CHAPTER 6: Vision of a New Society
As an alternative to the neo-Fascist, neo-feudal, privatized- totalitarian highly evolved capitalist society we have just pictured in Chapter 5, it is possible to envision another kind of society, the kind of society based on the principles developed in this book, a society that might be described as compassionate, democratic and socialistic. It would be a society in which political-economic power would be shared equally by all citizens. It would be a society in which both political and economic rights protected the weakest and most vulnerable individuals. It would be a society base on individual decisions and individual demands; thus the individual would be empowered. Social decisions would be tailored insofar as possible to individual tastes and preferences. It would be a society of both direct and representative political-economic democracy. Most decisions, both political and economic, would be made by means of a direct input from all or a representative sample of citizens. A representative, in some instances, might be a citizen-representative rather than an elected representative, who has been selected statistically to deal with a specific instance of public life before resuming his everyday life. Decisions would be both political decisions that would apply to the community or society as a whole at various levels and economic decisions that would apply primarily to the individual decision-maker himself and secondarily to the community as a whole.
Gerard A. Vanderhaas has written in "Christians and Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age" concerning the nature of a new society: "Those who would be specially blessed in this new kingdom would be the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, people persecuted because of righteousness."1
There would be a constitution which would be the basic theoretical sub-structure of the society which would encompass both the political and economic spheres. The concept of checks and balances would be extended to the concept of redundancy and diversity. Redundancy of function provides error correction and stability. Diversity provides a separation of powers and a multiplicity of possibilities. The constitution, in addition to setting up various legislative and judicial bodies and agencies to deal with different aspects of the society, would be a specification of the way decisions are to be made by the society and how individual decisions are to be integrated in order to make social decisions. The constitution is seen as specifying an information processing mechanism which combines individual decisions in a specific way to arrive at a high synergy social decision. The maximum utility social decision function presented in Chapter 3 would result in the greatest utility or satisfaction or happiness in the society on the political-economic level when the society is considered as a whole and, therefore, lays claim to creating the highest synergy society. It does this by organizing the political-economic life of the society in the most rational, cooperative way based on individually expressed needs and desires and guaranteeing that these individually expressed needs and desires will be realized in the most efficient way by eliminating the energy expended in individualistic, atomistic competition and integrating individual efforts to achieve the most harmonious results. Based on individual decisions, the maximum utility social decision function would organize the political and economic life of the society like a vast self-organizing system and in such a way as to realize individual values and demands. This rational organization would necessarily involve and inherently include cooperation of citizens on a grand scale. Information in the form of individual decisions would flow upward in the system and the results in terms of a social or individually-tailored social decision would flow down. The system itself does not make decisions but acts as an information processing mechanism which rationally organizes political and economic activity in accordancs with a previously established criterion which guarantees that the results are the most favorable based on individual values. In some cases the social solution may apply to everyone, the choice of a president, for example; in others there may be a large number of solutions each tailored to individually expressed needs, a work-consumption program, for example.
Thus instead of the friction engendered by a competitive system, we would have an increased productivity as a result of the optimal blending of individual energies which would then devolve back to the people as a dividend. As far as decision making is concerned, instead of the major economic decisions being made by the large scale owners of capital, the large corporations, with the small scale decisions of which products to consume being left to the vast majority of the population, decision making on all levels will be democratized with each person having one share of the decision making power. Thus insofar as is possible, and this is pretty far with the advent of the powerful information processing systems we have at our disposal, we will have a direct economic democracy rather than a representative economic democracy. Since people will be working together cooperatively instead of competing on both political and economic levels, a social life in which cooperation and goodwill are encouraged and flow naturally from the cooperative organization of work life will be possible. The social dimension would be greatly enhanced so that the ideals and goals of peace, friendship and brotherly love could be realized since the political-economic base of society would not pit man against man but instead offer mankind a way to cooperate for his own individual good and the good of all.
