Munich Personal RePEc Archive
Atlantis Rising A Blueprint for a Better
VIPER Vienna Institute for Political Economy Research, TU
Vienna, Economics, 105/3
27 June 2022
Online at https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/113578/
MPRA Paper No. 113578, posted
Blueprint for a better World
VIPER – Vienna Institute for Political Economy Research
In the last years the human species has been confronted with several global crises. In this
paper only the three most important ones are singled out: The climate crisis, the health crisis,
and the crisis in global political economy, call it the World War Crisis. Each of them will be
dealt with in turn. Obviously, the start has to be made with the World War Crisis because the
other two crises can only be tackled if there exists a reliable, democratic global government
of the human species that can develop, implement, and coordinate the appropriate
measures. This conclusion is rather evident if the failures of environmental policy in the last
40 years are considered. As long as decisions are restricted to the arbitrary decision-making
processes of local national governments, while the dynamics of climate change take place on
the global level, as long as this is the case, there is no chance for a turn-around of the fast
lane to the abyss that we are currently taking. With respect to the global health crisis, it was
only the terrible experience of the Corona pandemic since 2020 that brought to our attention
how important global health policy is. Till today large parts of the politically powerful elites
are caught in their short-term endeavors, e.g., to make money or to get re-elected. Only
when the pandemic did hit it became visible how strong the globally interwoven production
system - i.e., worldwide division of labor - not only enables more welfare but also bears the
risk of a sudden collapse of this system if large parts of the global labor force are suddenly
missing. To prevent a collapse, global health policy has to have the power to act globally, e.g.,
to provide vaccination immediately to all parts of the world if necessary. To have this power
the institutions of global health policy have to have a strong global government supporting
them. As long as a new pandemic, e.g., a new mutation of a virus, can develop in a part of
the world where vaccination and sanitary conditions are inappropriate because profit
expectations of firms or nationalist considerations have hindered an adequate improvement
to take place, as long as this is the case global pandemics are inevitable.
For both types of crisis global governance thus is indispensable. As can be shown, the
emergence of a global governing institution at the same time is the necessary result of an
overcoming of the third type of crisis, the World War Crisis. It thus is this crisis that has to
attract our attention first.
The World War Crisis
After the end of World War 2 a bipolar global political economy had been established. The
USA had settled their role as the leading capitalist country, the hegemon of the Western
World, whereas in the East the USSR had been rising to a military powerful opponent with a
ruling class that based its internal dominance on police-controlled central planning – on
administrative and coercive power. For many developing countries the latter organization
form of the USSR was attractive because the idea of central planning by the state fitted well
to their needs to build-up elementary infrastructure: energy, transport, communication, etc.
In the West the narrative of the benefits of enabling capital accumulation of private firms
was the main ideological weapon. All that a state was necessary for was thought to be the
establishment of free markets1, which then automatically would increase welfare for all. This
idea, of course, was attractive too. During WW2 the involved countries had suffered from
the narrowing restrictions that a command economy – which any war-faring country
necessarily has to be – implies for its citizens. To choose where to work and what to produce,
what to consume, this was the freedom that was promised by the democratic regimes in the
West. The academic corelate in economic theory, of course, was the neoclassical model of
economic theory: In the end – after markets have done their job - the inborn utility functions
of human individuals determine the best of all (technologically) possible worlds2. The truth
of this narrative (but not the correctness of its mathematical counterpart) hinges on the
adequateness of its assumptions: each homo sapiens maintains an appropriate utility
function, communication exists only via prices, direct coercive power does not take place,
class structures and political state entities in societies reconciling them are not existing, and
- of course - all markets are perfect3. While the world of Stalin and his followers laid the
emphasis of power maintenance of the ruling class on direct coercive control, the US
dominated West combined military supremacy with a convincing fairy tale that enabled a
much more effective ideological underpinning than the shallow echoes of a misunderstood
Marxian theory that Stalin’s followers till 1990 still prayed.
The co-existence of the two worlds never was a peaceful one. The fact that immediately after
WW2 a hot war between them could be prevented cannot hide the fact that the ensuing Cold
War never ended. The breakdown of the USSR in 1990 was not the breakdown of the ruling
class, organized as a political party with a strong military coercive force, in Russia. With Putin
the nationalist turn of Russia, already envisaged by Stalin, was reenforced to consolidate its
status as the second leading world power. The few remaining socialist aspirations were
dropped. In 2016, when Donald Trump became the leader of the US, of the ‘Free World’, a
major shift in the Western class societies and their governance mechanisms became visible
too. The autocratic style of political performers, front man of powerful business groups, had
proven to be a successful strategy that could win elections (e. g., Donald Trump). The pivotal
element for this success clearly was to focus on nationalist arguments distributed by well-
controlled mass media. The idea was not new, Hitler and Stalin had built on it though with
less sophisticated technological possibilities. The two most remarkable novelties in the
autocratic turn of 2016 were (1) the extent of influence of centrally steered mass media on
election results, and (2) the invisibility of the force of the military-industrial complex on its
1 In the time of Walras the adjective ‘free’ meant ‘free from the intervention of the ruling feudal class’. It thus
carried a progressive connotation. Today the capitalist ruling class has changed this connotation, it now means
‘free from the intervention of an integrated capitalist state’. The progressive character is lost.
