The Minimalism in our understanding of Post-Scarcity

Peter Joseph
26 min readMay 30, 2024


Podcast Transcript: Revolution Now! with Peter Joseph | Ep #49 | May 30th 2024

In this sprawling episode, Peter discusses the requirement of minimalism in our understanding of post-scarcity; the reason historical idealists have been wrong about predicting the future role of labor-saving automation; the nature of creativity and failure of common communicative forms, along with primary and secondary considerations in market incentive thought.

[“Time On Ours Hands” Doc]:
“It is 0830 hours, September the 14th, 1988. These are children of our time. They should live to be a hundred. They may colonize the stars. They will not toil. They need never be unhappy. But this morning, as every morning, there is a problem: how to spend a golden lifetime. What to do with so much time.

From this September morning in 1988, look back across a quarter of a century. This was London 25 years ago in 1963. These were the days so close to our own in time, so remote in style, when vast armies of human beings were still employed in offices and factories. Every working day in 1963, more than one and a quarter million people poured into central London to work. Work. Getting to work. Getting back from work. This, for many people, was a large part of life 25 years ago.

Back in 1963, and indeed for several years afterwards, acres of floor space were covered by human beings working away like the cells of a modern machine. Except in times of recession, the demand for these workers was endless, and the task they did endlessly repeated eight hours a day, five days a week, perhaps for a whole lifetime. The patience of a saint, the manual dexterity of a juggler, the ability to shut off great areas of the mind. This was all that was asked of millions of people. The great reservoir of brainpower that lay in this enormous labor force was almost untapped. And of the few who had the job of thinking, scarcely any foresaw the extent of the new industrial revolution that was to end scenes like this forever.”

[Peter Joseph]:
Good afternoon, good evening, good morning everybody. This is Peter Joseph and welcome to Revolution Now, Episode 49. The opening audio was from a 1963 BBC mockumentary called “Time on Our Hands,” pretending to be a documentary taking place in 1988, 25 years later. The point was to try and predict what the ongoing industrial revolution had in store for the future. A very interesting piece anyone can see online, though it is a bit silly at times. Stafford Beer, Aldous Huxley, and some others are featured. In fact, many years later, the BBC did a reunion of the writer and participants to see how correct they were in their perspectives, which was also interesting.

As the opening expresses, the emphasis of the piece was on physical labor being automated by machine, and hence the time people would have on their hands. As if that was the new societal problem, in jest, of course. Though not an unheard-of notion, I think it was in Zeitgeist Addendum that Jacque Fresco facetiously posed the question, “What would people do?” As if Jacque had been asked that question many times by others. Highlighting the very strange concern that people seem to have this idea that a world mostly driven by automation is a world where people have nothing to do, as if one would be so bankrupt in their creativity and curiosity in life, like the depiction in the animated movie “WALL-E” for those who saw it.

And while we can certainly see the mental damage done by the oppressive labor system, which exists predominantly not to solve economic problems, but in fact, once again, to create new ones in the interest of keeping the market machine afloat, something I’ll touch upon a little bit more later. It is no surprise that after punching a time clock for 40 hours a week, year after year, working in an occupation one generally dislikes, some develop an attitude of laziness as a result. In fact, often by the time people are old enough to retire, it seems like all childlike curiosity and motivated spirit is just gone.

Though I will say as an aside, half-jokingly, that laziness is probably the best thing that could happen in our society at this stage, as the train of civilization increases its speed toward flying off the cliff to its demise, with all the bling, glimmering in the sunset. Since we are all part of this toxic economic machine and the less people do to power it, the better, being lazy actually buys us time. Of course, I’m being rhetorical here. Most people couldn’t be lazy if they really wanted to, since they are coerced to generate income to survive. And obviously, for all those that take everything too literally, there are lots of reasons not to be lazy when it comes to solving problems.

But on a deeper level, there is indeed a dark culture of endless striving, a work ethic forge that really isn’t a virtue. It is a neurosis tied to social status and material obsession. To what end does one’s professional ambition really accomplish in the long run? It’s the question to be asked. It’s one thing to have passion about something. If you work 15 hours a day straight on an idea that excites you or you think has social benefit; work of art — well, that’s beautiful. But that isn’t the same as people forging discipline in the business game to grab more and more or trying to output something others will be impressed by.

