The Amestris Manifesto
We live in exciting times. Globalization has connected the whole of humanity, and technology has reached the point where it can truly revolutionize the way we live.
But change takes time. We are sticking to complicated, outdated systems and ideologies, trying and increasingly failing to adapt them to our rapidly changing world. Technology's potential is being obstructed and perverted in order not to disrupt the foundational systems that make up our societies.
We are concerned about the direction our world is heading into. The pursuit of our current societies is maximum economic growth. With Amestris, we have re-evaluated what we want a society to pursue: maximum well-being.
We want to live in a world where incentive is fueled by passion and compassion, rather than money and greed. A world that is designed to let you do the things you love, lets you feed your inner curiosity without limitations, and lets you spend your time doing work that you're naturally passionate about. A world where people don't judge you based on what you have, but on who you are and how you contribute.
Our current world is not designed to foster these things.
We believe that we can achieve this world by starting over with a clean slate. By going back to the drawing board, looking at the things we have learned and the technologies we have invented, and redesigning the systems that make up our societies from the ground up.
The only way we can do this is through the establishment of a new experimental country. Let us explain why, and tell you about our vision of this country: Amestris.
Economy & Work
The first pillar of Amestris is the move towards a moneyless open source economy, which has become possible for the first time in history. Simply eliminating money in an existing society wouldn't work, because money is the foundation of every other system that a society is built upon.
Capitalism has enabled humanity to achieve monumental growth and prosperity. However at this point in time, it is becoming apparent that the system needs replacement. The infinite pursuit of economic growth, profit, and consumerism is simply unsustainable, taking an irreversible toll on our planet and quality of life. One way or another, the system will collapse at some point in the near future.
Any system with money (currency) inevitably leads to the profit motive, which in turn inevitably comes at the cost of technological progress, the environment, and life quality. It results in an extremely unbalanced distribution of wealth, makes us develop a skewed sense of value and a false sense of incentive, and corrupts and limits the potential of practically every industry.
Currently, many products have artificial lifespans by design. Processing and additives make food look better, taste better, and more addictive at the cost of health and nutrition. Advertising and marketing tactics make us want to buy things we don't need. Software and mass media compete for our attention and exploit psychological weaknesses as their success is measured by time spent, views, clicks, and sales, rather than customer satisfaction.
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.— Richard Buckminster Fuller
Public health suffers as people are prematurely (mis)diagnosed in order to sell drugs, or because drugs are not available when diseases are not profitable enough to cure. Nature suffers as it is hoarded for natural resources and destroyed through pollution. People suffer because conflict and war make weapons and defense industries money. The list goes on.
Information technology is already eradicating ancient business models due to the abundant nature of information, and the ability to freely replicate and share it (dubbed piracy)1. Yet intellectual property (patents) and walled gardens attempt to stop good ideas and creations from being adopted and enjoyed at scale.
Advances in automation are being stalled because our current social infrastructure couldn't bear the consequences of mass unemployment. Despite this, in the best case scenario it is estimated that 7.1 million existing jobs will be lost to technology before 20202, and that nearly half of all jobs will be lost before 20333.
These developments—and future Fourth Industrial Revolution developments—are going to cause major problems in our current monetary societies. In a moneyless society like Amestris however, we would welcome them.
By getting rid of the monetary system and fully embracing technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation, we can eliminate a supermajority of jobs and focus our time and attention on what actually matters to us. We believe this could mark the beginning of the Abundance Age.
Culture & Education
The second pillar of Amestris is a new homogeneous culture, built upon a foundation of education. We believe many cultures today are flawed, with education and parenting severely lacking, technology being misused, and etiquette seeming non-existent. We also believe a harmonious society cannot be achieved in a multicultural environment where everyone has vastly different views on how to live together.
This is why it is impossible to achieve our goal in existing countries, and why the establishment of a new nation and state are necessary. Change can't be forced; every single citizen needs to be on the same page about this. By carefully selecting like-minded people from across the globe, Amestris will unite a new nation in an unprecedented way.
Only through quality education can a pleasant culture continue to sustain itself. Our current one-size-fits-all education systems teach people about the way the world is, and to live their lives inside this world. It rewards the memorization of information that may already be outdated when it is needed, and its main goal is to produce workers for a monetary economy.
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.— Albert Einstein
We believe in teaching people how to think rather than what to think. In explaining why the world is the way it is, a natural compulsion to make it better, and ways to develop the skills in order to do so. In nurturing natural passions and interests, and encouraging the realization of dreams.
