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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

21st Century Paradigm Shift and Vertical Farming

How vertical farms illustrate the emerging post-scarcity societal architecture

A very optimistic story emerges when one looks at statistics concerning material activity of historically influential countries in the world today. As can be seen in chart below, vast majority of humanity are being gradually liberated from heavy toil and will be allowed to dedicate their lives to self-actualization. Dramatic rise in individuals dedicated solely to self improvement will regionalize, nationalize, and then globalize the same atmosphere of creativity, other centered activism, and solidarity that only existed on elite college campuses in the past. Currently, middle and even some lower class youths throughout the world are approaching the same level of psychic development as existed among their brethren in Ivy League schools in the 1960s. This time around they have superior numbers within their age group and the silent minority will either have to zip it or secede.

In 20th century, there used to be a 1-2 generation developmental lag between the various classes but the speed with which this lag is closing is accelerating. For example, we can see how people partying it up in places like Bushwick are rather similar to children of the rich in the 1920s when it comes to mannerisms, diversity of tastes, sexual exploration, and relationship patterns. There is even emulation of the hideous decadent art that results from disenchantment with hedonism, lack of societal vision from above, and inability to deal with nihilism (just visit most galleries in NYC you'll see). The rate at which musical and party trends from underground venues in trend setting cities find their way to small cities around the world is rapidly becoming exponential.

The Internet allows the type of autodidactic learning that the leisurely aristocrats of old could only dream about. Since the brain can only develop so much, we'll increasingly see individuals from below the social hierarchy catch up and even overshoot those on top. Dramatically increased resource sharing will then have to be made to preserve social stability. New institutional frameworks (to streamline the budding noocracy) will emerge. Rising mass popularity of events like TED conferences are a hint of things to come. Conversely, if you're a pessimist watch this (UK and US will show other key nations what mistakes to avoid in the transition).

Agricultural Sector

Efficiency of American agricultural sector is incredible considering how much is left over for the export market. Once the biggest companies within this sector are taken over and properly managed by the public, they'll be able to provide oceans of high quality organic food at virtually zero cost while continuing to need less and less workers to operate. One need not even mention the reform of currently homicidal subsidies to not grow. Eventually, after sufficient automation, the global farmer population will dip to less than 1% of 7-9 billion humans (not counting amateurish micro-industry hobby farmers).

click to enlarge
Current popular trend of grass roots farm redecentralization and localism is the product of the economic crisis and decades of inefficiency within suburban living (that requires very long energy expensive transport and chemical saturation to mummify/preserve the food). Such decentralization can be accomplished from the top down with competent management. For instance, central regional or national governments can tackle such classic corporate villains like Monsanto and Dole Food Company by:

1) Having their various headquarters raided simultaneously and all their physical and financial assets frozen
2) All their employees kept in place, wages increased, cooperative profit/product sharing introduced, and flatter directly democratic worker management introduced (to maintain technical talent)
3) Splitting key hyperindustrialized mega farms into however many parts are desired, mass constructing new smaller farms near or within the cities, and putting the smaller farms under local city, county, or state management (see below)

Rather than most people fleeing the cities to escape oppression and becoming farmers (ex: Rome well into its decline), we'll eventually see large entities taking advantage of economies of scale and rapidly mass constructing vertical farms to localize food deep inside the urban zones. Skyscraper farms will be a service and a fixture under local popular control the way police stations and libraries are. One must remember that current agricultural tech is so advanced that it allows us to easily feed a population of 50 billion humans. In effect, food is and will be recognized as a "too cheap to meter" utility and its delivery will be akin to the post office.

