The world can be a funny place. We are constantly assaulted with various perspectives and tend to give weight to the ones that validate, rather than challenge, our preconceptions. I don’t consider myself either a liberal or conservative though my politics could probably be described as mostly left-leaning. It’s kind of humorous to me that many have described The Currency Paradox as “socialist” when, in reality, it is nothing of the sort. I personally think it has elements that (should) appeal to many political, economic, and ideological philosophies and, as a result, transcends them.
I don’t consider myself contrarian for the sake of being contrary but I know I can be so because I try to be objective. Do I succeed? Unlikely. Like everyone else, my worldview has been shaped by my experiences and I probably tend to over-emphasize aspects of life that, from a broader sense, may not be that serious and vice versa.
In the end, I strive to avoid existing in two particular states: dishonesty and hypocrisy. I can look at the stats and see that, particularly over the last 300 years, the world has improved immensely. By all objective factors, death, crime, disease, and poverty are in retreat. The world is truly improving.
I could leave it at that. I could choose to focus on the positive and ignore or marginalize the negative. I could choose to take the long view of history and think that, at some point, crime, disease, and poverty will be completely eradicated (death, not so much). My emotional life would definitely be much easier if I just went with the flow.
The reason why I don’t, the reason why I wrote The Currency Paradox, the reason why I would like to see Capitalism ended in my lifetime is because, in the long arc of history, billions have fallen between the cracks. How many people suffered and needlessly died to bring us to this point? How many died in slavery or in exploitive servitude so that people could own iPhones today? For that matter, how many suffer and die every day because “the market” has determined that they do not have worth or value?
When someone dies as a result of structural violence, neglect, abuse, disease, or some other dysfunction that Capitalism breeds or, in theory, can address, why do we think that is an acceptable outcome? If only a few millions of people are dying today rather than the tens of millions who were dying previously, why are we so willing to write them off as acceptable sacrifices to history? We finally realized in the U.S. that the LGBT community should no longer have to wait for their right to marry, yet we are OK consigning literally millions of people to death because we think the Capitalist system is already “good enough.” If history is about progress, why are we unwilling to accept that we have the ability to finally enlist everyone, everywhere to contribute to the advancement of our civilization? Why are we unwilling to ensure that others do not face the instability, degradation, and insecurity that pretty much no one individually wants to face? Are the “acceptable losses” of Capitalism truly that acceptable? Would you trade places with one of those whom Capitalism has forgotten or neglected?
There is a tremendous irony in following the tech scene, particular those immersed in the culture of Silicon Valley. Its venture capitalists and high profile entrepreneurs are some of the most “optimistic” people when it comes to the future and what it holds. I put the word “optimistic” in quotes though because it isn’t really optimism in my book so much as it is marketing. Many of the same people who believe so unerringly in technology’s ability to disrupt, destroy, and replace the vestiges of the past are also staunch Capitalists; they don’t see the hypocrisy in desiring unfettered change, innovation, and growth in everything except the very system underpinning their culture. Sure, that’s a *natural* response but it is still very much hypocritical. If we can disrupt the world, why is a system that countenances the death of millions worldwide off-limits?
Even if I could accept the trade-offs of Capitalism, I also would like to see it replaced because I think it is not an “anti-fragile” system. Capitalism has had to be saved from itself on at least two occasions in the last century. Do I believe that those crises are the last that Capitalism will ever again face? No, I don’t. Indeed, I think that there will be at least one more major economic crisis within the next 100 years, likely within my lifetime, and it will probably be a doozy. I do not have confidence that the next crisis will be resolved without a great deal of upheaval.
In the end, I wrote The Currency Paradox as an act of conscience. It was the non-hypocritical thing to do. It represents the world in which I would like to live, one in which everyone has a fair chance to maximize their potential. I think we have grown beyond the need to make compromises that result in suffering, unhappiness, and death. Whether some people want to accept it or not, Capitalism is already obsolete. We could either choose to willingly explore the next step in our economic evolution (whether it’s related to the innovation in The Currency Paradox or not) or we can let history decide for us, a process that is likely to be very painful.
The choice is ours.