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  • Oh, hey!

  • Do you ever play these funky little logic puzzle things?

  • You might discover them when bored silly at the airport.

  • Nothing mysterious; they give you a set of system rules which

  • discipline you towards achieving a certain goal.

  • It's perhaps not the most exciting thing in entertainment today.

  • I don't know.

  • Maybe there's something more to this whole logic and reason deal

  • than just killing time while in transit?

  • Of course, we all naturally assume that we're being well-reasoned

  • in our decision making, right? In fact, it can be argued

  • that to some degree such associative, causal logic

  • is inherently inescapable, effectively wired into our brains

  • with respect to how we interpret and link our experiences.

  • Yet, it's that very issue of degree

  • that appears to be where the problems arise,

  • as all too often the foundational premises

  • upon which we frame our conclusions are indeed utterly faulty

  • or without proper evidence to be considered factual to begin with.

  • Needless to say, being logical within a cognitive framework of the illogical

  • only takes you so far.

  • And today, if you dig deep into the origins

  • and bases of perpetuation of our most cherished institutions,

  • from religion to politics, to economics, to the social order itself,

  • you might discover something called 'faith',

  • rather than reason.

  • And 'faith', by definition, is not a premise of logic.

  • Faith is belief without evidence

  • and, hence, contradictory to the entire process of understanding itself.

  • In 1961, engineer R. Buckminster Fuller

  • created a global simulation called 'The World Game'.

  • The idea was to "make the world work for 100% of humanity

  • in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation,

  • without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone."

  • It's a pretty simple and rational thought exercise,

  • a logic puzzle, if you will, on the most grand scale

  • which, even in basic gesture,

  • actually stands in stark contrast with the organizational frame of reference

  • our established society currently operates within.

  • In truth, all this train of thought suggests

  • is to take a broad design perspective to the Earth and human society,

  • using what we now know regarding scientific causality,

  • as opposed to the wheeling-and-dealing inherently elitist market anarchy

  • which moves the world by, arguably, a rigid superstitious faith

  • that the 'invisible hand' of the market knows all and sees all.

  • I ask you, what if we dare to view the Earth as a single puzzle board,

  • a problem to be solved

  • with our logic based around the Earth's natural rules set:

  • the known laws of physical science?

  • What if our goal was to maximize our economic efficiency,

  • to design out poverty, to design out national war,

  • to work structurally to create a clean energy abundance

  • and, hence, to work to facilitate a material success

  • for the whole of humanity, in harmony with nature itself?

  • What? What's that? Utopian, you say?

  • Too idealistic? Communist?

  • Well, I don't know about you,

  • but when I stumble around this planet we call home,

  • a system condition that demands one thing

  • to ensure the prosperity of the human family: adaptation,

  • I am at once impressed at our tremendous accomplishments as a species

  • and at once horrified at the ignorant failures,

  • mostly resulting from a refusal to see the Earth as one system design

  • and humanity as one family bound within.

  • As this season finale of Culture in Decline will argue,

  • humanity is being faced with a choice,

  • a fork in the road. It is my personal conviction

  • that the broad social decisions made [by] this generation

  • might very well be what makes or breaks our species in the long run.

  • And perhaps by the end of this episode, you, like me,

  • will feel the need to think about which path we should choose:

  • a culture in ascent, or a culture in decline?

  • From the creator of the Zeitgeist film trilogy

  • comes the worst reality show of all time:

  • the real one.

  • GMP Films presents

  • Culture in Decline

  • with your guide Peter Joseph

  • www.cultureindecline.com

  • [Electronic sounds]

  • Science fiction writers, scientists and so-called futurists of the world

  • have painted many pictures of what the future may hold.

  • Some are modest, positive or even utopian.

  • Some are dystopian, dark and oppressive. As far as the probable truth,

  • the best we can do is measure the trends and average out the projections,

  • with perhaps, of course, the most relevant trend

  • being the influence of science and technology.

