A worldwide strike won't work because it won't happen.
“Lucky to have a job
”- it's a phrase that many of us will hear at some point. Whether it be some small attempt to make us feel better about having some menial job which we hate for various reasons or perhaps a comforting line for those without jobs- reinforcing the idea that it's not their fault, it's hard to find a job in this economy. And it is hard and it does somewhat depend on luck, being in the right place at the right time and employers
clearly take advantage
of these facts.
For most of us, even skilled workers, employers know that there will always be, in essence, someone waiting ready to snatch up a job if one of their employees ends up jobless due to some sort of misconduct. It's an employer's job market, when looking for work, especially if you're at “the bottom of the food chain”, you tend to just look for what jobs there are, not what jobs you'd prefer
It's possible to interpret this as positive in some respects
because it means more competition
and therefore better productivity
as people strive to be better in order to keep their jobs or even get them in the first place. Although I would argue this is false
because those with jobs will ultimately be stress
ed more than usual causing decreased productivity which is unnoticed because it affects the entire working and non-working population.
However, my main point against this is that, surely, all of these “benefits
” (which only benefit the ruling class) do not outweigh the outcomes for those left jobless- those who end up in relative poverty
through no fault of their own yet end up being turned upon by the rest of society. Is a competetive job market really worth making it so there is always a group of unemployed people for which quality of life is significantly less? To me- obviously not.
Because of the way in which this system works, people now fear
for the loss
of their jobs. Once employed people have some sense of security
which is tied to their income
, their home
and their way of life
- something that they would avoid losing to the cost of many things. An employer's job market leads to employee acquiescence
. An employer knows that they can squeeze their employees and they will acquiesce because their other option would lead to the loss of their jobs. Standing up for yourself
at work is frowned upon
because apparently we are lucky to have our jobs. So employers take advantage of this knowledge by slowly impeding our rights. Personally, I think examples work best when coming from personal experience but because of, and as an example, I cannot talk about examples of when this has happened to me because I've signed a contract which, basically, prohibits me from talking negatively about my job- otherwise I could be dismissed without notice...
Taking all this into account and returning to my main hypothesis, just how could you convince all workers to come together and strike? Even if you convinced near the majority of workers to strike, in most jobs, those in which employees are viewed as replaceable
, would simply be fired and their jobs filled in near instantenously by those who have spent the past few years or months in abject poverty
because of their unemployed
who are “lucky
to have jobs” are completely aware
of this so will not strike.
This waterfall of fear
perpetuates the workplace and those who would dare to speak for themselves are ostracised
because it is safer for your employment
, hence your wellbeing
, that you keep your mouth shut
, just do your job and tell yourself you're lucky to have it. For this reason ultimately
, I don't think a worldwide strike is possible. I don't think this means we cannot protest however, and I do think a better world is possible and closer than we realise, I think we just have to put less time in to the idea of a strike and more into other forms of protest instead. Check out what you can do at our links/affiliates page.
Monopolies have a long standing history of doing great things, for the monopolists. Per example, here in Norway, around the 14th to the 17th century, the seafaring trade was mostly controlled by rich merchants from the German states. Norwegian fishers sold their salted and dried fish to the merchants for a very low price, and the merchant sold the fish at much higher prices out in Europe.
With a monopoly like this, the German merchants had much control over both the price they paid for the fish, since they controlled the sea exports, and the price they took when they sold them again.
How could this be? The Merchants where well organized, you may call it a cartel, and the fishers, they where not organized. The merchants did not compete with themselves, they did not bid against each other to buy the fish. And for the fishers, the price was so low, that they had to produce wast amounts to sell enough to make a living. And, since the supply was so large, the price of the fish went down again. The merchants set the purchasing price between themselves, and it was pretty low. And in addition they had a common practice of offering the fishers some complementary drinks, and perhaps fiddling a bit with the weights.
Btw. did i mention that the Merchants also had monopoly on import of corn? That's quite important, since, the fisher's couldn't live on fish alone. People need carbohydrates, bread is a good source of that, and the potato didn't arrive in Norway until about the 18th century. So the fishers would have to spend a lot of that hard earned money to buy corn at monopoly prices too, since the production of corn in Norway was... terrible.
When the merchants sold them again out in Europe, they had quite a few advantages. They where the ones with the largest amounts. You needed several tons of salty,dried fish? you go to these merchants. If any troublesome upstarts wanted to take over their business, the merchants could sell the fish at much lower prices, and still make a profit, since they had bought the fish at such a low price. And if you've got lots of capital (savings and similar), you can even sell your fish even lower than what you need to make a profit for an extended period of time. And, salted, dried fish is very practical. It can be stored for long periods of time without getting damaged. It's also a good market for it. Since this sort of food is awesome for long sea voyages, and those Spaniards and Portuguese love their Bacalao
In summary: you control the price you pay when you buy the goods, and you control the price when you sell the goods.
