Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cooperative Competitors

The ideas of the survival of the fittest and change within a species came long before Darwin and the theory of evolution. Humans have been breeding animals for at least 10,000 years to improve certain species.

Also, in the sense that females try to attract the strongest males as mates, it could be said that breeding for survival traits within the human race has gone on a long time, too – "forever," as it were. Maybe it was not conscious or socially conscious at first, but the case could be made that deliberate human breeding for survival traits and preservation of human "bloodlines" long pre-dated the breeding of animals and the concepts of aristocracy and nobility.

Note however that the competition for human survival takes place in a social context. That is, it is a cooperative competition in which certain acts draw social praise (aiding survival) while others draw social punishment (making survival more difficult). At its best, this helps everyone survive and "fitness" to survive is more about society than the individual.

This is only the background and infrastructure of society, however. Reality is much more complex. The key is that acts are only judged when they are socialized (publicized). That is why secrecy is greatly prized for individuals at the "highest" levels of societies. True honesty and transparency are only encouraged in the "lower" segments of the population. The fact is that power wants the rest of us to "speak truth" to it. "Speaking truth to power" is not truly an act of defiance or resistance, and it is not the issue. The issue is whether power speaks truth to the rest of us. It almost never does. Almost everything we hear from the highest levels of society is at least misleading if not an outright contradiction of the facts.

Pretty much everybody already knows this already.  For example, it seems likely that the more obvious lies of society's leaders are the source of some forms of paranoia and conspiracy theories. We remind our readers that our leaders regularly lie to us only because many people suppress these kinds of thoughts.  After all, what can we do about it?

The trouble is that this issue is important. No matter how little we can do, we have to do what we can about it. Leadership can get caught up in its own lies and slip further and further from reality. If societies can be said to "go crazy," that is how it happens. The leaders lose touch with reality and the people fail to confront them. History shows that tens of millions of people can die uselessly as a result.

This is also not just historical rhetoric. At least two nations seem to be insane and dangerous at this moment. Because of secrecy, it seems likely that there are several more. Insane leadership should be held accountable and changed before it leads its people and others into disaster.

Therefore we should neither quietly accept nor crazily react to our leadership when it loses touch with reality. We believe that both these responses enable the insanity rather than help correct it.

The U.S. has been pretty good at correcting its own insanity over the years, but it is a constant struggle. Today's example is Lois Lerner, who recently in essence told the rest of us "screw you!" during congressional hearings on the IRS scandal. In effect, she claimed that she had done nothing that might incriminate herself, but refused to answer questions on the grounds that she might incriminate herself. That is a crazy and antisocial set of claims. ("Crazy" meaning unworthy of serious consideration and also out of touch with reality.) For self-defense, we must end her public career now on that basis alone.

Without social punishment for wrongdoing, our cooperative competition, relatively peaceful, ceases to be cooperative. It becomes just pure competition. Dog-eats-dog. That is why so many die when societies lose touch with reality and lose leadership accountability.

We have to punish leaders we catch lying to us. Furthermore, we should always be digging for the truth in order to catch them lying to us. The effort must be made, and it concerns that so many seem to have given up on making our leaders tell the truth. "Politicians are liars and always will be," we are told, as if that excuses us from fighting against it.

Just because the world is not fair does not mean that we should not try to make it fair. There is value and good in the struggle. Our vision of the future should be that society will become fairer and more fair as time goes on, even if we know that our struggle will never succeed in creating a completely fair society. Otherwise we risk creating a world that is totally unfair.

Just because there is no objective truth does not mean that reporters and scientists should not strive to be objective. Between deconstructionism and various epistemologies, it appears that today's reporters and scientists have ceased to try to be objective. In fact, we suspect that a story or research paper that does not promote a strong, politically correct point of view will have difficulty being published. There is value in attempting to find the objective truth about any event, however, because failing to do so – lack of concern about the reality of a situation – leads to insanity.

There is a sort of Gresham's law regarding truth. Gresham's law says that bad money drives out good money. A similar law is that lies drive out truths. It is just easier to accept the lies because it takes extra effort to stay in touch with reality. That becomes especially difficult for the individual when society goes mad. Insane societies try to keep their members away from reality.

Therefore just because all politicians lie does not mean that we should accept it when we catch them lying. There is value to the struggle to try to punish them for it. The struggle is the only thing that keeps society in touch with reality. Without the struggle, the lies take over completely. This happened for example in the old Soviet Union until the government became so ludicrous that it lost control. It was replaced. We are fortunate that the process was so peaceful.

Turning now to capitalism, claims that Western capitalism is failing. In the context of what we have already said here, the failure began in the cooperative aspect of cooperative competition. The idea that the "playing field is level," or even could be made "level," by law and regulation is the lie. The competition is not "fair."

The rich would say that sure, the competition is fair. Anybody who can reach their level of economic power can have all the advantages they have. How misleading. The reality is that almost no one can reach that level. The reality also is that the rich are getting richer relative to the poor. That is not cooperation, it is oppression.
The primary difference between economic cooperation and oppression is this. Cooperation allows the rich to reward those who help them, employees and others. Cooperation means that a rising tide raises all boats. The poor do not get left behind.

Oppression allows the rich to destroy their competitors and threaten their employees.  It means economic fear. Oppression means that the rich serve themselves, not society. The poor have to take care of themselves with what is left over after the rich have taken all they want.

The powerful like the idea that they can destroy individuals who oppose them. Not by taking their lives, perhaps, but by taking their jobs, their incomes, their houses, and by putting pressure on their loved ones. We can ruin you, they threaten.

At, our vision is that, if humans ever really needed economic fear for the advancement of society, it is not needed any longer. Economic security is our vision of the future. As we have said many times, we think the primary policy changes that are needed to accomplish this involve multiple exclusive currencies and markets controlled by a government that is paid only in internal currencies.

One of the hardest things has to do to advance our cause is to convince people that trying more of the same old policies is not best. It does not seem to matter that our current policies have failed in the past and are failing now. After all we have done over the last five years to try to overcome the Great Recession, the economy is still just stumbling along. We think that people should be more frustrated with this than they are. We think that they should start considering new and different solutions like ours.

The way things are set up today, there is no way to correct the markets. Attempts to legislate cooperation back into the markets turns into saving the rich at the expense of the poor. That is only natural, since the poor are only needed for votes, not for policy decisions. The politicians lie to get the votes. Actual policy is what the rich control.

We cannot break the control that the rich have over us when we use the same currency that they do. When they pay and hire and fire us directly, as individuals, they have too much control. When they set prices and make monetary policy, they have too much control. They can threaten many individuals, but a single individual cannot threaten them at all.

The only fair way to deal with the rich in a competitive context is collectively. To be treated as equals, we have to combine our economic power until our collective power is about equal to the economic power of the rich. Individuals should only compete in markets that are suitable for their level of economic power. That includes the rich, and their markets should be different from those of the poor.

We need cooperative competition in capitalist markets to make those markets the best they can be. Now that the rich have far more economic power than the poor, the markets are beginning to break down. The rich do not have to cooperate anymore and the markets are powerless to hold them accountable. Legislation and regulation are also failing. Not just economic craziness, but social craziness, is beginning to spread. It is time to renew the struggle against these trends and use new tools, such as multiple exclusive currencies and markets.

The way capitalism should be.

Socialism for the socialists and capitalism for the capitalists.

TheOtherSideOfCapitalism (

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