  • Of course, technological progress has its culture lag, right?

  • However, today doesn't it seem like the gap

  • between our scientific advancement and our actual understanding

  • and consideration of that advancement is growing wider and wider?

  • Doesn't it seem a little bit obvious that

  • technological capacity is exceeding social maturity?

  • It's actually a frightening point, in truth,

  • as it's a cultural value issue.

  • Science and technology, put into the hands of forward-thinking developers,

  • who perhaps recognize the profound capacity to create an abundance,

  • stabilize our ecological influence

  • and become sustainable both environmentally and culturally,

  • tend to view the world very differently

  • than the more common market, nationalist, elitist mindset

  • which sees society through the filter of narrow self-interest and competition,

  • constantly reinforcing that gain at the expense of others

  • is a law of nature and, hence, a virtue to be praised and rewarded.

  • In this context, we might see how those same tools

  • will be used to make bigger weapons, more surveillance technology

  • and ever stronger physical and psychological prisons

  • for the vast majority of humanity,

  • to remain in servitude to a small group of people

  • and essentially the ownership class.

  • So, with that in mind, I present to you a thought exercise.

  • Using my fresh new time-machine here,

  • I'm going to be your guide on a trip to two possible futures.

  • First we'll visit a world that just may be, if the current social,

  • ecological and technical patterns persist as they are.

  • Then, we'll visit a possible future that very well could be,

  • if we as a species were willing to simply employ our vast potential

  • to forge a new, highly-efficient societal design with new practices:

  • a design which is not utopian or idealistic

  • but rather quite simple, practical and doable,

  • if we simply made the decision to change in accord

  • with the logic of our natural existence.

  • [Poof!]

  • [Ghostly voice] It's Culture in Decline's 'Tale of Two Worlds'.

  • New York City, 2110.

  • It's been a while since the fall of the US empire

  • and by extension, the general decline of much of the world.

  • The massive influence of US economic policy,

  • along with the corresponding materialistic, inefficient

  • and wasteful values born out of the consumption-based growth economy,

  • began to reach its physical limits in the mid-21st century.

  • Until that point, the race towards global industrialization

  • continued unabated, with the world still pining

  • for the so-called American dream,

  • not computing that if the entire world acted with the same waste patterns

  • as the US, we would have needed four more Earths' worth of resources,

  • just to keep it all going.

  • What happened?

  • Well, there were three nails in the coffin of societal collapse.

  • The synergy of these issues compounded each other into a vicious storm,

  • and by the time the Earth hit a population of 8 billion,

  • right before the Third World War,

  • global unemployment reached levels of 65%,

  • every government on earth was bankrupt to each other,

  • and the core hydrocarbon energy sources saw destabilizing scarcity.

  • And while China did win the war,

  • what resolution was achieved didn't last long.

  • The cancer and health epidemics alone in Asia and beyond

  • rose to catastrophic proportions,

  • with a third of the planet still uninhabitable today due to industrial pollution.

  • Today, the global population has fallen by 40%, due to scarcity and disease.

  • As far as the energy crisis,

  • the early 21st century made tremendous progress

  • in understanding renewable, sustainable energy systems.

  • We were learning on paper how to stop our use of inherently scarce

  • polluting energy stores in the earth,

  • realizing the almost unlimited abundance of our regenerative universe

  • and energy income that could provide for everyone many times over,

  • if we only moved fast enough to create the proper infrastructure.

  • Unfortunately, such a transition attempt

  • was met with great resistance by financial interests.

  • You see, there was this thing called the free market

  • which was far from free, in truth.

  • It was a war and elitist protection system,

  • and the bigger and more profitable an industry became,

  • the less financial incentive existed to alter it.

  • Money was the goal of this game, not sustainability or efficiency.

  • And the fact was, we needed to move fast

  • utilizing the remaining hydrocarbon resources

  • to create new sustainable energy infrastructure.