In fact, as an aside, since I just brought up the idea of ethics and creativity, in effect, I often return to the philosophy of Frank Zappa when thinking about the relationship of one’s personal work to the external. He always said that when he created music, he did it for his own satisfaction. If anyone else liked it, fine, but that had nothing to do with his motivation. And that’s what I would call a pure motivation. Iannis Xenakis, a 20th-century composer, was also a large influence on me, having played a lot of his percussion music as a kid, and similarly, his focus was on the importance of originality, and viciously so. Xenakis wanted to change what the very idea of music even meant, and by extension, didn’t care what the public thought about any of it.

Now obviously, if you care about the world as an activist, you would rarely think this way since you have to consider strategy in your communication in an effort to change the minds of others through common ground and relatability. And while I know this is a bit of a deviation from general motivation people have to strive in the workforce and whatnot, I would argue that generally, in my view, the more one is true to their own interests and what they create, what gives them feeling or what they assume importance with — I think the higher the likelihood paradoxically will have a more profound effect breaking through to others due to the sincerity and honesty inherent, because true originality can only be uncomfortable to those who first experience it.

If you turn on the radio and instantly like what you hear, it is in all likelihood something approaching a derivative familiarity, not an original ambition, even though we can debate how original anything ever is, since we are all serially developing things and connected by a general information flow and whatnot. The point here is intention. And again, I’m speaking to a more general philosophy of creation, but I think it does carry over actually into how we try to break through to people. Naturally, in our commercial society, if the point of anything you create is just to appeal to sell in the marketplace, the failure is already implied. Hence, the entertainment world, as we know it. A constant recycling of familiar forms, angling to generate income more than anything else.

Even the very word “entertainment” is insulting. It feels cheap, like a two-bit court harlequin that pretends to fall down for the cynical amusement of the king. Modern media of all walks, as opposed to invoking inspiration or meaning, tends to rest on a commercial foundation, of course, which breeds uniformity in the manner of conditioning by the repetition of the form. In other words, it’s conditioning homogeneity. That’s why you see the same recipes in films and music. It keeps people’s sense of aesthetic and really range of meaning, narrow. Same stories, same feeling, same structure, limiting potential and really stunting maturity and growth. But as the famous poet Joseph Brodsky once said, “Aesthetics is the mother of ethics.” Humans are far more inclined to be drawn to an aesthetic appeal than a rational one.

This keeps people contained in their range of creativity and hence thought. Not to put down all the great authors or producers or whatever medium, even in the realm of activism, people that write books on activism, but the more best-selling they are, most likely in the highest probability, the worse they are in terms of what goal is assumed. They are creating appeals that make too much sense. Hence, the manner of thinking is actually not new. The train of thought is not new. The concepts are not new. We need a completely new way of thinking, needless to say. And again, as abstract and as strange as it sounds, aesthetics and creativity are going to be integral to that very process. In fact, likely more important than the tangible information itself.

This is why propaganda works so well in our society, because people are far too vulnerable to the feeling of some kind of engagement rather than the process of critical thought. And hence, to conclude this relentless tangent, the need to investigate new forms, and to apply new levels of creativity and even experimentation in the interest to break through to people because we know that information’s not going to do it itself.

Alright, so where the hell was I? Okay, so let’s return to the subject of automation. As a minor note regarding that short film at the beginning, “Time on Our Hands,” which was trying to predict the future, it reminds us that even though certain trends may seem completely obvious to us today, the complexity of future development always has a way of changing things beyond expectation. It’s obvious, but it needs to be stated. Donella Meadows, talking about such system dynamics, poetically referred to it as “dancing with the future” probabilities. to paraphrase.

Systems overlapping with systems, nested within systems, gyrating with feedback loops, spinning at different levels of recursion. It’s too complex. And we should expect to be deceived in our expectations, Edward Lorenz’s butterfly effect, and so on. We just have to remind ourselves we’re dealing with probabilities.

Fortunately, an epistemic approach rooted in systems analysis upon the dawn of the computer age has assisted us a great deal, which adds to our more basic consideration of the logic of existing premises. You see the foundation of the ideas of something which you can extrapolate from, and then you see the empirical data over time, and then you see formal projections in an inductive way. For example, the question of future environmental catastrophe was predicted by MIT years ago in that famous book, “Limits to Growth” in the 1970s. And we can look at the work today and consider what those scientists got right and what they got wrong, such as the fact that even though the trajectories are generally accurate, the trend of resource consumption has emerged differently based on the predictions. Resources have not depleted as quickly as they anticipated, even though they are still depleting at an unsustainable rate.

