Connect with us

Editorials

Rethinking Climate Change Solutions

Published

on

The climate emergency requires climate solutions. And fast! There are lots of different proposals floating around – some of which don’t even exist yet, and probably never will. So, it’s easy to get confused about which direction is best. Now though, a new analysis suggests that 90% of the job could be achieved by just a handful of disruptive technologies that are very real indeed, and are already either disrupting their markets or are poised to do so. We just need to choose to embrace them!

One of the most fascinating and exhilirating writings comes from the team at Rethink X which states:

We are on the cusp of the fastest, deepest, most consequential transformation of human civilization in history, a transformation every bit as significant as the move from foraging to cities and agriculture 10,000 years ago.

During the 2020s, key technologies will converge to completely disrupt the five foundational sectors that underpin the global economy, and with them every major industry in the world today. The knock-on effects for society will be as profound as the extraordinary possibilities that emerge.

In information, energy, food, transportation, and materials, costs will fall by 10x or more, while production processes an order of magnitude (10x) more efficient will use 90% fewer natural resources with 10x-100x less waste. The prevailing production system will shift away from a model of centralized extraction and the breakdown of scarce resources that requires vast physical scale and reach, to a model of localized creation from limitless, ubiquitous building blocks – a world built not on coal, oil, steel, livestock, and concrete but on photons, electrons, DNA, molecules and (q)bits. Product design and development will be performed collaboratively over information networks while physical production and distribution will be fulfilled locally. As a result, geographic advantage will be eliminated as every city or region becomes self-sufficient. This new creation-based production system, which will be built on technologies we are already using today, will be far more equitable, robust, and resilient than any we have ever seen. We have the opportunity to move from a world of extraction to one of creation, a world of scarcity to one of plenitude, a world of inequity and predatory competition to one of shared prosperity and collaboration.

This is not, then, another Industrial Revolution, but a far more fundamental shift. This is the beginning of the third age of humankind – the Age of Freedom.

The possibilities that open up in this new age are truly extraordinary. Within 10-15 years, everyone on the planet could have access to the ‘American Dream’ for a few hundred dollars a month. For the first time in history, poverty could be overcome easily. Access to all our basic needs – food, energy, transportation, information, and shelter – could become a fundamental human right. Armed conflict, often driven by the need to access and control scarce resources, could become largely unnecessary. Climate change and environmental degradation, caused by production processes that take no account of the destruction they wreak on the natural world, could be overcome by a new production system delivering zero-carbon energy, transportation, and food with marginal waste. This could allow us to restore the integrity of the planet’s natural systems and help mitigate the impact of our unsustainable actions on human health. We may, ultimately, be able to escape toil and drudgery entirely and, for the first time in history, achieve real freedom – the freedom to spend our time creatively, unburdened by financial precariousness and the need to provide for ourselves and our families. Never before has humanity seen such an astonishing array of possibilities opened up in such a short period of time.

But this future is by no means predetermined. Indeed it cannot be achieved by technological progress alone. History indicates that leading civilizations have evolved ever-greater organizational capabilities in tandem with increased technological capabilities. While the technological capabilities dictate the potential of any civilization, the Organizing System determines how close to this potential a society can get. The Organizing System encompasses both the fundamental beliefs, institutions, and reward systems that enable optimal decisions to be taken across a society, and the structures that manage, control, govern, and influence its population. The best combination of technology and Organizing System that is available dictates the winners – for example a city of 10,000 people, such as Sumer, requires very different Organizing System from one of a million people, such as Rome.

Throughout history, 10x advancements in the five foundational sectors have driven the emergence of a new and vastly more capable civilization than any which has come before. But this has only been possible when combined with vastly improved organizational capabilities. This has always represented a formidable challenge for incumbents, and the lessons of history are sobering – every leading civilization, from Catalhoyuk and Sumer to Babylonia and Rome, has fallen as it reached the limits of its ability to organize society and solve the problems created by its production system. When these civilizations were threatened with collapse, they looked backwards and attempted to recapture the glory days by patching up their production system and doubling down on their Organizing System rather than adapting. The result was descent into a dark age.

