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Peter Joseph - Train of Thought - Z-Day, 2017

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Train of Thought Peter Joseph Z-Day 2017 [Applause] The universe always settles the score and the only thing we can really be sure of in this world is the existence of cause and effect. Everything else is just kind of temporal. And that's the scientific revelation, is it not? Cause and effect: we realize things are connected. And we've been deeply out of line with nature specifically since the Industrial Revolution, 200 years ago, like children playing with blocks, given all these options, but we haven't understood at all what we've been doing. And we're at pretty much a crossroad now I would say. It's do or die. Either we adapt to the natural laws, the scientific principles that we’ve come to understand that orient not only human nature, our public health, epidemiology, but also the habitat. And that's really I think to me what the core of the Zeitgeist Movement is about. And this view is structuralism. Structuralism is kind of a Gandhian concept. Johan Galtung - he's the president of the Gandhi Institute - he writes really eloquently about Gandhi and Gandhi's view that you really can't blame people; it's such a beautifully compassionate view. You can't blame people for things that are structurally incentivized. So he saw colonialism as a structure, and the people that were perpetuating colonialism were working kind of like agents of that structure. And it creates a beautiful kind of compassion when you start to think that way, and get rid of that in-group out-group stuff that unfortunately continues to plague us, builds xenophobia, racism, and general bigotry and so on. Even people that hate the rich - which there's plenty of reason to do so at a certain level - it still doesn't apply; they're still victims of all of this in the structural sense. And in terms of the most core influence of our structure or our society I should say, the social system is at the top: it's what creates the social psychology of who we are. There is the human nature aspect, the evolutionary psychology, the baggage of millions and millions of years of our evolution, our lower reptilian reactions. We're still stuck in that world because - guess what - the social system rewards it. And that's why we can't seem to bounce out of it and have more empathic and compassionate views. This is the biopsychosocial chart that I think is fairly common out there; it defines the individual health and ultimately public health of a society. I'm not going to belabor the points too much but it's really epidemiology that everything's about - that's the ultimate measure. It's not wealth, it's how good you feel, how happy you are, it's not even lifespan. It's really the quality of the moments that we share. This chart, as intimidating as it may look - even to me - is an attempt to try and organize the structural relevance of the market, and how it creates an incentive structure, how it creates institutions, and how it creates socioeconomic inequality and environmental disregard. I kind of put environmental disregard in the umbrella of socioeconomic inequality because guess what? The earth doesn't really care about us. The earth isn't going to be hurt by anything that we do in the sense of the Earth decaying. It will renew itself after our species blows up if that's the way we end up. So it's really about us and our public health: how are WE engaging with the Earth? And at the very end of this it's a culmination of reduced mental physical health and ultimately lifespan reduction due to a certain degree (which is happening all around the world right now, no one's talking about it, even in America) we have states with reduced lifespans occurring! Which means we're hitting the tip of a bell curve of our immaturity and things are now sliding the other direction. And all this talk of progress and I’ll touch upon some of those myths a little bit later on. … And the reduced social stability and increased violence, from gangs to terrorism to people now that will be able to blow things up with micro-technologies, nanotechnologies, that will have more destructive power than suitcase bombs and nuclear proliferation and all the history of destruction. It's just gonna get smaller and more powerful and we are all at risk of the one individual, the one alienated group, and that's why you can no longer have just a pure self-interest worldviewing. It has to be a social interest: self-interest and social interest are intertwined more than any other time in human history because of the advancement of technology. This is fun because it shows the path through about 13,000 years of evolution, well 13,000 years of history - economic evolution - that has created what we formally call capitalism. We went from monarchs to capitalism. Feudalistic monarchs is probably the first early recognition of an economic system - post the Neolithic Revolution, which is what changed effectively everything. And since that time - the past 13,000 years - there really hasn't been any variance of the root socioeconomic orientation. It's an obfuscation of power now. The free market pretends it's an issue of democracy but it's really an issue of social control just like it was back in feudal times. The “Invisible Hand” has groomed into neoliberalism: this global phenomenon where countries get sanctioned with austerity if they don't adhere to the "freedom" and "democracy" of markets. It's a globalization neoliberalism in fact, that is the correct terminology. Merchant Trade: simple handicraft industries - people way back and Adam Smith's time - they sat there and they traded; it was a very fundamental thing, it was required, it was needed, and it was purposeful. Now it's evolved to a point where you have financialization: people trading stocks. Trading financial assets that don't exist. Trading things literally just for the sake of trade, absolutely no utility whatsoever. It's the abstraction-become-reality. Low impact industry: we couldn't possibly be unsustainable in the past because we didn't have the technological means to do so. So we blindly started to engineer technology - the Industrial Revolution - and we didn't stop to think about our impact. And now we have one of the most unsustainable global patterns obviously in human history. There's