'The Great Transformation' (*)

Published 05.04.2017 01:12
Updated 05.04.2017 01:15

We are discussing the administrative, legal and political aspects of the great transformation, toward which Turkey will take its first step on April 16, as it will bring a system change in line with the constitutional amendment. However, this system change will also lead to major changes in the economy, and we will see the greatest change in the economy in real terms.

The next constitutional amendment is a popular revolution that directly transfers the political will of the nation to all the powers of the government and directly leaves the political supervision of these powers to the nation through constitutional mechanisms. Obviously, the source of this revolution is the resistance to the July 15 coup attempt. Had it not been for the resistance to the coup attempt and success, this constitutional change would not have happened either. In this sense, we can call this will for change in Turkey to be a democratic revolution as well.

As such, the April 16th transformation will essentially take place on the basis of a social consensus. This social consensus is the basis of a historical consensus, which is centered on the poor and middle classes that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has boosted step-by-step in the last decade, but which will enable all walks of life to gain. The main focus of this basis is the expectation that the economy will take a path that will increasingly improve and help create welfare for all sectors of society. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that this great transformation of Turkey will bring about the possibility of a commonwealth in a vast region, spanning from Eastern Europe to the Caspian region and covering the North African region, which we call the Great Maghreb.

Japanese philosopher Kojin Karatani says that such quests for a commonwealth, including the EU, "failed" in the past, suggesting that old world empires that were positioned around the "failed" modern world system have begun to reappear at the heart of China, Russia, India and the Islamic world. In fact, we now understand what Karatani said, as the East, the first cradle of civilization, is recovering and heading toward a new commonwealth. We can suggest that we are in the third and final stage of the state and administration system that emerged with the Industrial Revolution and took shape in the West. That is to say, the three main stages of the nation-states that the West created have come to an end. The first stage concerned rising, organizing and obtaining markets and waging wars. The second stage concerned the welfare state. Finally, the third stage has concerned wars, terror, nation states and welfare. We should know that we cannot make much progress with nation-states that create war and terror. Terror has hit Russia this week, and we do not know where it will hit tomorrow.

We need to see that the true struggle against terror is possible by switching to a system of states that aims for peace and prosperity from the one that needs terror and war and creates and supports terror organizations. While humanity is on the brink of the artificial intelligence revolution, it cannot be a task of even average intelligence to try to survive with the wars of the iron-steel century. We must acknowledge the fact that we have now come to the end of a system that has survived for nearly 200 years.

Perhaps, the problem is all about this, and the war-based paradigm established by the sovereign Western states with the Industrial Revolution and fortified by two world wars in the previous century is being dissolved. This sovereignty has imposed modernism as an irresistible lifestyle or even a "scientific" ideology. It is also being dissolved now and all the "scientific theses" that are said to be absolutely necessary for the survival of the system and that are dictated as a so-called preventer of bankruptcy are becoming flimsy discourses. For instance, we are now seeing that answers given to questions such as "What is the root cause of inflation in emerging economies" and "How can we prevent inflation that is essentially a mechanism of transfer of income" are not what they had told us.

Let us illustrate what kind of an economy we are heading toward: It is said that there are about 12,000 diseases on the radar of medical science today. And medical specialists publish two scientific papers on these diseases in major refereed journals every minute. In other words, new concepts enter medical literature every day. The probability of a medical specialist correctly diagnosing a disease has fallen to 65 percent in the field of medicine in which the flow of information is so intense. If the doctor has a computer that can quickly scan the literature and filter out the input data, the probability of a making correct diagnosis rises above 90 percent. Also, the probability of putting wrong or missing data is 10 percent. If a computer, instead of a human being, uploads the data into another computer - Industry 4.0, meaning data exchange between objects - then the probability of making a correct diagnosis rises to 100 percent. We can imagine the same illustration for areas that require quick decisions and that are directly related to human rights such as the law. Is there no need for artificial intelligence for millions of legal cases now?

This issue of data and related planning in the economy is a very old debate. Statist Soviet socialists were the last thinkers who thought that production and products should be planned outside of the market mechanism - which is exactly why they collapsed. It was not possible to calculate millions of data inputs and outputs with human intelligence. As it was not possible, they disappeared in the ruthless structure of the market. After all, the market is a trial-and-error mechanism and, therefore, is a mechanism of finding a path. Until now, we have not been able to reach the intelligence of this trial and error mechanism and, of course, we have surrendered to it. Now, however, we are heading toward artificial intelligence that can process billions of data in seconds and produce not only mechanical, but also sociological results. The concepts of market and planning may not be contradictory, but complementary concepts now.

I had read that the IQ score of Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest geniuses in the world's history, was 205 points. It is estimated that the IQ level of artificial intelligence will reach 10,000 points over the next 20 to 30 years. Knowing that the average IQ level of a person is around 100 points, we have to see that the "science," which has been created by this average level of intelligence as information so far, is an ideology that has become a thing of the past.

The basic distinctive feature of the period we are in is this great revolution, namely the new industrial transformation, is based on the possibility of a technology that can be more quickly replicated and more perfectly reproduced than its original form by its very nature. As such, it is also destroying all the hierarchies that the former sovereign states of the West established with the Industrial Revolution. This revolution is making the poor and colonized states of the past a partner of the new world.

However, it is not possible to achieve this transformation with the corrupt political institutions of the 20th century. To this end, Turkey will hold a constitutional referendum on April 16 that will enable it to leave behind the tutelary and flimsy parliamentary system of the old world and become a safer and more stable country. Also, the Turkish state will be restructured as a welfare state through the popular will. This, beyond any doubt, is a new democratic experience.

(*) With respect to Karl Polanyi

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