Great Eurasia: On the eve of the future

Ageyev Alexander Ivanovich - General Director of the Institute of Economic Strategies of the Social Sciences Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences, President of the International Academy for Future Studies (Russia) | International conference “Spiritual Renewal is the Path to Prosperity and Harmony”, Astana, October 17-18, 2017

The Assembly of Eurasian peoples has thousands of years of history and, undoubtedly, a great future. In my speech, I would like to outline seven theses, which are united by one common principle - on the eve of the future.

According to the UN classification, Eurasia includes more than 100 states. They are 48 countries of Europe, 50 countries of Asia and 7 countries of North Africa. In Eurasia today there are 8 out of 12 existing civilizations. It is here that nine-tenths of all energy produced in the world, three quarters of the world's GDP and about four-fifths of the world's population are concentrated. By 2030, according to all forecasts, the ratio of world economic forces will return to the position at the beginning of the XIX century - the era of the Napoleonic wars in Western Eurasia. Then 70% of the global GDP accounted for the countries of the modern BRICS block and 30% for the countries of the modern West. In the middle of the twentieth century, all this changed places. China's share, for example, from a third of global GDP fell to 5%. This was a tremendous shift, marking the establishment of world financial and economic hegemony first of Great Britain, then the United States. This shift predetermined the entire world order of our days, the growth of globalization on Western principles. However, in our days this world order is rapidly degrading, the globalization model, habitual for the current generation, is being destroyed. The last historical analogue of this process is the period from 1914 to 1945. Multiple conflicts and chaos, the confusion of minds and the degradation of morals accompany such fundamental shifts.

The globalization model that was finally established in the 1990s was not limited to the financial, economic and power domination of some countries and blocs over others. The most important thing in this model is indifference to the high meanings and values of life. The economy model based on the principles of speculative game, limitless both monopoly and competition, increasing the overall debt and consumer excitement is determined to free up all human instincts, that is, the low chakras of a person, up to the formation of a whole gamut of psychological and physical pathologies and motivational primitivization. Disregard of the ideal, its denigration and ridicule, the substitution of culture is a consequence of the triumph of this economic model. Meanwhile, culture is the space for preservation of complexity, the accumulation of higher and unique creations of the human spirit, the search for the higher meaning of life and its true values, the reproduction of humanity and the minimization of animality.

The crisis of the global economic model has aggravated this fundamental conflict, which in fact has an anthropological nature. In this very complex situation, the prospects of the Eurasian evolution can be described in several scenarios.

The first scenario is to keep the "Roman order", that is, a monopolistic world order, although this "fourth Rome" hardly keeps its influence. However, the rapidly evolving digital revolution can lead to the formation of a family of surrogate corporate structures of hegemony similar to the Vatican in the Middle Ages or similar network systems. In this world, many people will think it is comfortable.
The second scenario assumes that a wide variety of small projects is launched on the territory of Eurasia: Caspian Union, Iranian-speaking oecumene, Great Turan, RIC - Russia, India, China, the Pacific Union, etc. There is nothing wrong in bilateral and multilateral cooperation. However, it is about the risk of substituting an objectively possible megaproject with activities that do not fit the current scale challenges. The provocation of the prodigious competition of private projects can undermine efforts for broad and therefore more effective integration.

Another scenario, which can be conditionally called "New feudalism," describes a situation when this land, these peoples will be ruled by powerful megacorporations, analogous to the East India Company. Such corporations can capture all the truth and wrong segments of the space, exploit its resources and residents, and introduce their rules. Private military companies can protect such players from the requirements of national sovereignty and international law. In fact, in such a scenario, Eurasia can become a kind of corporate gulag camp. Its probability, by the way, is amplified by the potential of digital technology, in particular cryptocurrency.
The scenario palette also includes one that involves the restoration of civilizations of Great Eurasia with their own historical-civilizational uniqueness. He has a good chance of implementation. Even now, under the current globalization, China, India, and Iran, for example, are building economic models, considering the canons of their cultures and civilizations, and as these countries grow these cultures will crowd the principles and practices of economic expediency and economic globalization.
How to ensure the right strategic choice, how to help it, how to reduce the costs that are inevitable in the present crisis?

