PROGRESS AND PROBABILITIES, Progressive vs Conservative - Let's Prehend
Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

PROGRESS AND PROBABILITIES, Progressive vs Conservative

PROGRESS

The Progressive position holds that human intelligence applies human values to the management of the human and natural ecosystem.[ See details in the author's LET'S PREHEND, a Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design.] The Conservative position holds that mankind is managed by the Magic Of the Marketplace, MOM, and the Hand Of God, HOG. The Liberal position holds that one should try to be nice.

Progressives assume responsibility for human affairs as the human impact on the social and natural environment continues to increase. Implicit is the assumption that all humans deserve adequate support and opportunity regardless of individual variations.

Conservatives, in contrast, see such a holistic approach as `totalitarian', a threat to `individual freedom'. They stress individual `competitiveness' and the enhancement of personal wealth. The relationship between the individual and society is seen as adversarial[ See Deborah *Tannen's book, THE *ARGUMENT CULTURE.] rather than cooperative, except among the in-group (we American's) or the out-group (foreigners). Cooperation manifests as loyalty to one's nation or corporation against the competitor. This adversarial position might be explained as essentially warlike human nature, or perhaps it derives from an adjustment to corporate values.[ See these images contrasted in OOPS, a Brief Psychohistory of Mankind, p. 233 and INTERNALIZATION OF THE CORPORATE ETHIC, ICE, p. 236, 241.]

As for Liberals, they try to be nice.

PROGRAMS

Progressives are apt to promote the programs like the following. Such progress is quite possible given our bountiful earth, our continually advancing technology, and vast under-utilized human resources.[ See SUSTAINABLE LUXURY, p. 225.]

Imagine beginning with simple `reformist' chores: 1- Replace the IRS with an ECOTAX. 2- Eliminate the over-65 age limitation on Medicare; perhaps hiring Canadians to help replace the medical insurance corporations with an appropriate bureau. 3- End the Drug War and use some of the savings for more serious addictions such as tobacco and alcohol. Radically reform the prison system, making it productive and rehabilitative rather than expensive and punitive.[ See the essay LIBERTYVILLE, p. 227.] Reduce ecological degradation by enforcing and expanding current laws. Reduce cultural pollution in the mass media by separating marketing from other channels.[ See JELLY AND JAM, p. 261. ]

These beginning reforms would cause massive unemployment among accountants, insurance clerks, prison guards, and others. But the financial and human resources released would enable the replacement of these unsavory jobs with human-valued tasks that contribute to the gradual reconstruction of community and culture.

Mid-level reforms might include: 4, Revise zoning codes, as the Canadians have done, to allow employers to coordinate with realtors in order to enhance community and ease transportation gridlock. Revision of building codes can cut the cost of housing by half, and more. Such reforms would help free real estate developers from their compulsion to build the socially and ecologically disastrous `slurbs'. Improved community design, supported by media reform to spread the word, can provide a foundation for healthy and vigorous cultural life. In such communities, the sick educational system might have a chance to heal.

As progressive political organizations gradually encroach upon the domination of corporate power, the global economy will change from rich vs poor toward a more ecological world economy.[ See the monthly *ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS for serious attention to these issues.] As oppression of the Third World decreases, the current huge military expenditures would not be needed to protect `American' interests.[ See ENHANCEMENT OF INVESTMENT, p. 298.]

As these reforms evolve, We will be able to attend to the deeper issues of human life and culture. We need not and cannot determine or predict this new growth. We can imagine the higher quality of life for all humans when they are relieved of the burdens of outrageous culture.[ LET'S PREHEND... presents a mode of analyzing and evaluating these new cultural patterns.]

