11/28/2017 0 Comments
As a Futurist, my job is to connect the dots to see where things are trending. What I've noticed is that a deeply disturbing trend toward Neo Feudalism is emerging. Imagine those European medieval movies you've seen where there are the poor, unwashed masses living from hand to mouth in a kingdom with a small group of nobility running the show. That's not far from where we're trending. Neo Feudalism is an environment where there are dramatically unequal human rights, wealth and quality of life experiences between the vast majority of people and "royalty" ....the small percentage of the population at the top that keep this environment in place and seeks to expand these differences.
The United States as we speak is making a gigantic leap toward this kind of future, but it is no way alone. Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, Hungary,, Yemen, Venezuela, Chile, Myanmar and a host of other countries are trending toward the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people, while sub standard living conditions for the many expand. This, indeed, has been going on for some time, but has dramatically picked up steam over the past few years. Here are some examples of policies that have set the United States up to create a 21st century version of Neo Feudalism...
The Citizens United Decision. This Supreme Court decision basically legalized bribery of elected officials and elections. If you have vast sums of money, you can get the government and policies you want. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746
Killing Net Neutrality. At one time, the internet was known as the great equalizer....a tool that allowed anyone with a connection to have access to resources, information and a platform. At this writing, the Federal Communications Commission is about to end the idea that all parties who participate on the internet have equal status. Should this decision stand, those with money will have faster and better service and can even control your experience or even if you'll get service at all. https://lifehacker.com/what-the-end-of-net-neutrality-means-for-you-1820647171
Gentrification. Gentrification is a process of renovation of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of the influx of more affluent residents. In reality, it is a form of land grab for developers who use young, usually white, more affluent residents as "shock troops" to raise the value of the land after the developers purchased it earlier at fire sale prices. A developer friend of mine told me they get the fire sale prices by redlining the neighborhood and allowing it to fall into disarray by holding back development dollars. Sometimes this process happens through natural disasters like hurricanes and floods. At one time the area had affordable home prices and rent for low and middle income residents. In Gentrification, those one-time residents are priced out of the neighborhood with few resources to find better housing. This migration out is not that dissimilar to migrants in other parts of the world who have had to leave their homes due to war or climate change.https://everydayfeminism.com/2014/09/gentrification-communities-of-color/
Stagnant wages. The reason so many people have to work several jobs to make ends meet is because most people in this country haven't received a raise in over 30 years to keep up with inflation. Why? Automation is speeding up and making it cheaper to use robots instead of humans. That's why you can have skyrocketing productivity and flat wages. https://www.thestreet.com/story/13051096/1/americans-havent-had-a-raise-in-35-years-but-something-el...
Income Inequality. The biggest story of our time is that there is a level of income inequality between the well to do and most everyone else that is greater than at the time of the Great Depression. This makes the ground fertile for a Feudal system to emerge. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/05/u-s-income-inequality-on-rise-for-decades-is-now-hig...
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
There is an assumption in some circles that this emerging Neo Feudal environment is an anomaly....a blip on the screen that it will soon self correct if we just get the right elected officials in office. As a Futurist, it's important for me to point out that these are trends, not exceptions to the norm. That means, they are long term decisions that all of us have made, collectively, in one way or another. The only way to change the course, is to make another decision. We are now in that time where we will decide if those dystopian sci fi movies that show the few elite living well at the expense of the massess are cautionary tales.....or documentaries.
In the next briefing, I'll go into tangible concepts and ideas that can help us make a new decision.
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org