Today, our incumbent leadership in government and industry are making the same mistake. The patterns of history are clear. The five foundational sectors, which gave rise to Western dominance starting with Europe in the 1500s and America in the 1900s, will all collapse during the 2020s. These sector disruptions are bookends to a civilization that birthed the Industrial Order, which both built the modern world and destroyed the rest. Furthermore, we are experiencing rising inequality, extremism, and populism, the deterioration of decision-making processes and the undermining of representative democracy, the accumulation of financial instability as we mortgage the future to pay for the present, ecological degradation, and climate change – all signs that our civilization has reached and breached its limits. The response from today’s incumbents to these challenges – more centralization, more extraction, more exploitation, more compromise of public health and environmental integrity in the name of competitive advantage and growth – is no less desperate than the response from those of prior civilizations who called for more walls, more priests, and more blood sacrifices as they faced collapse.

And this is just the beginning – as new technologies develop apace, their disruptive power will only grow stronger. Ironically, the same technologies that hold the promise of solving our most pressing problems are also accelerating collapse, challenging the ability of our outdated and increasingly incompatible Organizing System to function.

Indeed we are already seeing the impact of the new, creation-based production system butting up against our increasingly antiquated Organizing System. The information sector, for example, has already been disrupted. Centralized content production with high costs, high barriers to entry, and narrow distribution channels has given way to billions of producer-consumers generating content at near-zero cost with minimal barriers to entry across a globally-connected network. Alongside the extraordinary benefits it has brought, this emerging production system has also created novel problems which our Organizing System is incapable of understanding or managing. A few computer hackers in an apartment in one country can hijack another’s governance processes, spread false narratives, polarize public opinion, paralyze decision-making processes, and help enable regime change home and abroad. Individual nations are no longer able to manage the narrative or control the flow of information. The upcoming disruptions that will unfold simultaneously in the energy, food, transportation, and materials sectors during the 2020s will present further unprecedented new challenges at the same time as solving old problems.

The choice, therefore, is stark – collapse into a new dark age or move to a new Organizing System that allows us to flourish in a new Age of Freedom. Such a move will not be easy – we will need to rethink not just the structures and institutions that manage society, but the very concepts they are built on. Representative democracy, capitalism, and nation states may seem like fundamental truths but they are, in fact, merely human constructs that emerged and evolved in an industrial Organizing System. In the new age, they may well become redundant.

For the first time in history, we have not just the technological tools to make an incredible leap in societal capabilities, but the understanding and foresight to see what is coming. We have the choice, therefore, to avert disaster or not. We can choose to elevate humanity to new heights and use the upcoming convergence of technology disruptions to end poverty, inequality, resource conflict, and environmental destruction, all for a fraction of the cost we incur dealing with them today. Or we can choose to preserve the failing status quo and descend into another dark age like every leading civilization before us.

Dark ages do not occur for lack of sunshine, but for lack of leadership. The established centers of power, the U.S., Europe, or China, handicapped by incumbent mindsets, beliefs, interests, and institutions, are unlikely to lead. In a globally competitive world, smaller, hungrier, more adaptable communities, cities, or states such as Israel, Mumbai, Dubai, Singapore, Lagos, Shanghai, California, or Seattle are more likely to develop a winning Organizing System. They will appear, just like their predecessors, as if from nowhere, with capabilities far beyond those of incumbent leaders. Everyone else could get trampled before they have time to understand what is happening.

The intervening decade will be turbulent, destabilized both by technology disruptions that upend the foundations of the global economy and by system shocks from pandemics, geopolitical conflict, natural disasters, financial crises, and social unrest that could lead to dramatic tipping points for humanity including mass migrations and even war. In the face of each new crisis we will be tempted to look backward rather than forward, to mistake ideology and dogma for reason and wisdom, to turn on each other instead of trusting one another.

