The Economics of Ants

L’Economia delle Formiche

Street protests will never change this world, just as they have never changed the worlds that history reveals to us, unless a way forward is proposed alongside the demonstrations and protests.
The only change will be in an anarchic direction unless we seriously commit ourselves to thinking about the possible world of the future.

The crisis we are witnessing is a system crisis; a man-environment system that has stalled thanks to the absurd assumption that Development is endless.
History has taught us that civilizations developed (also and precisely in the algebraic sense) and for this to happen the System was based on laws that were possible only thanks to the availability of space and energy.
The principle of Sustainable Development itself, as Serge Latouche rightly points out, is an oxymoron, that is, a contradiction in terms, given that sustainability and development are concepts that are energetically in contrast.
We are therefore faced with a scenario in which the most advanced thought of recent decades (Sustainable Development) was created by an oxymoric civilization. A civilization, that is, that contains in itself a “germ” of contradiction and of non-solution to the question.
In his book Entropy, written more than 20 years ago, Jeremy Rifkin already foresaw our times and analyzed them using the thermodynamic principle of entropy, that is, the greatness produced by energy systems (including both society and the environment) and the situation of chaos that they gradually lead to.
The situation of chaos is the one we have today; a chaos that has not yet reached its maximum expression, given that it is still produced by the thermodynamic models (our social model) which continue to be in force: the use of non-renewable resources, the exaggerated growth of some managerial structures (i.e. public administration), the concentration of productive systems and the distribution of commodities through large structures (multinationals), the diminution of small businesses (agriculture, craftsmanship, etc.).
The pyramidal model, which tends to erode the base (small businesses) and to enlarge the apex (Great Industries, Administrations and Multinationals) will fall sooner or later and it will fall with a crash. Foreseeing what the consequence of this fall will be is really very complex and (mathematically) difficult to analyse.
However, the analysis that addresses the causes indirectly leads us to a solution, as often happens in a lot of mathematical questions. In fact, if by some remote chance we reverse the causes that are having the effect of upturning the pyramid, we realize that the absurdity lies in our conceptual western models (colonialist and invaders to the bone).
Let us look, therefore, at which concepts must be absolutely demolished or modified:
• First of all, politicians, economists and those scientists with some cobweb too many have to understand that it is no longer possible to speak of development but, rather, of social progress (which requires a socioeconomic and energy model which is substantially different and which we will now try to render explicit).
• The rhythm with which we erode land, resources, territories, cultures, traditions, creeds, etc. must come to a halt, or, even better, reverse. We must never forget that the surface of the planet on which we live is the source of man’s resources, also cultural ones (for these are also energy) Here, solar energy, in its various transformations (agriculture, fishing, energy) is the only renewable resource; all the others follow the principle of exhaustion.
• The relationship between man and the territory (work) must be redistributed and broken down: we are in the presence of too many transfers (of men and commodities) and structures which have grown too big and answer only to the necessities of an unbridled and speculative capitalism that burns the available resources with a geometric rhythm. If you read the article found at the link: Inefficiency – it is clear that with the development of technology, agriculture, which is the primary sector of the economy of every nation, instead of becoming more efficient, has turned more and more into a car that devours energy and resources (just in the last thirty years 30% of the energy forms of land, that is, fertility, biodiversity, etc. have been devoured). The economy of the future must necessarily be based upon a society made up of microstructures that are more local and respectful of the ecosystem.
• National structures must be heavily reduced in size so as to create a light State. Maintaining an unsustainable public expenditure has caused the evident breakdowns of an economy which is no longer sustainable and that not only damages the citizens, but also absorbs its share of finance and energy in an exponential way.
• Science, schools, and training must be geared towards addressing a glocal culture (a neologism that identifies the condition of those who see in global terms but act and move locally). It is a premise that recovers the deepest sense of a tradition that an unholy Enlightenment (the bearer of good things but also of wickedness) tried to dismantle with impunity, giving rise to that materialism which created capitalism and communism: the deformed offspring of human civilisation.
Only by going in this direction will we find new energy (in every sense); only in this renewed condition can we guarantee a new democracy. We must learn to contest and to protest. Two conditions are necessary, however: the condition of a firmly pacific dissension and the aim that wants to be reached. All the rest is just clamour made for personal use and consumption but not for Social Progress.

Guido Bissanti