Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gross National Happiness

A fundamental phase shift hangs in the balance. Until recently, it has been thought that those whose souls are a bottomless pit, who are most competitive in means, should never stop expending resources to acquire wealth and power. They have been so conditioned that, unless and until sufficiently constrained or taxed, they absolutely will not stop until they have converted earth and humanity into something perhaps not even they would desire. Such people abide. It becomes insane or suicidal to ignore them. Their need to reduce other people to have to obey or work for them is insatiable. They will come to own, control, regulate, and entitle all land, resources, jobs, and laws. There will come no choice but to pay them obeisance and to work for them. Likewise, they will come to have no choice but to compete against, or work for, others like themselves. That end is their highest calling. That is, unless society learns better ways for recognizing sociopaths and hollow souls and for availing general distribution of liberty and opportunity. Perhaps society will learn to establish limits against hollow sociopaths by deploying progressive taxes on consumption in order gradually to fetter and bound incentives. Until then, the problem is this: How can or should society balance incentives for those who are irretrievably pointed towards reducing all of nature to understanding and control? Alternatively stated, how can humanity overcome ignorance and poverty, without chaining the collective to abject control under corporate chiefs?
A time approaches when populations will be reduced, and a system of machines and technology may be established such that no one need do much manual work in order to provide for most of his or society's basic needs and wants. A time approaches when most productive work will be done only by the very most technologically and scientifically skilled. Most others will be considered "useless eaters." Much of wealth and power will be agglomerated through inheritance. Merit will be redefined to equate, in main, to having been born into a rich and connected family, class, or situation. Then, unless society becomes dehumanized, those born into less fortuitous circumstances will need to be provided for. How shall they "earn" their basic keep? Shall they become the new class of sacred cows? Shall they be paid X dollars for living, breathing, eating, learning, consuming, and procreating? Shall municipalities finance competitive sports for digging and refilling holes? In main, shall further economic growth be stopped? Shall a new measure of economic health be adopted, such as gross national happiness (GNH), instead of gross national product? Then, who shall define GNH and administer the means of persuading and assimilating us to it? By what star shall they be guided?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To the dull witted, a sharpie can make the utmost of sociopathy sound principled. The apex of rationalizations is natural selection of the most cunningly devious. (Of course, such argument ignores that groups and societies also evolve.) I could follow a principled defense of free enterprise. One that respected dependency upon preserving a representative republic and also preserving its foundation, a well informed and assimilated citizenry. One that respected our need to protect against the unimpeded rise of aristocracies of inherited wealth. One that respected our need to constrain domestic corporations from working with international associates to cannibalize and sell out the foundation of America. One that impeded agglomerations of centralizing authority.

However, I don't see much defense of principled capitalism. Instead, I see advocates for: wide open "free" trade; "earning" wealth by crony dealings; abolition of all death taxes; and greasing the way for absolute wealth to acquire absolute power in the service of absolute corruption. So no, I don't respect snake talk, crocodile tears, or advocacy for treasonous capitalism. I trust advocates for pure capitalism about as much as I trust advocates for pure socialism. About as much as I trust Buffett saying: increase my income taxes (but don't touch my foundations or wealth).

Why do hollow-souled cronies who're fundamentally disloyal to America presume to talk to the rest of us like we're idiots? Answer: Because they own and operate the institutional means of persuasion, and, let's face it, there're a lot of idiots. America's dilemma is not choosing between socialism and capitalism, for we have neither. What we have is all significant institutions being owned and operated by cronies, i.e., cronyism. Bickering about the relative merits of socialsm versus capitalism is mere diversion, to cover the operation behind the curtain. Until the middle class evolves and assimilates to the purpose of restoring the ideal of America, this crony state of affairs will not improve. Instead, we will continue in perpetuity to be stirred by bread and circuses, trying to make common cause with crocs and snakes.