Introduction and themes
Agree with you Peter that the issues are structural, and they are far deeper than the introduction gives any indication of.
Several aspects to those structural issues.
What is the structure of being human? Jordan Peterson has one of the best answers around to that – in terms of the evolutionary history of embodied cognition in both genetic and mimetic terms – and the symbolism that comes from that, and the impact of that on society.
In terms of the strategic context, the games theoretic context – that is profound, and very poorly understood by many. Not many people are conscious of the fact that all higher levels of complexity in evolved systems are the result of cooperative systems.
And all cooperative systems require secondary strategies to prevent being invaded by cheating strategies, and that invokes something of an evolutionary arms race – proving the old adage – the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
Certainly competition exists, and is important in the evolutionary context, and so does cooperation, and cooperation is far more important to highly complex entities like ourselves (including all sapient entities in this group). That is something that the proponents of market capitalism have not yet come to terms with.
I am all for individual freedom, and it has to be freedom exercised responsibly in respect of the life and liberty of all other entities, involving aspects of both acting and refraining from acting. Not simple or easy, very complex systems with very flexible context sensitive boundaries.
I am not about equality. Freedom demands diversity, and respect for both life and freedom demands that everyone have high minimum standards.
When one takes a structuralist view within this context, then it is arguable that most of finance, economics, politics and advertising are cheating strategies on the fundamental cooperative that is human society.
When one takes a deeply structuralist view of markets as a valuation mechanism, it is clear that they are a scarcity based measure of value. Anything universally abundant has zero value (by definition). Evidence air – arguably the single most important commodity for any human being, and of zero market value.
In an age where automation allows us to produce an exponentially expanding set of goods and services in universal abundance, the fact that such abundance has zero market value puts market values and human needs in direct opposition.
This is a failure of the systemic incentive structure of markets.
Universal Basic Income offers scope for a successful transition away from markets as a primary value measure, and it is not a long term stable solution to the issue.
We have many levels of profound issues, stemming from our deep evolutionary history and fundamental aspects of both complexity and chaos, and the fact that few people are yet using fully probabilistic decisions tools, most still believe that ideas like right and wrong have some sort of real meaning, rather than being the simplest possible approximations to something infinitely more complex.
I have followed your Zeitgeist involvement with interest.
I would like to engage with you in creating something of much greater depth and impact.