Sunday, October 02, 2016

88 Keys

Two ideas I am very passionate about are Global Citizenship and a Universal Basic Income

Globalisation and Global Citizenship aren't the same thing, but they are connected. I love local flavour, but I am also not opposed to the standardisation of the boring. A piano has 88 keys, but allows for a wide variety of music to be played. There are also a number of musical instruments. The instrument we pick up, or the music we choose to play should be free from the privileges and prejudices of the past. I want us to be able to celebrate similarities and differences. I want us to be able to create communities and share common goals. To be free to be a part of something bigger than ourselves that gives our lives meaning.

We are just waking up. We are becoming conscious of our bits and pieces like a baby learning to use its various limbs. Our past is a mess of mistreatment of each other that is very hard to unravel. The victors and losers in the past were based on geography and family. We have started picking apart the hereditary privilege and prejudice, but still overvalue the idea of meritocracy, and take too much credit for our successes. Life is very random, and much of our real wealth is shared. I believe a Universal Basic Income is the simplest way to ensure that we share in our common wealth, and from that firm base can choose paths and ladders to suit.

I am not a believer in the Nation State. Like money, businesses, languages and various other tools we use to communicate in bigger groups, they can help people connect to strangers. The problem is the outgroup. By definition, Nation States are exclusionary and the post-Empire systems of the last 100 years after the World Wars have created a system of Global Apartheid. I don't think it is okay to look out for 'your kind' without taking consideration of the interconnected world we live in. I will continue to cheer on the weakening of National sovereignty as various global institutions become more entwined in effective Global Constitutions (e.g. Universal Declaration of Human Rights). At the same time I would like to see smaller areas, Cities and their surrounding areas, empowered to reflect the more specific tastes and agreements of their local communities.


Part of why poverty has been hammered over the last few decades has been the increasingly interconnected world economy. The ability for goods, services, technology and capital to move around the world to where it is most needed is an incredibly powerful engine of global wealth creation. We have however learnt some massive, painful lessons over a century from the wolves of creative destruction. We need strong buffers to allow people to make long term decisions rather than being focused on living hand to mouth. The birth of Industrialisation saw Hut Taxes which forced people out of subsistence life styles because their labour was needed. I see a Universal Basic Income as the reverse. It provides the guaranteed buffer that permits the freedom to explore. Wolves at the door may be a great motivator, but the only thing you think about is escaping the wolves. That is no way to live.

The spread of culture is the most challenging form of Globalisation. We have completely butchered it in the past. Civilising Missions and entrenched ideas of supremacy showed very little respect for, or understanding of the subtleties or nuance of hundreds and thousands of years of learning to approach life from completely different perspectives. We are getting better, but I think this is going to be our biggest and most divisive challenge of the next 100 years. Developing the empathy and emotional intelligence required to challenge the way we see things. In the battle of Globalism v Nationalism, walls are going to come up whenever our 'Us v Them' wiring kicks in.

Overcoming Supremacy

We exist through our relationships. We do not live in isolation. How we experience, create and act as custodians of the world we have have inherited and will pass on, all depends on how we treat each other. Get that right, and a world of music exists inside 88 keys.

No comments: