I know I am not alone in the modern generation with my love of technology and the amazing benefits it brings with it, yet simultaneously dissatisfied with the world which provides us those technological innovations. The ‘Developed World’ – our capitalist consumerist society. Driven by profits, marketing and constant competition, each individual is pushed into working longer and harder in order to satisfy ‘needs’ largely based on artificial manipulation by other workers.
Thankful for my position as a member of the ‘Developed World’ I have always appreciated the privilege that comes with it. Science, information technology, luxury, entertainment and general abundance. I have appreciated these gifts of our modern world, loved them dearly yet also felt an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the modern ‘developed world’ itself.
The 9-5 working day has never been appealing to me. Rush hour, traffic jams – everyone doing the same thing at the same time everyday – it has always bemused me. Spending the majority of your pay cheque – usually earned from a job you hate – on fads, well marketed gimmicks, hollow indulgences and image based products. I have never really partaken in this pointlessness. Excessive rules and regulations which seem to be designed for the lowest common denominator of human stupidity. Individual accountability is lost in our world as every possible way of idiots hurting themselves seems to be necessarily considered in advance before you can do anything – otherwise it is somehow your fault when said idiot hurts themselves. Mass media selling us mindless rubbish stories. – prioritising stories about the private lives of pop stars over stories that actually affect our world, like environmental catastrophes, change in governmental regulations and freedoms or the like. –spin- On top of all of these bizarre obsessions of our world is the perpetual ‘Crisis’ we are being sold. Whether it is the cold war, world war 3, Y2K, Terrorism or dramatic climate change, everyone in the developed world knows for sure that the end is near! (still) I don’t put much stock in any of the doomsday prophecies anymore, but a small part of me still thinks that being out of the way of everyone else who does might save me one day.
So in order to distance myself from the over protection of my nation, avoid any semblance of a 9-5 job and maintain a well rounded perspective of ‘what matters’, I have long desired to move myself and my loved ones to an essentially self-sufficient property on the outer edges of a large city. From this property, with our broadband internet access, we will be free to earn money (business activity or work from home jobs), educate ourselves, research topics of interest, entertain etc all while living a cheap non-commercial lifestyle.
Getting out of the city is not a new idea, but doing so used to involve significant compromise. For me, loss of employment options, lower income potential, isolation from family and friends and significantly fewer entertainment options were the most obvious costs of leaving the suburbs. Now, and even more so the coming years, widely available broadband internet is removing all of those compromises/costs. As such I have come to believe that more and more people will make the same move as I wish to make. As the number of these people increase, I believe it will warrant the naming of a new ‘world’. This lifestyle does not exist within the developed world anymore – too many of the attributes of that lifestyle have been discarded. Nor is the lifestyle anything like those in the undeveloped - or the developing (the 3rd and 2nd) – indeed it is the exact opposite direction that the quality of life has progressed for people who make this change. I therefore think that the individuals who make this move will form the first physically-non-localised world; the Post-Developed world. The Zero’th World. Or perhaps in the spirit of ‘The Naughties’, the final few months of which I am currently in, ‘The Naughtieth World’.
The Post Developed World
I believe the PDW is worthy of its own title for two main reasons. The individuals who make it up, although not physically localised, have essentially removed themselves from all 3 of the other normal ‘world’ structures. Secondly, their unity comes through the internet – they are the first virtual world, unbounded by geo-political borders and agendas.
So how is this world made? It emerges as the current internet culture continues to remove themselves from the mass media driven, popular culture, commercial world. It emerges as those individuals choose self sufficiency and personal accountability over governmental protection. Just as members of the Developed world enjoy the fruits of the Developing and Undeveloped world (cheap labour primarily), so too the members of the PDW will enjoy the fruits of the developed world without really exposing themselves to the problems of it. Self sufficiency in most areas protect them from first world economic fears, energy crisis’s, water shortages etc. While their location outside of major cities protects them from terrorism, pandemics, pollution, and even wars to a large extent. All of the usual ‘fears’ of the first world are simply removed by moving into the PDW.
The main limitation of moving into the PDW will be getting away from governmental constraints which no longer apply (or shouldn’t). Developed world governments will continue to be a pain to all PDW individuals – yet ironically still required. Undeveloped governments too.
While exorcising themselves from these problems they are still free to buy products locally, travel into the cities etc without hassle.
Becoming PDW requires some success in the developed world and a strong desire to get out of it. Money is required to be able to buy the property and technology required to achieve sufficient self-reliance. But in the scheme of things, the entry requirements are quite modest. Certainly easier than getting out of an undeveloped world.
Mere power generation, supplemental food generation, and water catchment don’t make you a PDW citizen though. It is also a freeing of the mind from one sided media, from fear and propaganda. It is the ability to genuinely take care of yourself within a communal society, rather than expecting a society to take care of you. Because online, borders fall away and sense of community is valuable.
Table 1: Comparison between Undeveloped World, Developed World and the Post-Developed World - Sorry I can't figure out how to make Blogger display the table in a reasonable position!
Word of mouth news with little concern for the outside world
“The News’ from one or two dominant sources. Very little critical analysis present.
Internet based headlines and self directed research on topics of interest. No single source of information, much critical analysis.
Local food and some traded food. No concept of ‘Nutritional requirements’ – you eat what is available.
Huge variety. Much processed and mass produced food. Most “Try to be healthy”
Private Agriculture supplements DW supermarkets. Internet used to find optimal techniques, and best sources of seeds and livestock.
No hours or deadlines, simply a requirement to produce enough for survival. Seasonal variation and various in nature.
9-5 structure, rush hour, salary, OH&S, leave etc. Productivity at work is not directly related to survival.
Balance between income earning work and survival based work. All home based, no rush hour, no salary, no leave.
Basic entertainment, usually self made. Alcohol common.
Nightclubs, Pubs, Movies, Parties, Cultural, Computer Games, Home entertainment, Holidays.
Computer games, Home entertainment systems, The Outdoors, Holidays, Local Pub
Primarily fire based. Supplemented with oils, fats and waxes.
Government controlled and fee driven. Usually reliable. Centralised vulnerable distribution.
Free self sufficient sources. Wind, Solar, Hydro. Fire.
River, Irrigation channels, Wells and Tanks. Unfiltered, dirty. Usually lots of effort required to collect and use it.
Government controlled and fee driven. Large water reservoirs for populations, mass filtered and treated prior to piping to final destination. Limited supply with growing populations.
Rain catchment, Dam, River, Well, Bore and water Recycling all used as necessary to ensure sufficient water. Water filtered and treated at point of consumption according to use.
Face to face only. Walking distance.
Phones, Mobiles, Internet, face to face, meetings, parties, interest groups, universities etc.
Primarily Mobile phones and internet.
Usually very little. Sometimes roads, sometimes expensive public transport on those roads. Usually nothing else easily accessible.
Nearly everything is within driving distance or public transport. Hospitals, education, sanitation etc
Depends on location. Usually within driving distance to major development and infrastructure.