I prefer watching educational videos on YouTube more than watching television, but it’s tedious digging for good content, and I’ve already seen most of the good stuff while searching for videos to put in my blogs. In case anyone else is looking for entertaining educational videos on YouTube, I made a series of posts with all the ones I’ve used on The Wise Sloth, organized by topic, with links to the posts they appear in. You’re bound to be enlightentained, and if you need help exploring the 600+ essays on The Wise Sloth, these video lists offer a quick overview that practically summarize my philosophies.
This list comes from my essays on economics and focuses on fixing the economy.
There are currently about 100 million people who are living homeless because they had to flee a war zone, and there are just as many homeless people living in “peaceful” countries. A billion people live on less than $2.50 per day, and two more billion people live below the poverty line because they don’t have access to resources or opportunities.
Despite the world spending over $100 billion dollars on humanitarian aid and trillions more on public infrastructure, poverty is only getting worse, because traditional cities separate people from sources of jobs, food, water, utilities, entertainment, and education. The current housing system is designed to make real-estate more expensive, the more conveniently located it is, which means the poorer you are, the more expensive, dangerous, discouraging, unhealthy and opportunity-less your life will be.
If every country pitched in to pool together $50 trillion, they could solve extreme poverty and refugee crises by building a self-sustainable apartment complex/office building in the shape of a ring, 100 miles in diameter, where every resident will have immediate access to food, water, shelter, jobs, and transportation. As long as predatory capitalists don’t take over the city and raise prices and lower wages to extortion levels, every resident would be able to live fear-free for life.
A project of this size would face many hurdles. One of the biggest would be, where to build it? One solution to that problem is to build it on water. This approach would be more expensive, but the benefits might outweigh the cost.
It wouldn’t take much engineering to build a floating city. Instead of building a huge, floating base and then putting a city on top of it, build hollow modules that connect together. Then, a big wave wouldn’t knock any houses or businesses over, because everyone would be living and working “underground.” The surface area could be used to grow food and raise animals.
All you need to make a floating house is a boat hull. You could cast them out of concrete. Engineers have been building hollow concrete boats and caissons for years.
The technology could be easily adapted to mass producing floating houses. Or you could make the hulls out of fiberglass or steel. It might be more expensive, but it would cost less to build a modular fiberglass bobber house than to build a shack in Honolulu or New York City.
Even the sturdiest buoy city would be capsized by a mega wave on the open ocean eventually, but instead of building a monolithic island in international waters, you could connect a line of modular floating homes along the coast of a relatively protected body of water, like the Caspian Sea or the Great Lakes.
If this mega structure were built in the Mediterranean Ocean, you could create a walkable path from Africa to Europe. Refugees wouldn’t use it to invade Europe because they would already have ocean-front property and everything they need to raise a family. You could use that path as a new trade route, and the new most popular tourist destination in the world.
We wouldn’t need to fight over one location for the project. The governments of the world could build one hundred module factories around the world and gradually build a chain around every protected body of water. Life might be so idyllic, the majority of humans will flee the mainland and leave it to Mother Nature.
I believe the environmental benefit of a floating civilization would outweigh the risks. Since all the food, water and utilities would be created in-house, less packaging and transportation would be needed to get the necessities of life from their point of creation to consumption. The modules could be equipped with traps that filter pollution out of the water, and the hulls of the boats would provide new artificial reefs for fish to eat from.
This idea is crazy for being outside the norm, but not because it’s unfeasible. The richest 1,200 people in the world have over $50 trillion sitting in their bank accounts not doing anything. That’s more than enough money to house every refugee and homeless person in the world off-land. Even if governments footed the entire bill themselves, the money they’d save in humanitarian aid and social services would pay for itself quickly. Plus, it would create jobs, lower unemployment, food scarcity and real estate costs.
