Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Neo Feudalism

6 posts in this topic

I’m only a few chapters in as it’s above my reading comprehension. But so far I’m very concerned about the future of the Western World. Has anyone ever heard of this book? Anyone already read it? I would appreciate another opinion about it. 


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Never read it but I can guess what it’s about. The middle class is being hallowed out, with increasing trends towards wealth and lifestyle inequality.

It’s a serious concern. Large levels of wealth inequality are not stable for a society. But it is inevitable given that economic growth has come to an end.

This is why we need systemic change.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, sounds like the demise of hopes of social mobility for the lower classes. Some sort of substantial change is inevitable over the next century.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Philosopher Alexander Bard predicts that a post- capitalism will be a netocracy. The new elite will be the netocrats, and the underclass will be the consumptariat. Here are some outtakes from wikipedia:

"Netocracy was a term invented by the editorial board of the American technology magazine Wired in the early 1990s. A portmanteau of Internet and aristocracy, netocracy refers to a perceived global upper-class that bases its power on a technological advantage and networking skills, in comparison to what is portrayed as a bourgeoisie of a gradually diminishing importance"

"Alexander Bard describes a new underclass called the consumtariat, a portmanteau of consumer and proletariat, whose main activity is consumption, regulated from above. It is kept occupied with private problems, its desires provoked with the use of adverts and its active participation is limited to things like product choice, product customization, engaging with interactive products and life-style choice"

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, datamonster said:

1) Economic growth hasn't "come to an end" at all. Markets are booming despite the pandemic and there are highly promising mega trends on the rise that will lead to more opportunities such as big data, AI, green technology, etc.

You're right that tech is currently holding up much of what we consider economic growth. But it's impossible for any economy to grow forever. And we've been hitting those limits as a society for several decades now.

Increased economic growth means increased resource extraction from the Earth and increased commodification of human relationships. Neither of which is possible at this point for any healthy society.

The good news is that we don't need economic growth as long as we restructure our systems and institutions to adjust to a Steady-State or Degrowth economy.

5 hours ago, datamonster said:

2) Wealth inequality is a consequence of economic growth and prosperity because some people like entrepreneurs, businessmen and investors benefit more from it than others.

Again, you're right that much of the supposed gain from economic growth is captured at the top. Really what we call prosperity for "developed" countries could be called exploitation of "undeveloped" countries. The two good hand in hand.

But it's also not that simple.

The reason every politician and every economist talks about the need for economic growth is because the stability of our systems depend on it. We are growth-addicts, unable to quit without tanking the entire economy.

For instance, it's been well shown that when economic growth slows down, unemployment, inequality and other social issues rise. This is what is called a "recession" or "depression", and everyone knows that's very bad.

The solution is not to keep forever trying to stimulate more economic growth. This is a temporary fix at best and cannot really solve our problems.

The solution, as I mentioned before, is to do away with the growth paradigm all together. And to transition our systems and institutions accordingly.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, datamonster said:

Sorry for being a bit picky here. I think you have some very interesting ideas, but they appear to conflict with some of the things I believe to know, so I'd appreciate it if you could elaborate.

It's no problem. I appreciate your curiosity.

My thinking comes from various degrowth and ecological economists. People like Herman Daly, Jason Hickel, Charles Eisenstein etc.

Here is perhaps the most simplified version from Kate Raworth, economist at Oxford / Cambridge:


3 hours ago, datamonster said:

What makes you think that we are hitting the limits of economic growth?

1) The massive ecological damage that has already been done by industrial society. The damage there is almost too great to list, from the destruction of old-growth forests, apex predator disappearance, ocean acidification, growing landfills, coral reef die off, etc etc.

Even if you remove climate change from the equation, that is really only a small part of the damage that has been done. And may in fact be more of a symptom of other forms of ecological destruction. When you clear cut forests, you don't just lose the benefit of carbon sequestration, you destroy entire ecosystems. Ecosystems are complex, interconnected systems that require a holistic way of thinking to handle.

In essence, the planet can't support what we're currently doing.

2) Already your entire life has become a commodity. Things that would have been common sense for people to do directly on their own, like procure their food or raise their children, have become services on the market that we pay for. The result of this is a destruction of community and relationships, as commodities only require that a transaction take place, not deep relationships. The human spirit can't take much more.

3) The influx of debt and rise in wealth inequality. If we could continue to grow, it's likely that these metrics would not be as devastating as they already are. Yes, most of the gains go to the top. But generally speaking, in the past everyone tends to be better off with economic growth. People are employed and the middle class is alive.


3 hours ago, datamonster said:

Not necessarily. Not all industries are based on the extraction of resources. Many industries are knowledge-based

I'd argue that's a false misconception.

There has been a shift to service or knowledge based businesses. But it's a myth that these are necessarily less costly in terms of resources.

For instance, even a single consultant with just a website relies on a massive amount of infrastructure in order to function. They don't exist in a vacuum.

Research paper on this topic:

3 hours ago, datamonster said:

Actually, today the companies and sectors that cause most economic growth are often the ones that require the least amount of resources, or even have made sustainability at the heart of their business.

See Tesla, Google, Facebook, etc. and even traditional companies that are actively striving to become more sustainable.

These companies require massive amounts of resources to exist for reasons mentioned above. And they've not made sustainability their top priority, their top priority is of course profit. And profit does not equate to real ecological health.

I also don't blame them. They are acting according to the incentives laid out by our economic system. Those companies that prioritize profit will out compete and swallow companies that do not.

So while individuals at these companies may have good intentions, they exist within a system that often does not support those intentions.

3 hours ago, datamonster said:

I don't think this is necessarily true either. Outsourcing manufacturing to cheap labor markets is not a requirement for countries to prosper.

That's the world I want to live in too. Everyone can prosper. And it is possible, but again, not with our current paradigms and system.

Of course outsourcing cheap is a requirement. Labor is any business' biggest expense. No way you will be nearly as profitable if you don't do that, which means other businesses that do will eat you. It's a zero-sum game.

And of course it's not just outsourcing labor. Western countries also externalize many of their environmental and social costs onto poor countries. Then you also have corrupt deals with the IMF and World Bank which keep these countries in debt. It goes on and on.

3 hours ago, datamonster said:

In fact, today people increasingly demand products that are produced under fair conditions, which is again another business opportunity.

And that's good. But when fair conditions aren't incentivized systemically, you've got a problem.

3 hours ago, datamonster said:

Also take a look at China: For a long time they have been the go-to nation for cheap labor, yet they are starting to look more and more like the most prosperous nation on the planet. Soon they will look at us as the "undeveloped" ones, if they don't already.

Undoubtedly. Our economic system doesn't care who is on top and it doesn't care about destruction of the environment or relationships.

It's essentially sociopathic. If we want an economic system that actually works for people and is in harmony with the environment, then it has to be created.

3 hours ago, datamonster said:

Transition to what?

Well that's up for debate.

Lots of people have different ideas about what a post-growth or degrowth society would look like.

Some ideas:

- Instead of money being created by private banks with interest-bearing debt, money would be created publicly at zero or even negative interest

- Universal Basic Income or Universal Basic Services

- Local currencies, time banking, Local Exchange Trade Systems

- Gift economy, strong local economies and communities

- More self-sufficiency / direct living (as opposed to consumerism and commodities)

- Resource based economics (currency backed by Nature instead of fiat currency).

- Maximum wage

- Maximum wealth tax


These are all just ideas. They're different strategies to incentivize a simple truth; we need to share. And we need to recognize what are actual needs are instead of fake needs created via the artificial scarcity of our economic system.


Edited by aurum



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0