Peter Joseph on The Big Question at TEDxOjai (Full Transcript)

Point four: growth. Building on the consumption once again. The market economy requires near constant growth to maintain employment. This ties in a little bit with the growth of our population as well, but you always hear about this, the government: “We have growth” and “we need more growth” and “GDP” or “lacking growth” and it’s basically just absurd. We need a steady state economy. The Earth is a finite system once again.

Earth demands a ‘balance load’ economy respecting dynamic equilibrium, where things come together and balance, not the necessity to exhaust just to say maintain labor.

Point five: competition. This inches into our new, sociological developments that aren’t talked about enough. Market system economy based upon personal and corporate competition in the open market, selling your labor, competing for market share. That’s a completely metaphysical notion, if you think about based on our early tribalistic form of scarcity and this notion that we can’t possibly get along or can’t possibly enough go around so we have to fight for everything and everything is out for themselves.

What we’ve come to find is that human collaboration actually is at the core of all invention, it’s called usufruct. And psychological studies now show long term distortion with the competitive view. The great amount of distortion, corruption, crime you see, all you hear, the headlines, white-collar, blue-collar, all come from this primitive notion of the competitive environment and nothing is held as sacred.

Point six: labor for income. Human survival is today contingent upon one’s ability to obtain employment and enable sales. That’s your right to life. You can’t get labor, you might as well die, because you don’t serve an economically efficient role.

What does this mean to our development in science and technology? Mechanization is incredible. The advent of automation is making human employment more scarce at a minimum and possibly obsolete entirely. Mechanization is also more productive and efficient than human labor which means it’s social irresponsible for us not to mechanize and enjoy the fruits of the abundance, ease and safety it can create.

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Scarcity and Imbalance. Contrary to what most think, money and the movement of money that generates consumption economy, is explicitly based on imbalance and inefficiency, it’s really an inefficiency economy, an anti-economy. The poverty that you see, everything, and this imbalance that’s just not some by-product or a result of some greed institution or something like that. That’s inherent to the system. The system wouldn’t work if it was efficient and there was a balance in any element of human survival.

Why would we want that? Abundance. Equality. New sociological studies have found that equality is more positive to public health. If you compare United States, a highly stratified society with deep imbalance, to Norway and Sweden, that have much less levels of stratification, the public health in those less stratified societies blow us out of the water.

Why not work to create an abundance through all these mechanisms of efficiency that technology now enables to meet human needs? Reduce crime, all sorts of other, obvious sociological phenomena.

Spectrum of social disorder and there it is. You have a macro socioeconomic system, a macroeconomic element, that is basically, funneling out this distortion from childhood all the way through every level of sociological exhibition, if you will and everything you see is coming from this very sick distortion premise of economy. My interest, ultimately: relationship of macroeconomics to sociology.

Part two: Change. “Value Wars: Societal Potential, Collapse and Transition”–  Over here are series of social problems that you would see in the newspapers periodically: poverty, unemployment, destabilization, debt collapse, pollution and waste, all of which are completely technically obsolete. None of them have to exist, at all. At minimum they could be reduced to a very core degree those that are a little more subjective. Removing the environmental and sociological inefficiency inherent to the market and simply applying modern, scientific understandings, resolves or greatly reduces all of these issues. That is our potential.

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And since we don’t maximize that potential, unfortunately, because of this framework we’re in, we are faced with a unique form of collapse that many are not talking about enough. There’s three nails in the coffin as far as I am concerned. Unemployment: I’m sorry to say, based on the way things are going, you are not going to see percentage employment levels that you’ve ever seen in the past human population, it’s over.

Energy cost – only going to rise from here and now, within a hydrocarbon economy. There is absolutely no investment or true intention of the government or corporate institutions to move forward to any type of renewables that will replace the current, massive infrastructure we have created and far too much money will be made as the system fails, because of the scarcity of this thing.

Debt failure: Am I the only one laughing at the fact that there is this fictional notion of debt, that’s like dominoes knocking down countries one by one? Transition. Here is the value war. Of all the times I speak with people about these issues, they tend to understand it, but they have this value association that hold on to all artifacts of the prior system; it’s a value war.

How do we get from one to the other? What can we do to inspire change and create social reform? And that is the big question: what will you do? What kind of form, what kind of social awareness, what kind of role do you think you can play? Are you going to maximize your own self-interest or are you going to realize that your self-interest is only as good as the integrity of society as a whole? Where self-interest must become social interest for us to survive.

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