According to Adam Smith, A free market will produce goods at the lowest possible prices. Since all producers are competing with each other. According to Vladimir Iljitsj Uljanov the more successful capitalists will gradually gain monopoly. In the world today, you can see that both statements are true. Per example, the farmers in Norway are badly organized, the industry and grocery stores are well organized. The price for the farmers raw produce (milk, corn, potatoes, vegetables, meat) is thus low. So the price the industry and the grocery stores have to pay for their goods is low. You can't buy directly from a farmer either (health regulations and such), you, as a consumer, has to buy from the store. There are a few different store's in Norway, but they're all part of one of three Companies (the Reitan Group, NorgesGruppen or ICA). So if one of these companies where to go bankrupt, be bought out, or embedded in one of the other, the remaining companies would gain more power to control the prices. So as it is now, there are only three companies that set the prices on groceries, if there are fewer, the power to control would be in even less people.
How too gradually gain monopoly you ask? As your business venture will due to luck or hard work, have times of higher than usual profits, you can reinvest those profits in several ways to get ahead of your competitors. You can make your venture more efficient (which means producing more, with less expense), you can advertise (repeated exposure does increase sales) or you can save.
By making your business venture more efficient, your expenses go down. As your expenses go down, you can lower the prices of your produce (so people will buy your produce instead of your more costly competitors), or you can keep the same prices, and increase your profits further. Your lower prices might have gotten rid of those competitors selling the same produce at extortion prices. Or, with your increased profits, you might have been able to buy out some of the competitors. Either way, the competition is now less.
Advertising, increases sales. Even though most people won't see a commercial and say "i'll go and buy that product now", but statistics show that especially in grocery stores, the advertised products have much higher sales than the unadvertised ones. When making an add, you shouldn't just have it be an image that says "buy coke" in large letters. You should have images of happy, beautiful people, on a beautiful day, that just happens to drink coke. You can also make it funny. The main thing is to create positive feelings in the recipient, that can then be transferred to the product. So when you go into a store, you can see a bottle of coke and get some of those positive feelings as when you saw those pretty people on the pretty day. Unadvertised products don't have that, they're "unknown" and perhaps even suspicious. you're less likely to buy those if you don't have to. Those products, might disappear, or be forced to spend money on advertising themselves. And again, less competition.
Saving money is great. If you have large savings, you can sell your produce so low you won't even make a profit for an extended period of time. People will buy your cheap produce, and the rest, who are not as well funded, might loose sales (and thus, profits) or even go bankrupt. Savings are also good if those pesky unions decide to go on a strike. If you got lots of money in store, you can be able withstand the loss of income far longer than the average working man (whose income and expenses doesn't always allow for large bank accounts).
And less competition again. These three actions aren't exactly illegal, or even particular harmful to the market. But as you grow bigger and bigger, you can perform these actions on a larger scale. You also have many advantages over upstarts. As upstarts doesn't have as much capital and consumers haven't got confidence in your product (as it's an "unknown" compared to your old and trustworthy product).
As there are fewer competitors, it gets easier to organize. If you and some other major competitors have a cartel, you can decide a price between you, a price that none of you will go below. Thus overcoming the obstacle of having to always go lower than your competition to get consumers to buy your produce. The obstacle's left for your cartel is pesky upstarts, but you can easily buy them out, or go below their price for a while. Another obstacle is if consumers organize.
Can consumer organize? It's been done. People organizing a boycott on particular products happen all the time. here in Norway, leftists don't buy oranges from the Jaffa company, since they're likely to have been grown on occupied, Palestinian land. In the U.S. i think there was something about some tea a few centuries ago. It can go unnoticed, or, start quite a ruckus. However, when it comes to organize something like this, it's often a lot harder. Consumers might be large in numbers, but larger numbers are harder to organize. You might try to remember this if you ever try to start a workers union.
The effects of monopolies.
If you have a monopoly, that might mean that your produce was just better and cheaper than everyone else's *insert sarcasm here*. But as you have your monopoly, you have great power. You're not just able to set the prices to your liking, you can also decide the quality of your product. As consumers have less products to choose from, it gets more difficult to compare quality. For countries with economies that rely primarily on one sort of produce, when there is a monopoly on that particular resource, the consequences can be terrible. Look at Guatemala, when the democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz Guzman attempted to make Guatemala economically independent from the United States. Monopolist here; United Fruit. They didn't take to kindly to Arbenz giving away land to the poor, this means competition. He was overthrown by a CIA-lead coup in 1954, after he had been president since 1951.
Monopolies doesn't always mean that the price the consumer pay is high. It can also mean that the price is being subsidized, by poor people's sweat and blood. You want to grow fruit? How about Guatemala. The price of labor is dirt-cheap, you might even be able to get some, special treatment from local government. If you buy all the land, you can also make sure that the local people have to work for you, for wages set by you. Luckily, the kind local governance might help you fight pesky unions. And if the local government proves "unhelpful", you can ask for the help from certain shady agencies at home.