On the other hand, what they did get particularly right was the trend of pollution. Industrial pollution is on pace to being one of the leading causes of death linked to so many health problems, not to mention overall ecosystem destabilization. But yet, that combined formal and empirical analysis aside, all you have to do is look at the existing premises of the structure. What we know the economic system actually does, a system based on growth and consumption endogenously once again, and you don’t need to mathematically model anything really to understand that this is an unsustainable system. Which then begs the question, well, what is sort of modulating or interfering with the general trajectory? Positive or negative? Accelerating decline or holding it back?

And while, of course, there are many factors, I think we would all agree that technology used or misused is at the core root of it all. The system remains fundamentally the same, but the technology changes. For example, the world has been saturated with greenhouse gases which have had and will continue to have devastating effects overall, indicting the system. However, if technology is introduced to counteract this phenomenon, such as giant clean air machines, which we are seeing right now, the future decay can be slowed down, but the root of the problem still remains. Which of course, on one level, is a good thing, we want to slow problems down, but if people don’t know that the structure is at the root, needless to say, all you’re doing is prolonging and perhaps even giving credence to the system to the extent that people will not seek out to understand the root cause, thinking that technology will continue to fix everything, which is impossible.

And that, of course, is the MO of the Techno-Capitalist apologists and everyone out there that thinks that the entire focus of the future is not to change anything with the social system and simply advance new technology to constantly pick up and try to fix all the destruction the system creates. In fact, another classic example very quickly is the history of peak oil, which we’ve talked about before. Scientists in the mid-20th century correctly predicted the peak of many hydrocarbons in earth supply, but they were only accounting for the conventional sources, large, easily accessible pools under the surface. What those scientists did not predict was advancements in technology that would override that pressure by extracting from shale, fracking, and using really complicated, harsh methods by comparison prior, which of course is a tragedy in and of itself to use technology this way because that kind of scarcity force might have moved us into a more renewable energy-based civilization long ago, but capitalist innovation toward competitive differential advantage and self-preservation prevailed.

We know oil companies knew about the damage they were creating in the environment through their processes and product, but all of that, of course, is a secondary consideration to bottom-line pursuit, reminding us once again that the entire market economy and its competitive self-preserving basis is a destructive force in and of itself, and it doesn’t matter what industry it is. You’ll notice that if any scientific information, any negative scientific information, moves against any major industry, that industry will immediately counter it with propaganda and skepticism. It’s simply part of their marketing strategy, along with lobbying power to make sure government regulation doesn’t try to interfere with it.

As I think I wrote about in my book, “The New Human Rights Movement,” I separate motivations into primary and secondary considerations. The primary considerations always override the secondary. The secondary being the interest in some type of balance and logical doing-things-right kind of deal, with the first being the drive towards everything related to securing market share and income. So if a company has any grounds to just superficially glean skepticism against some scientific report, peer-reviewed report moving against the health or benefits of its industry, they will lean into that as much as possible as a force of instinct, pathologically in many cases. So bear that in mind, everything you do today from the food you eat, the nature of what you drive, to the healthcare you get, to all the things you buy, exists in a constant, slanted balance between current scientific truth regarding efficacy, sustainability, safety, and health — against deceitful, self-preserving propaganda and attempts at power control, with safety as a secondary consideration always.

And when things do get exposed in this society for the toxicity and damage are done, the damage has to be done so significantly; the fraud has to become so overt that the issue simply can’t be ignored anymore. And by the time that point happens, it’s usually too late. The damage is so severe that you might not even be able to come back from it.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the old food pyramid, coming back to that point of basically marketing, business propaganda overriding true scientific information. The food pyramid in America was the most classic example of this because it was all based on lobbying pitches. The entire nutritional concept of American society as taught to a generation to schoolchildren was not done through any scientific measure. It was done entirely through the interests of special interests and lobbying power from the dairy industry to the sugar industry to the meat industry and so forth.

The same with social media companies today that have built their entire models on addiction, really fucking kids up. I mean, it’s going to be a couple more years before we really see the damage of the prior generation that has grown up with this noise. And once again, we can call it immoral or irresponsible, but that’s not the way business thinking works. The more moral and responsible you are, the faster your business will fail.

