No Nonsense: About the radical simplification of life in territory 37

A fictional interview with a member of a post-capitalist society, by p.m.

An interview

“Mr Hug, so how do you feel after five years of ter.org37?”

“Great. As you can see, the transformation has been a huge success. By the way, no mister, please, just hug.”

“OK, hug, where I’m from, territory 37, as you please to call it, is being accused of exaggerated egalitarianism and of a relapse into the crudest forms of planned economy.”

“I can understand that. But we only made egalitarian those aspects of life nobody cared about any more, and we only plan what’s no fun if unplanned. We’ve left behind all those excitements about capitalism, socialism, state or market. We’ve organised everything reasonably and live for our hobbies now.”

“How would you define the basic principle of ter.org37?”

“Life consists of organisation and decoration. Organisation must be efficient and be able to secure basic needs. Decoration is everything else: art, culture, parties, clothing-styles ... The better the org, the more is left for dec.”

“But it’s exactly your clothing-style that looks extremely uniform-like...”

“Come on! tex.org takes care of climatically adapted and ecologically sustainable basic clothing—everybody is free to add as much ind.dec as she pleases...”

“I think you should explain this in detail.”

“Gladly. In each bas.org there is a tex.dep in the con.dep...”

“I have to interrupt again. In territory 37 a rationalized language has been introduced, all words consisting of only two or three sounds. Territory is ter, textile is tex, depot is dep, consumption is con, basis bas etc. hug himself used to be called Hugentobler. These terms can form compounds by putting a dot in between. They’re also used on the ter.net. But perhaps we should begin again with bas.org.”

“Yes, let’s try to be systematic. All ter.ind are organised in bas.org of about 500 ind.”

“An ind is an individual...”

“Right, not an Indian! Incidentally, there are quite a few Indians in our ter.”

“ind.inds?”

“Not quite. I assume India would comprise about 100 ter, let’s say numbers 345 to 457. An Indian could e.g. be a ter.389.ind. However it would be more convenient for her to introduce herself with her glo.num.”

“glo.num?”

“The global identification number. It’s generated by a random program and assigned to every ind on the planet. I’m 037 04 256 100 227. 27 for my friends.”

“You seem to be fascinated by abbreviations and figures...”

“Fascination is hardly the right word. It’s all about avoiding redundancy, about an ecological use of signs, words, numbers to save paper, natural fibers and all substances used to carry data. It’s about res.eff.”

“Resources efficiency!”

“Congratulations! Additionally glo.num makes it possible not to register all other personal data like sex, name, religion, marital status, nationality, parents etc. Everybody can choose or change her name as she pleases. All the contracts with other inds—including marriage—are private. You can have children, change your sex, style yourself as a !Kong—glo.num doesn’t know. In fact glo.num assures a perfect protection of privacy.”

“Back to the systematic explanation of ter.org. You began with bas.org...”

“Right. bas.org is our everyday type of organisation, a new, simple, extended household. It’s small enough for all bas.ind to know each other, but still big enough to avoid that sticky social intimacy. Above all it’s very efficient in all aspects of logistics. Firstly bas.ind live in compact, perfectly insulated zero-energy buildings, typically eight stories high and 100 meters long, 20 meters wide. These bas.dom palaces have elevators, but if necessary you still can reach the upper floors on foot—consider the stairs as a kind of integrated work-out-center. Most bas.dom are built around an inner yard, where the children play, where there is a swimming-pool, half in-door, half out-door, where activities of all kinds occur—soc.dec! The ground floor is usually reserved for infrastructure services: a central kitchen, depots, a big laundry, several saloons, dining halls, cafes, bars, a kindergarten, media-saloons, workshops—life!”


“So all inds are forced to have their meals together in big dining-halls...”

“Why? That would be unbearable. No, res.eff in the food-sector is guaranteed by preparing a varied, seasonally adapted a-la-carte offer in a state-of-the-art restaurant kitchen. bas.ind can choose, if they want to eat together in social combinations of their liking, or if they prefer to have the food catered to their family, community or single ind.ap.”

“So inds are not supposed to do any cooking in their apartments?”

“They may. I personally would prefer not to use up my res.quot with energy-intensive cooking, but I’d rather invest it in an ocean cruise or a flight to Brasil.”

“Aha. This extreme control fetishism again...”

“Just hold it! There is only one planet and all glo.ind are entitled to the same share of its resources.”

“That’s entirely correct. We all agree on that, but...”

“... nobody takes action accordingly. We say: every ind is entitled to an energy-equivalent of 500 Watt per day. That’s only about 20 times less than the actual 10’000 Watts in your country, that are ruining the eco-sphere. Other resources are allotted on the same principle. res.eff is accounted for by a personal resources account, res.quot. Of course, not everything we do can be monitored, but our res.pol are doing their best.”

“A resources police!”

“We only have one planet—all means—even desperate ones—must be used to save it.”

“And I bet, all res.quots are registered in a central computer system...”

(hug—alias 27—pulls a rainbow-colored credit card out of his jacket pocket.)
“This is our tot.inf card. Everything is registered on its memory chip: glo.num, lab.quot, mon.quot, blood-type, allergies, tex sizes. All this information is on ter.sys as well, but people seem to have a kind of nostalgic attachment to the credit card format...”

“But this is dramatic: you’ve established the transparent citizen!”

“Logically. I mean: whoever hasn’t done anything evil has nothing to fear from full disclosure. Those who used to be against the fully transparent citizen were typically the same who had skeletons in their cellars. But tell me: how can a society function with full ecological and social efficiency if there are no data at its disposal?”

“But your ter.org, the state, has full control over its citizens. This must lead to misuse of power on an unprecedented scale. Big eco-brother watching you...”

“So be it. But sober up. Information doesn’t mean control, knowledge doesn’t produce power. These are purely ideological claims. Take power: you’re a member of ter.ex, the territorial executive council. What does it mean? Power? Not at all: lots of meetings, a lot of paper work, all kinds of hassles. We’ve got difficulty finding candidates for administrative positions. What advantage should I get out of my job? Sure, the working time is accounted for on my lab.quot, but it hasn’t got any influence on my res.quot, my 20 m2 of living space...”

“You happen to be a member of ter.ex.”

“Correct. I’m there for the No Nonsense party.”

“We were talking about bas.org...”

“Right, we must proceed systematically. So, the bas.org take care of life in a basic sense, in fact it’s a kind of package deal, as we used to have them in the holiday business. The difference is, that we’re costumers and staff, taking turns. bas.org are mostly urban units, in the country they can also exist, less compact, may-be. Not to forget: each bas.org has 90 ha of land, somewhere in the reg.org, which provides a high level of self-sufficiency.”

“I can’t understand this. Why don’t you produce food on a large scale by the ter.org—why these archaic city/country-exchanges?”

“Because industrial agriculture is not efficient. We’ve had to replace it by a new type of mixed cultivation to save the soil and to be independant of external energy supply. To achieve this intensive work by a lot of people is needed. Big units are no advantage in this form of agriculture. Periodical work on the bas.farm is also an aspect of soc.dec.”

“What was this again?”

“Social decoration. Doing things together because it’s fun. Agriculture cannot be run like the industry. Direct relationships between producers and consumers are essential to avoid scandals like BSE, MFD, antibiotics poisoning, generally loss of quality. bas.org are logistically ideal for this type of supply. And there is something like the love for the land: agriculture is closer to child-rearing than to industry. Looking after plants and animals. Evidently ter.org produces salt, sugar and oils industrially.”

“So there are no free farmers left, just these bas.org kolkhoses.”

“Farmers have never been independent—that would be a contradiction in itself. As any producer, they have to sell their produce to somebody and they’re bound to be dependent from the buyers. The cooperation with bas.orgs was based on free contracts and it has proved to be much more profitable and enjoyable than being dependent on big supermarket chains. Most agr.orgs have now merged with their city counterparts into one household-unit: less stress for everybody involved, simpler accounting and faster help in times of emergency.”

“The first thing I noticed in ter.org: the uniform clothing, all natural beige or eggshell-white fabrics...”

“Yes. In fact it was a deal with the other no-nonsense parties, which opted for different solutions. All ter.ind get the same clothing items from their tex.dep: natural, organically grown, non-colored cotton, linen, wool. You have your measures taken and every day you can collect your freshly washed and ironed set of clothing and sheets in your ground-floor depot. tex.inf is registered on your tot.inf card and you can get your size in any bas.org. There are underpants, socks, T-shirts, shirts, a very elegant jacket, a padded coat for the winter, women’s dresses etc. The set was designed by the best designers in the territory—after an open competition. The advantages are obvious: everything can be washed in big, energy-efficient washing-machines, nobody needs to store clothing or textiles in their flat, nobody needs to think of clothing at all and is free to enjoy any kind of dec-nonsense.”

“But you can also have yours clothes tailored individually.”

“Of course. But then you have to take care of this personally, and your res.eff might suffer. Almost nobody is into this anymore.”

“But the general uniformity...”

“Any kind of efficiency implies a certain level of monotony: mass production, economy of scale! No way around this. As you can see, it was exactly tex.org that has generated an explosion of ind.dec: people wear immense turbans, they decorate themselves with scarves, jewelery, especially gold, they tattoo themselves, grow beards, invent funny hair-styles...”

