Local Broadcasting Cooperative
By John Taylor; 2010 June 18, Nur 13, 167 BE
The Need for Wisdom in the Media and the Arts
I think the most distinctive feature of the cosmopolis will be its news and information media, the arts, entertainment, sports and especially how the broadcast industry and the profession of journalism are organized. I agree with Buckminster Fuller that our most polluted resource is the press. Surely, as society evolves from our present knowledge economy into a wisdom economy, the first thing to take in hand is the question: how can we purify our sources of information? How can we be clear about whatever forms the world view of humanity?
The stakes could not be higher. Fortunes are won and lost based on who controls information.
A few days ago, the American president spoke from the Oval Office to take in hand the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Among other things, he announced his intention to wean the country off its addiction to oil, coal and other fossil fuels. This move, he said, is "long overdue." True enough. A little over thirty years before, another U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, had announced a similar but more detailed and ambitious plan to end America's dependence on oil. In both cases, there was a strong consensus of expert opinion that this was exactly the right thing to do. However, Carter's plan was quickly abandoned, in large part because neither politicians nor expert opinion have control, or even much influence, over the print and electronic media.
Such vacillation over an unavoidable step would be inconceivable in a wisdom economy. The ideas of experts would be decisive. As we have seen, expert opinion about agriculture and diet informs both the design of hillside buildings. As well, the opinion of energy specialists decides whether a neighbourhood block's main source of energy is local geothermal, turbines or solar panels, or whether electricity from the outside grid would be a cheaper and more efficient energy source.
In our present setup, the press is a privately owned corporation manipulated by the richest vested interest or the noisiest pressure group. Entry level journalists are paid less than hamburger flippers at a fast food restaurant; the few that can continue as reporters learn fast who writes their pay check. Both local media outlets and large newspapers and radio and television networks are bought and sold by influential magnates and large media conglomerates. As if being a commodity were not enough, the media depend upon advertising for revenue, which further increases dependence upon business before the public.
This corruptive influence took hold just when information became the key factor in both power and wealth. Over the past century, geopolitics increasingly centered upon information. In business, the two richest individuals in the world, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, did not gain their fortunes by inheritance as in the past but through clever manipulation of information. One wrote software and gained a monopoly on the operating system that runs personal computers, the other chooses bargain stocks. Knowledge dominates politics as well as finance. After the Internet took hold, the most crucial decisions relate to who mines what data, what information is owned by whom and what military gets the quickest picture of troop movements on the ground.
As we have seen, the first act of a world government will be to uplift our knowledge economy to a wisdom economy. Wisdom is knowledge that takes in the whole picture. With that in mind, decision making will tend to shift national and international centers of power outwards to the continental and global scale, and inwards, towards the local level, where several new levels of government will form, each integrated into the World Belt and its web of hillside housing developments. Each of these levels of government will be responsible for a media outlet and a broadcasting entity. On the local level, this entity will be called the Local Broadcasting Cooperative. We will discuss how the LBC will be organized in detail next time.