I have been wanting to write about this for a while, partly because I think it's an interesting idea, there are a lot of people who could benefit from being on GMI and not having to hold down a job, and there are a lot of jobs that probably just shouldn't be done. Partly because they don't represent dignity of work, but also because I imagine there are a great many cases where it costs society, not to mention the individuals involved, more to have people do certain jobs, including the associated commutes, places they have to live in order to get to the jobs, and so on, than it would to have the people living elsewhere, perhaps not doing a "job," blah, blah, blah.
And of course the point is that none of that is a good thing to argue to actually get GMI implemented. As with everything, I believe a macromemetic approach is called for. My question is what that might look like.
Trying to sell any tricky political idea tends to involve meme pairing (1). Actually, meme pairing is a tool to keep in mind in most any memetic engineering endeavor. The concept is that memes are alogical, they don't care whether they make sense or not, and they also don't care whether other memes make sense, or even whether they are anthropomorphized. Hard sciences tend to care about these sorts of things, but soft sciences...not so much. The oh!-so-soft science we're mainly focused on here would be economics.
Economics likes to trot out all sorts of odd-ball MIAOs (2) such as "inflation," "inflexible demand," "full employment," often in response to how its theories fail to match the data of reality. Yes, some of these things actually seem to make sense, for instance, "inflation." Or "hyperinflation" -- is it the same thing, just more, or a totally different thing? The money supply grows, so there is more money for each product to buy, so the price rises. Or it happens so fast that people use wheelbarrows to haul cash down the street to buy a loaf of bread, or they buy super-expensive fur coats now before their money becomes "worthless." Why? Economics seems to create new MIAOs for things that are hard to measure, or to fix, or which have hard-to-define effects.
Memetically, this makes perfect sense. We have a reasonable MIAO, or system of memes associated with an object, but it's obviously not working. One of my favorites is "inflexible demand." In America, unlike a number of other places, we have lots of people dying from things which we know how to cure, but it's just "too expensive." "Too expensive," is an economic meme, by the way. We also have rich people buying treatments, cures, for deadly diseases they have which cost many years the salary of normal people. In theory, if we made these treatments cheaper, more people could buy them, but then more people buying them would push the cost up, and if we provided extra money to pay for the treatments, then that would increase "demand" and raise the price again. If we just paid for more of the medical machines to be built, that would increase "supply," which should maybe make it cheaper, but who knows? Even though it's happening already quite a lot, people dying because they cannot afford well-known treatment, "inflexible demand," is the idea that no matter what the price, a person will pay whatever it takes to save their life. This is a way for economics to say that there is no point on a "supply-demand curve" where they cross and give a price for given medical treatment in a given economic environment.
So the flaw in the principle of supply and demand is patched up in places where it doesn't work by talking about "inflexible demand" or "inflation."
GMI is an economic problem. Not so much in allocation of resources -- I suspect it's more of a problem of PR (3) -- but in that economic immunomemes are the ones which will be deployed against GMI's implementation. I'm thinking of George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, where he remarks that we do not despise the hobo because he does not work hard, but because he does not earn a profit. Indeed, the problems I see for GMI stem from the economics-derived immunomemes to do with being unproductive, lazy, not having a job, not paying one's way, staying in bed all day, living on the dole, and so on.
To implement an idea such as GMI, the memes which might be used to stop it, undermine it, must be combatted. What does this look like? I'll try to think of some examples. As discussed in The Electoral College Professor (1), the main character, Geneviève, cites Richard Nixon going to China. An obvious reaction to this is "Why is Tricky Dick going to communist China to talk to Mao? Isn't he supposed to be a life-long anti-communist?" This must be combatted, and a preëmptive memetic engineering action would be to defensively pair the "going to China" meme with a "tough on communism" meme in the form of "only Nixon is tough enough on communism to sit down with Mao and represent American's interests and not be bamboozled." This is what was done.
The memetic engineering method I propose it to identify as many "negative memes" or immunomemes against GMI, and pair them with counter-memes that form a positive memetic pair that supports the adoption of GMI, which means that they convert proponents and opponents and get them working on the same objective, though probably through different pathways.
Oppression and Alienation
Remember that people like to deploy memes that they are as sure as possible will get a reaction, achieve resonance with others, as many as possible. This implies a number of things, covered elsewhere. One is oppression. People will deploy memes that get a memetic response, even if this results in their getting harmed. This is distinct from alienation, where no matter which memes a person deploys, they are unable to get a memetic response from the cohort in which them find themselves. This is also known as memetic desolation (4). Another issue is what I'm calling The First Law of Immunomemetics, which states that any stable memetic system must contain an immunomemetic subsystem, or immunomemeplex. Memetic systems resist change, which is obvious, since otherwise we would not see things like languages, cultures, organizations, because they would change wildly and chaotically, rather than gradually if at all. This means that any "new idea" is resisted, for if every time somebody tried to do things differently
Having no memes to talk about GMI, or having GMI memes paired to negative memes that result in obstructionism, or unproductive memes deployed on the part of "supporters" (5).
Memetic Fabric PolarizationA good strategy, perhaps a sino quod non one, is to develop a bifurcated set of memes for an "empire" and a "rebellion." It's the "Great Taste, Less Filling" approach. Why does this sort of thing work? One is that you're pairing the same action memes, i.e., "vote in favor of GMI measures," with multiple sets of memes that allow the members of two or more factions to achieve frequent resonance with each other. Another interesting benefit of a GTLF design is that it provides all factions with an individualized immunomemeplex to deploy "against" the other factions, which of course strengthens the overall system (6).
The idea is that since no one group is going to want to use all of the memes of a single system. Acknowledging this and designing cohesive submemeplexes within the megamemeplex can provide each faction, each sub-cohort, the opportunity of an individualized memetic inventory which they may employ thoroughly. One also designs a custom immunomemeplex for each sub-cohort, which provides additional memes for each to deploy "against" the other sub-cohorts, heightening engagement in the system by all concerned.
Summary and Conclusion
There are a number of basic macromemetic design issues to consider when trying to package an idea, such as GMI. Plan the pairing of GMI memes so they not get linked to negative memes, memes that allow immunomemes to be deployed. Anticipate such immunomemetic deployment opportunities and design pairings to thwart them. Design memes for all known factions, and pair GMI memes with new or existing memes that will be usable by each faction, and design immunomemetic systems for each faction to deploy "against" the other factions.
(1) See Electoral College Professor in the OtherWorlds anthology, where Geneviève discusses Richard Nixon.
(2) Memetic Iconic Anchoring Object.
(3) Public Relations is also a macromemetic sub-discipline.
(4) A good film for this is A Pervert's Guide to Cinema, with Slavoj Zizek.
(5) An example, perhaps a controversial one, might be some people who call themselves "feminists" but deploy memes that infuriate opponents, alienate potential allies and moderate supporters, and don't make the lives of real woman (poor women and women of color, especially) easier, and maybe even more difficult. This is an example of how positive, "on-message" memes and signal memes may be paired with ineffectual or destructive action memes.
(6) See Cheaters, Masochists, Sociopaths, and Proselytizers