“I can’t help noticing that you have had your nostrils pierced.”

“Ironically tex.org is a big success. We’ve had to open shops in New York, Tokyo, London, Paris. tex.org clothing is one of our big export hits. Our ter.org CD-ROM is very popular, too.”

“You mean: you’re exporting your social system?”

“Sure, for free. ter.org, including pro.org and dis.org, calibrated to 10 million ind, can be loaded down and put into action by anybody, globally, as glo.org.”

“Maybe here we have to supply a few infos on ter.org0: 10 million ind, 50’000 square kilometers—about the size of Belgium or Pennsylvania—, between 40° and 50° north or south, medium rainfalls...”

“ter.org can be adapted to any climate, surface, or topograhic condition. It’s a basic program for the planet.”

“Okay, but we wanted to proceed systematically. We already have bas.org taking care of all everyday needs. And beyond that?”

“urb.org. Consisting of 20 bas.org, 10’000 ind, and providing, as its name suggests, the urban sphere for the ind. In bigger cities urb.org would be a neighborhood, a borough, in the country a small rural town.”

“And there is nothing in between?”

“Why should there be? Smaller settlements cannot provide a compact dom.org, would only spoil the countryside and take away land from the farmers. A real ind can only live in minimal urban surroundings. Man is an urban being, she degenerates in the country. A few villages and hamlets may have survived, but they’re not really part of ter.org.”

“Just a moment: does this mean, that there are people in your ter.org, that do not fully belong to ter.org?”

“Of course. ter.org is not totalitarian, it’s an offer. As a rule 10% of everything isn’t ter.org, but non.org, or even an.org. This was part of our coalition contract with the Some-Nonsense Party. Our more radical partner, the Absolutely-No-Nonsense party, was strictly against the 10% rule—they didn’t want any ter.mon and they wanted to reduce res.quot to 200 Watts.”

“ter.mon?”

“Territorial money in notes, so that it can circulate without being controlled by the central accounting computer.”

“A kind of free market economy?”

“Not really—not much more than pocket money. Our system is very simple: there is an ind.lab.quot, a number of hours you must work in a lifetime, at the moment it’s 27’086 hours, or 9.27602 years of eight-hour-days, without counting free days or vacations. Your tot.inf always tells you the individual state of the account. The equivalent of what you have there—allowing for a little over-draw—can be spent for goods in the dis.org, the organisation of distribution. But only, if your ind.res.quot agrees with it. To make the system a bit more flexible without compromising its efficiency it was decided that 10% of your lab.quot can be paid in ter.mon. This makes sense, especially for foreign visitors, who can change their dollars or euros into ter.mon and spend those in hotels, shops, trains etc.”

“Sounds too good to be true. What happens if somebody just doesn’t want to work, or when you’re ill, handicapped, drug-dependent...”

“Alright, lab.org is bit more complex than outlined above. What helps is a completely integrated, computerized labour market—as you would call it—of about 5 million able workers between 15 and 70. This means, that it’s no problem to find a suitable job, even on short notice. If necessary, you can get an extra res.quot bonus for additional mobility needed to get to your job. Moving to another bas.org is extremely easy: just pack a bag with some personal belongings, and off you go: no furniture, no clothing, no pots and plates! Each bas.org keeps a reserve of 10% of space to facilitate this kind of mobility. When they’re full, you go to urb.org. If you’re ill, a replacement is easy to find. The handicapped, of course, can get work according to their abilities and a reduced vit.lab.quot. Additional flexibility derives from the fact, that each ind can spread or concentrate her nine years of work according to her wishes. You work a year, take a break of a year, you work a month here and there, you take 20 hour work weeks, etc. If you go into training, this counts as work, too.”

“And if somebody works more than her lab.quot?”

“Then she can only get those 10% in ter.mon.”

“The rest can be passed on to the heirs?”

“No, when you die, all your accounts are frozen and stored—for ever. There is nothing to pass on, except a few personal items. A ter.ind doesn’t really own anything, not even her clothes. We’re basically poor, or free, it depends on how you see it.”

“And if somebody still doesn’t want to work?”

“You mean: the hard-core work refusers. We can’t do much about it. She’ll be approached by nice and understanding lab.funs—labour functionaries—who will counsel her and make her the best possible offers. There are a few guidelines, too. At the age of 30, you should have worked 30% of your lab.quot. We’re not really ready to believe those, who promise to do all their lab.quot between 80 and 90, and pass on to other universes before they ever get there. And then there’s also lab.dec: work conditions have improved greatly taking in account the relative autonomy of the workers—it’s become really attractive to work. No stress, no speed-up, maximal safety, a good atmosphere.”

