Changes in the productive forces such as any sort of 4th Industrial Revolution must come with vigorous public debate and referendums on planning for a post labor economy, Joaquin Flores writes.
The world and its affairs have been turned upside down, and overnight the elite’s game plan was laid out bare for the world to see: the use of new coercive technologies, AI, automation, and transhumanism.
The public has experienced the roll-out of the new normal regime through a series of sudden changes such as lockdowns and requirements for new kinds of current medical documentation in order to preserve the right of travel and work.
With the ‘new normal’, the ‘great reset’, or ‘building back better’, are we fair in asking if this is their last, best, and final? It is certainly strange that Klaus Schwab, a man who presents so poorly and provokes such suspicion among the audience, would have been rolled out as best spokesman for this endeavor.
When smart cities entered the popular debate, it was clear that technical colleges and universities were being actively propagandized by vectors representing this agenda. These can be understood as a type of large-scale housing project for a post-labor economy that uses control over access to electrical power and proximity to delivery drones as its model.
The outlines of a new social contract such as Klaus Schwab’s; that an academic may have penned such a thing or that society might be discussing it, is normal and even important. But that his ideas are being rolled out as the new reality we must accept, is most surely an affront to civil society and human dignity. It is an attack on pluralism and constitutional systems around the world.
Yet a part of this agenda involves what is arguably the end of humanity as we have known it, perhaps the end of mankind itself if defined a certain way. We are naturally being assured that this is yet the beginning of a new kind of man.
All of this has the frightening look and feel of a ruling class that has just jumped from one way of doing things over to some grand new singular idea.
The particular publicly promoted culture of the elite, of the ruling class, necessarily bears the marks of social ‘good’ and social ‘permissibility’, because this whole public display is for popular consumption and has been selected just for that reason. As we have developed in past works, they merely use this discursive framework because it disarms the public. In developing on describing the aspirations and modus operandi of technocracy in rising, Alastair Crooke explains in Is the Era Finally Coming to an End?
“We are dealing here with the ideology of an aspirant ruling class that aims to hoard wealth and position, whilst flaunting its immaculate progressive and globalist credentials. Intractable culture wars, and an epistemic crisis, in which key factual and scientific questions have been politicised, is essentially nothing more than a bid to retain power, by those who stand at the apex of this ‘Creative Class’ – a tight circle of hugely wealthy oligarchs.
Even so, schools are pressured to teach a single version of history, private corporations sack employees for deviant opinions, and cultural institutions act as guardians of orthodoxy. The prototype for these practices is the U.S., which still proclaims its singular history and divisions as the source of emulation for every contemporary society.”
For much of the 20th century the institutions implored us to believe that socially directed labor does not fundamentally produce the origin of value, only later to find that at the end of that era only this truth could explain the crisis that AI and automation bring.
Because Robots do not Eat or Own Things
So much of the economy is simply people washing each other’s clothes. The rise of automation and AI makes some great number of humanity, greater than some 9/10th’s of the population, entirely redundant in terms of labor force.
Therefore, the intentional slow-down of business not only accomplishes the obvious upwards redistribution of wealth and further consolidating corporate monopoly “capitalism”, but in the long-term establishes new efficiency matrixes regarding the actual optimal human population size at this particular time.
And yet we have a very serious problem. New coercive technologies have been developed, while other liberatory technologies have been suppressed, to control the great mass of humanity. Yet there’s much more, it is that a whole new period can be ushered in, within which population reduction is a goal. In relation to this is the birth of a new type of man, who is beyond man and also no longer man.
In Klaus Schwab’s book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2016), it is clear that transhumanism is a project which aims to integrate cybernetic technologies and nano-tech to transform human beings at the level of DNA (ch. 2.1.3 Biological, Megatrends, The Fourth Industrial Revolution).
Schwab implores us in this section of the book to set-aside the admittedly grave and serious ethical questions these raise, and proceeds to the assertion that these hold the potential to solve the present economic and ecological problems decisively and positively.
If we take these at face value, perhaps the proposals such as smart cities can seem attractive as solutions. But there is high danger in this naiveté.
Because Schwab writes his text in the language of European center-left social-democracy, which is the legitimating ideology in the Trans-Atlantic sphere, the real and truly unspeakable conclusions which one would necessarily have to infer from the text, are left unsaid.
Yet we have large sectors of the staff and employees of the so-called humanitarian spheres, including health and education NGO’s, and the university systems, believing that the proposed changes are humanitarian. Schwab makes explicit overtures to this theme throughout the text.
We must understand to the contrary that the use of nano-tech, cybernetics, and other transhumanist technologies which are proposed to be integrated into the human organism are not what they seem. We are approached with the idea that these only enhance and do not direct thinking, and that these merely work to assist in the body’s functions, longevity, cognitive capacity and so forth.
But this would be true only for the elite themselves along with some other layer. For the rest of humanity, the use of oncoviruses through mandatory inoculation, as well as other forms of biological warfare as a class-war weapon could be the norm.
Whatever future population will remain after depopulation efforts, the resources at the disposal for this remaining population per capita will be less than presently enjoyed by those of the middle-class populations in 1st world countries. This seems counterintuitive, if one believes there is some aim of improving the living conditions for the population that remains. But here we confront smart cities.
As we have discussed previously, this involves using Tokyo as an example in terms of living spaces – 150 square foot apartments with low ceiling heights. There are even greater dangers to the development of so-called smart cities which like panopticons are large prison networks.
The development of these kinds of arrangements works against decentralized living models as well. They rely upon the same supply line frailties which in turn will justify the further development of the police state, using cyberterrorism as a pretext.
In addition, all energy consumed will be tracked in the apartment with ‘smart appliances’ that will send the data back to monitoring and enforcement agencies. The aim of smart cities is to create the hydraulic despotism as discussed in our past discussion of oriental despotism.
The Single-Minded Crisis
It all does seem like a new idea, indeed, has been decided upon and rolled out. Not an invitation for a conversation, not a proposal that we get a referendum on. Just rolled out over the heads of the public.
The disastrous result we have encountered through the formalization of anti-democratic technocratic institutions which want to rule indefinitely, is the erroneous belief that the technocratic elite today – who have ruled over the past century – are equipped to effect a social transformation that accounts for the new technologies. What the World Economic Forum publishes makes us aware that the elite are aware that their system is producing “undesired” inequities. Despite this, they are apparently aware of the limitations imposed on them by their position in relation to everything else.
The efforts and plans of the WEF assume and rely upon the existence of an interlocking directorate at the top level of Western society. Conversely, its vision is necessarily limited and its aims are directed in large part by the imposition of this directorate on a common vision. From this common vision, we begin to produce single-mindedness.
So they created semi-meritocratic educational institutions, recruiting and scouting fresh minds for the great new idea, so that the problem of single-mindedness can be overcome.
The Platonic-gnostic film ‘Dark City’ explains why these are attempts will fail. In this film, a dying alien race of strangers rules over abducted people on a small city-sized flat-earth island in deep-space, where the people believe they are living back on earth. This race is dying because they have a single consciousness and thought, and they are studying humans – for their diversity – to find the single-mind to emulate for the coming period.
What this race of strangers does is akin to what the elites today attempt to do with their think tanks and gestures towards meritocracy. The strangers are trying to distill from the collectivity of humanity the single new idea that will give them new life.
But the strangers are engaged in self-defeat, the solution they envision is at the root of their problem. A single consciousness cannot be used to replace the old consciousness of a single-minded entity if the problem is a single-consciousness problem. What makes humanity are the multiplicity of divergent consciousness and the differences through the diversity of their experiences.
The ruling class in the west presents itself like these strangers, having awareness of the crisis of their own making, but with a limited understanding of solutions to those things it can understand.
We can see that changes in the productive forces such as any sort of 4th Industrial Revolution must also come with vigorous public debate and referendums on planning for a post labor economy.
For humanity, a 4th Industrial Revolution is one that could promise to decentralize power because it decentralizes the entire cycle of commodity production and distribution. Therefore, we have the possibility of a new kind of elite, whose power is based upon more horizontally situated power vectors, flattened as a product of their localized domain of power. But the elites today are working against this idea of a 4IR.
We understand already that the elites have proposed smart cities and the use of these kinds of ‘hydraulic’ despotisms, as concentrations of power and society. They will control the power source and can control citizens’ access to amenities and rental objects to their smart apartment, based on social credit. Such a proposal is misanthropic and tyrannical in its essence, but is also the best that a single-minded consciousness can arrive at.
These kinds of smart cities will have a total size, that correspond to a total human population, a lower number to be sure – but what exactly to be determined by technocratic solutions that represent the sensibilities of the ruling class at the time.
Because there are any number of viable alternatives, all of which appear better than the best offer being made by the elites, the civilizational crisis in the west right now is a political crisis and one characterized by irreconcilable differences.
- Joaquin Flores is educated in the field of IR and IPE at California State University Los Angeles; previously served as a business agent and organizer for the SEIU labor union; has published internationally on subjects of geopolitics, war, and diplomacy; serves as the director of the Belgrade-based Center for Syncretic Studies, and is Chief Editor at Fort Russ News.