Okay, now coming back to technological unemployment and the prior subject of thinking about the future and what has happened historically in regard to the role of technological unemployment, again, what was implied in the opening audio from that short film: The basic idea was that mass production and automation would increase surplus and this would then lead to lower prices via supply and demand, fewer hours worked, higher pay scales, and essentially an eroding of the system’s very necessity. People may work only three hours a week, poverty would be abolished, and so on.

However, in the writing and speculation, you’ll tend to find that the adaptation itself, the mechanisms, were very vague, if not nonexistent. One implication was that the government would intervene. The government would monitor efficiency, they would adopt pay scales, work hours, prices, and so forth manually. Policy would dictate the outcome, not markets, which of course, as I would get to, is the fringe of all adaptive assumptions here as far as how this would come about, which of course just happens to be the only way, in truth, ever, any of this could ever happen. You would have to policy it in if you want to preserve the system. And we can debate the probabilities of that. I would say it’s beyond low because once again, market competition extends directly and fluidly into the political landscape, turning government into not a vehicle of democracy, but one of a constant battle between vested financial interests, who utilize government through their power — for competitive advantage — which is, mind you, the vast majority of the institution.

Moving against those who actually dare to pursue public policy for the sake of societal well-being as a whole. So make no mistake, once again, the political landscape is directly built upon the foundation of the market structure with money mostly ruling everything and democracy being a general joke, even though slightly effective, meaning there’s a place for it which I’ll touch upon at the end of this podcast in regard to a new Substack article I recently put out.

So the other implication regarding technology leading to essentially post-scarcity abundance, which is still the most dominant one, is that self-organization and self-regulation within the market economy will naturally move in these directions, endogenously. And as once again, building upon points in the last podcast, that is a completely delusional assumption. It is again the ultimate contradiction of capitalism where you can’t remove income circulation, purchasing power circulation; monetary circulation. So it’s impossible for the system to self-regulate in that direction. Rather, what’s been occurring is the market system does indeed self-regulate around this issue, but in the other direction, seeking to preserve the labor-for-income system because it has to. And I would argue it does this in basically two ways.

First, since the system is based on consumption and by extension growth; Growth, which in the microcosm of a company means expansion in the pursuit of more capital and cost efficiencies to remain competitive — there is never an incentive to remain static and certainly not to contract. For example, let’s say I have a company with 10 employees, each working 40 hours a week. If I introduce automation that removes the need for 5 employees, reducing weekly time needs by 200 hours, saving say 25% in labor costs (arbitrarily accounting for the costs of the new applied automation technology)- What do I do? Should I just settle on a 20-hour work week and pocket the 25% surplus? No, a company would be silly to do so.

In the market game, which is what we’re talking about here, what you do is you mark down your goods to be more competitive against others but only by the smallest possible degree, even just a penny, as there’s no point in making them cheaper by the exact proportion of your savings. Hence, you’re maximizing profits competitively as you work to increase market share. Then you reinvest the extra profits gained, or the savings gained, into something else to expand your product line. That is the incentive: expansion with price and wage preservation.

And here’s my point, that incentive is what mostly nullifies the social benefits of labor automation when it comes to both removing the need for humans and the cost reduction, hence gravitation towards post-scarcity once again. Some more bullshit jobs are created in the words of David Graeber and prices only barely go down if they do at all. Have you noticed that all Apple iPhones just keep getting more expensive? The trend should, of course, be the opposite. Utilizing a ephemalization, the more with less phenomenon, for the betterment of society as a whole, but no. Wrong incentive.

And aside from the general academic analysis, this is a great answer to the Pro-Market Libertarian argument, or pseudo-argument, that says, “Hey, we don’t worry about technology because technology doesn’t take jobs. It creates jobs!” Which is a half-truth, like all of the philosophy of such people. A half-truth that completely and utterly dismisses the broader social responsibility and benefit we have to public health, in applying automation to alleviate scarcity, and labor burden increasing true freedom, something libertarians really have no concept of ironically, not to use the phenomenon to just energize more burden.

In other words, the libertarians misunderstand the causality entirely. It is not technology that creates jobs in this context. It is the incentive for constant cyclical consumption and growth and competitive advantage to expand and gain more market share endlessly, compulsively that creates jobs. The sickness of the system once again. Compulsory creation or activity. And in that light, technology is actually just making everything worse.

