This has been a tremendous series. I don't even begin to understand how you manage to crank out all this good stuff, so often. :-)ReplyDelete
I have a smidgen of an unease in me, apart from what I said before. The whole series gives me the sense... (and I apologize if this is not a fair assessment, this is where I am now with it) -- well, da gummint will just print all the money it wants, and put people on guaranteed income. Voila! But it does not work that way. That would be a social perpetual motion machine, would it not? ;-)
Is there enough to cover everybody's basic needs at the moment? I think there is... because the system cranks like crazy. But that heavy cranking impacts the planet, and there is a wall somewhere where the planet will say, no more.
The other thought is... other civilizations have experienced this moment in ages gone by... all that workforce, with nothing to do. The Egyptians began to build pyramids. The Chacoans built roads to nowhere. The folks down in South America, darn it, the name escapes me, they were building canals heading uphill. Giving people busywork to do is not a solution on a planet running out of the good stuff.
And as I said before, complexification of government -- which worked in the simpler days of FDR -- is not the advisable solution in the latter days when the gummint has become a voracious behemoth already showing more and more "bully" and less and less "brain."
Indeed, one runs up against a wall. When one lives in a society where a tiny fraction of the people are needed to provide necessities, what do we do? To some extent this has plagued people since we switched from a hunter-gatherer existence where everyone is involved in procuring food and goods to an agricultural one, where more people could be produced with less people working. It's no coincidence we see large structures being built as the first "signs" of civilization (ziggurats, pyramids, etc.) - it was the first work program in history as you pointed out.ReplyDelete
As with most problems, this derives from the mismatch between who we are as a species and the society we've created for ourselves. If someone does not "pull their weight" in a traditional society, they were shamed into doing so. If that did not work, they would be banished. Harsh, but it worked. People who may have had things to contribute in past soceities (or else they would not be here), now have nothing to do to "earn" their keep. So what happens? Things fall apart. I think society has always been a sort of "sieve of blood," culling the people who could not "pull their weight". In the past that meant people who couldn't kill a mammoth. Then it meant people who couldn't work the land or fight in wars. Soon it could be people who cannot sit in an office, do advanced mathematics or stick a needle in somebody's arm that are ruthlessly eliminated from the gene pool. The elites always end up making the call as to who is valuable and who is not. It's no different today, whether you're talking about a government of a business. Maybe the social Darwinists are right after all. So it goes.
As to the last point, is it irredeemable? I think Leopold Kohr has a point - things that get too big get too complex and then we lose control. Maybe when a few states have gone their own way and are small enough for people to gain control again we can have some benevolent government for a change.