Please read this with an open mind, regardless of your personal opinion as to the cause of the changes we are presently observing in the world around us… we’re going to go way deeper than the impact of human behavior on the weather.
The symptom is what you see first.
Particularly when it’s so pronounced and ominous, we cannot help but think it’s the main attraction, the “challenge of our times”, the thing that will define us as a generation — either forcing us to rise to the occasion or die, as the great wheel of civilization turns once again, leaving little else but faded hope that we get it right next time. Despite the colossal weight of the multi-faceted problem we call climate change, the truth is we’re arguing about symptoms, while the root of the disease is still buried deep in the guts of our civilization.
Yes, if the ocean heats up just a few more degrees the jet stream could shut down, and we’ll get a real world test of the HAARP network to see if it can kickstart the jet stream, aka the planet’s circulatory system. Yes, we have already heated the planet enough to activate numerous environmental feedback loops (for example, the permafrost no longer being so “perma” and warming up enough to release trillions of tons of methane into the atmosphere). Yes, it seems unlikely that we will avoid a prolonged, protracted battle for survival as conditions on our planet change dramatically, and this is likely to especially impact younger generations and those yet to be born.
Given the immense scale and overwhelming dread that comes with the problem we call climate change, it’s perfectly understandable why most would think that it is the lynchpin of the future, the keystone problem that we simply must rise up and solve as a united human civilization or face total and utter oblivion.
Yet, as I said, it’s all just a symptom. A symptom of gross inefficiencies, lack of inclusion, and good old-fashioned greed — combined with bad decision making. Unless of course you think climate change is a ruse designed to play a huge game of manipulation and geopolitics, then it still represents a tremendous challenge, albeit for different reasons.
Either way, climate change is a byproduct of the same problem I will identify now.
The central challenge is that we allow small, insular, centralized groups to decide our entire monetary and economic policy. We are stuck using an old protocol to keep our civilization running. The central challenge is that we have not upgraded our monetary technology, which in turn has created gross inefficiencies that negatively impact every human being — FAR worse than climate change has thus far.
Climate change is simply one of many symptoms caused by relying on a centrally planned and controlled money supply. It is what creates and perpetuates the problem. Trying to solve climate change, without resolving the issue of the money supply is like cleaning up the blood on the floor without first removing the knife and stitching the wound.
Yes, we all want that blood off the floor — the climate problem addressed in a meaningful way at a global scale — but we’ve got to get the knife out of our guts first, so we MUST create a viable solution to move our civilization past the Petrol-Dollar.
Otherwise, we’re just going to keep on bleeding anyway.
I repeat this often, but I need to make sure everyone hears: the design and issuance of information age money and monetary systems will be the most competitive market on the planet… because fixing the problem of all the bleeding we’ve been doing as a civilization (both physically and economically) is the biggest problem you can solve. Ask any entrepreneur worth their salt and they’ll tell you, one of the first things you learn is that the bigger the problem you solve… the bigger the reward for solving it.
Challenges of diagnosis
One of the constants of this problem is that, if you think explaining climate change is difficult… imagine having to explain global monetary policy andthe latest advances in information technology to the general public at the exact same time.
Suffice to say, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
We have a runaway oil industry propped up by the US military who will defend the Petrol-Dollar AT ALL COSTS. And that still is just a by-product of the fact that we have for generations allowed a central group of individuals to print money at will, and decide the entire direction of our civilization.
From a darkened room in Washington DC, men of limited imagination — veritable relics of pre-information age thinking — decide what industries get funding and how much capital companies inside of those industries receive. They determine what business sectors will flourish, and what businesses will be stuck competing in an unfair economic environment because their competitors receive a never-ending torrent of subsidies (America pays over 20 billion in oil subsidies per year, globally that figure was about 500 billion as recently as 2016). They get to determine which regions have capital flow into them, bringing them to life — and which regions get ignored to wither away and die, in untended gardens of broken-down humanity.
They do this by controlling the inflation and distribution policy of the communications tool we call money. As a result, we have become farmers that insist on only watering half our crops, and we are only doing so because a little over a dozen old dinosaurs in a room can’t seem to be bothered to try anything else.
Just to remind you of the scale of things:
The Pentagon first publicly announced it was missing 21 trillion dollars (yes, trillions, with a T). That’s $21,000,000,000,000, announced “missing” by Donald Rumsfeld on Sept 10th, 2001.
Yet we never talk about that do we, given what happened the next day…
Between 2008 and 2012 the Federal Reserve authorized the release of 17 trillion USD in unreported, untracked distributions. When questioned about this in a Senate hearing, then-Chief of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke remarked that they were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing (i.e. steering the entire nation’s economy in the direction they choose for all of us without representation).
We are stuck on the Petrol-Dollar because we have un-elected leaders who will it.
This has stifled innovation, especially in energy production and transportation, which in turn has contributed immensely to the environmental conditions which we now face. We can’t get off the Petrol-Dollar because again, a few dusty old men in DC will it, therefore the United States must wage unjust wars while we increasingly poison the planet… all because if people stop buying oil, they stop needing US dollars.
