So here’s my prediction.
In time – not quite sure how long, maybe twenty years, maybe fifty – human civilisation will transition to more localised, less monetary, economies, with a minimal, high-level international connection. How much international connection we retain, at what level of society, will depend on how much pain and damage we inflict on ourselves in making the transition.
By transitioning methodically in an enlightened and co-operative manner, we could create flourishing local economies of much happier, more connected, prosperous people who are still able to trade goods, services and – most important of all – knowledge around the world. Knowledge, compassion and generosity – in other words, the best that humans are capable of – take us to this scenario.
Unfortunately, the political culture of the dominant global powers is driving us to create instead isolated, impoverished local economies, fearful and suspicious of each other, all clinging to life on a much, much more hostile planet. And most of the people who hold the privilege, fought for by our ancestors, of electing their leaders haven’t even got a clue that we’re on a journey, let alone where we’re going. By the time their cosy bubble of complacent self-justification bursts, it will be way too late. The clueless eco-cidal criminals who currently pass for political leaders in the dominant global powers of the world will have torn everything of beauty and value apart and left only a degraded form of human, displaying all the worst characteristics of humanity, to eke out a miserable existence on a dying planet.
So it is up to those of us who strive in our lives to embrace the best human beings are capable of to build the future in spite of the politicians. To build local communities of happier, more connected and contented people who truly understand what is valuable in life, take care of themselves and each other and do not measure everything in terms of money. We may not succeed. But if everything beautiful about humankind is doomed to extinction anyway, we can at least celebrate that we were part of what was good, and creative and amazing about humanity.
Hence my greeting to all those of goodwill as we progress through the first month of 2020 is not “Happy New Year” but “Keep the faith”.