It is clear that the peaceful existence of all countries requires some kind of mega-regulator. It was for this purpose that the United Nations was established more than 70 years ago. After the First World War, the League of Nations was formed, which for a number of reasons became an unsuccessful project. However, it is also clear that now there can not be any bureaucratic superstructure over countries where global bureaucrats will arbitrarily determine who to fight and who to tolerate. It is obvious that there is a need for an algorithm to resolve disputes and find mutually beneficial solutions, which meets modern capabilities, traditions and experience. This seems to give impetus to the reform of the United Nations, but it is also clear that the principles underlying it have not lost their meaning at all.

It is also clear that in the current situation, a kind of mega-regulator may act and in fact often act as a different kind of global banking and exchange structures that issue geo-finance and significantly affect the prices of key commodities and other assets, as well as mass consciousness. Today, the information corporations that have superseded the exchange stock quotes of fuel and energy giants have a serious potential for influence. Experience has shown that corporations of other sectors achieve their goals, not always in accordance with the principles of national sovereignties, identities, economic, environmental and social interests of the regions of stay.
There can arise such a hypothetical situation when civilization, the uniqueness of cultures, will not matter Imagine that, for example, some anonymous crypto currency will prevail, replacing the national currency, that investment resources will be monopolized by some superpowerful player, and not by the state. As a result, any version of Great Eurasia may face a banal shortage of resources for development and consolidation. The conclusion is that: for the development of Great Eurasia, all attempts to dialogue, including in the sphere of culture, must be pragmatic. However, at the same time they can not but be idealistic!

After all, the ideal in the hierarchy of values must be above the material. Development should go not along the path of primitivization, but along the path of complication, escalating of the "blooming complexity" of being. Hence, there is the need for an increase in the ability to control human evolution. However, here we are trapped in a fundamental fork: who and how can manage it?

Therefore, the most important issue that we have to solve, and that, obviously, should be reflected in various discussions during our forum is the diagnosis of the meaning of the current technological transition. If civilizational Great Eurasia is a complex community of planetary scale, then the management of its evolution must meet the principle of complexity. In practice, this means compliance with the requirements of pragmatic and perfection. The order of life in this space must cope not only with the threat of wars and conflicts, but also with a threat to humanity. Moreover, in the very near future Eurasia, ideally - in equal cooperation with all world civilizations, should be able to expand beyond the Earth and near-Earth radius. We have to go into space not in the same formats as we have done now, but in an incomparably more ambitious one. Nevertheless, to get to the outer space we need a completely different morality. More precisely, the morality of the first conquerors of space could be non-mass, tens from thousands and millions of candidates could be selected to work in the space industry and science. For the tasks of developing deep space, the scale of production of people of "great human warmth" should be incomparably higher.

Moreover, as we go into space, we are moving deeper into the depths of the atom. If you look at the worldwide collaboration of scientists in the projects of Cern, the Large Hadron Collider, in astrophysics, in the computing work of the world grid network, it is unprecedented. There are no differences on ethnic, national, civilizational and other grounds, and the world cooperation has developed and is well established. There they solve fantastic complex tasks, including the creation of unified protocols for processing heterogeneous data. Morality in this environment is different from in areas of armed conflict, or in a casino, or in the production and sale of drugs, for example. A compromise moral range is between the higher and lower moral standards and practices. However, the moral codes of different cultures have much in common, although they are specific. Practical deviations from moral precepts give even greater variety.

The billions of actions taken by seven billion earthlings every day are motivated by values across their spectrum. When they say "let there be more good", the simple idea is that there should be more actions of a high moral in this set of human actions in the society. Ideally - that there should be this or that "earthly paradise", or "city of the Sun", but in reality it is a dream of a better life. Of the newest utopias, this dream is comprehended in the tale of N. Kondratyev about the kitten Shammy, who rushed to find "the country of Ainazhdy", where "everyone is always happy and does not look sadly into the distance". In different world cultures, this topic is somehow discussed. Thus, in the Hindu time cycle there is the concept of "Kali-yuga" ("the age of the demon Kali", in the epic "Mahabharata" - this is the worst century of all possible), describing the long historical period of the prevalence of the lowest moral standards, when "the share of good" decreases to one quarter of the original volume in a cycle of times consisting of four eras.

