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Daniel Marques

Biomedical Scientist,

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What kind of future sate (after capitalism or next 200-500 years) would you like to see happen?

The current capitalist/democratic state is perhaps dominant at the moment. Capitalism seems to be adopted almost everywhere. But what will come next? The absolute rulers/monarchy system with slaves had been (mostly) replaced with feudalism which has been followed by capitalism. So what would you like to see next? A fairer, more egalitarian state? What technology are we likely to rely on (space-based solar energy? (SBSP)), how will states be run, will hunger/poverty be improved/solved? Will the state be pushing for more scientists and engineers than bankers (perhaps better incentives)?

I like to imagine a cleaner society. SBSP will be dominant, providing energy everywhere. The state is trusted by all as it is run by all in a more democratic way (made easier with improved communication tech). Corruption is difficult as as peoples values no longer depend on how much they can get, but on how can the human race improve and develop. More people are happier because they are better educated and understand the world in which they live. They want to improve technology, produce new art-forms, reach new planets and travel further into space. What do others think should happen? And What should we do today to work towards it?

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    Sep 16 2011: Given a choice, I would like to see enlightened humanism become the driving force shaping our future society. It would be a society where the good of the people is placed ahead of personal gain or acquisition of power. Education would be paramount to enable everyone to understand the difference between want and need.

    Public office would be held on a lottery basis as jury duty is now. Political parties would be obsolete in the face of true public involvement in the political process. Consumerism would be curbed by a combination of education and price adjustments. Environmental sustainability would be a central concern in all policy decisions.

    Warfare would be banned except in response to a direct attack posing a genuine threat to society. Prevention would be the first line of defense. Interactions with other societies would be assistive rather than resistive. By engaging in a positive way, we would be less likely to invite aggressiveness in return.

    There are a few other changes I might make, but there is a limit on the characters at my disposal here.

    Cheers, Winston
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      Sep 16 2011: if the current political elite is so bad that even random choice would be better, why do we need them at all? bad things should be stopped altogether, not patched.
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        Sep 18 2011: I don't believe that representative government is bad. I simply think that it should be more representative. I feel that average people have a better understanding of their needs than career politicians do. That why I support the idea of representation by ballot. As with jury duty, not everyone would be eligible, and exceptions would be made on a case by case basis.

        As for why we need them, their primary function would be to provide oversight to the permanent bureaucracy. It is the bureaucracy which actually does the day to day running of society. Unless we can find some way for society to run itself, then representatives will be needed to oversee the the bureaucracy and ensure they follow the wishes of the people.
  • Sep 1 2011: I recently read a science fiction short story that is freely available on the internet. It is called "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. The story is not necessarily to my taste, but some of its concepts are

    The world has become a "Meritocracy" in which everyone is entitled to food, shelter, education and medical care. Beyond these basics, everything is earned by merit. By doing things that others approve of. It could be that you built a bridge, wrote a book, or were born exceptionally good looking. There is no limit to the "wuffie" you can earn, which can be used to exchange for the luxuries of life, what ever you perceive them to be. I like that idea!
  • Aug 30 2011: Humanity united under one government and language, possibly ran by A.I supercomputers rather than human beings. Emergence of human/machine hibrids. Technological singularity. Space civilization. Main source of energy: Fusion power. Hunger/poverty erradicated. Significantly more investment in science and technology. Permanent colonization of earth's orbit, Moon and Mars. We could use space elevator and/or launch loop for transfering things in orbit. Building massive solar power plants in space. It's hard to predict what will actually happen, especially if concepts souch as singularity come into implementation...
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    Aug 23 2011: i hope the whole world is made up of various burning man like theme camps, where people stay in the camp that they most agree with or like and people can choose to travel the world to various camps to experince all life has to offer, trading unique items from various camps as way to obtaining new things. i wish..
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    Aug 23 2011: As far as technology, I expect it to evolve into something drastically more sustainable. The purpose of technology today is to make everything easy. That does not give us a very good chance to survive 500 years.

    As far as politics, I think that democracy and capitalism work very well on a small scale of say, one million humans at a time. Otherwise the gaps between rich and poor become very very wide which creates perpetual poverty and eliminates the opportunities of minorities... just like today.

