Gentrification, killing Net Neutrality and the trend toward Neo Feudalism. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
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.
I gotta give it to my ex wife. She had her finger on the pulse before it became fashionable to be food conscious. In the nascent days of our young marriage back in the 90s, she came home from the library on fire, and not in a good way. "Chet....do you know about the crap they are putting in our food"? I had a working understanding that processed food was not good, but it was a casual understanding. "They put terrible things in our food...names no one can even pronounce. From now on, no more crazy food is coming into this house and into our boys. We are cutting out all animal, processed and junk food". After a moment of silence to gather my wits about me, not quite sure what just went down, I asked her "ummmmm....does that include wings too?" "Yes Chet! Nothing with a face!". Back then it was called a Macrobiotic diet. Now it's called vegan. Before the days of organic and vegan product being available on ever other corner, she became a creative genius with tofu and greens. She made vegan soul food that would have been the envy of Soul Vegan restaurant in Chicago. She created a vegan diet out of thin air for almost 8 years before we widened our selection to include some fish and poultry.
She was right then and is right now. Modern diets, particularly the Western diet, is literally killing millions wherever it goes......http://panthernow.com/2015/08/07/the-western-diet-is-killing-us/ and .https://www.npr.org/2011/03/24/132745785/how-western-diets-are-making-the-world-sick
As I mentioned in a previous briefing, my concern is what this diet is doing to our creativity, our decision making, our rational judgement and our ability to tap into wisdom. I am not the only one....https://www.naturalnews.com/047220_Western_diet_cognitive_function_obesity.html#
There is a global obesity epidemic happening in the wake of the Western diet. By conjecture, this is bound to produce vast swaths of people with poor brain function and failing rational ability. So, those of you who want to change the current trajectory of the world, you'll want to start by doing something about what you eat.
NBA players are seeing the light..http://www.stack.com/a/the-nbas-vegan-revolution-why-so-many-players-embrace-a-plant-based-diet
Millennials have been seeing it for some time...https://www.seeker.com/rise-in-veganism-more-young-people-care-where-their-food-comes-from-197879533....
Whenever I check Google Trends, going vegan is one of the most researched subjects on the web https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/02/interest-in-vegan-diets-on-the-rise_n_3003221.html
West Africans have been enjoying overall health above and beyond what most Westerners experience ---- probably because of their healthy diet....https://qz.com/473598/west-africans-have-some-of-the-healthiest-diets-in-the-world/
I don't want to give you the impression that you going to a vegan or West African diet will solve the world's challenges. But I do want you to understand that when you take charge of one part of your life --- your diet --- you can actually empower yourself to affect other parts of your life and give you a sense of agency in the world. THAT is what solves the world's challenges.
Besides. we could use a few more smart people.
Want to save the world, end your depression and live a long life? Hit the gym! A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
I hit the gym 3-4 times each week. I usually supplement my workout routine with extra protein and maybe a good pre-workout drink, so I've become a regular at my local GNC store. I have a slim muscular build, so I'm not training for the Mr. Universe contest. Nevertheless, I love how my workout makes me feel, keeps me strong, makes my body agile and allows me to wear cooler clothes. One day, a guy at the GNC store asked me "what are your body building goals"? I told him "honestly, I love staying in shape, but even more, I love working out because it stimulates my thinking. My greatest ideas seem to come to me as I am working out." I also get the same level of stimulation from my meditation practices. A trending body of research is affirming what I have been experiencing for years ---- exercise, meditation and yoga help stimulate "divergent thinking". Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Data suggests that this kind of thinking, which would help us to re-imagine ourselves to a new creative future, is being regularly and systematically destroyed by our education systems.
As systematic as this has been, our creativity is not dead....just on life support. An argument can be made that our political and cultural decision making is suffering badly because many citizens have become mindless, non-thinking droids. There are people who will pay handsomely to manipulate that kind of populous through social media and propaganda. The immediate future requires a much higher level of thought than all of life over the past few hundred years. If you want to reduce the level of pessimism and depression in your life and would like to turn up positive, affirmative solution making thoughts and ideas, pay attention. Here are five things you can do right now to stimulate your creative, problem-solving side.