If we hold strong, we can emerge together to create the wealthiest, healthiest, most extraordinary civilization in history. If we do not, we will join the ranks of every other failed civilization for future historians to puzzle over. Our children will either thank us for bringing them an Age of Freedom, or curse us for condemning them to another dark age. The choice is ours.

Get Mobilized and Make Love Go Viral!
Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Editorials

As the Golden Globes lose their luster, can we create a better version of Hollywood?

Published

on

 

Something interesting is happening in Hollywood. People are walking away from the Golden Globe Awards.

And for good reason.

Anyone who has ever worked in the filthy abyss of Hollywood, New York, or any major entertainment city will know first hand how these systems work. Sycophants, parasites and moguls and talent agents willing to step all over each other just for the sake of another prize. Some will even kill for a shot at the brass ring.  And industry divided cannot succeed.

The only good thing I found in the Golden Globes was watching Ricky Gervais lampoon the stars and their handlers from the stage. Bravo to Gervais, it doesn’t make a difference what you think of him, afterall, he had something that most of Hollywood doesn’t have. Balls. Guts. And a way of delivering amusing reality dosed insults to their face only to find he’s been re-instated as the show host for the next years showing.

 

The annual Golden Globes ceremony has been unable to find a broadcasting partner or any celebrities willing to present or collect its awards after a Hollywood boycott over its diversity and ethics scandal, resulting in a pared-down event with the emphasis on philanthropy.

According to Variety, the Globes’ talent bookers have failed to persuade any big Hollywood figures to attend the 2022 edition of the awards ceremony, a hitherto glittering annual event that traditionally kicked off the lucrative awards season. In March 2021 more than 100 public relations firms announced they would withdraw cooperation with the Globes, a series of high-profile Hollywood figures, including Tom Cruise and Scarlett Johansson, made stinging public criticisms, and TV network NBC cancelled its broadcast of the 2022 edition. (-The Guardian)

 
eguardian.com/film/2022/jan/09/golden-globes-lose-their-shine-as-a-listers-shun-unethical-ceremony

But this years showing not only lacked the luster of Hollywood today, but doesn’t even have a Network or Livestream to cover it.  I guess we’ll have to rely on celeb Twitter Feeds.

Get Mobilized and Make Love Go Viral!
Continue Reading

Arts

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

Published

on

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, January 5, 2022

Propaganda is most impactful when people don’t think it’s propaganda, and most decisive when it’s censorship you never knew happened.

 

When we imagine that the U.S. military only occasionally and slightly influences U.S. movies, we are extremely badly deceived. The actual impact is on thousands of movies made, and thousands of others never made. And television shows of every variety.

The military guests and celebrations of the U.S. military on game shows and cooking shows are no more spontaneous or civilian in origin than the ceremonies glorifying members of the U.S. military at professional sports games — ceremonies that have been paid for and choreographed by U.S. tax dollars and the U.S. military. The “entertainment” content carefully shaped by the “entertainment” offices of the Pentagon and the CIA doesn’t just insidiously prepare people to react differently to news about war and peace in the world. To a huge extent it substitutes a different reality for people who learn very little actual news about the world at all.

The U.S. military knows that few people watch boring and non-credible news programs, much less read boring and non-credible newspapers, but that great masses will eagerly watch long movies and TV shows without too much worrying about whether anything makes sense. We know that the Pentagon knows this, and what military officials scheme and plot as a result of knowing this, because of the work of relentless researchers making use of the Freedom of Information Act. These researchers have obtained many thousands of pages of memos, notes, and script re-writes. I don’t know whether they’ve put all of these documents online — I certainly hope they do and that they make the link widely available. I wish such a link were in giant font at the end of a fantastic new film. The film is called Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood. The Director, Editor, and Narrator is Roger Stahl. The Co-Producers are Matthew Alford, Tom Secker, Sebastian Kaempf. They’ve provided an important public service.

In the film we see copies of and hear quotations from and analysis of much of what has been uncovered, and learn that thousands of pages exist that nobody has yet seen because the military has refused to produce them. Film producers sign contracts with the U.S. military or CIA. They agree to “weave in key talking points.” While unknown quantities of this sort of thing remain unknown, we do know that nearly 3,000 films and many thousands of TV episodes have been given the Pentagon treatment, and many others have been handled by the CIA. In many film productions, the military effectively becomes a co-producer with veto power, in exchange for allowing the use of military bases, weapons, experts, and troops. The alternative is the denial of those things.

But the military is not as passive as this might suggest. It actively pitches new story ideas to movie and TV producers. It seeks out new ideas and new collaborators who might bring them to a theater or laptop near you. Act of Valor actually began life as a recruitment advertisement.

Of course, many movies are made without military assistance. Many of the best never wanted it. Many that wanted it and were denied, managed to get made anyway, sometimes at much greater expense without the U.S. tax dollars paying for the props. But a huge number of movies are made with the military. Sometimes the initial movie in a series is made with the military, and the remaining episodes voluntarily follow the military’s line. Practices are normalized. The military sees huge value in this work, including for recruitment purposes.

The alliance between the military and Hollywood is the main reason that we have lots of big blockbuster movies on certain topics and few if any on others. Studios have written scripts and hired top actors for movies on things like Iran-Contra that have never seen the light of day because of a Pentagon rejection. So, nobody watches Iran-Contra movies for fun the way they might watch a Watergate movie for fun. So, very few people have any notions about Iran-Contra.

But with the reality of what the U.S. military does being so awful, what, you might wonder, are the good topics that do get lots of movies made about them? A lot are fantasy or distortion. Black Hawk Down turned reality (and a book it was “based on”) on its head, as did Clear and Present Danger. Some, like Argo, hunt for small stories within large ones. Scripts explicitly tell audiences that it doesn’t matter who started a war for what, that the only thing that matters is the heroism of troops trying to survive or to rescue a soldier.

Yet, actual U.S. military veterans are often shut out and not consulted They often find movies rejected by the Pentagon as “unrealistic” to be very realistic, and those created with Pentagon collaboration to be highly unrealistic. Of course, a huge number of military-influenced films are made about the U.S. military fighting space aliens and magical creatures — not, clearly, because it’s believable but because it avoids reality. On the other hand, other military-influenced films shape people’s views of targeted nations and dehumanize the humans living in certain places.

Don’t Look Up is not mentioned in Theaters of War, and presumably had no military involvement (who knows?, certainly not the movie-watching public), yet it uses a standard military-culture idea (the need to blow up something coming from outerspace, which in reality the U.S. government would simply love to do and you could hardly stop them) as an analogy for the need to stop destroying the planet’s climate (which you cannot easily get the U.S. government to remotely consider) and not one reviewer notices that the film is an equally good or bad analogy for the need to stop building nuclear weapons — because U.S. culture has had that need effectively excised.

The military has written policies on what it approves and disapproves. It disapproves depictions of failures and crimes, which eliminates much of reality. It rejects films about veteran suicide, racism in the military, sexual harassment and assault in the military. But it pretends to refuse to collaborate on films because they’re not “realistic.”

Yet, if you watch enough of what is produced with military involvement you’ll imagine that using and surviving nuclear war is perfectly plausible. This goes back to the original Pentagon-Hollywood invention of myths about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and runs right up through military influence on The Day After, not to mention the transformation — paid for by people who throw a fit if their tax dollars help prevent someone freezing on the street — of Godzilla from a nuclear warning to the reverse. In the original script for the first Iron Man movie, the hero went up against the evil weapons dealers. The U.S. military rewrote it so that he was a heroic weapons dealer who explicitly argued for more military funding. Sequels stuck with that theme. The U.S. military advertised its weapons of choice in Hulk, Superman, Fast and Furious, and Transformers, the U.S. public effectively paying to push itself to support paying thousands of times more — for weapons it would otherwise have no interest in.

“Documentaries” on the Discovery, History, and National Geographic channels are military-made commercials for weapons. “Inside Combat Rescue” on National Geographic is recruitment propaganda. Captain Marvel exists to sell the Air Force to women. Actress Jennifer Garner has made recruitment ads to accompany movies she’s made that are themselves more effective recruitment ads. A movie called The Recruit was largely written by the head of the CIA’s entertainment office. Shows like NCIS push out the military’s line. But so do shows you wouldn’t expect: “reality” TV shows, game shows, talk shows (with endless reunifications of family members), cooking shows, competition shows, etc.

I’ve written before about how Eye in the Sky was openly and proudly both completely unrealistic nonsense and influenced by the U.S. military to shape people’s ideas about drone murders. A lot of people have some small idea of what goes on. But Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood helps us to grasp the scale of it. And once we’ve done that, we may gain some possible insights into why polling finds much of the world fearing the U.S. military as a threat to peace, but much of the U.S. public believing that U.S. wars benefit people who are grateful for them. We may begin to form some guesses as to how it is that people in the United States tolerate and even glorify endless mass-killing and destruction, support threatening to use or even using nuclear weapons, and suppose the U.S. to have major enemies out there threatening its “freedoms.” Viewers of Theaters of War may not all immediately react with “Holy shit! The world must think we’re lunatics!” But a few may ask themselves whether it’s possible that wars don’t look like they do in movies — and that would be a great start.

Theaters of War ends with a recommendation, that movies be required to disclose at the start any military or CIA collaboration. The film also notes that the United States has laws against propagandizing the U.S. public, which might make such a disclosure a confession of a crime. I would add that since 1976, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has required that “Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.”

To learn more about this film, view it, or host a screening of it, go here.

Get Mobilized and Make Love Go Viral!
Continue Reading

Editorials

The Grinch That Stole Christmas

Published

on

Back in the mid 70’s as my wife and I were starting our photography business Wally Miller, a successful local businessman, invited us to his office to offer help in the form of business advice. He asked only that we bring a financial statement and of course we complied.  The business startup process was new to us and after two years we were still losing money, and there it was in plain sight on the financial statement.  Wally welcomed us warmly and after a few minutes of careful study of our financials offered this observation, “You have no bad debts.”

Naturally I took this as a compliment.  I was proud that we had no bad debts, but that is not what Wally meant.  He elaborated, “If you have no bad debts that means that your credit is too tight and that translates into lost business.” His meaning was clear.  To be successful, really successful, you have to accept reasonable losses.  It’s the very nature of business.  If you want 100% certainty there can be no risk and without risk there can be no profits.

There’s a lesson in this thinking for Joe “McFuqwad” Manchin, the tight-ass, penny-pinching Grinch ruining Christmas for every American under the cover of “fiscal responsibility.”  His staffers gave us a look into his rationale, revealing two of the real reasons behind Joe’s decision to be the big NO.

Apparently Manchin believes that giving money to the poor in the form of a child tax credit is unwise because in his view, many will spend the extra dollars on drugs.  Likewise he is opposed to paid leave, stating that people will just call in sick and then go off deer hunting.

Now let’s all agree that in a free society, there are good and bad actors.  No law can legislate what is in the hearts of men.  No law can dictate integrity or honor.  If that were the case, there would be no GOP, no Jim Jordan, no Ted Cruz, no Matt Gaetz, No Marjorie Taylor Green, no Lauren Boebert. You get my drift, but I digress.

Once you agree to recognize that the actions of individuals are beyond your control, you must the adjust your decisions and subsequent actions to affect the greatest good for the majority.  Charity benefits the worthy and unworthy alike, without discrimination.  To withhold benefits from the worthy because there will always be unworthy recipients is to succumb to the devil’s play, a game of reduction that punishes all for the few.

