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A 21st Century Social System

Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:52 pm

Social systems are in need of systemic change. That need predominantly stems from the decentralizing nature of electronic technologies, which goes against the grain of traditional bureaucratic centralized power structures.

Perhaps the most important change has been in the control of information. By collecting and publishing supposedly privileged information of the powers-that-be Wikileaks reveals their questionable machinations and vigorously kicks at their pedestals.

But there are dangers here. How Wikileaks might choose to wield it's power could become an issue. Also, the threatened institutions of power might react with more and more big brother police-state tactics.

Also, electronic tech can serve to exacerbate our social ills rather than assist in finding cures for them.

The Twitterverse of social/politic/economic matters, for instance, does not promote the kind of rational discussion we might benefit from but rather promotes the morass of extreme factionalization.

There used to be a rule for social gatherings way back when that said, don’t talk about politics and religion. That was how you kept things civil. Twitter demonstrates how sensible that rule was. Such talk can quickly become overheated, irrational, uncivil.

The tweeters are all operating with this mindset - The way I see things is the only correct way of seeing things. And no one can tell me any different. Any challengers that disagree will be blocked.

We see that same mindset or mind-less set in politics. All political parties believe they have the solution to all the problems our societies are beset with. That is delusional. There is no political party that represents everyone. So, none can even begin to address the most critical problem of all. Namely, polarization.

A multi-party system is not the answer. Such systems have been installed in many countries for many decades and have not proven to be any better at creating optimal conditions for their societies than a two-party system.

Political parties are dinosaurs. In their death throes they thrash about and stridently attempt to convince us of their relevance. But they are woefully out of place in their insistence on maintaining a hierarchal centralized power structure. They are out of sync with a social body whose ubiquitous technologies call for decentralization in all aspects of society.

So, creating a social system that removes the need for political parties is obviously the best way to go.

It would be the only way to bridge our social divides. Divides of wealth and power, red state/blue state and the racial divides.

Solving the first one would go a long way in solving the others. And the way to go about solving the divides of wealth and power would be to decentralize the financial system.

Bitcoin Blockchain are what the digital world is all about, decentralization.

Money.

It may not be everything but everything is money. You can’t have anything without it. Money is food shelter, clothing, transportation, recreation etc. And money is the one common denominator in a social body. It’s the means by which we survive. Money connects with our instinct for survival, for self-preservation. That’s why we never seem to have enough no matter how much we have. How do you quantify survival? How can you have enough survival?

Anyway, here’s a vision of things that is genuinely revolutionary. I call it Organix.

A society, a social system, requires universal recognition of its fundamental properties in order to generate and sustain a necessary coherence. If everyone in a given society does not have an organic sense of belonging to the same society as everyone else then that society is a failure. That does not mean that everyone must be the same or totally equal in every way. It means that inequalities would not be so extreme. Income and wealth inequality, for instance, would look like a trapezoid rather than a triangle. Which means that wealth at the top would be much less concentrated than it is now and the difference between top tier and bottom would be less extreme.

In order to achieve such an arrangement drastic revolutionary changes must be made in our social systems. Changes that promote social and economic justice wherein everyone will have the opportunity to engage in the pursuit of happiness as they perceive it - the opportunity to have the life that one envisions for oneself.

The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few, as we all know, does not lend itself to social and economic justice. And as we saw in 2008 a few bankers in an irresponsible pursuit of there own unchecked self-interest brought the world to the brink of disaster.
The banker’s self-interest was unchecked with respect to a collective-interest. Indeed, it seems that self-interest is the culprit in all such crises, past and present.

Now, self-interest is an attribute of capitalism and collective-interest is identified with socialism and we think of them as diametrically opposed to one another. Self-interest is considered by many to be a bad thing in and of itself. But it isn’t. It’s all a matter of how it’s directed. For example, self-interest during our primitive existence is what accounted for the formation of close knit groups, collectives, where individuals put the solidarity of the tribe above themselves. It was self-interest in one’s own survival that bound individuals together and formed a collective-tribal-interest. Surviving in the wild on one’s own was not an option. Belonging to a tribe exponentially increased one’s chances of survival. It was also in one’s self-interest to contribute to the tribe’s well-being, to see to it that it was as harmonious as possible. A tribe in optimum condition was much more likely to survive and that, again, benefited each and every individual’s self-interest because their survival depended upon the collective condition of the tribe. So, individual self-interest creates collective-interest and they operate as a dynamic.

The very same self-interest/collective-interest dynamic is a fundamental aspect of modern societies as well.
Although in our minds self-interest and collective-interest are separate, opposite and in conflict with one another, as the former is associated with capitalism and the latter with socialism, they are in fact always intertwined. It is plain for everyone to see that it is in everyone’s self-interest to be part of various collectives of one sort or another be it a family, school, club, business, gang, community, etc. Forming and being part of collectives is in the self-interest of everyone because that is how everyone’s self-interest can best be realized. One participates, then, in the maintenance of collective organizations as a means of fulfilling one’s self-interest while it is in the interest of the collective to allow individuals to pursue their own self-interest, which includes maintaining the collective-interest.

A business, for instance, is a collective made up of individuals all with a self-interest to contribute to the ongoing success of the business, to keep it profitable. Work then is performed to benefit the collective which in turn benefits everyone’s self-interest in making money.
One’s self-interest is never pursued in an absolutely free state. It is amended and given relevance by the collectives one finds it necessary to belong to. But sometimes the collectives that individuals belong to, like Enron, Countrywide, Bear Sterns and the like operate in an isolated insular way only interested in generating profit for themselves. These collective entities believed they were pursuing their self-interest with their shady money making schemes but as they eventually find out they were actually working against self-interest. They behaved like cancerous tumors seeking their own growth at the expense of the whole corporate well-being. The tumors metastasized, the cancer spread and they were severely compromised.
A full realization and understanding of the self-interest/collective-interest dynamic on the part of each and every individual would be a positive step toward weaving a sound socioeconomic fabric in which everyone could put their trust.

With this in mind we need to rethink and redesign the whole system where the government, the economy, the banking industry, the media and the citizenry form as seamless a social fabric as possible.

We need to define the terms, create the framework and lay out a blueprint for the radical changes necessary to govern effectively and do business in the 21st Century.

First and foremost we need to focus on the fundamentals and then focus on them some more and then keep focusing on them.
Fundamentals like money. We need to know and have a firm grasp of what money’s purpose is in a social body. Generally speaking the purpose of money is to energize the work that needs to be done to create and maintain a healthy vigorous social body.

Money also plays into the self-interest/collective-interest dynamic.

Collective interest is created out of a universal self-interest - the interest to survive. Everyone has an interest in their own survival. In order to survive in a modern society one needs to acquire money, one way or another. This results in the creation of employers and employees, which form collectives – businesses - wherein one’s self-interest in making money can be realized as can the interests of the business.

There is also a self and collective interest to have a system for the purpose of handling money. That would, of course, be a banking system whose role would be, among other things, to facilitate the operation of the economic system.

The socioeconomic system now in place is top heavy, convoluted, disconnected and generally obsolete.

Take, for instance, the way money from the private sector is pooled for the benefit of the collective-interest. The pooling of money to serve the collective interest is, of course, in every one’s self-interest. For example, if some disaster befalls a particular area we all want to know that funds will be available for assistance. The pooling of money is now the purview of governments that have the power to tax. So, part of the money that is made in the private sector by individuals and businesses and in the pubic sector by government workers is collected, in the US for instance, by the IRS and then the congress decides how to redistribute it.

The whole rigmarole of taxation and redistribution is a bureaucratic nightmare that is all too expensive. The power to tax lends itself to abuse and it can never seem to be wielded in a judicious manner.

So, although a society needs to pool its money for its collective-interest it need not be accomplished through government’s power to tax.
Another way of pooling a society’s money will be submitted here a little further on. There is, as we shall see, a way of doing this that would have everyone paying their fair share and have appropriate funds readily accessible whenever and wherever they were needed.

But first let’s look at the circulation of money in the private sector. In the system now in place money starts its journey from the upper echelons of the federal apparatus and banking industry from where it finds its trickle down way to the rest of us. And when things are good this is supposed to be a boon to everyone. As Ronald Reagan claimed, “A rising tide raises all boats.” But somehow it doesn’t seem to work out that way. I guess not everyone can afford to own a boat. Like the tax system, the manner in which money is circulated lends itself to abuse, is not judicious and is inefficient.

In designing a socioeconomic system we can take a lesson from the composition of everything else in existence. Every macro system is composed of micro bits. Everything is built by connecting small discrete bits together to form a macrocosm. The microcosm fashions the macrocosm - from infinitesimal quantum particles to the gigantic universe - from hydrogen atoms to enormous galaxies - the whole biosphere is made possible by minuscule molecules of DNA – life forms are made up of microscopic cells - buildings are built brick by brick, nail by nail, rivet by rivet. And this how a socioeconomic system should also be created and maintained. That is, built up from localities – communities, neighborhoods, towns, villages. So, the idea is to, first and foremost, support and secure the foundation of a social system and then go on from there.

The circulation of money, then, would begin at the local level. Local banks, then, would begin the process of distributing the money supply throughout the whole system. The money would be supplied by the system’s “reserve”. Initially, the local banks would, of course, invest in their own communities in both the private and public sectors. Through sound banking practices local economies prosper and this adds to the banks’ value and their ability to borrow more money from the reserve. The local banks would use “extra” reserves to fund a county bank to handle larger investments in the area.
County banks would actually be comprised of local banks and they would invest in the larger projects that would benefit the operation of the localities. County banks would be dependent on local banks for funding and, so, could not take on any projects without approval from localities.

