The world around us is changing at an incredible pace, and with such change come many pitfalls as well as immeasurable opportunities. At the same time, the more things change the more some things stay the same. For example, the most important issue humans will have to confront in the years ahead is the age old issue of concentrated power.
One of the most destructive side effects of the financial crisis and the corrupt official response to it, has been an even greater concentration of wealth and power in the hands of some of the most unsavory characters planet earth has to offer. If we are to evolve and create a better paradigm, we’ll need to address this forcefully and thoughtfully.
I say thoughtfully, because what history has shown is that the typical response to a small group of crooked elites seizing all money and power is to launch a violent revolt that merely empowers another small group who said all the right things during their crusade, but then act as viciously and unethically as those they replaced once in power. This situation can and should be avoided at all costs. The idea isn’t to swap one group of rulers for another. We need to think about building a world defined by networks governed by rules, but with no rulers.
Indeed, this is the greatest lesson Bitcoin has shown to the world. It is a global network/community of people who have voluntarily opted into an alternative monetary system with no one in charge. Let me repeat that again, nobody is in charge. There’s no CEO, there’s no individual empowered to come in and just make changes to the code. In contrast, there’s a sprawling community of developers, entrepreneurs, hodlers, thinkers, writers, etc, whose degree of influence within the network changes over time.
It’s no surprise then that some of the most influential and respected leaders within the community at this moment were largely unknown five years ago. Bitcoin’s governance can be best described as anarchy, and it’s precisely this structure that appeals to so many. It’s a voluntary system governed by rules, but there are no rulers. There are key influencers and people whose opinions matter to the direction of the project, but these people have no official position, and their influence can disappear as quickly as it rose. It may not be clean and pretty, but it’s the way I think governance ought to work.
Another significant and potent lesson we can learn from the success of Bitcoin is the global community that’s been built around it. This global network helps people understand how connected we are as human beings. That we have infinitely more in common with each other than the corrupt governments and sleazy oligarchs who rule our respective nation-states. It’s a very valuable lesson that “we the people” on a global level need to internalize if we’re to overcome the centralized hierarchies that dominate human affairs on earth at this time.
Humans are easily divided and conquered, both within our respective nation-states and on a global level. Here in the U.S. we’re instructed that there are two main ways of viewing the world politically (Democrats or Republicans) and that we must make a choice between one or the other. This is beyond ridiculous and we should stop playing such a stupid game immediately.
On a more global level, we’re constantly propagandized that some outside barbarian is right outside the gates and we must give up our civil liberties in order to stay safe. In my own lifetime alone, it’s gone from Russia to Iraq, to al-Qaeda, to ISIS and now back to Russia. There’s never really been a break from non-stop fear mongering, particularly since the military-industrial-surveillance complex was institutionalized after 9/11.
In contrast, the universal truth is we’re a global family of human beings and we must stand in solidarity with one another on a planetary level if we’re to overcome centralized oppression, which all of us suffer from irrespective of what our passports say. The very wealthy and powerful work together on a global basis, and we must do the same. We’re all in this together, and we have a common enemy. That enemy is concentrated power, within our communities and on a global basis. …