The technological transformation that all humanity is experiencing today is described in terms of the "digital transition", Industry 4.0, etc. One of the most significant manifestations of these changes is the rapidly growing population of various beings of the Internet. By 2020, 20 to 50 billion different devices will be added to the devices of seven billion people. They which will also have their own address, patterns of behavior (algorithms), the ability to act in concert, and which will form a kind of "humanoid" of technical beings. In the meantime, even within seven billion people, spaces of trust hardly arise, but what will be the trust between people and 50 billion new beings or what kind of relationships will take place within their community? New computing capabilities are quickly emerging that allow you to calculate any steps of any subjects and, therefore, influence their behavior. Digital platforms create new mechanisms of social coordination and new phenomena in the information space, such as memes and epigenemes in particular. All this promises not only incredible opportunities for development, but also serious risks. In other words, humankind is faced with fundamentally new, unprecedented questions, some of which have already been posed by futurists and cinematographers in the mainstream of "machine revolt", "areas of darkness", etc.

It is no accident that last year the Davos Forum presented to the world symptomatic scenarios of the development of humankind in the future. There are four of them: "Big Brother," "Big Mother," "Everyone Trades," "Everyone cares." They differ according to two criteria. The first criterion is who will control the personal data: Citizens themselves or centralized structures. The second criterion is what kind of values will shape people's lives. In addition, here is the dilemma: either they will be more selfish, oriented to success at any cost, to consumerism, or they will be people who understand the importance of both economic, social, and environmental responsibility. The criteria are not perfect, but "to the point." These scenarios are, in fact, now the daily choices of people and countries.

In this context, the problem of artificial intelligence deserves special attention. This topic was still quite fantasy about 40 years ago, becoming today one of the most important and quite pragmatic. It is not about the fast-growing hull of drones, but about the fact that these entities will increasingly come closer to unraveling the mystery of the human spirit. Starting with super-fast calculus, artificial intelligence will come to self-projecting and, perhaps, to an understanding of human thoughts, images, feelings, will invade the space of meanings. Therefore, the question of what values are guided by programmers, who create hundreds of thousands and millions of lines of different kinds of codes in order for these creatures to appear, very soon will not seem far-fetched.

Seeing the enormous opportunities that technical progress gives, one can not help but realize all sorts of dangers. One such threat is the change in the nature of literacy. Already now, young people, children in kindergartens master different knowledge, skills, bypassing the ABC book. This is what is called the "pre-logical type of literacy". People with a logical type of literacy, who acquired their competencies in ABC books and textbooks, can master the image-clip perception of reality. Those who grew up on videos and clips, will be deprived of important patterns of world perception, attitude and behavior. This is a completely different culture with other social and psychological consequences. Since culture is not transmitted as a simple exchange of information, it exists only in the continuous cultural creation of each individual: He processes the heritage of culture, making it his property.
The talent that has encountered the cultural heritage actually produces a jump in its evolutionary development. And if there are no such jumps in the cultural development of generations, in individuals, nations, peoples, civilizations, if there is no cultural development without jumps, jerks, then there is, at best, a comfortable life.

By the way, the people of Kazakhstan in the early 1990s made such a jump. I had the opportunity to read the book of the Memoirs of President N. Nazarbaev, which described the dramatic situation of 1991-1993. It was difficult for any rational mind to imagine: how do we get out of the real collapse? The big country suddenly became formally independent, but in fact, devoid of vital resources of viability In fact, it was required to make a jump. The leadership and people of Kazakhstan have done this feat - and it became a fact of national culture, tradition, a force factor.

In concluding the review of these seven challenges on the eve of the future, it is important to underline that only people of Long will can make evolutionary jumps. The Assembly of the Peoples of Eurasia must by all its actions increase the volume of those people who are guided in life by the principles of people of Long will. Thank you! (Applause)