Thursday, January 4, 2018

"But There Seems To Be Something Deeper Holding People In Place"

And thank the Gods for that (whichever ones you like, in any combination you like).

Christ, what is wrong with us that we don't understand why people feel a deep sense of connection to small communities; communities where people know each other; know how to work with each other to get things done; remember the things that tied them to the land their parents, and their parent's parents lived, and died on, going back so many generations. And the only thing that shocks us in these situations is that the people seem so unwilling to bend to obvious economic pressures.

Maybe the problem isn't with the people, and the deep connections that they were able to make, but the crazy economic operating system itself. A system so inured to the economics of scarcity; so preconditioned to not question the stupidity of letting insanely chaotic markets decide whether a people, in a particular place, are no longer worth anything; simply because they don't make anything the markets like cost effectively enough. And most of that, of course, simply because those who own capital are never satisfied with the last go around of them demanding, and then getting, ever larger profit margins for what they think is valuable (which anymore seems to be less and less about actual things people need, and more and more about the insubstantial; that which is not hard copy, but remains in the nether world of electrons and photons and sound waves; the very things that fantasies are so easily commoditized with, and oh so addictive as well).

If we had the sense to ditch this ridiculous system we could create our own sense of what is, or isn't valuable. And we could do that because we would be in charge of running our own towns; creating our own, locally effective, production methods to give us the lion's share of what we need. And all the while there would be no need to pay anybody anything for the knowledge we use because that already belongs to us; if for no other reason than we are civilization and without us there would have been no basis to create that knowledge in the first place.

The finders of things deserve credit, there's no question about that, of course. And smart communities will think of ways to incentivize their fellows to keep on finding more new ways of doing things. The point here is that people can live wherever they have the knowledge to build and maintain the things they need to live; and if we were to allow ourselves to get even moderately better at cooperating, we could expand that envelope without limit. We can do that you see because we live in a thing that is infinite in any human sense of more; even if you thought in terms of only one galaxy, because hundreds of billions of star systems will represent exactly that for more than long enough to allow for the next time our reach exceeds our grasp. As it most certainly will if we can find the right values to work for.


EXCEPT NOBODY WANTS TO LEAVE


There are obvious economic barriers to moving. It's expensive and risky to leave a place your family has been living in for generations, and there's no guarantee the job you move for will still exist in a few years. But there seems to be something deeper holding people in place.