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How Sovereign Individuals are Building a New Society in the 21st Century (and what it means to you)
Change is everywhere. And so is chaos. You are confused by it, even bewildered. What is life about? What is your place in this world? And what is REALLY going on with the world – I mean, does anybody really know? Whether in your business or your personal life, you are faced everyday with these perplexing questions. Skyrocketing stock markets. Crashing market bubbles. Record high interest rates, then record low. And making intelligent business decisions seems so impossible that a trained monkey might just have as much luck as you do.
The really scary part is, change is coming. It’s going on right now. Change so phenomenal that it pales compared to anything that you have ever experienced. There is no modern parallel to this kind of change, so everyone is confused. Society has no institutional memory that can help to explain and put this change in perspective. Yet it is possible to understand what is going on. And for those who understand what others do not, great profit awaits.
As the world becomes more complex, managing its details becomes at first difficult, then impractical, and finally impossible. Yet in order to understand such complexity you must imagine yourself as if you were gazing at a beautiful impressionist painting – from one inch away. From your close perspective, the world of your painting looks like chaos – a mish-mash of blotches of color – with no sign of logic or order. “A ridiculous piece of garbage,” you say. But the secret to understanding chaos is perspective. You must step back and take the world in from a distance to fully understand its beauty and clear logic. Like the impressionist painting, from a distance it just might be a masterpiece.
This book is an attempt to step back from the chaos of today’s world and to put its order and beauty into perspective for you. I hope that when you have finished reading this you will understand where the world is heading and what actions you might want to take in preparation for that movement. Moreover, you will have a better understanding of the line-up of forces in today’s society in support of and against this inevitable tide of change, and what the relative success or failure of each means to you. Finally, this book invites you to join the revolution of change that means to make your life and the lives of billions or ordinary people better than they have ever been before.
So join me, as we begin our journey into the future…
The breeze is lightly, coolly blowing off the crystal blue water. Diamonds sparkle from its surface just outside of the window. The temperature is perfect, and so is the day, not a cloud in the sky. You rise from your bed leisurely around 10:30. It’s Wednesday, you think. It doesn’t matter. You recall your goals for the day. A shakedown cruise for your new sailing cutter. She’s beautiful, tied just out in front of your home. In the background you hear laughter. The kids are having a blast on the beach.
The door to your room opens. A woman enters. She appears about 25 and is gorgeous. No, you’re not dreaming – she’s your wife. She could easily be a cover model. Catching a glance of yourself in the mirror behind her, you modestly admit that you don’t look bad yourself. She spends most of her time with the kids and her art, and she’s become quite good with both. The local gallery will be featuring some of her artwork this weekend. You dabble in writing, philosophy, and auto racing. Your racing team is pretty good, and you think about the race in two weeks and what you need to get ready. Your lives are busy, challenging, and exciting – just the way you want it. Your marriage is strong because you take the time to make it so. And you spend a lot of time with the kids, teaching them, introducing them to those things that you think a young person ought to know, because their preparation for adulthood is your primary responsibility.
Your wife stopped by to mention that guests had arrived. Your neighbors – husband and wife. She is an archaeologist, and he grows flowers. He is 20 years old, she is 52. “Nice young couple,” you think. Neither works for anyone. Neither need make money. Flower boy reached financial independence at age 17. Now he just worries over his blooms. Grows some nice stuff, really.
You realize that your wedding anniversary is coming up. You’d better pick up something for her. Or maybe plan a special evening together. Seems like just yesterday when you were married. But this will be a special occasion. Your 50th. She will be 106 years old and you 108. The year is 2066 and You are a Sovereign Individual.
You accidentally knock your book off the bed as you rise. History. You always loved history. You always loved learning. It’s amazing how people used to live, though. People’s lives were all about money, yet they never had any. They worked day and night, always putting life off until tomorrow, until “retirement”. Then they got sick and couldn’t enjoy it. They never knew their kids. They let someone else raise them – teachers who worked for the State, peer influence, television, “popular culture.” Their kids grew up without values or direction. People aged quickly, and their life was full of stress that contributed to their early demise. Cancer, AIDS, and innumerable other diseases took them out as early as their seventies. And did you ever notice how old they looked at such young ages? The hard life, you figure. People paid half of the income they worked so hard to get to government in taxes each year. The book said that over a lifetime the effective tax rate was 93% per annum (when the effect of lost compounding on taxed savings was considered)! People worked into what was then old age just to keep up with the bills. How ridiculous all of that seems now. How immoral it was for any system to hold people down in a kind of economic slavery for so long. Why did people ever put up with it?