a conservative ethic. There's a puritanical kind of native aboriginal quality that you find throughout the entire world and they wanted to be in harmony with nature; it was about coexistence. That's been destroyed. Now we have consumerism and materialism. Why? Because the social psychology of the market - what the market manifests in terms of incentive - has propagated it, culminated this new value system, and people are born into it now. And they don't even know why they have these values, it's just what the system is and how the social interaction has evolved. And human labor to machine labor. And that's the biggest contradiction of capitalism we have now. We will have cost efficiency where corporations are going to stop using humans because it's simply too cheap to use automation. And there you have the ultimate foundation of the system falling out, because if people can't get jobs obviously they can't get money, they can't perpetuate cyclical consumption. Now, if you read the United Nations World Economic Forum, if you read the World Trade Organization statistics and the World Bank and all of these big macro, essentially neoliberal institutions, they'll tell you the world's getting better. But what they don't tell you are the trajectories that are contradicting this bell curve as I just mentioned that nothing is getting better. Every life support system is in decline. In fact I'll go through top to bottom really briefly. Biodiversity loss is rampant and every single major study that has come out, independent study, has pointed out that there has been absolutely no decline in destruction of earth ecosystems, every single life support is in the red or in decline. General pollution. Obviously the air pollution, climate change which is the next one, but also land and ocean pollution. I'm sure you've read a bit about how the oceans are effectively decaying. A 25 million-year old coral reef has just died. Fish populations have halved, and the oceans are so intrinsic to the basic sustainability of this planet and the synergies that create the balance that we see which leads us of course to climate change, that is just as problematic, which I won't even belabor that one either. Water scarcity, food scarcity, all of those things are synergistic. For this problem we have to double our food supply by 2060; that's not going to happen based on current methods. You know it's interesting that Western egoism, when you see the collapse, the attacks in Mosel and there’s people buried, hundreds of them under rubble. When you see the numerous people that recently died off the coast of the Mediterranean, the refugees, because they're trying to get out. And yet a couple people die in London and it's all enplastered: Terrorism! this white Imperial self-indulgence. And when it comes to the news that you see, I was watching this thing unfold, as sad as it is, and on the bottom of the scroll on the news it says oh yeah, "1 billion people without clean water." I'm like Wow! That little blip? amongst all the media fanfare - the terrorism! So where are our priorities? It's really quite disgusting. And government debt. Well technological unemployment, I think we all got that, I mentioned that. Government debt: 60% of all countries will be bankrupt by 2050. Now that's a customary fiction. Big empires, the United States, China, Russia, they don't really have to respect their debt. It's effectively socialism for the rich and free markets for the poor. It's smaller countries that suffer the austerity and the World Bank loans and the structural adjustments because of their debt liability which is effectively a form of slavery and geopolitical coercion. These five attributes are the transition points as far as I'm concerned. Automation, access, open source, localization, digital feedback. These are not new ideas, they're all showing their merit as time goes on in every single economic capacity. Automation is clear, Access- you see the rise of the sharing economy, you see people using Uber and Couchsurfing and things like that. We have people slowly inching into tool libraries. That is slowly becoming a fad, a trend, which is good. It's not really authentic but it's still good. If everyone used say Uber or a car sharing system deliberately then you would see a reduction of pollution, a reduction of car use, easier parking and so on, so there is that good trend. But that's the trend that you have to follow, that's what proves that this is efficacy. Open Source: the move from corporate boardrooms to open source. Open source has proven to be 10 times more productive if you have the infrastructure to get people to collaborate in a strategic way. There are some psychologists that have argued that you can't have mass incorporation because it's that ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ phenomenon and you lose focus. But if you have the right infrastructure for it, there's no reason you can't open source every type of design, even building a car, building a computer. CAD, you know, computer aided engineering. These things are what the future holds as corporate America hopefully will die, because this is the abundance producing mechanism, the equity-generating mechanism which leads to localization. Localization could emerge out of globalization because it could become more cheaper - that term ephemeralization from Buckminster Fuller that says we're doing more and more and more with less and less and less. Things are getting smaller and smaller and smaller, more compact and more powerful and less energy-intensive and so on, less labor-intensive. If that continues, it's not out of the question say 15-20 years time, in fact I bank on it, that a whole country could go off the grid, a whole city could go off the grid. They localize everything and produce right there. And I think that's what should be aspired to obviously for multiple reasons as with all of these. But these are the trends. And digital network feedback, also known as the Internet of Things, rather than connecting your refrigerator or your toaster to the Internet (which I still can't quite figure out why people are doing this) you could actually have whole amounts of information... We have the Brisbane Wi-Fi, it's getting there. Imagine the whole city with Wi-Fi, with smart sensors connected to all transactions - technical transactions not monetary transactions. You could