Sunday, January 29, 2017

Time Off From Mr. T: What About The Foreign Policy You Could Expect...

...From an alternative to Capitalism.

This is a really tough question to tackle. So many factors go into what makes up geopolitics in the world today. National aspirations and ideologies. The history of each nation, not to mention the entangled histories of it and the nations around it. The current economic needs. What they have at hand to address those economic needs. And in relation to the last point, their standing in not only competition for markets, but also the ever growing competition to secure critical resources (especially if they are not exactly at hand) to ensure the survival of their economy.

For me, as a systems analyst, when you look at process interaction, you tend to want to look at both the macro and micro so that you can have a feel for both the big picture dynamics, as well as how the lower level interactions either mesh positively, or discordantly, not only with each other, of course, but with the putative goals established for the big picture. And in this, naturally, is one of the main buzz words of systems people: Integration.

I should point out before going any further that I started out thinking about the need for an alternative years before I got into IT work. Having already established a fairly strong sense of labory history, and the proclivities of large holders of capital to do whatever the hell they wanted (sometimes for good, but mostly not so much), I came upon the work of Marshall McLuhan. And I have to say that was my big moment of intellectual influence. Once I read "Understand Media: The Extensions of Man" I was hooked into a viewpoint that would become a life long "big factor." After that it was read everything I could get my hands on from that man ("The Mechanical Bride," "The Gutenberg Galaxy," "From Cliche To Archetype," "The Global Village," "CounterBlast," "War and Peace in The Global Village," etc.).

Besides giving a completely new view on how the major means by which we both store, and move experience affects us, and how we perceive the world, I couldn't also help from coming away from his ideas with a profound sense that there was a social-political message about how change in those means of storing, or moving, experience, must necessarily demand commensurate change in social and political structures as well. I mean, how could it not after all? Which I mention now because, surprisingly enough, during the sixties he because noteworthy a great deal more for his understanding about how advertising could be so much more effective (describing "gap" and "connection" and the use of puns as new ways to sneak past the conscious mind to put meaning into people's heads).

In any case, though, because of his influence, not only did the new realm of information processing become important to me, thinking more holistically did as well. A process only added to as it was connected to Stuart Brand, and his idea of seeing biology, geology, and atmospheric sciences as amazingly intertwined, complex systems.

With this preface you might be seeing why I might be inclined to think of social, and political change as something that requires a comprehensive view of all of the systems involved; which, is why there seemed little choice in my mind that to address any of the problems in any of the individual systems you also had to address the bigger picture.

What is the bigger picture in it's truest sense? We want to be able to prosper, as both individuals and as families, neighbors, communities, cities, states and nations. We want to do that now, however, in a way that doesn't make a whole host of other issues go south in the process. In this I have taken the liberty of encapsulating this "bigger picture" idea into the notion of striving for "thoughtful loving structure." A structure for which both thought, and the need to love, come to bear on our approach to all of the subsystems already mentioned.

So how does this apply to foreign policy? To address that, in the context of my alternative, we need to separate that into two parts: 1. What organizations, of what structure, would replace foreign policy administration in a new organizational model. And 2: What would my alternative offer as advantages to whatever method of administering foreign policy that might ultimately be settled upon?

To answer the first question I have to own up to what should be an obvious starting point. I don't have all of the answers not only because I am not an expert in foreign policy, but precisely because I don't have anywhere near all of the questions that have to be asked in conjunction to the operation of my alternative. I have given some broad outlines as to how government and the military ought to be set up, but I am honestly not sure of all of the ins and outs of a new form State Department within a setup where we no longer have representational government, but run things ourselves from the City State on up.

I have already indicated my opinion on the need of streamlining the organization of the military, in conjunction with absolute universal service (say six years in length, starting at the age of 18, where the military becomes, in effect, educator of last resort, and where being a soldier isn't the only way to serve your country, as well a means of maintaining national security). I have also suggested a system of revolving task responsibilities that people could choose from within their city states. My thought, as an extension of this would be that, as people got older in the community, their requirement to have the normal minimum of local tasks might be allowed to diminish to some degree. As this happens, given the levels of experience acquired, new task groups might be then identified where longer terms of occupancy would be allowed: as in the case of higher levels of administration; where making quick decisions in response to changing circumstances are required prior to letting a larger vote on matters take place. And, as those who cycle through those administrative tasks at the lower level gain experience, they might, with the consent of the local electorate, be allowed to then join regional, or higher levels of a immediate administration. Perhaps this could then be extended all the way to the highest levels of national administration; remembering that it would not be these people creating policy, but only those charge with the responsibility to carry that policy out.

This does, unfortunately, leave a lot left unspecified, but that is just the way it has to be for now. What is need here is a great deal more input from a great deal more people better versed in policy at a national, and global level. That being said, however, doesn't change what I believe is the next important aspect here, and that is number 2 on our list above.

If we take economics out of the equation as it has been know for the last several hundred years, we will give ourselves a place to act from on the global front that would put us in a much better position to work from both a higher moral ground, but also one where there can be a great deal less concern that our motives are suspect. How could this not be so if we were, first of all no longer competitors within economic markets, and secondly where our ability to lessen our impact on the competition for global resources were much reduced? And we could do that to a much greater degree because it would only be our national desire to prosper, as opposed to many individual desires to maximize profit, that would be our main driving motivation. For me, that, as well as getting rid of the whole "mass production, mass consumption" model, would go a long way to accomplish all of these desirable ends.