Sadly, that’s why the governments of the world would never conspire to build this. If governments cared about their people, they wouldn’t have invested their tax dollars on building unsustainable habitats to begin with. The rich need the poor to live in constant fear and danger because that gives them the leverage to exploit the helpless. Our cities are designed to create scarcity because it lowers workers’ and consumers’ bargaining power, which allows businesses to raise prices and lower wages. Extreme poverty and refugee crises exist because the global economy is designed to oppress and exploit the poor.
It’s almost impossible to get rich without gouging your customers and/or employees. So most rich people would be acting contrary to their past behavior if they donated their fortune to building a self-sustainable floating refugee camp, but there are a lot of philanthropists out there with more money than they know what to do with. Hopefully, some of them find the motive to give back to the world they’ve taken so much from.
If compassion and foresight won’t compel the rich to mass-produce floating city modules, greed should. The first person to streamline the process will become the Donald Trump of the seas. After Trump runs America into the ground, building a new nation at sea might be his only hope of redemption. Granted, being the greedy sociopathic narcissist that he is, his city would probably be full of slaves serving masters. However, if he can establish and improve floating island technology, it would be worth it as proof of concept. Then better people can copy his architecture and build the humanitarian communities we’ve been waiting for.
As a compromise, an island-loving billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg, could build a modular island factory, produce a string of islands, and after all the agriculture jobs are filled, train new residents as computer programmers, give them jobs that generate a profit, and keep a portion until the cost of construction is repaid, then give the employee ownership of their module.
The most popular Youtube vlogger is Pewdiepie, a Swedish man-child who posts videos about playing video games and acting silly in his computer room. Pewdiepie currently posts about one blog each weak, which means, in the time between each of his posts, at least 1,900 civilians died horrible war-related deaths somewhere in the world, and that’s a very conservative estimate.
The civilians who survive these conflicts are only technically lucky. Over 22 million people are living in foreign countries right now because they’ve had to flee the apocalyptic death, destruction and destitution in their birth-land. That’s not counting the 65 million people who have fled their homes but haven’t left their country. This means there are about 100 million people who are homeless because they would die if they went home.
That number doesn’t count the 100 million people in the world who are just old-fashioned homeless, or the 1.3 billion people who have homes and jobs but are working themselves to death while starving in a shit-covered tin hut with no water, electricity or sanitation.
In conflict zones, it’s hard to get real numbers how many people are suffering, but we know that over 3 billion people live on under $2.50 per day. These statistics don’t highlight a few isolated travesties. Almost half the population of the world lives in extreme poverty, and there are still several billion more who make more than $2.50 per day and live below the poverty level.
Basically, if you have running water, air conditioning, heat, a bed, pornography and an education, you’re one of the most privileged people in the entire world. Drop to your knees and thank God if the worst problem in your life is that nobody loves you.
If you factor in all the money countries and nongovernment agencies spend on humanitarian aid each year, the cost easily eclipses $100 billion dollars each year. The world could afford to spend more money to fight poverty, but it spends over $2 trillion on the militaries which are displacing people. So taxpayers are spending more money on creating humanitarian crises than solving them.
We already spend trillions of dollars every year on infrastructure that is supposed to help people live functionally, but it hasn’t solved the problem because it addresses the problem in a roundabout way that creates more problems than it solves. All the roads, plumbing, and power lines haven’t saved the poor in Detroit or any other major city in the world.
This makes the problem seem unsolvable, but the solution is really very simple. All people need to be happy and healthy are food, clothing, shelter, water, electricity, jobs, transportation and access to markets. If you built a ring-shaped apartment complex with 100 million condos and offices, then dug a man-made river encircling the entire building and used that to water gardens and orchards, you could give the people living there agriculture jobs and a never-ending supply of food and water.
With those problems solved, some workers could specialize in other jobs, which they could reach by walking across the hallway in their apartment complex. Every business would be connected by one road that would never get congested. The bigger you make the diameter of the circular building, the more external markets it would have access to.
Basically, the complex would operate like a secular monastery the size of a major city. You could also think of it as a permanent, self-sustaining refugee camp. As long as the residents don’t have to pay rent, receive an equitable percentage of the profits their work produces, and aren’t overcharged for the goods and services the monastery sells, then everyone will always have everything they need, and nobody would live in destitution or fear thereof.
