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A recent article, by CNN columist Douglas Rushkoff, goes into a great overview of the conditions and actions hundreds of years ago that established our current economic structure. In it Mr. Rushkoff explains that it all started in the middle ages between peasants and lords. He talks about how, as people began moving about Europe regularly, the peasants established markets and started using local currencies to trade instead of the bartering system.
This new system of markets and currencies that were established and run in a peer-to-peer setting by the producers of value in society. That is the peasants, the working men and women. And the feudal lords were not participating. They didn’t know how to produce value. So they decided to force their way into the market. Essentially stealing from the poor by forcing prohibitive laws that limited trade, that limited currencies, and prevented one individual or company from being the end-to-end producer of products and services.
I highly recommend reading this excellent article by Mr. Rushkoff. By the end he is concluding that we (the 99%) need to help the 1% and teach them to use their wealth to become producers of value. To re-invest in the economy all the wealth that they have sucked out of it. But I disagree. The problem is that these people are not going to be willing to change by and large.
The 1% not only don’t know anything about producing value, but they refuse to do so even when given the chance. They like living high on the hog and don’t appreciate true hard work. They are nothing but a hindrance to the rest of us. All they care about (most of them anyway) is making more money and power for themselves and being served.
I think it is time that we stop serving them entirely. We are the ones that give them the power. We do this by cooperating with them, by following their orders and their rules and their petty laws. We LET them control us and our lives because we don’t know any other way to live. This is how it has been for as long as we can remember.
We already have a foothold here though. We have established farmers markets, flea markets, garage sales, person to person exchanges through Craigslist and other online classifieds. We have started, once again, to cut out the 1% from controlling our lives. But we need to do more.
Currently the 1% is lobbying Congress and governments around the world to pass laws that will keep them in power and in disgusting amounts of wealth. They push for laws like SOPA and PIPA. They try to get international trade agreements like ACTA and TPP passed in multiple countries. All of these are attempts by the elite individuals and corporations to maintain a high level of control of the world’s markets, something that has been quickly slipping away from them due to the Internet (which gives us many more tools for communication and new markets) and the higher level of knowledge and education that everyone worldwide is gaining.
They make claims of health and safety, of fairness, and they speak about what everyone owes them. They ask us to have some compassion and have some respect. Yet they show us none and they deserve neither.
I am done catering to the rich and letting them steal from the rest of us. It is time we establish solid peer-to-peer local economies again. For a long time now I have been thinking that we need to get back to what made our communities so strong and wealthy in the first place. We used to trade amongst each other. To exchange goods and services. To produce everything we need for survival within the local community. We would then trade what is left with other communities. And we never borrowed more than we could afford.
We need to get back to self-sustaining communities. Back to local pride and production. Back to being neighbors. We need to stop relying on distant outsiders that we never meet and start relying on each other and ourselves again.
We can still do great things and the 1% can participate. But they can only participate by lowering themselves to our level and becoming producers again for the first time in almost a millennia. They would learn to appreciate real hard work and the rest of us would appreciate the newly established friendships and brotherhood, the new community that brings us all together.