"Peace is more than the avoidance of killing, more than the cessation of war. Peace, as theologian Joseph Fahey has described it, involves not only a low level of physical and psychological violence, but also a high level of economic and social justice. When the structures of a country prevent some people from obtaining enough food to avoid malnutrition, adequate housing to avoid exposure, and sufficient medical care to counteract disease, the system is inflicting violence on these people."2
Government would not have power over its citizens, but would be organized for and at the service of its citizens. It would be a government of laws, including information processing laws , not of men and would be based on a sound theoretical footing. Some of the basic laws, namely the specification of the social decision function, would be algorithmic in naturei.e.they would specify a method of resolving conflict and integrating individual decisions into social decisions. In fact the competitive method for integrating individual decisions into social decisions can be seen to give rise to conflict while the use of a social decision function which is based on a criterion which is accepted as fair by all and in each individual's best interests can be seen as a method of conflict resolution. Methods of information gathering and processing would be specified.
The basic algorithms and axioms would be specified in the constitution. The constitution would correspond to the DNA which contains the basic blueprint for the organization and evolution of society. The heart of the constitution would be the social decision function which specifies how individual decisions are to be integrated into social decisions for the good of all citizens. The constitution would provide a theoretical substructure which would be a method of organization of the society-a method of organizing in which power and decision making capacity is equally distributed among the citizens so that the government itself has no power. Government itself would be a colossal servant of the people. So the state is not seen so much as withering away over time as having withered away by virtue of the fact that the real power, the power to make decisions, has been dispersed equally among its citizens. Democracy is direct and socialism is market-oriented since economic demand is individually based and economic results are individually tailored. A proliferation of individual potential results tends to blur the distinction between political results which we are used to thinking of as applicable to all and economic results which we are used to thinking of as individually tailored. Instead both political and economic outcomes may be individually tailored to a considerable extent depending upon the situation. The practicality of this arrangement has been brought about by the employment of computers to do the necessary gathering and processing of information. Politicians as we now know them will become obsolete as citizen-politicians control the society. Also both central and corporate economic planning will become obsolete as individual citizen economic planners control the economic course of society. Politicians and economists will have the function of suggesting alternatives and pointing out possibilities but the final decision making function will rest with the citizens.
Subscribing to the constitution is entering into a social contract in which an individual chooses to live under a particular constitution because he will be better off than he would be living under an alternative constitution. Individual rights, political, economic and social, will be specified in the constitution. These rights guarantee a minimal level of protection, security and well-being below which no citizen can fall. They are necessary, not to protect the individual from the arbitrary exercise of power by the government, but due to the fact that the maximum utility social decision function, since it is a generalization of majority rule, discriminates in favor of the majority, and it is therefore a possibility that some individual interests will be sacrificed in order to increase the satisfaction or utility of society as a whole. It is to redress the balance between the welfare of the majority and the welfare of the individual that individual rights are postulated. Certainly, on the economic level, providing a platform or safety net below which no one can fall, the elimination of poverty, is the most important way in which compassion is embodied in the society.
The constitution represents an embodiment of ideals on political and economic as well as social and spiritual levels. The individual economic rights are guaranteed by a redistribution of wealth from the high end to the low end of the economic spectrum. This redistribution is not only sound on the level of spiritual principles, since it represents the Christian ethic that the strong should help the weak, but it is sound on the level of societal systems theory. Viewing the society as a system, we may ask what is necessary to preserve the stability of that system? Conversely, what will make the system unstable? When money and power are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and larger and larger segments of the population are politically and economically disenfranchised, we have an unstable system just as we would if, in our own bodies, the blood started flowing through smaller and smaller regions. For an economic system to be stable, money must flow through all segments of society and not be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands just as blood must flow throughout our whole physical system for us to be healthy. The concentration of money in fewer and fewer hands can be likened to a cancer which usurps the body's resources for itself, growing out of control, with the result that other bodily systems literally starve. Just as the bodily synergy is forestalled by a cancer in one part, social synergy is forestalled when a small group usurps society's resources for itself disproportionately. When resources are redistributed from the extreme high end to the extreme low end, we not only have justice on the spiritual level but we have a system which is balanced and stable, one in which there is no glut and no starvation, one which is not subject to flying wildly out of control. The policies of the New Deal which were based on the theories of the economist, John Maynard Keynes, recognized this principle on strictly an economic level when steps were taken to put money into the hands of the lower classes so they could consume and the producers could then produce and the economy could be gotten rolling again. In order for an economy to work there has to be a circulation of money. When it stops circulating naturally (sort of an economic constipation), the money must be recirculated from high to low to get things going again. In a competitive economy the money eventualy ends up in just a few hands sort of like what happens in the board game Monopoly. At this point a depression sets in. The only thing to be done is to start a new game by redistributing the assets. Then the process can begin again anew. In order to avoid the cataclysmic events associated with this process and to keep the system stable, the redistribution and recirculation must proceed continuously and not just at the start of a new game.
