Search This Blog

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Race For the Bottom

The midterm election is right around the corner.  We have the weekend to cram for the test on Tuesday.  Who is the “right” choice for each of the positions?  Do we really even have a “right” choice?  Frankly, I feel that my choices in most cases are between Ren or Stimpy.  Who gives a crap?  The people we get as leaders are the product of a broken system.

Studies show that, for the most part, money wins elections.  Money comes from rich people.  Rich people get to control the government. Period.  The rest of us, who may donate an occasional $100 to our favorite candidate, get whatever table scraps the rich decide to leave us.  As I have said in other posts, the solution to this problem is public funding of elections.  We fund roads.  Why not our leaders?  And, since the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are “people,” all we need to do is put a $1,000 limit on individual donations and corporations would suddenly have no more power than some middle class schmuck who decides to go all in.

Getting good leaders is only the beginning of our problems.  Our new global economic system is on a collision course with bankruptcy.  Technology, one of the biggest drivers of the new economy is quickly putting more and more people out of work.  This means that people who control fixed assets (the technology) will accumulate increasing amounts of wealth, while more and more people struggle to find a means of participating in non-charitable economic activity.

There are only a few likely endings for the current trajectory:

1.  Revolution – people have told me that this is unlikely because Americans don’t have the balls.  To this I say, “who said the revolution has to start in America?”  History shows revolutions can be started by seemingly random events.
2.  Fundamental System Change – what if our leaders actually pull it together and create a new economic system which effectively serves everyone?

I’m rooting for #2 because #1 would be very messy and generally unpleasant.  I guess I must be an optimist or something, but I think we can change.  Yes, it will take widespread suffering – that’s just the nature of our species.

If we managed the planet a bit more scientifically, we could figure out how to allocate resources to ensure EVERYONE on the planet was able to enjoy a modest living free from disease and starvation.  If we turn out to be real cleaver, we could even figure out how to give everyone a turn at enjoying some of the finer things in life like cruising on a yacht or sitting on a beach in Hawaii or smoking a Cuban cigar.

As our technology continues to improve our lives, why not let it improve ALL of our lives?  I know this sounds farfetched for humans.  But, we cannot think of the world as it is now.  “Now,” is fleeting.  The future is coming at us faster and faster (exponentially faster to be specific).  In only a few years time, technology will be solving more problems faster than anyone could have imagined even 10 years ago.

Ultimately, it will be our leaders who will need to guide us into this brave new future.  I don’t like any of the current line-up.  They look and sound like last year’s team – losers, all of them – the best a broken system can produce.  As I’m fond of repeating, “people get the government they deserve.”  Until “we, the people” have the will to force our system to produce bold leaders who are willing to take the political risks necessary to do what needs to be done, we will have to choose between Oopsie or Bozo.

No comments:

Post a Comment