Thursday, June 13, 2024
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EMPLOYMENT & THE TECHNOSPHERE

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In the coming decades, nation states will have to devise alternative systems to replace traditional wage employment for the majority of their sheeple (human mass.) A more holistic approach, not only to productive engagement, but also to life in general, must be envisioned in place of the unsatisfying (to a large majority) occupations of prevailing capitalism. Nonetheless, due to structural changes taking place within the system itself (technological dominance), even the current mind-numbing works will become increasingly unavailable!

If truth be told, the modern world system owes all of its successes, literally speaking, to the discovery of cheap energy, namely fossil fuel. In all likelihood, humanity will not be lucky to have such a convenient, relatively safe cheap source of energy in the future, establishment rhetoric aside! No matter what, humanity should avoid the wholesome imperative of the techno-sphere, which has taken charge of our lives. For a start, certain technologies must be rejected outrightly, as they will inevitably undermine life itself. For example, the sheeple should not be fooled or coerced into accepting the continuous use of ‘nuclear power’, in all its various forms. This extremely dangerous, but highly hyped (by entrenched interests) source of energy, which is not cheap at all, even in the shallow financial sense (‘too cheap to meter’ nonsense), must be severely interrogated from the point of view of the biosphere, with a view to make a complete stop to its utilization, as it is inherently anti-life, irrespective of the different approaches being attempted to yield its massive energy, fission or fusion (even if it is possible)!

The current economic system, which has been instrumental in employing multitudes, (source of surplus value), both in the formal and informal sectors (at least for the last five hundred years) seem to be in disarray, as it faces shortages of resources as well as arising dis-functionalities in its traditional operations. The ever-expanding desire of the techno-sphere to fulfill its own internal imperatives, without due regard to the needs of humans, is and will be the most formidable challenge humanity has to face in the 21st century! For instance, the replacement of wage-earning humans by non-remunerated robotic workforce will bring unforeseen dynamics to the system. Automation and robotics are replacing labor, hardcore (proletariat) or otherwise, with attendant consequences to social organizations. Labor unions are vanishing faster than fossil fuel and the old mass employment might not come back again, however much the politicos desire/preach it. Even the so-called service industries will increasingly become inaccessible to wage seeking humans. The major obstacle in humanly addressing the conundrum of cheap energy shortages, unemployment and environmental degradation (including climate change) is, as usual, the intransigence of dominant capital!

Monopoly finance capital, which now dictates, not only global economic policies, but also (almost) all aspects of human existence, is not keen to change its ways. It would rather wage wars; destroy the biosphere (ecocide), cause genocides and destabilize nations, etc. before it is forced to come to its non-human senses. To be fair, abstracted and temporal capital is not human, hence doesn’t give a damn if humanity vanishes tomorrow. Therefore, what must be done is deal with the parasitic minions, mostly psychopaths/sociopaths, at the service of this monstrous dictator! Hiding behind extracted and neutered notion, such as ‘capital’ (even though it is, by and large, dead labor), should not be used as a license to override the core essentials on which collective human existence is based! The prevailing polarizing globalization, which allows the unbridled movement of capital, while curtailing free movement of labor, is behind the increasing chaos in the world system. The fact is; the ongoing wars in MENA (Middle East & Africa) are resource wars instigated by transnational capital, without due regard to the sheeple’s welfare! The current mass exodus from MENA to countries of the rich is a reaction, admitted or not, to this war breeding truncated globalization. The centralized bureaucracies in the rich countries (OECD) that usurped the will of the people (without being directly elected), always eager to impose the diktat of transnational capital on the gullible sheeple, (like the EU & NATO) are now confronted with the wrath of the masses, as a result of unbridled globalization!

Here is a pertinent question to transnational capital and through it, to the pathetic psychopaths/sociopaths, who blindly worship under its altar; how is income to be distributed to breathing drones so that they can buy stuff (consumerism) from those efficient non-breathing proletarian souls or roboterians for short? Why should global humanity allow the visible destruction of the biosphere so that the sickos (absolute minorities) can have their ways? Difficult as it is, the poorer countries of the world system must face such unfolding new developments/facts of life that are bound to devastate them, both physically and psychologically. Remaining stupidly compliant to the prevailing world order cannot be a solution. Or lazily trying to copy what has happened elsewhere will not bring ‘nirvana’ to the destitute of our earth. Creative thinking, not ‘copy catting’, is of the essence today!

We admit; the capacity of our leaders (not only political) in this department leaves a (whole lot) to be desired, particularly in places like Africa. Our so-called leaders, who themselves are at the mercy of the system don’t even seem to understand what is really going on in the belly of the beast/world system. Their stupid posturing, besides being embarrassing and irritating, is actually driving away capacity in droves. Articulation of viable alternatives demands the efforts of humanity’s best, and not the placement of mediocrities, compliment of manipulative politicos on behalf of their true boss, transnational capital! They might not know it, but their polished parroting of learned nonsense make them sound like useless idiots, worse than the infamous useful idiots.

