I really like this discussion of where we’re headed in the future by Ran Prieur that Lee turned me onto, largely because I agree with it.
A more reasonable move is to abandon primitive life as an ideal, or a goal, and instead just set it up as a perspective: “Hey, if I stand here, I can see that my own world, which I thought was normal, is totally insane!” Or we can set it up as a source of learning: “Look at this one thing these people did, so let’s see if we can do it too.” Then it doesn’t matter how many flaws they had. And once we give up the framework that shows a right way and a wrong way, and a clear line between them, we can use perspectives and ideas from people formerly on the “wrong” side: “Ancient Greeks went barefoot everywhere and treated their slaves with more humanity than Wal-Mart treats its workers. Medieval serfs worked fewer hours than modern Americans, and thought it was degrading to work for wages. Slum-dwellers in Mumbai spend less time and effort getting around on foot than Americans spend getting around in cars. The online file sharing community is building a gift economy.”
The future will be a combination of high tech and the infrastructure to support it, plus a voluntary regression to more tribal structures, physically and socially, that we’d all rather be living with anyway. Our complex society and the coercive forces that neo-liberal capitalism most recently embodies have made us pretty alienated from each other, but the power is flowing back to the people through things like the Internet, 3-D printing, micro-manufacturing, suburban permaculture, alternate currencies, and helping each other out within our monkeyspheres instead of paying professionals to do things for us. Before long, we won’t need big corporations or the government nearly to the same degree that we need them now. Decisions will be more local and accountable, and rich people far away will have less power over our lives.