It would take thousands, if not millions of people to build a structure the length of a small country, but earthbag construction is relatively simple. You could simply have the 100 million refugees do the work and then move into the home they built when they’re done. Then they would have a sense of ownership, pride and shared identity with their fellow coworkers/neighbors.
The richest 1,400 people in the world have $5.4 trillion dollars just sitting in their bank accounts, not doing anything. If each apartment unit in the earthbag megastructure is 500 square feet and costs $10 per square foot, you could build 1 billion, eighty-five million units with $5.4 trillion. This figure doesn’t take all the building costs into account, but to put this in perspective, it costs $1 billion per mile to dig an underground tunnel to reduce traffic congestion. You could build a mile of earthbag apartments with a road, gardens, utilities and an aqueduct for far less than $1 billion per mile, especially if you built it in the middle of Africa, Russia or China where property values are low.
We have the money to end extreme poverty in less than five years. We just need to stop spending it on constructing and repairing inefficient cities full of economic dead zones, and build a mega-home that fills all its residents’ basic needs.
The picture below has the aquifer in the center of the building instead of a moat around it, but it still illustrates my proposal.
The economy is bad, and every politician running for office these days gets hard pressed to explain how they’re going to create jobs and raise wages. The problem with looking to campaigning politicians for answers to the world’s problems is they’re only going to tell you the answers that win them votes. So you can only expect to get the “Sunday school answers” from them that gloss over the hard, embarrassing roots of economic crises.
They’re never going to tell you the economy is bad because it’s fundamentally broken, and it’s not that the economy just all of a sudden broke after working properly for some time; it’s designed to eat its own tail. So, technically, it was successful at doing what it was designed to do.
If you don’t know how America’s economy works, here’s a quick introduction. Companies try to sell as much stuff as possible. They try to spend as little money as possible for the things they buy and charge as much money as possible for the things they sell.
On the surface, this formula may seem reasonable. Lots of companies have gone bankrupt because they made products that lasted forever, and once everyone bought one, the business couldn’t sell anymore. So companies have learned not to make things that last. They make products as cheap as possible not only because it guarantees them more sales after those things break, but cheap junk is also cheap to produce. So companies make a higher profit at both ends of their business model. Then they can make even more money if they constantly raise the price of everything for any reason that sounds remotely justifiable.
There’s no giant conspiracy behind this. The state of the economy was probably inevitable. Businesses that minimize expenses and maximize profit make more money than businesses that sell high-quality products at reasonable prices, and once a business has more money than their competitors they can buy all the advantages they need to put their competitors out of business. In a free (or even not so free) market only the most profitable businesses survive, but when the majority of businesses sell the cheapest products at the highest price you cross a tipping point where the economy just eats itself alive.
Mass consumerism is burning through all the world’s natural resources at a mind-boggling rate. This destroys the environment and raises the cost of goods as resources become more scarce. Instead of those resources being used to build a permanent world, they’re used to fill garbage dumps and pollute the eco-system. Then we have to divert more resources to managing these problems we’re creating. All the while the businesses we rely on to sell us the products to manage the problems we’re creating keep raising keep selling us cheaper and cheaper tools while their cost keeps going up for any reason that sounds remotely justifiable. So for every two steps, we take towards a stable economy and a clean environment we take one step back.
But that’s a best-case scenario. In the real world, we’re running as fast as we can towards an economic collapse by making everything as expensive as it can be. The more expensive everything gets, and the more often people have to repair the things they’ve already bought, the less people can buy, which means the less demand there will be for new products, which means unemployment will go up, which means people will have even less money to buy more products to justify more jobs. This is a straight-forward domino effect straight towards collapse.
But the cure sounds as bad as the disease. If everyone made products that lasted and sold them for reasonable prices then many businesses would go bankrupt, and the ones that survived would never make enough capital to expand significantly. This is a recipe for unemployment and ultimately… starvation.