  • It was a race against global population increases and hence needs.

  • And sadly we failed, passing the point of no return

  • as once the true scarcity of our hydrocarbon resources became understood,

  • social destabilization and panic rapidly commenced to further barricade.

  • What little progress did take place

  • was rapidly destroyed thereafter by the water and energy wars.

  • At the same time, the world faced the largest unemployment rates in history.

  • Long considered a Luddite myth,

  • the exponential increase in machine automation in the 21st century

  • created a powerful acceleration of industrial productivity

  • at ever cheaper rates, displacing workers more rapidly

  • than technology could actually create new jobs.

  • Forward thinkers saw a great shift in the architecture of society.

  • Perhaps the ancient idea of earning a living

  • could be replaced with living a life.

  • We could see the new capacity to create an abundance

  • to meet the needs of every human being on Earth, 8 billion and beyond.

  • But sadly, this prospect met the same fate as our energy ambitions.

  • The corporations, locked into a manner of thought

  • which viewed mechanization as not a means for abundance,

  • but rather a means to save even more money in the process of reduction

  • set up a violent clash, not only a clash between workers and owners,

  • but ironically, a clash of system functions.

  • Capitalism was faced with its most grand contradiction,

  • where suddenly labor could exist with increasingly less human involvement;

  • and hence, the constant pursuit of cost efficiency for profit

  • inevitably meant that less money would be put into circulation through wages.

  • And so the system ran itself down into an ever-weakening slump.

  • Noticing this, the cry of some was to stop mechanization,

  • knowing the economy literally needed jobs by design.

  • Others performed activism to try and convince the world

  • that it was time to adapt, to simply give humanity what it needed,

  • to bypass the market.

  • Why should we invent more jobs to waste human life,

  • just to keep this system going?

  • Yet of course, they were bashed in the media,

  • dismissed as socialist upstarts and freedom-hating communists

  • trying to corrupt the supposed liberty

  • of what was nothing more than a religion: the all-seeing market.

  • And by the time the corporate-controlled governments

  • couldn't look the other way any longer,

  • the momentum of anger and dismay was too much.

  • The unions went on strike, and the cry for revolution exploded.

  • The Luddites blamed technology for the problems,

  • the businesses blamed government interference,

  • the counter-culture blamed idealized conspiracies

  • with few realizing that it was a system failure,

  • a natural evolution of our culture which demanded respect and adaptation.

  • And the third and perhaps most absurd of all social plagues

  • was the illusion of financial debt.

  • It's an interesting historical note that, for some reason,

  • the mafia-style organized-crime mode of the market

  • was never really accepted as a legitimate consequence,

  • when it was, in fact, a ruling ethos inherent in the competitive,

  • scarcity-driven nature of the system.

  • Centuries of denial can be found in the endless economic textbooks

  • of this now-failed model,

  • saying that if any such behavior did occur, it was an anomaly,

  • a corruption rather than a core characteristic expected of the system itself.

  • Within this propensity, a debt system emerged.

  • Whether structurally intended as a force of class warfare or not,

  • the system served the elite quite well, for a little while.

  • Every form of currency produced was created out of debt

  • and loaned at interest to the governments, businesses, and individuals.

  • Yet, it was a mathematical impossibility for this debt to ever be repaid,

  • as there was always more debt in the global economy

  • than money to pay it back, due to the profit mechanism

  • of interest being charged.

  • And while this allowed for a surplus of cheap labor

  • that further divided the classes, moving

  • from 1% owning 40% of the planet's wealth in the early 21st century

  • to now 1% owning 70%,

  • the viral nature of the mechanism got the best of everyone in the end.

  • To expand the delusion, global banking institutions were then installed

  • to loan money made out of debt again to the now bankrupt countries,

  • only to watch these world banks fail over time as well.

  • It was the greatest inadvertent scam of all time,

  • a pyramid scheme on steroids destined to fail for all.

  • And by the time of World