Otherwise, everyone is in a world of hurt, right now. I know we are supposed to be making progress, and some nations continue to do so, in important ways. But global growth has stalled. What's more, many parts of the world remain fragile, because too many local economies don't have useful ways to connect with the gains of technology, knowledge use and economic prosperity. That leaves them vulnerable to fringe elements, which would just as soon the locals lose their ability to stay connected with the gains of progress. Likewise, local resources and institutional structures become threatened in their turn, as their citizens are gradually disempowered.
Terrorism and fringe elements especially thrive, where locals have little knowledge use access to more developed areas. That leaves isolated areas vulnerable, to those who would usurp their hard won gains in other regards. Strategies are not just a matter of building up schools and/or military, and then crossing one's fingers that schools don't get torn down. Rather, this is a matter of knowledge use implemented locally to strengthen citizens from all walks of life, wherever they reside. If maintenance is needed for local technology for instance, that's something which needs to be integrated into local work and ongoing calendaring. Building a stronger economic base is something that any nation needs to continue for itself, instead of making promises with development or other monies that are only redirected towards local special interests.
Nations can only move ahead in the long run, by regaining faith in their own citizens to rebuild a truly free marketplace of ideas. Widespread skills and knowledge use are the only counterpoints to 21st century technology, which actually have the capacity to make technology applicable for overall prosperity. That means providing all citizens with the right to important knowledge use in their own domains, instead of institutions which are situated far away. By so doing, areas that are far flung from major city centers can remain better connected to those major centers, as active economic subsidiaries of knowledge use. By taking knowledge use beyond the city institutions, outlying areas would be also less exposed to fringe groups which seek to take those central governments down.
Developed nations have their own vulnerabilities, when their citizens are increasingly denied the gift of true freedom to use their minds. As a result, that lack of freedom obscures an entire potential marketplace. It represents vast economic investments, which consequently may not have a chance to materialize. There are few really free service markets, in a world which depends more on services and knowledge use, by the day. When the few are granted the right to determine knowledge substitutes for the decisions of others, remaining markets become primarily about political coercion.
Special interests are often not cognizant of the degree to which they endanger capitalism by seeking favor from government. Worst, the lack of spontaneous economic activity not only makes people think capitalism has failed, they seek to supplement it with even more coercion. I was not able to read Ryan Avent this morning (reached my monthly limit already at the Economist) but some readers who haven't yet reached their month limit can get through. The article is "There Could Be Trouble Ahead", and it looks at the potential effects of automation on the labor market.
Because knowledge use is currently limited to the few amongst populations, a growing number of individuals are also endangered in the job markets, as technology becomes a greater factor. As a result, the very technology which could otherwise provide prosperity for the majority, ultimately becomes possible to access by mostly the few. Even though some want guaranteed incomes that would preserve limited aspects of technology for the masses, a guaranteed income floor in and of itself could not provision the kinds of technology, that would allow populations to continue improving infrastructure.
Compensated knowledge use arbitrage has the potential to bring balance back to the economic realm. Indeed, many people took on educational investment in the 20th century, with the belief that this was the new economic reality. Where once people could depend on land use to assist with survival, skills use was supposed to take the place of land use, thus governments led their citizens to believe that it could.
Hence when that promise seems broken, citizens have a right to be angry with their governments. But the good news is that governments can still realize that promise by allowing people to once again assist in the needs of one another, without the constant intervention of special interests to keep them from doing so. If governments are willing to do this for their citizens, free speech will actually come to mean what it is supposed to for a democracy to work, instead of just being a vehicle for coercion and intimidation.
By bringing knowledge use into monetized time arbitrage, the use of knowledge can once again be restored to democracies which might otherwise fail, without a similar process to preserve educational investments. No nation can expect to remain secure - no community can expect to remain strong, if their citizens invest in knowledge gains and yet have no way to make their investments work for them, outside the limitations of institutions. Without the ability to use knowledge to help and assist all individuals in free marketplaces, education - no matter how targeted - would only mean diminishing returns for ever larger segments of the population.
Set knowledge use free, for prosperity's sake. For democracy's sake. For the sake of every individual who dreams of a better future for themselves...for the world...for those who every person cares about. Set knowledge use free, from the shackles of institutions which unfortunately take what they need and end up throwing the rest away. Until our institutions are willing to allow us to create a true marketplace for knowledge, technology remains a threat to the participation of millions, when it should be a vital part of what frees us all. The enslavement of knowledge use, is the enslavement of mankind. We can do better than this.