We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Demands of Middle Eastern Protesters

The "Arab Spring" has a chance to really last if the protesters formulate and demand a coherent anti-imperialist and mainly economic developmental program

Some have compared the CIA backed Middle Eastern protests to the failed wave of liberal uprising around Europe in 1848. That description however may only apply to the protests against the regional monarchies and not the Arab republics.

This Pragmatist article from May of 2009 (forgive this early piece for its pro-US imperialist tone in some parts) analyzes political currents of some of the key countries and concludes that the region is similar to pre-WW1 Europe:

"The Muslim world is where Europe was in 1850-1900. Their brief "Napoleonic period" was the combination of Western world's brief occupation and Nasser's efforts. This introduced some of the wealthier Muslims to liberal values. As of today, Muslim liberals are slowly wrestling away social influence from blatant coalition of clergy, oligarchs, sub-national ethnic/tribal leadership, and Western educated authoritarian playboy aristocracy. Only these liberals provide genuine source of nationalism. They are the ones that have a real sense of moral indignation at poverty and their country's backwardness. The liberals want majority of their countrymen to be represented in broadly legitimate government, united, and have the modernization that unified national action can bring."

Genuine nationalism for most of the Muslim world is not yet possible. Large swaths of the population don't really have united societies or legitimate governments to really fight and root for. The clergy still effectively competes with state governments for people's affections. Sub-national affiliations are also very strong still. Influence of supra-national church and sub-national factions will decline as long as literacy continues to spread and college education becomes more widely available."

It was concluded that some parts of the region are now ready to begin engaging in genuine nationalism (bottom up nationalism versus top down Nasserist/Baath party efforts) and that this is dangerous within current international set up.

"It is very possible that citizens of the Middle East will become as willing to die for their artificial new countries as an average Frenchman or German was in the trenches of WW1." (The recent Robert Gates outburst that NATO cannot break the spine of western Libya betrays genuine amazement at the degree of nationalistic consolidation that Gaddafi achieved via his unifying and psychologically enriching Kaiser-esque rule)

Egypt, being at the forefront of this process, is key to the whole region. To try to avert possibilities of mass violence that genuine nationalism can unleash it was suggested that:

"United States can start promoting EU style pan-Arabism to skip the national step altogether. Free trade, common currency, and a loose confederate structure can go a long way towards confusing and splitting the energies of future Middle Eastern nationalists."

Many ethnic groups around the world have successfully skipped a nationalistic period so this is definitely doable. It appears United States is now following the advice of this magazine but perhaps for the wrong reasons (either to create exploitable chaos and deny the area to Chinese and Russians OR to eventually release pan-Arab unification energies as a bulwark against growth in Iranian influence [SCO connected country]).

If the Arab liberal protesters (children of well to do families) do not want their movements to be hijacked by the Western financial oligarchies, if they don't want to become a socioeconomic Trojan horse, then they will need a list of economic demands and not just political ones.

What can such a list look like?

1) A developmental national state owned bank that can provide large quantities of credit for infrastructure projects that bring employment to the "youth bulge"

2) Nationalization or 50%+1 control (Putin style) of key strategic heavy industries and using the profits to create solid safety nets

3) A legal framework to break the power of the landlords and to have housing cooperatives (individual tenants have shares of ownership in the housing complex, are collectively the landlord, and decide on apartment building management democratically)

4) Expulsion of Western military presence, of foreign banks (via regulation on speculators), and of parasitic structures like the IMF

5) A policy of neutrality concerning doing business with the West, Iran, China, etc.

6) A legal framework to deny corporations personhood and rights. Requiring foreign corporations to directly invest, share technologies, and find domestic partners if they want to do business (China/Russia style)

7) A legal framework for more horizontal, co-operative, and democratic corporate structures. Demand for democracy should extend to the workplace

8) Separation of church and state, separation of military and state, and separation of foreign interests and state

9) Peaceful pursuit of nuclear energy to power up agricultural projects, mass transportation projects, and other infrastructure

10) The right to unions and jump starting unionization via state help (to make sure private oligarchic interests don't overflow into the vacuum being left by the receding state power)

11) Shelter, food, medicine, and college education as a basic human right (tapping into psychological need to not only emulate aspects of other countries but to advance planetary socioeconomics via a uniquely Arab contribution)

That will definitely stick it to the tyrants. CNN, BBC, and other corporate puppets like British intelligence connected Al-Jazeera will be sure to change their tone in a heartbeat if such human centric demands are made. Maybe one of the demands should be total ban on garbage like CNN.

Many other economic demands can be added based on locality's preference. The Arab elites should be overflooded with tangible economic goals so they can do their usual meeting halfway song and dance routine.

To conclude, Western efforts to amplify and redirect genuine expressions of indigenous discontent can in turn be redirected once more via an economic program that is hostile to neoliberalism. Then we'll really see an "Arab Spring".

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Manned Mission To Mars

Macro level technological progress has been stagnating for a few decades now. This causes mood dampening among large swaths of the population as people see a sharp contrast between small and large tech developments. The global human herd needs a psychological and social uplift in the form of putting one of the homo sapiens onto a planetary neighbor, Mars.

