consumption as the engine of “growth” and “prosperity” is coming to an end. Adding debt via credit no longer creates growth; it actually takes away from the economy by expanding debt service (interest payments).

The vast majority of developed-world people have had the basics of life since the late 1960s — transport, food, shelter and utilities. The “growth” since then depended on cheap, abundant oil and a consumerist mentality in which one constantly re-defines and renews one’s identity not from social investments in others or the shared community but from consumption.

Not coincidentally, this dominance of consumption as the only metric for “growth” (as opposed to, say, productive activity) has been paralleled by the dominance of the Central State.

The end of credit-based consumption will be a very positive development, as will the devolution of the Savior State. The Savior State is like oil–both are at their peaks and are starting their inevitable slide down the S-curve. The world they created was not as positive for human fulfillment and happiness as we have been told.

Indeed, study after study has found that people with the basics for life, a higher purpose that requires sacrifice and a tight-knit community are far and away happier than isolated, atomized, insecure consumers, regardless of their wealth and consumption.

This potential to re-humanize our economy is why I am hopeful.

 

I’m offering my new book Money and Work Unchained at a 10% discount ($8.95 for the Kindle ebook and $18 for the print edition) through December, after which the price goes up to retail ($9.95 and $20).

Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

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  • Sparticus

    You make a good statement against hope, by stating, the truth: mankind has devolved into small, savage predatory groups (nations) with weapons pointed towards the destruction of all. Mankind may soon exterminate itself and all life on the planet. Mankind is so hateful that you have these tiny “little predatory nations” broken down (divided) into cities, towns, and even blocks of hate where everyone is either trying to prey upon or kill his neighbor. You make a good case to be hopeless, Charles. I do not know it that was your intention?

  • ICFubar

    What seems to plague post modern society is striking a balance between capitalistic drives and social necessities which can only be found politically in a social democracy of rule by the people. Any political offerings to the right, which is everything now, or to far to the left will create an imbalance. Unfortunately the American ruling structure only toyed with this idea, social democracy, in the aftermath of WW II in the 1950 -1960 era, often now referred to as America’s “Golden Age.’ This may have been a gesture by the American oligarchy to the returning vets of WW II to belay a return to the socialist movements of the 1920 – 1930s time frame. The beginning of the reversal, when felt safe to do so to the then policies with the assimilation of the ‘boomers’, by this oligarchy in the mid 1970s and sequential economic stepping stones has led to where we are today. The common theme to all this is the complete control of government by this oligarchy to legislate the direction in which they wish to take society and its working population. Their ultimate goal is a one world societal system much like that in China. The difference being that in China the political rules the financial and under their one world system the financial will rule everything and everyone.

    If human kind is not to descend into ‘a new dark age made more terrible by perverted science’ then the common people of this planet must band together under a mutual understanding of what it means to have a humanistic society for each and everyone of us.

    • Sparticus

      The Nazi Salute was actually a Roman Salute. I will never defend the US government but the Romans Started this PIG PEN. America is nothing but a New Roman Empire to the Perverse!

      • ICFubar

        Very true but the fact that NAZI Germany adopted that salute speaks volumes about those influencing the education system then. The Romans in their time were simply a variation on a theme and the latest iteration of the empires that had preceded them especially after their republic ended.

        • Sparticus

          Yes, true, it is ,was, and always has been: ” The Same Old Empire.” The Educational system is indeed designed to mold to a government prescribed template and to beat the will out of any spirited subjects. Marching out of Line will not be tolerated. This all has a psychological effect of making people (especially, vulnerable children) LIVE IN FEAR. Fearful People are easy to Control. There are most certainly links by our government/educational system to Nazi Germany`s. Did you know Hitlers Personal Train was named: America?

          The Educational System is not Much Different than BOOT CAMP, from a psychological aspect; which is why anyone with a Degree is made an officer –automatically– in the military. Most Teachers are not aware that they are militarizing children.

          Conquest and Control of the Empire ( plus, natural resources) will bring them to their end and their end is NEAR. However, They were never satisfied with the old empire because they want MORE: More GREED, MORE SLAVERY, MORE WAR, MORE DEATH … The people responsible for this EMPIRE mess need to be placed in Prison with no chance of freedom.

          Today, America is a far more harsh EMPIRE than all others “combined” before it. America has “Millions of Laws” on the Books ( many books, many codes, much tyranny) dictating everything from Housing code to Federal Laws; then you have Fish and Game, and SO MANY LAWS that nobody can list them all. Seriously, try getting a government rep to provide you with “a list of every law” under the US Massive. You will have Fun.

          Simply, I have withheld my Vengeance, ( very kind of me) but I want a TOTAL REFUND, plus, penalty and interest because I was lied to by magnitudes of the worst ORDER. Nobody is Free. Anyone who thinks they are FREE is a fool, the “ABOVE MASSIVE” proves it and is absolute fact. America sports the worlds largest gulag and 10-percent of the population is in some form of processing; so USA takes the Cake for the Worlds WORST EMPIRE!

          • ICFubar

            Much agreed. I didn’t know the fact on the name of Hitler’s personal train…..you learn something every day.

  • Black Swan

    ” By a continuing deceitful process of inflation, Governments following the dictates of the Bankers can confiscate secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” John Maynard Keynes