2 This is the upshot of what in neoclassical economic theory is called ‘welfare economics’, compare (Gravelle
Rees, pp. 456-502).
3 For non-economists, unaware of these completely inadequate assumptions, W.W. Rostow had produced a
convincing book that traced out the possible development path for all countries in the world to reach the ‘age of
high mass consumption’, which already was proclaimed to exist in the USA; see (Rostow, 1960). The book was
translated into numerous languages and distributed to opinion leaders all over the world.
autocratic, personal, political representative. The second point clearly is shared by Putin and
his own military-industrial complex – and probably explains personal sympathy between
leading front men like Trump, Putin, Berlusconi, Erdogan, and the like.
The term military-industrial complex was coined by US president D.D. Eisenhower in 1961,
who warned of its rising influence in US politics:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the
American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city,
every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for
this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources
and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of
government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether
sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise
of misplaced power exists, and will persist. (Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation on
January 17, 1961).
From the perspective of political economy this warning is a warning from a take-over of the
ultimate political power in a democratic state by an alliance of top military leaders and a
small, but wealthy business group engaged in producing military products and related
supplies. As the above mentioned first novelty in 2016 states, information technology
industry supporting the ideological battlefield now also falls under the latter category.
As a consequence, the naked insistence on the concept of ‘democracy’ – without
specification of the concrete feedback mechanisms with which a population is enabled to
control its self-governance, i. e. ‘democracy’ - today can fall prey to the enhanced mind-
manipulation machinery of the contemporary military-industrial complex4. Again, the appeal
to ‘national’ feelings proves to be the key to promote the imperialist political aspirations of
the military-industrial complex. As described in (Hanappi, 2022a) these aspirations already
gained momentum in the USA in the mid-90-ties. In Russia the already existing dominance of
its military-industrial complex found its leading public representative only a few years later:
Vladimir Putin. The clash between Russia and the US-led NATO, the global military arm of the
US military-industrial complex, was in the air during the last 20 years already. With the
invasion of Russia in Ukraine this acceleration of hostility finally exploded.
The conglomerate of coercive power and information power has always been the essence of
class rule applied in an exploitative process. In the Middle Ages the group of knights and
mercenaries – the military force – represented the coercive arm as the priests with their
religious indoctrination represented the force of information power. Both were stabilizing
the exploitation of farmers and workers by the feudal class. In capitalism the coercive arm
became a specialized force within the capitalist state, which integrated not only the different
capital accumulating branches but also did some appeasement work with respect to
rebellious workers. The ideological tasks of religion were modernized by the adapted para-
religious streams of economic ideology – finally leading to the contemporary omnipresence
of the capitalist algorithm5.
4 In the USA the propaganda for the war in the Middle East during the Bush presidency had already been an
impressive example of ideological warfare. In Europe the surprisingly successful BREXIT campaign in the UK
showed the manipulative strength of some interested business circles.
5 Compare (Hanappi, 2013).
The re-appearance of the ‘political’ (the coercive strength of the military-industrial complex)
as the dominant force in the dynamics of ‘political economy’ is at the same time a draw-back
for most economic concerns. But the ensuing economic hardness that a war means for the
majority of concerned populations turns out as Golden Times for a handful of businesses with
exploding profits. Since 2009 total capital accumulation - approximated as real GDP growth
– had slowed down. For the minds of (bastard-) Keynesians a sure sign that the consumer
demand failed to catch-up after the great financial crisis of 2008. As the interwar period had
shown in an extreme way a possible solution is to substitute consumer demand by the
demand for weapons that states need to lead a war. This type of demand does not need any
price considerations and even the indebtedness of a state plays only a minor role6. All it needs
is an autocratic regime, in the 1930-ties the Fascist party, which orders this type of demand.
And it also became immediately clear that this new turn to autocratic governance had to be
supplemented by a massive attack on the ideological battlefield. In a speech on January 17,
1936, Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels stated: "We can do without butter, but … not
without arms. One cannot shoot with butter, but with guns.” And when he asked the
cherishing masses, ‘Do you want guns or butter?’, they answered yelling wildly, ‘Guns!’. 2022
is not 1936: In Russia streamlined media and rigid control makes acclamation outside Putin’s
inner circle unnecessary, while in the West even the massive, well-organized media support
did not allow Donald Trump to seize power at the January 6th riot, when he turned out to
have lost the elections. Nevertheless, with the war in Ukraine the military-industrial complex
in the West has identified another opportunity to push forward its war game – and prosperity
of its economic allies will follow. Perhaps some of the accruing extra profits will be enough
to consolidate right-wing governance in some EU countries, though the overall political
situation in Europe will become very unstable.
