Tag Archives: utopia

Dear Generation X, Please Build A Better World

“Generation X” refers to people born in America between 1965-1981. That time frame obviously encompasses more than one generation. For the purpose of this letter, I’m mainly referring to the youngest members of Generation X (born 1976-1981). 

I’m a member of Generation X, and I don’t have many good things to say about the Baby Boomer generation. Suffice it to say that I blame them for most of the world’s problems, but I don’t want to dwell on things I can’t change. What I can change is myself, and I feel like my generation can listen to reason. So I want to point out to my generation that anytime we find ourselves resenting our parents’ generation for abandoning us and throwing us under the bus, we should be vividly aware of what kind of big brothers and big sisters we’ve been to Generation Y and what kind of parents we’re being to Generation Z.

As it stands, I’d say that despite all the blood, sweat and tears we’ve poured into making old people rich and fighting their wars we’re actually failing pretty miserably as a generation.  We haven’t protected Gen Y’s freedoms. We sat by while privacy became a thing of the past. We didn’t do a diligent job of raising them. We sat by and let the television warp their minds into cartoons. Generation X hasn’t done much for generation Y other than to make better apps to amuse them into not caring how unfulfilling the rest of their existence is. I’d go as far as to say that Generation X is well on its way to becoming Baby Boomers 2.0.

When Gen Z takes over the world I don’t want them to resentfully dismiss Gen X as senile old roadblocks to a rational society. When my generation passes the baton I want to get a sincere handshake and a meaningful nod. More importantly, I  want to die knowing the world is headed in a better direction because of the role my generation played in history.

But we have to earn that by doing something other than fighting old people’s wars and making old people richer. The biggest way Gen X can fail is by carrying on the Baby Boomer’s legacy of screwing their customers and workers to get obscenely rich.  We can do better than that. We are better than that, and I will be very disappointed if Gen X becomes Baby Boomers 2.0.

What can Gen X do for Gen Y and Z that the Baby Boomers didn’t do for us? Well, if you don’t know what Gen y and Z want or need you could try asking them. Their answers shouldn’t surprise you. They’re bitching about the same things you’ve been bitching about your entire life: that life sucks because we have to follow archaic ideals that nobody actually believes in and that business is war, and war is hell. The corporate culture our elders based the world economy on makes life hell for workers. Even after you leave work there is a war going on between every business in existence to get as much of your money as possible, and this problem is ubiquitous  Every time you take out your wallet to put money in or take money out someone skims off the top. You get charged for not having enough money. You get charged for having too much money. You get fined for not telling the government how much money you have. You get bills in the mail telling you that you owe money for things you don’t even understand. In this dog-eat-dog, cutthroat world the cards are so stacked against the young and poor that they’re basically just set up for failure. Life is hard because our elders gave us a system that makes life as hard as possible so the rich can get as rich as possible.

There’s no big mystery about what young people want. They want what all young people have always wanted: to not get screwed and not have to live according to irrational, archaic, obsolete ideals. If we’re currently screwing the young, then we shouldn’t be asking what we can do to help young people. The answer is to stop screwing them. Stop overcharging them for all the basic necessities of life and stop paying them barely enough to survive for working as hard as they can for the majority of their waking hours. The rest of the time, just let them be themselves.

This really isn’t profound. People have been talking about this since before “We’re Not Gonna Take It” first aired on MTV. The story of our generation has always been leading to the point where we either build a better world or sell out to the old one. If the old guard won’t let their young change the old system then all that’s left to do is stop asking for permission to build a more humanitarian, rational, sustainable world and just build it.

How do you rebuild an entire world? I don’t know, but I know if you can build one city that works properly then you can copy that pattern. So until Gen X builds the city of the future my generation can’t say it’s done everything in its power to make the world a better place. Gen X owes the world a city.

If the Baby Boomers finish the job of driving the world to apocalypse we’re going to have to rebuild a better kind of city anyway to adapt to post-apocalyptic conditions. Some young people in this country are so scared of an apocalypse they’re willing to fight to prevent that, but violence only begets violence until the only thing left to do is rebuild. If we’ve got time and resources to fight then we’ve got time and resources to skip the fighting and just get straight onto the rebuilding. You might think the idea of building a city is downright stupid, but if you hear people whispering about doing stupider things to “solve” the world’s problems you might want to try to sell them on the idea of building anyway even if you don’t personally believe in it.

This raises the question, how do you set a project of that scale in motion? The answer to that question isn’t profound either. If you need inspiration just go back and watch some of the old 80’s coming of age movies you were raised on. What did our television heroes do when they had to have a showdown with the preps from the fraternity across the lake? They threw a party. Then everybody pitched in to complete a monumental task.

Generation X needs to have its Woodstock, except instead of getting muddy, doing drugs and dancing to pop bands from major record labels, we need to get all the right nerds together to figure out how to build a city right there on that field that doesn’t treat people like shit. If we can make one good city then we can rebuild broken ones later. If we can’t make at least one then we don’t really have a leg to stand on when we complain about the ones we’ve got.

