By Jim Powers
As humans, we have just a few needs. We need food to eat, we need water to drink, and we need shelter from weather. But beyond need, these are basic rights. As rights, they are not exclusive. But they are real. Without them we can’t survive.
If we are hungry, we can eat, and that food satisfies our hunger. If we are thirsty; we can drink water and that satisfies our thirst. If it is raining, we can find a structure to stand under and that satisfies our need for shelter.
In our modern society, fulfilling those basic human needs requires money. If you live on the 30th floor of an apartment building, you can’t grow your food, provide yourself water, or keep that roof over your head without money. And for that you depend on employers, on companies.
So, money is power. But money isn’t real. Just like politics and borders, money is a figment of our imaginations. Governments create money out of thin air. And because it is fiat, they can make as much or as little as they want. And we must live with their decisions. Which gives a government unconstrained by morality or concern for people, the power of life or death over their citizens.
In our world today, 195 countries exist whose borders have been defined by force or fiat. They weren’t created by divine intervention. The world exists for all human beings. God did not create the world with permanent walls demarcating 195 countries. Those borders are political fictions and the first level of control over our lives.
Corporations, like money and borders, are also inventions of our minds. While our Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, that is a lie. They are legal fictions. And giving them the status of people has given them almost unrestrained power.
We face in the U.S. a very dangerous future on two fronts. And while this is a warning, I think it is too late to stop the danger from either.
First, there are a significant number of politicians in our government who have openly advocated for significant reduction, or complete elimination of programs including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and programs that provide money so folks can buy food. These programs provide very basic support for millions of people in our country and eliminating them would cause untold suffering for the poor and elderly. The excuse they give for their total dismissal of human rights is that the country can’t afford it anymore. That’s a lie. Because money is a fiction.
Money is worth whatever our government says it is. But that would cause inflation! Inflation only exists within the fictional economic system we have created. It is not external. It doesn’t exist because of some immutable law of nature.
We have created an economic system out of whole cloth, defined the rules, and then insist they be followed even when the result is that all the wealth of the country has accumulated into the hands of a relatively few billionaires.
An even more daunting human rights tragedy is confronting us because of the disruption AI is producing.
AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) will almost certainly exist within 12 months (it likely already exists, but one of corporations controlling AI just hasn’t told us yet). AGI would initially have the intelligence of the median human being and would likely eliminate 50 percent of existing jobs in this country fairly quickly. Which would result in social collapse if we don’t have in place a way to provide food and shelter for those who lose their jobs.
You will hear a lot of talk about UBI (Universal Basic Income) and UBS (Universal Basic Services) soon as ways to alleviate suffering for these people. Both are excellent ideas. But, because we live in a time of political fiction, neither have a chance of being introduced.
It is naïve to believe that a government already talking about eliminating programs that provide food and shelter and healthcare for the poor and elderly would have any interest in providing a basic income to half the population. They will certainly talk about it, but they will never implement it. And our society will collapse.
And, listening to a growing list of legislators, it appears collapsing our society is the goal, being orchestrated by a handful of trillion-dollar corporations through the influence of political contributions.
To them, it’s all just a money game. For us, it is life and death.
As always, because I’m discussing politics, I like to disclose my bias. I am politically Left Libertarian.
Jim Powers writes opinion columns. His beliefs are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.