PROBABILITIES

Admit it, humanity is firmly in the hands of the Conservatives. Admit it, the most probable future of mankind is a continuation and elaboration of current trends:

1, "The rich get richer and poor get poorer." is a simple way of saying that `competition' is not an equilibrium process. Advantage goes to the rich and powerful. We Americans can expect to get richer at the expense of the poor. We can expect the price of raw materials and labor to decrease as the "First World" Global economy grows. Oil and lumber, wood and tungsten, shirts and VCRs, will all become cheaper. Brazilians, who produce most of our orange juice, and Asians, who make our shoes, will live poorer to compete in the global marketplace. The Asian financial crises illustrate this process. Hereafter, they will work and sell for less. Similarly, to compete in the global market, American workers will earn less.

2, Wealth will continue to concentrate. Only 20% of the world's personal income comes from wages and salaries[ This estimate is offered by the late British tycoon economist Sir James *Goldsmith. See also World Bank President *Wolfensohn, James President of the World Bank, Interviewed by Charley Rose on his April 14, 1999 PBS TV program. The World Bank loans to 180 countries, including 4.7 of the 5.7 billion people. World poverty is high and increasing, 3 billion people live on under $2 per day, 1.3 billion of them on less than $1 per day. One and a half billion have no clean water. Mr. Wolfensohn agreed with Charley Rose that "The rich are getting richer, there is no trickle down..." The wealthy First World nations invest $300 billion per year in the Developing nations, including 140 billion direct investment. The Developing Nations are now 18% of the world economy and in 20 years will be about 30%. The US has 55% of world economic growth. US contributes a mere .001 of its GDP to world development assistance. Wolfensohn advises 2 to 5% would be appropriate and necessary for humanitarian, political and ecological essentials. Japan is 75% of the Asian economy with its $5 trillion economy, but continues economic stagnation. Japanese people are unwilling to spend and even an essentially 0% interest rate does not stimulate the economy. Korea, Thailand and even Malaysia seem to be recovering. Indonesia, the worst case, has 30 to 40 million people living on less than $1 per day, and carries $60 billion in private foreign debt, to US, Japanese, and European banks and institutions. Former Indonesian president Sukharno commented to Mr. Wolfensohn that the concentration of wealth ($40 billion in his family) was not from corruption but "family loyalty", family-values nepotism. Mr. Wolfensohn, and Australian American financier, expressed frustration at the continued impoverishment of most of the worlds people in the context of increasing economic growth in US. He seems aware that SAM is firmly in control but clings to the hope that some human ethic can alleviate the concentration of world wealth, the impoverishment of the majority, and the degradation of the ecosystem.]. The other eighty percent of personal income is received as profits on capital. It's richer to own than to work.

3, As stresses increase between rich and poor, military and police systems must increase to keep control. Since Third World youths fight more cheaply than Americans, the forces necessary to maintain this disparity will continue to shift from Americans to foreign legions of indigenous recruits. Guiding and financing these forces will increase in quantity and complexity.[ In 1998, the Clinton congress increased the funding for foreign military aid and covert actions. After Simpson, then Monica, then Yugoslavia....] These increasing efforts ensure that the rich nations continue to consume three quarters of the Earth's resources.

4, The Earth's ecosystem will continue to collapse, but the burden will be born mostly by the poor. Global warming (a problem less crucial than food, water, safety, medical care and education) is technically easy to solve, but impossible to deal with given our market system.

5, The `privatization' of economic activity will continue, and political governments will gradually "wither away". Key economic decisions that dominate our lives (creating `slurbs', increasing TV ratings, and building prisons) will migrate from lobbied legislatures to faceless corporations. Thus `government' will continue its trend as a coordinator of corporations; its `constituency' will be the corporate interests that fund elections. Thus the `constituency' of the politicians - those they represent - are the lobbyists who support their campaigns, not the `electorate', who are so easily swayed.

Politics will become even more entertaining, like the bread and circuses of ancient Rome. "The *END OF HISTORY" means that mankind's development will be managed by the magic of the marketplace, MOM, and responsible awareness for humankind's fate will recede from most of human consciousness.

As human beings and citizens we are enriched by participation in humankind's life and culture. We are obliged to take responsibilities for ourselves, our loved ones, our community and all humankind. We are so well supported and well endowed by our fortunate personal conditions that we can afford to participate. We can join in the progress - and admit the probabilities.

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