“And how have you organised your social security systems?”

“There are none, of course. How could there be? bas.org takes care of all your needs, whether you work or not, when you’re ill or old. In case of illness, just go to the med.dep, talk to a med.op or med.fun. As I said, we’re an all inclusive offer.”

“med.op seems to be your term for a doctor...”

“Exactly. There are also agr.op, mob.op, tex.op, dom.op, did.op, a lot of fun. of all kinds, and dec.ops!”

“Artists!”

“Got it.”
“And if someone still refuses to work, even after having been counselled by your persuasive lab.funs?”
“Aha, you seem to be really concerned about free-riders. Now, even if you refuse work, you’ll have to live somewhere, in a bas.org, and there will be people. They’ll tell you, that they’re not so happy with your behaviour. You move on to another bas.org—but there are phones, and word will get around... It is obvious, that social cooperation only works under the condition of functioning social communication, free-riders can only exist in relative anonymity. You need constant social feed-back, so that cooperative behaviour pays and defection doesn’t. Read Dawkins, The Selfish Gene.”

“So there is social control.”

“Yes—there’s no way around it. Some work must be done. Now, if a non-worker has some charm, you can still define him as a dec.op or a phil.op. Or you can send her into politics. There’s a lot of leeway. Don’t forget that the introduction of ter.org reduced the overall economic activities to about 20% of what they were before, and also work. So there isn’t really a very heavy work-load. But we definitely can’t live on dec. alone.”

“Sounds very puritan to me.”

“It’s still true—it’s one of the flaws of this universe. A real challenge, too.”

“No paradise.”

“Not in this universe. But there are others...”

“As a visitor I was allowed to enter lab.org on a temporary basis. It was rather awkward, I must say. At the border I had to check in at a ter.org office. Then you pay a 50 dollar deposit for each day you want to stay. This means you don’t have to work, but you still have to keep within your res.quot. Then they take your fingerprints and scan your iris. You get issued your glo.num and your tot.inf card. In the next room, there’s a tex.dep, where they take your measures and hand you over your clothing, depending on the season. You can have your old clothes stored. I must say, putting on the new clothes and seeing myself in a mirror was really fun. You suddenly look so ter.orgish. After that you’re free to travel all over the ter37, have meals in any bas.org, find rooms in most of them. With your card you can consult the state of your quots at any ter.net machine—a kind of ATM, which you find at any street corner. Everything is free. You can even enroll at lab.org and accumulate a little lab.quot. Usually it’s some cleaning in a bas.dom, or some help in a kitchen. Upon your departure, your lab.quot is subtracted from your deposit and you get back the rest, or all of it, but never more, unfortunately.”

“That’s because we don’t want to exploit foreign workers. And what’s the experience like for you?”

“An eerie feeling of freedom. After the first shock of iris-control, all those questions in the ter.org office, the taking of measures, I mean. Suddenly I had time for a lot of things.”

“That’s the point: no-nonsense org, so that more nonsense is possible. Sounds paradoxical, but such is life.”

“I had a big scare, though, when I realised, that I couldn’t board a train, because my res.quot was empty. I was stranded in urb32, in the mountains.”

“You must have been travelling around too much. Yeah, the res.quot can play you some nasty tricks. Its handling requires some experience and foresight. You have to combat the instant-satisfaction-mentality, that puts such a stress on the resources. Most of us accumulate a res.quot reserve for emergencies, like a flight to Mexico, when you get your late-winter depression.”

“Thanks for your advice. Now, mobility is the topic.”

“mob.org. This means the ind on foot, and most of the rest of the trips by public bikes.”

“bic.org?”

“Exactly. All of this puts no stress on the res.quot. We’ve got a somewhat reduced system of public transportation, so that every urb can be reached. These trips are charged to lab.quot and res.quot. Finally there’s a territorial car-share organisation, aut.org, even lux.aut.org—Rolls Royce Silver Shadows, Maibachs, Ferraris, Chevrolets—for birthdays, existential crises and such—but these impinge on your quots considerably.”

“No private cars?”

“Theoretically possible, but such a burden, that you’d use up your whole res.quot just for this. You’d have to be a real automobile-freak.”

“So then, individual transportation is virtually no option...”

“You can get wherever you want, maybe not as fast as before and not on short notice. Very few flights, only a few thousand kilometers of international train trips. Mobility is not a need in itself, but a function of the territorial lay-out of social systems. If work, living and entertainment are geographically separated, a lot of unenjoyable trips are necessary. Now, bas.org, urb.org and reg.org, optimized by ter.sys, allow for everyday functions being mostly within foot or bike distance. If you consume mobility, it should be for pleasure, like drives into the country, surprise visits to friends, or races on some of the remaining highways. Speed can’t be replaced by anything else. Some people need it from time to time. This has nothing to do with old-time commuting. However the Absolutely-No Nonsense party wanted to scrap all cars...”

“You always mention other parties. Does this mean, that you are a democracy?”

“We’re absolutely democratic. Everything is democratic, the bas.org have their elected bas.ex of 10 ind and a general assembly, bas.leg, of all bas.ind. urb.org have an urb.leg of 100 delegates and an urb.ex of 10 ind, the reg.org alike and in the whole ter.org there’s a ter.leg of 100 representatives and ter.ex of 10...”

“And nothing bigger than territories, no nations?”

“Nothing bigger. We found out that bigger units are ecologically unsound and socially hazardous. I mean, nations have a very bad record of peacefulness.”

“A very rational approach, expressed also by your flag: just a natural-beige cotton cloth with the number 37 on it...”

“In a natural blue dye.”

“What about emotions? National feelings...”

“Rather not. We think the concept nation is somewhat childish, may be appropriate for adolescents. But we intend to grow up...”

“What about justice?”

“Yes—there’s jur.org, an independently structured system of elected judges, up from urb.org to ter.org. The position of judges is very strong, they don’t even have a lab.quot!”

“And there’s ter.pol, I presume.”

“Right. urb.pol, reg.pol, ter.pol. Excellent policemen, clever detectives... We are a pol.org.”

“The ideal police-state.”

“Exactly. However all police interventions, all sanctions, must always be supervised and decided by a judge or jury. You have the right to see a jur.op within an hour of your arrest.”
“Still, where I come from, the idea of a police-state doesn’t seem particularly attractive.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. I tried to show off with my flippancy. There’s really very little policing taking place around here. No shops to lift, no banks to hold up, everybody lodged and fed. No mass anonymity.
The term police is derived from the Greek word polites—which just means citizen. And that’s what we do: everybody takes a two-week course in basic police work and then you can apply for shifts or are called in when it’s necessary. There’s no uniform—in fact we are already uniformed. You put on one of those fluorescent green vests over your tex with POLICE on them, and off you go. No weapons, no sticks, just a notebook. Your job just consists in politely reminding your co-citizens of their duties and to keep public spaces orderly and clean.”

“And what kind of sanctions would you face in ter37?”

“The Absolutely-No Nonsense party wanted to introduce a modified version of the islamic sharia: floggings, beheadings, public shaming etc. for ecological reasons, to save all those expenses for prisons. The Some-Nonsensers only wanted deductions from lab.quots and res.quots, according to the type of crime. Now we’re somewhere in between. For non-violent crimes we use deductions—very handy, fast and cost-efficient—and it hurts. Violent perpetrators are sent to pun.bas.org, pentitentiaries that are run like bas.org, just with a high wall around it.”

“There are certain similarities...”

“To reduce costs. bas.pun.org are largely self-sufficient, you can call that practical resocialisation.”

“But no public floggings.”

“It would have been bad soc.dec.”

“The new, better ter.org human has not arisen, so far?”

“No, we’re all lazy, weak and wily bums. But we’ve decided not to let that pass. Alone we’re weak, but under strong police supervision, we’re strong. pol.dec!”

“ter.org seems to be as democratic as one could wish. But how did it come into being? Was there an eco-social coup?”

“No, no, everything evolved in a democratically correct fashion. Proposition ter.org37 was submitted as a package to the electorate and we got a 52% vote in favour of it. There were some problems of transition, though. One of them was the neutralisation of all personal assets, and a uniformisation of the incomes...”
“... the rich must have been on the barricades!”
“Not at all. There was no expropriation, just an indefinite freezing. And we have par.sim.”
“Not again. All these abbreviations!”
“It’s very simple. All data on property, accounts and incomes, based on tax forms, was stored in a big simulation program, that is also taking in account the probable evolution of them, plus the career of the owners. Now, whenever I’m in a mood of it, I can consult ter.sys and see how I would have fared financially in the old system, if I would have become a CEO or a homeless, if I would be unemployed, sent to a war etc. Should ter.org be abolished one day, we could switch to par.sim and continue as before.”

“You seem to have learned from cases like East Germany.”

“They had a lot of problems finding all the records, there. So far, most ter.ind are rather shocked, when they take a look at par.sim.”

“Understandably. What you call simulation is the real plight that awaits me after this vacation.—Now, back to the early days of ter.org.”

“Another problem were the diverging views of the different parties. So, the definite ter.org was a product of coalition discussions between the three winning No Nonsense parties. The Absolutely-No-Nonsense party wanted to implant a tot.inf chip in our earlobes for total and easy control, everywhere. You just walk through electronic gates and all your quots are monitored. The Some-Nonsense people were against electronic registration. Result: the tot.inf card! The Absolutists wanted to abolish the christian calendar and just count the hours after the start of ter.org., no days, no years! The Moderates wanted to introduce a ten-day week, a ten-month-year and two weeks of celebrations. No, we count the years since the start and number all days through the year, from 1 to 365 or 366. It’s 5.251 today. Now, if some groups or whole communities prefer days or weeks or whatever, they can do that privately. Every group—think of religious communities—can establish their own holidays. Takes a lot of heat from intercultural relations. The Absolutists, abs, wanted to impose a compulsory, simplified, phonetic one-syllable language, mi.ko, of only two sounds per word, to save time and paper. The compromise: min.eng is only used in the system, everybody can speak the language she likes, additionally min.eng can be used just for fun.”

“Some fun.”

“The Absolutists wanted a military of 50,000, the Moderates of 100,000, now it’s 75,000. The abs wanted to admit everybody with a lab.quot of a 1000 as a ter.ind, now you need 10 signatures from your bas.org as well—your godfathers/mothers, so to speak. You see, ter.org is already a compromise of three parties. But then there’s also BTOS.”

“A new disease?”

“No, our opposition party, back to the old system. For them we established par.sim, against the will of the abs, of course. BTOS now has 22% of the votes. There are a few splinter parties, the anarchists, who want to assign all public functions by the lot, the Fedorovian Progressists (FP), who want to raise the lab.quot every year by 10% so that we could build the quantum computer earlier, the BTB-movement, back-to-basics, that would like to go down to a res.quot of 10 and abolish electricity. Our coalition holds 65% of the seats in the ter.leg at the moment.”

“And there has been no counter-revolutionary movement of the rich?”

“No. Most of them only considered their wealth as a guarantee for comfort and security. ter.org offers both. Why confront all the hassles with shares, asset-managers, taxes...”

“No more taxes?”

“What for? There is no state, no economy, just a general logistic organisation, log.org. The ind enter their needs and wishes into ter.net, where they’re processed and sent to pro.org and dis.org, which in turn figure out what’s feasible with the lab.quot and res.quot at their disposal.”

“An ideal market economy.”

“Yes, but centrally organised and planned. And based on the principle of demand: only those goods are produced for which a demand has been established beforehand. There’s no wasteful dumping of goods on an anonymous market. Nothing gets lost, no waste.”

“But not every wish is fulfilled.”

“Not even in ter37. However you still have 10% of non.org. Maybe you can find there, what couldn’t be produced efficiently on a larger scale. There are markets in every urb.org and reg.org for specialities, jewelery, perfumes, spirits, paints, books, CDs, car parts.”

“The urb.org seems to be a kind of buffer system for the bas.orgs.”

“They represent a qualitatively different level of life and organisation. You find building materials there, all kinds of machines, a dentist, academies, cafes, dance halls. There’s a certain anonymity, just shy of discommunication. Some call the urb.org dem.org, the democratic sphere in the sense of old Greek democracy. It’s the stage for the citizen as a public figure, not as a household member, as in the bas.org. The same is even more obvious for a reg.org, typically an agro-urban region of between 200,000 and a million ind. Such a city would provide metropolitan structures and services like an opera house, public transportation, hospitals, international meeting halls, a mundane city center. A ter.org consists of 10 reg.org.”

“Which makes the brave new world complete.”

“Not at all. A number of ter.org work together in a subcontinental framework, sub.org. Don’t forget: no more big nations. But on a certain technological level—let’s say electronics, chemical industry, vehicles, mechanical components, steel etc.—cooperation of ter.org on a broader scale is needed. Such sub.orgs could be West Asia, North America, South Asia, Oceania (Pacific area): wes.as.org, nor.am.org, sud.as.org, pas.org, etc. Unfortunately, we’re still alone as ter37. Strictly speaking our days are counted, if other ter.org are not constituted very soon. As long as the rest of the world still clings to its archaic-dysfunctional organisation, we have to make compromises in many fields. We must produce for export, so that we can import certain needed resources. We can be blackmailed and are objectively exploited. That’s why we have such a high lab.quot. Our costs are low, but we are not able to profit entirely from this—somehow we’re a low-wage country. And there were incidents of political pressure...”

“When President Hillary Clinton put you on the rogue states list.”