Create vision parties. In my first book Seven Steps To Success I Learned From Homeless People, I talked about a method we used with my homeless clients --- the vision party. We basically gave all participants the opportunity to give voice to their biggest, most powerful dreams and ideas. No idea was to big or too silly. Everything shared was valid. Other members of the group gave their suggestion of how the person might achieve that particular vision. For some, it was the first time they had ever done anything like that. https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Success-Learned-Homeless-People/dp/0929753186
Hit the gym! I'm looking into the correlation between people in the US and the rest of the world being caught in an obesity epidemic...
....and our loss of creativity and independent thought. But until those officials numbers are in, I think it's safe to say the two are related. Here are some numbers that are in --- exercise builds up brain cells, thus stimulating creative thought. Consider weight management a bonus. https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/01/23/brain-benefits-exercise.aspx
Get into Meditation. It is beyond any doubt, meditation is one of the most powerful things you could ever do to stimulate your creative source. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/bianca-rothschild/the-science-of-how-medita_b_5579901.html
The way meditation helps your body correct and heal itself is as close to miraculous as there is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zHuWUwc4RU
Take a walk! Yes, creative thought can be cultivated simply by doing long walks..https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201404/why-does-walking-stimulate-creative-thi...
Get your yoga on. Yoga is a powerful stimulate of creative thought. A note, though. Don't do it because it's what the gentrified cool kids do. Do it because it is a 1,000 year old practice designed to center your human experience. If you're stuck on a problem, leave it for a while, practice yoga, then come back to it. https://www.yogajournal.com/teach/unexpected-ways-yoga-stimulates-creative-thinking
These suggestions are not provided so you can get stimulated, become more creative, then huddle back to your nice, safe and convenient life, but because the world needs our highest and most creative thinking now more than ever. Step up.
The great challenge we face going through this particular time of global change is that we are constantly seeking to address our most pressing problems with old, outdated and, if I may, 'stupid' ideas. Of course, part of the human condition is to draw from the tried and tested so we tend to work in increments....with the familiar....with patterns that we've established over eons. At any other time, those approaches may be considered appropriate to the normal human evolutionary journey,. But we are living in extraordinary times. Here are the trends that are begging us to rethink our approach immediately....
Climate change is happening faster than we thought it would. The latest on climate change shows things are speeding up faster than predictions...https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-06/global-warming-might-be-speeding-up
World economies are on the brink. We are seeing visible evidence that the socioeconomic order that has rootedi itself in the word for the past few centuries is collapsing...https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/11/world-order-collapse-refugees-emerging-economi...
Remember the automation unemployment crisis? The automation unemployment crisis will be more profound than we originally thought...https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/26/jobs-future-automation-robots-skills-creative-health
Now that I've put a damper on your day, allow me to brighten it. While the evidence shows that one version of existence is ending, another one is emerging. This is a unique time in the history of humanity. We are presented with opportunities and ideas that we would have never considered otherwise. Here are the opportunities that are emerging...
Vertical farming saves the day.Vertical farming may be part of the world food security solution we've been looking for, but didn't see the need to pursue it until now. https://www.ecowatch.com/5-ways-vertical-farms-are-changing-the-way-we-grow-food-1882019986.html
We are re-imagining cities. It took the internet of things and climate change to get us to rethink the design, purpose and the people of a major metropolitan area. From smart cities to "resilience hubs", we are rethinking metro areas outside of gentrification money hubs to places where people thrive and succeed in a time of change. http://www.iisd.org/faq/building-a-climate-resilient-city/
Africa is leapfrogging. The idea of an advance technological African nation as the one that will be featured in the upcoming movie Black Panther may currently be the stuff of fiction, but there is definitely a trend where emerging countries in Sub Saharan Africa are leapfrogging so-called "advanced" nations simply because they are not bogged down in old world technology infrastructure and politics. A new leadership is emerging...https://www.forbes.com/sites/harrybroadman/2016/09/30/can-africa-leapfrog-the-innovation-gap/#6f6c0d...
The popularity of co-ops is soaring globally. Based on all metrics to date, coops are dramatically rising in popularity, probably in response to the rise of income inequality as communities seek ways of feeding their people. https://www.shareable.net/blog/11-platform-cooperatives-creating-a-real-sharing-economy
Do you have a project you are working on that can add to this wave of really great ideas that can transform the world in short order? We need you. Download the UBR app from www.leadtheshift.com and submit your idea from your business, your partnership, your organization. We need the best of ideas right now to share with other thought leaders all around the planet. This is not just a kind of nice thing to do.....this is a necessity to ensure the continuation of the species on an entirely new direction.
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