There are three ways of making decisions in the new society-direct, in which everyone specifies his preference; sampled, in which a statistically representative sample is polled; and representative, in which representatives democratically elected by the populace are delegated some decision making power. Checks and balances are provided by the essential mechanism of redundancy. In communications systems theory redundancy is used to provide error correcting coding. Redundancy is stabilizing to a system because it provides a means to correct errors and a means to prevent malfunction. In human systems such as societies, redundancy provides a check upon the arbitrary excercise of power by having multiple bodies arrive at their conclusions independently. Thus either there is a consensus (when the same conclusions are reached independently) or their needs to be a compromise among the various conclusons. The people can vote democratically in confidence that the wool has not been pulled over their eyes. If one part of a redundant system malfunctions, another part takes over so that there is no interruption of function. For example, in a system which has main and auxiliary power, if the main power malfunctions, the auxiliary power kicks in automatically. Stability is also enhanced by decentralization. Decentralization and redundancy are similar in that decentralization involves several bodies operating in parallel and hence redundantly instead of a single, top-down hierarchal system in which, if one link in the chain malfunctions, the whole system malfunctions. This kind of redundancy has a self-correcting aspect. We see this kind of redundancy operating in the world today since we have many different types of societies operating more or less independently. Thus if one society comes up with a good idea, most of the other societies will also adopt it. This is more true in the technological realm than in the political-economic realm, however. If one society makes a bad mistake, this will be a lesson to the other societies who then, hopefully, will steer clear of the same mistake. The same holds true when we learn from history. We are at a point in history where East and West when seen as separate systems each contain some good ideas but are both incomplete societies. It is for this reason that a synthesis must now occur in order to integrate the best ideas of both into one coherent world society. This society would represent a step up the evolutionary ladder for mankind. The alternative to taking this next evolutionary step may very well be the destruction of the world in a nuclear holocaust.
From "The Global Brain" by Peter Russell:
"Just as matter became organized into living cells and living cells collected into multicellular organisms, so might we expect that at some stage human beings will become integrated into some form of global superorganism.
...First, this superorganism will not contain a few million individuals, as occurs with bees, ants, or birds; rather, it will be comprised of the whole human race, billions of individuals distributed over the face of the planet.
Second, in all instances of animal superorganisms there is very little individual diversity. Bee and ant colonies usually contain only two or three different types (e.g. worker bee, drone, queen bee), while in fish and bird groups all the individuals are usually identical, only temporarily taking on specific functions. Human society, however, is extremely diverse and specialized, made up of thousands of different types, each able to make his or her own particular contribution to the whole.
Third, a human social superorganism would not entail our all becoming nondescript 'cells' who have given up their individuality for some higher good. We already are cells in the various organs that compose society yet still retain considerable individuality. The shift to a social superorganism would essentially mean that society had become a more integrated living system. ...[T]his is likely to lead to greater freedom and self-expression on the part of the individual, and to an even greater diversity."3
A society which is operating as a self-organizing system according to a democratic social decision function is not functioning for some "higher good." In fact the good that is to be attained is precisely the good of enhanced individual freedom and diversity, and that is what is embodied in this mode of societal operation. The data base for the operation of the society we are proposing are the individual choices and preference ratings so that the societal mechanism is actually rooted in individual values. The social or "higher" good is the sum total of the individual goods, on the one hand, and the social dividend of increased social synergy and love, on the other. Each individual has enormously more decision making power than he has in any present political-economic system. The coordination and integration of individual goals, desires, values and intents produces greater individual satisfaction than the atomistic model of free individuals competing with each other in some sort of fair arena precisely because the energy saved that represents the friction of competition becomes a dividend that is passed on to all. The social system represents a higher order of social cooperation and a more organic rather than mechanistic model of a way that it is possible for society to function. Instead of crossing the fingers and hoping for the best that is implicit in Adam Smith's "invisible guiding hand," we have every reason to expect the best of a system based on sound theoretical principles in which the guesswork has been removed.