Returning to the issue of a possible lesson to be learned for a blueprint of Atlantis, the design
of democratic mechanisms is standing out as a major task. Democracy cannot be reduced to
a majority rule in an election process with one-man-one-vote.
First, the decision to be voted on has to be specified. Even the choice of what is important
and what is neglectable is an important part of democratic governance, in particular in times
when information overload is used strategically by political entrepreneurs to generate
followers in the alienated masses. From the global perspective of the human species,
questions concerning the capability of the reproduction of the species – though not of its
overall growth – evidently are of highest priority. This is why the climate crisis and the health
crisis qualify as high-priority problems. The World War Crisis has become a high-priority
problem (1) because of the destructive capacity of nuclear weapons, and (2) because it has
to be overcome to enable global governance, which in turn is a condition sine-qua-non for
solving the other two high-level problems.
There are many problems of lesser importance, which has led to the opinion that ‘each
problem should be solved at the level that can solve it best’, the so-called subsidiary principle.
This principle is itself a problem, since it takes as granted that there exists a unique level
6 German Fascism solved the problem by introducing its new currency, the Reichsmark, compare (Sohn-Rethel,
which is optimal for solving a problem7. In the case of the migration problem in 2015 the
impotence of the subsidiary principle became painfully visible: At the village level as well as
at the state level the game-theoretic prisoners’ dilemma situation paralyzed the decision-
making, which then turned into a stalemate on EU level, since certain EU heads-of-state (e.
g. Victor Orban) used the institutional setup of the EU (e. g. the unanimity rule) as well as
their dominance of local media to cement their local authoritarian position. In that way this
example showed that a democratic mechanism in some cases has to allow for the delegation
of power to a better informed, higher-level decision center8. This often is the case if decisions
have to be made fast, or if there are too many administration-oriented routines to be
exposed to time-consuming voting processes9. But the central characteristic of a democratic
mechanism is that it insists on a feedback process, which allows for a change in the higher
ranks of the decision process, a change that can be initiated by the lower ranks after a
predetermined - rather short10 - time period. The feedback procedure itself has to be
institutionalized and thus out-of-reach of the direct control of the high-level decision-maker.
Within a governance period of a higher-level decision-making unit feedback from lower levels
plays an important role too: It is the communication process between different levels
(feedback in both directions) that provides the organic character of the life of the species.
Feedback design on the highest level has to be secured by institutionalization, a goal that
nation states today typically solve by providing a set of constitutional laws that need high
majority votes to be changed. But also, at lower levels the delegation of power upwards and
downwards typically is frozen in a set of ordinary laws. This law system has to be more
flexible, because it reflects temporary compromises between the different classes in a
society. And as the power relation between the classes can change, so will the corresponding
system of compromises, the law system. As long as these compromises are to a sufficient
degree accepted by the concerned classes (note again the pivotal role of ideological
warfare11) the domestic need for police and military will be small. Criminal activity typically
will mainly occur at the very low level of society (lumpenproletariat) and at the top level
(corruption); if these two levels merge, powerful international criminal organizations can
A problem occurs when compromises between classes are not possible any more. Be it that
an authoritarian ruling class eliminates most feedback mechanisms, or be it that a large entity
– like the global world economy consisting of rich North and poor South – never had installed
the sufficiently strong feedback mechanisms that can be consciously experienced as the
background of a compromise. In this case class struggle will be knocking at the door and parts
of a national ruling class will might try to change the character of police and military, the
7 Compare (Hanappi, 2015).
8 A recent contribution to the organization of decision structures is provided by (Nunes, 2021).
9 Imagine a firm in which every morning elections are held who will play the secretary, who will play the CEO,
who will be work at which machine, etc. In such cases a certain amount of repetition of hierarchy clearly can be
a win-win solution.
10 How long a period of central decision-making should last, depends on the minimum time it takes to carry out
this urgent central task. Of course, a central authority can always step down earlier. For routine tasks a period of
two years should be a good choice. It is telling that authoritarian leaders usually try to delay re-election.
11 At this point Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony of a class enters the discussion of ideological warfare.
bourgeois state then becomes a police state, the law system adjusts to the regime. Often the
head of state then also becomes someone with a military background. This is the standard
way towards a Fascist regime12. This happens in many countries on the outskirts of the global
value chains, where strict labor exploitation regimes are ruling, e.g., Bolsaro’s government in
The lesson to be learned for the design of Atlantis is straight forward: Design your feedback
mechanisms carefully and embed them in acceptable compromises institutionalized in
flexible enough law systems. Watch your policing executors of the law system (lawyers and
policemen) closely, change the personal often enough and take recruits from all classes and
parts of the world. This is not only important for safeguarding fascist developments, it also
helps to reduce the improper, even criminal, acquisition of advantages that stem from the
execution of the state monopoly of coercive power, or the corresponding use of loopholes in
the existing law system.
