Politics and leadership

An extract from Chapter 13 of the book Transcending Politics:

13. Politics and leadership

Chiselled in gold letters on a granite monument in Highgate Cemetery, North London, one of the most famous sayings of Karl Marx echoes from beyond the grave:

The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point is to change it.

The preceding chapters of this book contain their fair share of interpretation. But what next? If someone is at least broadly sympathetic to the technoprogressive vision I have outlined, and would like to hasten the accomplishment of that vision, what steps should they take?

The suggestions I make in this final chapter belong under three headings: connect, act, and iterate:

  • Connect – find and join communities of people whose goals and projects resonate with you, and where your own efforts can be meaningfully amplified
  • Act – identify useful individual tasks where you can make a difference, and become involved
  • Iterate – be ready to start small, to venture outside of your comfort zone, to set and respect deadlines by when you will review progress with community members, to learn from both the failures and successes you experience, and to repeat the whole process, again and again, gaining more and more insight and effectiveness.

A simple way to move forwards, on all three of these headings, is to visit the Transpolitica projects webpage, transpolitica.org/projects, find something on that page that appeals to you, get started, and reconnect regularly.

Alternatively, you may prefer to become involved in projects taking place outside the Transpolitica umbrella. I give many examples in the Afterword that follows this chapter.

This chapter also contains some recommendations on how to connect, act, and iterate in more effective ways – ways that benefit from technoprogressive technologies and culture. At the same time, I fill in a few gaps left over from discussions in earlier chapters.

Towards super-collaboration

Of the many sets of technology that I’ve mentioned in this book, perhaps the most important is collabtech – technology that will improve our ability to collaborate with one another.

With the right kind of collaboration, the different skills and insights that are possessed by people around the world can add up to an extraordinary technoprogressive force. Many hands will make light work. But in the absence of such collaboration, people will talk past each other, waste time and resources re-inventing wheels, find unnecessary fault in each other’s ideas, become absorbed in fruitless arguments, and generally go round in circles. Too many cooks will spoil the broth. Civilisation will burn while we all gesticulate from the sidelines.

Let’s take a closer look at the components of collabtech. Various information processing tools that can enhance collaboration include:

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Recent Posts

Q2 sprint: Political responses to technological unemployment

Technological Unemployment v2

Q1 recap

Before sharing some details about Transpolitica focus during Q2 2018, here’s a quick update on Transpolitica activities during Q1 2018.

Transpolitica has made good progress during Q1 with goals identified at the start of this period:

Priority project for Q2

As Q2 approaches, it’s now time to put into motion the first of a series of time-limited projects to dive more deeply into some of the specific key themes of a better politics.

Each such project will involve gathering, developing, reviewing, and then disseminating the best technoprogressive thinking on a given topic.

The first project in the series is “Political responses to technological unemployment”, carried out over three phases:

  1. Up to end of April 2018: mainly writing and collecting submissions – framing analyses, thought pieces, policy recommendations, etc
  2. Up to end of May 2018: more focus on group deliberation – where are the weak points and the strong points of our collective understanding, and how can we improve our understanding
  3. Up to end of June 2018: more focus on communicating our findings and recommendations, via publications, memes, slogans, videos, etc

Note that I am using the phrase “technological unemployment” to also include “technological under-employment” and “precarious employment”. (A better choice of words could be one outcome from the project.)

Starting points for this project (to avoid people re-inventing the wheel) include:

Depending on progress, possible outcomes of the project might include a PDF research pamphlet, a video, an improved set of pages on H+Pedia, a press release, a set of slides, and/or a public event (such as a meeting of London Futurists in June and the Humanity+ Beijing event in July).

Questions that need addressing

Key to the success of the project will be the identification of the areas most in need of better understanding. These are the “major uncertainties” where we should prioritise our focus.

For the moment, it seems to me that these areas include:

  1. Potential transition mechanisms from where society is today, to a new social contract in which a citizen’s income (to give one example) is in place
  2. Possible alternatives to a citizen’s income
  3. Strengths and weaknesses of various forecasts of scenarios for the development of technological unemployment
  4. The pros and cons of various ways of raising money to pay for a citizen’s income
  5. The possible role of decentralised technologies such as blockchain in the administration of a citizen’s income
  6. The possibility of an “Apollo scale” project to drive down the costs of all goods and services needed for a prosperous lifestyle
  7. International and trans-border considerations

If you think you know at least part of the answers to the above questions – or if you think there are more important questions to be addressing – please do become involved.

To become more involved in this project

The mailing group https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/transpolitica exists to to coordinate planning and execution of Transpolitica projects. To join the group, visit this page, and send a subscription request.

(There’s also a Transpolitica group on Facebook, but with a potential impending mass exodus from Facebook, it’s more important than before to use other means for project coordination.)

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