Bigger pictures, longer games
There is law and there is culture. Law are rooted in human will, culture evolves out of human disposition. Law, by and large, for purposes both lofty and low, exists to temper and regulate that disposition. For if that disposition did not need to be tempered, there would be no need for rules. If men did not seal oxen, there would have been no need for Hammurabi to stipulate that the offending party must pay thirty times the value of the ox back to the wronged party. It was true four thousand years ago and it is true today.
But rules cannot diverge too much from culture, or they will be ignored. Human custom, the local cultural law that communities have evolved over eons, are by and large unwritten sets of rules, algorithms evolved over generations to provide culture with a modicum of stability. They can be broken and for this here are consequences too, but they are, by and large, internalised and invisible. What they prohibit is that which everyone knows is “simply not done”.
When laws come up agains culture, culture will come out on top. Enforcing laws takes energy and resources, enforcing culture, not so much. For a law to really influence culture, it must be assimilated, become part of culture. And this takes time.
There is, however, a third component to this evolutionary mix of evolving human behaviour, and that is technology. And technology reigns supreme. With every technological breakthrough has followed a significant shift in human behaviour, a new human culture has evolved. Because where culture trumps law, technology trumps culture.
If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.”
Lyndon B Johnson
If there is anything we should take from this, it is that technology is a double edged sword. As we shape it, so it in turn shapes us. And when wielding a double edged sword, it is wise to take ones time and to take care. This, unfortunately has not been our way with the inventions of the past few centuries. Perhaps we should not judge ourselves too harshly, after all the speed of technological change has been exponential, giving us little to not time for prototypes and practice runs. And so we find ourselves with unprecedented inequality, massive, planet-destroying war machines, rampant ecological degradation and personal freedoms being slowly and surely rolled back as new forms of ever more intimate surveillance permeate our once private lives. It is not an encouraging trajectory.
If there ever was a time to pause a process and take a step back, it would be now. Unfortunately, technological progress waits for no one. So we need to make a plan on the fly. This is, very briefly, our plan.
It all starts with local communities. This is what makes the lives we live possible. If the individual is the atom, the community is the molecule, and molecules are the stable building blocks of everything. For us to thrive as a civilisation, we must thrive on the local level or we will simply be building a tower on feet of clay.
We empower communities through funding local projects through the Altruistic Wallet ecosystem. Over time, we fund not only project to alleviate the worst local shortfalls but we also use the system to create community run businesses that serve their community not only with the goods and services they provide, but also with the revenue they bring in. With the portion of this revenue that flows back into the Altruistic Wallet system we fund more community owned businesses until the community can provide for all its basic needs without depleting its resources and degrading its environment, and without having to rely on the whims of global markets to stay afloat.
These locally owned, ethical and sustainable businesses will seek out their counterparts in other communities, and will over time will form a new global network of sustainable trade, where all externalities are accounted for. Because when the profit is shared among the many rather than he few, and those many are the same many who will suffer the consequences of shortsighted profit seeking, other patters will emerge. As Charlie Munger put it, show me the incentive and I will show you the result. If the incentive is sustainable communities that decide on where to deploy any shared surplus in the balance between markets and democracy, the outcome is likely to be a lot more beneficial than the current incentive. The current incentive being to maximise short term profit through externalising as many costs as possible, cutting any corners that are cuttable and factoring zero long term consequences into the equation. Workers rights, community health and local environment being the kind of corners that are especially tempting to cut.
As communities grow more healthy, more able to sustain themselves, and get better access to modernity, the process of the new burgeoning global democracy movement will pick up momentum. As the Altruistic Wallet ecosystem grows in scope and funding, ever greater projects can be undertaken. Whole communities and networks of communities can begin to invest their surplus in grander schemes with beneficial global consequences down the line. Cosmo-local red button processes will evolve, bringing the collective Altruistic Wallets of entire nations into the game. Change from below will no longer be a theoretical concept but a practical process.
There will be plenty of room for individualism in this new global democracy also. Global agreements need no longer be made by nations but can instead be made by individuals. Just because your nation has no issues trading with a brutal dictatorship does not mean that you have to follow suite. With new tools being born out of blockchain, consumers will be able to see where their goods and services originate to an entirely new degree. A symmetry of information between producer and consumer can return to trade for the first time since the introduction of industrialism and mass production. Think of this as a new era of consumer democracy, of voting with your wallet. With billions of wallets now being able to make choices based on the ethical standards and political goals of their owners, patterns will change significantly. In our era of capitalism, the wallet is the natural and most powerful means to vote for the world you want.
More than simply directing private and shared resources, the liquid democracy system can be used to share and develop new ideas and to figure out which the most appropriate ones are. Every individual can have their vote on global issues, such issues that are usually settled, or simply blocked, by entities such as the United Nations security counsel. Using a system of delegates, here is really no need for such archaic processes any more. Every individual on the planet could get a vote on where we should be headed next.
Technology makes all this possible. But technology does not make all this probable. If we want to make this world our reality, we will need to start working to make that happen. By bringing what we can to the table and helping projects such as this one and the many other similar ones out there happen.
A better world is possible. We hope that you will pool your efforts to ours and get this wave rolling.