    All these "tribes" of one million people could have an urban centre and a rural expanse, and thus be completely autonomous. Of course, new hubs of this network of one-millions would pop up often until some kind of catastrophe or pandemic neutralizes a few hubs. Each hub would be geographically and virtually connected to the other hubs and the network of these hubs would be directed in a very broad dictatorship style. The world's resources would be better distributed by the computations of a machine than the judgement of a human. Capitalism encapsulated in feudalism, essentially. Democratic particles in a communist atom.

    On the social side, it is much easier to eliminate corruption in a small business environment than a corporate setting. Also it is easier to educate and allocate people within a working system if there are fewer of them. (For example, a small classroom is better than a big classroom.) I think that there is a higher probability of people being educated and jovial if they are able to develop and connect with each other in a smaller, structured populace than in a vast societal abyss.

    So in short, we would all be individualistic-peasant-entrepreneurs within self-governed tribes, in-turn governed by a machine that keeps humanity's input/output balanced regarding our resources. Technology would serve science, not survival which would make it much less destructive to the planet's ecosystems.
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    Aug 23 2011: This is a difficult question! It is very important, amongst the wild imaginings, to remain secular about this subject. Keep human nature in mind, you know?

    For example there will always be greed, so solving poverty and hunger is out of the question unless you exterminate people. Everyone being educated and happy and understanding the world they live in means exterminating disabled people, manic depressives and bipolar people (to name a few) in order to eradicate their genetic code from our pool (not that it would even work).

    This is starting to sound a lot like Hitler won the war! Don't get me wrong, I would love for everyone to be happy, but it's amazing how little free will humans have regarding happiness, intelligence and behavior. As a biomedical scientist, I'm assuming that you've heard of epigenetic rules? People will always be born depressed or stupid or homosexual and the only way to "solve those questions" is the holocaust. In the future it might be less physically brutal because we might have the technology to build genetic code ourselves, but it is nevertheless killing the way people were naturally meant to be. I like your question but I think you've got a lot of explaining to do as far as the social concepts of your dream world! You say you want a cleaner society... I am very scared of you. Some people love to hang around in filth and hoard garbage. They are not less human than you, and be assured that they are not less in your future than in your present.
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      Aug 23 2011: Hehe, Easy there, I think you took what I said I bit far. I think this is just one of those things where other people will simply not be able to comprehend something like low poverty levels. Greed is a behaviour that is part of the human condition, yes. But It is not necessarily the one big barrier stopping us from helping others. And also the whole exterminating people to do away with problems? I think there are a few things we could do instead of turning into monsters. Disabilities, even those from birth, will one day be able to be treated before or after birth, be it surgery, genetic modification or prosthetics etc.

      I'm not sure what you were implying and it may just be the way that it reads, but homosexuality is not a disease or something to be treated. It is simply yet another way that our genetic make-up has produced diversity. Homophobia is backward and I would hope in a 'future society' will disappear along with racism + other prejudices.

      With the constant advances made in science, engineering and technology (faster now than ever in history), we should not be so pessimistic of the future by looking at how we struggle with concepts today. Looking at what the most prolific innovators and entrepreneurs (useful ones not the wasteful greedy types) are doing to change the world must give people some insight as to what human kind could accomplish one day.

      Humans in 500 years time will look back (as we do now) and be shocked at what our world was like. There is a large number of pessimistic, myopic people today. Instead of saying how impossible these great achievements are, we should be examining why they are such problems and thereby finding solutions using the technology that we may not have yet, but one day will.

      Epigenetic s is still quite a new field with intense research going into gene expression especially. No doubt with new revelations will come new ways of helping or treating the bodies where this process malfunctions.
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        Aug 23 2011: its too bad we can not look collectivly as a human body and say, "ya 500 years ago was crazy, and in 500 years we will be saying the same, but why wait 500 years, lets start now"
        • Aug 30 2011: Unfortunately masses of people are unable to preform souch paradigm-shifts. I think we'll have to wait for natural evolution of events to do it's job...
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        Aug 25 2011: Hey Daniel. You're right, I took what you said far out of proportion because this type of question (about society and the future) always has answers involving how people could be less miserable and more happy and work together in a big wonderful group. This kind of answer is optimistic beyond the bounds of reality!

        You and I will agree that as the population of the world expands, the world we live in changes drastically. I would also go as far as saying that the more aggressive the growth of the human race, the more aggressive the changes in the world (I'm talking about society as well as environment).

