One of the problems in the U.S. today is that the rich no longer seem to know which way to go. We are having a crisis of leadership.
Does this mean that wealth and leadership are linked? Yes. At tosoc.org, we see wealth and leadership as inseparable. Anyone who has the time and resources to plan for the futures of many is a member of the "one percent." This includes both businessmen and politicians. Businessmen implement their plans through their businesses and politicians implement their plans through their policies, so we believe that both the top politicians and the top businessmen make up the one percent.
The President of the United States is always a one-percenter. Generally, every U.S. Senator is a one-percenter. Many members of the U.S. House of Representatives are one-percenters.
This is a problem because no one plans for their own, voluntary downfall, or for that of their associates. Plans are limited to those without any significant self-sacrifice, so some alternatives are excluded no matter how good they might be. In fact, an important part of any plan is how to make someone else bear the cost if the plan goes wrong. That is what is meant by "managing risk." It is also what is meant by "blaming the innocent."
So one primary reason why our government borrowed trillions of dollars was to save the one-percenters (including themselves) from the consequences of their own actions. It did save them, but now the one-percenters do not seem to know what to do with all that money. They are not lending and they are not investing. They do not know where to invest. Steve Jobs is dead and even Apple does not seem like a sure thing any more. Everyone is waiting for the next great commercial concept that will set off a wave of ideas, investment, employment, and profits.
(That is, if there is another great commercial concept. More on that later.)
Even in the political realm, there seems to be a lack of ideas. When progressives controlled all parts of the U.S. government for two years, the best they could come up with were plans to control health care costs and increase regulations on businesses. This was all very well, but despite the propaganda, these are basically conservative concepts (save money), and frankly, they are boring. They hide it well, but the progressives are intellectually dead right now.
At least the progressives have something superficially different to offer. On the conservative side, it is still "get a job, work hard, save money, and everyone can be rich!" No one believes that any more after the Great Recession. The conservatives are more obviously intellectually dead than the progressives. The truth is that you get a job, work hard, and save money just to survive – not in the service of any greater conservative vision.
So there is some question whether the world economy has fundamentally changed. It may be that the technical revolutions are over and the human race has nearly reached its maximum productive potential. If so, then this will have a huge effect on our planners.
If economic growth is dying, leadership will have to plan on a plateau economy, in which things do not change very much from year to year. It will be an economy where evolution is slow and there will be no competition for the big dinosaurs. They will get bigger and bigger at the expense, of course, of the little dinosaurs. Popular culture already feels it – the future may be one of scarcity. Humanity may literally become the new dinosaurs, doing nothing more than surviving until a big meteor comes along and ends the repetitious boredom.
This is where our economic expectations and our visions of the future intersect. If the future is expected to be expanding and abundant, then the rich will be open-handed and encouraging. Things get better for everyone, and everyone gains wealth. People at all levels will feel that their efforts are valuable and going towards valuable ends. Freedom, democracy, and free market capitalism work best in these circumstances.
Right now the rich are not open-handed and encouraging. They are socking away the trillions we borrowed in order to save them. This indicates that they already believe that we are moving into a plateau economy. It may be that even the capitalists privately are beginning to doubt freedom, democracy, and free market capitalism.
Another indication that leadership has lost its vision is that the social messages to us the poor are all about scarcity, not abundance. The are about conservation. Smaller populations. Using fewer resources. Using less and being less.
These ideas strike a chord with the poor because their lives are filled with hard work and hard choices that bring only limited returns. We tend not to think about abundance, but about austerity – that is, poverty. If we are poor, we believe that we can all at least be poor together. That is fair.
Except, of course, that the idea is nonsense. In a plateau economy, for the rich to maintain their consumption, it is important that the poor be convinced or forced to reduce consumption. That is all that our sacrifice will really mean because remember – the rich we will always have with us.
Tosoc.org believes there is a way to break this pattern. We offer a plan quite different from the ideas of either the socialists or the capitalists. So long as we the poor share a common currency with the rich, the rich will always rule us to their own advantage. Multiple exclusive currencies can be used to break the chains they use to bind us.
For one thing, if we pay ourselves and our politicians with internal currencies from which the rich are excluded, then the rich will no longer own our political processes. Their money will be no good for that any more. Politicians' interests will align with the rest of us who use internal currencies and they will no longer be co-opted by the rich.
The rich will also have to contend with the rest of us collectively rather than individually. It is easy for the few to rule the many using divide-and-conquer techniques in a one-currency system. Any effective opposition can simply be purchased. In the best case (for the rich), this will be done in secret so that the opposition can remain opposed, but simply lose its effectiveness. It is hard for a rich person to maintain strong feelings of injustice, but a harmless, organized opposition provides a good outlet for the strong feelings of others.
What if instead the rich could not buy anyone off. It would not automatically right all wrongs, but it would allow political discussion to be made in a less-volatile environment and largely exclude those whose interests and therefore political beliefs are most divergent from the whole.
It would also allow us to punish rich wrong-doers where it really hurts them – in the marketplace. The collective economic power of the U.S. is now being used to hurt Iran, for example, to discourage Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
So long as there is a single U.S. currency, however, we cannot focus our economic power on those who develop derivatives of mass economic destruction. The reason is the common currency. We cannot hurt our rich without hurting ourselves. That is why they were able to hold the masses hostage in the Great Recession and extort trillions out of the U.S. government.
With multiple U.S. currencies, we could focus our collective economic power on rich wrong-doers with lower risk to ourselves. The separation of the internal from the external currency provides a firewall. This may be the only effective way to discipline the rich.
At tosoc.org, we know which way to go in order to improve society. Our ideas are so different from what has been traditionally taught that this may not be apparent right away. We simply ask you to keep multiple exclusive currencies in mind. When you read or watch the news, start looking for ways in which they can be applied. We believe that after some time and thought, you too will come to see things from the other side of capitalism.