This was first published in March 2017

China is reshaping the world with Belt and Road, and it’s a good thing

For ten years, Beijing’s most ambitious infrastructure project has been giving the Global South an alternative to West-dominated development

By Bradley Blankenship

Representatives from more than 140 countries will convene in China this week for another edition of the Belt and Road Forum, an international political and economic meeting designed to work out action plans for Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is undoubtedly China’s largest international event of the year, and will take place around the tenth anniversary of the initiative’s creation. A decade after the emergence of this global infrastructure project, it is important to point out its incredible geopolitical ramifications – as well as its impact at a basic human level.

At a basic strategic level, China’s BRI is genius. In his groundbreaking 1904 article titled ‘The Geographical Pivot of History,’ Sir Halford John Mackinder posited that the British Empire’s emphasis on naval power would lose significance as land transport in Eurasia developed to the point of creating what he termed the “World-Island.” This publication was one of the foundations of modern geopolitics and can be seen as a proof-of-concept paper for something like the BRI.

It can be said that by developing land-based trade arteries in Eurasia, China is developing an indestructible network of economic growth that is kneecapping today’s unipolar hegemon – the United States. While there is no indication that the BRI is in any way meant to be a military infrastructure project, the initiative’s development still represents a massive geopolitical tilt toward the multipolar world. 

As the Chinese Foreign Ministry, citing World Bank data, notes, the BRI has increased trade for participating countries by an average of 4.1%, attracted 5% more foreign direct investment, created 3.4% more GDP for low-income countries, and increased the GDP share of emerging and developing economies by 3.6% from the years 2012 to 2021. All told, the BRI is anticipated to generate $1.6 trillion in revenue each year by 2030. This has been an absolutely incredible boon for the world, particularly the Global South.

The World Bank also notes that the BRI will have helped 40 million escape poverty between 2015 and 2030. By the end of 2022, Chinese investment through the project has created 421,000 local jobs and successfully implemented over 3,000 projects. Most of these projects have been aimed at interconnecting global trade and solving practical issues related to people’s quality of life. 

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the BRI and shine a light on the human-impact stories created through Chinese investment around the world, China Global Television Network (CGTN) partnered with local production teams around the world to create a new series called ‘Rising with Pride,’ which has now started airing. Journalist Oliver Vargas and I worked on the part of the series taking place in Bolivia, specifically in a village near the San Jose II hydroelectric power plant, one of the BRI projects. 

We spoke to a local indigenous man named Hector Cespedes Veizaga who lives in Colomi, Bolivia. Thanks to the power plant, he now had electricity to his house – something many in Bolivia’s rural communities have not had until recently. He said he was now able to stay informed about what’s going on in the world and in Bolivia, and his child could do homework unimpeded. Hector’s family is among at least hundreds of thousands of people to see the tangible benefits of the BRI.

The Chinese state has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty over the last four decades, declaring victory against abject poverty in 2021, and is now helping others across the world. In addition to the BRI, China has also recently launched its Global Development Initiative (GDI) to fulfill a similar aim – though it can be said that this will focus less on tangible assets and more on projects that are sustainable and mutually profitable.

Still, the BRI has been marred by controversy – most of which is spread by Western officials and anti-China pundits. “Debt-trap diplomacy” is an often invoked one – and is also an easily debunked lie. If you look at the ratio of debt held by low-to-middle-income countries, it is always saturated with Western-backed loans from the World Bank, IMF, Paris Club, or Wall Street. China always makes up a tiny fraction. If you ever press for an example of Chinese loans tearing down a country, one can never be produced because one does not exist. (Deborah Brautigam and Meg Rithmire produced a great piece for The Atlantic that discusses why “debt-trap diplomacy” is bunk). 

We also hear all the time that China’s not simply making such investments out of the kindness of its heart – and, to be sure, that’s not even a claim that China itself makes, given how pervasive the phrase ‘win-win cooperation’ is in its diplomatic speak. The Chinese are certainly ruthlessly self-serving; however, it’s where this aligns with other people’s interests – and, as it would seem, there is quite a lot of convergence here – that things work out.

It doesn’t work out every time. For example, many countries within the 17+1 format (Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries) have seen no tangible benefit to joining the BRI, prompting many of them to quit the format, having nothing to show for promises of billions of dollars worth of investment. Indeed, nine of the original 16 members of the format received no Chinese infrastructure investment by 2020 despite high hopes. 

The Baltic states and the Czech Republic had not even attracted a single project, despite the latter being promised several billion dollars in signed agreements. Another European country, Italy, the only G7 country in the initiative, is said to be leaving it soon, too, because of a lack of results. Rome had joined the initiative to much fanfare in 2019 – indeed, I recall this because I was in the city during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit – but apparently nothing beneficial came of it.

This all being the case, there are two important things to keep in mind. Just because the BRI didn’t benefit some countries does not mean it will not benefit others. The opposite is also true: Just because it benefits some doesn’t mean it will benefit all. On top of this, the presence of the BRI is inherently beneficial to the global order because it presents an alternative to Western-dominated development institutions like the World Bank and IMF. This is the entire point – to give alternatives and allow countries to choose what option is best for them. 

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