Proposal for a new social contract
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25-01-2013, 01:49 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
(24-01-2013 10:39 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(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.

They probably wouldnt taste very good. The rich people I know eat garbage corn syrup like everyone else.
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25-01-2013, 09:34 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
...as my new poem ("The Prospector") says... Big Grin
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25-01-2013, 03:00 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
(25-01-2013 09:34 AM)Zat Wrote:  ...as my new poem ("The Prospector") says... Big Grin

Big Grin

I like it. It's good. Girly's been lowering his expectations his entire life. It's apparently easier on some of us than others. Tongue

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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25-01-2013, 05:55 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
Poetry is a tricky business.

A poem is NEVER finished.

Every time I look at it, I have to fiddle with it, make it better, leaner, snappier -- smoother.

And then there is the maxim by Richard Bach who once said to a fledgling writer: "never underestimate the power of a deleted word".

So the poem I referred to earlier (which I can't edit in-situ any more) now stands as:

The prospector

The prospector is old,
dim eyes searching for elusive glitter,
gnarled fingers still looking for gold,
but all he finds is useless litter.

He thinks he will give it up soon,
abandon this futile obsession,
stop humming this haunting tune,
extinguish a life-long passion.

It’s hard to know what new role
he might find in a now hopeless life,
not looking for gold in their soul,
accepting the dullness and spite.

....................

Not much difference but enough to make it sing better.
Once, when Marilyn Monroe was accused of wearing falsies, she said: "Those who know me better know better".

What has all this got to do, if anything, with the "Proposal for a New Social Contract"?

Everything! Big Grin
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26-01-2013, 04:43 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
(25-01-2013 05:55 PM)Zat Wrote:  A poem is NEVER finished.

Yup. Yes

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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27-01-2013, 05:38 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
Zatamon: You've got a lot of good ideas. I already thought of something similar, an economy of two basic sectors. I took the idea from human body. There are the economy sectors in the body and in the world. The primary economy is the digestive tract where there is only one way and one succession of organs, basically a long pipe, there is no competition whatsoever. The secondary economy begins with liver as interface with the colon. The tertiary economy is centered around the blood circuit where all cells partake on the results, while the blood is the symbol of money.
There is always a constant supply of money (blood) issued by the state. Just a few more details.

The state is always in control of the constant supply of money, generating them by need and taking them out of economy by selling the primary and secondary economy products - the raw resources and semi-products.

The colon, where the raw resources are extracted, is characteristic by a heavy immune system presence. I could interpret that as a necessary police/army supervision in places like Congo, where valuable raw resources are mined, or near endangered rainforests.

The brain, symbolizing a quaternary sector, the university and creative area, is large, takes up lots of blood.
Part of the brain is the cerebellum. Cerebellum is a small, primitive part of brain that directs the technical, automatic processes that do not require our conscious attention. Cerebellum is essentially the government. If in the current system our government requires much public attention and much public funds, it is not functioning properly. It is clueless as for what to do, if politicians knew it, they'd do their job and maintain minimal crew. It is a sign how primitive and uncivilized we are. Our body after millions of years of evolution chose a small automatic government and devoted most of the whole economy to the "university sector", the brain.
Btw, there is a "blood barrier" in the brain, making sure that the blood (money) and drugs (drugs) do not directly enter the creative and decision-making areas. It implies that money (blood) is should be directly used in secondary/tertiary industry (organs) but not in academics and so on.

The primary sector of economy (digestive tract) must be automatized and its input (eating) must be under a direct supervision of the intelligence/computing/government (the brain). The economy must know when it had enough. The purpose of the whole economy is to support the brain, the intelligentsia and the higher life of culture, communication and science.
Note, that this is not about people, it's about the economy. the circulation of goods and money. The way the economics is arranged now, we serve and obey the stomach and the gut. We ignore the needs of brain, we enslave it to the needs of consumption. Our priorities are heavily distorted. As a system, we're so bound by our internal disorder, that we're not capable of automatizing these processes and fully participate on the world of brain, the world of seeing, thinking, exploring, creating... We think freedom is the freedom to take any resource and produce any product out of it to get money, regardless of the product's worth. No, freedom is to replace the pursuit of money with pursuit of improvement. You can't fundamentally improve the money and the money can't fundamentally improve you. There comes a time, when money hold back our improvement.

