In his newly published book, [easyazon_link identifier=”1503034739″ locale=”US” tag=”seriou03-20″]The Singularity & Socialism: Marx, Mises, Complexity Theory, Techno-Optimism and the Way to the Age of Abundance[/easyazon_link], Townsend explores past ideological ideas that critically examined the trajectory of our economies in relation to scientific and technological development, in doing so to reach a commonly accepted conclusion of which were shared by these various ideologies – a post-capitalist era of abundance and transcendence!
I was especially happy to finally get to speak with Townsend and discuss his work, his vision of the future, and what we need to do to ensure this future materializes. Below is the entire transcript of our conversation. Enjoy.
Q: I’m very happy to be speaking with you, James. First and foremost, what inspired you to start writing this book of yours, The Singularity & Socialism?
A: It’s a pleasure B.J. I love the opportunity to be interviewed by such an author and futurist as yourself.
You can say that this book was over 35 years in the making and was a culmination of my many diverse interests. I have one of those omnivorous minds and from my early years I had a thirst to know, especially to know how the world worked and where our ideas came from. Besides being an avid sci-fi fan in my early years I got a penchant for looking behind the scenes, to rummage through the dust bins of history as it were, for all of those juicy tidbits you never get in history courses in school. So I careened through such diverse topics as the history of philosophy, comparative religions, occult history, Gnosticism, Eastern and Western mysticism, physics, science and technology. When I discovered Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics in my early 20’s I thought I was in heaven and it was one of the reasons that I became a physics major at first in college. The Holographic Paradigm by Karl Pribram was also a real game changer for me. Though I didn’t finish my physics degree, which I regret now, I did receive a B.A. in Integrated Studies pulling all of my varied interests and elective courses together. One course that had a profound effect on me was a course on Christian Mysticism in which I was introduced to Teilhard of Chardin. I thought that somehow he had read my mind as I had already come to a complex interrelated and evolutionary vision of the universe; his works set me on the road to eventually discovering the Russian Cosmists, which many Transhumanist’s have now done. So I had a great base and background in science that also became united to various complexity ideas which have fascinated me throughout my life.
In my late 30’s I became more interested in political and economic philosophy and its history. I hate to admit it now but I had a short “conservative period” and read works by Russell Kirk and a few other conservatives, I eventually left that path as the “conservative” writers became more and more constipated in their thinking. Along the way I one day discovered and became enamored with Ayn Rand and read through most of her works that are in print. A footnote in some book I was reading mentioned The Law by Frederick Bastiat and that led me to Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard and the Austrian School of Economics. As an avid enthusiast in science and technology and its potential to change the world for the better I also ran across Dr. Julian Simon’s work The Ultimate Resource and then went on from there to read more extensively on Techno–Optimism. Also Ray Kurzweil, Matt Ridly, Kevin Kelly and so many others along the way were also a great inspiration to me.
But the funny thing that got me into researching Karl Marx and his thought was Ludwig von Mises himself. I read his magnum opus Human Action and then his tome Socialism and I became enthralled by the “socialism calculation” debate and then Hayek’s “knowledge problem.” I went on to read everything that was in print by Mises and a lot by Hayek. It was their debate with the Marxists and discussing the various issues, especially Mises comparing and contrasting Marxism with classical liberal theory as propounded by the Austrian School that really captured and fired my imagination. So I delved into reading Marx himself and any work on the socialist calculation debate or knowledge problem I could get my hands on. As I researched I began to see so many areas of convergence and cross fertilization that I was just stunned. When I came across Complexity Theory and Complexity Economics in my mid 40’s the die was cast and the Rubicon was crossed. I was brought around full circle and came to see a holographic quality, an interrelationship between all of these various ideas; Marxist, classical liberal, techno-optimist, and complexity theory that was just fascinating. All of this percolated in the back of my mind until I had an epiphany one day and my mind leaped forward in an extrapolation based on classical liberal and Marxian economics teaching that as capitalism progressed it brought down prices as productivity constantly increased. Classical economists and Marxists know this as the law of immiseration. Suddenly I saw the entire steam of economic ideas, Marxist and classical liberal, unite into one stream leading to the same Omega Point, the event horizon of a coming economic singularity where all prices drop down an asymptote toward zero as technology advances exponentially. It was this that really inspired me to write the book. I had to share that vision, that there is a way forward using “valid” economics to reach, for lack of a better word, utopia.
Q: How does your book differentiate from Meghnad Desai’s Marx’s Revenge?
A: First I have to say that my book is very different from Desai’s work. Though the underlying leitmotif of my book contains the evolutionary vision foundational to Marx’s thought, I go beyond his work and bring in complexity theory/economics and the techno-optimist’s. That these sources uphold and prove Marx’s vision of the necessity for the full evolution of capitalism in order to bring about the eschaton, the transcendence of capitalism itself, is a dramatic tale that needed to be told. The full realization of my book is the “way to the age of abundance,” which Desai’s book never lays out, but then neither did Rifkin’s recent book the Zero Marginal Cost Society go into how to truly get there. I came across Desai’s book, Marx’s Revenge, when I was almost done with my manuscript. I was afraid as I read it that he had scooped me, but I was relieved at finishing his book that he didn’t “go there.” Lord Desai spent his entire work hinting that he would disclose to the reader at the end of his book the secret of how to reach the eschaton, the event horizon, in which we could finally have “socialism after capitalism,” as he coins it. But in the last chapter he pulled his punch. I even spoke to him online about that and he is very curious to read my book to see what I meant. It is why I quote a long passage from the end of his book in one of the last chapters in my work. I disclose the logical extrapolation that is the capstone to both Marx’s idea of the necessity for the full evolution of capitalism, once he is corrected of David Riccardo’s baneful influences, and classical liberalism’s understanding of where capitalism would go if left to evolve to its logical endpoint. An idea that you find as far back as John Baptiste Say’s Treatise in the early 19th century, and it is such an open secret that anyone could have stumbled across it and yet it has been missed or ignored all of this time. What I call the coming economic singularity, the omega point, was there in classical liberal philosophy for almost two centuries, and Marx had a pretty strong intuition of it, though I think that it was his sticking too faithfully to David Ricardo’s pessimistic outlook of capitalism’s “eventual immiseration” that diverted him from seeing it fully.
Q: Given that you both cover similar topics insofar that various ideological viewpoints throughout history tend to converge with time, would you say that your book enhances Desai’s work by updating it with our current understanding of Complexity Theory, Transhumanism, etc?
A: I don’t think that complexity theory per se, was a major influence in Desai’s book, which was pretty heavily saturated with Marxian and classical liberal ideas. The index at the back of his book doesn’t even mention complexity theory. I think the complexity and systems theory feel in passages of his book comes from when he engages F.A. Hayek’s ideas, and Hayek in my view is one of the early founders of and thinkers in complexity theory. So the ideas of emergence, and of dynamic systems that can never come to equilibrium etc., he gets from Hayek. I think he is a great admirer of Hayek’s ideas based on how he presents them in his book. So my bringing complexity theory into the milieu in my book was not to update his work as much as to show that modern systems theory both supports classical liberal economics and their theories as well as the dialectical elements within Marxist thought. You could just as easily say that I complete Teilhard de Chardin’s or even Marx’s works as well.
In all humility though I would say that Lord Desai’s book supports parts of my book by giving it the firm foundation in Marx’s evolutionary ideas from a thoroughly Marxist background, and I take the next logical step forward that completes Lord Desai’s train of thought after correcting 19th century ideas with modern complexity and techno-progressive discoveries. If it wasn’t for his book though, I would not have had as much confidence in finishing and publishing my own work as having such strong support from a Marxian economist of his stature gave my evolutionary view of Marx’s philosophy, gleaned from both Marx and the Austrians, the strength it needed. Before his work I only had Marx’s works, always open to ideological interpretation, and books from Ludwig von Mises and others and such books by those on the left as Marx Against the Marxists by Jose Miranda and the bits and pieces of dialectical and evolutionary thought discussed in works by various Leninist-Marxists. Your own fascination with the Chinese communist Deng Xiaoping’s and his emphasis on the need for scientific and technological advancement in order for socialism to arise is another example of the new reawakening happening on the left at this moment in history. So Desai’s bravery in challenging the neo-leftist status quo to correct their view of Marx, that they glean from only reading Marx’s earlier works like The Manifesto, or reading Mother Jones, Salon et al. was in my mind heroic. He is to be given great credit and if you are on the left and haven’t been introduced to this line of evolutionary thinking within Marx’s thought, I recommend you read Marx’s Revenge before you take up and read my book.