One city isn’t too much to ask from a generation that wants to live in a city that reflects its own values anyway. Most of us hate our jobs. We’d all love to escape to a place where you don’t have to constantly agonize over bills and feel insecure about the future. So I don’t know why we haven’t built X City already.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 Build a Better World
Talk About Saving the World
Be Better People
Baby Boomers and The Younger Generations

My 1-Point Plan On How To Save The World

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.

3-D architectural drawnings showing the stages of building and expanding circular, sustainable monasteries

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Talk About Saving the World
Be Better People
 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World
Fixing the Economy
Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty

We Need To Talk About Creating Utopia

Books like 1984, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, Anthem, The Fountainhead, Brave New World, and even movies like Demolition Man, have instilled society with an unreasonable fear of anyone positing any vision for Utopia. Over the years we’ve become more and more paranoid about openly discussing what a perfect world would be like that you can’t even whisper the idea without someone playing the 1984 card and calling you Hitler or the Unabomber or Al Qaeda.

"Don't think too much. You'll create a problem that wasn't even there in the first place."

Sure, the world isn’t completely bad, but America is pretty far down the rabbit hole. One in four Americans will go to prison at some point in their life. Too much of the federal budget is spent on wars. Politicians lie to the people about the reasons for starting wars and everybody knows it but the politicians are never held accountable. Politicians’ careers are openly sponsored by corporations, and everyone knows that those companies influence politicians to pass laws that make them money at citizens’ expense. Everyone knows the war on drugs costs more in terms of money and life than the drugs themselves, and we’ve known this for years and have done nothing about it.

The country calls itself the land of the free and yet several large (as if the size mattered) groups of people are still denied equal rights, and the people who are most vocal about denying them are religious organizations. Suburbia is environmentally unsustainable. Ghettos are rampant. Teen angst is epidemic. Half the population is taking psychoactive drugs. Illegal drugs are cheaper than books. Schools are underfunded. Health care is unaffordable. Wage slavery is not only legal but the standard business model. You can go to prison (where you’re practically guaranteed to be beaten and raped) for downloading a movie, but CEOs can embezzle billions of dollars and practically walk away with an apology from the judicial system when they’re caught. The cost of a higher education has consistently risen faster than the price of oil. The stock market is designed to fleece the populace. Businesses that went bankrupt because of fraudulent and unethical practices have been rewarded with taxpayer money while taxpayers whose lives were decimated by natural disasters were left to die in the streets, literally.

There’s a serious debate about whether or not mythology should be taught as fact in public schools. The Food and Drug Administration approves poison for human consumption; in fact, it’s almost impossible to buy food at a supermarket that isn’t poisoned. And everyone sits on their couch getting fat watching romantic comedy and action movies that glorify pettiness and anti-intellectualism while their society exploits and murders them, and if you complain about it you’re called a terrorist. And that’s the “best nation in the world.” The consumer luxuries America enjoys are all produced in sweatshops by child slaves in third world countries oppressed by the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. How much more dystopian does it need to get before we actually start calling it a dystopia and stop jeering citizens who point out the flaws of society?

Regardless of how dystopian the world is or isn’t right now, you want the world to improve. You’d like to see the world move closer to a state that we can all agree on as relatively Utopian, but we’re never going to reach that point without talking about it. The more people talk about it the faster we’ll get there. In fact, I would go as far as to say that there isn’t a more important topic that we should be talking about. If you’re not talking about it then you’re not helping. If you’re not actively helping create utopia then you’re passively allowing the world to degenerate into the very dystopia that you’re afraid of living in.

But who is to say what utopia is or isn’t? You do. You have the authority, the right, and even the moral obligation to decide what is right and wrong without asking for permission or being certified as an authority by some other self-proclaimed authority figure. We can’t live in utopia as long as we’re constantly waiting for Big Brother to take us lovingly by the hand and guide us. We have to answer these questions ourselves because if we don’t then we cede our fate to authority.

If we’re not going to do the impossible and change the world for the best, then what the hell are we doing here? Why should we just sit on the couch and watch sports and sitcoms for the rest of our lives and let the chance to be real heroes pass us by? Do any of us really have anything more important to do than the impossible? For that matter, who convinced us that we aren’t capable of accomplishing the impossible? Most of human progress was accomplished by people doing the things that society said was impossible. So we know humans can do the impossible. The only question is whether or not we’ll go down in history as the timid majority of sane, practical naysayers who did nothing except discourage anyone who tried to change the status quo for the better, or are we going to go down in history as the people who said, “You know what? I know I’m not a genius… I’m not a world leader… I’m not a prophet… I’m nobody. I come from nowhere, and I have no right to presume to be able to change the world, but I’m going to do it anyway whether I’m allowed to or not.

If nothing else, I hate to sound cliché, but think about the children, specifically your’s. You want to leave them the best possible world, right? Well, spending your life watching mindless TV will guarantee that they inherent a dystopian world, and it doesn’t matter how good of a parent you were because they’re going to spend their adult life as mindless slaves working in a system that is rigged to make them lose for the benefit of the people controlling the system. So all the sacrifices you made as a parent will be for nothing since your inaction in the greater scheme of things will have guaranteed that their chance of success will be as good as winning the lottery. And the first step doesn’t require any sacrifice. All it requires is talking about utopia, but in order to do that, we need to get over our fear of utopia.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Talk About Saving the World
Be Better People
 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World

%d bloggers like this: