Proposal for a new social contract
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22-01-2013, 08:27 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
(22-01-2013 07:51 PM)Zat Wrote:  No, we won't, bemore.

However, it is nice to dream, isn't it?

And, without knowing what kind of world we would like to live in, we won't know in what direction we should be progressing either.

I just wanted to paint a scenario that would make PERFECT SENSE, if only our species made sense at all.

The question is: can you IMAGINE, living in a world like that?

If you can, then you have a compass to guide you.
I think you put forward a very decent argument Zat and I do share your dream that one day we will have this utopian society.

Its like the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results..... prohibition.... charity..... war...... economically.

We have advanced technologically over the last hundred years but thats it. We havent evolved as a species in any way other than extending our lifes.

I think a question to ask is what is stopping us from having this utopia? It could be achieved, especially more so nowadays, but it isnt, it wont, so what is preventing it?

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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23-01-2013, 12:20 PM (This post was last modified: 23-01-2013 01:47 PM by Zat.)
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
Actually, if you read the OP of this thread, you will see that my proposal is not actually a Utopia, it is more like a comproimise between Capitalism and Communism, retaining the best part of both systems in a well defined and well separated arrangement. Our need for both freedom and compassion are accommodated in a reasonable balance.

Why can't we have even that now?

Simple evolutionary reasons.

Humanity, as a species, is in an evolutionary transition position between the rules of the jungle and the rules of the family.

It is a mixed state where sometime one aspect of our character, sometime the other, has the upper hand.

However, it is the specimen among us, who are closer to the jungle, who are running the show for obvious reasons.

Power attracts those who are more aggressive, more ruthless, more dominant amongst us. Once they achieve power, they very seldom use it to benefit the common good -- they like to fashion their world on the model of feudalist allegiances and tribal warfare.

Whatever democratic co-operation the rest of us manages to achieve is done in spite of them, in an uneasy balance. That is the source of the constant fighting over wealth and power we witness around us daily.

Once in a rare while men of vision and conscience get into position of power and then we see major advances in social justice (like in post-war Canada for example) which will last a decade or two, after which the other side goes on a counter-offensive and starts clawing back all the advances that had been achieved before.

This is the situation now, after the neo-con revolution swept the western world and the neo-colonialism (a.k.a. globalization) created new slaves for the empire.

You are right, bemore, it is very unlikely that things get better (rather the contrary) before they get a lot worse and we cut off a few heads, as it is usually done in the revolution of the enraged citizenry who feel they have nothing to lose.

But it is still good to know what kind of world we believe in so, at least we don't fall pray to the relentless propaganda barrage.

Once I was asked why I wanted to know the truth, when I could do nothing about it.

My reply: I want to know the truth because the bastards don't want me to.
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23-01-2013, 05:25 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
The best revenge is dreaming big? Okay, i can go with that.

I have a book titled Green Cities, edited by David Gordon, published in 1990. Some of the ideas in there were actually tried, some proposed, some merely studied - all good, all feasible, all low-cost. No reason they couldn't be incorporated into existing cities from then to now. No reason... except the opposition of people in power who profit from the the status quo and don't want any kind of change for any reason - including the survival of species.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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23-01-2013, 06:32 PM (This post was last modified: 23-01-2013 06:35 PM by Zat.)
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
From another thread, a long time ago, but still relevant to this thread and bemore's question:

If we study history and search for the common elements in the many, many human civilizations over the centuries, we can easily find what has
been a constant all along. In a way, history can be viewed as an ongoing sequence of empires.

In all the chaos of conflicting interests of first millions, then billions, of human beings, thousands and thousands of tribes, alliances,
interest groups, nations, there always were a few that were stronger than all the others. Once these powerful interests reached critical mass
and stability then they started to grow and dominate more and more of the world around them.

The Egyptians, Greek, Romans, Christians, Turks, Hapsburgs, French, German, Russian and, finally the Americans, all rose to power, peaked
and then declined.

Looking at history in a different way, we can say that two major human emotions dominated all through the centuries: desire to pursue
unrestricted self interest on one hand; desire for justice on the other. The first desire manifested itself as search for wealth and
power, the second pursued democracy, co-operation, consensus-building.

