In 2015, a bomb went off in my home office. One moment I was talking to a client about childhood issues and such, and the next it was paranoid and racist Islamophobia. I remember thinking it daft. Canada does not have an immigration problem and there is no threat of Islamification. It was only later that I realized, Canada was under attack.[1]

It was not a conventional attack and the bombs were not conventional bombs. There was no concussive blast, and nobody died directly. However, after the 2016 U.S. election, the nature of the attack became frighteningly clear. Using sophisticated and unethical manipulation strategies,[2] the active participation of the owners of social media,[3] duplicitous search algorithms,[4] and big- data techniques,[5] a group of rich, mostly white men had teamed up with oligarchs the world over and had engaged in a sophisticated psychological assault aimed at manipulating the people of the United States, and the world. They targeted the greedy, uneducated[6], angry, fearful, racist, sexist, and homophobic, because they are easier to[7] manipulate, [8] and weaponized them with the express purpose of slipping in authoritarian regimes.

If early results are any indication, this sophisticated WWIII[9] cyber-carpet bombing has had great affect,[10] and more attacks are planned. Steve Bannon, modern-day crusader for white male privilege, recently indicated his desire to “spark a populist right-wing revolt across the [European] continent.” He wants to start an organization called “The Movement” to provide polling, messaging, big-data analysis, and other war-time intelligence for the European far-right.[11]

But why? Is it racism? Sexism? Homophobia? A corporate (read fascist) agenda[12] aimed at shoring up dying industry? [13]  The answer to all these questions is yes and no. Yes because all these things are shifting pieces on the “chessboard.” No because all these things are, well, merely pieces on the chessboard. The real question is, “What’s the game?” The question is easy enough to answer. “The game,” which everybody is currently playing, whether they realize it or not, is preservation of a “Système Ancien” of power, privilege, and accumulation in the face of growing global challenge, resistance, and crises. For details on this ancient system of accumulation, see my Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt.

This is not a new game, of course, nor is this the first challenge. The 1960s come to mind here, and times before that as well. In the past, the players have been able to preserve The System. However, this time, preservation is not possible because this time The System is facing three accelerating global crises that, one way or another, are going to end The System.

Crises one is a crisis of legitimacy. The people of earth, the pawns on the board, have been using the Internet to educate themselves for twenty years now and as they do, they are increasingly rejecting The System and its life-blood products and services, like meat,[14]  malls,[15] “big food,”[16] alcohol,[17] cars,[18] coal, and so on. This rejection is causing a slow burn “growth crises” that is licking flames at the edges of the ancient chess board.[19]

In the past, new products, new services, market expansion, an “adjustment” here or there, and perhaps a bit of “illiberal hegemony,” [20] could have doused the embryonic flames; however, a second crisis, automation,[21] is fanning the flames. Rapid workforce reductions, estimated between 35 and 49 percent, are expected in the next few years.[22] Unless something changes, The system will be unable to accommodate this rapid change; mass unemployment, shattered safety nets,[23] financial meltdown, and refugee crises[24] will be the result.

Of course, in the past, dictators, closed borders, civil war, ovens, world war, and even limited nuclear holocaust have been able to contain the fires. However, an ecological/survival crisis is throwing accelerant on the flames. As it turns out, there is only so much exploitation a small planet can take. Fantasy delusion to the contrary, “eternal growth” on a sphere of finite resources inevitably ends in global catastrophe.”[25] Like the inevitability of the sun rising each day, that is just the way it is.

You might think growing realization of this reality would galvanize even the most conservative elites who I am sure can see the future they are leaving their children. Cleary, however, it won’t. The problem is that players are addicted to money[26] and they will sacrifice their own children in order to get their next fix. [27] If the addicts stay in control, our children are facing a grim future of fire,[28] flood, “food insecurity,”[29] famine, civil unrest, authoritarian repression, and outright global war. The human race in toto probably will not go extinct, but people will suffer and die, and it will take centuries to fully recover.

Or not.

The way I see it, we have two choices.

Choice one is to follow what we might call the “Trump Gambit” and try to keep going “business and usual.” This choice allows addiction and the unfettered accumulation that feeds it to continue, but at the cost of ecological collapse and termination of the democratic experiment. In this scenario, the addict’s System is preserved, but we block borders, install authoritarian/feudal regimes, engage in harsh oppression, put “disciplinary collars” on our forces,[30] and step back to a time of feudal repression.