The last paragraph contains an implicit link to the question of motives that is of utmost
importance for the design of democratic mechanisms: Once a question to be democratically
decided is on the table, the persons to decide it have to be chosen. Evidently, not all 9 billion
human individuals can – and will want to - vote on every upcoming decision. An obvious
immediate narrowing assumption is that voters should be those who are concerned by the
outcome of the election. The caveat of this reasonable idea is that in a world with such a
tightly-woven interdependence of all economic processes (1) the number of relevant
questions still remains much too large for each concerned voter, and (2) the expertise to
recognize the relevant interdependencies is typically completely missing. The answer to
these difficulties usually is growing agnosticism, people abstain. Blind trust in emotionally
determined political or religious leaders starts to flourish. Thus, the danger of the political
entrepreneurs of fascism in new clothes pops up again.
The counting of heads in an election therefore has to be amended. Being concerned is not
only a question of geography, it is a question of a person’s position in the overall process of
global political economy. The scope of many questions might at first sight look negligible, e.
g. why should a European citizen take sides if Toyota wants to stick to its hybrid car design
instead of focusing on electric cars only. And many of them actually are. But then there do
exist intellectual circles for many of these questions, which at least can give some preliminary
insight – often already available in the internet13. Instead of just counting votes the counting
of weighted votes would improve the situation. Weights could be adjusted by the degree of
being concerned as well as by the degree of proven expertise. And then there is the necessity
of veto rights: There have to be general limits to the force of decisions taken by electorates.
One typical no-go would be the death penalty for human individuals, but there are others.
While it seems to be difficult and hard intellectual work, but still possible to install democratic
12 Anderson writes, ‘For historically, and this is the most essential point of all, the development of any
revolutionary crisis necessarily displaces the dominance within the bourgeois power structure from ideology to
violence. Coercion becomes both determinant and dominant in the supreme crisis, and the army inevitably
occupies the front of the stage in any class struggle against the prospect of a real inauguration of socialism.’
(Anderson, 2016, Kindle-Positions 1171-1174)
13 The content of the internet is of course another burning problem that goes beyond the scope of this paper.
mechanisms, the pressing question is how to master the currently looming 3rd World War to
get a chance to make Atlantis rise. The global conflict clearly is a conflict between three
capitalist regimes - USA, Russia, and China – that all are led by representatives of their ruling
class, all being closely linked their respective military-industrial complex. The motive of the
national capitalism of the three big players is still the same of all kinds of capitalism, namely
to maximize exploitation. This, of course, implies an increase of impoverishment within their
respective domain. Almost 200 years ago Marx’ had the vision that all exploited classes of
the world will unite to form the one class of the global proletariat that will defeat the
capitalist class. It turned out that today it is not the worker ‘who does not have a fatherland’,
today it rather is capital that is searching for new possibilities to exploit in each corner of the
world – irrespective of continents and countries. Despite his outstanding scholarship Marx
did not have the ability to predict what will be the turns that capitalism will take in the coming
The theoretical underpinnings explaining the development of the capitalist class in the 20th
century till today are highly unsatisfactory15. The military-industrial complex, identified by
Eisenhower in 1961 became an important concept – not so much in academic work, but in
the real-world dynamics of the evolution of capital. The large US corporations16 involved in
this transformation of the capitalist class realized that they needed to streamline academic
research to install a military-industrial-academic complex. To direct academic research
towards areas that allow to enhance exploitation became one of the two major pillars on
which integrated capitalism of the 2nd half of the 20th century could build17. The other pillar
was the amplification of ideological manipulation, of information power exemplified by the
use of centrally produced and then distributed interpretation schemes of what is going on in
the world, compare (Hanappi, 2022c, pp. 52-95). Of course, this was made possible by the
achieved technological advances. Today an overwhelming amount of information power not
only runs from centrally produced interpretations to the general public, but also from the
last leaves in the information hierarchy upwards to the top decision-makers18. Though these
two pillars on which the power of the military-industrial complex rests are best documented
in the USA, there is no doubt that they are also cornerstones of imperial force in Russia and
From the point of view of large corporations in the world, of the super-rich in all three
dominating countries, the global division of labor that already existed till February 2022 was
a rather prosperous state of affairs – despite the two years of Corona pandemic. And here
comes the speculative hypothesis: With a shifted, new iron curtain the three global capital
groups can agree to form a unique global class. All that is needed is to direct the military part
14 Marx knew this and this is the reason why he shied away from describing any future communist system. He
was content to stick to the more urgent immediate task to criticize and to overcome 19th century capitalism.
15 One of the most promising early attempts came from Rudolf Hilferding (Hilferding, 1910). His notion of
‘Finanzkapital’ correctly anticipated not only the extending global reach of capital, but also its growing social and
geographical distance to actually executed physical exploitation of workers.
16 A list of these corporations can be found at https://www.militaryindustrialcomplex.com.
17 An insightful book on the cases of MIT and Stanford has been published by Stuart W. Leslie (Leslie, 1994). In a
sense this type of ‘science’ (in particular ‘economic theory’) took over the role of religion in feudalism, serving as
the ideology that implants the dominance of existing class relations in the brains of the population.
18 One of many descriptions of surveillance capitalism was provided by Shoshana Zuboff (Zuboff, 2019).
of the military-industrial complex towards the global surveillance of workers. This,
admittedly, is not an easy goal – warriors trained for decades to have a say whom to fight
and what the priorities are, are not easily to re-direct. And with the force of the second pillar
– amplified ideological intervention – it can be expected that local fascist resistance areas
will develop. But in the end the deeply routed local perspective of all fascist regimes will
falter as an aspiring global capitalist class will form.
In this process, probably characterized by several local wars, a new global class of the
exploited population can get its historical chance. The fruits of capitalism, lately of
disintegrating capitalism, with respect to technological abilities (though largely mis-used by
profit-maximizing goals) make it possible to install an institutionalized global democracy. The
class of organic intellectuals – opposing, of course, the priests of neoclassical economics and
their followers in other social sciences – can refine the institutionalized feedback loops that
connect local desires with global necessities. And instead of the motive of an omnipresent
capitalist algorithm in all brains and all societies19 there can be room for other motives. Life
can be experienced as lifetime shared with the whole species.
The qualitative jump to the new type of global life of the species will not come about without
decisive victory of the global class of the exploited population. How, and if, this end of the
‘pre-history of mankind’ (Marx) will take place cannot be predicted; history teaches us that
a combination of fights, changing alliances and temporary compromises – all in a rather short
sequence – can be expected. The role of a guiding progressive group of scientists (organic
intellectuals) as well as the fact that there is a unique global enemy (the exploiting, globally
ruling class) will be an advantage. Decisive battles will have to be won on the battlefield of
ideology. There, convincing blueprints for democratic feedback loops have to developed and
have to be distributed to reach the public opinion.
At the horizon of these speculative ideas a future Atlantis can become visible.
The Health Crisis
There is no doubt that the Corona pandemic that started in 2020 had a tremendous impact
on the global political economy. In the first two months after its start, it was thought to be a
problem, which mainly concerns China. Then, within a few weeks, it turned out that in a
global economy that is as tightly interwoven as our global production system there is
something like the concept of a global health status of the whole species, compare figure 1.
19 Instead of some privately owned stock of ‘dead labour’, which one has to accumulate via restless profit
maximization – as firm, or as individual – it will turn out that the only private property that can be fruitfully owned
is one’s private knowledge and sensitivity. And these two ‘assets’ escape the imperative of ‘growth’ – they just
The world total of daily deaths is probably the most reliable time series to present the global
development, because new cases of infections are mostly not correctly reported in the poor
countries of the global South. The curve shows that the world has seen 7 peaks of the
pandemic20: 17-04-2020 (7.062), 10-08-2020 (6.387), 27-01-2021 (14.666), 29-04-2021
(13.932), 26-08-2021 (10.192), 06-12-2021 (7.977), and 10-02-2022 (10.963). Europe and the
USA have been major contributors, pointing to their particularly high spreading rates due to
very high mobility of the population – despite the fact that their medical systems are far
better than those in the poor South. India and South America had their main impact in May
and June 2021; South America had become the main contributor already during the Summer
of 2020. As soon as vaccination became possible – after the 7th peak - the death toll could be
Does this mean that the pandemic is over? A look at the development of new cases reveals
that this is cannot be concluded, see figure 2.
20 An interactive version of the presented diagrams is available at https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus.
The main message of figure 2 is that just before the last peak of new deaths was reached a
new variant of COVID-19, namely Omicron, had arrived, a variant that was far more
contagious than all previous variants. Four times as contagious as figure 2 shows. There were
thus just two elements that till now prevented a further high death rate: The scientific
triumph to develop vaccines and the property of Omicron to cause less lethal endings. It is
known that new mutations of COVID might not share the properties of the Omicron variant;
and it is also unclear how fast scientists can react to develop new vaccines21. To give a taste
of how close the next Corona wave could be, the last weeks before these lines were written
can be magnified, compare figure 3.