The affects can be particularly dangerous since the produce that's monopolized is often very important, something you can't really get around, like food or oil. Can you boycott food? You would have to get some other type of food for your nutrition, perhaps grow it yourself (on your farm in the middle of Manhattan?). Oil? you can surely do without that polluter, you can get an electric car, just find something else than oil to produce the electricity, the tires, the plastic, the tarmac...
Boycotting certain products is difficult, especially for the time period needed to have an effect.
many things can be monopolized. Prices, wages, rent, violence, even political activity (i'm looking at you "Demopublican Party") and knowledge. That last one is particularly dangerous, since for a free market to function with some minimum of success, it's necessary for consumers to take informed choices about what they buy (Ad's does not make you "informed"). A monopoly on knowledge in the form of controlling newspapers, book publishers, TV networks, will give you power of what people are exposed to from the sources that society has deemed credible. If you look at the fashion industry, these fashion magazines have pretty much monopoly of what is fashion. Fashion blogs could have been some competition in that area, but lots of those bloggers get paid too write about certain clothes, bags, makeup and etc.
But how about the monopoly of taste? Lots of the food we eat comes from industry. It's ready-made, and just needs heating. I'll not make a long rant about the evils of industrial food, i will however, write about their taste and their names. Industry-made food bears the names of the actual recipe they're trying to imitate. So if you've always eaten Bearnaise sauce made from powder, will you even recognize the taste when you get to taste actual Bernaise? (Hint, the answer is no). As we let the industry decide more and more about what we think is a good standard, what we should expect from a product, they will also decide that we need what's best for industry.
Monopoly, be it state or private, is several degrees of bad. In worst case scenario, you might end up like Frodo, on the way up Mount Doom, you'll have forgotten the touch of grass, the warmth of the sun, the taste of Bernaise. All you'll know is fire, steel and protein soup.
Rumination in feedback loops:
Don't let anxiety get in the way of your goals!
If you know anything about computers or simple algorithms, you've probably heard of feedback loops. The concept is not hard to grasp, even when applied to psychology. Data is input, processed and then an output is created, based on the processing, which is used as the new input; and so the process is ongoing.
Psychological rumination, not to be confused with digestive rumination, is similar to worry in that it is both useless and harmful to us- because of feedback loops. They are both negative emotional states in which a person will worry about something or "overthink" about certain events. Worry entails thinking about the future, events which may or may not occur, whereas on the other hand, rumination could be described as worrying about the past.
Applying what we understand about both these concepts, we can come to realise how our tendencies to self-reflect can hold us back- unless we don't just self-reflect, we are self-aware. Through our self development we are frequently encouraged to self-reflect, and at times, it can be beneficial to look to our past mistakes so that we can learn from them. However, this can become damaging if we tend to dwell on negative memories for too long- because of feedback loops...
Feedback loops involve four stages:
1) The evidence stage
This is when our mind collects the data input. In the case of rumination, when our thoughts linger on our past misfortunes this means we collect and therefore input, negative data.
2) The relevance stage
This is when our mind processes that data in order to make it emotionally significant. In the case of rumination this can mean, in what we will call cases A and B, that we are endowed with a sense of failure.
3) The consequence stage
This is when our mind comes up with a list of possible choices we can make using the processed information. In rumination, this can mean, in case A, we limit the choices we might take because we fear repeating our mistakes, or fear we are simply not good enough to even attempt taking certain paths.
In case B, we simply fail to come up with any relevant choices to our goals, to subconsciously cover up our feelings of failure, in an attempt to be rid of our feelings of contempt for ourselves.
In another case, C, we are inclined to come up with choices that would correct past mistakes, we make choices that would achieve goals that attempt to overcome past failures instead of overcoming them by simply admitting they've happened and learning from them.
Finally, 4) The action stage
This is when we go from thinking to doing- it is the point at which we actually decide on an action; and whether you lean towards agency or determinism, both are irrelevant in this process as this stage cannot happen without the previous stages.
In case A, the action taken will be similar to case B in that it is either irrelevant or insignifcant enough to make an impact. This usually means that the person will still dwell on their feelings of past failure and continue to stay in the feedback loop as a vicious circle. This may lead to case B.
In case B, the action taken is usually irrelevant to the person's goals and if they continue to ruminate, they will forever dwell in this feedback loop, possibly leading to clinical depression.
In case C, the person will either be successful in correcting past mistakes and be able to move on to a more positive feedback loop, or, in most cases, will continue to fail and either continue the feedback loop, or become like case A or B. This case can also lead to contempt for other people as the person will usually attribute or blame their failures on others, in a subconscious attempt to make themselves feel better, usually with poor results.