However, unemployment is only a bad thing if the only reason people need jobs is to make as much money as possible because everything is expensive as possible and everything breaks. If people could survive for free (or next to free), then they wouldn’t need to work 40+ hours a week. We have the technology and skills to allow people to live for free if we would only use them.
Consider what you need to survive. You need a house, food, clothes, water, and electricity. How expensive is it to get those things? As it stands rent costs at least one-third of your wages. Food is grown in foreign countries, covered in toxic preservatives and shipped to foreign supermarkets that charge such high prices they can afford to have regular sales and still make money off of deeply discounted sale items. Your clothes are made in sweatshops in foreign countries and shipped to stores around the globe where their price tag is marked up thousands of times higher than they cost to produce. Utilities are largely run by private companies that charge as much money as they can while their executives live more luxuriously than any medieval king could ever dream of. When you lay it out like that, there’s obvious room for improvement in this system.
There are ways we can make housing, clothing, food, and utilities drastically cheaper. If we do that, the economy won’t make as much profit, but people won’t need to work for (or save) as much money to survive. Plus, if they don’t have to spend money on housing, food, clothing, and utilities then they’ll have more money to spend on job-creating products.
I’ll make a few suggestions how to lower costs on these expenses, but I’m not trying to convince you those are the right ideas as much as I’m trying to convince you that everyone (especially politicians) should be thinking and talking about lowering the cost of survival to improve our quality of living and our chances of survival.
Here are a few suggestions to stabilize our economy and our lives:
Taxpayers pay a lot of money to the government through the course of their lives under the assumed condition that their government will use that money to improve their quality of life. Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and similar social services are all swamped by people who are too poor and sick to survive. Half the problems those social services address could be solved if people had free housing, even if that “house” was nothing more than a cramped efficiency apartment. If it was free and guaranteed then everyone will have a better chance of building a secure, healthy life…and career.
Governments can claim eminent domain over property, and we can build extremely cheap, strong, eco-friendly buildings with sandbags. America certainly has enough prisoners to put to work filling sandbags. Once these are built, there’s no need to charge citizens extortionate fees or taxes to live there. If poor people can live there freely and securely then the cost/benefit analysis of doing drugs and committing crime will plummet with their stress level.
This isn’t giving the poor a handout. The poor pay more in taxes in their lifetime than it would cost to build sustainable sandbag houses for every person in the world three times over in sin taxes alone. Even if that’s not precisely true, the point the remains. Poor people pay taxes with the understanding that the government will use it to raise their quality of life. You can pay for houses for the poor with poor people’s own money if governments would just stop spending poor people’s taxes on such aggressive police and militaries who prey on civilians. And stop having the poor subsidies tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy.
I really want to beat this horse to death, because this is such a simple and obvious concept that it’s easy to take for granted, but it’s profoundly important. Governments exist to help the taxpayers who fund it. Nothing…nothing…nothing…nothing… in the world will help first-world taxpayers more today than having a free house. Setting up a system to provide everyone with a free house should have been one of the first things any government ever did. And with the technology we have today this is more possible than ever.
There’s no need to get rid of super farms altogether or ban international food shipments. They serve a purpose, but there’s no need for the world to rely solely on them for its food supply. You can grow food anywhere. You just need a place to grow it and someone who knows how to make it grow. If you grow it right next to you then you don’t have to ship it anywhere but your kitchen before you consume it. If governments build free housing complexes they could incorporate gardens and small strips of farm/ranch land into the layout. It would be inefficient to try to grow all your food there, but any amount you could grow onsite you don’t have to pay to import. If you can grow 30% of your food onsite then you can reduce your living expenses by 30% while creating local agriculture jobs for skilled and unskilled workers. That’ll also reduce food-shipping-related pollution and resource-consumption by 30%.
But this method wouldn’t work in suburbia because suburbia is so inefficiently designed. That’s not a reason to disregard urban agriculture. That’s a reason to abandon the suburban city model.