With most Corona measures taken down and the general feeling that the new variants BA 4
and BA 5 seem to be as harmless as Omicron, it is again Europe that already shows an
upswing in infections. While most governments in Europe somehow constructed an –
unscientific – consensus that a next wave might only emerge in Autumn, this evidently need
not be the case. Omicron needed barely a month (from 26-12-2021 to 24-01-2022) to swell
to its extraordinary peak. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that right-wing
political movements in Europe and in the USA have taken an anti-vaccination attitude as a
leading part of their political agenda. The mostly mild forms of disease that Omicron
produced seemed to justify their agenda, though this experience does not provide any
information on a future mutation of Covid. For global health policy it has become a significant
hurdle that anti-scientific attitudes did merge with right-wing, even fascist movements in
21 See (Arnold, 2022) for a description of the difficulties – and limited successes- in predicting the properties of
new mutations of the covid virus.
Europe and the USA.
The rationale behind this alliance is simple: For the right-wing movements any upheaval
against the current government of the nation state helps to get itself into state power. What
they will do there (elimination of all political enemies) is independent from the issues with
which they can bring down the current government. For an anti-vaccination movement, the
fascist insistence on the priority of the wishes of an (Aryan) human individual that do not
necessarily follow the general health prescriptions of a much too ‘socialist’ society might
seem to be attractive. The emerging mixture typically consists of two groups: (1) rather
simple-minded blind followers, and (2) gifted demagogues that expect to gain high political
positions when the government is overthrown. It is not clear yet if the next Corona wave will
be accompanied by an even stronger alliance of these forces, or not. In any case, national
governments in richer Western countries will face a difficult task with a population that has
to cope with welfare losses and largely has lost its faith in the long-run effectiveness of
vaccination. The general mood will oscillate between despaired agony and sudden break-
outs of undirected protest. In poor countries the pandemic showed that the prevailing
approach of mainstream development theory (i.e., the palliative, poverty-alleviation method
that gave rise to the Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
of ‘Sustainable Development Goals’) fails, compare (García-Quero and Castellano, 2022).
On a global level this could be the hour of the WHO. Disappointment with the performance
of the national government and the increasing gap between right-wing nationalists and their
national enemies, a polarization which national governments typically rather exploit than try
to close, should help to offer a beneficial transnational alternative – UN institutions, e.g. the
WHO – as a possible, lucky escape option. The crux of such institutions, of course, is their
In capitalism the fight against the pandemic had two back-bones: (1) The monopoly of power
of the nation state, which could dictate behavioral rules and lockdowns, and (2) the financial
power of the pharmaceutical industry, which could expect enormous future profits from
selling vaccines. In many Western countries the second pillar had an additional twist that
favored the pharmaceutical industry: A developed social security system centralizes the
demand side for pharmaceuticals and total national demand therefore is taken out of the
vagaries that individual human demand makes life difficult for suppliers. Demand is stabilized
by a state agency. Additionally, the cost of research for vaccines could be partly put on bill of
public universities paying their research staff.
The trouble is that the countries of the global South do not have what Keynes had called
‘effective demand’, i.e., demand of an expected buying public that also has the money to pay
for its needs. To give away vaccines without monetary compensation goes far beyond the
capability of Western capitalist firms. The more centralized Chinese firms partly were able to
strike deals with poor countries exchanging vaccines for economic and political influence in
the respective poor country. A policy that now carries fruits as many of these countries are
more skeptical when Western media try to involve them on their side of the ideological
battlefield in the Ukraine war. In any case it will prove to be unwise to have excluded the
global South from the blessings of vaccination due to the dominance of the capitalist
algorithm. Many of the new mutations emerge in the highly populated parts of the South
(Brazil, South Africa, etc.), and then are transferred to the world of hectic exchanges in the
busy business North where they then hit heavy.
What can be learned for a rising Atlantis is straight forward. Abolish the dominance of the
capitalist algorithm and substitute it by a global institution guided by the best progressive
scientists. The WHO – despite of some short-comings - should be considered as a forerunner
for such an institution. Global health, e.g., to prevent pandemics, is a number one goal for
the species. All surplus value that emerges from the global production system and in the
sequel reappears as electronic money sign22 on the screens of a global government first has
to be reduced by the amount that is needed to maintain the health of the species. In this
case, there need not be any weighting scheme for different human individuals, each life
counts the same.
In this context it is necessary to mention that physical and mental health is highly corelated
with education levels. A number one goal of global health therefore points at a number one
goal of global education. By being able to recognize and to avoid unhealthy behavior human
individuals are empowered to take care of their health, help needed from a global health
institution can be reduced. Nevertheless, what is to be considered as healthy is changing over
time – so a continuous study of the dynamics of the health status of the species and the
changing environmental conditions falls also into the competencies and duties of a central
global health institution23.
22 How to establish world money is a topic of its own, compare (Hanappi, 2021).
23 The upcoming age of alienation – due to the advanced division of labour – cannot be avoided and has already
produced a plethora of dangers for mental health. It is evident that the study of these problems needs a
The good news is that the fast development of Corona vaccines has shown that a
concentrated effort of scientists working all over the world is a mighty weapon that can be
able to give shelter if a pandemic strikes. On the other hand, the inability of each single nation
state to master the Corona crisis on its own is an outstanding prove for the need of a global
governance institution24. And this was exactly the point of the discussion of the World War
Crisis discussed above.