Or…

Choice two is to get rid of The System (currently known as Capitalism) and replace it with something sane, something that does not use fiduciary addiction and economic insecurity as the motivational motor and economic engine and instead takes abundant human labour and uses that to create a sustainable utopia. It is possible. We have the technology, if we use it properly, the resources, if we use them wisely, and the money, i.e., the labour power, we need to get it all done. We are smart enough. We are good enough. Most importantly, we still have time; but not much. According to one estimate, we got about sixteen years.[31] Obviously, we need to step up and act now. Since we don’t have a lot of time, I’ll just set the initial steps out directly.

Step one, admit that money, despite its great strength as an abstract container of labour,[32] is an addictive substance so powerful that those who are addicted[33] will drive the planet to total ruin just to ensure a perpetual fix.[34]

Step two, regulate the substance. Put a limit on the ability of individuals and corporations to accumulate through progressive taxation regimes.

Step three, with money as the mechanism and artificial intelligence as the guide, redistribute labour in a more advanced, sensible, and ecologically sound fashion.

To be sure, transforming economic priorities and hospicing Capitalism’s death will be a major challenge, but the challenge can be mitigated by a) a Debt Jubilee reset, to help folks preserve their property, and b) a Guaranteed Global Income (GGI). A GGI is not bad, as discovered in one Canadian study.[35] It does not cause laziness and it does not undermine survival. On the contrary, it creates healthier, more fully functioning human beings who find ways to contribute, and who do not burden The system with illness and dependence. With a GGI, people won’t have to worry about unemployment, and toxic industries (i.e., those that contribute to the accelerating ecological crises, those that rely on underpaid, slave, child labour, those that poison us, etc.) will be free to collapse because unemployment and basic survival won’t be an issue. To be sure, some people are going to lose their investments, but as the economy shifts from accumulation to humane service, it shouldn’t impact the quality of life for anybody. In fact, it should increase it across the board. With less time scrambling to feed the fiduciary addiction or survive, we’d have to work less, and we’d have more time to ourselves. That would mean more health, more happiness, and more time to pursue satisfaction of our highest human needs for truth, actualization, and “transcendence;” In other words, complete satisfaction of all our human needs. [36] How can you argue with that?

And note, this is not something that is only achievable in the prosperous developed world. Once you understand the nature of money as abstracted labour, something that’s explained quite clearly in my Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy[37] you realize, scarcity and debt are contrived delusions propagated by the accumulator to mystify their accumulation. Not only that, but you also realize that a lot of resources currently wasted on marketing, manipulation, overconsumption, health care, and the imperialist exploitation of others could be directed towards education, empowerment, and development of the exploited periphery. We won’t need a marketing industry when there’s no need to manipulate the masses. We’ll need less health care when we’re not involved in toxic systems of consumption and exploitation. We won’t need a military if we were helping rather than imperializing for cheap oil and cheap stuff. We also wouldn’t have to worry about overpopulation. The well-known “demographic transition”[38] would take care of that.

And so, there you have it—the rocket science of world transformation. Allow yourself to be manipulated and divided into factions so that the addicts can install authoritarian regimes in order to preserve The System, or take the next evolutionary step and transform it all into something totally new.

The choice, as they say, is yours. Either way, it’s the end of the world as we’ve known it.

As for me, I feel fine.

Endnotes

[1]  Mike Sosteric, “World War Three Is Being Waged in Cyberspace,” The Conversation2017.

[2] “Trump’s Manipulation of Mass Consciousness,” The Conversation2017. https://theconversation.com/trumps-manipulation-of-mass-consciousness-88435.

See also the unethical experiments Facebook conducted with Cornell University on the emotional manipulation of users. Editorial Board, “Editorial Expression of Concern: Experimental Evidence of Massive scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 29 (2014).

For the original experiment, see Adam D. I. Kramer, Jamie E. Guillory, and Jeffrey T. Hancock, “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks,” ibid., no. 24.

[3] Mike Sosteric, “Why We Should All Cut the Facebook Cord. ,” The Conversation (2018).

[4] Robert Epstein, “How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election,” 2015, no. December 28 (2015). www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/08/how-google-could-rig-the-2016-election-121548

Also, Olivia Solon and Sam Levin, “How Google’s Search Algorithm Spreads False Information with a Rightwing Bias ” 2017, no. Sept 29th (2016). https://is.gd/YVfvcU

[5] Patrick Greenfield, “The Cambridge Analytica Files: The Story So Far,” The Gaurdian2018. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/26/the-cambridge-analytica-files-the-story-so-far.

Also, Emma Graham-Harrison, Carole Cadwalladr, and Hilary Osborn, “Cambridge Analytica Boasts of Dirty Tricks to Swing Elections,” The Guardian2018. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/19/cambridge-analytica-execs-boast-dirty-tricks-honey-traps-elections

[6] As Donald Trump himself admits, the uneducated are his favourite. https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-i-love-the-poorly-educated-144008662.html.

[7] Justin Brown, “Former Facebook Executive: “You Don’t Realize It, but You Are Being Programmed”,” Ideapod, https://ideapod.com/former-facebook-executive-dont-realize-programmed/.

[8] Sosteric, “Trump’s Manipulation of Mass Consciousness.”

[9] “World War Three Is Being Waged in Cyberspace.”

[10] Gregor Aish, Adam Pearce, and Bryant Rousseau, “How Far Is Europe Swinging to the Right?,” The New York Times2017.

[11] Staff writer, “Steve Bannon ‘Planning Foundation’ to Boost Far Right in Europe,” Al Jazeera2018.

[12] Kenneth Rapoza, “Europe’s New Political Equation: Anti-Open Borders Plus Tax Cuts Equals Winning,” Forbes2017.

[13] Oliver Milman, “Trump Budget Would Gut Epa Programs Tackling Climate Change and Pollution,” The Guardian2017. Also, Emiliano Bellini, “Spain’s ‘Sun Tax’ Set to Be Scrapped,” PV Magazine2018.

[14] Maggie McGrath, “A New Frontier for Plant-Based Meat: Beyond Burger Will Hit Menus at a&W Canada,” Forbes2018.

On July 9th in Canada, A&W, a large fast-food burger franchise and began selling vegan meat. The demand was so high, the products sold out in a day. https://www.oola.com/day-to-day-life/2449609/aw-vegan-burgers-sell-out-after-the-first-day/.

[15] Ashley Lutz, “American Malls Are Dying Faster Than You Think — and It’s About to Get Even Worse,” Business Insider2016.

[16] Beth Kowitt, “The War on Big Food,” Forbes2015.

[17] Thomas Pellechia, “Declining Beer Sales Lead to Anti-Wine Ads,” ibid.2018.

[18] Darren Ross, “Millennials Don’t Care About Owning Cars,” Fast Company2016.

[19] David Pilling, “Capitalism in Crisis: Perilous Path to Prosperity,” Financial Times2012.

[20] Ashley Smith, “Illiberal Hegemony: The Trump Administration Strategy for Us Imperialism,” International Socialist Review, no. 109 (2018).

[21] Claire Cain Miller, “The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation,” The New York Times2016.

[22] Michael Morgenstern indicates 35% less workers in Britain, and 49% less in Japan. See  Michael Morgenstern, “Automation and Anxiety,” The Economist2016.

[23] See Mel Gurtov, “Trump’s War on the Poor: An Impeachable Offense,” Counterpunch2018.

[24] Ishaan Tharoor, “Venezuela’s Refugee Exodus Is the Biggest Crisis in the Hemisphere,” Washington Post2018.

[25] Andrew Griffen, “20,000 Scientists Give Catastrophic Warning About the Future in ‘Letter to Humanity’ ” The Independent2018.

[26] See Mike Sosteric, “How Money Is Destroying the World,” The Conversation2018. Also, see my video Money Moksha (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir0R7yAFiO8 )

[27] https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/21/politics/epa-climate-power-plants-trump-west-virginia/index.html

[28] Charles McDermid, “California Today: Experts on Fire Season 2018 Discuss the ‘New Normal’,” New York Times2018.

[29] Center for climate and energy solutions, “Drought and Climate Change,”  https://www.c2es.org/content/drought-and-climate-change/.

[30] Shock collars on private security forces and killer robots on the perimeter are apparently topics of conversation. See Nicole Karlis, “We Asked Psychologists Why So Many Rich People Think the Apocalypse Is Coming,” Alternet2018.

[31] Andrew Griffin, “Earth Quickly Heading for ‘Point of No Return’ Unless We Takes Immediate Action, Climate Scientists Warn,” The Independent2018.

[32] Mike Sosteric, Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt.(St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press., 2016).

[33] “Are Bullies Alpha Males or Sick Puppies,” The Conversation (2018).

[34] “How Money Is Destroying the World.”

