We will need to complete eventual basic incomes with a Guaranteed Basic Competence

Excerpted from Open Source Ecology:

“Even if your machines are making and repairing other of your machines, eventually you will come to a broken machine that can’t be made or repaired by the other machines in your possession. Who do you call?

Why not call your own competent little self? For most people, the difference between a competent child, adolescent, or adult, and a perpetual adolescent stuck in lifelong incompetence, is the way the child was raised and educated.

Most modern children are loaned out to daycare, preschools, educational systems from K-12 to university, and so on. In such settings, young minds are conditioned to think much the same way as other immature minds — meaning other students, but also most teachers and professors. This conditioning takes place at school, at home in front of the television, and under the auspices of other cultural institutions and purveyors of entertainment.

In other words, for most children there is no opportunity for them to develop personal competence or individual skills necessary to deal with unexpected breakdowns and other unfortunate occurrences or threats. After a while, an entire society becomes “a victim society” or “a diseased society,” where everyone sees himself as either victimised or as having a serious diagnosis or disability of some kind.

All of this can happen even in the presence of “abundance” — or even because of abundance in the absence of purpose, motivation, grit, or early childhood training in skills and competencies.

Competent persons can run an isolated homestead with only a rare need to call for outside help to build, repair, or heal. In societies of competent people, one would call a plumber, electrician, or other repairman only if one were too busy to attend to the problem himself. And one would not have to look far to find a competent and trustworthy person to do the job. That will be particularly true as assemblers, 3D printers, repair and helper robots, and other enabling home machines become more ubiquitous.

Widespread affluence and abundance are quite possible future scenarios for the more modern nations of the world — as long as they do not unwittingly turn themselves into third world nations via suicidal immigration policies. But if the human substrate of such affluent societies lacks the character, grit, competence, and purpose needed to create future generations equally able to move into an open and expansive future, long-term prospects for such societies would be poor.

Self-confidence and genuine self-esteem come from personal competence, and the knowledge that one is capable of meeting the challenges one is likely to confront. Most pampered and entitled wastrels do not have that competence, and too often fall into destructive habits and lifestyles.

This is so whether under a monarchy, a democracy, under socialism, under theocracy, under ethnic separatism, etc. etc. Human nature requires early guidance to achieve lifelong competence, and humans who are pampered throughout their childhood and adolescence — into early adulthood — are unlikely to make the cut.

Governments and institutions are important, by all means. Dysgenic idiocracies of the type emerging in Europe and the Anglosphere make it more difficult to instill competence in offspring and other youngsters in the community and society.

But dysgenic idiocracies tend to emerge precisely in societies that have neglected the careful upbringing of their children. Societies that loan their children out to institutions for most of their formative years, are likely to emerge into a dysgenic idiocracy sooner or later.

Such society-level incompetence is what pushes many people to become survivalists or preppers, living on well-stocked compounds waiting for the world the collapse around them. But even these well intentioned people fail to understand what it takes to make a civilisation — no matter how large or small — sustainable over many generations. They are in fact thinking almost exclusively about themselves, and possibly their children, but not beyond.”

4 Comments We will need to complete eventual basic incomes with a Guaranteed Basic Competence

  1. AvatarBob Haugen

    I mostly agree with that, but smell a little superiority complex behind it. Wondered how it connected to Open Source Ecology.

    The authors seem to be anonymous. They like Open Source Ecology:

    They seem to be associated in some way; to have some degree of general agreement:

    Or maybe “they” is one person with a prodigious output?

    “They” don’t like women:

    Or “black people”:

    Am I missing something?

  2. AvatarMichel Bauwens

    thanks for this Bob. Obviously, I can’t check every blog I’m excerpting from. I naively assumed this was a OSE blog and found the idea of the Guaranteed Basic Competence of interest. So thanks for uncovering the shady context of the blog itself.

  3. AvatarBob Haugen

    No complaints, Michel, I understand the dilemma. And I liked the basic competence idea, too. I think the context is also interesting, though. Where does this combination of opinions come from? I know I’ve seen it before.

    A lot of well-documented male chauvinism in open source circles. Which seems usually to be accompanied by a sense of personal superiority, so I wasn’t surprised to find it here.

    But white chauvinism too? Same person, or different people in the same group?

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