In my latest paper, “Free-Range Humans: Permaculture Farming as a Biosemiosic Model for Political Organization,” I apply the lessons of my field to governance and economics. The title is a mouthful, I know, but it’s actually a pretty accessible read. I offer this as an alternative to the Great Reset, which proposes to centralize all assets under the control of a Corporate State and, essentially, make us into livestock. The first thing the Big Ag Farmer does is vaccinate the herd. Check.
Abstract: Modern agricultural approaches attempt to substitute biological self-reinforcing networks, which naturally sustain healthy food economies, with technology that seeks to control nature — not work with it. Artificial solutions (caging, pesticides, genetic engineering) tend to address symptoms of problems that the artificial approach has itself created. The great error of modern agriculture is the assumption that Nature is not intelligent. In fact, we can learn much from natural smart technologies that far out-perform recently invented artificial “smart” technologies. These lessons can also be applied to other political and economic systems, allowing self-organization to foster creativity and intelligence in the populace at large.
I finished writing this in October of 2019. It was clear then that we were headed for bad times. Initially, I was a co-editor of the volume but jumped the sinking ship. In this paper, I criticize the publisher itself, among other Technocratic Giants, for trying, pretty successfully, to institute a new feudalism. The publisher, Springer, doesn’t care about the quality of the work they put out. (Their own proofreaders don’t actually read the work that is published, that’s why they didn’t notice that I included them in my critique.) They just want quantity so that they can make as much money as possible.
The academic publishing world, like most of our institutions, has lost respectability. Probably about half the journals published today are published either by the incredibly profitable Springer or by Elsevier (which is just as bad). They don’t have to offer quality work because they sell digital access to their journals in bulk. Universities have to pay for access to the whole lot. Universities even have to pay these publishers for access to research that the universities themselves have funded. Now governments (taxpayers) are being asked to pay the publishers for “open” access to research that the publishers do not help write, do not fund, do not even proofread. The only thing publishers do for researchers is provide them with wonky online publishing (formatting) software and offer a storefront where readers outside of a university system can buy the PDFs for about $40 each.
I say these Technocratic Giants are trying to institute a new feudalism because they own all the research they publish, retain the rights in perpetuity, limit how the researchers can use or re-use their own work, have the power to make digital-only research disappear into the memory hole at any moment, and they do not pay any of the authors or peer reviewers for the work that they do. To co-edit this volume I was offered $300 for about 100 hours of work. When I quit, I told them to keep the money, and I signed my contract for this chapter with a jolly roger icon, indicating that I planned to pirate my own work and give it away for free.