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The Power and the Glory
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them” - William Shakespeare
“On the flip side of (America's) excess debt is $50 trillion in excess, paper “wealth” – stocks, bonds, real estate – that was inflated by Fed’s ultra-low lending rates. If the debt went away – by default – so would the asset values it supports.
The elites have power, status, and wealth – including almost all of the aforementioned $50 trillion; that’s what makes them the elite. And they’re not dumb. They know that tomorrow has a way of writing down today’s assets and scrambling today’s hierarchies (the last shall be first!). Their number 1 priority is always to prevent tomorrow from happening.” - Bill Bonner
We start with a reminder about why we really, really need a better social system: a society which doesn't bow to pompous 'elites' or bogus 'experts', as proclaimed by captured institutions – or by each other; a society which doesn't allow vested interests to create huge asset bubbles at the expense of everyone else.
Last time I said we'd talk about how to move this great enterprise that is panocracy forward – perhaps incurring many bruised egos and unkind words on the way, but avoiding civil unrest, bloodshed or the emergence of dictators or all-powerful technocrats.
For those of you new to this hallowed, or maybe harrowed, column, the word panocracy will likely need some explanation and so here's a compact summary:
Panocracy is a form of democracy in which the views of all are solicited both in the preparation of legislation and in its approval.
The societies we have just now allow those in power to propagandise and dissemble in the pursuit of their own fetishes: it doesn't matter whether their bete-noir is capitalism, anti-semitism, communism, Covid19 or climate change, it's always the same: we find ourselves herded into hasty actions that we're going to have to pay for - the shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach to running things.
So panocracy is the antidote to what we have at the moment where you elect people about whom you don't know much and who, when you give them the power to represent you, use it for something else.
One motivation for panocracy is that a lot more people deserve power than ever actually get any. Those who do acquire power find it necessary to make ethical compromises to cling on to it. Of those who don't, a few devote some of their time to picking holes in the actions of the powerful, as in substack and others. Mostly what they are saying is “See! I could have done it better”. And they probably could.
Panocracy would allow their voices to have influence early on when it would do most good.
Let's mention another group of voices who seem to be silent most of the time.
The Working Classes
Progressive socialists abandoned the working classes a long time ago.
And not just in the US.
The working classes are the ones who serve champagne and canapés to progressive socialists at expensive functions so, at least in that sense, they haven't been abandoned.
Karl Marx hoped that the working class would take over the running of their affairs and seize power from their 'Capitalist exploiters'. It didn't happen and the reason is simple enough: most working class people don't want power.
They do want something else and much of modern politics has been about giving them exactly that.
A century and a quarter or so after Max Weber's 'Freiburg address', the working classes are still not ready to “accept the responsibilities of power”. They will never do so voluntarily being happy to accept the occasionally tragic consequences of abuse of power in return for a relatively comfortable life most of the time. That's a different kind of ethical compromise where every so often you commit your family to risking their lives on the battlefield, or the vaccine clinic, in return for being able to run a car, go on foreign holidays, bet on the geegees and go down the pub.
In general, the working classes never wanted the greatness that the Marxists felt should be thrust upon them. They preferred to leave all that to someone else, and who can blame them?
Workers, like most people, don't want to have anything to do with politics – so all that power goes to the few rather than the many. And the few are happy to take it.
Panocracy as envisaged in these columns provides an ethical landscape that encourages its citizens to get involved. Probably most of them won't contribute much, if anything, preferring instead a quiet and ‘easy’ life. But many more than at present will find they can be involved, have thoughts to share and their voices will be heard.
Panocracy is there to re-enfranchise all those sections of the community that care about the future and are unhappy with the directions we're currently headed, whatever class they come from.
And the health of our national and local governments will be all the better for it.
We could go on ultra nauseam about the benefits of panocracy (and probably will as they occur to us) but we're looking this time at how to get the panocracy balloon airborne.
There are many problems facing the creation of a panocracy. For starters, the overwhelming majority of people have never even heard of it. Of those sceptred few who have, some perhaps can't bring themselves to believe that it could ever work. Of the remainder who may have some degree of sceptical faith almost none has the time, expertise or resources to make it a reality.
My job here so far has been to address the first of these and to start spreading the word about this improved type of democracy. It's slow going and there's a lot of competition from more newsworthy and exciting postings than a rather dry series of posts about a new idea, however beneficial that might turn out to be for all of us.
To that end, I've acquired the domain panocracy.net and I'll be starting development of a 'sandbox' that will ultimately be a working model of the ideas laid out in these substack posts. This will be a slow process as I have neither the time nor the expertise to complete the job quickly!
and beyond …
I apologise in advance for all the tech terms in the following paragraphs – it's to show that cooperative projects are going on all the time in the IT world and the cooperation is between people who have never met, who are happy to share their work and who produce useful things. This is a paradigm for our panocracy.
As an example, perl is a programming language that's been around for thirty-odd years. perl is kept up to date via The Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) which at the time of writing offers 213,720 Perl modules (A module is a piece of software that does something useful). All of these are free to use and have been developed by thousands of programmers in their own time according to CPAN's standards for quality and testability.
The message here is that there are many people out there who are happy to provide their time and expertise to a project that they believe in.
I use the example of Perl because I'm fairly familiar with it and its community is very active. Newer languages also have their communities structured along similar lines and there are more modern and larger repositories like npm.
What panocracy needs is agile, willing minds and hands to research, specify, create and maintain the functions that are at its heart: the functions and procedures that keep the beasts of politics at bay.
We need people who are good organisers; project managers; programmers; experienced in legal matters; motivators; philosophers.
I hope that you, dear reader, will help in this enterprise by letting others know about it and hopefully we'll eventually be able to get a group together to engineer and refine a functional model that people can try for themselves.