As covid-19 sweeps the planet having seemingly been reduced to manageable numbers in China, governments and world leaders are struggling to come to terms with the new reality. It has become clear that everything we thought we knew about how economics works is false. We can actually survive without markets! We can reduce consumption! We don’t have to be all the time at work! We can reduce human activity to the essentials of food supply and healthcare! It’s not the most fun way to live, but we can do it!
A new day has dawned.
And yet, will the human race be capable of coming together in its global hour of need and wrest power away from the financial elite and the military powers who have subjugated humanity to lives full of suffering and indignity for the vast, vast majority?
It is clear that priorities will have to be redrawn and a new society will have to emerge based on the following principles, among others:
A real democracy in which elected representatives truly represent the people who vote for them and not the financial interests that paid for their campaigns, a democratic model that proportionally allocates representation in line with votes cast.
The full implementation of existing human rights as outlined in the UN Declaration and their further development into new areas.
A decentralised system in which decisions are devolved as closely as possible to the grassroots of society, allowing communities to take responsibility for their own development and well-being, but allowing regions to work together to deal with situations that are too big and complicated to deal with alone.
An economic system that compensates actual productive work done and services provided, as opposed to a system driven by speculation, usury and outright gambling; a system in which the people decide on the creation of money, and not private banks; a system in which the people decide on the cost of goods, raw materials and services and not “markets” which have been installed in the public consciousness as forces of nature out of the control of human beings.
An economic system that also provides a basic income for everyone which enables every human being to have their basic needs covered so that they need never fear for their health, their housing and utility bills, from cradle to grave.
Common ownership of the means of production for everything that is essential for providing human well-being.
A global system in which all nations have equal say in a refounded United Nations, removing veto power from certain countries who believe they have the right to blackmail the whole world.
The elimination of borders so that people can travel where they like, understanding that in an equitable world without inequality, the pressure on communities to migrate vast distances in search of a better future will be taken away, and, while people young and old will always have the desire to travel, most people like to settle down in communities where they share the social and cultural landscape which they have affection for, close to where their family and loved ones live.
A disarmed planet in which there will still be a need for armed forces for humanitarian functions and conflict resolution missions – because there will always be natural disasters and conflict – but these forces will answer to the global community, and nations will not be able to subject their populations to unhuman living situations by force.
Recycling everything in order to stop the continuous extraction of raw materials from the planet, realising that our planet is finite, and that it is our responsibility to develop a way of life that is sustainable not only for the next few generations, but for a million more generations to come. We are truly the guardians of the planet and we need to take that responsibility with the seriousness it deserves.
Likewise we have to protect our environment now and return to nature all the space that we possibly can. Converting all energy to renewable sources, because eliminating the combustion of hydrocarbons and nuclear energy is an essential part of our future world also.
A culture of nonviolence, because the violence we experience every day in our societies: physical, economic, psychological, sexual and racial, among many others, is not conducive to a society which favours the development of human life and the extraordinary capacity for consciousness that we’ve been endowed with.
None of the above is new. There are legions of people all over the world working in these areas and many more.
But now we have a window of opportunity, because with the crashing down of the global system as a result of covid-19 we are able to do what Guillermo Sullings wrote about in his excellent book “At the Crossroads of Humanities Future” from which many of the points above have been taken. As he points out there’s a need to change everything at the same time:
“We must understand that it won’t be possible to change one part without changing everything, because every part responds to the logic of the greater system that it is contained within. It’s no use thinking about every part separately in order to generate a monster like Frankenstein’s that was only able to come alive in fiction. This is why the project of the Universal Human Nation, although it seems paradoxical, is more realistic than projects that change only one part and insert it into the present system.”
But as he also says:
“Nevertheless, none of this will happen until a sleeping spirit awakens from within to connect human beings with their evolutionary meaning: this contact with their interior from where the need will emerge to be coherent and to treat others as they want to be treated. But when this happens, everything will start to change. And this moment is getting closer because the saturation that this advancing emptiness is producing within human beings will be the detonator of their rebirth.”
Coronavirus is creating this advancing emptiness within human beings as we are cut off physically from both each other and the economic system which demands us to be the slaves of an all-powerful elite. Are we about to see a rebirth of human civilisation based on the need to treat others as we want to be treated? Let us fervently hope so.