Put another way, the system sabotages all the hope of this incredible automation potential and design efficiency, filling any void it finds with more action fueled, of course, by commercial advertising the arm of creating artificial demand. And mark my words, and I know I’m speaking from a probabilistic perspective once again, as far as I’m concerned. But every time you hear this bandwagon, which I used to be part of, that “oh, just a matter of time before automation destroys the capitalist system.” Elon Musk, of course, chimed in just recently as if being profound as usual, saying that “ut, it’s over AI is just gonna take everyone’s jobs.” Sorry, Elon, that conversation started 200 years ago.

AI is extremely powerful, and AI combined with robotics, and the whole thing is unbelievable what the potential could be to free human beings and to bring things back to center. But that’s not what’s going to happen. It’s a delusion. And that bandwagon needs to stop. To whatever degree automation is used in this model, it’s not going to gravitate towards universal basic income. It’s going to fill the gaps. It’s not going to gravitate towards the shorter work week. It’s going to find something else to do. That is the true pattern, disgustingly. As long as no one addresses the system, the fruits, science, and technology, and automation, and of course the gravitation, assumed gravitation towards post-scarcity, will always be out of reach. It will always look like it’s going there, but it’s never ever going to overcome it until the system is overcome.

Capitalism is shockingly resilient unto itself. I’m not saying it’s not going to cause a complete human catastrophe in the end because it will, but unto itself, the way the dynamics of this system hold it together culturally through the incentive structure procedurally, all the levels these feedback loops that are constantly saying, “Fuck you, you think you’re gonna fuck me up now? No, no, no, I am still here and I’m gonna keep moving these subsystems around to preserve myself” like an evil goddamn, you know, supervillain that you just can’t destroy.

Okay, it took me forever to get through that one. And the final main subject I want to talk about, putting aside the nature of the system and how it fights back the true labor-believing power of automation, stifling the possibility of post-scarcity abundance as it maintains inefficiency, and the need for human labor by creating new jobs endlessly and new crap for consumption, to exploit scarcity over and over again in order to serve the system’s core function, which is to keep money moving faster and faster and faster, the better the better.

Let’s now focus on the cultural problem consequential to all of this. Something I’ve been thinking about a great deal in fact. And you will also find in my new film “Zeitgeist Requiem,” which I apologize isn’t slated for online release yet. I have a series of problems, one is a licensing issue I’m trying to work through. But of course, I’ll keep everybody posted and believe me, no one wants to get this out faster than I do so I can move on.

So, the hedonic adaptation neurosis is the tendency to seek more and more material luxury and convenience by which a loss of satisfaction is continuous as the process goes on step by step to no end. Well documented, a neurosis of wanting more to no actual end. And as I’ve argued before, this neurosis is the value system embodiment of the most basic necessity of the market economy: infinite growth and cyclical consumption foundation once again. If the economic machine needs constant consumption to work, those doing the requisite consuming to feed it, us human agents, must have a mentality to be infinitely dissatisfied. A culture of automatons that subconsciously exist to serve the needs of the system, not serve the needs of a sustainable, equitable, rational, high public health society.

And of course, I would be remiss to not point out the infamous cult of blaming everything on human nature phenomenon here. Those that disagree with such an assessment of causality haphazardly declaring that our insatiable, greedy culture is instead a consequence of biology or evolution as a direct impulse. The problem is there’s no actual evidence to support any of that, except for the short-term, prima facie perception of everyday behavior we see around us, full of compulsive human agents grabbing and hoarding as much as they can whenever they can. Hence the layman interpretation of human nature. They extract their understanding superficially from everyday occurrences, proximal occurrences, ignoring the fact that as science and specifically system dynamics study makes clear, appearances can be deceiving, and they almost always are.

You have to account for the condition. Neurotic materialism is not occurring because of human nature, but because of the scarcity-based condition of fear, combined with the social status relationship of wealth. And within all of that, of course, is a social need for inclusion. In fact, allow me to rephrase my prior statement. Yes, human nature is part of it, but it’s part of a broader sense of seeking social inclusion, which appears to be about as universal as you get, at least in the sense of social bonds, social connection. However you want to phrase it, we are social organisms. But within the dynamics of this need for sociality, there’s nothing that says we need to have an ever-increasing standard of living or more and more material gain or products. That feature is a side effect of this particular moment as the social condition, the ever-powerful social condition manipulates our social identity and brings us to this process of identity and interaction, which is once again precisely what commercial advertising does.

