The Lost Inheritance
Now in my mid 70s, I am left wondering. Why did I bother to work so hard? I have nothing to show. No achievements. No recognition. Not even among family, friends and colleagues. Just a reduced State Pension of £92.49 a week, which will stay fixed at this figure for the rest of my life. What did I do wrong? Granted, my circumstances were not normal. I had naïvely assumed that a civilized society would compensate for abnormal circumstances. But I was wrong. Society only compensates for circumstances which it deems to be abnormal, and which hence merit help. Yet I didn't need or want help as such. I merely desired an absence of hindrance, contempt, social stigma and exclusion. All I needed was access to necessary and sufficient resources to turn my labour into my needs of life.
I spent decades in self-analysis and criticism. I worked at self-improvement. But I eventually realized that I had long since passed the point of diminishing returns for self-correction. I had done my best. Nothing had changed. I was at a loss as to what else I could do. This is because I had been brought up to believe that, if I had a problem, it must be because of some shortcoming within me: not society. One must always blame oneself: never others. Society could never be to blame. It is like the universal British message to the unemployed: "I've gotta job. So if you ain't got one it's yer own bloody fault. You should get off of yer lazy butt and get on yer bike." Of course, this mindless retort of Conservative drip-fed brainwashing has no part with the complex-dynamics of the real world.
It is easy to criticize the powerless individual, including oneself. But to criticize society takes courage. Nobody thanks you for criticizing society. It is taken as a criticism of the listener. It is the fastest way to become ostracised by practically all its members and institutions. But this had already happened anyway by virtue of my social position. I didn't have anything further to lose. So I began to look outwards from my own position in time, space and the social order. I already saw, felt and suffered the effects of society's institutions on me. I also saw, albeit indirectly, the contemptuous disparity, exploitation and deprivation imposed by the rulers of nations upon the seven billion inhabitants of this planet. I could only conclude that there must be something radically wrong with the way they rule.
All governments are of essentially the same form. They are all hierarchical. This probably emerged from the patriarchies of ancient tribes. But a patriarch can only govern equitably those whom he knows personally. Modern nations are too big for this to be possible. A king or president can never know all his people. Thus, for any society beyond a small critical size, hierarchical government cannot be other than totalitarian. Rule of a large modern nation cannot be maintained without some kind of central power ordering practically all aspects of the individual's life and being. Such a hierarchy is, however, rarely controlled by its figurehead. He is a mere puppet of a ruling elite who number no more than an ancient tribal group. This elite divides and exploits its subjects ruthlessly for its own selfish ends.
Belying their common form and nature, the governments of this world present themselves in different wrappings. They label themselves as capitalist, nationalist, socialist, communist or various hybrids of these. But they are all totalitarian. Communist regimes use a more overt hierarchy, enforcing social control through bureaucracy and policing. Capitalists achieve this same goal more inductively by manipulating the public mind to create, through sham democracy, the illusion of individual freedom within a reality of socio-economic subservience. Socialism is merely a reaction to capitalism. It is the other side of the same coin. Neither can exist without the other. Capitalism, unmediated by socialism, would rapidly self-destruct in a tempest of popular insurrection. Socialism, unmotivated by capitalism, would eventually disintegrate through individual apathy.
The disparity, exploitation, deprivation and poverty endured by most inhabitants of this planet unequivocally confirm that the present world order is, at least for them, essentially dysfunctional. The sheer size and complex-dynamical nature of a global population of seven billion means it cannot be equitably governed by a bickering bevy of totalitarian hierarchies. Something radically different is needed. I propose that hierarchical national governments be replaced by a single global structure resembling a hexagonal network, in which each citizen is an equal node. The links of this network are the interpersonal relationships between adjacent nodes. These must be strong enough to resist the formation of hierarchies. Only inter-gender relationships have the strength, depth and durability to fulfil this role. And the geometry of a hexagonal network lends itself perfectly to inter-gender linkage.
Around this strong global backbone, a patchwork of stable healthy anthropological communities will naturally crystallize. By their nature, these require a different means of applying human labour to terrestrial resources in order to produce and distribute the needs and luxuries of human life. For this, each individual on this planet must be deemed to own - by right of birth - one seven-billionth of its natural resources, in particular its habitable land. Half the habitable inheritance of each citizen forms a global infrastructure of connected common land. The other half is for its owner's direct economic use or indirect economic benefit. The global network is thus economic as well as social. Though essentially incompatible with today's world, one or more nodes of this network society could, even now, be built and tested within a suitable limited liability container.
© Robert John Morton 05 June 2015 | PDF version