The county banks would, similarly, create state banks, state banks regional banks and the regionals a national bank. Local banks would have to have confidence in all the various banking terminals from the county to the national. The confidence level would determine the amount of capital local banks would invest in county banks, state banks and the rest. Local banks would control the money supply throughout the system. Thus the financial system would not stray very far from its foundation.

The banking system would be a hybrid of public and private entities. Banks would be owned by the public. Not owned by government but owned by the people while they would be run by private individuals. Any profit to be made on behalf of the banks would come from honoring the peoples’ banking charter to maintain a healthy vigorous economy.

The social dynamic of self-interest/collective-interest also demands other services that need to be fulfilled by a system of government.
Government, however, would not have the power to tax. The public sector would be allocated funds by private citizens and businesses, via the banking system. The scope of government would be determined by whatever is deemed necessary by those in the private sector. That is, government would provide only those services deemed necessary by the people.

The government per se would have nothing to do with the collection and allocation of money. Whatever government was deemed necessary to support and integrate the system would receive the appropriate funds with which to operate efficiently. Such funds would amount to a share of the wealth generated by the economy to be allocated to government as required with respect to particular circumstances.

A good image to illustrate this system would be to imagine the whole society afloat on a national collective pool of money. The total deposits of each and every bank would create this pool. That is, all the money in every individual account and every business account would contribute to the collective reservoir of funds. Everyone would contribute virtually all of their resources to the pool, which is as fair as possible, and everyone would benefit from the public works that would be funded from the pool. Again, the role of government would be determined by we the people. So, people would have a healthy tension between spending their money on necessary public sector functions while holding on to as much of their money as possible. A conflict of two self-interests in the need for essential government and conserving one’s personal resources.

One way to do this would be for governments (local, state, regional and national) to submit their budgets to the banking system for consideration by the people. Individuals would be able to accept the proposed budget fully or partially. If partially one would modify the budget as desired and if there were enough similar moderations the budget would be appropriately updated. Businesses would not have any say whatsoever in drafting a budget. They would still be able to lobby government officials but there would not be any money involved in those efforts. When a budget is approved by the people the bank accounts of individuals and businesses would be charged a given percentage of their total deposits. That is, banks would compare the amount of the budgets with deposits on hand and arrive at what percentage of their deposits would be needed to meet budget requirements.

So, everyone, individuals and businesses, contributes equally. In this vision of things everything flattens out floating on the pool. No higher and lower, only different perspectives and roles.

Banks would be pivotal to this symbiosis. Government, business people and bankers would gather together to decide how available funds should be used in order to serve their mutual interests which must be kept in synch with the interests of the entire community as well. Bankers and businessmen would want to keep at a minimum the funds needed for government so it would not be a drain on the economy. On the other hand they would also have an interest in things being governed effectively in order to facilitate social and economic activity.

Every dollar spent for government would need to have real value to the whole community in making a vital contribution to society’s proficiency as a synergistic unit. One way to keep government limited would be for the banking industry, business and individuals to play by the rules, to effectively police themselves . The private sector would not have to spend a lot of money in lobbying efforts or contribute large sums to political campaign funds in seeking advantageous legislation and tax breaks. This would add to their value and free up resources for investment, research and development. Also government would not have the ability to bailout any businesses that got into trouble but it would have the ability to penalize businesses that misbehaved with hefty fines. So, a culture of self-regulation would be seen as advantageous in the private sector.

sykochica
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Re: A 21st Century Social System

Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:40 am

Wow. This really is phenomenal! I still have to finish reading the last parts but I just couldn't not respond.

You raise fascinating and valid points such as the trend towards decentralization and how that is mutually exclusive with how the 'state' currently runs. It seems their normal argument revolves around a 'because I told you to' sort of argument instead of actually getting people to buy-in themselves.

I am concerned/interested in the point you mentioned with Wikileaks putting out 'privileged information,' giving the state arguments and motivation to lock things down even further. Things that lead to dystopian 'big brothers' always seem to start with some on the surface argument of 'we are doing this for you own good, trust us!'

It's really quite sad that the general population sees and desensitizes themselves to a great deal of the advertising they're presented with each day, yet extending this same analysis to mass media, politicians and/or others doesn't seem to be happening. This means that they are aware enough to know when their being handed framed (i.e. BS) arguments on why they need a product or service but not in the sense of group policy.

While I'm personally open to lots of ideas on how a social structure should ideally be set up (even if it's just for the node that I am a part of,) I ultimately want to be around and work with people that don't always need to be told what to do. Personal growth and progress come from each person figuring this answer out for themselves, while able to respect the answers of others.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll have more in mind to respond with when I get the rest of this complete and digested, it really is a brilliant piece of writing.

sykochica
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Re: A 21st Century Social System

Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:20 am

Again this is just phenomenal and in depth.