Q: Politically speaking, there are many on the left who believe that capitalism is the epitome of all evil. Of course, this goes against what Marx, himself, noted – seeing capitalism as a set of crucial stages. China’s Deng Xiaoping saw this as well and even took it a step further by noting that science and technology must be at the forefront of socio-economic development. Unfortunately, there are many on the left – those whom adhere to both Neo-Luddism and Neo-Malthusianism – who believe otherwise. Thankfully there are Technoprogressives and Techno-Optimists willing to stand up to such nonsense, but what makes your work stand out in contrast from the viewpoints of the Neo-Left?
A: Where I think my book stands out is that I take up again the absolute need for scientific and technological development that was once central to socialist and Marxist theory, which has been forgotten by the neo-left today having been banefully influenced by luddite tendencies and dogma. The high intellectual theorists of Communism/Socialism stated that socialism was only possible in the realm of abundance, and no leftist theorist of any strong Marxian standing that I can think of before the 1950’s advocated a return to medievalism in any form. Only the Conservative Catholics like G. K. Chesterton, H. Belloc, and writers like Tolkien were advocating a return to the old Tory guild socialism in the early 20th century and those ideas had a resurgence and were taken up again by such economists as William Röpke later on. In fact radical right wing Catholics today are still enamored of these Distributist ideas. The left considered their ideas reactionary or even fascist at the time, but now almost all of these conservative ideas are promulgated by neo-leftists in the ecology movement in one form or another.
To deny the Enlightenment, science, logic and technology and its full evolution is to refute the very foundation and basis for Marxian socialism whose entire foundation is the necessity for the full development of the productive material forces through capitalist, scientific and technological evolution. If you go against this, you might be a socialist, but you are not a scientific socialist, or a rationalist or an objectivist. You’re an heir of Carlyle and the English Romantics and their neo-conservative Medievalist ideals. The Romantic Movement itself arose as a reaction against Newton’s materialism as promulgated by advocates of 18th century scientism, but they ended up in the end becoming conservatives longing for a great man like Napoleon and the total state, a secular messiah, to arise. Hegel was just another in a long line of Romantics uniting Hermetic philosophy and the mystical ideas of such seers as Jacob Boehme with Imperialist sympathies. The so called Modernist Movement did the exact same thing in the early 20th century. What we are witnessing today is just another cyclical round of the same anti-science, anti-technological, neo-mystical Medievalist romanticism that we saw at the turn of the 19th century, the early 20th century, then again in the 1960-70’s and now in the early 21st century. In the face of tremendous change and the upheaval brought about through technological advancement it seems human nature likes to turn to an imaginary glorified past, an Eden in which everything was Golden and we lived in a utopia among the gods. Hesiod, the ancient mythmaker, in the Theogony spells out this longing for antiquity and Plato takes it up as well. It was thought that the closer to the source of creation you approached, the truer and more golden the age is seen to be. Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s pinning for the tribalist primitive ideal man is just more of this phantasmagorical nonsense that today’s greens spout ad nauseam. Evolution is a One Way Street to the future, there is no going back for humanity, no return to the Garden of Eden which our desire for knowledge kicked us out of, for to try to return would spell disaster.
Here’s a fascinating fact: transhumanism is actually an extension and a longing to complete the Hermetic, gnostic and Alchemical vision of antiquity only now it is through the full and complete evolution of science and technology itself that humanity will be transformed and given eternal youth and life. The philosophers stone of the new alchemists is technology. As long as Transhumanism can refute and keep at bay the technocratic and oligarchic elements within its ranks and adhere more closely to complexity theory and its truly “democratic” ideals, can we hope to finally escape the longing for the Omnipotent political State that I feel comes from more primitive areas of our brain.
Where I think my book stands out is that I take up this dynamist and evolutionist current and show that if you want to get to utopia, if you want to transcend the present economic system that you find so disagreeable, you cannot do it by “bringing it down now,” or by greater and greater interventions in the system, or by escaping to a rural Arcadia, which never existed except in the reified imaginations of the Romantic’s. Utopia lies ahead of us, but it will only come about through evolutionary processes and that was Marx’s and the Classical Liberal’s genius, that they saw this fact, which the techno-optimists have actually proven. That is why my book is so new as it is a corrective to show that in order for the left to be a vital force again, ultimately it has to rediscover elements in its roots. It has to reclaim the Promethean ideal of humanity which Marx, Marxists, the Classical liberals and especially Ayn Rand once espoused and free itself of the nihilism, pessimism, irrationalism and conservative undercurrent that presently infests it and has sapped it of all of its real strength and vitality. Omniarchy will not be possible with a desiccated humanity, sans; brains, backbone and gonads, perpetually driven downward to the least common denominator by “French” ideas of radical egalitarianism, an ideal which Marx himself was adamantly against. Science and technology are the only evolutionary forces on this planet and there is truly no future for any ideology, right or left, that attacks the forces of evolution, for to do so is to be axiomatically reactionary.