On the political level, there may be several legislative bodies operating independently in different areas or operating in such a way that agreement must exist between two or more before a decision is taken. Some of these might operate regionally and some might operate nationally. Some might be confined to certain jurisdictional areas or have specific mandates. These bodies would make the laws. The executive system would carry out the laws. All people in key positions whether they are political or economic would be elected by the people. There would be few appointed positions which are inherently undemocratic. This includes judges and department heads in the executive branch. The executive branch would be comprised of various departments including a department of housing, department of agriculture, department of health, department of education, department of consumer goods etc. Election rather than appointment prevents the concentration of power. It also prevents the establishment of a vast bureaucracy with vested interests of its own.
Instead of presidential primaries being conducted as they are now by means of state by state caucuses and primaries in which certain candidates drop out along the way and eventually one nominee emerges from each party, all the candidates would be in it all the way. There would be a period of time in which each candidate got his message out to the people on a national basis, by means of nationally televised debates etc. Costs would be kept down because there would be no need to traipse around from state to state and establish huge campaign organizations. Political commercials would be illegal. The public's exposure to the candidates would be via TV and printed media-articles, interviews etc. Videos in which each candidate explains his qualifications, positions on the issues, ideas and plans for the future could be selected from a viewer's computer controlled TV menu for viewing at each citizen's time of choice. All of this would be socially funded so that each candidate would have a fair and complete exposure to the voters and would not be able to gain an advantage due to outspending his fellow candidates. Each citizen would have at his fingertips as much information as he cared to peruse regarding each of the candidates, and he could pursue it at his leisure. Finally the election itself would be one that was democratic in a theoretically sound way. All the candidates would be voted upon at once using the generalization of majority rule presented in Chapter 3 which allows for the selection of one alternative out of an arbitrary number of possibilities. An election can only be fair and democratic if the election procedure is theoretically sound. It has been shown that for this to be true all candidates must be voted upon simultaneously using the methods and procedures developed in Chapter 3. Any kind of piecemeal voting procedure or run-off procedure or procedure which narrows the field down to two candidates represents a sub-optimal and untheoretically sound method of democratic election. Thus the society, itself, which uses these methods cannot be a true and full democracy. The methods presented in this book allow for the full realization of democracy because they have been shown to be theoretically optimali.e.no other method or procedure can result in a fuller democracy. The optimal voting procedure is the best that can be implemented; the search is over for the ideal means of implementing democratic ideals.
The whole insurance industry could be abolished with the resources allocated elsewhere to more productive purposes. There would be no need for private health insurance since it would be provided automatically by the society. Societal guarantees would cover all accidents and sickness. Thus the whole liability insurance mess that we're now in would be eliminated as there would be no need for juries to award stupendous sums to accident victims. Insurance settlements would not be matters of litigation and everyone would be cared for according to his needs. The money saved by means of eliminating legal fees would be available for caring for the actual victims. All accident victims would have social security which would provide for their needs without the need for huge lump sum settlements. Thus people would be cared for equally instead of as they are in the current situation in which one person may win a larger award than another for the same identical injury. Also victims would be taken care of equally regardless of the perpetrator's (if there is a perpetrator) ability to pay for the damages. In the system today if the victim can't find anyone to sue that has any money, then he is not compensated for his injury. Thus crimes or other injuries caused by people without means result in the fact that the victim must go it alone because there is no social responsibility for the victim's plight-only private responsibility and if the private parties responsible cannot pay, they can only be sent to jail.
People who are disabled and can't work are provided for automatically. The whole malpractice insurance industry crisis would be solved as there would be no need for huge sums to be awarded to individuals to provide for their welfare. The issue of a doctor's suitability for continuing his practice would be decided by the courts, but there would be no need or reason to tie that in with a huge lump sum payment from his pocket or his insurance company's to the victim. It would be society's responsibility to put the doctor out of business if in fact he were incompetent so that he couldn't continue to disserve people and also because he would be costing society money in terms of the payments to people injured by his malpractice. On the other hand honest mistakes or errors committed by a doctor who by and large was a competent practitioner should not cause a penalty financial or otherwise to that doctor. In the course of a lifetime anyone in any profession will make some mistakes. It is a repeated pattern of mistakes that should be cause for alarm. In the same way if someone's negligence resulted in someone being injured, that person should be dealt with by the courts in such a way as to prevent the recurrence of the same accident. There would be no need to assign blame for every accident, a practice that victimizes the accidental perpetrator as much as it does the victim. Some accidents just happen. The main thing is that the victim should be taken care of, and, since this would be a part of of a comprehensive social security package, there would be no need for the incredibly complex, involuted and costly system of private insurance that we have now. Thus insurance will be "no-fault" in the sense that the victim is always taken care of and not just when he can prove that someone is at fault, and, even in the case where someone is at fault, that person should not be penalized if the accident was truly an acidenti.e.there was no intent or maliciousness or incompetence involved. In the case where there is intent or maliciousness or incompetence involved, then perhaps that person should have to pay a penalty to society that would then help defray the costs of caring for the victim. This would be decided by the courts. There would be tremendous simplification in this field which would represent a tremendous savings in both money and human energy. Likewise there would be no need for individual car insurance as victims would be taken care of. The party at blame for the accident should be punished in other ways such as having his license revoked or having to provide service or care to victims of accidents. The main idea is that economic rights imply a comprehensive social security or social protection package which guarantees all victims of illness or injury or crime that their needs will be provided for, and hence the need for privately held insurance policies is eliminated. Note that in the present system only those who can afford and who qualify for
insurance are taken care of, but when society itself guarantees comprehensive social security, everyone is covered.
Sweden has a comprehensive social insurance plan similar to the one being discussed here. "Swedish welfare policy-including both social insurance and welfare payments-is much more comprehensive than in the United States, and welfare assistance is not tied to work incentives. Much more than in America, welfare and social insurance are viewed as the right of every Swedish citizen, just as is access to employment. The Swedish system has had a greater equalizing effect on incomes and is more comprehensive in reducing unemployment."4
Although in Sweden there is relatively less public ownership of the means of production than in most other Western European countries, they have had "the establishment of a universal system of social insurance, based on an intensified committment to the so-called principle of normalization, which holds that, regardless of any physical, psychological, or social handicaps, all persons should be able to live, work, and develop in a 'normal' environment; the social insurance system has focused on the provision of 'equal opportunities' to all income groups-for example, in the areas of housing, health, education, and special training and services for older and other disadvantaged workers, including women and immigrants."5
The question of whether welfare recipients should be required to work assuming they are capable of working or whether people should have the option of refusing to work and having their needs provided for needs to be examined. If a person is capable of working and is having his needs provided for by the society then clearly that person should be required to put something back into society in return. On the other hand this implies that the society is required to find him employment because, if the problem is that there aren't any jobs available and this is the reason the person is not working, then he can't be blamed for having his needs met by society and not putting anything back. It is the responsibility of society to provide a means not only whereby the individual can pay society back but also to provide training so that the individual can look forward to advancing in his worklife and not being stuck in a deadend job. In other words it is society's responsibility to provide career type job opportunities so that an individual has the possibility for advancing in his worklife even though he may start at the bottom. If the individual has the choice of sitting back and receiving welfare or working in a deadend job, then he has a higher incentive for sitting back and receiving welfare and society is placed in a more coercive role if it forces him to work. However, if the individual has the choice of sitting back and receiving welfare or going to work in a job from which he can by dint of education and conscientious effort advance in a career-type manner, then the higher incentive is to go to work and society is placing itself in the position of offering opportunities rather than forcing slave-type labor.