I completely agree in the need of balancing and/or finding the win/win between self and collective interest. It really seems like so many people I've come across include very few people in their 'collective' circle, usually family, some friends, etc. I will say that while it's easier for some to view their jobs and businesses that employ them into that 'collective circle,' I do fear that there are quite a few who do not. These workers are there to do a job and collect a paycheck, with the focus on family and friends. While I don't fault them for doing this, I do see it as an impediment in progressing society as a whole. I'd be curious if you had ideas for things like ability of more ideal job placement/opportunities or some way to business to find a way into that 'collective circle' of the worker?

The idea on the bottom up banking system was very interesting. I'd not thought much on the effects of turning the current top down on its head. But it makes sense though..the community knows what it needed and more impactful than any one else. While I do like the idea of letting the banks and business handle more on their own, I'm curious what checks on them there could be. With the idea being to remove the high level government as much as possible...what recourse might the people or some other group have if/when major wrong doing or exploitation occurred? (Greed is always a tough trait to squash out.) Seeing some of what went on in the early 20th century I'm always a little hesitant to trust completely in certain institutions, but given time and transparency I could see that changing.

Lastly, you talked about community involvement i decision making which I'm assuming would include some form of debate/lobbying and probably a vote. It made me think how with the advent of our technology, that we don't have the ability to just cast our ballots on our cell phone! While scary in many aspects (random voting, security, etc.) I would imagine a huge rise in voter turnout. Lol

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Re: A 21st Century Social System

Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:48 am

Excellent comments and questions. Much appreciated.

I hope the following will address some of your concerns.

If the circulation of money was initiated through local banks and the role of money was to specifically energize the work needed to be done to provide the goods and services necessary to maintain a vibrant robust economy in each and every locality… Well, this would go a long way in solving most of our current social ills.

It’s like the circulation of blood in our bodies wherein each and every cell is provided with all that it needs to maintain its well being, which translates to the well being of the whole organism created by those very cells.

Same with a social body. If every locality has the wherewithal to provide for its own well-being the whole society formed from those localities would be in good shape.

As it is now, the prevalent social dynamic is one in which members of particular associations tend to regard their group's survival as paramount over recognizing and maintaining their proper place within the overall scheme of things. Examples of such behavior are rampant and indulged in by whatever kind of association one can think of be it a government agency, a business, a political party, a street gang, etc. We have, for instance, quasi-religious groups, either godly or secular, tearing at each others throats to secure the high moral ground as their exclusive territory. Right-to-life vs Pro-choice, for instance. And political parties who contend that their ideology provides the only worthwhile perception and, thus, forego the possibility of forging the supervision necessary for more effective governance. We have bureaucracies like Health and Human Services, better known as Welfare, which exacerbated the very conditions they were formed to alleviate so as to ensure the agency's survival at the expense of those they're suppose to serve. We have street gangs like the Crips and Bloods which are, perhaps, the most brutal manifestations of this pathologically insular mindset but they are merely conforming to the behavior of the society at large, i.e., their associations are the only ones that matter. And we have the media providing the asylum where all this pathology becomes institutionalized.

Competing factions, such as Right-to-life vs Pro-choice, the Crips vs the Bloods and such, can serve to check one another so that neither side will become all powerful but what cannot be checked is the continuing deterioration of the social fabric these contentious groups cause.

It seems like all of our institutions lack a sense of propriety in managing themselves in relation to other institutions and to the overall social organism to which they all belong. Without this holistic sense of things it is, of course, impossible to create and maintain a wholesome social/political system wherein all organs can achieve their proper goals while at the same time contribute to the health and well being of the whole society as they go about their business. With a sense of social propriety a symbiotic confluence of all participating entities can be created that promotes particular and overall conditions of synergistic vitality. This is what all groups and individuals need to be interested in promoting in spite of their differences. This would make it possible for everyone to contribute to the integrity of the whole social organism while at the same time serving their own self-interests as well.

Is this an unrealistic ideal? All ideals are by definition unrealistic. They are unreachable goals worth striving to approximate. The ideal is to keep trying to get as close to the ideal as possible.

The merging of self-interest and common interest, however, is not some abstract alien idea which needs to be artificially imposed upon people, it is in our natures to be so oriented. The individual members of primitive tribes work for the welfare of the tribe because it is vitally connected to their own self-interest. In our more advanced societies we have individuals working for the common interest of various associations, or “tribes”, which are extensions of their self-interest, be it a business, a political party, a religious sect, etc. And, though, one may also believe that one is working for the betterment of the whole society through one's associations, this does not always prove to be the case. A business can provide products and jobs but be harmful to the environment. Political parties in seeking their own advantage can interfere with establishing and promoting optimum social conditions. Religious leaders who insist that their beliefs should be the law of the land create conflicts in society which threaten the ongoing cohesion of the overall community to which they belong and which is based upon religious freedom and separation of church and state. So, we can lose sight of the larger picture as we become overly obsessed with our own peephole view of the world. The question for society is how to manage and contain all its various groups in a coherent form.