If we can’t clothe ourselves without forcing children to work in sweatshops then we should just walk around naked. But we don’t have to rely on sweatshops, and we don’t have to pay $90 for a shirt. There should be a global ban on importing sweatshop clothing. That doesn’t mean sweatshop workers should lose their jobs. That means factory workers should get paid a living wage and get to work under inhumane conditions. But that’s not going to happen as long as CEOs reserve the right to exploit their workers and have the incentive of being able to pocket as much of the company’s profits as they want. Cap executive pay and put a limit on how high the cost of products can be marked up. Make profit sharing mandatory. And finally, let an impartial, international health organization set health and safety standards for commercial merchandise. The only “negative” consequence these changes have to cause is stopping executives from being able to afford to live in utter, shameful luxury. As long as business executives can’t pass their costs off onto their workers or customers then everyone else will enjoy a higher quality of living while still being able to afford clothes, shoes, and all the other products we buy.
Technology exists for buildings to collect their own rainwater, process their own waste and generate their own electricity. If building standards required every building to be environmentally sustainable then there would be little need to pay for public utilities or their upkeep. Cities could still keep public utilities in a backup fashion instead of being the single point of failure that they are now. I’m not saying it’ll be easy to convert the world to using sustainable architecture/technology. I’m just saying, as long as we keep doing what we’re doing we should expect the same results.
The American populace has become infamous for how divided it is on how it expects its government to operate. However, the country is united almost unanimously on the position that political change is needed. As the country devolves into near civil war over the fringe issues its politicians feed the people to squabble amongst each other over, it’s becoming more and more imperative to understand that practically any political change is unlikely to have any significant long-term effect on the quality of life in America until the standard economic model is revamped.
In order to understand why this is you have to first understand that America’s economic model is more accurately described as “predatory capitalism” as opposed to simply “capitalism.” Predatory capitalism is based on 2 fundamental operating principles:
1. Pay workers as little as possible within the limits of supply and demand.
2. Charge customers as much as possible for goods and services within the limits of supply and demand.
These two simple principles will cause ripple effects that will multiply themselves over time. The first and most obvious effect is the nation’s wealth will trickle upwards, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Once the rich become rich, they’ll be able to reinvest that wealth making them richer and allowing them to expand their control over the economy. Once the poor become poor, it will take longer for them to work their way out of poverty or compete with the rich to establish competitive businesses. The long-term effect of this is exactly what you see in America: major chains, owned by the rich, worked by the poor. It will be almost impossible for all those minimum wage workers to open their own “mom and pop” business much less competitive retail chains. This problem becomes even worse the more land the wealthy own as the poor will not be able to afford their own land to build their businesses on.
Once the rich become rich enough to have millions or billions of dollars of disposable income they will be able to use that money to influence politics through financing the careers of pro-monopoly politicians either directly, through campaign contributions, bribery, lobbying, campaigning against anti-monopoly politicians and funding anti-monopoly, anti-worker propaganda. Again, this is exactly what has happened in America.
Now that America has passed this tipping point where a few wealthy individuals control the majority of the wealth in America, there is little point in political reform. What if a third political party was elected to office? What if abortion were legalized? What if marijuana prohibition was ended? What if net neutrality was secured? What if stricter environmental protection laws were passed? What if the privatization of education was ended? The reality of life for the average American would remain unchanged. As long as the economic model that robs the poor and gives to the rich stays in place, poor people will still spend their lives working 3 jobs just to stay alive. They’ll still be crippled by mortgage and student loan debt for the majority of their lives and pass debt on to their children. And they’ll still be dependent on the major corporations for most of their food, clothing, shelter, and medicine.
As long as the poor have no wealth to leverage their interests, the rich will still retain the economic power to shape the political landscape according to their predatory agenda. The solution to this problem isn’t legislation guaranteeing profit sharing or fair prices. The rich could still simply purchase legislation to rewind progress.