Money are the mother of economy, but everyone should at some point move out of their mother's house.

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27-01-2013, 05:55 AM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2013 07:27 AM by Zat.)
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
Quote:"Our body after millions of years of evolution chose a small automatic government and devoted most of the whole economy to the "university sector", the brain.
..............
The economy must know when it had enough.
..............
The way the economics is arranged now, we serve and obey the stomach and the gut.
.................
We think freedom is the freedom to take any resource and produce any product out of it to get money, regardless of the product's worth.
..................
No, freedom is to replace the pursuit of money with pursuit of improvement. You can't fundamentally improve the money and the money can't fundamentally improve you. There comes a time, when money hold back our improvement.
Fascinating thoughts, Luminon, I enjoyed reading them very much.

BTW: Zatamon and Zat are the same person -- long story.

I particularly enjoyed your assessment of what money could/should be and what it actually is.

To inspire further thoughts/discussion, I will post my rant on money right here.

The Nature of Money


What are we? We are a Country. What is a country? It is a group of people residing on a well-defined territory, living together, using division of labor to produce necessities (and luxuries) and sharing what is produced.

Production is science and technology and organization. No matter who is in control, eventually something needs to be produced, or we all starve. We need farms and factories and energy and transportation and communication. We need them in communism, in capitalism, in anarchism, in monarchy, in fascist dictatorships. Makes no difference. If we do not produce, we die. We can do it better or worse, more or less efficiently, more or less messily, but we have to produce the food, build the houses, weave the fabric, run our trains, maintain our phonelines.

Production is not the issue. Distribution is. We tend to think in terms of money. But we never consume money. We do not eat it, wear it, or heat our houses by shoveling paper bills into the furnace. If we want to understand what is happening in the world, we must try to explain what is REALLY happening, leaving money out of it. Money is only the hat a magician pulls rabbits out of.

Look at it this way: take the economic output of the planet for a one-year period. Concentrate only on food, housing, clothing, furniture, means of transportation, communication, health-care and education. These are the essential products that we need for healthy survival.

So much is produced during one year. Some of what is produced is destroyed, stockpiled, lost, or whatever. But most of it is distributed. It gets into individual hands; it is owned and consumed by individual people. That is what matters.

If I have a billion dollars in the bank (or under the mattress) and never use it, I am poor. What makes me rich is not a figure on a sheet of paper or in a computer’s memory chips. What makes me rich is my share of the communally-produced cache of goods. The house I live in, the car I drive, the quantity and quality of food I eat, the clothes I wear, the neighborhood I can afford to live in, the school I send my kids to, the vacations I take. That is what makes me rich or poor, not the money I own.

Money is a fiction. It is not part of the reality we were born into. It is not necessary for survival. Production is. Distribution is. Money is a human invention for simplifying and facilitating trade. It would have been completely superfluous had we decided to share equally. Then only production and distribution would be required.

But we decided not to share equally. After all this would not be fair. We don’t want to feed the lazy and incompetent (or his children) and we don’t want to deprive the more diligent and talented. We created money to make sure that we don’t distribute products equally. Well, we got our wish. Just look at the world.

Now, instead of producing and consuming and living healthy, happy lives, we have wars, famines, pollution, poverty and despair all over the world.

Money serves as the greatest myth of all time.

Replacing the simple issue of surviving well on a lonely planet in a vast Universe, money created an insane-asylum of banks, interest rates, money supply, tax-cuts, subsidies, grants, off-shore accounts, inflation, recession, deficit-financing, leveraged buyouts, credit-rating, hostile takeovers, stocks, bonds, investment portfolios, derivatives, toxic assets, corporate bailouts and CEO compensation packages.

Is that what is meant by throwing the baby out with the bath water?

If a group of us were shipwrecked on a desert island, would we starve to death because we had no money to facilitate trade? Of course not. We would get busy building huts and planting crops to make our lives as comfortable as we could.

But now we are 'civilized'.