Soviet communism attempted this through coercion from the top. The State had absolute power to create the perfect society, a worker's paradise, and it botched the job. Attempting to micromanage a society from the top down is a flagrant violation of the nature of things. A macrocosm cannot create the microcosm. The microcosm creates the macrocosm. This is the natural condition of things and applicable to social organisms as well as any other structure. Trying to form a society the other way, from the top down, makes for unwieldy top heavy structures that are impossible to balance and eventually must fall apart for that very reason. The social structure of the United States is much too top heavy and seems not to have any interest or ability to maintain a balanced state of affairs. There is a lot of checking and finger pointing going on but nothing much to promote balance.

Proportion and symmetry are part and parcel of the concept of balance and these three elements might serve us better as societal goals than do the concepts of justice, equality and liberty. Of course, balance, proportion and symmetry do not have the seductive power of the concepts of justice, equality and liberty but without the former principles in view the latter ones are mere mirages that torment us with continual disillusionment. But, again, balance, proportion and symmetry can only be achieved by allowing the microcosm to form the macrocosm as in the balance, proportion and symmetry achieved through anatomical organization.

Again, comparing the dynamics of the human anatomy to the social organism can serve to shed some light on the subject. In imagining the body politic of the United States as a human body the federal government would its brain. As such, it is presently seen as an enormous monstrosity, grotesquely out of proportion to the social body that struggles to support it. It is a brain riddled with tumorous bureaucracies, all swollen out in cancerous profusion that consider themselves to be the whole purpose of the society they feed upon. They consider their existence to be vitally important. More so than the vitality of the whole organism. Nothing should happen unless it is first processed through their corridors. This would be comparable to an individual, who, through some weird genetic program, designed a brain to micromanage every detail of one's bodily functions while catastrophically interfering with the body's necessary autonomous activity in the process.

The role of the brain in one's body is to coordinate, synchronize and modify certain bodily conditions by being constantly alert and immediately and accurately responsive to them via the body's nervous system. The messages to, from and within the brain must be handled swiftly and efficiently in order to maintain a healthy condition throughout the body. If, however, as it is with the most governments, communications are forced to slither around cancerous labyrinths oozing out ineffectual, contradictory, counterproductive signals then the condition is one of ill health. The brain is at odds with itself and is unable to function as a coordinated coordinating unit.

Now, this is not a prelude to a conservative harangue about the need for less government. No. Arguments for more or less government tend to obscure and distract from the rationale of establishing and maintaining a government proportionate to the body it is part of. Which must now and always be the desired objective.

For this objective to be realized the government, of course, must change. Not just in the perennial transition of power, which is a meaningless exercise for entrenched bureaucracies. Not just in terms of cosmetic change but in terms of a complete dismantling and re-creation of all the organs of the body politic on an on going basis. That is, continually, periodically taking our institutions apart and putting them back together again, forming and reforming them constantly in ways best suited to deal with the ever changing social configurations that have been consistently outmaneuvering our mis-shapen, overweight body politic for decades.

Changes need to be made in government similar to those which have been and are being made in business. Namely, the transformation of linear, hierarchical bureaucratic dinosaurs into spatial arrangements of small, discrete, fleet of foot components able to respond and transform themselves as volatile social, economic and environmental conditions require.

As we have seen, it is the natural order of things to develop up from the microcosm to the macrocosm. Indeed, everything is created in like manner. The complex intricacy of the human body is formed and maintained through the autonomous networking of individual cells. So, a system of small integrated components is what we should be looking at for the creation of a social organism. That is, a society made up of a network of autonomous communities forming from within themselves all the political, social and economic organs needed for their own particular situations while at the same time creating out of themselves the larger body politic in which they would all be incorporated.

Communities, then, would function as centers unto themselves with respect to their associations with other communities and to the society at large as well. The communities would form out of themselves a county government made up of an individual representative from each community. This same process would be repeated at the county level with counties networking to form a state apparatus, and so on and so forth for regional and national levels of government. The microcosm forms the macrocosm congruous to the contours of the microcosm and therefore prevents the macrocosm from becoming something alien to the microcosm.

All levels of government, in realtime communication with one another, could contribute what timely input each had to offer from their particular vantage point in regard to a given situation and decide among themselves how best to handle it. Generally speaking, it would be incumbent upon local levels to resolve their own problems. When this would not be possible, however, the matter would be relegated to the next level and so on until some satisfactory solution was formulated. Lines of authority would not be altogether fixed but would be commensurate to the value of the input one had to offer in an ongoing process of checks and balances throughout the system. A kind of adhocracy.