The Climate Crisis
While the Corona pandemic could have been - and has now been – experienced as a heavy,
but transitory shock, the climate crisis creeps much slower, but with a taste of unavoidable
fate into the consciousness of the human species. Changes are measured in degree Celsius
of temperature per year, or centimeters of the sea level per year, and the like. All of them
looking small at first sight25, at least as long as no scientific explanation of consequences and
no comparison to historically observed numbers is available26. But in the general public a
general awareness of the severe character of this crisis now slowly is emerging.
Like the Corona Crisis the Climate Crisis also first is felt on a very local level: More days of
extreme heat every year, more severe and longer drought reducing the harvest every year,
heavier storms and rainfall every year. But while the deaths of Corona are buried and gone,
the worsening local disasters are looming in the future with no end in sight. This is why
migration explodes in some worst hit areas of the world, this is why the wealthiest parts of
society try to escape to seemingly safe heavens with stable climate.
The usual treatment of the climate crisis starts with a list of the most dangerous threats for
mankind that human activity is causing, pushing the environment of our species into a state
that calls into question our survival. In other words, the two worlds – the world of the human
species and the surrounding non-human world – are becoming incompatible, are leaving a
presupposed equilibrium. As evolutionary theory has shown (it actually is its central point),
the evolution of life on earth is almost always a disequilibrium process and mankind itself is
only the most recent result of this one evolutionary development. The distinction between
the two worlds – our human world disturbing a natural world that is in equilibrium – is
obsolete. There only is one world of life on earth. The characteristic property of the human
species is that it is particularly good in dealing with conditions out of equilibrium, it even
became able to use disequilibria for its own purposes. This will be the perspective on which
the following paragraphs will build.
Following Darwin, the evolution of life on earth is to be understood as a sequence of species,
see (Darwin, 1859). Or, to be more precise, the concept of a species can itself be explained by
transdisciplinary approach, which is just one instance that will invoke a reframing of the set of scientific
24 This does not imply that a study of the dynamics of a pandemic only makes sense on a global level, quite the
opposite is true. The socio-economic and cultural context of a certain city or region frames Corona dynamics to
a remarkably high degree. The insights of such studies thus eventually can teach much more than studies that
rely to much on national or continental averages, compare (Hanappi, 2022b).
25 In a best-selling book David Craig recently indeed claimed that there is no climate crisis at all (Craig, 2021). This
title probably is only a marketing gag, but to ask - from a long-run perspective - to which extent current
developments are exceptions certainly is important.
26 A good survey of climate crisis indicators is provided by the IMF, see Climate Change Data.
theorizing how a certain type of species was shaped by its interaction with its environment
to become another species. The origin of the currently observed species can be discovered
with the help of a study of its long-run interaction with a new environment. This is what
Darwin had done on the Galapagos Islands, an exceptional natural laboratory on which birds
had lived 1000 miles away from mainland birds for many thousand years (Darwin, 2022). The
disequilibrium at the moment when birds first migrated to the islands had slowly been
transformed by the survival of the fittest into a new, adapted form of the species, a new
species. Changes that are based on the extinction of the respective older generation – and
this is the standard case in the animal kingdom – are taking a very long time. Changes in the
human species, which has the advantage of having its knowledge coded and stored over
many generations to be used in adaptive and sophisticated new models, these changes
luckily can happen much faster – we need not call us a new species after such a change. Is
the climate crisis such a change, a sudden disequilibrium, that knocks at our door?
The most visible signs for a dramatic change come from the increase of the strength and
duration of droughts in the poorest parts of the world, in particular in Africa. They lead to
bad harvests, which in turn cause starvation and mass migration. They are not immediately
visible to the majority of populations in the richer North, they only are discovered as a social
problem when migrants from the South try to become citizens of the North. Rising average
temperature certainly is an index for more droughts, compare figure 4, but the rise of natural
disasters that this brings about is even a clearer sign27, compare figure 5.
27 In recent years even European citizens note stronger oscillations in temperature and more natural disasters.
The main - but not the only - reason for the rise in average temperature is the rise of
greenhouse gas emissions produced by human societies. The largest part of greenhouse
gases is CO2.
