Visions for a New World: Exclusive Interview with Artemes Author Joel Beverly
The great Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has a song that goes: “The poor stay poor, the rich get rich / That’s how it goes / Everybody knows.” I do think everyone knows what’s going on, but it’s sort of taboo in this country to discuss it. We all know that our economic system is broken and is causing us grief, pain, and anxiety, but there is still a taboo about admitting that it’s happening or why. People want to believe that our current crisis is going to be over next week, but it isn’t. What are your thoughts?
My first thought is that I love Leonard Cohen. He also said: "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in", which is a play on a Rumi quote. It could be that the crack or break in our current economic system is providing the context to see it in it's true light. This is where change often begins.
As things are now, I think many people do not know exactly what’s going on. Many of us are sleeping. We wake up in the morning and then immediately are back into another dream. This dream consists mostly of regrets of the past, hopes of the future, social media, sports, shopping, porn, booze, and other addictions. This societal dream cuts us off from our true reality and our true potential.
In addition, many are in a deep state of despair, and continue to be trapped there by the same societal programming that led their parents (and their parents) to this same space. Some of us are embarrassed that we’re losing so badly and don’t want to admit that this is in fact the case. Thus, to create the new world that we all want, we must each first discover our own true reality.
How do you make sense of the way a guaranteed minimum income and wealth inequality are being discussed right now?
Both issues are framed by fear on one side and compassion on the other. The fear that business won’t be able to afford this, or that prices will go up, or that higher taxes on the wealthy will slow the economy. All these are based in thought that is fueled by fear. People that have been hurt for so long are going to react strongly to fear, oftentimes even against their own best interests. The correct path is always one of compassion, but it will take individual and societal work to help keep us in this space.
Capitalism is resilient. It’s been up against the ropes before and bounced back. Can it do that now?
Yes and no. Some elements of capitalism should remain as it whets the creative appetite of humanity. Unfortunately, as it currently exists, it has become an unhinged capitalism. For it to endure going forward, a bit of compassion is going to need to be built into the system. Otherwise the rich will continue getting fatter until the poor and middle class can no longer support them. At this point the system will crumble, likely with a lot of death and destruction along the way. The rich don’t want this. Neither do the poor and middle class. Thoughtful people are trying to turn the ship around right now, it’s just a very large ship.
Do you think we can reform capitalism but keep it intact? And if so, should we?
Capitalism is fine. Currently our capitalism has just become unhinged, and this is not fine. To correct this we need to change the entire point of the economic system. The point needs to evolve from being a system that places the highest value on GDP to one that places the highest value on human happiness.
What alternatives do we have at our disposal? Do you think that decentralizing corporate power and democratizing it would help stabilize the economy and prevent future crashes?
First off, we should start treating all humans humanely. Every human should have access to shelter, food, clean water, and healthcare. You could also throw in education if you liked. Providing these 4 or 5 things should become the central pillars of our capitalist system. Do this and the current corporate power structure would be instantly transformed, as no one would agree to work as they are currently being forced to. Instead, humanity would breathe a deep sigh of relief and relax just a bit. Then we would do what is natural and most of us would become creative and active. In the current system many are paralyzed to ever reach their full potential. Building these safety nets into the capitalist system would result in an explosive period of entrepreneurship. A common man’s renaissance.
One factor you didn’t mention in the book is the decline of organized labor, which used to act as a check against the rapacious appetite of capitalism. What’s happened to the union movement? And how does it factor into your overall philosophy?
Ever since humanity's mass migration from the countryside to the city started, it has been a battle against capital and labor. And yes, unions historically have been the crutch that supported the laborer. The overall problem with this system is that it is antagonistic in nature, pitting one group against another. In such a scenario it will always be a race to the bottom. In this race to the bottom one side or the other, capitalists or communists or whatever label you want to apply, gains control of the political reigns and dominates for a period. Capital, or capitalism, has been in control for a number of years, but based upon our current predicament it is unlikely that this control will be able to continue much farther into the future. When the race is over, and we’re all at the bottom, it’s just as likely that the new system that sprouts will be dominated by labor, as these battles are often cyclical.
To move beyond these races to the bottom, we must create a system that is symbiotic instead of antagonistic. Retooling the current capitalistic system with human happiness as its core value would do just that. By providing every human with shelter, food, clean water, and healthcare we would effectively be taking away the stick that capital has effectively been beating labor with; and in this scenario unions would no longer even be needed.
The tax code is a great example of a huge moral hazard wherein elites write the laws to benefit themselves. America’s tax code really is a form of legal theft for the rich and corporations. Do you think rewriting the tax code, which is something else that you don’t really discuss, plays any role in the Artemes system?
I’m not sure I would call it theft. The other side voices the same complaint when there are calls for higher taxes. Again, this is the problem with an antagonistic system. The elite are just currently winning the game and have continued to make the rules in their favor. Again, this will likely continue until the current system comes crumbling down. It may be that the crumbling has in fact already started.
Again, the key is to create a symbiotic system where both sides are striving for human happiness. Currently the powers that be don’t feel this is in their interests, and thus the poor and middle class continue to languish. However, unless relief comes soon, an economic/societal collapse may correct the situation. Knowing that the current social/political elite are very unlikely to release this power is why Artemes has been created. Artemes is a way for humanity to start building an economic system based upon human happiness outside of the societal paradigm that we currently exist in. We should each continue working to slowly turn our massive societal ship around, while at the same time building a beautiful new shiny ship that is Artemes. Do this and the entire system instantly becomes more resilient. It also instantly becomes more loving and compassionate. In this state we will stop fighting each other and instead start working together. An appropriate tax situation would happen at that point, as it would be born out of love and compassion instead of competition and fear.
If you listen to top economists such as Thomas Piketty, they will tell you that a wealth tax is the most fair and equitable way to share amongst humanity. The elite, such as Jamie Dimon, will argue vehemently against this, though this is only due to the fact that we currently exist within a dog eat dog kind of world. Within a symbiotic system, this violent competition would naturally dissipate and everyone would relax into a sharing state of mind. This is our natural tendency when not pitted against one another.
The Artemes cryptocurrency will have a tax system of some sort employed. It is likely that we will again follow the lead of Thomas Piketty here as he has conducted more research than anyone else on the subject and has principles that are meant to provide the most good for the most individuals. As a cryptocurrency, a wealth tax would likely be the fairest way to do this.
Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest Americans, said that: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Why do you think there isn’t more discussion about class in this country?
Because we have been trained to not do this, and even to fight against it. And also, because we are sleeping. As I described before we are trapped within this dream by our thoughts. Thoughts of electric bills, car payments, cell phone data plans, sports, porn, and booze. We are virtual zombies who are cut off from our own true reality, which is where love and compassion reside. We put up with this because in most ways we’re not even aware we’re trapped. For anything to change, we must first become aware of our true circumstances. When that happens, change will naturally occur.
End of Interview
Joel Beverly is an edgewalker who has united the worlds of spirituality and economics, combining them into a brand new system that he has dubbed Artemes. He is not simply a visionary with a dream. He is also a leader who has created a path for redefining the economic structures of the world. Beverly grew up in one of the poorest areas of the US, and has lived through extreme socio-economic challenges firsthand. After paving a different path for himself, he became a serial entrepreneur, creating many different companies, and hundreds of jobs in his community.