So, if a problem was irreconcilable at a local level authority would be given to the next level to impose a solution. However, if and when the parties involved at the local level agreed to abide by a different solution arrived at among themselves, which they found preferable to the one imposed upon them by the county or other level of government, then the imposed solution could be overturned in favor of the local agreement.

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Re: A 21st Century Social System

Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:02 am

Social and economic justice has Ben unattainable for centuries for 1 simple fact: human greed.

Even in systems such as communism, human greed made something very ideal into an effective oligarchy as government officials were able to increase their social standing via illegitimate means.
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Re: A 21st Century Social System

Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:13 am

okay, so how do you think greed will manifest in the social system I've described?

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Re: A 21st Century Social System

Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:51 am

Here is a real world scenario that can serve to illustrate how the kind of social system I'm describing here might generally work.

It has to do with the polarizing factionalism that the US and other countries are afflicted by. So, we have, at the national level, party politics dominated by intransigent ideologues who line up all their ducks in a row at every step down the line and split the society in two.

A case in point was given to us in the region of Palestine where the extreme rift between its two political parties, Fatah and Hamas, had caused enormous grief for the Palestinian people. Although the two parties had expressed interest in finding common ground for the betterment of the their people they were not able to do so. Predominantly guided by conflicting ideologies the two factions continually engaged in bitter and sometimes violent clashes in their struggle for ultimate power.

In the January 2006 elections in Palestinian Hamas took control of the government winning 76 out of 132 seats in the Legislative Council that had been under the control of the Fatah party for decades. The newly installed Hamas officials throughout Palestine continued the rift between the two parties by regarding all those associated with the Fatah party as persona non grata.

However, in one particular town in the West Bank it was an entirely different story.

In the town of Beita, newly elected Mayor, Al-Sharifa, of the Hamas party, did not choose to install Hamas as the sole ruling party and disenfranchise the ousted Fatah party as pariah. Rather, he sought to enlist their aid in revitalizing the town. His priority was the welfare of the town rather than pursuing an ideological or personal agenda. So, Al-Sharif formed a working relationship with the ex-mayor of the Fatah party, Wasif Mahala.

The town council consisted of six Hamas and five Fatah members. Despite seemingly insurmountable differences between the two sides they managed to form a working coalition based upon a common interest to improve Beita's economy. And so they did. New businesses were started, infrastructure improved and the town became a model of prosperity by neutralizing ideologies and focusing on the common interest of making things better for the whole town.

The mayor also came to recognize Israel's right to exist in opposition to the strident anti-Israeli position taken by the Hamas party.

Now, if the microcosm had been allowed to form the macrocosm Beita would have had the ability to infect other towns with its spirit of fulfilling socio-economic needs by putting people before politics. As it was, however, other municipalities remained adamant about conforming to the fanaticism of the ruling Hamas party and all those associated with the Fatah party were marginalized as social outcasts.

So, the tension between the two camps intensified and eventually erupted in civil war whereby Palestine was split into two separate territories with Hamas seizing control of Gaza and Fatah the West Bank.

I think it is plain to see that Beita had the right idea by rejecting ideological fanaticism and eliciting everyone's participation in contributing to the town's development. Had municipalities throughout Palestine been freely able to follow Betia's example Palestinians would have certainly fared much better.

But such cannot happen if the macrocosm has a strangle hold on the microcosm and prevents localities from developing as fully as they might. If it was the other way around - if the microcosm could have been able to form the macrocosm - the idea of Beita could have freely spread throughout Palestine and practical pragmatic judgments about how to develop a workable society could have come to the fore.

A society that is structured to facilitate networking localities informing and instructing themselves and others about how to achieve optimum conditions would, in turn, inform and instruct the society at large in like manner. So, Palestine would have become a state that was about people putting their differences aside and working together to create a society where everyone could make a life for themselves.

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biocrat
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Re: A 21st Century Social System

Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:32 pm

Social and economic justice has Ben unattainable for centuries for 1 simple fact: human greed.

Even in systems such as communism, human greed made something very ideal into an effective oligarchy as government officials were able to increase their social standing via illegitimate means.
Generally speaking what we need to do is bring knowledge to bear on all aspects of our social/political realms. As it is now knowledge is forbidden a place at the table by the pathological myopia of ideologues. In the corporate world knowledge is subjugated to the quest of profit making. And the rest of the world is, for the most part, mesmerized by computer technology.

With respect to greed we have two ignorant camps with the one claiming greed is good and the other that it’s bad while both seem to be equally greedy for money and power.

Applying knowledge here might be somewhat enlightening.

Greed can be defined as self-interest that has no concern for collective-interest. Such unfettered self-interest can rather easily take hold of one in a society where making money is seen as the greatest achievement. Generally everyone wants to make as much money as possible. However much one might have it never seems to be enough. One always wants more.