Industrial Sector

Similarly, heavy industry leaders like Germany and Japan continue to export highest quality infrastructural components while their actual sectors "shrink". In reality of course (as agri monopolists show) a sector can and does expand greatly while requiring less operators (brief hiring boosts from inventions like cotton gin notwithstanding). A good illustration is North Korea whose industrial sector is vast majority of its economy, is even higher than China, yet is laughable in its production. Meanwhile leaders like Tokyo and Berlin are increasingly paying attention to robotic development. Success will be measured in ability of making bigger and bigger objects while requiring less primate caloric expenditures. For instance, if it used to take say, 10,000 primates to make 1 jumbo jet airplane, in the future 5,000 primates should be able to construct a super jumbo spaceship. Once again, the public must provide the guidance to this process.

We can now see that agricultural sector is about to be reclassified since its destiny is to be fully integrated into the industrial sector. The fascistic corporate kleptocracy that English speakers live under has given a bad name to industrialized farming the way North Korea gives bad name to socialism. One just has to compare the quality of product that highly mechanized Swedish farms make to food in a local Wall Mart. As mentioned above, high tech factories churning out hyper clean and organic food product within efficient 3 dimensional space is something to be embraced. No need to revert to subsistence peasant digging in the dirt to get quality food in the 21st century (I can't believe I actually had to type that sentence).

Now is a good time to clarify a prior article titled Post-industrial Society=Beyond Idiocy. The point of the article was not to deny that we're headed towards a civilization where less people are involved in industrial production. The point was to counter the current pathetic Western neo-Luddite anti industrial outlook that is emerging. As mentioned above, as majority of the young intelligentsia today are becoming similar (in psychology and ability) to the leaders of 1960s social movements, they are partially re-embracing the hatred of "large scary dirty factories". As they are about to re-discover Marxism (by some other name, possibly within the Zeitgeist movement framework or its spin offs), there is a danger of further slow down in heavy industry development and even rougher transition within Western space. One just has to look at how these people killed  the nuclear industry in North America. In a decent society, political leaders calling for infrastructural stagnation would be impeached.

Instead of thinking "hey lets replace 100 dirty factories making 100,000 tractors with 5 mega high tech fission reactor powered modular factories mass producing 500,000 super large terraforming electrical tractors that are recharged by an underground 21st century standard power line hooked into fission/fusion reactor grid" they are thinking "lets replace 100 dirty factories with our homemade bike production facility and lets ride around on a solar powered bike and grow our own food and make our own clothing, look we're retarded". Industrial progress = mass production = taking say, a half a million dollar car, inviting NASA to make it crash proof, making it electric, and then stamping it out on automated assembly lines in such numbers as to lower the price to 10 grand.

We can't allow this type of neo-luddite outlook to infect our politics for a second time since the result would be a sustainable high tech reservation existing in a supposed "equilibrium with nature" (whatever that means). The ultra rich would love a bunch of dorm style facebook cities where the youthful citizens exert their newly released creative energies to make/trade art and toys for the rich to amuse themselves with (as they gently direct, spy on everybody, and continue to live as before laughing it up in safety as the Swedish oligarchy does currently). Lets leave the practice of artificially created scarcity in the 20th century.

We're familiar with a phrase "don't put this or that on a pedestal". This must especially apply to nature. The so called "resource scarcity" and "energy shortages" are completely dependent on the level of technology within heavy industry. Primitive people 2,000 years ago also had fears of overpopulation and resource shortages. With sufficiently advanced technology and energy sources, we can literally create new nature where it hasn't existed before (Sahara desert turned into a rainforest) and colonize it with biodiversity. Minerals from deeper in the earth can be brought via powerful laser drilling, ocean floor can be tapped, asteroids brought into orbit and mined, etc. Yes it'd be big "scary" heavy machines but just as with farming, they can be hyper clean and not only compatible with a more humane civilization but essential to bring it about.


Vertical farms are a symbol of this emerging dynamic since they create a synergistic unity between city and country and various labor types. It appears that the future will not only have fusion of agriculture, industry, and services on a macro level but that this process would allow individuals resources ("art supplies") to become their own individualized micro producers. More on that later.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Human Herd Dynamics

The fields of psychology, sociology, and political science should be fused into the field of human herd dynamics (with biology and engineering serving auxiliary roles).

