A huge amount of the development of the web itself and massively creative things on there, has come from amateurs. The word amateur has come to almost imply unprofessional; professional taken as the axiom of excellence in the application of some skill or ability, that the highest performance is reached by people who are doing something for the money.
The word amateur comes from the French verb to love, you’re doing something for the love of it; and certainly many would give more of themselves for love than for money, certainly so once you’ve enough money to live. In conditions of economic equity, as with the equity brought by the Web, there would certainly be much more love in the world. It’s what the world needs now. Love is what is really productive.
As we see it, what has happened through the advent of the World Wide Web is pure Georgism, its equality of access to a common, and developments that have come about there are completely suggestive of what would happen if such conditions pertained in the physical world. It’s what happens when human imagination and agency is set free, and human imagination feeds off of human imagination, and great things are created from inspired collaboration, the creation of whatever we haven’t imagined yet, as no one quite imagined the WWW, though some, like Arthur C Clarke, had a fair inkling.
It may take decades to understand the full effect of the Web, but the Web tends to justice. It tends to reaching out, to communication and understanding, to siblinghood. It’s true, it facilitates vile ugliness in the world, but much, much more so, it facilitates the beautiful and the positive and hopeful side of our nature. It is essentially collaborative, as life itself always has been, as beautifully described by Colin Tudge in Why Genes are Not Selfish and People are Nice: a challenge to the big, bad ideas that dominate our lives
And it’s certainly not fanciful to say that a great paradigm shift is occurring. Tudge speaks of the need for a renaissance. A great many people can see that what we take to be self-evidently true is self-evidently not true. And this will happen more and more as ideas spread through the Web as never before. And if you are reading this, you’re on the Web. Maybe no one will read this, or maybe someone anywhere is reading it, there is that potential with the Web. Maybe we can persuade ten people to read Progress and Poverty, maybe a hundred in time, and ripples will keep spreading …
Everybody should understand these principles, but a critical mass could bring them into view. These very powerful governments we’ve seen over the years, never had much more than 25% of the potential vote, and sometimes not even that. So, there’s a lot to play for. This is not fanciful talking about winning general elections or anything and 1909 again, but just that if a significant number of people in the world understood the obvious truth, that would be, significant. It’s hard to imagine how we get from here to there, except that, if everybody understood this, anything else would be insupportable (as the founders of Neoclassical economists grasped.)
And if the reader takes it, as we do, that most people accept that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the governing ideas of the world, then, whatever it would take to bring about a just world, there certainly would seem to be the ground for it. Things are developing all the time, and maybe, in the end, justice and freedom are forces of nature that just cannot be denied. These insights are simple and ridiculously obvious, really. We’ve got to make these insights explicit to people.
In the end, power is always with the people. There are really all kinds of movement and campaigns out there now, all trying to improve the world. It’s people’s instinct to want to do this because, in general, people really do love the world. There are millions of NGOs in the world, which must involve a sizeable portion of the global population. The kind of improvements so many people are inspired to work towards in this world are essentially complementary, so it’s fair to say that there is a very broad range of agreement in the world about what is wrong and what is right.
And, we need to repeat it, Henry George’s insights are definitely complementary with – nay, fundamentally central to – everything that exercises the concerns of everyone who is working for a better world, if it could be seen.
There really is hope. After all, as someone said, it’s only in the last 200 years ago or so that the ideas and philosophies of human liberty have been expressed. That we have lost our way is no reason why we can’t find it again.
Henry George said:
Just because I was robbed yesterday and the day before and the day before that, must I allow myself to be robbed today and tomorrow as well?
The world has taken a journey from one kind of tyranny and, in the stolen name of freedom, have fallen into another kind of tyranny. But it feels inevitable that the truth will out, in the end. Things are looking very grim globally, geopolitically, societally, biosecurity in its larger sense, whatever. But it’s all maybe just the last hurrah of the old powers that have held the world in winter. For many in the world, there is no time to waste.
We are sure the truth will be seen, and this is the truth, as is constantly proved every little time it’s tried. It’s a very beautiful truth, that what is morally right and what is the most economically efficient are actually the very same thing. This is the biggest secret in the world. It’s got to be unhushed.