“Ready or not, a new world is upon us.” So says Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum ahead of what may well be a defining gathering of the global elite.
This year, they are to have “a global dialogue on financial and monetary systems to jointly shape our monetary and financial systems by not only leveraging new technologies, such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain, but also making the systems more resilient for achieving sustainable growth and long-term societal well-being.”
We were, or think we were, invited to a private-dinner side event, but we’re not going. Not this year in any event. Perhaps in 2020. Not because we don’t value this forum, but because there are far more important things to be talking about right now at this level.
Political transitions across the world means some key players won’t attend this year. As CNN succinctly puts it:
“Trump’s decision to remain at home with the rest of the US delegation reflects the world in a state of crisis.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called off her visit after suffering a stinging defeat on Brexit. French President Emmanuel Macron, who is struggling to stop violent street protests, is also skipping the summit. Neither Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is grappling with a slowing economy, nor Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is fighting for a second term, will be making an appearance.”
The theme for Davos this year is Globalization 4.0 and/or the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The narrative seems to be that a revolt in the ballet boxes and in the streets of France is due to technological advancements rather than globalization.
Automation is driving out jobs and therefore the unskilled need to go back to school. Yet it isn’t the unskilled that are driving such change. Farage is a former investment banker. May is married to a former investment banker. Macron is a former investment banker. Trump was loaned billions by bankers.
It is intellect that is driving this structural change. Primarily a somewhat old and yet new idea of the people having a say in national and international governance.
The theme for Davos should have been Direct Democracy: How we re-align our institutions for full inclusion in national and international decision making.
This now rising demand for “decision making power for the people” is due to a widespread general perception of a system where the rich make the laws and do so generally to their benefit and at others’ expense.
The examples are far too many. These pages, for example, have argued for more than a year for reforms to the investment prohibition sections of the Securities Act, without much success.
More widely, regressive VAT taxation when income taxes do not ladder further after generally an income of $40,000, or when property taxes do not differ for a house worth say $10 million, or when inheritance taxes are flat – that being regressive – clearly indicates there is certain skewing in the law making process.
Stories of revolving doors and sophisticated corruption have hit social media time and time again. Certain decisions to go to war, and certain lack of decisions to take quick action as in Syria 2014, may well lead some to think war is just a business where people have no say.
The outrage regarding the mass surveillance revelations and the lack of any action to address it just shows how little decision making power ordinary people have.
The rise of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party shows just how ineffective engaging the process through elections can be for nothing came out of either as far as banking practices are concerned.
The revelation of a seemingly coordinated propaganda streak by the mainstream media, especially during the 2016 election, is yet another factor that has contributed to a collapse in institutional trust.
Technology may have had something to do with some of this, but it isn’t so much unemployment or some being losers from globalization as it is about the highly educated millennials effectively getting fed-up and thus demanding change.
In both Brexit and in the 2016 election, the “campaigning” by highly resourceful millennials, through their mere expression of opinion on social media, is probably what determined the outcome. In France too, it is millennials who are rising.
Their demand is simple: “regaining decision making power for the people.” That can mean a jury style people’s parliament to sit in a yellow room next to the green room commons. Or Swiss style direct democracy. Or a combination of both.
Some say, perhaps rightly, that this would be just putting plaster on a broken system, but representation of the actual commoners through random selection rather than playable elections may well allow for a peaceful, gradual, and structural reform in a way that addresses some of the biggest grievances.
Such as the rich who will be attending Davos now being a lot richer despite a banking collapse, while the rest have not seen a wage increase in real terms since the 70s for the taxation system doesn’t incentivize it and doesn’t balance the need to value growth producers while providing a reasonable share to the actual producers.
It is this perception of a rigged system due to commoners having no say that explains far better the current demands for structural reform in decision making.
While where globalization is concerned, it is doubtful any significant amount of ordinary individuals would not want more global trade or even more free movement of scientists, doctors, artists and other ordinary workers in needed sectors.
It is rather more probable that certain tensions due to the wars in Arabia have courted an unsophisticated simplified argument of generalization in regards to immigration.
That’s, however, more the surface where it concerns the general argument against immigration and if it has any underpinnings it would be an argument against effectively a one world government. That decisions would be made further and further away from the individuals concerned, thus increasing the chances of abusive decision making processes.
That sounds obvious and intuitive, but it is too simplistic and doesn’t take into account how decisions are currently made and how they could be made.
The best example is Europe in what can be described as a jungle like global governance system where conflict is avoided only by the cost/benefit analysis rather than also due to external punishment that increases costs to irrational levels, as occurs where citizens are concerned within a nation through criminal law.
In this “everyone for themselves” global system, or America First or Britain First, you’d have to ask how can little Germany stand up to Putin, Xi or Trump.