What we learn from all these cases is, unless we become self aware, it is easy to fall into the vicious, cyclical trap of rumination in feedback loops. However, it is possible to overcome this. The great thing about feedback loops is they rely on whatever input we give them, and we can control that input if we focus. The best and worst thing about feedback loops is they usually result in exponential results. So if we get stuck in the trap of negative rumination, we tend to decline emotionally, exponentially, leading to unhappiness, unfulfilment and depression.
I'm not a huge fan of misleading slogans that are meant to be motivational, even though they are marketing nonsense, for example Nike's "Just Do It" but when we apply the above knowledge, we can see that when we motivate ourselves simply by believing ourselves, we can actually positively impact our own development. So when looking to achieve our goals, we should be self-aware and think about the feedback loops...
1) Evidence- If we have succeeded in the past, it shows we are on the right track. If we have failed, we are not on the right track, time to change direction perhaps. Don't blame others for our mistakes, learn from them.
2) Relevance- If we are on the right track, we should be motivated to continue, perhaps pick up the pace, believe that putting an extra hour into a certain task every night will make a noticeable difference in achieving our eventual goal! If we're not on the right track, realise that now we know, realise that we still have time, realise that finding out now was always better than later, even if it has been a long amount of time.
3) Consequence- If we're on the right track, let's keep going and making similar goals, keep working towards the same goal. If we're changing lanes, think about other possibilities to achieve a goal, even if it's an entirely different or new goal, we must realise that applying ourselves can yield fantastic results, even if they've not in the past.
4) Action- Put all our effort into our goals. Make ourselves believe that the goal will be achieved and it's worth all the time and effort being put into it because then this feeling of self worth will be put back into the feedback loop and we stay positive and when we remain positive our ideas flow free and great.
Let me know what you think about these ideas and how you can apply them to your life and goals? Perhaps you didn't realise before now that you were stuck in a rumination feedback loop about a certain goal and this has helped you out!
This is part 1 in a series of posts I'm going to be making about how we can apply recent breakthroughs in understanding of feedback loops and gamification to self development.
“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”
Leonardo Da Vinci.
Authority is defined as the right to give orders, make decisions and enforce obedience of others.
Anarchism is defined as the political philosophy which regards the establishment of state power as undesireable for the populus.
Obviously, looking at these two definitions, we can gather that anarchists, like myself, do not recognise the authority of the state. However, thanks to misinformation propogation by mainstream media, most people believe that anarchists, and anarchy, disrespect all forms of authority. This is simply not the case; in fact, it's quite the opposite.
Most anarchists come to have their opinions and beliefs, not because of a misplaced sense of morals because of misfortunes they've experienced through their life, but rather, anarchists believe that state institutions aren't just irrelevant to the masses, but actually harmful.
Anarchists, at least, most intelligent ones, would agree there are many examples of true authority we all must adhere to. For example, the natural laws of the world, physics, whether you are theistic and believe them imposed by some deity, or atheistic and believe they just exist for some, yet to be known, reason.
Another example of anarchism's acknowledgement and respect for authority is the authority of a teacher over a student. The difference with this is that an anarchist believes it is a teacher's duty to pass on all of their knowledge, to the best of their ability, to their student, in such a way that would mean once both student and teacher have all the knowledge of a subject, the authority of the teacher over the student regarding that subject is gone.
Anarchists believe the state has no place in modern society in a similar train of thought to this. Many believe that the state had place in governing the people as knowledge may not have been so easily attainable for all in the past. It would be up to those with the intelligence and knowledge, to form the state and govern the people; however nowadays, with technology like the internet, there is no need for state rule.
In conclusion, don't believe the cultural stereotypes that are pushed by mainstream media, don't judge what you don't understand and most importantly, respect that anarchists don't dislike the state out of scorn, they would see it disestablished for the benefit of YOU!
Thanks for reading
The following post is a reply to this post on ipower
I suppose this might be my reply to a lot of people who think similar things. Why should they help the world? Why the hell not?
I understand the whole happiness thing and from what you've said, I don't see any point in me trying to motivate you because it seems that in your current frame of mind, you'll just be dismissive of any points I make regardless of how good they are.
Anyway, I completely agree with you that people should be allowed to feel content with not doing anything to help anyone. I completely agree with you that no one should feel obliged to do damn well anything because it's their life and they owe no one anything; including their parents- the argument of how you owe your parents because they brought you into this life and gave you a chance at life is complete nonsense because you have no choice.
"I'll very well admit that I'm not improving my world or my country or my family, I can very well assure you that I'm not making it worse either."
Now, how can you be sure of that? I'm pretty damn sure that of the hundred of people I've heard that from, they were actually continuing to make the world a worse place. I understand if people don't want to be informed, that's up to them to make the effort; but when their ignorance (because, frankly, that's exactly what it is), blissful as it may seem, usually comes with a sense of satisfaction for consumerism and the status quo.