have immense feedback that completely debunks the idea that you need have to have markets to generate consumer preference and all those things by Ludwig von Mises and these socialist arguments that go back a long time that say "without money you just don't have the dynamic." Actually the price mechanism is one of the oldest and slowest things you have, and the true future of cataloging and accounting I should say of an economy will be this- even in a monetary economy they're doing this now. So it goes to show the power of it. Those are to me, if- if any of those can be pushed forward, the result will be proportional to how far you get. And obviously you're going to run up against the system. It's going to reduce scarcity, it's going to reduce inequality, and it's going to increase sustainability. Now I'm going to read this for you. This is sort of this train of thought, these are the recognitions that as far as I'm concerned are most important as a train of thought. (1) The structuralist realization that the most detrimental social patterns existing today are sourced to a flawed economic orientation. This unfortunately is still - it’s oblivion to the minds of most of the intelligentsia in the world. They refuse to acknowledge it; it's blatant, but it's-... that's it, that's the first one. (2) These resulting detrimental social patterns include socioeconomic inequality as the core public health threat. (as I expanded upon before) Socioeconomic inequality is the precondition for a spectrum of other problems, also linking to unsustainable negative externalities produced by the market. I don't know if you saw the study that they analyzed all the corporations in the world in fact, and they found that none of them are profitable. When you take into account negative externalities meaning the pollution that's created, I mean the long term repercussions that humanity has to fix, none of them are profitable. Isn't that not astounding? It's nuts, like we don't even account for the negative externalities, and that's profound. (3) Adjusting away from this flawed economic orientation and seeking to reduce socioeconomic inequality and generate environmental sustainability means shifting focus to maximize economic efficiency through strategic systems-based technical design. This will reduce scarcity, reduce inequality and reduce environmental footprint. It will also better harness ephemeralization, moving us closer to this "post-scarcity" abundance that we've been talking about for years. (4) Accomplishing this transition will require both creative initiative and activist initiative, and that one is the real loss. We understand the creative initiative, we understand we need think tanks, we need people to get together and start to work with those five attributes I talked about. Create new infrastructures online where people can engage in good design through a completely participatory economic democracy rather than what we have now. The creative initiative has to do with developing the efficiency-enhancing systems that will compose the new economic mode. The activist initiative has to do with strategic pressure and demands placed upon the existing power structure, coercing change from the bottom up. Because I'm sorry to say, none of this is going to happen without a fight. The system of capitalism is a system of social control. It has its merits, technology has made it seem okay. But those that have been around for literally thousands of years, the faceless hierarchical 1% so to speak, the ones that continually preserve that element of the system that keeps them above everybody else, that has not changed. And it's not going to change without a unified interest. And this leads me to effectively my last slide. You know I've spent a long time trying to talk to people that, first you’re in the system, maybe a family or something. You don't want to rock the boat, your have your own concerns, you just stay healthy and so on. You have to understand why people are backed into a corner and why this kind of transition is so difficult. Then there are those that just are so brainwashed, they have such an anti-socialist disposition. They have such a core value orientation to the system, that you just can't get through to them and effectively they don't know enough; they're ignorant. And then there are those that should know better: the techno-capitalist apologists. The people that have done well in their entrepreneurialism. They refer to themselves as those social entrepreneurs or green entrepreneurs. They investigate and they talk about high technology - the Ray Kurzweils, the Peter Diamandises, the Jeremy Rifkins in fact, whom I love, I love all these guys. The Steven Pinkers who try to tell you that the world just keeps getting better and oh it's just these negative people that are dissatisfied. There are 46 million slaves in the world right now, some of them pass through generations. There's still feudalism in Asia. The measure of what creates future success as a species means you have to hold on to these patterns of development that are creating better social justice, equity and sustainability, and all those trends are now in question. So it bothers me tremendously when I hear this fraudulent green capitalism stuff or this kind of weird passive pussyfooting around that we should be somewhat complacent with corporations and use them to our advantage. Obviously we have to use them to our advantage to some degree; the very fact that we're here is based on a monetary architecture. The fact I have a computer, all of this means we're participating in the system obviously. But if you don't acknowledge that the system is fundamentally violent, that the system is an archaic social control system that has benefited with the illusion of technology's efficiency, just make it seem like everything is getting better, ignoring all the vast destruction in its wake, then there's a serious problem.

Video Details

Duration: 17 minutes and 8 seconds
Year: 2017
Country: Australia
Language: English
Producer: The Zeitgeist Movement
Director: The Zeitgeist Movement
Views: 5
Posted by: ltiofficial on May 24, 2017

Peter informally runs down TZM's basic train of thought and introduces the idea of "structuralism" and how we need to look at social & economic problems and solutions in terms of its structure.

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