Let us define two terms. Social insurance is public support that is provided to people who cannot provide for themselves: the aged, the disabled, victims of accidents etc. This assistance may be either temporary or permanent. Welfare is assistance that is provided to people who are able-bodied but for some reason, usually lack of a job, can't support themselves. There is very little welfare in Sweden mainly because there is basically full employment, so that public assistance goes to those who truly need it. Welfare is usually temporary in contrast to the US which has a permanent welfare class. The reason for this is that in the US there is a disincentive for a person on welfare to go to work: namely, that the only jobs available to most of the people on welfare for the most part are dead-end jobs. In Sweden career-type jobs are available to all and the reason for this is that a certain number of them are created by the public sector. Also retraining and educational opportunities are available to people as they are receiving welfare to pay for their living needs. Every opportunity is given to people to become productive members of society. In the US which doesn't believe in creating career-type jobs in the public sector for people at the low end of the economic spectrum and where the private sector does not provide such jobs, a permanent welfare class emerges.
"In Sweden, far more than in the United States, public assistance tends to be a temporary solution to personal economic difficulties. In the city of Malmo, for example, the average length of stay on public aid in 1972 was just under five months. On the other hand, individuals with permanent problems, such as those resulting from illness or injury, are granted permanent solutions.
"...Families and individuals who are in need but are ineligible for the various social insurance benefits or for whom the latter do not provide an adequate income, may obtain Swedish public assistance without regard to marital status, employment status, or the presence or absence of child-
In an economic democracy according to the authors we can "expect that the cost and form of social insurance and public assistance...will resemble the Swedish system: with a committment to full employment and child-care centers, welfare payments will be a small percentage of total welfare expenditures, while national health insurance and pensions (Social Security) will comprise the bulk of the social services package."7
But what of the argument that if a society has a comprehensive welfare and social insurance package, the poor won't have an incentive to get out and work?
"The provision of increased and restructured social insurance and public assistance in a democratic economy still leaves unanswered the question of what will motivate people to work. The general assumption behind work-incentive welfare programs is that poor people stay on welfare because they do not like to work-because they are lazy. If this assumption is true, a comprehensive public assistance program without work incentives could cause considerable trouble in the labor market: even if offered the possibility of productive and adequately paid employment, poor people would choose to stay on welfare rather than work. Not only would this be demoralizing for those who did work, it would also be very expensive.
But there is an increasing body of evidence which indicates that this assumption is not true. Leonard Goodwin's careful 1972 study for the Brookings Institution showed that 'poor people-males and females, blacks and whites, youth and adults-identify their self-esteem with work as strongly as do the nonpoor.'
Goodwin concluded that work enforcement programs (tied to welfare) for the poor have an affect exactly the opposite of that intended: they negatively influence work orientation because they reinforce the pattern of failure in work that is characterisitc of welfare recipients.
...Welfare is not a substitute for permanent, decent-paying jobs-which brings us back to employment policy. The traditional human capital model has infused work and welfare programs with a training component designed to bring the poor into 'good' jobs. The evidence, however, indicates that these attempts do not function to help people escape unemployment or welfare dependence. What, then, are the implications for employment programs in a democratically run full-employment economy?
The only way to enable low-income workers to escape the poverty and unemployment trap is to make career-type jobs available to them. Full-employment macroeconomic policy will be an important element in making such jobs available, but direct public employment will still be necessary to get the poor into meaningful, permanent jobs during the transition to greater public control of industry and investment, largely because the private sector will not be able to absorb everyone who wants to be employed. ...In the long run, this is the only way to break the poverty cycle; a true antipoverty program is a program that places the presently poor into permanent, career-opportunity jobs and trains them for those jobs."8
So rather than viewing the poor as the industrial reserve army that provides a cheap labor pool and keeps the price of wages down, they are seen as valuable human beings worthy of being trained for and provided with career-type jobs even if these must be provided by the public sector. This is orienting public policy around the needs-the need for self-respect as well as the need for income-of the poor rather than trying to create a situation where economic growth lifts all dinghis as well as yachts. This is an economic policy based on human beings rather than statistics.
