Innovations of the industrial age transformed human activities and life-styles, but our inability to react wisely and efficiently to the changes, was not a consequence of industrialization. The Treaty of Westphalia a hundred years earlier, in 1648, completely changed the way people were governed. It introduced a new formula for government control that structurally changed the relationship between people and their leaders. Essentially the treaty authorized governments to become legal corporations; national companies that could claim land, trade and sign contracts without being sanctioned by religious or royal decree, thus basically forming the first modern State Nations.
50 Years later, The English government together with the privately-owned Bank of England endorsed and institutionalized the Fractional Reserve Banking System. A system that entitled the bank to loan money that it did not actually have, to the public and government. This greatly favoured the wealthy bankers, politicians and businessmen at the expense of the multitudes. Artificial money enabled artificial growth.
When the United Kingdom later became the first multinational state in 1801, it controlled a massive empire supported by aristocrats together with the wealthy merchants and entrepreneurs of industry. This large pyramid-shaped bureaucracy was led by a parliament of elected representatives and a figure-head monarchy. In 1835 local governments in England, called ‘Municipal Boroughs’, became state controlled. The English model encouraged smaller kingdoms and tribes to unify under independent sovereign flags with nationalized government institutions. Within 200 years, over 100 monarchies were abolished and almost all of the modern state nations we have today, were established.
Industries grew rapidly and the new developments facilitated the establishment of much larger nations with better infrastructure- roads, dams, bridges and so on. Bigger, better, more. England’s bigger and better equipped armies meant that more territories could be colonized and controlled…… colonies that falsely maintained a massive unsustainable empire.
Safer water supplies and sanitation, together with medical and nutritional improvements, increased the average life-span and decreased birth-deaths. Mechanized agriculture coupled with the discovery of oil-based fertilizers and pesticides provided more food. As populations began to grow larger, pollution and waste increased. More development brought new problems. Control increased. Centralization and uniform policies drained towns and cities of their individual status in favour of the ‘ruling core’. The first police forces and labour unions became part of the new landscape.
Industry boomed. progress, development and growth were key phrases of the American dream. Before anyone noticed, the Baby-Boom of the sixties, especially in America and western countries, drastically increased the world’s population size in just one generation. People now inhabited a world that was ill prepared to accommodate such large populations. Life suddenly became a lot more complicated and stressful. It was a radical culture-shock, also known as the Generation-gap. We had lost our social cohesion. Turmoil and civil unrest followed. The old modes of thinking and values were challenged, conformity questioned. Individual liberties were claimed, (human rights, racial freedoms, children’s rights, women’s liberties, animal rights etc.), but in the process, we lost our cohesion with each other, our communities, our resources and our solutions. Hemp, one of our most valuable plants became prohibited.
Governments became the enemy of free thinkers and environmentalists. Family units and neighborhoods lost their integrity and a basic sense of trust and security. Relationships became fickler; crime, stress-related illnesses and drug abuse increased. Some began exploring a wide assortment of more natural, or esoteric spiritual alternatives, but most became passive observers of giant processes, way beyond their reach.
This was a new age with new ideas, technologies, new drugs and new problems. Love peace and harmony were their war cries. It catalyzed the biggest social movements in all of history, sometimes referred to the Green or New Age movements - but even the world’s largest mass demonstrations protesting war, failed to curb the ambitions of the mighty war lords and the money cartels.
Everything changes with time, but when too much changes too quickly, and without adequate consideration and planning it can be disastrous.
The TOAOSTE solution concept is the result of an evolving group process that started in 2017.