The only way the poor will have the access to a fair share of the nation’s wealth is for business owners to willingly give their workers profit sharing, fair prices and, preferably, on-site housing at their place of work. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that this will happen in a predatory economy as business owners will be inclined to try to extort as much money as they can from their workers and customers in order to remain competitive against other ruthless companies.
Existing business owners need to be encouraged to treat the people within their sphere of influence with the dignity and respect due to every human being. Barring that, the poor need to pool their mental and physical resources to open and support businesses that don’t practice predatory capitalism. Barring that, the poor can always exercise the leverage of boycotting and striking, but this is unlikely to happen since the wealthy have already shaped the economic and political landscape so that it’s extremely difficult to unionize or avoid buying from corporations.
So the most productive course of action for the poor at this point is to start and support their own egalitarian businesses. Once they do that, they can begin accumulating their own wealth and thus leverage, reduce dependency on predatory businesses and enjoy a decent quality of life without being treated like slaves.
There are rogue politicians and institutions who want to change the world for the better, but their voices are drowned out by countless other greedy and powerful politicians and institutions. Since there are so many problems of such great magnitude that need to be fixed, and there are so many people working so hard to keep them from being fixed from within the system, it’s extremely unlikely those problems can or will be fixed from within the system. Even if the system could be fixed, it would take years, possibly lifetimes for that to happen, and in the meantime, countless people will needlessly suffer and die.
The fastest, most effective way to make the fundamental changes the system needs is to build a new one from scratch. That solution might sound more difficult than fixing the old system, but I believe it’s not only realistic, but also relatively easy. You don’t even need to overthrow any existing government or ask permission to implement this solution. You just need to build a sustainable, organized village and expand it to support more and more people. This process can be started with less than one hundred thousand dollars.
One of the reasons why fixing the current system is borderline futile is because unsustainable cities are economically dependent on outside assistance to survive. Any Pacific islander can attest that dependence on outside assistance makes you the servant of those you’re dependent on. True freedom requires true independence, and that requires internal ecological and economic sustainability.
It doesn’t take much to build an economically sustainable village. All you need to get started is farmland, water and housing. If you construct your buildings with sand bags, you can make durable, well-insulated structures relatively inexpensively. Once you have a fully functioning farm that produces enough food to meet all your inhabitants’ dietary needs, then your farm will be able to support non-agricultural workers who can do anything from metallurgy to computer programming.
The farm should provide work space and living quarters to people who create vital products like clothing, household goods, medicine, and transportation. This will make the farm more sustainable and thus less dependent on outside assistance, which will make the hybrid office/farm village more independent. However, there’s no need to completely cut one’s self off from the rest of society. You still can and should trade with the outside world. The key is that a self-sufficient village doesn’t trade in order to survive. It trades in order to profit, and the more profitable it becomes, the more it can expand and build more farms and more work spaces. The more diverse types of businesses the farm supports, the more sustainable it will be.
A legally operating business that grows its own food, houses its workers on-site and produces a wide variety of goods and services will be able to provide a high quality of life for its members, and that quality of life won’t be threatened by boom and bust cycles of predatory capitalism… unless the farm exploits its work force by selling them goods and services at the highest price possible while paying them as little as possible.
This doesn’t mean the farm has to be Communist, Marxist, Leninist or Maoist though. Profits should be shared among workers. Common sense and common decency says that’s fair. Common sense and common decency also say the executives shouldn’t get to keep the majority of the company’s profits. One fair way to divide profits in this kind of environment is for the company to keep half the profits it produces. It reinvests that money into expanding the business and upgrading its living facilities. The workers don’t need to own their land they live on or the rooms they sleep in. As long as the company allows its members to live in its facilities for free and eat its food for free, then the workers can save their money for a rainy day or a retirement home somewhere else.
The rest of the company’s profits could be divided evenly between all the workers. That will upset some people who will find excuses why they should get paid more, but if everybody’s basic needs are already fulfilled, people will just be bickering about who gets paid more to buy more toys with. Personally, I believe every part in an engine is equally important to make a vehicle drive-able, and a business is like an engine. Everyone is equally important and deserves equal compensation. If you disagree with that philosophy, you can still compromise and pay your workers similar to the military, where everyone is basically paid the same, but workers are compensated for time in service, hazardous duty and other factors. You could also allocate percentages of profits to high earning departments and let the departments split their profits themselves. As long as profit sharing isn’t too unequal, everyone should be able to reasonably accommodated.
Once your city is sustainable, your workers basic needs are met, and your company is making a profit, you can expand the city indefinitely. If your city is built in the shape of a ring, you can connect every office by a single road, rail or walking path. If you build concentric rings as you expand, you can leave a certain percentage of the wilderness between the rings untouched as a nature preserve.
As long as you don’t go out of your way to control your workers with unreasonable, inhumane rules and regulations, the population will be free and happy. The rest of the world can be as brutal as an American prison, but the inhabitants of the sustainable eco-city won’t have to worry about unjust policies of world governments. The more sustainable eco-cities there are in the world, the less governments will be able to bully and exploit their citizens. Eventually those governments may simply become obsolete and crumble on their own, leaving behind fully functioning, sustainable, humane cities that can operate without excessive bureaucracies and laws.
If the entire city is effectively living in the same building with the same computer network, your entire population will be organized and accessible through the city’s intranet. This will allow the company to keep as detailed records on its employees as the military keeps on its members. This can be used for evil, but if the leaders of the city are meticulously screened, trained and controlled, then this system could be used for good. Your people could live like the crew of the Star Trek Enterprise. They would have a cradle-to-grave tracking method that maintains their medical, mental health, education and career details. With that tool, students could be steered towards their ideal career path. Employees could easily vote on policies or leaders. You could even use this information to create the world’s most efficient dating site. The potential use for good this system possesses is limitless.
Building a city is ambitious and expensive, but this whole process can be started with a small farm employing as few as twenty people. It can be expanded over time without subverting or challenging any existing power structure. It represents as social evolution, not a revolution. It doesn’t require any creepy ideologies or charismatic leaders. It’s just a smart way to do things.
These circular cities can be built from sand bags within the legal boundaries of existing nations, or they can be built on/in giant floating disks that can be launched and connected on the open ocean to create floating islands. We’ve had the technology to do this for ages, and it’s more feasible now than ever. If enough floating sustainable free island states are built, they can disgrace the old nations by offering a higher quality of life with less rules, less inequality, less stress and less violence. If everyone had a realistic chance at abandoning the country of their birth then politicians will have to do a better job at governing in order to keep tax payers in. If a country is too corrupt, inefficient and inhumane to retain enough tax payers, then their government will simply crumble without the need for a violent revolution or a charismatic revolutionary leader to rally behind.
That’s how I’d save the world if I had the money. I’d build a better system from the ground up logically and sustainably.
There’s an old saying among investors that goes something along the lines of, “Invest in the companies you buy products from.” You don’t need to have a Ph.D. in economics to understand that if you’re buying a company’s products then other people are too, and their stock is likely to go up and stay up.
There’s actually quite a bit you can understand about the economy without having a Ph.D. just by looking around you and using common sense. The economy is laid out at your feet. Every time you go to work you set foot in the economy. Every time you pay your bills, go to the bank, go to the grocery store, go on vacation, etc. you’re getting a first-hand look at the fundamental gears of the economy.
Now I’m not trying to imply that it’s a waste of time to study economics in an academic setting. I just want to talk about the concrete things we can see in front of us and compare it to what the talking heads on television are telling us. What I see in front of me is that every year everything is getting more expensive. Part of this is because of inflation, which the government could eliminate by printing less money, but they’ve decided a little inflation is good because it encourages investment. Whether or not that’s good or bad or right or wrong is another argument altogether. What’s important is that the main reason products and services are getting more expensive is because business can get away with charging more. And of course they’re going to bump up the price every chance they can. It’s in their best interest because it makes them money.