Those who wanted freedom to act according to their perceived self interest almost always supported the current empire. Those who wanted
justice almost always rebelled, almost always fought the empire.

And so is our world at present, at the dawn of the 21st century.

On the one hand, there is the status quo, the entrenched power and wealth represented by the empire, on the other hand there are the
have-nots who find the arrangement unjust. So the fight goes on, like it always has, ever, in human history.

And this precarious balance between the warring factions has kept humanity going, over the centuries. Never quite fair and just, never
quite enslaved.

Because, my friends, there is no Utopia in the script of the human story. There is an ongoing, never ending fight to protect whatever
justice we rebels managed to wrest from those who want it all their way. The balance keeps tilting back and forth between the warring factions
and our lives are tied to this mad rollercoaster, going up toward optimism, or plunging down towards despair.

Every now and then however, the plunge seems deeper and steeper than ever before as if it would never stop, and then we get scared. We feel
that the automatic checks and balances don't work any more and things may be out of control. This is when people usually wake up from their
comfortable complacency and feel they have to do something about it.

We are living in such a time now, realizing that the gloves are off and naked brutality and greed has taken over.

This is the time when people, who never cared about politics before, take up the placards and swarm out onto the streets in our millions.

This is the time when lies don't work any more and our illusions of freedom, democracy, free press, justice, peace, cooperation and fairness
suddenly evaporate and we see our rulers for what they are: corrupt, greedy, brutal, sneaking and lying bullies who can't ever have enough.

Unfortunately, there is another element of the puzzle. It is technology.

As the thousands of scientists, tens of thousands of engineers and millions of workers and technicians sold their talent into the servitude
of the empire - deadlier and deadlier weapons were forged and amassed. First time in history, there is enough power available to destroy the
world and end the human story.

Now we start waking up to the terrible danger that this power may have fallen into the hands of those who are not afraid to use it, at any
cost, to force their will on the human family.

So, we feel that this crisis is not just one more of the same, of those crises that we have known all our lives. This is different. The world
has been nudged out of its groove and is on the move -- somewhere. Now we face terrible dangers.

If we woke up in time, then there are great opportunities to make the world a better place.

If not, we have a big problem.
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23-01-2013, 11:14 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
(23-01-2013 06:32 PM)Zat Wrote:  From another thread, a long time ago, but still relevant to this thread and bemore's question: ...

Not the first time you've told me this. Glad to see you back in genpop old man. Hope you'll stay. ... Anyone tries to shiv the old man they're gonna have to shiv me first.

(23-01-2013 06:32 PM)Zat Wrote:  We are living in such a time now, realizing that the gloves are off and naked brutality and greed has taken over.

If you mean economic brutality, then yup.

(23-01-2013 06:32 PM)Zat Wrote:  As the thousands of scientists, tens of thousands of engineers and millions of workers and technicians sold their talent into the servitude
of the empire - deadlier and deadlier weapons were forged and amassed. First time in history, there is enough power available to destroy the world and end the human story.

I sell them my talents, brother. They get 40 hours/week of my time. The rest of my time is mine. I am not in any fucker's servitude. I'm less in servitude by working for The Man 'cause if I develop something really cool on my own time, it's mine. If I worked for the private sector, I'd've signed something when I first got hired which said it was theirs even if I developed it on my own time. That's fucking servitude.

(23-01-2013 06:32 PM)Zat Wrote:  If we woke up in time, then there are great opportunities to make the world a better place.

If not, we have a big problem.

Today's engineers are not as naive as Oppenheimer. ...

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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24-01-2013, 08:50 AM (This post was last modified: 24-01-2013 04:07 PM by Zat.)
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
I am not sure yet, GirlyMan, I am experimenting only -- to see what, if anything, changed since my last presence here.

However, thank you for the offer of protection -- curious how you would enforce it? Big Grin

Since the public sector is in a status of servitude (more or less) to the private sector, working for the public sector is an indirect
servitude, at least in my own mind.

