If you listen to media’s murmuring, you’d think that the American people were ready to give up. The bankers are too crafty, the corporations too powerful and the politicians too pliant. We don’t know which way is up, where to turn or on whom to depend. We’re lost, sad, unhappy, and maybe a little overweight. For a few brief moments we had HOPE that that America’s most powerful institutions could still solve our problems during commercial breaks. Yes we can, they whispered in our ears. Yes we can…
As if we couldn’t. As if the American people couldn’t recognize a lie when it’s told to our face. As if the American entrepreneur couldn’t maneuver around the obstacles created by international bankers and their confused economists. As if the men and women in our Armed Forces who committed to defending our Constitution couldn’t stand up to anyone who demanded that they oppress their fellow citizens. As if our farmers couldn’t team up to develop their own technologies, save their own seeds and reap their own harvests. As if honest people couldn’t win elections.
“You can fool some people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” I think Bob Dylan said that. Americans are getting smarter – not the coastal elites who think reading the New York Times qualifies as civic participation – but the “dumb” Americans who’ve enough common sense to recognize that Big Government and Big Business have teamed up to steal our wealth while misdirecting us with the help of the corporate media. But they don’t control everything on the internet, and as the veil is lifted, both the problems and solutions become much more clear. I’m particularly interested in the solutions.
While Silicon Valley gets all the press for their trendy products, thousands of programmers, engineers and developers across the world continue to build the free, libre and open source technologies upon which local economies depend. While multinational chemical companies receive prestigious awards for monopolizing agriculture, American farmers continue to share best practices, organizing seed banks and reach customers directly through farmer’s markets. While central bankers act like economic gods with their reactionary monetary policies, local entrepreneurs continue to discover new opportunities to create real value for their communities.
If you’re looking for problems, you’re going to find prestigious people in glossy magazines whining about the difficulties that lie ahead. If you’re looking for solutions, you’re going to find unrecognized folks working quietly and feverishly, as if the fate of the world depended on it. The time for criticism is over. The time for action is here.
If you’re interested in the emergence of the new, participatory, local-networked economy, what Buckminster Fuller would describe as “a new model that makes the existing models obsolete,” start reading about free/libre/open source technology and ask yourself this simple question: what if everyone had the tools they need to create what they want.
The best has yet to come.