By Alex Lightman,
Alex Lightman is the chairman of Coinfield, a regulated exchange operating in 186 countries, which is currently offering the Coinfield coin at Coinfieldcoin.com. He is a director on the board of Tingo, Inc. (OTCBB: IWBB), Africa’s leading Afro-fintech with 10 million. Lightman is the author or co-author of five books, most recently the Amazon bestseller Augmented: Life In The Smart Lane. He attended MIT and Harvard.
Advertising has done more to cause the social unrest of the 20th century than any other single factor. Clare Boothe Luce
Capitalism inevitably and by virtue of the very logic of its civilization creates, educates and subsidizes a vested interest in social unrest. Joseph A. Schumpeter
The modern world is in an extremely precarious situation, teetering between outright war and social anarchy. On the one hand, a gnawing global economic crisis is deteriorating the financial positions of the global population and widening the immense social gap. On the other hand, warmongering between nuclear states is being fueled by fake news and rivalry for geopolitical influence, both globally and in regions of local strife.
The combined effect of such instability — the overall atmosphere of fear and mistrust — is being further worsened by conflicts on the basis of racial, ethnic and even pseudo-medical grounds. And since the global economy is almost entirely based on the stability and security of geopolitical relations, the raging mistrust and deliberate sabotage of international relations through sanctions is hitting the financial standing of average people.
Among the worst socio-economic impacts of the current geopolitical situation, and the effects of the pandemic, are deteriorating living conditions, growing unemployment and crushing rates of global poverty leading to hunger and catastrophic mortality in underdeveloped and developing countries. These miseries are all a reality, especially during the pandemic that has revealed the vulnerability of the so-called “globalization” model to even the slightest of shocks.
Developed countries have been among the hardest-hit as they are experiencing growing social tension due to panic and the disruption of habitual ways of life. The United States is among the most radical and horrifying examples of states where interracial strife has virtually divided the country into literally warring factions. With the country being practically divided in two by the ongoing political rivalry among ruling parties in the media, the streets are witnessing anarchy, looting, armed robberies, incessant clashes with the police, and pogroms that make towns and cities look like warzones.
While the US is languishing in the agonizing rise in tensions between blacks and whites, the rich and the poor, Democrats and Republicans, Europe is reeling from its own horrifying scenarios. Violent clashes, insurmountable issues with a catastrophic influx of immigrants, constant protests against draconic measures aimed at stemming the spread of the Covid-19 virus, and the overpowering repression of laws and measures are seeing the European Union turn into a police state.
With increasing wage disparity come throngs of disillusioned and underprivileged social classes ready to take to the streets and fight desperately for continued survival, knowing that the state is blind, deaf and dumb to their misery and demands. The states themselves are quite helpless and powerless to alleviate the suffering of their people. Bound by political programs and the need to remain in power by leveraging those who vote for them, elites are ready to skillfully manipulate the masses with promises, while having no financial reserves to kickstart economic recovery.
An increase in taxes will not help, as it will only create resentment in the masses and aggravate the problems of the lower classes. Loans from the International Monetary Fund are a bear trap that no state has yet been able to claw its way out of.
But such an approach can have disastrous consequences, as playing into the hands of either the radicals or the populists can result in the destabilization of internal situations, as witnessed across many failed states around the world.
Dare I Peek
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on geopolitics will manifest itself in the form of numerous political risks for all countries. The issues most pressing will include the insurmountable debts of developing countries and new industrial policies that will seek to implement stringent measures on businesses in an attempt to consolidate production in national conglomerates.
Globalization is failing and buckling under the resurgence of nationalism in face of the facts that the pandemic has made glaring. Few states have proven to be willing to help each other in hard times, preferring to even pillage face masks off the tarmac at airports, lest they be delivered to their buyers overseas. Such predatory actions have made it evident that globalization is a phantom, a term on paper that cannot be enacted, as only national production and self-sufficiency can ensure survival.
But conditions are becoming ripe for another wave of social unrest that can sweep across the globe in the coming year. 2022 is promising to be a year of severe social upheaval, as protests can be triggered by virtually anything.
The growing strictness of pandemic-related restrictions is forcing businesses to shut down, leading to unemployment and falling incomes, while inequality, high inflation, rising prices, and general social injustice are combining their ghastly forces to create all the necessary preconditions for an explosion of social fury. Climate change is adding its drops of poison into the boiling cauldron as entire continents are suffering from drought or extreme weather that is leaving millions hungry, homeless, and desperate.
These are real people who are experiencing growing dissatisfaction with their government. And all of these dangerous powder kegs are being slowly ignited by the malignant and intentional dissemination of rumors and conspiracy theories in social media and media outlets, which have become the ultimate weapons in an ongoing cold informational war. A war that is but a single shot away from becoming suddenly very hot.
The disruption in supply chains and economic and political destabilization is likely under the combination of such factors. The highly likely sparking of a conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan or a minor armed conflict somewhere in Eastern Europe can become the errant finger that knocks over the first domino of global conflict.
Salvation In Tech?
Despite the high level of social instability prevalent in the world, there are still many positive factors that can not only be leveraged, but also considered as starting points or foundations for the improvement of the global social and political climates.
If social networks are the most powerful weapon of influence in the new age, leveraging them in a new direction may be a way to reduce social instability through the redistribution of resources among those who need them most on an egalitarian and fair basis. The blockchain can be a decisive technology in this regard, as distributed ledgers and smart contracts open up new opportunities for such endeavors as philanthropy and charity that are so needed in troubling times.
As such, any kind of asset can be tokenized and distributed with full transparency of the chain of transfer and its participants. Such transparency fosters the building of trust in charities, allowing both users and organizations to track transactions and confirm the absence of fraudulent activities.
Direct payments to people in need can be used to improve the efficiency of charitable efforts aimed at decreasing social unrest. Disregarding the role of social payouts is foolish in times when millions are suffering from low incomes. The fear of corruption is the biggest impediment to such efforts, but the blockchain is immune to such fraudulent human activities, as it is based on a system of digital wallets. Every individual in need can open up a digital wallet and have digital funds transferred from charities and other organizations, even the state, without fear of fraud or being left out.
Examples of successful applications are aplenty, as the World Food Program already uses blockchain and smart contracts to deliver food aid, track donations, and tackle hunger. The Alice platform helps charities collect donations and transfers funds only after reaching a certain milestone, when the donations are passed to the beneficiaries.
BitGive has harnessed the potential of blockchain technology to lower transaction costs, speed up the donation process, and provide an opportunity to follow the progress of a charitable campaign. AIDChain is a charitable platform that brings together charities, donors, beneficiaries, and service providers into a single ecosystem. It allows charities to promote themselves and their projects, while leaving the ability to collect donations on their own platforms.
Other blockchain-based companies of note in the charity sector include Aquagoat, Anji, Elongate, Happycoin, and Binance Charity. More startup endeavors in the field are underway as Coinfield and Tingo Mobile have outlined a roadmap that includes a large-scale charitable project with potentially enormous impact and reach.
The world is currently teetering between relative stability and an explosion of social unrest that will inevitably overspill into armed conflicts between major states. In fact, such states need conflict to expel social tension and direct it at adversaries, while detracting from internal issues. But new technologies like blockchain can be used to prevent such scenarios just as others, like social media, are being used to advance them.
The innovative mechanisms of blockchain can make numerous processes much more efficient and transparent, helping organizations move from simple donations to real philanthropy. By applying trust and transparency to the process, charity and its enactment can help ease social tensions and help those in need.