        The pattern that I observe if I look at the last thousand years, is that things change but the world doesn't change. If its not this disease than its that one. If its not that group who is oppressed then its this group. If its not this half of the world who is starving then its the other half! We can't make everyone happy. It will never happen and it shouldn't be something that we work towards.

        If we are going to talk about realistic approaches to the future (which I presume is the goal of this conversation), then we can't say things like "everyone will be happy and educated." However, we can say "Solar energy is the next petroleum" and talk about why we speculate thus. Mr. Blackburn articulated my point very succinctly; 500 years from now the Earth will still be the way it is today, but humans will face new problems.

        If we went into the future and figured out what those were to find immediate solutions, would not a new set of problems arise come 500 years?
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      Aug 24 2011: In addition to earlier, I also want to show that by a cleaner society, I was referring to our pollution of the planet such as that which is contributing to the global warming we are starting to see today. By focusing more of our international effort in cleaner sources of energy (e.g. more efficient solar power), the states of the future could focus on expanding our race beyond this planet rather than cleaning up our mess.

      I really would like to see more interest in our space programmes. With the innovations from space travel, life on Earth has and will continue to benefit from the improvements in cleaner technology. Not to mention the potential additional resources we could harvest from other planets, moons and our sun.
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        Aug 25 2011: I think you and I agree that technology should serve science, not us! We should evolve despite technology, not because of it.

        Speaking of space programs; have you heard of the Kepler mission?
  • Aug 22 2011: Thank you Daniel for your good insights.

    How those states are progressing?

    Referring to what sort of ideas work? I believe any idea where the majority of citizens supports. So they key here is that the majority of people should know and support that idea in provision of it.

    Further, corruption has different definition in different countries. The cause of corruption in Afghanistan is :

    Poor governance and lack of poor accountability and transparency systems
    Poverty
    No social, economical, and future security ( they get corrupted to secure themselves)
    Imbalance economic growth
    Lack of education
  • Aug 21 2011: Whatever economic system we adopt in the future, I just think it would be best if it was administered by a more libertarian government. (restricting administration to national defense, limited infrastructure like roads and property rights)

    I guess even that view can be hotly debated...
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      Aug 21 2011: OK, so what about the people. How would it be ensured that all citizens are looked after and kept healthy and kept from poverty?

      Other countries who are less well off, If they adopted a similar system, would perhaps not be looked after if the state didn't provide certain necessities. Not everyone can fend for themselves due to a myriad of reasons. What kind of power supply do you think we should be concentrating on developing?
      • Aug 21 2011: You assume that ALL people can be kept healthy and from poverty. That is a false assumption in a system with finite resources. Maybe the assumption will remain false even after technologies are invented that will turn suns into the fundamentals for life.

        A libertarian government just attempts to provide the maximum amount of freedoms it can to its citizenry without the system collapsing. That is it. Anything else such as healthcare and poverty are left to the people. And people will have to live with their choices.

        "Not everyone can fend for themselves due to a myriad of reasons." Life is not fair and no matter how much you think it should be fair, it never will be. Accept it and make the best of this world.

        Let the market choose what the most cost effective power supply is for the current time. I can't say what that power supply might be in the future but wind turbines do not work in space.
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          Aug 22 2011: Those wind turbines would have to be solar wind turbines but no i agree that's probably not an option. But SBSP is. And we need as much support for it as possible as governments just aren't paying enough attention.

          Also, I'm not a blind idealist that honestly believes everyone will be looked after. But if we just give up on constantly trying to improve conditions and just accept that life is not fair, why try at all. Aim for the highest (ultimate) goal and, even if it is unachievable, we could reach a situation that is far better than the current one. What's wrong with a bit of enthusiasm for our future.

          Leaving healthcare to the people is one thing, but without help from a government, those born into poverty don't choose to be poor. It's bad luck. wouldn't it be a happier nation if you could be sure you new you'd be provided for in desperate times?

          So you believe our next future state should be libertarian? Is that one in which the market would be completely free or partly regulated, and if so, more or less regulated than today?
      • Aug 23 2011: Space Based Solar power is great for the inner planets closest to the sun but the payoff quickly drops off the farther away from the sun you go. It is an option but it probably will not be the main option. Read about radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG)

        The idea with a libertarian government is that the people should not rely on the government to give them anything other than protections for their freedoms. Healthcare is neither a freedom or a right but a privilege and thus should not be provided by the government (i.e. the taxpayer)

        Keep in mind that some libertarians do not think the government should provide roads or public schools. I think that both these things provide more freedom to the people while administering a more passive type of national defense.

        As I said life is not fair. It should not be the place of the government to try and make life more fair. Is it fair to you if a man steals your money because the thief can't feed his kids? Taxes for building local roads can benefit you but can taxing you to keep a poor man fed benefits you? Some would say yes, I say no.

        A libertarian government is really at the mercy of those who define what their liberties should be. Regulation of the market would be a VERY difficult topic and some would agree to more regulations while others would want less.

        Read about the libertarian view point and decide what you think your rights and freedoms should be.
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    Aug 21 2011: just a quick correction: capitalism is not a form of state. capitalism is a form of society, a form of social cooperation. maybe we can say that a state allows capitalism to people. that is, establishes laws that grants people the right to own factors of production (land, factories, etc). but that is not the essence of the state, it is its strategy. in essence the state is either democratic or monarchic, it can be small it can be big, and so on.

    if you dissect the problem even more, you find out that the existence of state is actually contradictory with capitalist society. in capitalism, people fully own their property. nobody has a right to damage, take or use other people's property without permit. but since the state has to maintain itself, it has to collect taxes by coercive means. that is, the state has to forcibly take away people's property. the state also monopolizes certain services, like justice and defense. it also limits capitalism, since i cannot use my own property to provide such services. the state, in its essence, anticapitalist.
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      Aug 21 2011: OK, Thanks again Krisztian. I was being loose in my terminology. Just trying to get across my point that i'm not starting another debate of what capitalism is or should be etc.

      But come on. You yourself have admitted that the world needs changing. Putting aside any limitations of how practical it would be if applied to today's societies, what would your image of a good society be in 200+ years time. What would you like to see happen? I'm just trying to get an accumulation of ideas that are most important to people. I know there is no such thing as an 'ideal' state, but could you describe what you would like to see in the future as an improvement? What do you think will/should come next?
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        Aug 21 2011: i want no future state. i want a society with no state at all.
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          Aug 22 2011: Cool your an anarchist? So how would these hypothetical future 'states' or societies work without governing. Would they be small local communities co-operating perhaps. And could they really pool enough resources together to be able to progress enough technologically to say travel the solar system or explore beyond? Ventures such as the space elevator and off-world colonies would be difficult without international governments coming together. Wouldn't it be more difficult without a government to organise each nation?
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        Aug 22 2011: how could i possibly know?? we have no clue what will happen in 5 years. the free market keeps surprise us all the time. would you've believed in 1970 that in 30 years, we will have supercomputers in our pockets, portable phones and the internet? on the other hand, would you've believed that in 30 years, the US government will be unable to fly to the moon? that the first space tourist will fly a russian spacecraft? the collapse of the soviet union? the collapse of the nasdaq? the housing market?

        currently, our states hold back the economy. without it, the growth would be so fast that we would constantly feel like alice in wonderland. new services would be invented on every monday.

        and let me remind you, we have states, but we don't have space elevator, nor space based solar plants, nor any other kind of solar plants in significant amount, nor fusion, nor 4th generation nuclear, nor supersonic airplanes. not any of the things that we are capable of producing now or in the close future. but our governments fail to deliver.

        but even in our crippled economy, the free market starts to act. rutan flew into space, bigelow builds space station, bill stone plans moon mission, bill gates invests in 4th generation nuclear and so on. i'd rather give my tax dollars (forints in my case) to gates and rutan.
  • Aug 21 2011: Though I suggest that we should not bind our thoughts and action to capitalism or socialism, but I would be looking for a mixture of both.

    I have seen so many people rejecting wonderful ideas because it is either capitalism or socialism in nature.
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      Aug 21 2011: I agree. It looks like some states are already going more towards that direction. What sort of ideas could work? How could corruption be tackled in other countries? If this future state was an improvement on today's, would it be able to be adopted in other countries? I hope that the worlds most leading countries today (US, china, UK etc.) could be brought together to help all others. The removal of developing countries debt could for instance help them concentrate on actually developing their country. Think of all the great potential minds that could, if properly nurtured, lead to great breakthroughs in technology and science. If a minimum decent standard of living through a more socialistic approach (bringing them out of poverty) could be achieved, they could then have a better chance to compete in the world to drive ahead to succeed in helping the human race advance even further or simply to enjoy life. Isn't happiness the thing all humans strive towards in life.