I'm a big fan of Dana Blankenhorn for a number of reasons, fiery rhetoric being one and there's a lot of nail hammering going on in his latest post: The Nature of the Crisis.
The previous crises in American history were basically internal affairs, and thus only a few election cycles were required for them to be addressed. Because this crisis is global in nature, it is altogether different.
This crisis will require immense changes in all our policies, it will even require permanent cuts in our national sovereignty. Thus it cannot be addressed by a single election. It cannot be addressed by a single politician.
Fortunately the tools to solve this problem are at hand. You're using it. The Internet allows all inquiries to start from a very high base, it allows all businesses to start with a deep knowledge of what lies before them. It gives us the tools to work on these problems, not just across departments and companies but across continents and between governments. The crisis will transform the Internet from a connection of computers to a truly global "hive mind" in which most of us will live, work, and create change for the rest of our lives. (But beware the hive tyrant. From the UK Games Workshop.
Since I have mainly lived online for 25 years now this should be of great satisfaction to me. But it's not. It's a challenge, just like everything else in my life is a challenge, and everything in your life is a challenge.
Everything up to this point I go along with, and I'd add one, that we have to stop what I call the cocktail umbrella economy where someone can cut down virgin forest to make toothpicks that are turned into cocktail umbrellas that serve utterly no purpose for 30 seconds and are then added to the waste stream but from which an "entrepreneur" can make a business.
While millions of lives and resources are piddled away in that kind of endeavour we have no hope of a sustainable future.
But then he says two things that are unsafe.
- This is the challenge of our lives, to use these tools to solve these problems and save this planet.
- Hopefully at a profit.
The Internet is a tool for certain kinds of activities, but those who start with the tools the way he states it end up like the man with a hammer to whom everything looks like a nail.
And there is no room for profit in a sustainable model. Profit is the shifting of value from where it is created to some other place, and person. Or it is created by weaselling out of paying the full price for something, such as the environmental damage from industrial processes that is piad for by poor worker and local community health, reduced productivity of forests and rivers that is eventually picked up by the whole community; one in which the polluter has also done their best to escape paying a fair share of taxes as well.
And don't forget management and admin which punch the ticket but create infinitesimal value compared with their incomes.
Profit is little more than slavery in a top hat and its the relentless search for it that got us to this place; we can't afford it any more.