Your stomach reminds you that it is ready for breakfast. You drop the book on your bedstand. Maybe you will read more tonight – and maybe not. Kind of depressing. People love to talk about the good old days, but they really sucked. Good riddance.
Today the world is a much better place. People pay only what they are willing to pay for the services they need. You can choose from hundreds or thousands of providers. And you never have to leave home to do it. Because people keep the great majority of our own wealth, they achieve financial independence at a very early age. As a result, your life's work is a work of love, not of necessity. You do what you love to do, not what you are forced to do. This change in the character of human lifestyle has had a profound impact on society that is only now, in the mid 21st century, being understood.
Sound good? Maybe you have your own ideas of what constitutes the “good life.” No matter. Your dreams can become real.
Science can be free to extend youth indefinitely. Economics can be free to create unlimited wealth. And people can be free to turn their deepest dreams into reality. Dreams that they dare not dream in today’s world. You can have it all, and human civilization can evolve from an outmoded form that is holding it back into a form that allows humanity to realize the highest achievements imaginable.
How can such a world arise, you wonder? Don't see signs of it yet? Think I am crazy? Read on, and then look again at the signs around you. Remember that those who can see the future early can profit from it the most. The Information Revolution isn't over yet - it has just begun.
The world is changing in monumental ways that will challenge your long-held views. Both the form and the structure of society in advanced countries are changing to meet the demands and opportunities presented by advancing technologies. This is a normal process with many parallels throughout human history. However, hundreds or even thousands of years have generally separated such incidents of change, so that their earlier occurrences have long left the public conscience and each new occurrence seems like a unique and strange event.
The Cause of This Change is the Influence of Encrypted Communications Networks
The future of human society in the twenty-first century will be heavily influenced by the development of encrypted communications networks. These networks will allow for human intercourse to proceed in true privacy, and thus will empower individuals to build and protect wealth, and thus power, better than has been possible for thousands of years. Most organizations in the twenty-first century will be modeled after the network. Their structure will be based on relationships, sometimes at a distance, with relatively equal power among the participants. The Internet is the technology that is making this a reality. Even today, corporations are becoming "virtual." Entire enterprises of significant size are being successfully run which are made up almost completely of independent contractors, called "free agents." People are interacting socially through the Internet. Continued improvements in computer and Internet technologies will ensure that this trend towards "virtual interaction" increases over time in both volume and complexity.
Society is changing. That is, the way in which society is organized is changing. The first big societal change to be experienced by this generation will be the transition from a nation-centered society to a network-based society. The network-based model is being adopted by many forms of human organization, including business, associations and government, as a more efficient means of organizing people.
Improvements in technology are the primary cause of major changes in the way societies are organized. The Industrial Age arose from a world dominated by agriculture when the physical labor of humans was multiplied many times by the technological development of sophisticated machinery. Society's utilization of machinery lead to magnificent achievements on a grand scale. Today, we are on the cusp of another new Age, one built around the Internet. The Internet will magnify the power of the human mind, leading to achievements that will ultimately belittle those reached with dumb muscle alone. The combination of mechanized brain and muscle, working in unison, will build this new Age. But the mere magnification of the human mind itself will be enough to lead to the rise of new forms of human society never before conceived by man.
This book will try to help you to answer this question. If you are someone who derives more tangible benefit from the old ways of doing things (particularly from the welfare state) than you pay out in taxes and other costs, and who does not mind sacrificing freedom for greater "security," then you will not like what is coming. You will soon lose your benefits. You will lose any advantage derived from a system that redistributes value in ways other than the free and open market. On the other hand, if you give more to the current power structure than you receive in return, if you pay an unreasonably high price for the "sovereignty services" that you have been receiving from government, then you will like the things to come. This book is aimed at those who will most likely benefit from the new change in societal structure. I believe that this group makes up the majority of the most productive members of society. If you are not among this group, or do not like the idea of greater freedom and choice for everyone and less coercion and organized death (wars) in our future, then read on if you like, but you will not be happy with what you see...
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