Sunday, November 29, 2009

Terminology: Libertarianism, Socialism, Onenessism

In article Slaves and Forms of Slavery I spoke about socialism and capitalism, indicating that both can lead to slavery but that if executed well socialism has better chances of avoiding it.

A friend brought to my attention that it is not so much of importance to discuss socialism and capitalism. Both terms have been used throughout decades and have gained a lot of connotations. Most people already have a fixed (and inflexible) image of socialism and capitalism in their mind.

He argues that a more crucial parameter is the level of liberalism provided. In simplified terms, the amount of government involvement plays a bigger role and hence we should talk about government involvement rather than socialism vs. capitalism. True, socialism is very, very broad and includes political directions such as Marxism, libertarian socialism, democratic socialism, and social democracy. The same for capitalism. We can have socialism with little or a lot government involvement. We can have capitalism with little or a lot government involvement. The capitalism found today in the western world (US, EU) is a capitalism with a high degree of government regulation, government monopoly, government involvement, ...

I see the currently implemented capitalism as an uneven playing field, rigged by the government and corporation, in which we as individuals work against each other. We label it competition, but in reality the competition we have is war, war on all levels: military war (Iraq, Afghanistan), the economy is nothing but war between corporations with weapons such as IP rights, patents, lawyers, advertising, public relations, poaching key human resources, corporate espionage, price fixing, monopolies, and so on. At the individual level too. The phrase "competing with the Joneses" was not created out of nothing. We frequently see the Joneses as rivals and not as neighbors.

Fair competition is a positive force, we need to voice our ideas, discuss them freely and let the best ideas win. We can let various manufacturing processes compete to see which one is most beneficial. We must compete with each other as team members, not compete against each other as rivals. Competition should not be a fight for resources or money by all means possible. Competition should only be a means to evaluate and compare various possibilities.

First we must do away with monopolistic rights to correct and level the uneven playing field. We need more libertarianism. That means we need to do away with the monopoly of printing money, the monopoly of patents, and the monopoly of so many other government regulations.

I wonder if pure libertarianism is sufficient though. I am afraid that it is not "social" enough. How do we avoid the "working against each other"? How can we encourage the working together? We need competition at the level of ideas, and coordinated acting. What I mean is that we need to strive for solutions that benefit all of mankind in a sustainable way. We need to work towards a sustainable society in a sustainable environment with sustainable food sources. We need to use the best ideas and produce the best products possible using the best methodology. The best for mankind, not the best for an individual or corporation. The starting point is to find the best ideas. Here all ideas must be shared freely, discussed freely, publicly and transparently. We need to with each other to find the best ideas together. I see it as a "social" act as all of the society should participate or at least it is open to all of society. The good should be for society, mankind. It should be "open" (as in open-source). It should be "free" (as in free speech, or free as in a truly free market).

How do I describe this? What is an appropriate name for the goal of finding the best solution for mankind through an open and free process?

  • Is it socialism? Yes and no. There is a social aspect. It tries to achieve the best for society as a whole. But it is not socialism in the sense of a legislation that enforces a take-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor.
  • Is it capitalism? Yes and no. Mostly no. It says "free" and that sounds like capitalism. But the truth is that our capitalism is far away from a free market. Capital and money should not be in the center of everything. It is not about capital and profits.
  • Is it libertarianism? Yes and no. Libertarianism is part of it, but it is not the complete picture. Libertarianism provides us the freedom required but it does not cover the aspect of us being one, that we need to strive for solutions for the whole of the planet.

So, what shall I call it then? Libertarian Socialism? Social Libertarianism? Maybe. I even created the term "Sustainable Oneness Thinking" which tries to summarize the fact that we should see all of mankind as one being. As a matter of fact we should see the planet with all plants, animals and humans as one entity, as a oneness. We should strive to find solutions to improve the whole planet (not just an individual, a single country or a single society, or solely mankind at the cost of nature). Every idea and decision we should judge by asking if it is beneficial for the whole planet (our oneness) in a sustainable manner. The term Oneness Thinking sounds more religious than political. There seems to be a parallel and similarity to Hinduism and Buddhism. This religious smell will distract people. Maybe it should be "Sustainable Wholeness Thinking" implying we need to always consider the planet as a whole and do so on a long-term basis. To me oneness or wholeness is the same but wholeness sounds less religious.

Of course, none of the terms captures my complete thinking. Terms are just place holders and sometimes they can get us to think. As a joke I could call myself a follower of Libertarian-Sustainable-Oneness-ism.

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