Now, again, I'll repeat that I completely understand the choice, not to do anything to help change the world, but, you're actually hurting the world when you let it continue as it is nowadays. If you shop at walmart and put little shops out of business, that's considered a big no to most people nowadays and they usually say they wish they could afford going to small family businesses and helping out in their own communities, not because they want to help the community, but because they don't want to help big corporations like walmart (which I also think is wrong but I disgress). Even by shopping at smaller businesses, the don't realise still, they are consuming, they are buying things they don't need to feel fulfilled. They are going about being happy the wrong way.
I'm an atheistic kopimiist, but I love many of the buddhist teachings, especially those by the Dalai Lama (whom I saw a lecture by recently).
This is one of my favourite teachings, I knew it myself kinda, but somehow, when this guy says it, it's simplicity makes it more meaningful.
"Human beings are all same, they want only happy life."
I've always been interested in why people are discriminatory and prejudice is so rife in our world and this is a profoundly simple explanation of both why it is and why it's wrong. The only thing any sane and healthy
person wants in life is to be happy. At times, this meant discrimination was justified for many or invoked simply by flaws in human wiring such as peer pressure and irrational fears. Nowadays, prejudices are most frequent towards the "lower classes" of people and, although still prevalent, racism and nationalism is not as
common. Again, I disgress, just another example of how this quote can explain so much, in my opinion.
So, unless you're ignorant, and I'm not saying you are, you should know how consuming and continuing with the status quo is actually harmful to millions around the world. All the waste produced and the products made using unsustainable methods and, what can only be described as, slave labour; and you are quite content with not changing anything?
To be frank, I will defend your right to sit on your arse and do nothing but play videogames for the rest of your life if it pleases you, because that doesn't harm anyone; but I will also use my right as a human to do everything I can to change your mind, to ask for your help to ask you either to help me show others what they are doing wrong and how they can be happy without harming anyone and to stop you from letting the world continue as is.
"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem"
Charles Rosner, according to the interwebz
Now, I understand for most people, this is difficult and unenjoyable or whatever. But if you cannot realise and empathise
that the world is a lot bigger than you and most times, by not doing anything, you're letting those who do bad things get away with it, you're not realising that you are actually helping them.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Edmund Burke, not exact words, according to interwebz
It's understandable for people to say they don't want to help. I can empathise with them, saving the world is a difficult task and when given the "opportunity" or "challenge", as some would call it, most would dismiss it with a plethora of excuses including "I don't have time", "It's not up to me", "Someone else will do it", "It's not my fault it needs saving" etc etc. I think part of the problem is people don't realise how easy it is to help, to make a tiny positive difference, but still, overall a positive one. Instead most people see themselves as not harming anyone by continuing to go about their daily lives, content with the fact that the world is crumbling about them, millions of people are dying for no good reason and they could help but choose not to.
"It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it."
Edmund Way Teale, according to a book I'm reading
In an ideal world, and I know we've not got there yet, but perhaps in my lifetime I'll see this world, you won't have to worry about your decisions affecting people. You could be as lazy as you want, eat as much as you want, do what you want. But we're not in an ideal world, and as much as it's not up to you to do anything to make it better, you should take it on yourself to at least stop making it worse. Why? Because it's the right thing to do! You say you care, but obviously not enough to do anything but you apparently care enough that you would rather you didn't make a negative impact. TL;DR If you're not doing anything then you're having a negative impact on the world.
Another thing to emphasise is that by helping the world, you don't just help others, you help yourself. Thanks to human biology and how we've evolved, it literally should make you feel good to help others
. Altruism shouldn't be some burden that you feel is dropped on you, it should be like taking hold of an easy opportunity to make a positive difference in someone's lives. Something that will hopefully get carried forward so that eventually it reaches someone with the power and intelligence to pass it forward to the entire world and all it's inhabitants.
I guess it's becoming a post in which I try to motivate you again, but you should try to empathise with me too. Look at the passion I have for wanting to help others and think about something you like or care about. It comes from a sense of fulfilment, a sense that anyone could have if they simply turn off the TV, turn on their minds and listen to the world instead of the radio.
I'll end it with a request: You don't have to show me you're doing anything positive for the world, even though I think you should, but prove to me that you're not doing anything negative.
First public fundraiser for NorthernCornerUK in Warrington Town Centre
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The following article reflects my own opinions regarding the idea of a transition from the current socio-economic paradigm into a new society which benefits all of humanity. If you dis/agree with my opinions let me know in the comments below, as well as giving any positive or negative criticism of the article.
Regardless of whether you get along with all of it's inhabitants, this tiny planet is home to all of us.
Humanity's existence as a species depends on our ability to coexist peacefully.
This article is a plan of transition to a society in which we all can live peacefully and auspiciously.
The transition plan There is one simple idea behind this plan; coexistence through sustainable independence.