We wanted to make sure that no person could cheat others. So we invented money. Now money is the primary medium of cheating each other out of our share. Just look at the number of rich, unproductive parasites living in obscene luxury and the number of hard-working, productive people who have difficulty feeding their children and keeping a roof over their heads.

I believe we would be much better off if we decided to share equally and feed a few no-good, lazy bums. Most people would continue producing, if for no other reason than the sheer boredom of idleness.

If we never question the basic assumption of unequal sharing, we get our world as it is today. Total confusion, misery, fear, envy, loathing, hate, unhappiness. As Ayn Rand said in her noble speech on money in ”Atlas Shrugged”: “money or guns...make your choice”. We did. Now we have both.

The only way to create a utopia on Earth is by resolving the age-old problem of distribution. If humanity abandoned the concept of money and started to share equally, we would gain by eliminating an enormous waste of resources on the mechanisms required to maintain the financial system (most of government, all of finance, most of enforcing, all of the military; insurance, welfare, social assistance; much of the judicial system; weapons programs, etc., etc.)

My feeling is that - even if 10-20 percent of people would decide not to contribute to production, we would still be better off. The percentage of non-contributing people is a lot higher now, if we count those who are employed in the activities that would be eliminated.

On the other hand, if what we want is a system where some of us can be RELATIVELY better off than others (even if their absolute standard of living fell below what they would enjoy in the equal sharing method) then the solution is obviously the one we have now.

We humans are creatures of habit. At birth we inherit a world with its millions of facts and billions of connections, and never really think to ask fundamental questions about the principles by which humanity is organized.
We only want to tinker with the surface, without touching the foundations. The few who dare to question basic assumptions, we recoil from, we call them crackpots, immature or insane, but we never dare to wonder whether they may be right.
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27-01-2013, 09:50 AM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2013 10:04 AM by Luminon.)
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
Hey Zat.
I totally agree with you. I'm familiar with Jacque Fresco's The Venus Project and Resource-Based Economy.

I also have something of an electrotechnic education on me, no permanent consequences but the graduation list Smile

Except when I look at the economy, I see putting the cart in front of the horse. Economy is about allocating the rare resources. Economists focus so much on allocating that they missed why at all we need the economy. The economy or allocation is not a purpose in itself, it's a means to sustain a living.

Let's say the circulation of money is like a flow of water or electricity. Water flows from highest position to the lowest, in the way of least resistance. This creates a powerful current. We put appliances as obstacles into this current, we put there dams, turbines and generators, or we install lightbulbs, coils, resistors, capacitors and so on. Yet, these things are absolutely purposeless.


The purpose and meaning of all economy, appliances and currents is outside of the economy itself, it's us, the society. Let's look at it from the point of view of the people.
Economics is based on people wanting the money, it's based on greed. It's not exactly based on wanting the products, those most successful want money in endless supply, they're potentially endlessly greedy, they have no goal. They want to get to the source in the way of the least resistance. We put appliances into the way of their greed, so their greed provides goods and services that we need. However, the greed causes they try to get around these obstacles, shirk their duties and get to the source of money directly.

They make cheaper and worse products, they lobby to lower the government standards and so on. But ultimately, their goal is the source of money itself - the government and banking system. They put their people into the governments to profit from the government-issued public orders. In my country, they build the most expensive highways in the world, yet their foundations were made of garbage, not gravel or stone. Similarly profitable is the financial "industry", generating the various money and money derivatives through speculation, contributing absolutely nothing to the world, yet controlling it through their vastly superior buying power.

A greed-based economy is a terrible risk for the planet, greater than nuclear reactors and bombs. Economists praise the greed of the little common man, that allows us to make pencils of a dozen of different materials from all around the world. It is the greed that gave us the pencil, but also the technologic appliances that turn in the stream of greed. The same greed has the tendency to concentrate and grow, until it devours everything, whole ecosystems, governments, unions and banks of banks.
There is another name for greed. It is expansion - or growth. And the opposite pole of the circuit - scarcity. Without scarcity, there is no greed, without low there is no high. Eliminate scarcity and you eliminate greed and economy and life as we know it and hate it.

Economists praise the human self-interest and ingenious cooperation that gave us the pencil. In a greed-based system we get the pencil. Then we live through decades of slightly better and cheaper pencils. Then we go through the era of slightly better and cheaper pens. Eventually comes the era of ever slightly better and cheaper tablets and cell phones. We pay for each of them. What marvels could we have from all these wasted resources? What miracles of technology could we use daily, if we applied the resources and patents to create a top-quality hi-tech products regardless of money and shared them? I'd say it would spare us most of the resources. This is how money slow down the development, we have to pay for every step we make. It's a good thing to put a price on our steps when we don't know where are we going, but now we've become hamsters running in a monetary treadmill, who get nowhere.

In terms of electric circuit, how do we call the situation where the energy from the + pole gets directly to the - pole, going around all the appliances that we want it to go through and work?
We call it short circuit. Our planet is shorted and the flames of wars are the sparks and arcs that a shorted electric device makes before it explodes.

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27-01-2013, 11:26 AM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2013 11:30 AM by Zat.)
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
Luminon. I love your picturesque analogies and metaphors.

It puts the issue in a framework that may be more accessible to most people -- more than my strictly cerebral analysis.

Maybe between the two of us we will make sense to a few more people?

Anyway, there is another aspect of the same issue here, and you touched on it several times, but I have another rant that directly addresses it:

I assume everyone is familiar with the old debate about our ‘Needs’ versus ‘Wants’.

It is important to differentiate our needs from our wants. I define ‘Needs’ as those requirements commonly identified with survival of the individual as a healthy (both physically and mentally) self-aware biological entity living in a society of his own species.

I define ‘Wants’ as those requirements that are not essential for survival—they are mere luxuries that can enhance one’s zest for life, the flavor of one’s existence, but there would be no serious negative consequence to life and health if they were denied.

Of course, I realize that I just opened a can of worms. You pick a hundred human beings and you get a hundred different answers as to where to draw the line between needs and wants . It is impossible to come up with a sharply drawn boundary. It is also unnecessary (I remember reading about a mother who used a drug-store precision scale to divide a chocolate bar exactly equally for her two children). There are a number of things on which everyone can readily agree. We can say that food is a need and a diamond necklace is a want.

In a functioning society based on organized production, we have no difficulty describing food, housing, clothing, medical help, education, transportation and communication as needs. Luxury yachts, ten rooms per person mansions, gold serving dishes, half-million-dollar cars, etc would be described by most people as mere wants.

So, if we start out at the extremes and proceed systematically towards the middle, somewhere in a zone of not-being-quite-sure-any-more, we can draw our line arbitrarily.

We don’t have to quibble. As far as I am concerned, we can draw the line anywhere in that zone. We would have made enormous progress.

If I try to make a list of my own basic needs, I come up with the following:

Personal needs
: Food, Clothes, Home, Energy, Medical help, Meaningful work, Exercise, Sleep, Rest, Privacy, Play, Beauty, Spirituality, Nature, Animals. Social needs: Mate, Family, Friends, Community, Transportation, Communication, Education, Entertainment, Justice, Interdependence.

I am sure I missed a few but I believe that all my really essential needs are there.

If I had a life that satisfied all these needs in balance and harmony, I know I would be a contented person. And it is very important to differentiate between ‘contended’ and ‘happy’.

We often feel happy when we are excited, thrilled, having a ‘high’ of some form. This feeling ‘high’ can be stimulated by artificial means (like drugs, alcohol, sky-diving, etc.) that are not real needs.

And the consumerist capitalistic system cashes in on this artificial addiction to ‘excitement’ and ‘thrills’. Not only cashes in, but actively promoting it via TV and other media ads.

I think it is important to satisfy our needs in a good balance. Most people have a lot of some and almost nothing of others.

Many have almost no meaningful work, even though they spend most of their time at a place where they are supposed to have lots. They have practically no time for exercise, play, beauty, spiritual experiences.
Many also don’t have any really close friends; no community to speak of, hardly any time for education and entertainment. This isn’t the life most people would choose.

Our lives are shaped more by convention, social pressure, inertia and accidents than by intelligent planning.
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26-03-2013, 05:46 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
I decided to bump up this thread because I was referencing it frequently recently and it will be easier for people to find this way.
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