Such an achievement will speak well of development in cultural and political prioritization. Hundreds of millions of world's children also need an additional, inspirational, and visible developmental journey (besides small gadget fetishism and architecture) to nudge them towards the fields of engineering and science. Otherwise, we'll lose another talented generation to temptation of crime and gambling (financial sector), murder (exotic next-gen weapons sector), and professional lying/snake oil sales (marketing).

The mission summary

We currently have good satellites circling Mars to find the perfect landing spot. It should be within a flat geological depression to provide protection against the winds (and corresponding abrasion from blowing sand). The area of course would be at the optimal climate point and hopefully have diversity of minerals to augment the sent equipment. The landing spot must first see an arrival of a number of robotic supply landing modules (each sent twice-thrice to prevent mission delay from loss of one). This means that when the human team actually lands, they will be within short walking/driving distance of 10-20 supply/building material sheds. Economies of scale (and corresponding resource cost reduction) should be definitely utilized when manufacturing the landing craft. Some materials within the sheds can perhaps also be constructed with a degree of dual use functioning in mind (so if 2 food farm craft blow up on entry, the transport equipment could serve as farming equipment at the cost of reducing scientific scouting missions).
Explosives, cutting tools should be provided to create an additional protective crater which would serve as a sort of a large "basement" for the hardened small biodome vegetable garden to feed the explorers. A fission reactor would be essential as an energy backbone of the operation and of course be supplemented by solar. The fission reactor module should have track attachments so it can be moved where desired. The same tracks can be utilized to bring the other landed modules closer to the home base. The earth and rock from the basement crater are to be utilized as bricks to build a protective wall around the biodome/research lab.

The manned mission should involve at least 2-3 manned vehicles to continue the mission in case 1 is tragically lost and to expand the settlement in the best case scenario of each robotic module arriving safely. The settlement itself utilizes the maximum amount of nano-infused cutting edge hardened materials to reduce wind and environmental damage. This would provide the base the longevity to serve as a ready to use nucleus for additional future missions and expansions. The mission design would provide tools to prepare and make use of potentially unusual quantities of accumulating sand in the area (to further fortify the base). Mission strategists will conceptualize ways to turn any major crisis into an opportunity for augmentation. We can't forget about robotic helpers toiling on the surface and reducing the caloric/oxygen burn of their human companions.

The mission itself will end up looking not just like a beefed up version of the lunar mission but a major leap (no pun intended) forward, quantitatively and qualitatively. A uniquely 21st century global enterprise.

Addressing stupid objections:

I would like to start with a quote about the benefits of the space program:

"It has been conservatively estimated by U.S. space experts that for every dollar the U.S. spends on Research and Development in the US Space Program, it receives $7 back in the form of corporate and personal income taxes from increased jobs and economic growth."

I have seen estimates that put the number even higher. This means that even within the current parasitic monetarist price system, engaging in space exploration holds tangible financial, technological, social, and scientific rewards (as well as less tangible psychological and spiritual ones).

"But what about all the infrastructural development we need to do on earth!!?? Waahhhh!! Lets take care of this first!!"

Shut up. Obviously we need to develop energy, water, food, transport, and shelter infrastructure but at the same time the space program provides a solid way and reason to push the boundaries of known engineering. Here is another quote from a previous article about how the public may respond to anything that benefits them in the long term:

""But.. but.. Colonizing the Western hemisphere is too expensive!! Colonizing Siberia is too expensive!! Erie canal is too expensive!! Suez and Panama canals are too expensive! Transcontinental and TransSiberian railroads are too expensive! Hoover dam is too expensive!! Man on the moon is too expensive! We want to live in cheap mud huts! Public education for all is too.. blah blah blah"

Such luddite human traitors always get silenced when their children are enjoying a brand new civilization (that grew out of seeds that turned out to be relatively cheap in the long term).""

Indeed. We have 7 billion monkeys on this planet and we can expand our efforts in parallel like never before. Think about how much infrastructure was built in 20th century compared to the 19th. That's right. The 21st century can do the same to the 20th. We can colonize the moon and Mars, terraform large swaths of the Earth to support life and agriculture, and integrate all of this with fast transport and energy feeds.
The spine of the Eurasian center of planetary political force for the foreseeable future (Berlin-Moscow-Beijing axis) has an excellent opportunity coming up to scoop up thousands of Anglo scientists. Decline of the Wall Street-City of London-Washington DC power triangle poses a danger. Many next generation weapons and space scientists will soon find themselves out on the street and losing valuable skills and experience. Eurasia should scoop them up and make use of their talents to expand humanity's reach towards the stars.

"The cost!!! What's the cost in fiat currency!!!??? This will ruin us all!!"

Once again, shut up. The amount of fiat money borrowed and printed to engage in years long occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq could have built a space lunar settlement, a helium 3 mining complex, AND sent half a dozen missions to Mars. The cost of initial cruise missile blasts against Libya was enough for a solid scientific exploration satellite cluster. People complaining about the cost of space exploration tend to be either physiologically emotional types without any knack/admiration for engineering and science OR rabid free market zealots without any knack for what human progress actually means.