Needs are very universal, emotional needs particularly. We are highly social beings and just as a newborn child will die if it is not engaged socially. Adults appear also inextricably linked to a sense of belonging or association to fulfill such basic needs. And in the context of the hedonic adaptation neuroses, we are looking at the consequence of an environmental condition that is triggering deeply ingrained human responses. Go back 12,000 years, we know hunter-gatherer societies up through indigenous native cultures in North America and beyond do not maintain this exploitative materialist mentality. Where sociality is more in harmony with each other and nature, where a successful existence is not about how much you earn or buy or own, but how well you fit into the society and the ecosystem that gave birth to you.

And that should be the measure of rank, if you will, right? If you’re going to play the childish game of social rank, the most successful people can only be the ones that are happiest with the least, while the true failures, the losers, are the ones with the mansions and the excess. Excess is always a sign of distortion. And so, we’re stuck in a toxic conditioning loop. Every generation continues to be born to think being rich is the goal — watching the media showcase the billionaires and their stupid-ass lifestyles and power, locked into not only a social system with the worst incentives possible, but a resulting value system of the same abhorrence.

And the reason I bring this up, aside from the need to generally try and promote minimalism, which we know is the best frame of mind for the ecosystem, and as numerous psychological studies have shown, our own mental health, meaning we know social bonds are stronger and more important to us than material gain, is that I also find that those who tend to promote post-scarcity tend to miss this important component of the equation.

In the prior podcast, I mentioned people like John Maynard Keynes, John Etzler, Buckminster Fuller, Fresco, and others who, in very different periods of time, saw the potential of post-scarcity, post-scarcity again defined by an abundance that vastly alleviates the need for human labor and material deprivation. But in each period, there was a notably different standard of living by which those observers based their conception. John Etzler in 1833 lived in a time when electricity was barely utilized, decades before the light bulb was even invented. And yet he had the exact same logic you’ll find with Buckminster Fuller and Jaqcue Fresco and beyond. As he wrote in his classic post-scarcity text, “Paradise within the reach of all men.”

Yet, Etsler couldn’t have imagined the type of technology we have today, right? A fraction of what would have solved the “economic problem,” as John Maynard Keynes put it in 1929, meaning to make a virtually labor-free abundance at that level of standard of living in 1833. And the point I’m trying to get at here in this atrociously long-winded podcast is while the Industrial Revolution was indeed a massive jolt, a powerful rapid rise of industrial power and potential, which opened doors quickly to a sense of material surplus that was unforeseen — in fact, breaking what has been termed the Malthusian trap, those thousands of years generally referred to as having little economic improvement in this oscillation wave — the whole evolution is still ultimately relative to itself, material evolution.

Remember Buckminster Fuller’s quote from the book “Critical Path” from 1981, where he states famously, “It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. It no longer has to be you or me.” While he vaguely quantifies this quote in that complex book, it still begs the question of where the line has been crossed. And while I appreciate the rhetoric of his statement, it also begs the question of what standard of living can we even infer here. Can every human being live today on Earth with the material standards of a billionaire? Obviously not.

And hence my grievance is how so many in the post-scarcity community have been a bit negligent in defining exactly what a sustainable standard of living is. And that’s really the issue. A sustainable standard of living. Not a relative standard of living, and hence falling into the same market system psychosis trap, pitching an idealized standard of living that for some reason is always promoted as better, at least in the material sense. And again, I don’t mean to generalize lots of thinkers out there, but this is something very consistent. I remember years ago, giving a talk, and I asked the audience a question, “would they be willing to give up their material luxury and live a very minimal lifestyle if they didn’t have to work?” And you could qualify this however you want.

Let’s say the equivalency of like a $35,000 a year income, but without, you know, all the other caveats of that, because that’s a very low level of income, particularly for a family, of course, and an individual, if there’s any health issues and all that. But again, that’s a side effect. Let’s imagine the society was organized where the most balanced state of having a $35,000 year income and the basic luxury of that was granted to an individual and they didn’t have to work but they had no finesse, they had no fanfare, they couldn’t run out and go on some $10,000 cruise or something like that or buy some $4,000 phone or whatever. Would they do it if they could be free? And the majority of people said of course they would and that’s the kind of thinking that that needs to be applied here.