[35] See Vivian Belik, “A Town without Poverty?,” The Dominian2011

[36] Mike Sosteric, “Seven Essential Needs,”(2018).

[37] https://www.academia.edu/24877676/Rocket_Scientists_Guide_to_Money_and_the_Economy

[38] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition

 

References

Aish, Gregor, Adam Pearce, and Bryant Rousseau. “How Far Is Europe Swinging to the Right?” The New York Times, 2017.

Bellini, Emiliano. “Spain’s ‘Sun Tax’ Set to Be Scrapped.” PV Magazine, 2018.

Board, Editorial. “Editorial Expression of Concern: Experimental Evidence of Massive scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 29 (2014): 10779-79.

Brown, Justin. “Former Facebook Executive: “You Don’t Realize It, but You Are Being Programmed”.” Ideapod, https://ideapod.com/former-facebook-executive-dont-realize-programmed/.

Center for climate and energy solutions. “Drought and Climate Change.”  https://www.c2es.org/content/drought-and-climate-change/.

Epstein, Robert. “How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election.” 2015, no. December 28 (2015).

Graham-Harrison, Emma, Carole Cadwalladr, and Hilary Osborn. “Cambridge Analytica Boasts of Dirty Tricks to Swing Elections.” The Guardian, 2018.

Greenfield, Patrick. “The Cambridge Analytica Files: The Story So Far.” The Guardian, 2018.

Griffen, Andrew. “20,000 Scientists Give Catastrophic Warning About the Future in ‘Letter to Humanity’ ” The Independent, 2018.

Griffin, Andrew. “Earth Quickly Heading for ‘Point of No Return’ Unless We Take Immediate Action, Climate Scientists Warn.” The Independent, 2018.

Gurtov, Mel. “Trump’s War on the Poor: An Impeachable Offense.” Counterpunch, 2018.

Karlis, Nicole. “We Asked Psychologists Why So Many Rich People Think the Apocalypse Is Coming.” Alternet, 2018.

Kowitt, Beth. “The War on Big Food.” Forbes, 2015.

Kramer, Adam D. I., Jamie E. Guillory, and Jeffrey T. Hancock. “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 24 (2014): 8788-90.

Lutz, Ashley. “American Malls Are Dying Faster Than You Think — and It’s About to Get Even Worse.” Business Insider, 2016.

McDermid, Charles. “California Today: Experts on Fire Season 2018 Discuss the ‘New Normal’.” New York Times, 2018.

McGrath, Maggie. “A New Frontier for Plant-Based Meat: Beyond Burger Will Hit Menus at a&W Canada.” Forbes, 2018.

Miller, Claire Cain. “The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation.” The New York Times, 2016.

Milman, Oliver. “Trump Budget Would Gut Epa Programs Tackling Climate Change and Pollution.” The Guardian, 2017.

Morgenstern, Michael. “Automation and Anxiety.” The Economist, 2016.

Pellechia, Thomas. “Declining Beer Sales Lead to Anti-Wine Ads.” Forbes, 2018.

Pilling, David. “Capitalism in Crisis: Perilous Path to Prosperity.” Financial Times, 2012.

Rapoza, Kenneth. “Europe’s New Political Equation: Anti-Open Borders Plus Tax Cuts Equals Winning.” Forbes, 2017.

Ross, Darren. “Millennials Don’t Care About Owning Cars.” Fast Company, 2016.

Smith, Ashley. “Illiberal Hegemony: The Trump Administration Strategy for Us Imperialism.” International Socialist Review, no. 109 (2018).

Solon, Olivia, and Sam Levin. “How Google’s Search Algorithm Spreads False Information with a Rightwing Bias “. 2017, no. Sept 29th (2016).

Sosteric, Mike. “Are Bullies Alpha Males or Sick Puppies.” The Conversation  (2018).

———. “How Money Is Destroying the World.” The Conversation, 2018.

———. Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt.  St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press., 2016.

———. “Seven Essential Needs.” 2018.

———. “Trump’s Manipulation of Mass Consciousness.” The Conversation, 2017.

———. “Why We Should All Cut the Facebook Cord. .” The Conversation  (2018).

———. “World War Three Is Being Waged in Cyberspace.” The Conversation, 2017.

Staff writer. “Steve Bannon ‘Planning Foundation’ to Boost Far Right in Europe.” Al Jazeera, 2018.

Tharoor, Ishaan. “Venezuela’s Refugee Exodus Is the Biggest Crisis in the Hemisphere.” Washington Post, 2018.

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