Loss of buy-pressure for the US dollar would in turn cause the collapse of the economy of the nation with the most advanced, most powerful military on the planet. Who would like to take a bet whether or not those same dusty old men would be willing to use that same military to prop up its own ability to fund its armies, and continue to wage war?
That, of course, is a suckers bet… we already know the answer.
The truth lies still deeper
Yet even as egregious as all this might seem, it’s still just a symptom.
The real problem is we aren’t upgrading the base layer protocol which gives rise to our civilization in the first place.
Money allows for the conveyance and communication of value from one member of society to another. This, in turn, allows for the division of labor which gives rise to what we call “civilization”, sometimes referred to as “The World”. The properties of that base layer protocol (in particular its inflation and distribution policies), the properties of the money our civilization uses, completely determines what kind of civilization we inhabit.
In our case we’ve built a civilization on money that is pegged to, and therefore focuses on, oil.
So we get a LOT of oil. We have petrol in EVERYTHING (even our bodies, unfortunately). We use petrol as our central energy source, we use it in our storage systems, we use it in our pharmaceuticals, our entire agricultural system is run on oil — it’s in the machines and in the chemicals we spray on our fields — our defense industry lives off it, our transportation system would grind to a halt without it.
We are quite simply addicted and stuck on everything relating to oil… but only because it’s what floats the value of our currency.
Looking at things from a systems standpoint, we are a very silly species. An organism that’s so clumsy we can’t stop stepping on our own tail as we try to navigate the landscape we call space and time.
We are akin to an unborn baby poisoning its own amniotic sac, acting as if we are somehow separate from the environment we are in and not intrinsically linked to it. We haven’t even started to clean up the ever-growing plastic problem in the pacific gyre (another problem we used lots of petroleum to make), and we still can’t stop making plastic — it is estimated that about 12 million barrels of oil a year are used in making just the plastic bags used in the US. Meanwhile, the last 5 years have been the hottest 5 years on record, because we can’t seem to stop pumping out carbon and methane (plastics leak methane while degrading, which is 30x stronger than carbon dioxide as a thermal atmospheric insulator, aka stuff we put in the environment which traps heat).
WE are proving to be the most threatening thing to our own survival.
A simple prescription
The answer to all of this is deceptively simple: use new and better money.
Money that is propped up by a resource more valuable and cleaner than oil (information), and engineered to put human needs first — so that we finally water the other half of that garden we call humanity.
Non-national digital currencies present the most viable opportunity for global prosperity our world has ever known. It’s estimated only 1.5 billion people have access to ‘basic finance’, i.e. the ability to have a bank account and store and transfer money in a reliable way. According to the World Bank, over 2 billion adults do not have such access. What about the other 4 billion humans on Earth?
The inevitable disruption of the legacy financial system enables us to get everyone on board in the new economy — what I call an “information based, resource economy” — an economy free of old debts and old credit scores, which doesn’t require you to prove who you are to use it, is driven by borderless money on a predictable supply that is not controlled by any set of humans, but instead obeys the laws of mathematics and physics.
What kind of civilization do you think you might get with money on a set, reliable inflation rate, with an elegant but simple distribution policy that always puts human needs first?
Money that can be redeemed for a basic utility from anywhere in the world at zero marginal cost to both the buyer and seller of that utility. Money that, above all else, ensures an economic ecosystem of inclusion and is designed to ensure all humans that use its systems gain a benefit over those who do not. What kind of civilization do you get when you design your economic system to be high velocity and inclusive?
When two civilizations collide, the one that uses the latest technology either consumes or destroys the other. This has ALWAYS been true. What will happen when the civilization we call “The Internet” adopts information-age money, putting it on a collision course with the civilization we call “The World”, which is powered by money mostly mired in the thinking and technologies of the 2nd industrial age?
Regardless of whether you are a systems thinker or not, the central assertion remains. Change the money and we change our civilization.Change our civilization and we just might have a chance of surviving the coming storm…
As daunting as all this might sound, all we need to do to be on the other side of the fence when the storm comes is to start using the latest available technology.
It’s either that or we can wait until Deutsche Bank figures out what to do with its €43.5 trillion notional derivatives exposure… don’t worry, I’m sure the problem will resolve itself without us. Just like it did in 2008 when Lehman Brothers, being exposed to a paltry $619 billion in debt, dragged the entire US economy under, causing the largest economic collapse in human history…
We can of course just stick our hands in our pockets and keep doing the same thing we’ve always done. Trading our time, goods, services, and very life-blood for national money controlled by people we’ve never met and probably can’t trust, that also happens to be to be backed by and therefore fuels the endless consumption of oil, which in turn fuels a merciless sprint towards climate change…
Or we can vote with our conscience and use the money that we align with.
Money that communicates more than value, it communicates values.
Mass-adoption and utilization of alternative non-national cryptocurrencies for expressing, storing, and conveying value presents the most viable opportunity for economic sovereignty on a global scale.
Money is a form of expression and we can seize back the language — the base protocol — we use to express value to one another. Change the tool, change the outcome.
At Anatha, we are devoted to ending structural violence by building systems of structural flourishing. We believe core systemic malignancies are perpetuating the inequities of our societies, leading to incalculable human suffering. Thus, we work tirelessly to design technologies that help facilitate human flourishing and self-actualization. Learn more at anatha.io/ethos