Talking ideas for future change

By | Mon 29 Aug 2022

Are we prepared for the new world order?

Sit in on an evening discussion on our shred future

Geopolitical watchers and curious minds were invited to editor Pim Kemasingki’s house for an evening’s talk by Gibin Hong, director of the Global Political Economy Institute, Seoul and Michel Bauwens, founder of P2P Foundation and advisor to multiple governments and organisations. Each talked for half an hour and a lively discussion was had by the group afterwards. Watch and listen in for some pretty disturbing, enlightening, educational, inspiring and depressing thoughts on our shared future.

“We study comparative insights and how the world is moving,” explains Hong who goes on to describe the geopolitical landscape in terms of thermodynamics and how these natural cycles are clear predictors that we are currently on the cusp of one of many historic chaotic transitions.

Hong discusses the entropy caused by the imbalances of our systems which will inevitably lead to chaos, identifying stages in historic global political economic systems to be used as examples and warning signs. 

He touches on how the rudimentary stages of the mercantile economic system in the 16th century North Atlantic Europe lasted until the end of the 18th century, when entropy lead to the Napoleonic chaotic transition which in turn led to the liassez-faire Brit-dominated capitalism in the 19th century, which then lead to the intensity of 1914 which was the start of another chaotic transition period which lasted until 1945.

“These chaotic transitions were times of enormous upheaval and pain and tragedies,” warned Hong, who predicts the next ten to fifteen years will see similar upheavals, pain and tragedies. 

“After the Second World War, a second global system emerged – globalisation. Globalisation has grown in size and intensity until what I suspect was its peak in 2006.”

Hong points to the geodisturbance conflict between US and China and Russia which has upset the commodities, energy and food markets, causing rising inflation and stagnation, attributing the kickstart of this latest cycle of chaos on the Covid pandemic. 

“What I fear most is the energy and climate transition. You see, global civil society thinks it has made global consensus to reduce to net zero emissions by 2050. But it goes without saying that that kind of time map requires close cooperation. And now that kind of international cooperation is very unclear at this moment. I don’t want to dismay you but this law of thermodynamics is not something that we can avoid. We need to focus our energy and resources on the emerging order, all the chaotic transitions are implying some kind of seeds or rudiments of the new order emerging, how to recognise and distinguish it as soon as possible is our challenge. Like in the 1920s some geniuses recognised new types of economic and social orders, of course they were ignored, but by the 30s their ideas were adopted by almost all of the industrial complex countries. Forget the good old times of financial capitalism pre-2009, forget social spending for social inequalities, it is not the ultimate solution; we need to find emerging orders, whose seed forms are already here with us. All we need is eyes and minds wide-open to possibilities.”

Michel Bauwens continued the talk by explaining some samples of chaotic transitions from the past – the collapse of the Roman Empire, for instance. 

“We can transition into something more complex, or more simplified. Look at Rome though, what came out was much simplified. Look at both the religion and the entire market system which became simplified post collapse. What typically happens in a transition is fragmentation, the old glues disappear. I am arguing that distributed economy today is one of our seed forms. Typically, you have a new organising system that allowed people to organise in different way and then they connect and they scale,” explained Bauwens.

“Civilisation is a geographical arrangement. Today we have invented non-territorial coordination, this is a system change. Suddenly, civilisation is faced with a new challenge, how to you organise geographic and non-geographic communities. There are people now creating network states which are dynamic, freely connect, communicate, self-organise and even create new value systems. I too am critical of the blockchain system but I see them as open-sourced collaboration in non-territorial levels. We are already linking ideas and the physical, this is what I feel is the seed form of today. If we cannot rely on the traditional market to get our food, if the state is getting too poor or corrupt to do it for us, then we will do it for ourselves. For housing, transport, garden, every single provision system. I think that this is a civilisation alternative.”

“If the market system is imploding and the state is not the answer either, then we are moving towards local cosmolisation and relocalisation of production. The commons is not anti-market, these are also market actors. Do I have the answers though? No, but self-styled organic intellectuals [like us] are learning and looking and connecting people who are actually doing things. We are keeping our eyes on the future beyond the suffering of the moment.”