Technology, technology, and more macro level technology. Space exploration is the technological tip of the spear when it comes to macro level tech development (macro level tech development has been stagnating ever since inflationary fiat capitalism ran out of steam in the late 1960s).

Who will be the Christopher Columbus of the 21st century? Which international cluster of societies will produce one? Let's find out.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Libertarian Movement Is Dying

This rich man's propaganda wont infect the majority of American intelligentsia. Much like a very virulent flesh eating bacteria, this cognitive infection burns through adherents too quickly to infect many.

It may not feel this way but the libertarian fad is on its way out. Sure it dominates the English speaking Internet at the moment. Sure the absolute number of adherents is rapidly increasing by the day. However, as this oligarch funded movement is about to reach its moment of triumph, the engines will stall and it'll nosedive very rapidly (at least in its current form). This is primarily due to realization of early members that they are fighting for a hideous neo-feudal future that they will most likely not benefit from.

To visualize the state of the movement, picture a fire that begins in the middle of the forest. As it spreads and rages in all directions, the original center is no longer on fire. People on the outside get an impression of an endless advance.

Most of the intelligentsia (NTs) gets into libertarianism because they mean well. Due to their physiology they may not be fighting out of emotional empathic care for fellow humans but they genuinely do want a far less "stupid" socioeconomic system. Now that the field of economics has been discredited in this country, the libertarian ideology can't hide under a pseudo-scientific mask any longer. Thus even acquiring new NT members will become more and more difficult since the statement "self educate and become less stupid" now rings hollow. As libertarian thought becomes more mainstream and more adopted by elderly rural people, it also will lose its edgy rebellious attraction among the high schoolers. The stats on viewer demographics of provide a hint of the future.

The movement will continue expanding for some time among non-intelligentsia due to:

1) seeming lack of alternative ideological ways to express dissent (major dissident groups crushed in the 1940s-1970s period along with FDRism itself in the 80s period)
2) continuous backing for it among an older mentally dimmer faction of the oligarchy (who don't understand that the political apparatus they control actually does them a service by buying off the bottom 20% of population to not rebel)
3) continuous backing for it among the comfortable well paid white collar proletariat (out of cynical self interest since they think they'll be able to make it in a new neofeudal order)
4) some geographic "heartland" regions having to resort to neofeudal survivalism by default (throughout our time of troubles transition period when the federal center of force is receding and not providing services any longer)

However it'll be like a plane without engines, moving by inertia or crude hated necessity. The human engines of the movement will no longer have their heart in it if they have any intellectual honesty.

Previous articles covered how the libertarian movement is striving towards removing checks and balances within the elite population (making elites in government totally structurally subservient to private ones rather than at least co-equal. This is inexcusable to do if human motivation is power based rather than happiness based) and how easy it is to co-opt such a movement (which has already occurred with Ron Paul's efforts to a large degree). This realization is dawning on former libertarians throughout the English speaking world.

What to expect within the movement?

Expect a lot more "libertarian socialists", "liberaltarians", "libertarian technocrats", etc. To save face, maintain the ego, and to preserve some power, many prominent libertarian thinkers and leaders will now preserve "the best" (some much needed political decentralization and social freedoms to do consensual acts) and dump "the worst" (giving even more power to rich entrenched mafia families). We've seen such tactical transformations happen among communist movements throughout the world after the soviet demise. We should also see more emphasis on the "welfare" wording within US constitution and calls to expand the bill of rights as FDR wanted. Many can possibly still remain "libertarian" if they expand/modify the definition of what coercion means. A simple tweak away from present medieval/feudal definition does wonders.

One interesting comparison can be made to dissidents in the Soviet Union. Majority of them used Marxist theory to criticize the Soviet government (even if some secretly wished for it to end or to emulate capitalist societies). It was a lot safer and saner for critics to say that USSR was not real communism at all and not what the founding fathers intended. Many American libertarians similarly found themselves resorting to attacking the state's official ideology by saying it doesn't adhere to some mythical vision of "true" capitalism.

How to deal with them by non-libertarians?

Other dissident groups should realize that infighting among them is not helping against the ruling regime. Libertarians are still the most numerous dissident faction and can be a great ally, a sort of shock troops on the ground (especially the blue collar rural people). Attacking and slandering them only hardens them and keeps the engineless plane from hitting the ground a little longer. In the meantime, there is much common ground to be had in formulating a socioeconomic platform acceptable to every faction.

In dictionary next to false consciousness
A possibility cannot be discounted that the movement may actually produce some interesting theoretical contributions as it tries to conceptualize what to replace the current corporate shareholder rule by (and thus compete with other dissidents such as the technocrats). Sure some current attempts at conceptualizing a "voluntaryst stateless" society are comical, clumsy, and too blatantly neo-feudal. However given time the movement's thought (originally funded by the rich to defeat FDRism) may even produce something interesting and tangible.

Even as we are bombarded with all manner of absurdities and outrages, even as the ranks of youth seem to be joining a movement whose mission is to make these absurdities and outrages much worse, don't lose heart friends. Behind the forest fire things are much different and even the fire itself may help take down a rotten house. We will settle differences of opinion about how to build a new house afterwards.

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