Sustainable independence defined as being able to govern one's self without needing to depend on other people, the state or private organisations in order to attain any of the necessities for human survival and success; also without having a negative impact on the environment and in such a way that can continue forever (opposite of dependency on oil as oil will run out).
These necessities defined within the NCUK mission statement
as food, water, clothing, housing, electricity, healthcare, internet access and education.
This plan is made possible by current technology and many of the benefits of modern living we have in developed countries. This would show how the technology is real and sustainable for all and would lead to more distributed and efficient networks of technology that provide the same benefits, even if not in a single home. In other words, eventually once everyone became aware that automatic aquaponics systems are possible at home, it would make it possible for those with the resources to make larger systems that can distribute food to the local residents instead of each resident having their own system, as this may be less efficient. This plan is also based on the possiblity of emergence, the realisation that the only constant in society is change, so as new technology develops, parts of this plan may change (and I will draft new updated versions as this happens).
Some of the systems mentioned in this article are cited as needing "little to no maintenance". When talking about having these systems as free, most people retort that they could not be free because someone must be paid to maintain them. I believe in this system, a system that cares for the individual and society holistically, there would be no shortage of volunteers, and no shortage of free knowledge on how to maintain the systems for these volunteers to learn.
If you have any questions concerning the reality of the technology mentioned in this article that are not answered somewhere below, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In all developed countries, access to water is abundant and almost free. It could be free if we harvest it properly using current technology that makes drinking water more abdundant than ever.
There are plenty of systems available that turn seawater into drinking water meaning eventually water would be free if the distribution was completely automated. Integrating new systems that take advantage of this technology would alleviate the problems with access to water in developing countries, leading to less widespread disease and hunger.
For now, in this transition stage, unfortunately, water isn't free and it wouldn't be possible in many places to recycle or harvest all of the water we need but with some simple changes, we can reduce our water bills and their environmental impact. Here
are a few ways to reduce the amount of water we consume and there are many other ways of saving water such as harvesting rain water
or new plumbing systems that maximise efficiency (such as filling toilet tank with waste water from washing in sink and/or shower [image]
As outlined in our sections on Aquaponics, there are a few technologies in development that would make food production so efficient, thus food so abundant, that it would be free for all. These systems would require little to no maintenance because they are basically closed ecosystems in which natural processes produce the food.
Making use of the technology that makes water abundant (see above) and electricity abundant (see below), the food these systems produces would only be as expensive as the costs required to transport them. Transportation of these goods would not be a massive issue either as this could also be automated and due to the nature of the technology, it would be possible to have systems distributed where they would maximise efficiency. In other words, in the current system, food can only be produced in certain parts of the world because of issues with climate and physical space.
It is quite possible to produce all of the world's energy demands for electricity sustainably and without harming the environment. Moreover, in producing our energy as electricity we do not lose many of the advantages using fossil fuels have given us- such as relatively fast transport and cheap electricity production.
By taking advantage of solar, tidal, wind and geothermal power, in distributed systems, energy will become so abundant it must be free. These systems also require little to no maintenance.
As the world population comes to a steady figure, we will reach a point when we know how many homes are required to keep the entire world population sheltered. At the moment it's estimated that almost a million homes in the UK are empty (source
) and there are less than 100,000 homeless people (source
). Similarly, in the US, over 10% of homes are empty (source
). Although it's hard to say whether there currently exists enough homes to house everyone in the world, it's clear that even in the developed world, because of the way the system works, it leaves millions of homes unused thus wasted.
As with the technology used for food production, production of cotton could be made free. Cotton could be made abundant and technology is already in use and exists that means clothing could be abundant. Furthermore, other organic materials such as hemp could be used to produce clothing.
In addition, it's important to mention that in order to continue sustainably, further rejection of consumerism must be accepted by society. Wasting whole wardrobes of clothes and purchasing entirely new ones for the sake of "fashion" is simply not sustainable. Moreover, this consumerism does not lead to happiness, only further inequality and needless judgementalism based on insanity!
Thanks to libraries and, more importantly, the internet, it's easier now more than ever to get a wealth of knowledge simply by browsing the web. With sites like Khan Academy and Coursera offering many high class courses completely free of charge, it's easy to see that education will be free in the near future.
Thanks to advances in technology, particularly in the field of robotics, healthcare is quickly becoming another automated process! With machines capable of making diagnoses more accurately than human doctors and machines that make complex surgeries possible remotely coupled with free education meaning anyone with the intelligence and ability can become a medical professional regardless of financial or geographical situation.
With all of the above advances, it's clear that open free internet access is coming very soon. With this technology freely available we will not only be able to get high quality education freely online but also find and share all our entertainment here!
