Technology And The Will To Change

I just posted this in Warren Ellis’s LJ:

Realizing the intersection of social justice and technology is the defining challenge of our time. Every crisis affecting the global population today revolves around this fundamental exploration; technology alone can’t save lives, people also need the will to make change happen. Our generation can end poverty and hunger and many diseases; but will we?

The question is: Who cares? Do you?

The “you” is obviously rhetorical. But quite frankly, this is the most basic question I can think of. How do you get people to care? Not just about other people – but about doing the right thing? There are nearly 500 hundred billionaires in the world, representing nearly three trillion dollars of wealth.

What could these people do if they worked together? They would be the third wealthiest nation in the world – though since many of them are from the U.S. they might just be a bit higher in the ranking. Do you realize what I just wrote here? 0.000083% of the global population are nearly the most powerful force on the planet.

Why do they need all that wealth? What are they really doing with it? 500 people versus 6,000,000,000. Half of all their wealth could immunize the world’s children, eliminate malaria, cure cancer, end the energy crisis, educate and feed and clothe millions and millions and millions of people… Yes, of course, the logistics are complex. And yes, the people in charge of other nations are corrupt fucks who steal billions from their own people and let them starve, but MONEY CAN SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS TOO. Money can’t make people care about other people, but at least everybody can have food and health and less suffering all around.

8 Comments

  1. dariusk

    I would posit that throwing money at problems causes more problems than solutions. You say the corruption hits a maximum and will be minor compared to the amount of money you throw at the problem; I see this as a positive feedback loop: putting more money into the system will make things more corrupt, the situation worse, etc.

    As you say, VERY CAREFUL APPLICATION of all this money would be the important thing. I am just skeptical that anyone could come up with the correct application.

    • mik3cap

      I think the real problem is that people who float to the top of power structures in this world tend to be assholes. The global power structure we currently deal with has been carefully sculpted, and the corrupt people in positions of power were chosen by other people equally as corrupt. The solution may simply be to remove those people from the equation as much as possible by means of NGOs or other disruptive-technology-type methods.

      Global Frequency is the kind of organizational model people really need to think about. With the right technology, information, and methods, a small group of people can make a real difference and make a lot of people’s lives better.

    • mik3cap

      In short, I think the only possible effective application is person-to-person. Empower individuals, and basically ignore governments. It’s unfortunate to say that, but seriously, what’s the problem? The government that doesn’t want someone to help its population get fresh water can only be an evil and corrupt one that will probably steal the water filters and sell them. Any other government would say: “We accept your gifts, please feel free to distribute them, thank you for helping our people.”

      The really tricky part is sending help to places where people are fucking killing each other like maniacs. That problem I don’t know how to solve, except maybe to put down people in militias like the Janjaweed like the rabid dogs they are.

      • dariusk

        “That problem I don’t know how to solve, except maybe to put down people in militias like the Janjaweed like the rabid dogs they are.”

        Dude, you should write The Authority 🙂

        • mik3cap

          I would write comics, but they’d just all come out like Warren’s! 😀

          Anyway, I think he’s pretty much (perhaps inadvertently) defined all superhero comics for the next 10-20 years. Black Summer is his opus for the genre too. Although he’d probably rather call it speculative fiction or something, but superheroes are just transhuman vigilantes anyways…

          • dariusk

            I almost picked up Black Summer but the art isn’t my cup of tea. I’ve never liked Ryp, he packs way too much detail in, and not in a good Darrick Robertson way either. I get claustrophobic.

            • mik3cap

              The story’s pretty straightforward too, so it’s not like you missed much (Archetypal Superman versus Archetypal Batman with a Lex Luthor authority figure type thrown in). It’ll be better and cheaper as a collection.

  2. The answer, I think, is the God Emperor of Dune. Not that I’m espousing that as ensuring you get the right sort of universal dictator is tricky business, but it’s difficult for me to imagine people getting their heads together and making this happen. But one person? Yeah, that could work.