“We sent her a set of tex.org clothing and now she shows up in them everywhere. We can only hope, that ter.org is loaded down all over the planet and that more and more bas.org are founded. Very soon we should put the world on glo.par.sim. glo.org is ready.”

“glo.org! Sounds like the name of a monster. Are you really sure, that you’ve got the right answer to all the problems on this planet, to all the diversity...”

“All I know is that we need such an answer. 80% of the people on this planet live below a decent mon.quot of 5000 dollars a year. 20% use up 80% of the planetary res.quot. There are hundreds of millions of angry young people with no perspective of a decent life. If there’s no rational offer for these people, they will explode in some way. They can be manipulated by all kinds of demagogic leaders and cliques. We must choose between a just and ecologically sound glo.org or max.non.org—chaos, misery and war. The offer must come from those on the planet who—let’s say—enjoy already more than 20’000 glo.mon (euros/dollars) a year and have a res.quot above 4000 Watt—there must be a transfer to the pauperised regions of the planet, to allow a transition to a sustainable life-style: glo.org. But this would not be a gift, it would mean paying back some of the profits since early colonialism. And glo.org would be the same for all of us, our common cause.”


“OK, I hear you. But what about cultural diversity? Isn’t glo.org a product of typically western thinking? Are you serious, that you can just rationalise fundamenalist islamic, hindu or christian movements?”
“glo.org has nothing to do with culture. As I said, dec is free: what you eat isn’t defined by glo.org, just that you eat. glo.org doesn’t tell anybody what to think, how to dress, who to marry, when to sleep, when to work. Of course you could say, that its strictly formal democratic system can get in conflict with traditional forms of government. It will also weaken the position of some men, because there is the 40%-rule: 40% of all ex, leg etc. must be either men or women. But then again, these so-called traditional forms of government have a very bad record. dem.org just makes sure, that all ind can participate in their common cause: the planet.”

“Everybody agrees with you on this. But isn’t glo.org a bit too schematic for all the different situations on the planet. The idea of introducing your tot.inf card, your bas.orgs, lab.quots etc. let’s say in a country like the Congo, seems ridiculous. Couldn’t there be simpler concepts...”

“6 billion humans live on this planet. We’re all hooked up to highly complex technological systems, all dependent on fast communication and efficient organisation. There is no Congo any more. We cannot on supposedly simple systems. It’s obvious that glo.org can only be started in highly organised areas, that have accumulated the appropriate resources. It’s a reference model based on this type of societies. And then glo.org will allow these territories to shift a lot of the then superfluous resources to areas that had been deprived of them. glo.org is not an instant solution, but a plan to be put in action.”

“tex.org in the rain forest?”

“I think non.tex is the most energy-efficient tex.org, and very uniform, too...”

“And bas.org?”

“Why not? Of course, in tropical climates you wouldn’t need those compact eight-story buildings. But any village can be complemented with a few amenities and function as a bas.org. urb.org is very much needed in some of the chaotic urban spreads we see in Africa or Asia. Some railroads can be built, streets paved for bicycles, med.org established...”

“What if some communities do not want to join glo.org?”

“Then they can chose to be left alone. I’d still send some glo.funs there to make sure that this is the will of the people and not just of some traditional autocrats. I think the consciousness of being a global society has reached even the smallest villages. The need to have a voice in one’s own affairs, public and private, and to get rid of patriarchal rules, whatever their legitimation ideologies might be, is felt everywhere, especially among the young and the women. There’s no valid cultural argument against democracy. If people can not fully participate in their societies everywhere, we’ll just see disruptive flows of migration, economic and cultural refugees, empty countrysides and overpopulated pseudo-cities. The planet is ready for glo.org.”

“Yes, but planned economies have failed everywhere. The world is just too diverse for such a schematic approach.”

“There have been no planned economies so far. There were a few attempts of mafias organized as parties and decorating themselves as communists or socialists to use state capitalist means to stabilize their hold on political power. No planning based on democratic input ever happened—what we saw was just command economy. In reality much more planning than ever took place in the Soviet Union, or let’s just call it comprehensive logistics, is practised today by multinational companies. Some of them are bigger than many nation-states, have hundreds of thousands of employees, combine millions of components. And don’t forget, that food supply is in the hands of the bas.org and needs no overall planning at all. Industrial production is now reduced to 20% of its former amount: almost no cars, no private machines, no supermarkets, simplified clothing. The exchange of goods on a glo.org level will be only about 10% of the actual world market. So, we’re not talking of planning the existing over-sized global economy, but of rationalizing a small remainder of it.”

“So, all those villagers in the Congo can look forward to getting their tot.inf card?”

