Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bitcoin, etc.

Most people haven’t heard of the new electronic currency called bitcoin, but I’ve been aware of it for about a year, and according to a discussion today on RT’s ‘Crosstalk’, a number of real people around the world are using this currency successfully.

I will not even try to understand how it works, but according to one of Peter Lavelle’s guests, you can download a program that will allow you to start using it in five minutes.  As usual, what is important for me is the ‘gist’ of this story.

The gist is that we’re moving toward a decentralized world, in which libertarians and anarchists may actually be converging. Talk of commonalities between Tea Partiers and Occupiers has always seemed to me a stretch, because the former aspire to be part of the 1% while the latter worry about the 99%. But decentralization coupled with electronic currencies that are independent of the banking system, may constitute a small chink in the wall that separates these two worldviews.

- As the globalized economy totters, bringing down the most developed countries, people can no longer count on socialist-leaning governments as the vehicle for human solidarity.

- When students realize that an expensive education does not lead to well-paying jobs, they will increasingly follow the thirty and forty-somethings who are abandoning their city lives and moving to the country.  Recently RT reported on a growing trend in Greece, and today it was the turn of Portugal.  It is a trend that is likely to grow, as economies falter. While the individuals featured did not join communes, but started small businesses, the number of communities committed to a simpler life-style is also growing across Europe and the United States, and many earn a living by teaching others do-it-yourself technologies, whether it’s how to make soap or permaculture.

- The nanny state that in some countries has become invasive in its effort to ensure the well-being of the many, is ill-adapted to isolated communities, which in turn may constitute the only societal form that, in an overpopulated world, can render it superfluous.

As I’ve written before, I am convinced that the 1%, having decided that the planet cannot be saved, are concentrating their money and energies on creating the means to escape, no longer even feigning concern for the 99%.  Yesterday Amy Goodman interviewed an Australian scientist about trends in climate engineering, and recently Newsweek ran a long article about space colonization under the title ‘Can Humans Survive?.The%20Sixth%20Mass%20Extinction%20Is%20Upon%20Us.%20Can%20Humans%20Survive%3F%20%20Newsweek%20and%20The%20Daily%20Beast.webarchive. A private company is recruiting volunteers for training in space colonization, picking up from government programs that have been in existence for at least the last decade.

The picture - or gist - that emerges from all of this is of a planet where life - and not just human life - is endangered by both climatic degradation and warfare,  to which some are responding by seeking a saner lifestyle, while others prepare to abandon ship. Bitcoin, the end of reliance on higher education and a retreat from or a greening of cities are all ways in which the many seek to save the planet while the few get ready to take their toys elsewhere. The clash of civilizations with the Muslim world, the death of ‘liberal democracy’ and the growth of the military state at home and abroad are mere details in the planetary transformation that is under way.

1 comment:

  1. Good post.

    I still haven't figured out how Bitcoin works either, but now that
    the media are saying it's on the verge of collapse, and
    governments are starting to go after it, I'm pretty sure it's
    going to be a major, long-term thing.