After all money is everything. It’s how one affords to live, i.e., survive. So, it’s our survival instinct that money plugs into and there’s no way in which to quantify survival. Some might say they have enough money, especially those with limited money making ability or opportunity, but their survival instinct would jump at the chance to have more. For, isn’t it in everyone’s self-interest to amass as much money as possible to better ensure one’s survival?
Fundamentally, as everyone knows, we all operate from the standpoint of self-interest. But, in order to pursue our self-interest we must be able to recognize what truly is in our self-interest. Certainly, in the most fundamental sense, survival, self-preservation, is in our self interest. So, at the very least, we do not want to do anything to jeopardize our chances for survival. But there is always risk taking involved with the business of survival.
Taking risks is perfectly natural for most of the life forms on earth. They have to take risks in order to go on living. The very things they must do in the interest of survival threaten their survival.

A rabbit, for example, has to continually leave the safety of its burrow and expose itself to predators in order to indulge in the survival practice of eating. It is not unaware of the danger as it is ever scanning its surroundings for approaching predators as it nibbles its food. The danger the rabbit puts itself in must, of course, take a backseat to the necessity of its taking nourishment.

Survivability then is threatened by acts of survival. One cannot go about the business of surviving without putting one’s survival in jeopardy. That, of course, is no reason not to go about pursuing one’s survival.

But, then again, one has no choice in the matter. In order to live one is compelled to eat and in order to eat one must take risks.

One participates in this risk/reward arrangement by virtue of one’s own nature with respect to the natural world – it is all orchestrated by the nature of things. - and Homo Sapiens are no exception.

This state of affairs, being naturally ordained, works best in a natural setting - where all participants are held within the immediate, real-time natural scope of things. Everyone knows how to go about pursuing self-interest and everyone knows the risks involved and it is all wrapped up in a moment to moment existence.

It’s important to note that, while individuals are put at risk, the groups, colonies, tribes etc. are not. The existence of a colony of rabbits, for example, is not threatened by the necessary risk-taking on the part of its individuals. And the ratio of predators to prey assures the survival of both. Prey tend to out number predators by a large margin.

All life forms participate in this arrangement. The moment to moment behavior on the part of a primitive tribe of homo sapiens is what assured its existence in perpetuity. The future of the tribe is palpably realized through all of its momentary activities. Natural disasters notwithstanding a tribal people, confident in the pursuit of their short term self-interest, might say, “What sustains us now will sustain us in the future.”
One cannot say the same for civilizations - what sustains them now will not necessarily sustain them in the future. Indeed, what sustains them now can and does threaten their future.

Such has been the case from the onset of civilizations. The city of Ur, for example, where the very agriculture it depended upon for its existence actually sowed the seeds of its destruction.

In their civilized setting the people of Ur were not able to assess their long term self-interest in their short term survival activities with the assurance enjoyed by a primitive tribe. Being unsophisticated about the ways of farming they imagined that all it entailed was - plant seed, grow crop, harvest and consume. Ignorant in matters of soil erosion and depletion their once fertile farmland eventually became a barren wasteland and the City of Ur was no more.

The people of Ur believed they were acting in their self-interest. They were operating under the natural assumption that what sustained them in the present would go on sustaining them in the future. But, unbeknownst to them, civilizations tend to mess with the nature of things in ways that make it difficult to assess long term consequences while pursuing short term interests. Unlike the natural state of affairs, this holds true on a collective as well as an individual basis for civilizations.

Now, again, what all this comes down to is survival. And survival is, of course, uppermost in our self-interest, always was, always will be.
This was a simpler state of affairs in primitive times when basic self-interest was all about basic survival within the symbiotic arrangement of the natural world. What civilizations do in the name of their survival, in the name of their self-interest oftentimes turns out to undermine symbiosis with the natural world. For a primitive tribe it was rather obvious what their self-interest was and what had to be done to pursue it. There were, of course, dangers and risks involved in their survival activities – from predators, for instance, who posed a mortal threat to individuals.

But it was the survival of the tribe that was paramount. The tribe provided the best chance at survival for each of its individual members. Every individual knew that their survival was dependent on the tribe they belonged to and, so, they were naturally inclined to contribute in whatever ways they could to promote the ongoing welfare of the tribe as a whole. There was a natural symbiosis between the tribe and its members that knit them together as a cohesive unit. What was in the self-interest of the individual was in the interest of the tribe and vice versa.

Civilization blows that arrangement apart. Members of civilized societies are cordoned off into separate hierarchical classifications where self-interest becomes problematical. What serves the self-interest of a civilized society does not always serve the interests of individuals and vice versa.

This has to do with the differences in how one’s membership in a tribe vs a civilized society is contracted. We were compelled by the force of nature to be part of a tribe. That compulsion came from within us and in that sense it was freely chosen. And it was positively reenforced on a daily basis through the palpable benefits of belonging to one’s tribe. There was a real sense of belonging engendered in the crucible of tribal life. In a civilized society, however, one is compelled by forces outside oneself to abide by laws imposed on one by a ruling class. Laws which benefit some at the expense of others.

