Progress or Crisis?

Is humanity advancing toward progress and prosperity? Or do we now face crucial obstacles of economic stagnation and growing inequality? Is society continuing to develop and mature? Or are we now experiencing social fragmentation and angry tribalism? What exactly is going on?

Out of the Box Insight confronts and redefines the evolutions and revolutions now occurring throughout 21st century economic markets and social communities. Innovatively combining moral philosophy and economic theory, we finally identify three specific causal forces which are the true foundation of the socioeconomic crisis that humanity now faces.

1. Automation & artificial intelligence

These increasingly sophisticated technologies are systematically replacing the demand for mass human labor. Societies throughout history have thus far experienced only three basic paradigms of economic-labor relationships: agriculture and mining, mass production, and services. We are soon to reach a stage where humans no longer need humans in the production of goods and services throughout these exhausted three paradigms of human activity.

On a social-psychological level, artificial intelligence, in particular, is the real game changer. AI is demonstrating that our old deductive methods of reasoning are less efficient than inductive reasoning at modern problem-solving.

2. Currency creation, real estate, & debt

The compass that has guided the world for generations—the scarcity and value of money—has completely altered. Once, governments and their central banks created money and controlled the volume of money in circulation. Money was both regulator and thermometer of socioeconomic activity. Now, however, real estate lending is what creates money (97% of all currency is created when a real estate loan is created). It is now real estate which is the regulator and thermometer of socioeconomic activity.

As a consequence of this disconnect between currency creation and the general marketplace, the masses have grown progressively dependent upon increasing amounts of debt. This, along with the masses’ disproportionate fixation on luxury-centric consumption, creates a downward spiral of the market multiplier effect.

3. Future shock

The evolutions now transpiring within the above domains of automated modes of production and debt-based currency management have revealed substantive and systemic weaknesses in how humans think and organize themselves. Our functional fixedness has blinded us from seeing a plethora of wealth-generating potential that exists right in front us. Our preoccupation with hierarchical control has deterred the masses from exploiting the extraordinary power of global distributive networks.

Because of our adherence to placing value upon quantity, we are fundamentally unprepared to value quality. Because we think in a reductionist and competitive manner, we ourselves have been reduced to nothing more than a number.

The human species has spent its entire arc of development attempting to simplify and control the universe. But this is a delusion. The universe is, in its very nature, complex. The fundamental challenge for the human species is how we finally confront and celebrate this natural complexity.

Game Over

Computer automation and AI are rapidly advancing the inevitable. For the laboring masses trying so hard to maintain their often lifeless and repetitive jobs, it is already game over. Evolution is already here. Evolution, by its very nature, rips away our protective veil of ignorance. Evolution, its fierce eyes of truth, sees everything we are, and everything we are to become.

No government reform or ‘disruptive’ initiative can ever hope to forestall the inevitable. No amount of quantitative easing or universal basic income can resurrect the ghosts of mass labor toiling in the emaciated paradigms of agriculture/mining, mass production, and services. No orthodoxy can hope to put the genie of simplicity back in the bottle. Robots are soon to place their human-like hands on humanity’s shoulders, and speak to us the powerful words: one world is ending; another world awaits.

What Next?

Markets are whatever we want them to be. So, what do we want them to be? A self-evident alternative is that we evolve beyond our present three paradigms of human activity (agriculture/mining, mass production, and services) into a new fourth paradigm based on the exchange of intangible human value. In this new fourth paradigm, we humans become the market. Not things.

The global exchange of human exploration, research, experience, knowledge, creativity, and innovation could be our next marketplace. Initial models show that about 50 percent of the global labor force could migrate into this new intangibles-based marketplace within the next 20 years. This would generate new global wealth value estimated at a staggering US$ 1,281 trillion, compared to our present output of US$ 79.3 trillion.

Liberty’s Mirror: Natural Law

But to achieve this, the masses, not institutions, will be required to undertake the responsibility of governance—on a moment-to-moment as well as local-to-global basis. Until now, this shouldering of direct responsibility by the masses has been technically and practically inconceivable.

However, with the emergent technologies of automation and processes of new forms of dialogue and global communications, the potential of the interdependence of true global citizens is not only achievable, but in fact, may now be an imperative.

Again, Pioneers

It is no longer a question of improving how we presently operate within the three exhausted paradigms of agriculture/mining, mass production, and services. The human species must now consider its own evolution. Evolving into some new activity where individuals and society are, again, mutually benefiting.

This moment of evolution raises a number of practical and philosophical challenges. Will humanity continue to value competition, or seek more collaborative forms of relationships? How do we define individual and social identity if mass human labor no longer exists?

Will humanity possess the courage to once again become pioneers? Will we one day behold our species nova?

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge.

Daniel J. Boorstin


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