We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
– Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)
And yet we do. In general, the economic system practised in western countries follows the thinking of Adam Smith.
Smith said that the free market system where the wealthy are allowed to invest and make money to their hearts’ content was the best system of capitalism. As the rich got richer, the poor would benefit because they would be needed to participate in a system that needed everyone to function. Tax moneys would be available for those who couldn’t function comfortably.
Though no one was expected to compete on an equal footing with the rich, there would be equality among the general population because everyone would believe in the values of the system.
Happiness would be a natural benefit of Adam’s economy because everyone would have enough money to do whatever they wanted. The pursuit of happiness was, in effect, the pursuit of money.
Unfettered capitalism has at its core the exploitation of greed. The greedier people are, the greater the chance that they will work hard to earn the money they want to make themselves happy by buying what they need and what they want. Those whose lives are less captured by greed would work less but still have enough to meet their more limited needs.
So how have we done? We don’t have equality, as Smith promised, as most members of minorities will attest. That includes inequality for women who have to fight in many workplaces for equal pay for equal work.
People have the opportunity to work to earn a living. But some cannot work or cannot find work because they have problems that were created in the rush to get children brainwashed with the industrial curriculum that preaches that hard work and intellectual adaptation are the means to success in the working world. They “fell through the cracks.”
We have come to accept that the homeless will always be with us, even in cities where nighttime temperatures go far below the freezing mark in winter and the homeless can’t get social assistance because they do not have a permanent address. The homeless are the most obvious signs of the failure of the system.
Everyone still seeks happiness, but so many do without it that they are no longer certain what happiness is. They seek it in thrills and prescribed and illegal substances as well as other forms of activities that can become addictive. Happiness has not visited capitalist societies, let alone come to stay.
The gap between the rich and the poor has widened so that the two sides no longer recognize each other. The once mighty middle class dwindles as it separates into the two options as some get richer and others lose their jobs, their families, their self respect and their grasp on life.
But the rich are delighted at what capitalism has given them. They are richer than any previous generation, they control the advertising that teaches everything from morality to fashion, governments pass laws that make their fondest business wishes come true and children consider few other options than conforming to the dictates of industry as to how a society should be run.
Even our societal morality is that of industry, not of religion as in the past.
It is not the purpose of this article to offer up a solution that will be open to criticism by those whose fondest wish is to kowtow to industry. Rather it is to point out that the out of control capitalist system continues to function and gain more power because school curricula teach exactly what industry wants kids to know to become industrial workers within a few years.
The first step is not to think about how to change. The first step is to accept that change is needed.
The process of change can only begin what it will be most effective, in the teaching of children. Those children will within a few years be leaders of industry or followers of its demands.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, striving to show not just the degree of decay in western society but to offer solutions that are workable and will not cause revolution in any country.
Learn more at http://billallin.com