So this post is inspired by a few places. The whole “Benevolent Empress” post, where in someone “perfect world” was discribed. Beckett’s “Adulting” post, where he very well puts the issue so many people have with being an “adult” in our present world. And the fact that I recently ran into some stuff about one of the first anime’s I ever watched, and one that’s still a favorite of mine I’d like to see again, Shaman King, where in shamans from around the world come together to fight for god like power to shape the world in their own image.
Because honestly, if you’re going to get ultimate power, it might as well be through a series of really cool fights with other shaman.
Now, unlike most people I don’t want things like universal heathcare, or automatically subsidized living. I don’t think the world is really suffering from over population “en mass” and that we have to “stop the problem before it grows.” I also don’t have a problem with the rich getting richer, or different people having “privileges.”
But I do have some solutions to those problems as side effects to some of my desires. Having spent much of my life writing as a hobby, and having played a few rts/civilization games, as well as being a complete philosophy nerd, I’ve realized something about how a lot of people in both fiction, and sadly in real life, try to do their world building. They look at end results rather than foundations. Or, to use a simple analogy, they look to how high their skyscraper is, without thinking of the foundation it would rest upon.
I can’t promise this is going to be an interesting post (or series, depending on how long this is). I tend to “over think” and get deep.
The first thing one has to understand about the world, any world really, is the first foundation is Power. Every person, every thing, has power. If you have an individual by himself, he has a set power that he can grow (or shrink) based on his actions. He can use this power to make choices. He can use that power to enforce his choices to create things. His power can grow through use, physical and mental. You gain experience, “level up” and move on.
But power can also be “shared” or better yet, given away. Not everyone can do everything all the time. Some people do not like to make choices. Some people cannot move rocks. Some people cannot fight. Some people, however, can do these things. Everyone has things they’re good at, and things their bad at.
This is where economics and politics come from. This is also how people gain “power” the easiest. If you have five people, sometimes they can decide what to do as a group, and sometimes they will recognize that one of them is smarter and more cunning than the others…so they let him make the choices. Sometimes everyone can work a field, or you can let some people work the field who are stronger, and you can send those who are more dexterous to make the clothes. And then, in exchange the weak get fed, the strong get clothed, and everyone is happy that someone delegated these tasks so they were done more efficiently. And then, as you add more and more people to the mix, you get more surplus (economics) and hierarchy (politics). Why?
Because power loves to pool and rise, essentially. A father becomes a chieftain, becomes a king, becomes and emperor.
And it all has to do with something as simple as land area.
Everyone wants to know why it is that the rich are getting richer, how 1% of the planet can own more wealth than the whole other 99% combined. Well, that’s simple.
They were given it.
Let’s say everyone has 5 units of power and we have a group of 50 people. Now, let’s say that they pick a leader, and everyone gives that leader one unit of power (to represent his authority over the group and how much power he has over everyone in that group). Now one individual has been given 49 more units of power, meaning he has a power level of 54.
Now, is it unfair that this man has 54 units of power as opposed to everyone else who has 4 units of power? A communist might say yes, but the reality is that everyone gave him that power willingly in return for a service…deciding the best way for the group to function for the benefit of everyone.
So what if our leader of fifty people comes together with ten other leaders of other peoples. Each man has roughly 54 power, and they choose a leader of them, in order to form a kingdom. Now, depending on how it goes, the other nine can give up all their power, in which case one man leads 500 people and has a power level of 500 and everyone under him keeps their 4, or more likely, the other nine keep their authority over their people and retain a power level of 53, the other people give up another unit of power to recognize the king leaving them 3 power, and the king has 500 power. (this second option is basically feudalism).
And so it goes if there’s a hundred people, a thousand people, etc. People come together, leaders emerge, power is pooled. Sometimes leaders give up their power, sometimes the people give up their power, but either way the power rises up into the hands of fewer and fewer people. Because leadership is a natural function of both politics and economics.