And at this point the split-up of the species into countries becomes important again, compare
It is remarkable that total emissions since 2000 have mainly been driven by China and a bit by
India, Europe and the USA stayed constant at a high level. In a diagram with emissions per
head this fact cannot be seen due to the large populations in China and India28. In fact, for a
turnaround of the absolute levels of CO2 emissions on earth any isolated national attempt will
fall short of achieving a satisfying result. China, India and the countries of the poor South do
28 Still such diagrams are helpful to compare and to see how socio-economic and cultural circumstances can
amplify or dampen CO2 emissions. In this respect the USA is by far the worst country.
have a strong incentive to provide their populations the living standards they can watch on TV
as being available in the rich North. And raising their incomes – against the logic of the
exploitation mechanism of global value chains – surely will increase global CO2 emissions
massively. Return to Darwin’s idea that a species is thrown on an island that poses seemingly
For a species like the human species, which in principle has at its command very powerful
modelling and simulation techniques, it would be possible to solve this puzzle – note that this
again is a building block of a blueprint for a rising Atlantis.
To raise living conditions in the global South, in India, and in China does not necessarily mean
that every Chinese family owns and drives two or three cars – what one can watch in the soap
operas of the US movie industry. But consumer demand for environmentally insane
consumption goods is only one side of the problem. The more essential problem is on the side
of the global production system: In capitalism the decision on what is going to be produced
hinges mainly on the expectations of amount and the quick availability of profit that can be
made. “Take the money and run!”, the more money the better, the faster you are out of the
deal, the better29. Correct short-sightedness thus is a necessary ingredient of successful
finance capital. On the other end of the global production process direct coercive power in
the sweatshops of the poor South is the more durable guarantee that commodities are
produced at all. Combing both elements is the mystery why the three large empires – USA,
China, and Russia – were able to dominate; and in case they are able to unite somehow, will
dominate the global production system in the future. Nowhere in the actual30 mantra of their
ruling classes is room for a design of the global political economy that enhances the living
standards of the exploited masses.
After capitalism31, the globally effective decision mechanisms for the production system have
to drop the capitalist algorithm. They have to reverse the above-mentioned increasing
contradictions, the trend of diverging living standards. They have to re-define living standards,
have to redefine them in terms of personally determined time use relative to time contributed
to global production, not just monetary success of an investment made by large capital
funds32. The time horizon used on the production side has to be as long as possible (allowing
for the consideration of environmental feedbacks), giving the individual on the other hand the
chance to enjoy very short time-horizons, daily lucky moments, because their democratic
feedback opportunities provide life-long stability and security. An institutional setup of such a
democratic global governance system that incorporates environmental concerns is
technologically already feasible. In other words, the climate crisis is nothing but a crisis of the
capitalist algorithm, of the way in which decisions (mainly) on the production side are made.
By getting rid of capitalism – preserving some of the sensory facilities that market mechanisms
provide – it is possible to make Atlantis rise. First as a guiding vision, later in real political and
29 The legendary investor André Kostolany compared financial money making with a jump into a swimming pool
with cold water: ‘Jump in quickly (with intuition, H.H.) and get out again as fast as you can!’.
30 Of course, the production of an illusion of an ‘American Dream’, as the one provided by Rostow, can be helpful
in calming down unsatisfied populations. For actual production decisions they are irrelevant, see (Rostow, 1962).
31 Compare (Hanappi, 2018).
32 This transition is also a challenging theoretical task to be envisaged. It involves a re-birth of a modified labour
theory of value, see (Hanappi, 2019).
The steps towards Atlantis are clear: First, prevent a Third World War, establish a period of
peace33 that eventually will lead to a united global class of exploiters. Second, create and
organize a global class of organic intellectuals, of scientists, who work on a design for Atlantis
– together with the parts of the exploited class in the part of the world where they live. That’s
why they are called organic34. Third, there comes the role of the large waves of crisis that
global capitalism necessarily initiates. Each of these crisis opens opportunities in some parts
of the world (Latin America? Russia? USA? Africa? India? Europe?), opportunities for a
revolution that then might spread – never forget that organic intellectuals nowadays are
electronically connected. From a Darwinian point of view there hardly is reason for pessimism:
The problems are getting better visible every day and the capacities to solve them –
technologically and politically – exist too. It just is global class struggle simple.
33 In an insightful article on the possible ends of the Ukraine war Tony Woods has proposed five possible scenarios
(Wood, 2022). His fifth scenario is what relates best to the position taken in this paper. To understand local wars
– like understanding local pandemic dynamics – it typically is necessary to go into details of the cultural and
political local environment. An excellent starting point to do so is provided in (Ishchenko, 2022).
34 After almost 100 years Gramsci’s vocabulary needs a kind of an overhaul too. The globally exploited class is
not the European working class of the interwar period, and so ‘organic intellectual’ has changed its meaning too.
The same is true for the concept of ‘civil society’, the place where the progressive class should try to conquer
‘positions’ to gain ‘hegemony’, see (Gramsci, 1930). It is interesting that Marx had returned to his use of the
concept ‘civil society’ after the failed revolution of 1848, when he tried to understand the emergence of
Bonapartism, see (Marx, 1852). The concept of ‘civil society’ thus seems to become theoretically important when
the opportunity for a revolution has not arrived yet, but already needs important theoretical underpinnings to
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