Contrary to a tribal situation, then, one does not always feel that one’s self-interest is benefited by the civilized society that one is forced to exist in. So, individuals do not necessarily feel themselves to be an intrinsic part of a civilized society as they once did as members of tribes.
Now, while a civilized society does serve to remove the need to attend to basic survival regimens on the part of its individual members it does not remove their survival instinct. Nor does it remove the risky business involved with survival.

Survival in civilized settings is centered around money. For the most part individuals get money by preforming specialized tasks that contribute to one enterprise or another that supposedly, in turn, contributes to the society as a whole. In other words one serves one’s self-interest by making money working in a company whose business contributes to the GDP. And that is deemed to be a boon to the survival of the society as a whole. But, just as in the City of Ur, where a farm worker was thought to be contributing to the survival of the society as a whole but was actually doing the opposite, a worker in a modern society doing a job in a particular industry that contributes to the GDP may be doing more harm than good as far as the big picture is concerned. A company that’s dumping toxic chemicals in a river, for instance.

As tribal people we could not lose sight of the big picture. It was plain to see in everything we did. But burrowed into our little civilized cubicles, engaged in our momentary industriousness, mesmerized by the tunnel vision of making money we can and do lose sight of it. And so it becomes problematic to identify what is truly in our self-interest and what is not.

Money is the one and only means of survival. Money engages our survival instinct, as individuals and as individual companies. It engages the survival instinct in a way that can isolate self-interest from the big picture. And, so, a perceived self-interest can trump everything else.

The self-interest of individuals and the individual companies they are employed by can become entwined so as to be indistinguishable. But not in the way tribal members are entwined with their tribes, where the self-interest of the one benefits the other. Within a business, for example, an individual’s self-interest can override and damage the interests of the business. And the results can be disastrous.

Inexorably engaged by a survival instinct that is riveted to the idea of making more and more money one becomes disengaged from everything else. Like reality, for instance. And so, a perceived self-interest obscures real self-interest which makes it very difficult to make sound judgments regarding risk/reward factors in the big picture.

It may be natural to downplay risks in favor of rewards but it’s downright suicidal to ignore them altogether. In the natural world becoming too engrossed in a meal advantages predators - a feeding rabbit, for instance, too slow to sense a predator. In a civilized setting ignoring risk in favor of a perceived self-interest can also have dire consequences.

Companies like Enron, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, British Petroleum BP, et al, believed that they were acting in their own self-interest while in retrospect one might think they were hell-bent on destroying themselves. They were operating with respect to a perceived self-interest that undermined real self-interest. If they had been operating with respect to the big picture their real self-interests would have been plain to see.

BP, for instance, would have been extra conscientious in seeing that all emergency safeguards were in place and functioning. Perhaps BP now has a better sense of their real self-interest. Just in terms of the financial loss it has incurred from the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico it must be evident that it would have cost far less to have had all safety devices in place and functional rather than having to contend with an out of control gusher a mile under the sea.

It might be too much to ask that BP executives be concerned for the natural environment they operate in and feel remorse at the damage they have caused to the Gulf of Mexico. For them the Gulf is there to serve their business interests.

But, again that is ignoring the big picture. Natural environments are part of the big picture and must be conscientiously considered as part of a truly enlightened and therefore real self-interest.

However, had BP merely been duly concerned with covering their own butts by having all the appropriate safeguards operational then that in turn would have served to protect the natural environment as well. Real self-interest encompasses the big picture.

And the executives at Enron, “the smartest guys in the room”, as they liked to refer to themselves, did they really think that they were operating in their own self-interest? Probably. But it was a delusional self-interest. They replaced their real self-interest with a perceived self-interest that was determined merely by high quarterly earnings, which were the result of cooking the books. They knew the earnings were not based in reality but chose to ignore reality in favor of phantom earnings. Their perceived self-interest then took precedence over their real self-interest. And this, of course, led to the catastrophic collapse of the Enron corporation. If the executives were truly self-interested they would not have been in the business of committing fraud. By operating with respect to perceived self-interest they sowed the seeds of their own destruction. If they had pursued their real self-interests they would have conducted business in a forthright manner, which would have also served the interest of their company, its shareholders, employees and customers. Real self-interest, then, serves the interests of others as well.

How can we keep self-interest coupled with collective-interest and, so, within the realm of reality?

By keeping an organic, wholesome collective-interest in play at local community settings. That is a much more realistic prospect than trying to promote it at state levels where it’s merely touted as some abstract notion of togetherness. The localities then, in a grass roots oriented social body, would infuse their enlightened configurations of self-interest/collective-interest throughout the whole social body.

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