On Saturday 16th June, my girlfriend took me to see part of the Dalai Lama's UK lecture tour in Manchester. On stage, acting as Master of Ceremonies for the Dalai Lama was notable comedian and filmstar, Russell Brand. The talk was principally about how young people are those with the most potential to change the world, but Brand and the Dalai Lama shared some of their own personal stories and gave insight and advice for many of the problems faced by today's youth.
The talk began with an inspiring video which shares the Dalai Lama's message, the overall theme of the rest of the talk. A message which speaks of compassion, tolerance and peace as the gateway to a meaningful and happy life. Among fellow buddhists, the current
Dalai Lama is believed to be the reincarnation of a long line of Dalai Lama and has been harshly criticised by the Chinese government for his opposition to the exile of the Tibetan people, his criticism of the Chinese government's totalitarian policies concerning freedom and religious tolerance and for his religious teachings of the possibility that a Dalai Lama may come from another part of the world, and may be female; the Chinese government claims they are the sole authority on selecting religious leaders.
For these reasons then, it may surprise some that Russell Brand was chosen for the prestigious role of Master of Ceremonies. Actually, Russell Brand is well known for his interests in Eastern religion and especially for his interest and advocacy of transcendental meditation- which he claims as a significant factor in his recovery from drug addiction. Although Brand is known for his sometimes controversial comedy and criminal record, it is clear from his actions in recent years, such as opposing Israel's assault on Gaza or his upcoming show BrandX which aims to raise public awareness of issues like global poverty, Brand has turned his life around and is a beacon of hope for people suffering from addictions, and a great example of the power of forgiveness.
Forgiveness was also a major theme during the talk, as the Dalai Lama explained how the idea "forgive and forget" isn't necessarily correct; in fact, we should forgive the person, but not forget the action. We should oppose it, peacefully but always keep in mind that the person who committed the act, is just another human being like you or I- capable of making mistakes, capable of doing good. Brand didn't specifically mention names but he allegedly hinted at a recent upset he encountered whilst being a guest on the Graham Norton Show, when talking about a recent example of when he had forgiven someone. Brand said he forgave someone for being rude to him, but he did not forget that the person was rude to him; the Dalai Lama confirmed that this was the correct action to take, and he should not hold any bad feelings to said person, as they are just as human as he is.
As another great example of the power of forgiveness, we were taught of the story of a courageous young girl who forgave the person who murdered her father. Although, honestly, I thought she was a little naive in her reasoning for doing so, she was undeniably brave and the lesson in how easy it can be to forgive someone stands true. The Dalai Lama managed to take her example and use it to reinforce his own reasoning, which we should all learn from, in knowing that everyone's actions are for their own reasons; but all humans are just that, and all want the same thing: happiness.
This was another important aspect of the talk and it holds true in almost all situations. Even when this idea breaks down, it's usually because of some mental problem the person has- and even then, it makes the idea more important. We are all human, we all have basic needs and to a certain extent, we are all the same. We need certain things to survive and we all want to be happy. Part of the reason NCUK exists and other groups like The Zeitgeist Movement
exist is because in today's monetary system and consumer society, ideas like this, ideas that have been proved by science, it seems like following these ideas goes against what is socially acceptable and are actually more difficult to do because in order to survive or be happy, we need to follow these norms, regardless of the damage they do to our environment or fellow man.
Overall, the aim of the talk had two points: raising awareness of these issues, helping people realise that they can change the world by being the change. Hopefully, NCUK can help in doing this too. Check out the mission here
and follow us on facebook
to keep updated. If you have any ideas for us, or would like to have your own article published here, email us at email@example.com
Please note, I have used BBC News as the source for many of the links below because the archives are easier to search than that of other media outlets.
Simply put, not enough is being done and I doubt what needs to be done, can be done. SOPA and PIPA were bad for business because they would've made it possible for the government to block sites. Big companies were willing to participate in an internet "blackout"
to raise awareness of the dangers of censorship; especially when the censorship would have been caused by users, not the companies that ran the sites.
For some reason, people who helped campaign against SOPA and PIPA were under the impression that these bills would be the start of net censorship and the end of net neutrality
but it's clear from the recent actions the US government took in taking down MegaUpload
justify what they can, and are, already doing!
The sad fact of the matter is when people came together to protest the aforementioned legislation, they weren't considering why big companies that protested it were doing so. It's a well established fact that almost all relevant political institutions in the world, like the US government, the British parliament etc, receive the majority of their funding from private businesses and corporations with private interests. When these companies that fund the governments are against, it's in the best interests of the government leaders to change legislation to suit the aims of the companies that fund them otherwise they lose their position.
It's already been noticed by many people who pay attention to the world, that despite the failure of bills like SOPA and PIPA to pass, the government already has the ability to take down sites suspected to be breaking laws. Moreover, as the campaigns against those bills was due to the fact that sites could be taken down even if the content allegedly breaking laws was there because of users, not the company running the site. The apparent justification for the MegaUpload case is that the company was not doing enough to remove and monitor the sharing of copyrighted content.