With economics it’s a bit more fluid though, because you have a constant incoming and outgoing streams of power. I make something, I sell it, I get money, I then spend money to buy something I couldn’t make because I was busy making the other thing. If what I make is more valuable than what I buy, I make money and thus gain economic power. If what I make is less valuable I must either make more and sell more (requiring more power in the form of time and energy) or I loose money and economic power with the purchase.
Now, a lot of people think these two things are unfair and lead to suffering. In truth, while they might be unfair, they are not responsible for suffering at all. This comes from a false perception of reality. It’s not a malicious mistake (though it can have malicious outcomes), but it is a mistake.
The mistake is where people assume the “Baseline” of reality is.
We live in a world of marvels. We live in a world like unto the Gods, compared to just 100 years ago. In 1916 we barely had airplanes, sicknesses ran rampant, cars were loud, dirty, and barely went in the 20’s of mph. Radio was the supreme form of technological entertainment for the masses and moving pictures were only in theaters. Most of America could pass for a 3rd world country by today’s standards and even then it was 1st world. So you can imagine how most of the rest of the world was.
Go back 300, 500, 1000, 5000, and you’d see a very different world. Most human existence has been pretty bad. Everything was made by hand. A person was lucky to have two sets of clothes, much less the cornucopia of clothing options even the poorest person has today. The further back you go, the closer to the Baseline you get, till you reach Cavemen and Monkeys.
Look you, modern soul, to the plight of the ape and see his world. No buildings, no tools, not even a latrine where in he might shit. Every day is a struggle to find that day’s food. That, my dear human beings, is the baseline of human existence. Abject, naked, poverty.
Now some like to thing “well, that doesn’t sound so bad.” “That’s very earth friendly,” is another one you’ll hear.
The truth is, as a rule, even the factory worker in China has a better life at this point.
This is not to say, however, that this is my desirable system. It’s not. But to build a desirable system, one must first understand the fundamental functions of the world. The truth is we give people power so they can make our world and our lives better and more comfortable for us. As a rule, this has succeeded. The primary issue, however, is that we have centralized the power.
1% has more than all the 99% because we have unified the planet in terms of “power.”
Now before everyone starts screaming “Illuminati confirmed” let me explain. As I said, power has to do with basically “land mass.” The more land you open up, the more people on that land, the more power you have available. At this point, we live in a economically and politically unified globe. Sure, we all have different governments and there is no real political unification, but economically…it’s all one big economy. Different markers of currency are used in different places, but basically everyone is buying from everyone else.
And that means that at the end of the day, someone is going to get all the money because he manages to sell something to other people that they want. We tend to look at business from a top down perspective, when in reality it’s very much bottom up. Worker has labor, and says to manager “i can give you my work for X amount of money.” And so worker does work, takes money from customers, and gives money to manager for share of that money. Managers then do the same deal to regional managers, and so on and so forth. on and on and up, to the richest guys who get that money in exchange for having something the other people all want…jobs. He sells everyone their jobs in exchange for x amount of money. The more people he sells jobs too, the more money he makes, all because he’s giving them a chance to sell something themselves.
That’s how the system works.
The issue of unfairness and having “unequal power” when it comes to economics or politics is purely due to size. If you have five people, and only one person has power over those five, he doesn’t have that much power compared to the other four. It’s all about scale. If you really want to solve income inequality, the issue isn’t taking down the rich or taxing them more heavily. That just shifts the economic power from the hands of the merchants to the politicians, who basically get to pull a thug on people and take money from them without really giving things in return.
No, the real solution to income inequality isn’t “tax the rich” or anything like that. It’s simply to shrink the area. Cut off international trade, make everyone find all their commerce and production in their own lands, and the income inequality would drop, significantly.
I mean, you would still have “super rich” people because as soon as there’s an economy someone is going to come out on top, just like someone does politically, but you’d solve the whole 1% vs 99% thing. At least on a global scale, as you’d have more of the 1% around, just for each country rather than a planet.
So that’s part 1. I’ll see where I get to in Part 2 when I write it. Let me know what you think down below. And as always.