As I've been urging for a few months, there's two countries in Europe to watch right now: France, and Italy. I've already addressed some of my reasons for saying to watch the former country in blogs earlier this week, so now it;s time to turn to Italy, and this this article from Zero Hedge shared by Mr. V.T.:
If you've been following the career of Italian opposition leader, Signor Beppe Grillo, it may seem at first glance that he is reflecting similar pro-sovereignty, pro-national culture sentiments that have been seen at work in the BREXIT referendum, the recent American political election/referendum, or the similar movements in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, or Hungary. But Grillo is thinking along much broader, and deeper lines, and it's worth taking a look at what he sees at stake not only in and for Italy, but for the world. Consider these statements:
Perhaps the most notable point brouth up by Grillo is his answer whether he would govern Italy if given the opportunity, after the failure of Renzi. This is what he said:We want to govern, but we don’t want to simply change the power by replacing it with our own. We want a change within civilisation, a change of world vision. We’re talking about dematerialised industry, an end to working for money, the start of working for other payment, a universal citizens revenue. If our society is founded on work, what will happen if work disappears? What will we do with millions of people in flux? We have to organise and manage all that.
From our side, we want to give the tools to the citizens. We have an operating system called Rousseau, to which every Italian citizen can subscribe for free. There they can vote in regional and local elections and check what their local MPs are proposing. Absolutely any citizen can even suggest laws in their own name. This is something never before directly seen in democracy and neither Tsipras nor Podemos have done it.
If that is Grillo's checklist of conditions he needs to take charge, he may find more appropriate career choices elsewhere, unless of course he merely wants to be constantly "in the running", without actually ever winning.
Whatever the reason, we agree with the next point he makes, namely the overthrow of "experts" by amateurs.euronews: “Do you think appealing to people’s emotions is enough to get elected? Is that a political project?”
Beppe Grillo: "This information never ceases to make the rounds: you don’t have a political project, you’re not capable, you’re imbeciles, amateurs… And yet, the amateurs are the ones conquering the world and I’m rejoicing in it because the professionals are the ones who have reduced the world to this state. Hillary Clinton, Obama and all the rest have destroyed democracy and their international policies. If that’s the case, it signifies that the experts, economists and intellectuals have completely misunderstood everything, especially if the situation is the way it is. If the EU is what we have today, it means the European dream has evaporated. Brexit and Trump are signs of a huge change. If we manage to understand that, we’ll also get to face it.”
(Bold emphasis in the original, italicized emphasis added)
What grabbed my attention here is something I've advocated from time to time, and which we saw reflected to a certain degree in the recent Trump campaign and its heavy reliance on social media to reach out directly to supporters, in conjunction with massive campaign rally personal appearances, namely, the use of the internet to bring back a measure of direct and immediate individual participation and monitoring of representative institutions, legislatures, and representatives themselves. Grillo is in effect advocating even that citizens can even propose laws. Notably, he is not proposing the abolition of representative legislatures, but rather a process working in tandem with them.
There's something else that Grillo said, however, and this really grabbed my attention, and I hope it does yours as well, for Grillo gets that we need to start thinking, and start thinking now and in a deep way, about the nature of the relationship between finance, our current financial "work-for-pay" system, and politics, for as we all know, technology is now progressing to the point that the normal "create jobs" solution to economic woes simply has to start thinking outside the box. Here's what Grillo said:
“We want to govern, but we don’t want to simply change the power by replacing it with our own. We want a change within civilisation, a change of world vision.
“We’re talking about dematerialised industry, an end to working for money, the start of working for other payment, a universal citizens revenue. If our society is founded on work, what will happen if work disappears? What will we do with millions of people in flux? We have to organise and manage all that.” (Italicized, and italicized-boldface emphases added)
One might be tempted to view his remarks are being all too capable of being perverted into the typical "centralized and organized management" sorts of socialist solutions, and in Italian politics, there's always that very real danger. What catches the eye, however, is the phrase "the start of working for other payment," which implies a redefinition both of payment and media of exchange, as well as the nature of work itself; if autos are being made, assembled, and perhaps even transported by driverless trucks and lorries that are effedtively nothing but transportation robots, then what happens to human work and creativity. Grillo seems to be implying that far from creating a "leisure" class out of all of humanity, that humanity is freed to pursue other types of creative work.
There's yet another surprise here, and that is the distinction between "common" currency and "single" currency:
“One hot topic at the Commission at the moment is the problem of the conflicts of interest concerning certain politicians.
“President Juncker suggested modifying the code of ethics and lengthening the period of abstinence from any private work for former Commission members to three years. Is that enough?”
“I have serious doubts about a potential change in the code of ethics being made by a former minister of a tax haven.”
“You don’t think the Commission is legitimate?”
“Absolutely not. Particularly because it’s a Commission that no one has actually elected. That’s what brought us closer to Nigel Farage: a democracy coming from the people.”
“You don’t regret being allied with Farage?”
"It was an alliance of convenience, made to give us enough support to enter parliament. We’ve always maintained this idea of total autonomy in decision-making, but we united over the common idea of a different Europe, a mosaic of autonomies and sovereignties.
“I’m not against Europe, but I am against the single currency. Conversely, I am for the idea of a common currency. The words are important: ‘common’ and ‘single’ are two different concepts.
(Italicized emphasis added)
This is a very crucial point, and seems to define what Mr. Grillo has in mind when he speaks of starting to work for other forms of payment. With the ever-growing expansion of the internet and various blockchain systems of payment, why should a custom furniture builder in Italy have to receive payment only in Euros, especially if he is selling furniture to, say, Canada or Brazil? Why should he have to go through an intermediate currency, and be unable to accept Canadian dollars. In effect, what Mr. Grillo seems to be proposing is an almost completely decentralized system of international clearing, leaving it up to the business owner to determine what currency he or she wishes to accept, and what not to accept.
So what does all this possibly add up to? Well, as I've said, "watch Italy," for a people that gave us out-of-the box thinkers like Eco and Vico, and now Grillo, not to mention Della Mirandolla, Bruno, Campanella and the the Renaissance itself, might be thinking in terms of changing whole paradigms yet again.
See you on the flip side...