We don't want to keep our way of thinking exclusive to Amestris. In time, we hope that Amestrians will inspire a global, second Enlightenment; the spread of a series of mental revolutions similar to the Enlightenment in 18th century Europe.
Government & Politics
The third pillar of Amestris is a new system of government we call direct meritocracy. Like with communism before, we believe that the current implementations of democracy are failing.
Most of us currently live in an indirect, representative democracy. Frankly, this system is barely democratic at all. Representative democracies made sense when people were illiterate and had no universal access to education and technology. Today, the system is hopelessly outdated.
Democracy is often defined as government by the people and rule of the majority. In a representative democracy people do elect their representatives, but once elected most politicians no longer represent the people. Elections are merely spectacles where largely uninformed people simply vote for the most charismatic or flamboyant politicians and their respective parties.
In practice, representative democracy is government by the few and rule of the wealthy. Combined with capitalism, representative democracies inevitably lead to lobbying, backroom politics, and corrupt politicians who put short-term corporate and personal interests before the public interest.
Decisions about our lives are made behind closed doors, with no transparency whatsoever. When you know that money equals power and that half of the world's wealth is owned by 1% of the population, it is clear that our systems are lacking.
Centralized governments feel like entities of people completely separate from the citizens, which is also apparent from their pursuit to regulate and monitor every aspect of our lives. All these issues together lead to social unrest and extremism.
An often proposed alternative to indirect democracy is direct democracy. While it is a step in the right direction, we believe full direct democracy isn't the right answer either. Just as there's no reason to assume that anyone can participate in traffic or parent a child without being properly educated themselves, there's no reason to assume that voters and politicians have knowledge about every field of government.
What the majority wants is not necessarily the best for everyone. The majority of the world is still religious; this doesn't mean that laws and rights should be based on religious teachings. Nobody likes taxes, but eliminating them in a monetary system would result in chaos and collapse.
To avoid tyranny of the majority and misinformed or emotional decisions, there always needs to be some kind of filter in a democracy. We believe in a filter based on expertise and merit. This is why we advocate direct meritocracy.
The establishment of a new country is necessary to implement this system of government, since our direct meritocracy depends on the other key pillars of Amestris. Moreover, it would be surprising to see politicians give up their power voluntarily in existing countries.
From childhood on, we grow up with the mental image of a world map separated into countries. Like money, it is easy to forget that territorial borders are just a human invention. In fact, it is very refreshing to see a satellite photo of the world without these borders.
We must realize that within a decade we just might witness the first humans set foot on Mars. This will be an incredible feat for humankind, and a rare opportunity to start over with a clean slate. Before we do so on another planet, we think we should attempt it here on Earth first. It is time to start taking the idea of new nation states seriously.
We think that the world map shouldn't be set in stone, and that it is time to democratize it. It makes no sense for conflicting groups of people to live together as a consequence of imaginary borders. Borders that were often defined as a result of conflict centuries ago. People should be able to live together with like-minded peers, by choice.
Given a strong vision with enough support, it should be possible for new countries to be founded. We are certain that this will lead to less conflict, more happiness, and more collaboration on a global scale. Only when we stop seeing ourselves purely as individuals and start seeing ourselves as a collective can we achieve greatness.
Brave New WorldAsk yourself what kind of world you want to live in.
Is it a world of scarcity, where everything is reduced to a price tag, where every action requires an exchange, and where acts of kindness are a rarity? A world where material possession is a measure of happiness and success, yet where people waste most of their lives doing jobs they resent? A world we are destroying in order to keep an unfair and unsustainable economic system running?
Is it a world where education and etiquette are increasingly lacking, yet ancient dogmas are considered reasonable by the vast majority of people? A world where people are led to believe that restrictions should be placed on love, arguably the most beautiful and limitless thing in life? A world where disconnected governments and politicians ignore the people, restrict freedoms, and wage wars while benefiting their own agendas?
The answer seems so obvious when you consider what else is possible.
It's time to wake up from our daily grind, to reconsider what we do for a living, and to remember what life is really all about. It's time to replace pessimism with hope, and to return to utopian thinking.
Let's build a new world. A world of abundance, freedom, harmony, and opportunity. A world that is life-affirming, that inspires us instead of depresses us. A society where brilliant minds are no longer wasted working inhumane jobs in order to keep a roof over their heads. A place where nobody has to feel ashamed for who they are or who they love. And let's show the rest of humanity it can do the same.
Amestris is our vision of this place. To realize this vision, we need your support. The first step in our plan to create a new nation state, is gathering a new nation.
Never in the history of humankind has an undertaking like this been possible before—until now. From all corners of the world, let's unite and work together to write history.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.— Steve Jobs