However, this thread is about a proposed compromise (see the OP if you have not read it yet) and not about empires -- I only made that post
to answer bemore's question.

The question you should ask yourself: would you like to live in that compromise I suggested?

I know, the immediate, instinctive answer is: "no way!"

But think about it: it would be a world in which you would not be surrounded with the brutality of pain, hunger, fear, frustration, shattered
lives, broken families that are often the result of the economic exploitation and devastation we have today.

Try to imagine living in a world where almost all anxiety disappeared.

NOBODY has to worry about losing their home, their job, paying the bills, feeding their children, getting medical help, having an education, able to go on a vacation, pursue a hobby, being helped when they are sick and being able to retire when they are old and tired.

All of this is taken for granted.

You are required to work 2-3 hours a day in a job that you chose, trained for, are good at. You are surrounded with colleagues who are
similarly relaxed, efficient, competent.

The rest of the day you could work for the private sector, for money, start your own company, buy and enjoy, or invent and market, luxuries, have all the freedom your imagination and talent can use.

I can not imagine anyone not wanting to live in a world like that (never mind for the moment whether it could be possible) but preferring to live,
however rich, surrounded by a cesspool of misery, fear and hate?

If for no other reason: patriotism. Many rich people claim to love their country and be patriotic.

Would you not want to present your country to the rest of the world as a peaceful, enlightened population with a UNIVERSAL high standard
of living, instead of the fucked-up bully state that brutalizes people within their own country, in addition to many countries abroad? A United States that
is not close to the bottom, among nations, in health care, education, crime, religious zealotry and general irrationality?

Think hard before you answer GirlyMan -- these are not easy questions if you consider all the implications.

Once you answer this question, and the answer is: yes, THEN we can examine whether a world like I described could be possible, based on the available science, technology and natural resources we have today.

When we really look at things with a clear mind, consider all the horrible waste of resources we have in our world, we can't help realizing that ONLY the will is missing.

Once I read a UN report that calculated the % of resources and man-hours spent on non-productive activities. It was estimating up to 90%.

This non-productive work fell in three categories:

Money-related activities/resources
: planning, printing, distributing, destroying, banking, guarding, handling, speculating, trading, exchanging, collecting, reporting, insuring, taxing, investigating, prosecuting, etc., etc., etc.

Fighting over distribution
: Wars, revolutions, armies, armament industries, police, crowd control, courts, lawyers, monetary/financial/tax legislation, oversight, lobbyists, secuirity industry/personnel, bailouts/grants/subsidies, prisons, prison guards and industry, etc., etc., etc.

Profit-related activities: producing in slave-economies and shipping long distence to rich economies, fossil fuel industries and related cleanup activities, man-made global warming and environmental cost, ill-health, hazardous waste disposal, hanging on to obsolete technologies, killing off innovation, etc., etc., etc.

All this waste is due to our inability to do simple arithmetic.

We waste 90% of our resources in order to control our consumption with the monetary system, without which we could spend these resources multiplying our production capacity ten-fold, producing plenty for all conceivable needs (except for the pathological kind). Without this waste no control (and money) would be required. The expression: "Penny-wise and pound-foolish" comes to mind.

As an added benefit: people would have to work a lot fewer hours, live in a lot less stressful environment, would live longer and healthier, would find it easier to cooperate, crime would plummet and threat of extinction disappear. Extreme poverty like lack of adequate food, housing, medical help and education would belong to a stupid and barbaric past (which is our present now).

Planning for basic necessities (and related infrastructure) would require intelligence, technical/scientific/demographic knowledge and competence, organizational abilities and long-term thinking.

Luxuries, beyond the basic needs could be produced on a completely free parallel market-economy, just as I outlined it in the OP of this thread.

However, you would have to think outside the box, which seems to be an absolutely terrifying prospect for most humans.
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24-01-2013, 09:58 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
If everything was freely available, who would need to steal?
If we got rid of the class/money divide (lower, middle and upper) then you wouldn't have TPTB trampling on the poor to maintain capitalism.
You wouldnt see the eradication that is going on today where people are having their way of life cut down into pieces (wages, benefits, social care etc etc) just so a countries economy can operate more efficiently in a world market.

