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Inevitable shift

Dr Murtaza Khuhro
Sunday, Apr 14, 2024

The capitalist system, built upon a foundation of inequality and exploitation, is on the verge of collapse by the year 2030. Human history and civilization are poised to undergo a significant transformation, driven by the rapid development of technologies such as generative artificial intelligence, AI software engineering, and the imminent arrival of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and AI agents. It is of utmost importance for all nations, their governments, policymakers, and various institutions, as well as the majority of people who have long been deprived of fundamental rights and equality, to comprehend the emergence of these new forces that are favorable to human civilization. These forces have surfaced and gained momentum since November 30, 2022. No country, government, policymaking group, institution, or even the people themselves can afford to disregard these forces. Failing to grasp their significance and revolutionary impact would spell doom. These unstoppable forces, inherently objective, will transcend borders with the aid of globalization and advancements in human intellect. They will inevitably influence and impact every individual worldwide before the year 2030.

The claim that capitalism inherently encourages competition, promotes efficiency, limits corruption and mismanagement, and creates a free market can indeed be critically examined, especially when considering its impact on inequality and the dynamics of competition. This perspective suggests that capitalism, as practised and advocated by its proponents, primarily serves the interests of specific economic groups, corporations, and countries, potentially at the expense of broader social equity.

It is crucial to recognize that with the rise of capitalism in the 19th century, the productive forces generated by science and technology became the exclusive domain of those who possessed capital, whether through personal wealth, control of banks, or access to state resources. The coercive powers wielded by the state or government to control the general population were made accessible to these privileged groups.

Certainly, throughout history, exceptional individuals have emerged who were able to break free from the confines of the system and attain great heights. It is important to acknowledge that such exceptional people have always been capable of transcending the limitations imposed upon them. However, the persistent question remains: why were regular people merely exploited by these groups, used solely to generate more wealth without the development of their intellectual capacities? Furthermore, why were the vast majority of people not provided with a system that would address their basic human needs? If our system fails to meet the basic human needs of the common people and instead exploits them, what is the rationale and moral foundation behind a development and growth paradigm that perpetuates an unequal society? This paradigm leaves individuals with no choice but to depend on influential classes, groups, and state institutions that do not regard them as fellow human beings. The question arises: who holds greater importance - the human being or GDP growth? The concept of GDP growth with a trickle-down effect is deeply inhumane, as it subjects common people to pain, exploitation, and inequality. No philosophical or economic theory that inflicts suffering upon ordinary individuals through exploitative or unequal practices can be supported or justified.

The pervasive myth that capitalism inherently fosters competition is deeply flawed. Genuine competition presupposes a level playing field, yet capitalism is fundamentally characterized by pervasive inequality. It thrives on the exploitation of labour and natural resources, with the singular goal of profit maximization by any means necessary. In this system, societal development and research and innovation are not priorities but rather incidental byproducts or mere requisites for continued exploitation.

It is a compelling argument that the absence of capitalism could have, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fostered the rise of countless minds capable of revolutionary change. Moreover, without the capitalist paradigm, the devastating global conflicts of the First and Second World Wars, which inflicted unparalleled human suffering and environmental devastation, might have been averted.

Reflecting on the origins of technology, it's clear that innovation is the product of human intellect and creativity, not an economic system. From the inception of civilization, technology has been a tool for extending human capabilities and reshaping the environment. The Industrial Revolution, driven not by scientists or their understanding of physical, chemical, or biological laws but by individuals motivated by profit and technological aptitude, brought about significant advancements like the steam engine and the railways. Rail transport, in particular, showcased technology's potential for unbiased service, offering access to all who could afford even the most modest fare.

However, the emergence of a class-based system, rooted in the ownership of private property, starkly distorted the inherently equitable nature of technology, especially during the Industrial Revolution. This period saw technology being commandeered by those with capital, effectively denying its benefits to the wider populace and its original innovators. This appropriation disrupted the natural progression of human civilization, creating a chasm between technology's potential and its actual application.

Had technology and science not been ensnared by capitalist motives, we might have seen exponential growth in intellectual development even in the pivotal periods of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This misalignment led to technology and science being wielded as tools of destruction and division, constrained by a system deeply rooted in inequality and exploitation.

This exploitative system not only plundered labour and resources from colonial and dependent territories but also exploited its own populace. The economic model fashioned by capitalism is inherently destructive, fostering a relentless cycle of inequality. Despite these constraints, technology and science eventually sought their liberation. The advent and commercialization of the World Wide Web marked the beginning of their emancipation, fundamentally altering the trajectory of human civilization in the post-2000 era. The globalization of Information, Knowledge, Research, Innovation, and Development (IKRID), which has reconnected with its once dispossessed creators, is fostering a dual-impact revolution that advances the cause of inclusiveness. The advent of mobile internet on smartphones, virtual technologies, tools, and now the emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI), software engineering AI, and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), along with AI assistants, are set to transform the current paradigm of the global economy.

This transformation is anticipated to significantly enhance productivity and production levels, reduce prices, and render the production of adulterated food and counterfeit medications nearly impossible. Individuals will gain the ability to detect potential diseases at their onset, potentially leading to a drastic decrease in hospital admissions. The full extent of the changes these technologies will bring remains to be seen. The critical takeaway and imperative for us is to swiftly grasp the potential of these previously inconceivable technologies.

The writer is an advocate of the high court and a former civil servant.