...And all of humanity on it, if we adopt the "It's Every Nation For Themselves" policy, we will enshrine, as well as engrave on a lot of headstones, the rule of the zero sum game as the de facto standard of life from here on out.
Now wait a second, you might be thinking. Aren't there two pretty big factors you might be missing in a sweeping statement like that? Like isn't the zero sum game what we're already playing for starters? And just because one American administration wants to turn it into near religious dogma, doesn't mean it can't be change with the next.
Anything is possible, of course, always. The much more pertinent factors, though, are still going to be the relative probabilities. And on this you are betting the farm (figuratively and literally) whether you realize it or not.
First of all, I would argue that most of what makes up the perception, and the reality, of what mandates that "life is a zero sum game" is Capitalism. There are other cultural, and religious factors involved certainly, but Capitalism has simply benefited as a resonant cavity, from those smaller inputs, because Capitalism has gotten so much bigger, as it was always fated to get. It was always meant to be because it is an operating system, and they tend to encompass everything by definition.
And lest you think that, coming from our savage, tribal beginnings, survival of the fittest is an absolute cultural law, consider that there have been more than just a few societies who've quite well within a cooperative, non net gain kind of organization model. Usually societies in the tropics, as I recall, where food can be easier to forage for, and the need for shelter not so temperature driven.
Capitalism is itself, I think, the ultimate, rationalists, logic driven assessment of making the struggle for survival something that can be martialed into great systems of command efficiency. Exactly what you'd expect to come out of the harsh, upper latitudes of Europe, and China, or the water deprived regions of the middle east; or, as a fall back, to any other geographical group who had to suffer through their own development way too close to those just mentioned. That it is also hierarchical by nature makes it a perfect compliment to the people who have always had a visceral feel for which side of the equation you need to be on in a game of "net gain."
And certainly "net gain" is the main element in both an essential part of what makes Capitalism tick, as well as what makes honey for the seekers of power; as in the power to dictate the norms, and aspirations, of their world view.
In any case, though, and however cliche worthy here, we are in a very real cross roads as to how humanity is to progress, if at all, into the future. Constricting matrices of options have a habit of doing that to situations. And we, as well as the planet, are being constricted by so many issues not being dealt with that all most people can do now is space out in various apocalyptic scenarios. It's too intimidating. It's too complex. And worst of all, there are way too many lovers of the power, and hierarchical power structures. People who have become quite good at distraction, deception, and obfuscation. And they especially know how to play that other, "the easy answers to complex problems" game. Experts at wrapping such answers into every type of resonant imagery, and glowing term, they can make use of; which is why the facade of patriotism is usually their first area of choice.
My point, of course, is that we are at this crossroads as a world community because it is the entire planet that suffers under both Capitalism, and all of the issues we are not dealing with. If Capitalism continues to predominate then, in my opinion, net gain is certain to do so also. If that is the case then the "zero sum game" will continue as well. It will continue, and changing any of this, as things continue to become more constricted by desperation driven events (think of the usual panic hoarding you see in movies of end times), and the hierarchical responses of the powerful ever more harsh, in the effort to restore their brand of "order," will become more problematic. As such the ability of the rest of us to organize the kind of peaceful civil disobedience it's going to take to gain leverage with the existing power structure is going to decrease; substantially. If we don't start to give serious consideration on how to end "zero sum game" mentality now then we may never have another chance. Especially now that everything is being questioned; precisely because so much of what we once took for granted, isn't working any more. If not now the likelihood of having further chances will simply be another victim of the ever increasing chaos that's going to ensue as the consequences of putting the real issues off mount.
You. There. Right now. Reading this. You need to be thinking. Am I really doing enough to make it clear to the powerful that I understand what is at stake? Am I really asking the right questions? Are any of the tired old solutions going to cut it any more?
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