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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24-01-2013, 07:12 PM (This post was last modified: 24-01-2013 07:22 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
(24-01-2013 08:50 AM)Zat Wrote:  I am not sure yet, GirlyMan, I am experimenting only -- to see what, if anything, changed since my last presence here.

Well it's bigger, and management's changed, and we got rules now, and people get banned now, but it's still pretty much a mix of the newly deconverted looking for advice and a bunch of vulgar hairless talking monkeys just out to have a good time. I do think that this time around if you start new threads with the caveat: SERIOUS DISCUSSION ONLY PLEASE, you have a good chance of warding off derailings, or at least a good chance of rerailings. I think you may have just assumed that was implicit previously and were disappointed to find that was not the case.

(24-01-2013 08:50 AM)Zat Wrote:  However, thank you for the offer of protection -- curious how you would enforce it? Big Grin

Girly's got an ever expanding repertoire of vulgar insults. Big Grin

(24-01-2013 08:50 AM)Zat Wrote:  Since the public sector is in a status of servitude (more or less) to the private sector, working for the public sector is an indirect servitude, at least in my own mind.

It's certainly public service, but it's far from servitude.

(24-01-2013 08:50 AM)Zat Wrote:  However, this thread is about a proposed compromise (see the OP if you have not read it yet) and not about empires -- I only made that post to answer bemore's question.

The question you should ask yourself: would you like to live in that compromise I suggested?

Sure. Unfortunately it requires universal cooperation. Will society eventually be capable of that? The Japanese are already pretty close to that. America, not so much.

(24-01-2013 08:50 AM)Zat Wrote:  Try to imagine living in a world where almost all anxiety disappeared.

NOBODY has to worry about losing their home, their job, paying the bills, feeding their children, getting medical help, having an education, able to go on a vacation, pursue a hobby, being helped when they are sick and being able to retire when they are old and tired.

All of this is taken for granted.

You are describing current Federal Employment in the USA. ... Unless the civil servant has overextended themselves financially, which is nobody's fault but their own.

(24-01-2013 08:50 AM)Zat Wrote:  You are required to work 2-3 hours a day in a job that you chose, trained for, are good at. You are surrounded with colleagues who are
similarly relaxed, efficient, competent.

The rest of the day you could work for the private sector, for money, start your own company, buy and enjoy, or invent and market, luxuries, have all the freedom your imagination and talent can use.

If your skill set is valuable enough, the Federal Government already has mechanisms for accommodating that.

(24-01-2013 08:50 AM)Zat Wrote:  Once you answer this question, and the answer is: yes, THEN we can examine whether a world like I described could be possible, based on the available science, technology and natural resources we have today.

The society you describe is not all that different from what my brother living in Tokyo for some 5 years now as Senior Vice President of Actuaries for MetLife Pacific describes. The difference between janitorial pay and CEO pay is like 10x instead of 1000x. And the janitors are held in equal societal esteem to the CEO. They're not denigrated for being janitors, hell for much of the population they're held in higher esteem (at least according to my brother). My brother says universal cooperation in Japan is necessary for so many people to live together peaceably in such a small area. Everyone there understands that. But in 'Merica, we got lots of space and we are not a homogenous culture but rather a melting pot of many different cultures.

(24-01-2013 08:50 AM)Zat Wrote:  Think hard before you answer GirlyMan -- these are not easy questions if you consider all the implications.

I did.

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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24-01-2013, 10:20 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
But in 'Merica, we got lots of space and we are not a homogenous culture but rather a melting pot of many different cultures. Yes and some cultures in the Corporate.S.A I oops I mean U.S.A are intolerable in my mind.
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24-01-2013, 10:39 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
(24-01-2013 10:20 PM)panterasr9 Wrote:  Yes and some cultures in the Corporate.S.A I oops I mean U.S.A are intolerable in my mind.

If you're referring to the Corporate States of America, me and my brother came up with a solution long ago, share the wealth, eat the rich.

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