Q: I’m sure that the term “Socialism” tends to bring out a lot of negativity from those whom you talk to about it. Though your book doesn’t emphasize socialism per se– there are plenty of terms in which people use to help them understand what our next socio-economic journey will be. How we term this next step – does it really matter whether we call it Socialism, or the Age of Abundance, or the Technium? Isn’t it more important that we simply get there, as opposed to argue what name we’ll give it?
A: I agree, the word “socialism” today is pejorative and sales of my book I feel are suffering because I put it in the title. So if I had titled my book something more appealing such as, “The Coming Economic Singularity,” it would probably be selling much better. We get caught up in names and we start fighting over texts and interpretations and authors and various other intellectuals’ interpretations, much like protestant sects fighting over bible interpretations. But what we, the human race, are facing as we race toward the event horizon of the coming economic and technological singularity is something that no human society or culture has ever experienced before. So our past ideologies are like the Zen story of the blind monks all trying to figure out what an elephant is. One grabs its leg and thinks it’s like a sturdy tree, one its side and he thinks it’s like a wall. Another finds its ear and thinks it’s like a fan and the last discovers its trunk and thinks it’s like a rope. Yet none can see the entirety, the whole elephant in one glance. We are a lot like the blind Zen monks presently. Ideological blindness keeps us arguing about the parts of the elephant that we have grasped. Very few have traveled above the ideological fog that surrounds us to see things as they are in the light of coming future developments, which in itself is almost impossible as the future is fluid and constantly changing, but the patterns developing are discernable. I think that as we evolve and ideas begin to converge, through an almost dialectical process, the resultant transcendent will have elements of what we call socialism and capitalism, but it will be entirely different from what we have known those terms to mean, or what we have imagined them to be. We are facing the unprecedented, the unknown, we will have to invent a new terminology in Later Futurity as we move from the era of Early Futurity that we are presently in, but I find it heartening that libertarians, techno-libertarians, and techno-progressives (techno-Marxist’s like yourself BJ) love my book. A techno-libertarian I know messaged me on FB and thanked me for writing the book as she had always felt “torn down the middle.” she told me that emotionally she had socialist humanitarian sympathies coupled with libertarian economics that always seemed to war within her and that as she read my book it revealed to her how this dialectical delusion is easily transcended and that both halves can actually be seamlessly wedded together. That to me is truly encouraging and satisfying as I really wrote the book for individuals, like her, who are tired of today’s constant ideological battles that get us nowhere. To truly have real change, we have to come together and work as a team and what I have discovered and laid out in my book can easily be seen as a way to bring such divergent and combative groups as The Tea Party and the Occupy Movement together.
Q: What can you tell us, based on your professional opinion, what we’re to expect in the next 15-20 years as a result of the exponentially growing technological era we’re accelerating towards? It’s one thing to say “Socialism” or the “Age of Abundance,” but what do these terms really mean in the context of the 21st century?
A: Let me get my Carnac the Magnificent turban on. I have run multiple thought experiments using my intuition informed by the knowledge I have gleaned through decades of research and I see two distinct futures ahead of us. One future has the political state succeeding in using its many useful, less educated, minions and its very successful propaganda memes to put a draconian precautionary principle in place to slow down or even stop the present surge toward the economic and technological singularity. As I state in the book, in the realm of abundance there is no need for the political state as we have known it. It is an old social technology that may have been needed in the realm of scarcity, but will soon not be necessary any longer. The withering away of the state is finally at hand. The natural evolutionary rise of a new distributed system of management gives more and more power and control back to individuals and society. Omniarchy, the rule of all by all, becomes at last feasibly possible due to advancing technology.