And it’s not only the healthier answer psychologically, it’s also the most sustainable one ecologically. The standard of living game is just part of the problem is my point. After a certain point of surplus and abundance, it is all a dead end. It’s all a dead end. Abject deprivation can be quantified. Relative deprivation or relative poverty or whatever you wanna call it, can only be qualified. Ultimately, meaning that we’re dealing with a social response once again, where human needs are becoming contrived, as we talked about prior, to no end.

So we have to shut down the very concept of aspiring to more and more convenience, more and more luxury, and all the other things that we often don’t think very critically about. Do you wanna live forever? I don’t. That’ll be a disaster for the species. And who thinks that way? What’s the difference between having a happy life for 75 years versus a pseudo happy miserable life that goes on for 150 years, which as far as I’m concerned, will be the consequence of all the futuristic idiots that feel like extending lifespan is the highest accomplishment of our species.

It’s all relative. And I’m not saying that technology shouldn’t be allowed to flourish and do the beneficial things that it does. But not in this system. Not in the growth model. It’s so destructive. And of course, leading to all these value system disorders I’ve just alluded to, just like the need to keep a stair-stepping, standard of living increase. Why? Why do I need a cell phone? Why do I need a computer. Why the fuck do we need electricity? The more you think about that, and I’m not a luddite. I think these are all great advents that keep life interesting. But it doesn’t matter if you lived in a period of time that had no conception of these things, right? The material existence of life would just be what it is.

The problem, of course, in those early periods of time is the political and economic structure’s horrible. Remember, poverty is a product of the current system. People think back to the middle ages and whatnot, and they’re like, “Oh God, that was horrible. Thanks God, we have technology and all this stuff that improved our conditions.” Well, actually the true horror had nothing to do with the state of technology and everything to do with the social system.

And again, to defend this, I’m not trying to argue people go back and literally exist hundreds of years ago in the conditions broadly that existed. We’re extrapolating this into a minimal standard of living where needs are met in a post-scarcity society, but that post-scarcity society does not have to be some outrageous technological utopia-looking futuristic thing, which is more often than not what’s depicted. You don’t need some special new invention to accomplish this end. We have had it. We’ve had the entire design infrastructure for at least 200 years, and that’s being conservative. So, I think I’ve run this point into the ground.

Technology is not the savior that leads us to a post-scarcity economy or a post-scarcity society. It is a change of the social structure away from all the sickness that’s involved in it and the value system disorder consequential to it. I can absolutely imagine the world of John Etzler in 1833 where when it came to economic standards, because we can talk about the lunacy of archaic thought and religion from the early 19th century and whatnot, but where people lived minimalistically, they had no electricity, they had candlelight, they hung out, they played music with each other, they didn’t have to go to a horrible draconian job in the trenches somewhere and their tradesmen or be peasants and all of that stuff.

And honestly, it’s probably going to take that kind of value system to get the entire planet back on track away from this neuroses. Again, an aspiration towards not affluence, but actual minimalism. Alright, I think I’ve done enough for today. I’m kind of losing my voice. Not feeling too well. But I did have a section that I wanted to get to on the essay that I wrote. I’m just going to leave this for the next podcast. I did want to talk about it, but I was just going to summarize it. But if anyone wants to read it, it’s on my Substack titled “Nexus from Capitalism to Fascism” and the role of representative democracy. I think it touches upon a good number of points, particularly addressing the alienation in the progressive community that has become so disillusioned and irritated by the system, and rightfully so: They can’t really see the forest for the trees anymore.

The political system I mean of representative democracy. And we are at a pivotal point in American and global democracy, or global politics in general that the capitalist slide towards fascism is accelerating. And we have to fight back every way we can against that, because this is going to make things that much more difficult if the regression continues.

And alright, folks, this program is brought to you by the kind folks that support my Patreon, and I will be back within hopefully two to three weeks. That’s the new plan. I would like to get back to two weeks, but I’m still trying to get so much done. It just doesn’t usually work out that way, but at a minimum, once a month, I promise. Alright, take care.



Peter Joseph

Peter Joseph is an American Filmmaker, Author and Social Activist. Read his book: “The New Human Rights Movement” | Support: