Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The (potentially literal) war on the middle class and the future of the global community

thoughts, readers?,,2053020,00.html

of course I know that future predictions are just that, predictions.  but one wonders...
if the middle class (or every class lower than the upper class) makes up the majority of the population and they become so completely dissatisfied with the current government that they demand change, then said government suppressing this desire becomes totalitarian, or at the very least it demonstrates the extent to which the governing entities are removed from the common man. 
"The world's middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest"
and this is a danger?  do not corporations and governing bodies do this on a daily basis? it would seem they are unwilling to let their own power structure devolve or lessen in scope.  a thought I've had on the subject of future power generation (energy) would seem to apply here. 
    when I think about how alternative energy might be applied, I believe that the real revolution will be decentralized generation, where everyone can freely manufacture their own energy (solar cells most likely) and then purchase addition energy as required.  this is fundamentally different than today's infrastructure where all forms of energy are centralized, or semi-centralized, and any disruption or manipulation of the system results in massive repercussions for a large number of people, which is to say that this puts much power in few hands.  I believe that alot of the emphasis by the government on particular forms of alternative energy have to do with the structure of their implementation.  if you look at these forms, hydrogen, ethanol, and to a lesser extent biodiesel, you see that these solutions are all centralized power structures, where the production and distribution are greatly dependent upon a supply chain that is very linear. 
    when you have production of any good in such a linear fashion you have consolidation of wealth, power, and influence.  this is born out by the slew of mergers and subsidies that many of basic providers of goods and services have received.  while this has been good from the standpoint of profit and reduction in cost of said goods and services, it has had a deleterious effect upon the consumer in the form of reduced accountability.  even if a company is guilty of some crime, the worst they generally face is a fine, which is not felt by the people making the decisions in these companies, it is paid for by the shareholders, who are generally the very people who have been wronged in the first place.  this has no greater analog than the practice of indulgences in the Catholic Church.  here we have a legal system that allows powerful entities to pay money to commit offenses and then generally continue with business as usual with no further repercussions. 
     now we can analyze the structure of political power here in the West.  at the formation of our country, the founding fathers envisioned a system where semi-autonomous entities (the states) would be bound together in a federal union, whose purpose was the protection of the rights of the citizens to engage in free enterprise as they saw fit.  over the years, this system has mutated into the federal goliath we know today, where the whims and influence of the few hold sway over the desires and rights of the many.  now each change of governmental power can bring an entire shift of priority to a system whose assets include a budget of several TRILLION dollars a year, a mammoth military force with technological prowess is unprecedented in history, and an increasing willingness of the populace to capitulate to the imposition on their rights in the same of "security". 
    however, perhaps there is a ray of hope in the face of this onslaught.  this very message is carried on the back of this hope.  the internet (or more accurately the entire communications infrastructure) has the potential to reshape the boundaries of thought and revolutionize the way in which people connect.  every day there is some new way for people all over the world to aggregate and share their thoughts, feelings, and dreams, all of which is unprecedented in the history of civilization.  in a few more years I'll be able to have a conversation in real time with friends I've met in every corner of the globe, and I might have not even met them in person, and may never do so, but through common interest we are connected.  now I realize that is a old maxim for the internet but as I said, every day brings new tools into people's lives and enables them to reach out in whatever fashion they feel comfortable, whether it be video, podcast, blog, webpage, music, pictures, email, IM, text message, or phone call.  is it any wonder that governments have been so concerned with monitoring the internet for "disturbances in the force?"  they don't want their seedy world of indulgences placed under the microscope of the global populace.  I propose that we are on the edge of either a second Dark Age or a new Enlightenment.  is it any coincidence that this revolution of communication and cooperation is literally built on rivers of light?  I think not.