Get Mobilized and Make Love Go Viral!
Continue Reading
INTERVIEWS10 hours ago

The Undertow with Mark Metz : How Corruption in the Energy Sector Sabotages Sustainability

INTERVIEWS10 hours ago

GAIA TALKS: The Earth Speaks: Mohamed Ismail from Egyptians Abroad For Democracy Worldwide

Paradigm Change1 day ago

People Power Now

Paradigm Change2 days ago

An Empowered World: People, we are Ready!

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Conscious capitalism and Raising the Bar of Human Possibility

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Open Collaboration on an Epic Scale: The Future is Cooperatively Decentralized

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Transforming Energy and Transportation

Paradigm Change3 days ago

An information upgrade whose time is now

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Transforming agriculture and food systems for optimal planetary and personal health

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Transforming Planetary Public health

INTERVIEWS6 days ago

Wa’echun Hour: Personal Power and Decolonization

Featured1 week ago

Truths or Consequences: Failing State or Shining Light?: The USA Role in the Twenty-first Century

Featured1 week ago

The Undertow: The Corrosion of Corruption: Cleaning up the Chaos with Heidi Cuda

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

The time is NOW to Rethink: James Arbib of Re-Think X

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Savor This: Allan Savory on Real World Solutions Now

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Ecologic Economics and Steady State Economies with Brian Czech

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

The unlimited potential of space solar Power with John Mankins

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Understanding the real transition to clean and renewable energy with Professor Chris Rhodes

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

The Father of the Environmental Justice Movement

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Sustainable Growth on a Finite Planet is Not Possible

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Help!!! We’re drowning in a sea of Plastic: A conversation with Dr. Julie Peller

The Web of Life2 weeks ago

It is time for a better relationship with our beautiful, blue planet.

Editorials2 weeks ago

As the Golden Globes lose their luster, can we create a better version of Hollywood?

Featured3 weeks ago

How Our Grassroots Energy Projects Are Taking Back Power From Utility Companies

Arts3 weeks ago

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

Arts3 weeks ago

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

The Web of Life2 weeks ago

It is time for a better relationship with our beautiful, blue planet.

Featured3 weeks ago

How Our Grassroots Energy Projects Are Taking Back Power From Utility Companies

Featured1 week ago

The Undertow: The Corrosion of Corruption: Cleaning up the Chaos with Heidi Cuda

Editorials2 weeks ago

As the Golden Globes lose their luster, can we create a better version of Hollywood?

Featured1 week ago

Truths or Consequences: Failing State or Shining Light?: The USA Role in the Twenty-first Century

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Ecologic Economics and Steady State Economies with Brian Czech

INTERVIEWS6 days ago

Wa’echun Hour: Personal Power and Decolonization

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Savor This: Allan Savory on Real World Solutions Now

Food4 weeks ago

How Climate Change Narratives are Used Against Us

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

The time is NOW to Rethink: James Arbib of Re-Think X

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Sustainable Growth on a Finite Planet is Not Possible

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Transforming Energy and Transportation

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Conscious capitalism and Raising the Bar of Human Possibility

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Open Collaboration on an Epic Scale: The Future is Cooperatively Decentralized

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Help!!! We’re drowning in a sea of Plastic: A conversation with Dr. Julie Peller

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

Understanding the real transition to clean and renewable energy with Professor Chris Rhodes

Paradigm Change2 days ago

An Empowered World: People, we are Ready!

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

The unlimited potential of space solar Power with John Mankins

Paradigm Change1 day ago

People Power Now

Paradigm Change3 days ago

An information upgrade whose time is now

INTERVIEWS2 weeks ago

The Father of the Environmental Justice Movement

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Transforming Planetary Public health

Paradigm Change3 days ago

Transforming agriculture and food systems for optimal planetary and personal health

INTERVIEWS10 hours ago

GAIA TALKS: The Earth Speaks: Mohamed Ismail from Egyptians Abroad For Democracy Worldwide

Trending

Translate »