There have been, and still exist, many internet campaigns regarding this, more than those that exist against CISPA, yet nothing has been and nothing will be done about it. At best, the team behind MegaUpload will avoid a prison sentence but the fine is inevitable and MegaUpload will be gone for good. Campaigns against this are destined to fail, just as CISPA is destined to pass, and here is why...
CISPA is not about making companies be held accountable for the actions of their users, it's about giving the government the power to prosecute the users of the sites by enabling the companies to pass on users' personal information to the prosecutors.
With SOPA and PIPA, a pirate uploads illegal content to a website, that website gets shutdown.
With CISPA, a pirate uploads illegal content to a website, the owners of that website pass the information about that pirate to the government.
This doesn't stop sites operating, this doesn't stop sites making money, this is easily abused. This is perfect for them, they might even make more money from it; especially considering the government doesn't need a proper reason to request information. This act overrides previous legislation put in place to protect our personal information and simply means that the government is free to spy on us online; we are no longer private in our own homes!
People are somewhat aware of this fact so they have petitioned successfully for some acknowledgement of the problems and all we have achieved is this. A veto solves nothing, Obama doesn't keep promises and cannot go against CISPA because it's in the best interests of the companies that fund his political party.
In the end, there isn't much we can do except campaign against this and just hope that the political leaders with the power to stop this bill do so. I doubt anything will come of this but the internet has always found a way to regulate itself and if worse comes to worst, everyone should just stop giving any personal information out online. Delete facebook, twitter etc. Let's just hope it doesn't come to that.
Language is a tool for communication. Communication is the most important aspect of all civilisation and the ways in which we can communicate have developed exponentially in the past few years thanks to the internet and the evolution of social media. It's becoming increasingly easier to join the global conversation and in the next few years it's estimated that another billion people will have a voice online. The internet's power to free people by giving them a voice, with true freedom of speech, was previously underestimated. Revolutions across the world are made possibly by social media applications and tyrannical governments have had their oppressive regimes exposed online. Just as dictators in the arab spring tried to censor people's internet capabilities, here in the West, governments are realising that people now have the power to find and share their dirty secrets online so have seemingly become obsessed with reducing the power we have with legislation such as CISPA
"With great power, comes great responsibility..."
I know it's a spiderman quote but the meaning is still very profound and relevant here!
All of us now have the power to contribute, share information and knowledge with people around the world. That is a hell of a lot of power and, to be honest, it's quite scary when you think about it. There are a lot of people out in the world that might not have your best interests at heart and it would be quite easy for them to put extremely misleading information online for the vulnerable, gullible or newbie to find. It's probably the main reason I advocate researching what you read online.
But misleading information online, isn't what this article is focused on...#
A lot of the groups I'm part of online communicate very effectively and this article is not aimed at any group or individual in particular.
As the above example shows, language is important. Some people would argue that those who point out such flaws are being unnecessarily pedantic, however if we were discussing something important, for example, the limitations of localised distribution (totally random topic...) then attention to detail would surely be important.
Now of course, I don't condone what is commonly known online as "Grammar Nazism", but when the topic is serious, it should be taken seriously. When I see a thread online discussing something serious, I will point out flaws in grammar and spelling because if someone new to the thread saw it they might think the following:
"A topic about a serious issue, probably being discussed by intelligent people who can make significant contributions and come to logical conclusions! I'm an intelligent person, maybe I could add something- let's have a look at what's already been discussed... Hmmm, lots of erroneous diction by people who claim to be of sufficient intellectual ability that they can solve major problems in the world... Can I really trust someone to help engineer such an important idea if they don't know the difference between "there", "their" and "they're"?"
For me, the answer is no and I have been accused of being jealous because I have nothing to contribute so I choose to point out such minor errors; or I'm being pedantic unnecessarily, distracting from the actual subject. To those I ask, do you think that scientists publish articles in scientific journals publish submissions that contain erroneous diction, grammar and spelling?
Language is important because it is subjective and a person's understanding of what a certain communication is, depends on how they interpret the language. It's important to note here, in this article I refer to language as specifically written word. Sarcasm is difficult to express through written word because it is hard to interpret the tone of an expression through written words.
This is probably why people get so offended when someone chooses to correct them. It's difficult to interpret the tone of a reply; usually when someone is corrected, it's seen as acting as a pretentious know-it-all to show off that they know better. Actually, when someone corrects someone, it's not to show that, it's just to help them learn. If they actually learned from it and consequently wrote with less errors, there would be less confrontations!
Misinterpretations lead to misunderstandings and misunderstandings can lead to confrontations or misinformation. People who make mistakes aren't too blame, but there shouldn't be any blame on those who choose to correct them. When it's writing on facebook, mistakes are acceptable to a point, but when talking about serious subjects we should take care with what we write.