"A riot is the language of the unheard." Martin Luther King Jr.

The chaos engulfing London currently would not come as a surprise to anybody looking at human (domesticated primate) migration patterns. Until recently England had a colonial release valve for the aggressive intuitive humans on the home islands. They simply picked up and left to escape the intolerable, stifling, and pretentious exploitation by depraved hereditary mafia.

The more "cooperative" breeds, those physiologically predisposed to conservative status quo mindset (SJs) thus became a bit more represented in the population as they bred. They remained behind and further fortified the societal structure. Social pressure within bottom castes of the herd hierarchy was effectively and continuously relieved.

That is until the adventurous ENTJs/ENTPs/ENFPs/ESTPs from former colonies began to migrate to England in the second half of the 20th century. They bred and produced a couple of generations of children that were radicalizing and destabilizing by their very existence (much like sending a team of dog breeds deemed "disloyal" by their masters into a group of "loyal" breeds).

[sidenote: It is very well possible that experiment-prone, novelty seeking, intuitive, and aggressive breeds leaving acted as a brain drain for the lower and middle classes of 1880s-1960s England. Drawing mostly from the "posh" semi-inbred higher society for scientists and theorists may have contributed to technological and ideological stagnation in 20th century England. Not mentioning the social mobility rankings that are even worse than in US and Mexico.]

Why Human Herd Dynamics (HHD)?

None of this analysis would be possible without interdisciplinary integration of social-psychology and other fields. It is 2011 AD. The time is ripe to:

1) Do a dissective and pragmatic "audit" of various major soft science fields to see which deserve to exist at all
2) Strip away the fluff from those that should exist to make them easier to relate to each other in an interdisciplinary manner, "modularize" them
3) Fuse the reformed stripped fields into one field where possible

Lets do an opening shot in this long overdue process.

The field of economics should not exist anymore and should be replaced by engineering completely (president or prime minister having a panel of engineering advisors instead of economic ones). Engineering IS real economics. Additionally, engineering deals with expanding the material power of the herd (unlike the obsolete 20th century pseudo-science of economics). Finally, lets kick this worthless discipline while its down one more time and say that "auditing" economics will do a lot more good than auditing entities like the federal reserve. We'd be treating the root of the problem rather than the symptoms.

This brings us to dealing with another economy, the economy of power within the multiplicity of the human herd. This means a) political science (the science of perception creation/management, a sister field to marketing as it is known in eastern Europe), b) sociology (the healthy kind that studies the entire herd with focus on movers and shakers rather than current sociology which serves as a spying apparatus for power elites) and c) psychology (positive psychology aided by biology rather than the current corporate quackery that is negative psychology).

Perhaps our old friend Nietzsche can help us somewhat with this since he was one of the first to describe the social world in a purely physical and biological way. A couple quotes naturally:

"All unity is unity only as organization and co-operation--just as a human community is a unity--as opposed to an atomistic anarchy, as a pattern of domination that signifies a unity but is not a unity." 561 (1885-1886)

"In place of "sociology," a theory of the forms of domination. In place of "society," the culture complex, as my chief interest (as a whole or in its parts)." 462 (Spring-Fall 1887)

We can see how sociology, anthropology, psychology, and political science can be merged into one as they're all fused on their periphery already. What's left and doesn't fit is to be swallowed up by fields like history and marketing. Political Ponerology and Between Two Ages are good examples of how all encompassing disciplinary fusion can be done. HHD would naturally have a human as the smallest unit of analysis and total planetary population as the largest.

In essence HHD would look at:

1) How various breeds originate, develop, maintain, and expand clusters of force within the total herd
2) How these clusters of force interact with each other and the rest of humanity, what basic patterns of power arrangements occur
3) How clusters of force should be arranged within regional political units and the global unit as a whole. In this we would be guided by biology and engineering as they show us the needs of humans and the most efficient way to fulfill these needs via a 21st century version of utilitarianism (one which takes into account not just the individual's need for pleasure but also for personal autonomy and power)

HHD makes it harder to get volunteers for WW3
Before the reader accuses the Human Herd Dynamics study as something Aldous Huxley would dream up, it is key to know that our rulers already research and make practical use of HHD informally. Currently, the fusion of various fields is well on the way and we're just speeding up the existing processes via an organizational and linguistic streamlining. Of course it would also unleash mass popular dissemination of "forbidden" knowledge as key intuitive connections that scholars make will be sped up due to merging of the fields. In turn, we'll see healthy and major transformative ripple effects on society, political institutions, shared values, individual's self-appraisal, popular movements, etc. Considering the challenges and evolutionary leaps that await us in the decades ahead, the simplification, streamlining, holistic merging, popularization, and democratization of the soft sciences is a top priority for peacefully building the technocratic world of tomorrow. HHD can thus become a self referential discipline that affects and is affected, that illuminates yet evolves with us in a mutually enriching way.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Inequality of Wealth Distribution and Economic Growth

The forest was in chaos. Parts of it were burning and the food was scarce. Remembering how wonderful the forest used to be, various animal groups sent ambassadors to a very ancient owl. The wise owl remembered  historical cycles and hopefully had clues on how to reset the forest so it could be productive again. They gathered by the gargantuan oak tree where the owl lived.

"Is this what it took to come see me?" the owl hooted. "That's fine. I got some time to say the least, gather around."

"You see, most animals are needed to make the forest work. The beavers who are skilled at dams, the messenger birds, the defender bears, and the wily foxes. Each is as important as the next for proper societal function," the owl said.

The animals shouted, "foxes are the most important since they are 1% of the population and have the most food, they are the smartest and most capable! That's why they get at least 10% of everything always!"

"Well, perhaps. Don't listen to everything newspapers say. After all, they're owned by foxes," owl said.

The owl got comfortable and elaborated upon a few scenarios.

"Some animal theorists assure us that as the economy expands, the ruling foxes need to skim less and less from the pie. They say that if our economic pie is 100 slices today and foxes take 10%, then they can take 9% if the pie grows to 1,000 slices. Everybody wins?"

The animals nodded and murmured approval, "yes yes they'll need to loot less with time, we'll all have more!"

"Let me show you how that is rubbish!" declared the owl. He smiled at the puzzled expressions of the crowd. "If population and economy is both 100 then during the first generation one fox gets 10 slices while 99 chumpsters get 90 slices (.909 slice per chumpster). During the second generation, if both economy and population grow equally to 1,000 then reduction of fox share to 9% will yield 90 slices for 10 foxes (9 slices per fox) while 990 chumpsters split 910 slices amongst them (.919  slice per chumpster)."

He continued, "you see fellow forest dwellers, everybody always wants more resources with every passing year. Foxes, their offspring, and their families also want annual increases and they're in a political position to actually get them. Unless forced otherwise, they will expand their wealth at least at the rate of economic growth. Here's why.."

The owl pointed his wing at a sketch.

"Scenario I : Lets say we start with 100 slices and foxes take their usual 10% (10 slice) cut. Our pie grows 10% annually while the amount foxes take for themselves grows only 5% annually which means they're reducing their share gradually over time. After the first year, our pie is 110 slices and foxes take 10.5 slices. By year 10, we have 259 slices with foxes taking 16 of them. This means the share of how much they take has fallen from 10% to 6.17% in just a decade. If this continues and populations of foxes and non-foxes (chumpsters in fox vernacular) grow at a stable and exactly proportional rate, the foxes will be reduced to poverty chumpster status within a few generations."

A ripple of understanding went through the crowd, "since they lose when expanding insufficiently quickly, lets then peg the rate at which they grow their wealth to the rate at which the economy grows!" they roared.

"We're getting warmer" smiled the owl. "We've heard from various mammals that were dropped on their heads when little.."


"..we heard from them that not only should economy not grow at the rate of the herd but that we should enter post-growth!! Having taken everything the foxes want to consolidate their gains forever and turn everything into a "sustainable" equilibrium zoo!! As if life was equilibrium!"

*rolling laughter*

"Well, we can't stand still, that is, grow as fast as we breed considering the chumpster population usually breeds at greater rates than the fox one. If the orange trickster incomes are pegged to growth and have a guaranteed minimum pie cut, then there'll be massive privation for the rest. Keeping in mind the population growth rates of various animal classes is essential when determining forest policy. Especially in these troubled times we can't allow things to develop where one class wishes the other was depopulated or reduced in size just to maintain privileges, much less expand privileges.."

"Well lets expand the economy at a much faster rate than herd growth!", yelled the animals.

"Very good, obviously that's the solution, yet even with ratio of economic to population growth being top heavy, we must still prevent the 1% from claiming larger share than their usual 10%..."

"Hey can you speak from that higher bare branch over there so we can hear you better?" somebody called from the crowd.

"Sure thing", said the owl as he hopped upwards. He then unfurled another sketch.

"Scenario II  : Economic pie is expanding at twice the rate of the population (which remains internally proportional). Economy expands 1,000% and population expands 500% every generation. Foxes gradually expand the amount they claim by 2% of the total pie.

1st generation) POPULATION = 100 animals (1% fox  99% chumpsters)
PIE = 100 slices
1 fox takes 10 slices (10% of pie), 10 slices per fox
99 chumpsters split 90 slice, .909 slice per chumpster

2nd generation) POPULATION = 600 animals
PIE = 1,100 slices
6 foxes split 132 slices (12% of pie), 22  slices per fox (120% increase)
594 chumpsters split 968 slices, 1.629 slice per chumpster (79.20% increase)

3rd generation) POPULATION = 3,600 animals
PIE = 12,100 slices
36 foxes split 1,694 slices (14% of pie),  47.055 slices per fox (113% increase)
3,564 chumpsters split 10,406 slices   2.919 slice per chumpster (79.18% increase)
..... "

"As you can see, even with phenomenal growth, a tiny minority beginning to increase their total cut begins to stagnate and reverse the party for all. This greed may bring more slices today yet leave forest burning tomorrow."

The animals cried, "that's not fair!! 99% of animals deserve these increases over time! There's more of us!"

"Yes furry and feathery ones. The ancients had a guiding principle for herd survival. They said to limit the amount of resources the best off animals get to no more than 10 times the amount that worst off animals get. More importantly, they said to peg the rise in resources that the best off get to the rise of resources that the worst off get. That means that if field mice get 10 slices the foxes would get no more than 100 and if foxes wish to get 110 next year they better work out conditions where the mice can get 11 next year."

"It's not in their nature to share!!" said the animals "You mentioned the ancients. Wasn't there a time when we were ruled by turtles and kinder hunters like your fellow owls? Wasn't the forest more bountiful? Wasn't the.."

"Hah! Indeed," said the owl. "There is one more thing I need to say before I forget. You must also never allow usury to develop and never neglect rapid construction of infrastruc..."

Suddenly a loud shot rang out. The owl froze briefly, clutched at its chest, slumped, and fell down to loud gasps. The owl lay dead.

A very old fox burst into the clearing. It was panting and had a wild yet serious expression on its snout.

"The humans!" it gasped. "They're here! There's guns and mercenary dogs, the whole herd is in danger!! We're being attacked!"

The crowd forgot about everything as panic spread.

"The humans did this, they spoiled the forest! They used some owls as spies. We're forming a defensive grid with the wolves by the river bank. Follow me, we'll overcome this together like we always have! The beavers are in charge of logistics. Defend the forest!"

"I knew that owl was up to no good, talking down to us from those branches.." snorted a beaver elder.

The animals began to run.

click to enlarge

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