How can you set-up a society like ours in case you want to repeat the current model from scratch? The instructions are very simple but do not expect people free willingly to align with your system.
Give people an illusion of control but take away their power. Centralise decision-making power away from local level where it would be most useful, effective, and also transparent. The further away and more consolidated the power the easier it is to make decisions that impact and possibly harm a large amount of people, and at the same time make people feel powerless and not capable of being in control and in charge of their own matters.
Release people from their own responsibility and tell them what they can and cannot do. This can be practiced by the powers and centralisation put in place. Most of the people are just relieved if the can obey rules and have a false sense of security where someone else is thinking and protecting their lives—in essence from themselves and their choices.
Control key resources. One of the most effective ways of control is to secure a permanent and exclusive privilege to be in charge of the means for indirect exchange. This instrument allows to manipulate, allocate, and define the direction of the society. One of the benefits of the monopoly is the right to create claims for resources without contributing anything back to the society. Using as a means of exchange something intangible or practically worthless in other usage enables to fabricate money out of thin air. This is very useful way to reallocate wealth in society.
Remove individuals’ means to protect themselves. Practical way to make people passive is to offer them physical protection and in return they are not allowed to use any other means to protect and seek justice. By monopolising justice it is possible to use the system’s resources against the very people it is supposed to protect. There is no objectivity and equality anymore when the asymmetry has been put in place: a private party against the system that is in practise defining its own rules and using coercion as a final means to execute it.
Make people dependent on your system. Create programs and schemes that distribute resources among the members of the public so that the system is acting as a middleman. Offering goods and services for ‘free’ or based on some arbitrary criteria remove the individual’s incentives to excel and support oneself. Direct employment by the system is the most natural way to tie people and resources as an integral part of the system. The more extensive the distribution of wealth the larger the impact and more integrated the system becomes to the society. One of the most effective ways to create dependence is taxation and other schemes that confiscate the financial resources from individuals. In some cases it is enough to keep intact the ‘ownership’ (or the claim for the resources) but centralise the control of the assets, for example by forced savings to dedicated funds.
Create a closed system that keeps people busy and turns them against each other. Imposed fear and lack are ways to produce an atmosphere of rivalry and controversy. Artificial lack can be fabricated by using a monetary system that has an inherit fault in it: there is never enough money to settle all accounts. This forces people to fight for resources and to protect their existing wealth by producing more economic activity out of scarce and limited resources. In short, perpetual growth is needed to keep the system going. By (re)distribution of resources via the system as stated above emphasises the fear once people are made dependent and passive for the ‘benefits’ given to them. They will turn against each other in order to protect their personal sources of dependency.
Remove personal responsibility and liability. In order to make the system work seamlessly it is beneficial to introduce a double-standard moral code where the system is not accountable for its actions in the same manner as individuals are, would they conduct the same deed. This enables central decision-making by selected members of the society without them being personally liable of the consequences of their actions. The system itself starts to live outside of its own rules and principals but is still run by the members of the society. People can only blame themselves—they have carried out all the actions.
Keep away from the limelight. At the end of the day it is not necessary to be a public figure and still influence the system. There are always people available that are willing to do the dirty work, and they can be replaced. Special privileges can be bought and the system manipulated when you have the financial resources for it. Some members of the society have a greater incentive to seek benefits for themselves and for their own advancement than to protect and cooperate with their fellow citizens. They are more than happy to make the decisions that harm the environment, people, pollute the planet, and destroy the future of the society. And in most of the cases they are not even aware of the consequences and do their acts in good faith or out of ignorance. The urge to tell others what they are supposed to do and save people from themselves appeals to many. And after all—who’s there to blame in a system like this?