We don’t just want to be the generation that ends extreme poverty – that is setting the sights too low.
We need to aim higher.
We need to be the generation that empowers every human being, where-ever they are, to do whatever they responsibly choose.
And responsibility is important.
It means acknowledging that all systems require boundaries to give them form – without boundaries complexity cannot exist, and everything degrades to a uniform simplicity. I am not at all interested in that.
Responsibility means acknowledging that we live in complex ecological and social environments, and their continued existence (our continued existence) makes demands upon us. Those demands are not about following the whims and desires instilled in us by biological and social evolution – though those can point to important things, and we ignore them at our peril.
Nor can it be simply following the rules that exist, though it must mean looking deeply at those rules, and breaking them only if seems necessary for the benefit of all (yourself and all others).
Respect for individual life, individual liberty, demands of every one of us that we look deeply at everything, ask deeply why things seem to be as they are, and how might they be different in ways that work for all of us, and the living systems that we exist with, and that sustain us?
Understanding evolution tells us that we are the result of heuristics that worked well enough in practice, in the past, for the survival of our ancestors. Not any sort of perfection, just a close enough approximation to be useful in the specific contexts in which our ancestors survived. It seems to be what we are, what we have. We under or over value any aspect of it at our peril.
Life seems to be an eternal exploration of the boundary between order and chaos. Too much order and we cannot adapt to the changes that happen in reality. Too much chaos and the complexity that we must have breaks down.
Eternally, at every level, life seems to be an exploration of this balance.
Demanding safety in schools addresses only the symptoms.
We must demand systems that deliver a reasonable approximation to justice to every individual, everywhere.
That doesn’t mean everyone has the same, or is the same – quite the contrary, it means everyone having enough to be able to make reasonable choices that are meaningful to them, and are responsible in the wider social and ecological contexts within which they live.
There can never be a set of rules that define that.
It must always be an exploration of the infinite.
It must always contain uncertainty and risk – the science and logic of that is beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt.
And the science and logic is also clear, that the evolution of complexity is fundamentally based in cooperation, not competition. Competition leads to simplicity. All complexity is the result of new levels of cooperation.
And Axelrod showed 50 years ago that raw cooperation is always vulnerable to exploitation by cheating strategies, so we need to be ever watchful, ever exploring more effective strategies for detecting and removing cheating strategies.
In this sense, the old saying is as true now as ever before – “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance” – all levels.
So yes – certainly – global citizenship.
And we must address the fundamental issue of using a scarcity based system of measuring value in a market place when computational systems give us the power to automate the production of abundance, that by definition has no market value.
In this sense, intellectual property laws are nothing more than the institutionalization of poverty – an attempt to prop up a system that is no longer serving our needs, and is rapidly moving in the territory of existential level risk.
The economic system is complex.
It has many levels of complex systems that are very important for life and liberty, distributed information, distributed governance, distributed risk management etc.
We need to develop effective mechanisms for distributing all of those things (and more) before we transition away from markets, and transition we must if we wish to survive. UBI may be a part of an effective transition strategy, giving us the years we need.
So we need to think deeply, systemically, about what we do, about where we put the limited time, energy and resources that we have.
Don’t treat the symptoms – focus on the cause.
Look deeply within.
Be cooperative, but not naively so.
Be prepared to do what it takes to identify and remove cheating strategies, at whatever level – and be prepared to admit the mistakes that we all must make in such a process.
Be prepared to take risks, and do so responsibly.
Build your trust networks, and do so with open eyes.