I also see business finding more and more sneaky was to rob the consumer by exploiting legal loopholes. Contracts, terms of service, warranties, service agreements, service plans, unnecessary upgrades, fines, recurring charges, etc. If you have a bank account, cell phone, cable TV, credit card, loan, mortgage, insurance, retirement fund, or have had to sign your name on any piece of paper for a business then you know what I’m talking about. And all these nickels and dimes not only hurt the poorest of the poor the hardest, but they actively target the poorest of the poor.
Speaking of targeting the poorest of the poor, fines for breaking one of the millions of useless laws we have in this country hurt the poor disproportionately more than the rich as well. I read an article on the Internet today that said Congress was actually hoping to pass a law to fine people who are too poor to afford health insurance just like they fine people who are too poor to afford car insurance. I don’t see that happening, but it horrifies me that it was ever even brought up. That tells me a lot about the kind of country I live in.
And while all of this is going on minimum wage lags far behind inflation. It’s becoming more common to hire people as contractors and fire them before they can earn benefits. Most of the people I know in real life have horror stories about themselves or their friends/family getting laid off because the company they worked for wanted to hire a young person out of college who could do the job cheaper. If you want a new job, your professional references are quickly becoming useless as employers refuse to give meaningful recommendations out of fear of being sued for slander.
And probably most importantly, let’s talk about the education bubble. The cost of an education is skyrocketing. It can double in a single year. Why? Profit. Period. And nobody gives a shit if you can’t afford it or if you have to spend the rest of your life paying off loans with interest for an overpriced piece of paper that doesn’t even reflect your professional potential. A degree is by and large a lie, but without that lie, you can’t get ahead in business. And that speaks volumes of America’s business model. It’s based on a stack of lies….lies that everyone knows are lies but do nothing about because we don’t have the courage to stand up to bullshit no matter how many Disney movies we watch and spend the rest of the night feeling like Hercules or Mulan in our crippled little heads.
But do you ever hear the talking heads on television discussing the fact that our economy is built on the blood and sweat of the poor, and that more than anything else the driving force of our market is exploiting and manipulating the consumer and the worker, particularly the poorest of them? No. They talk about stimulus, recessions, market forces, foreign debt, wall street reform, bonuses for CEO’s, etc. And while all of these topics have their place in the economy they’re ignoring the fundamentals, the salt of the earth shit. They’re ignoring the fact that the poor who are holding up the economy are being bled dry, and the signs around town say it’s only going to get worse. You can reform as many bullshit stacks of paper on Capitol Hill that nobody except a few Congressional assistants and a few eccentric professors are going to read. It’s not going to change the fact that business in America is run like shit.
The only stimulus that is going to change America around is love. Give the poor the wages they deserve, charge them what’s fair, and quit trying to fuck them out of every extra cent they have through predatory legal loopholes. That is the only reform package that’s going to fix our economy. I know the rich, sadistic mother fuckers who designed our system don’t want to hear much less do that, because it means they’re only going to get filthy rich instead of stupid, ridiculously, filthy rich, but if they continue business as usual they’re going to suck the poor dry until the poor have nothing left to give and nothing left to lose. When we run out of purchasing power the economy stops. Then the rich won’t be able to make any more money anyway, but that’ll be the least of their problems because the poor will have nothing left to lose. Have you ever met someone who has nothing to lose? They’re scary. It’s like they have a superpower. They don’t give a fuck. They will eat your face off.
That’s the choice every CEO needs to make: treat people with equal respect and love or lose all of your customers and your family’s fucking faces eaten off by a horde of starving peasants you drove to desperation because you failed to reign in your ignorant, shortsighted, wasteful, merciless greed but instead prolonged the exploitation of your fellow man by hiring well dressed bobbleheads to get on television and confuse the population with bullshit talk about macroeconomics you knew they wouldn’t understand or question and thus would just defer authority to you like good little dogs and go on eating your shit while you feasted on more stake than you could even finish.