Here is another area of convergence where the ideas of Marx and libertarians like A. J. Galambos converge, but I believe that our political elite and their cronies understand that and that is why they are trying to turn the internet into a utility, to stop and control its evolution so that they can retain their power and wealth a while longer. I think that is also why neo-ludditism has gained new strength and why there is such frantic haste to get things like a carbon tax and other “sustainable” control measures put into place as quickly as possible. Or why the new cry that claims that it is technology that is to blame for the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor has arisen, which anyone that has truly and honestly examined the statistical evidence knows to be utterly false. The political and financial elite are running scared and they are doing all they can to prop up the failing system as it leans toward the tar pit of history. For example, Carbon credits and carbon trading, I don’t see how the right and the left can be so ignorantly blind, it is so easy to see the scam. I mean ENRON loved and supported this idea and spent millions lobbying the US congress for it. As ephemeralization escalates, as we can do “more and more with less and less until we can do almost anything with practically nothing,” as Buckminster Fuller stated, old technology, old energy sources etc slowly vanish. They lose profits every year until they no longer have any and go out of business. Think of the whaling industry in the face of emerging oil refining, or blacksmiths, cartwright’s and wheelwrights in the face of Ford’s automobile that the masses could afford. They would have loved to have been paid more and more for producing less and less as their products and jobs slowly became obsolete. Could you imagine the money King Coal could make with carbon credits as coal plants shut down and coal mining goes the way of the whaling fleets over the coming decades? It’s a con for corporate welfare on a massive scale for aging and increasingly irrelevant old technologies facing eventual extinction. I always think of the Dire Straits song, Money for Nothing, when I think of carbon trading and what is truly evil about it all is that the poor and the lower and middle classes will have their incomes redistributed to the rich to do it. You will pay for the privilege of having nothing produced; it is the perfect form of Capitalism! A Capitalism from an anti-matter universe where everything is backwards, where you can produce nothing and get paid to do it. It is exploitation to an exponential degree as you are robbed of all your labor and receive nothing back! Even now poor African farmers are being violently kicked off their lands at gun point so that large European corporations can obtain climate credits for creating tree farms. We aren’t saving the world for the future; we are saving the old world, the world of the present crony system based in artificial resource shortages and scarcities, only the propaganda is truly brilliant. Imperialism may be wearing a green cape presently, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it is Imperialism and we are resurrecting it and suppressing the poor natives in other countries again at bayonet point again.
I take my hat off to the inventors of it all as it is truly insidious, but my greatest fear is that a world government like the UN saturated with present neo: leftist, Malthusian, pessimistic and luddite ideas would give the elites a worldwide police force that would be able to control, slow down, and stop the coming singularity and possibly even reverse technological achievements, much like the emperors of ancient China did. The shrill universal cry that we are at a “tipping point” is correct, but not as they would have us all believe, the tipping point that is fast approaching has to do with the old political and legal superstructures being torn apart from below by this powerful, complex, emergent force of scientific and technological evolution now unleashed. Reactionaries are doing all they can to bamboozle gullible people into helping support the status quo, to prop it up, which is unfortunate. We are at the age of the twilight of the gods and like Prometheus we have to shout, “I hate all the gods.” Olympus must fall and the old alters need to be torn down, yet so many people today on the neo-left, and even in Foresight and Future Studies, are trying to protect the “old religion.” They wish to bind Prometheus back to his rock; I say it is finally time to unleash him fully.
The other future I see, the one I hope for, is that no matter what the political state and its crony’s do, or try to do, they will fail as more and more individuals unite to help bring about the coming economic and technological singularity. How can you regulate or ban such things as guns when you can print an entire AK 47 at home on a 3D printer? Or because prices have dropped so low that you can have a fully equipped bio-lab in your garage how then can you suppress say an antiaging technology or a cure for cancer? The techno-libertarians, techno-progressives and Transhumanist’s are becoming a force to be reckoned with (though I am concerned with the influence of technocracy among many Transhumanist’s) and if the political state moved to ban such things as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb etc you would have a riot on your hands and it is only going to get worse for the State. It is theorized with driverless cars that soon 75% of the privately owned vehicles will be gone from the roads, imagine what that will do to licensing fees? They will plummet! I think more and more neo-leftist’s are going to wake up and realize with the Libertarians, that Statism is an old failed religion and that their empowerment and freedom will truly come from the evolutionary forces released by the Technium. I truly believe that the political State’s days are numbered, especially as profits and prices drop as technological deflation accelerates the emperor will be seen by more and more people to be naked and standing in their way to the fuller life they wish to live. So I expect there to be far more propaganda memes arising to fight technological advancement, to blame science and technology for every ill and evil in the world. It is the natural ideological immune system’s defense response to a new virus that is making it sick, and that is trying to and will eventually kill it.
So I see a fight between the old order and the truly new one, but my hope is that no matter what the political and financial class does, they will be outwitted and out gunned by young people with a new world vision and accelerating technology as they themselves have set up a world where they will have to turn to new technologies and the younger generation to solve the very problems that the old political class has created. For instance let’s look at technological unemployment and aging populations. The welfare state is looking at the oncoming train of insolvency what with retirement and medical expenses escalating and jobs vanishing. The politicos will have two choices, one is totalitarian and the other remains in the democratic arena. To save costs the totalitarian line will have to find a way to kill off older people faster either through overt or covert means, but of course this class will keep anti-aging cures to themselves as it will be too much of a temptation for their class so total suppression of that technology will never happen. This bodes a huge future revolution in which their class is overthrown and exterminated as I can’t imagine that most people will suffer ill health and old age while watching the political and wealthy class cavort about being forever young and healthy. The other way out of this future bankruptcy is to give anti-aging and medical cures to everyone, thus eliminating the need for government paid retirement as we have it today. When faced with the choices of the eventual collapse and bankruptcy of the state, or allowing a cure for cancer and most other diseases, I think allowing the cures will win out. For instance, the new regulations that the Obama administration signed at the G7 which will allow the banks to steal account holders funds to do an inner bailout during the next financial crisis rather than a government bailout, much as Cyprus did, bodes a coming revolution in itself. Cyprians may not rise up and beat to death or shoot bankers and politicians that voted for such a heinous act of theft, but Americans will.
As I talk to people and read, increasingly the left and the right are talking about the same things, discussing the same issues and attacking the same petrified crony political and financial system, desiring it to topple and be replaced by something that they are more directly in control of. The political state is not the solution to our problems; it is the problem in the way of all of our solutions. We have to learn to trust the “productive material forces,” then we will finally come to have “Marx’s Revenge” using Desai’s term, but in the end it will be Humanities Revenge, the boot of political and financial oppression will be finally lifted off our necks forever.
Q: Will there have to emerge a revolution of some sort or perhaps something much less violent (hopefully)?
A: Whether or not there will be a violent revolution I feel is in the hands of the present political and financial classes. No entrenched privileged class wishes to be eradicated through either evolutionary or revolutionary means and the crony socialist/crony capitalist cabal worldwide today is openly making moves on the world chessboard to create a command and control police state. Almost everyone recognizes this fact that is awake and aware. Orwell and Huxley were right after all and it is time we all truly listened. It doesn’t matter if the politicians are on the so called left or the right, both sides have been pushing a petrifying police apparatus into place over the last 40 years or more, each side stupidly blames the other for doing it while ignoring the fact that both are active in the neo-fascist process. This does disturb me and I can smell and see smoke on the distant horizon. If these entrenched classes cannot be moved by a new grassroots movement for change in a more dynamic and evolutionary direction then we will have a worldwide revolutionary war, something I pray won’t happen, but as long as those on the left continue to support and grow the state apparatus and the wealth and power of its cronies, the more they will make a future suppression of humanity and a revolutionary reaction to that suppression likely.
Mussolini’s creed once stated “Everything for the state, everything within the State and nothing against the State!” A True left must now arise to cry unwaveringly, “Nothing for the State, nothing within the State and everything against the State!” The Radical Party of French Socialists in the 70’s was calling for the same thing, a separation of economy and state, but at that time it was so new and shocking that the neo-left violently rejected it. This does not mean they were anarchists, or anarcho-capitalists, as that is an old false and failed straw man argument. Instead they were beginning to recognize Omniarchy, and believing in the eventual rule of all by all, the management of things not people, and that this comes about as an unfolding evolutionary process in a new distributed, complex, emergent system. The Radical Party intellectuals didn’t have the lexicon or the discovery of complexity theory yet to help them articulate this tentative first step. This idea of Omniarchy is so strange and mind blowing that most people cannot wrap their heads around it yet. They see parts of this emerging elephant and like Auschwitz victims freed from their dark barracks by the Allies, blink twice and run back to the old familiar comfort of the darkness of yesteryears ideology. Plato’s cave is our status quo and we sit in our chains and are mesmerized by the pretty pictures on the wall. It is high time humanity grew up and finally left the cave. There may very well be a future battle between stasists and dynamists (between neo-Primitivists and Homo-futuris). I think we will have to wait and see as the decades unfold. Abundance makes wars and revolutions less likely and completely unnecessary, but the reigning neo-left green tinted ideology of today hates abundance and wants; sustained, managed and groomed scarcity, a QWERTY system that limits humanity to the extant technology. So as long as that ideology reigns and has the upper hand and the levers of Power in its grasp, violent revolution, or a culling of humanity, is extremely likely. But I do see that their hegemony is finally breaking apart, the new movement of Ecomodernist’s and their New Manifesto is proof of that.
Q: Are you afraid that your book is too controversial, that it will not be accepted by either the right or the left as no one is ready for the idea of eventual “convergence?” That both sides are entrenched in their rigid ideological positions to such an extent that they will refuse to see the proof and evolutionary ideas within your book?
If I am seen as Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, a crazy madman who postulates things no one has yet thought about, or if I see the world in a way no one has yet done, then I accept that. I am sure I will be seen as a wild eyed heretic crying in the wilderness, proclaiming the possibility of a great new utopia that is coming to the earth. Many said the same thing about Ray Kurzweil and the entire Transhumanist movement. My book, by showing how to “get there from here” by the full evolution of the present economic system until it reaches the point of its own transcendence, solves the Marxian crisis of the early 20th century, the reason why the USSR fell, why China changed course and adopted a freer economic model. It also shows the futility of the present groping after a transeconomic mechanism that will allow us to solve today’s problems that movements like the Venus Project and the Zeitgeist Movement are trying to find in a mythical Resource Based System, but failing to, as they don’t have an understanding of valid economics which an RBE refutes. So if I am a heretic then I am in good company. Marx and many classical liberal and libertarian thinkers of great intellectual depth saw the same vision I have and postulated the same evolutionary processes working toward the same goal, the Omega Point, the coming economic singularity. So like Marx my ideas may not take off and gain power until long after my death, (unless aging is cured here soon), but I truly feel that one day my “discovery” will be common and accepted knowledge.
Q: Finally, what should we be doing now to help ensure this future takes place? There are plenty of people – both from a grassroots position and those in a position of great political power – who wish to prevent the future we envision.
A: As I said I see the days of the welfare state are coming to an end, which is the subject of the next book I am writing. If you take the logical extrapolation of what I cover in The Singularity and Socialism, you realize that redistributive systems based on taxation, monetary inflation and debt creation (all systems and actions that actually increase scarcity and create artificial resource shortages) will soon be unworkable. With prices and profits falling and the possibility of greater technological unemployment, what can the welfare state tax to then redistribute? For example look at New York City’s loss of taxi cab medallion revenue from ride sharing, or loss of state and federal governments taxing and controlling energy as solar power becomes more affordable and efficient. If everyone can become energy independent, or if you can produce more and more of your own products in your own home, and do more and more business with other people directly worldwide, what power does the political class wield anymore? Why do we need any international treaties on trade when the internet is bringing global trade with each other to the fore as a natural evolutionary process? The nation state is also beginning to wither away by this very process; the post office itself is teetering on the brink of dissolution. If the welfare state turns to inflating the money supply to meet its expenses we have an even greater disaster in store.
The Federal Reserve right now is trying to ward of technological deflation by having a target 2% inflation rate a year. Yet economists I have read peg technological deflation at around 3% to 4% a year presently. When nanotechnology really takes off and prices plummet 75-80% and technological deflation goes from 4% to 10% and then possibly 20% a year or more what is the FED going to do? Will we have a race between technological deflation and the “printing press?” A fight between two exponential functions-the singularity versus exponential inflation and debt! It’s absurd! You can’t stop the acceleration of the fall in prices set off by the law of exponential returns by a tsunami of inflation and debt like they have been doing for the last 100 years. The Welfare state and its old failed neo-Fabian ideas are done. Rumpelstiltskin economics, the art of spinning worthless paper into a currency that is forever losing its value is over. In the end Marx was right after all; interventionism only derailed or slowed down the evolution of capitalism to reaching its end point faster. We were to be midwives to help this process along, and instead the neo-left became Neo-Keynesian abortionists helping to abort capital accumulation as quickly as it accrued and it was this dialectical process which helped create the crony capitalist system we are suffering under today.
Ephemeralization, the law of exponential returns, is expanding into more and more areas of the economy at an accelerated pace. When people realize that things like universal medicine doesn’t mean cheap or free medical care for all, but rather subsidized profits for the few (why else do you think the big hospitals and medical corporations helped write the law?) increasing control of themselves, and a retardation of the medical technological improvements that would have naturally dropped all prices by 75% or more making medicine cheaper and cheaper every year just like computers and cell phones have done over the last 20 or 30 years. When such things as the tricorder X-Prize show us that “free” doesn’t come about through the political state, that it will only come about through the full evolution of the Technium, then we have a platform for a truly revolutionary change in the world, then and only then will our consciousnesses be truly raised. For example we already have apps like GoodRx that now finds the cheapest prescriptions from local area pharmacies. Imagine a Travelocity or a Priceline web site for medical care and what that would have done to bring about real change and falling prices in medical health care and insurance? The Surgical Center of Oklahoma is showing us now what open and upfront medical prices and competition is doing to dramatically bring down surgery costs. They charge $5,000 for a knee replacement when the hospitals around them are charging $25,000. I myself inquired as to the difference between a head MRI paid in cash vs paid by insurance and the difference was $500 versus $2,200 just as a chiropractor told me it would be! Imagine open borders worldwide for medical care and prescriptions. As prices for medical research fall and more and more people and companies in other countries take up research using the latest technology the competition will only increase and that will cause prices to fall even faster. We have seen teenagers create new medical tests that have dropped the price of a genetic test from $1000 to pennies. 3-D printed prosthetics is beginning to destroy the old prosthetics industry. How can the Government gain any revenue from an industry where prices are beginning to fall down an asymptote toward zero and where people can print out their own prosthetics at home? We have to come to understand that giving up ones power to the Totem Fetish Image writ large, the political state, is the penultimate form of alienation and that at heart both Marx and Libertarian utopian ideals are about eliminating all forms of alienation on this planet. Obama Care, the so called “Affordable Care Act,” was a step backward as all desires to use the Political State to change economic reality is a conservative and futile step. Remember I don’t say this as a conservative, I say it as one who sees himself fully on the side of a “True Left,” a technological evolutionary “left” that has transcend the baneful delusionary dialectic of our times.
The coming singularity is already showing us that the locus of power is shifting back to individuals united and interrelated in a new distributed network system. We have to have faith and trust in this new arising paradigm and complex system and help it along, to be its midwives, but instead I see too many people manipulated and moved by ideological fearmongering to prop up the old order and its outmoded ideas. The old order has no answers for us and no solutions; in fact it has caused all of our problems that we are now dealing with. We are at ebb tide and we have to let the old order go and fall behind us in the current of time, or take direct action and put our hands on its throat and drown it. But I think in the end it may very well wither away from disuse as more and more people leave it alone and turn to technological solutions and innovations to solve their and the world’s problems as A.J. Galambos theorized that we would finally learn to invent the technology that will give us the ability to have absolute liberty and freedom. To be in total possession of our primary property, which are ourselves, and all of our creative talents.
So as soon as more and more people come to comprehend that FREE is a matter of time in and through the evolution of the Technium, as Chris Anderson and Kevin Kelly theorize, that is when the revolution dawns. As Marx said, once the eschaton is reached the bell will toll and the present era will come to an end. It won’t be exactly as he thought, a violent communist revolution, as the state is already being withered away as we accelerate toward the economic event horizon, but I think it will be that the people will realize that the state has become an overly restrictive force constraining the evolution of technology for an increasingly “conservative” reactionary class who wishes to maintain their power and wealth through creating artificial resource shortages and technology restrictions as Buckminster Fuller realized so long ago. It will be this new revolutionary consciousness which will cause us all to get past our polarized divisions of today and unite. To rise up and use the levers of the political state to smash the state’s apparatus! So what we need to do first I think is to do what Marx said we should do, “Question Everything!” and to take his next sage advice, “That which is leaning, deserves to be pushed!” The worst thing that we could do is to help steady and re-right the leaning political and legal structures of our time, to pour fresh cement into their crumbling foundations. That would be to support the status quo and that would be disastrous for us, the world and humanity.
What I feel that we must do today to be truly revolutionary is to free ourselves of the baneful ideological poison that comes from the right-wing Hegelians, like Lassalle who worshiped the State, and get back in touch with the left-wing Hegelian’s who foresaw that the State was destined to wither away and a new holographic system, a holoarchy, would arise that would allow individuals to perfect themselves and to become the best they could be in a social and economic structure that gave them the time and abundance to do so. If the techno-libertarians have taken up this course of action because we on “the left” have ignorantly abandoned it, then that is to our shame. We will have to play catch up and join them on the evolutionary journey to a new earth, one in which the arising Noosphere, the Global Brain, has fully evolved and the present order has been transcended. The people of the world have to unite and throw off their old ideological chains, for what is coming is so new and unprecedented, that our old way of seeing the world, our old paradigms, and our old way of thinking in control and power terms has to be fully and finally discarded. Humanity is not a resource that needs to be managed; Humanity is an evolutionary force that needs to be finally set free!