With great power doesn’t come great responsibility.

Agriculture & Food, Geopolitics, Money, Society, Time

I believe that this is an act of premeditated genetic pollution of the gene pool of alfalfa and related plants by Monsanto. They know exactly what they’re doing. What they understand is that if you pollute enough alfalfa across the country to where it becomes impossible to grow organic alfalfa that isn’t contaminated, perhaps then the organic community will weaken and allow genetically engineered animal feed under the rules of organic production.

Ronnie Cummins – Organic Consumer’s Association Director (US) – 11 February 2010

What’s your gut reaction to this? Typical underhand behaviour by Monsanto as they flex their unwelcome values to destroy the natural order of things in an underhand manner? Ronnie Cummins being paranoid and not being realistic?

Now.. I’m a bit tired so don’t expect too much from this argument. It’s also not very strong, really. But it’s of passing interest to think about.

[Update: yes, this is very messy thinking.. I’m just thinking too much about what follows a bit too much, perhaps, and suffering from apophania.]

Compare this to the recent events in Egypt. In both instances we have a well organised small group with significant political, domestic, and international support. They are on a mission to improve upon the world they find themselves in. In order to accomplish their large goal both sides find it necessary to go to some extreme lengths. And so on.

The crucial difference is that one is being done transparently, the other is less overt about it’s agenda. That’s quite an important and decisive difference, of course, but to me this highlights a fundamental issue mankind has not yet got to grips with: how can we ensure that positive outcomes are a necessary result of our global superstructure? (Or global architecture,  functional infrastructure, operating system, call it what you will).

Can the very essence of the way we think about things improve our condition? For example some calendars don’t quite take account of every day in the year. What if we literally has no names for, say, five days of the year? Would we think about them differently? If the government proposed changing the calendar thus, it would seem likely that we would claim them for our own as holidays, not to have them default to our employers to control. We wouldn’t anticipate a great fall in GDP, and if there were it seems unlikely that we’d be particularly worried about it; just as we didn’t worry much about the apparent £billions which were wiped off the UK economy by snow in 2010.

What if all work was paid by the hour? Would that change what we all do? Would things suffer much, or might they improve? Perhaps people might not work as hard, but is that a bad thing? More people would do what they love, perhaps, since money would be no incentive. Would enough people still be ingenious and creative? I’m optimistic enough to suspect they would. Would enough people be doctors or clean toilets? I’m much less confident about this one, but then perhaps if you did have this shift then there would probably also be a change in the way jobs are structured, too, with more people having a greater variety of tasks within their lives, and a more distributed responsibility. As I say, I’m much less confident about this, but that does not invalidate the questioning behind it.

But there’s nothing to say, for example, that we couldn’t have two or three currencies working together in different sectors of the economy: euros for internationally traded goods; sterling for domestic trade; local currencies for local trade; and ‘quarts’ (of an hour) paid out from time you invest in shared capital goods (such as improving the environment or helping make a playground for children.)

Worth a thought or two.

Ed Dowding

Ed Dowding

Founder, strategist, writer, gadfly, TED talker, world-record holder, and (foolishly) reality-TV farmer. DOES: Innovation, Product, Advocacy THINKS: Regenerative Systems, Institution design, 300 year horizons

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