The influx of refugees during the last decade has primarily been due to American led wars in Arabia carried out effectively in Europe’s back yard, next to Turkey’s borders.
What benefit Europe has seen from this is not clear, while the costs if we just focus on the huge influx of refugees, needs no elaboration.
On its own, Germany or Britain can not possibly stand up to America and say, if need be, No. America would say: yeah whatever. A United Europe, however, would have a lot more say in intra-national relations.
If this argument can be made for the fairly big Germany, it can be made a lot more for any other European nation as they would have even less leverage if a lion said do this or, say, I cut off trade.
In this world, you would have what they said in the 90s. The big blocks of Europe, America, Russia, China and eventually probably some Arabian alliance and Latin America alliance with Africa then perhaps following eventually.
War between such huge blocks can’t easily be imagined, but if they then unite under one world government one can see how there can be total control.
Such one world government is no where near imaginable within our childrens’ lifetime or their childrens’ lifetime. Yet that’s the narrative, immortalized in effect in the illuminati legend.
When we take a more rational approach and see what is, rather than the romantic view of what if, we see generally a central parliament or congress where mainly very rich individuals engage primarily in squabbling and now and then sign off some important decisions without really much debate.
Below that you then have regional or state governments, like Scotland or California. Then Mayors for big cities like London. Below that stand local councils.
As we have seen in this space, certain state governments have made certain decisions, like ICOs are not securities, yet that seems to have no effect on enforceable law. Mayors are even more limited, while local councils are effectively only good for deciding on what day the trash will be collected.
In America, they long decided, through a very gradual process, that more and more power should be concentrated in Washington, with state power diluting and diluting.
In Europe, they now face a decision of whether to concentrate more and more power in a central European body. A choice that very well explains the current on-going debates in the papers and social media, in the ballot boxes, and in the streets.
It is difficult to see how Europe has any other choice, but to unite. If America had not united, if Moscovites had not united under Russia, if the then tiny Chinese region had not through conquest or otherwise united in what was once called the Chinese empire and now is just called China, then perhaps one could argue at an intellectual level whether Europe should or should not unite.
With things being how they are, however, it is difficult to see how any European nation can be sovereign on its own in the face of, say Russia, saying do this or no gas supply for your heaters.
It appears self-evident, therefore, that in order for Europe to be sovereign, it has to be a United Europe. As it was for 500 years during Roman times, as it was during the Holy Roman Empire, then the Austro-Hungarian empire and so on.
The continent has always been one civilization and pretty much one people, although with regional variations, because they have, so many times and for so long, been effectively one country.
Yet a potential decision of an even more detached centralized layer does, objectively, take even more power away from the people.
The French have now come up with a solution. A people’s parliament. A yellow hall. Citizens’ referendums.
That utterly simple idea, yet potentially hugely effective, may well be the balancing solution to the realistic need for greater global cooperation and the need for decisions to be made at the closest level to those affected for they would know most and thus would be able to make the best decisions.
It is in fact the most optimistic idea in living memory with its self-evident quality being self-evident. The only real proposed workable solution which one has to think has to be tried.
It can and should apply at a European level. 2,000 or so European citizens can randomly be selected to sit in the yellow people’s parliament. Citizens in addition can propose referendums.
That would be a far more democratic way of organizing. A lot more so even than if local councils had more power.
It would further address any concerns about globalism or out of touch elites or European bureaucrats for the people would have real say, and would have even more say than in current Britain where a parliament of the rich is the one making decisions.
This Davos, therefore, could be historic for the one person who is attending, Angela Merkel, could potentially make the most historic speech in a century if she is listening.
As someone who lived through the collapse of the Berlin wall and the fall of the then divided Europe into a united one, for her to argue for a Great Europe from the heart would perhaps be easy.
It is Europe who has lifted 250 million Eastern Europeans to first world standards, she can say. It is Europe who heard that Christian call to help the needy fleeing wars, she can say. It is Europe that now inspires as America declines, she can argue. It is Europe to which all look up to, she can roar.
It is Europe which can lead as it always has, she can beat the drums of voice. It is Europe that shall heed the peoples’ call, bring power to all, decision making for everyone, under a united banner for a civilized world.
We can support a yellow hall, she can then say. We support European wide citizens’ referendums.
By these two sentences, optimism would flood this continent and the wider world. Europe would take that banner of an empowered people once more. Happiness would probably instantly increase across all of Europe.
Without those two sentences, there may well be revolts throughout the entire continent. For an idea has been born. A real potential workable solution.
Lift the banner of liberty Merkel. Roar the calls of direct democracy in a United Europe. Hear the young to checkmate all as the drums now beat with optimism and song.
Then we can discuss crypto blockchain and all the rest in a forum where people actually have a say.