“…we need to know not just what to rebel against but what to rebel for.” – Peter Cadogan

This website attempts to provide the knowledge that Cadogan suggests we need…

A Free Lunch is the name of a book which details what to rebel against and what to rebel for. About two thirds of the book explains why most of the world's most intractable and serious problems stem from the competition of market economies – why this is what to rebel against. The remainder of the book details an eponymous alternative to market competition, neither capitalist nor socialist – something to at least consider as worth rebelling for. The entirety of the book is available on this website, ready to read, free of anything to buy or sell, no strings attached, no ads, no malware or viruses, no punches pulled.

For those daunted by the prospect of tackling an 88,000-word critique of market economies, and explanation of an original alternative, I’ve also written a number of shorter ‘articles’, also freely available on this website, which outline the main points of the book. The best place to start for both the book and the articles is here.

But for those daunted even by the prospect of reading relatively brief but necessarily serious articles, less formal explanations are contained in a novel called A Switch In Time, again freely available on this website. A Switch In Time provides (I hope) a more entertaining backdrop for descriptions of my essential critique of competitive market economies and, especially, the merits and workings of the Free Lunch alternative. Naturally, the two books overlap to some extent, with some text duplicated. A Free Lunch was the first to be written, but the novel complements it by concentrating more on how people would be beneficially impacted by a different economic and political system, and its effects on day to day life. The ultimately didactic purpose of the book restricts its literary capacities, but nevertheless I have tried to provide an engaging story in which the necessary explanations are given in as entertaining a fashion as I could manage. The best place to start for the novel is here.

To be clear, I am not arguing for reform or incremental change, as I believe only a completely new approach will solve the problems we face. Most efforts now seem directed at symptoms, not the disease. What hope of ending ecological, economic and social crises while persisting with eighteenth century economic, monetary and political systems that give birth to and encourage most of those crises? How can we cooperate to make a better world as long as we must all compete against each other economically? How can decisions be made which reflect the opinions of the whole population when we abdicate decision-making to clownish clone “representatives” ruled by worn-out ideologies, wealthy lobbyists, and archaic party platforms?

Tinkering at the edges without addressing core assumptions is like endlessly trying to repair a model T Ford in the face of the obvious need to replace it with a new car – at best we will just drive round ever-narrowing circles until we inadvertently dig our own graves.

Fortunately, other forms of economic and political organisation – not simply capitalism or socialism – can be conceived and chosen. And other futures besides alienating hi-tech or agrarian throwback are possible. Better futures.

The ideas I propose are radical but how else can things truly change? Those likely to be offended or discomfited by criticism of orthodox thought and established practice should probably not look any further. But for those wanting a better and fundamentally different future, one without poverty and in which sustainable development is more than just a convenient and distracting buzzphrase, this may be just what you're looking for. Welcome to Civilisation 2.0.

For those who wish to provide feedback to me about my ideas, please send an email to Herman.Royce@spin.net.au. I am keen to receive feedback, provided it is given in a civilised manner. Rants and hate-mail will be ignored, and limited time may prevent me from responding to all correspondence, but please feel free to alert me to any errors or inadequacies in, as well as the merits of, my analysis and proposals. And if you see particular merit in A Free Lunch future, please link to this website if possible, and/or alert as many others to it as you can – my own networking skills leave much to be desired. Feel free to cite, reproduce, print, distribute or do anything as desired with any and all material from this website (it has no copyright or associated license) other than alter it, charge for it, or misrepresent it – ideally with some acknowledgement or appropriate citation or link back to the source, which would be appreciated and, indeed, appropriate.

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Herman Royce

December 2011