Random things that I believe in
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in General with No Comments
That when Bush and Blair invaded Iraq they really thought that they would be welcome as liberators by the Iraqi people. That global leaders know much less than we think they know.
That the next step after biotechnology will be biocomputing. I think that in the next 100 years we will grow intelligent tissue in labs and use it to perform tasks.
That the future of telecoms in urban centers will be made of fiber optics combined with very high throughput microcells.
That religion is the opium of the Republican Party.
That all living things are programmed to die because death is the only way living things have to keep score. Even the fittest die and it´s through their dying that we know, how “well” they did.
That in the next 200 years we will learn to tinker with the program that makes us age but somehow, real estate markets around the world, seem to be behaving as if we have found the source code already.
That America is the most productive country in the world until you divide that productivity per hour worked.
That America is going broke thanks to lawyers and the military.
That one of the biggest mistakes Jews made was invent the concept of the Messiah and then not believe that Jesus was the Messiah and then missing again a second chance 700 years later to believe that Mohammed was the Messiah. Especially when most other people did believe in one or the other and very few people, namely Jews, remain skeptical of their own invention and suffered the consequences of being tiny minorities among Christians and Muslims.
That China is only one party away from Democracy…and yet so far.
That the Clintons will run America again and the world will be a better place…again.
That there´s a very weak link between terrorism and lack of opportunity and a very strong link between terrorism….and opportunity.
That the best possible experience in air travel is not the food or the service but to seat next to somebody you love.
That wealth is the best contraceptive.
That there probably is intelligent life in other galaxies but that we are too many light years away to have a conversation. “Hello” will take say 1000 years to travel, “how are you” another 1000 to return.
That we think we know a lot and people in the 1800s did not. But we will look as ignorant to people in 200 years.
That it´s very likely that there will be a nuclear terrorist attack in the next 20 years and it will be in Manhattan or Tel Aviv.
That the ethics of biodiesel are wrong, that is wrong to feed food to cars in a world in which there´s starvation.
That the USA and Europe should make one common market for goods and people. That if they did this there would be no mass net migrations. Overall free migration between OECD countries makes a lot of sense.
That Europeans make a huge mistake taxing employment so heavily with social charges and that is the main reason for European unemployment.
That Taiwan is more socialist than China.
That the Chinese Government has less power over its citizen than the average Western democracy over theirs.
That when children are born democracies should give their vote to their parents until they are 14. The parent will then vote twice, one for themselves and another one for their children. When the children reach 14 they would have the right to vote themselves. It is a well known fact of democracies that the poorest citizens in democracies are children and I believe this is because they are not represented through the voting process.
That the relationship between the mind and the brain is one of the least understood.
That the problem is not that oil is mostly in the hands of bad people but that oil rewards bad people.
That the blue states have more in common with Europe and the red states with the Muslim world.
That nuclear energy is not as bad as people think when compared to the alternatives.
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Marcelo Levit on May 16, 2006 ·
You should post the issues separately.
It is hard to comment all together …
Alex on May 16, 2006 ·
WE have the technology to deal with the risk!
Francisco on May 16, 2006 ·
I specially liked the idea of parents exercising children’s vote. Also I would implement innovative voting channels. How? Internet, ATM, 1-800 (900 in Spain) for elderly people, etc. In Spain, thanks to the recently launched “electronic national identity card” it would be easier than in other countries.
Why is “online democracy” so important? It is not a matter of translating democracy into the virtual world: it is something else. Today ideologies are not that defining as they used to be. Having a “strong view” of the world that applies to almost every aspect of citizen’s life is not on fashion because it actually does not solve problems. One may observe different parties with very similar polices or even right-wing parties who behave like left-wing (PP party in Madrid), and the other way around. Indeed what matters is the specific project a given candidate. Most of the people already perceive this fact.
What’s the problem then? Imaging a country where there are 10 relevant policies that matters to the citizenship. In an “old-fashioned democracy”, there are 2 options (well, maybe three), and 2 political parties. So everyone is more or less happy with the choice. However, in current democracies, the real set of possibilities is –let’s assume there are 2 alternatives per policy- 2 over 10, that is 1024 policies (that’s a “Mega-policy”, ) . Is there 1024 political parties? No.
Parties over time evolve to find sets of polices that please the electorate, of course. However, the process is slow and there is a very nasty, subtle, and pernicious political tactic underlying that process. When a party is doing well and have enough advantage, they usually change one of the policies that conforms its “political basket” into an alternative worse-off for the country (for whatever reason: corruption, wrong view, friends, not behaving like the opposite party, etc). The party in power knows that it is wrong but they do not care, they know the have “enough credit” to lose.
Let’s mention two examples of this behaviour:
-Spanish PP under Aznar’s presidency: Doing very well in economy and other areas, but they decided to go for Iraq’s war despite 90% of Spaniards were against it. Nobody could stop him to do it for 2 years, PP lost elections, but they could have won them as well because people had to average pros and cons.
-Spanish Socialist Party, now on power: Doing very well in minority rights, international policies and even the economy, but they decided to block Germany’s EON hostile takeover over Spanish Endesa (Note: both are two of the largest utilities in the world). I guess most people in Spain neither understand nor share the decision (specially taking into account the involvement of Catalonian regionalists in the Spanish government, and that the second best offer for Endesa is that of a Catalonian company with goods ties to the political establishment). Also, European Union is warning the Spanish government about that illegal practice, but the socialist party do not care, they have “enough credit”.
The most advanced societies in the world are those which can give their citizens voice and vote in non-electoral periods. Two great historical examples are the state of California and Switzerland, where people can sign acts and force the political class to behave in one or another way (California examples: destitution of governor Davis, approval of stem-cell research despite federal rules, etc.). Many countries in the world imitate those procedures, but indeed they do not work.
“Online Democracy” would be a huge boost of democracy. An American citizen voting if he/she wants to begin a war against Iraq in a Wal-Mart checkout till will have much more impact than international summits plenty of bilateral talks. I strongly believe it, and so I hope soon “online democracy” would be a social movement as bold as those that happened last century, and that reshaped our current lives for better.
P.D.: My response is so long I have published it in my blog as well: http:/francisco.hernandezmarcos.net
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Saverio on May 14, 2006 ·
Some observations, with a lot of the things I’m completly agree
The first, at the begining they were recived as a liberators by part of the iraqui people, the problem it was that they only want that they liberate. Today the major part of iraqui people wants that the US stay there. I am against the iraqi invasion, but now they can not left after destoy the country and out it in the caos…
Religion isn’t the opium of republican party, his opium is the FEAR…
It’s a contradiction that you said that militars and lawyers will destroy america, but at the same time you said that Clintons will do a better america and a better world…
People from China has a lot of freedom because his country doesn’t have the capacity to control them. It’s not a question of spirit of the politicians is just a problem of infrastucture and organization, including they don’t know exactly how many people live there…
Nuclear, NO!!!! How you can said that… I’m sure that in the next 25 years we will have 3 or 4 chernobil… third world can not buy oil at this prices, and will invest on nuclear energy, but they will not have the capacity and the money for do it well, as it happens with Chernobil… Believe me. Also including if you do well you will have thousands of problems that are worst for the enviroment that the contamination…
In the university they teach me that nuclear energy was 1/3 cheaper than oil energy, but finally I saw that isn’t true, and that this studies are a big adulteration where aren’t included all the costs… of course at 100$ is more cheaper…