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The Illusion of Choice

About a century ago, the world started shifting towards the same basic economic and social rules. Today, with a slight approximation, we can easily state that the overall planet is immersed in just one global system: the mixed-market capitalism.

In a mixed-market, goods and services are supplied by a mix of private and state owned companies; moreover, governments and central banks have a certain degree of influence into the economy. All these entities operate by following rules that have profit-making as the main goal. The ingredients are the same all over the world: goods, prices, firms, banks, policies, regulatory bodies, etc. The “recipes” on how to mix these ingredients may vary, at times quite significantly, giving us the impression that we are free to choose how we want to organize our lives. But, the question is: Do we really have that choice today?

If you live in country where there is a democratic system, you may tend to say: “We do have choices!” However, at a deeper analysis, this is only half true. Let’s see why, by looking into the differences between the two possible scenarios we may have in our planet: democratic and monocratic systems.

We have a monocratic system, when there is just one party or one person in a country deciding how to combine the above mentioned “ingredients”, it’s very simple and straightforward. Instead, in a democratic system there are different parties who propose different recipes and everyone is called to decide the preferred one. Therefore, in a democracy, you may have the impression to have choices, but it’s easy to recognize that, regardless who is elected to promote a certain recipe, the basic ingredients won’t change: you must move inside the rules of the mixed-market capitalism.

Between the two, we believe that democracy is preferable, but it’s not necessarily the synonym of profound freedom or availability of choices. In other words, democracy – when it is organized to promote the same ingredients with different recipes – could be more evil than it looks, because it gives people the illusion of having choices available, when in reality they have very limited guided options.

What if someone wants to propose something substantially different? For example, exclude profit-making as a main goal, and instead put long-term environmental protection as critical objective.

These are the basic four choices available for this individual: 1) align… vote from the limited range of recipes available and pick “the least worst”, even if they are far from his/her ideals; 2) renounce… determine that whatever recipe will win, the situation will be substantially the same and therefore there is no need to make efforts in choosing anything, but just accept whatever will be decided by the voters; 3) self-satisfy… attempt to live his/her values privately, following an individualistic approach; 4) build change… try to connect with others who have similar values and ideas, to go in a different direction from the given model, and – at the same time – try to educate others on the benefits of the new values, with the hope that, one day a larger group will form and start pushing to change the basic “ingredients” allowed for organizing our economic and social lives.

We believe that the significant number of the people who generally decide not to vote in the democratic countries (which percentages range roughly between 30-50%), are not just lazy or anti-social individuals. We think that a big portion of them is simply made of individuals that don’t feel in line with the mainstream proposed alternatives, and decided to go with one of the options 2, 3 or 4 above.

As soon as new ideas – outside of the mainstream – would be identified, we are sure many of the non-voters would be willing to go out to show their support if these ideas are better in line with their values. We can even reasonably assume that, those individuals who don’t feel comfortable with the current solutions, but will vote anyhow (choice number 1 listed above), would probably react in the same way if they feel more represented by new proposals. Finally, we also think that, people who are actively and convincingly voting inside the “current game” (the mixed-market capitalism), could be ready to change opinion completely as soon as more interesting proposals would be opened up to them. In other words, new ideas – if well formulated – may gather a much broader majority, than the ones we see governing in today’s democracies.

Project Humanity 7.0 proposes a world where new basic rules (new “ingredients”), are made available to get better organized as a community. A holistic and sustainable system, which aims at fixing and surpassing the evident limits of the model present all over the world today.

We are definitely for choice number 4 above. What about you?

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