“Yes, it’s their ticket to the world society. We already produce billions of credit cards at the moment and, as I said, we don’t even need the most advanced computers to run a few billion lab and res accounts. Of course, the basic infrastructure must be supplied to everybody.”

“And if the local war-lords oppose the new system?”

“Then we have mil.org.”

“So you would send in troops to make sure that democracy is established?”

“Why not—it has happened before. Think of the international brigades in Spain in 1936. National sovereignty cannot be invoked to protect dictatorial regimes. glo.mil, under the control of glo.leg, would be good news in many parts of the globe.”

“Unfortunately, the glo.mil we actually have is dependent on the US military and on the will of a lot of non-democratic nations in the UN that are run exactly by those autocrats, that should be ousted.”

“I’m aware of that. The situation is so bad, that you’d even prefer direct US-occupation to being oppressed by US-sponsored proxy-regimes. The real thing, so to speak. But the old system is being eroded from below. We’ll have more and more territories instead of nations and one day, all the 600 of them will form the new glo.leg, which might or might not grow out of the UN. I think, that basic and territorial changes in the USA will play a pioneering role in this process. After all, bas.org and ter.org, dem.org, the idea of economical and ecological fairness expressed in lab and res.quot are old American ideals. You could say, that ter.org is a typically American idea.”

“A new avatar of the US-satan! All very rational, but what about religious and nationalist fanatism...”

“rel.dec! As much as you want. As long as your lab.quot is up-to-date, as long as you vote and respect the others, you can believe what you want. glo.org is no ideology, it’s culturally neutral. I believe that so-called religious or nationalistic extremisms are mostly a quid pro quo, i.e. religious language is used to express a protest against economic or cultural exploitation. The “evil west” just stands for global capitalism. On the other side, the “crazy islamic terrorist” is just a scarecrow to keep the workers in line in the west. For those, who really need a religion and want to get away from the old ones, we’re proposing glo.rel, a spiritual system, that uses few resources, no prayers needed, and is quite transcendental.”

“You can’t be serious! Are you actually proposing a new global religion?”

“Why not? It’s good to have some ideas about life after death and other issues, like the sense of life. glo.rel goes like this: the power of computing doubles every few years. The quantum computer, the next big leap, will allow simulations of manifold universes, including all individuals that ever lived, with all their personalities, memories, thoughts, perceptions. This huge computer will be able to simulate space and time, and, consequently, its own construction. Which means, that it must already have been built in some universe and that we live in one of its simulated universes. Every information on every quantum is available. You cannot die, nobody ever could. You just emerge in other universes, if you feel like it, and play other un.org.dec, as long as you want.”

“Sounds like good news. Do you want us to believe this?”

“No, it’s not believable, it’s scientifically the most probable and least contradictory explanation of the nature of our universe. Have you ever heard of Nikolai Fedorov?”

“Is he your prophet?”

“In a way. He lived in the late 19th century and demanded eternal life for every human being, including our dead brothers and sisters. This, he said, was the purpose of science and technology. He didn’t know about computers yet, he still believed in some god instead. Some of the founders of the Soviet Union were Fedorovians, including Tsiolkovski, the rocket-scientist. So, Fedorovianism was the implicit religion of the early Soviet Union. Later, of course, Stalin returned to the depressing christian-orthodox religion and called in the popes again. Now, we should all be Fedorovians: why die? Why not play on in other universes? There’s no shortage of games: Middlearth, Dune, Earthsea, Anares... we’ll invent others and better ones. Everything is possible, for ever.”

“But life is tragic.”

“Who says that? Only those who daren’t be happy. We’re all so modest and say things like: eternal life wouldn’t be bearable, one life is more than enough, you gladly leave when you’re 95, we’ve all become dirty existentialists, minimalists ...”

“You want to avoid disappointments.”

“Then suicide is the solution. No further disappointments there. glo.rel is max.dec.rel. Everything else is not enough for us.”

“But this is utter heresy...”

“It’s the end of any possible heresy. The quantum computer I mentioned can be called god or allah by those who wish and the rest falls in place for them anyway. Hindus might want to consider their gods as sub-routines of the main simulation program—or not. Buddhists will feel relieved anyway: rebirth is not compulsory, or could even be enjoyable. Atheists are happy anyway. They always knew.”

“Pray to Saint Nicolas Fedorov! If life is just a simulation and everybody can be sure to show up again in other universes—then nothing is serious. I mean, all the victims of recent massacres...”

“If you take this universe seriously, you’re bound to be too scared to act any more.”

“You seem to have thought about everything very carefully, from clean underware to universal religion. Is there anything you haven’t thought of?”

“No.”

“OK, then, thanks for the interview, hug.”

“gloorg!”