In the economic sphere certain decisions that were made previously by virtue of the fact of the possession of capital would be made democratically by election. For instance, let us consider the press. We have "freedom of the press" but what does that really mean when it takes a substantial amount of private wealth to even start a newspaper. Naturally, the press is going to reflect the views of the wealthy interests that own it. So we don't really have freedom of the press in that the views of people without wealth are poorly represented if at all. To remedy this situation, a system in which the press is publicly owned but not government controlled is proposed. There would be tremendous diversity in the number of autonomous newspapers operating independently at all levels-locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. This would guarantee variety and error correction due to the built-in redundancy. The major staff of each newspaper would operate as a "management-team" and be elected to their positions by the people. This assures that their responsibility is to the people and not to some power interest be it public or private. Elections would be held periodically. Therefore, different management teams would come and go and this would prevent vested interests from forming and bureaucratization. Management teams that were voted out would then go into other positions in the society while they prepared themselves for the next election. There would be no reason to fear unemployment because other positions would be found. This reshuffling would be similar to the Chinese cultural revolution where it was thought wise for people not to get locked into certain positions but to experience what it was like to work at different levels and positions in society.
In this way a whole spectrum of news and opinion would be disseminated from liberal to conservative. Each newspaper would operate independently and autonomously and not be beholden to special, private or governmental interests or to the need to be profitable in the marketplace. Minority viewpoints would be guaranteed by the feature of the maximum utility social decision function which operates so as to insure proportional representation and in such a way that a multiple of management teams are elected simultaneously. It is the opposite of the winner-take-all philosophy. That is, not only the most popular would get elected but there would be a selection of a number of different teams out of the larger number running. This feature of being able to select several alternatives in an overall election eliminates the "tyranny of the majority" aspect of majority rule and allows minorities to be represented as well. Each person in fact would be voting for several and could choose, if he so desired, to give high level preference ratings say to a conservative team, a liberal team, an "infotainment" team etc. Thus there would be a diversity of viewpoints available, and minority viewpoints would be represented. This would actually guarantee freedom of the press and diversity of opinion. Thus we have an actual mechanism for producing and maintaining freedom of the press instead of a system like the present one which proclaims freedom of the press but does not prevent the situation from developing in which the press is controlled by powerful economic interests, that does not and cannot prevent an oligopoly from forming. What we have today is a press that represents the interests and views of its owners who are by and large wealthy individuals and corporations which is not much better than a state-controlled press that reflects the views of its owner, the state.
Such a press as we are describing would represent the interests of a whole spectrum of society, and would not represent the interests of just a clique of politicians or a clique of private interests. There would be a loyal opposition of "management teams" who are out of "office" at any given time and who are aspiring to office. This would tend to keep those who are "in office" honest. Also knowing that, if they are voted out, it would not mean financial ruin since they are guaranteed a job elsewhere, would keep them from pandering to popular tastes. Thus there would be a whole system of checks and balances to guarantee that the press is truly freei.e. does not represent certain political and economic interests to the exclusion of all others and also truly diversei.e.represents the whole spectrum of interests and viewpoints.
Papers would be sold and this money would go into the pool which finances the whole operation of the press system. There would be no need for each paper individually to be popular or profitable. Thus viewpoints which are not necessarily profitable or popular would still get aired. There would be no advertising and no need for advertising revenues; therefore, newspapers would not be beholden to their advertisers.
Advertising would not be the responsibility of the people who manufacture the products themselves but would be handled in such a way as to provide checks and balances. There would be a separate autonomous body that would deal with advertising. It would be completely separate from the bodies that dealt with production and manufacturing. Thus instead of the situation we have today in which each manufacturer touts his own virtues and the larger corporations with larger advertising budgets can effectively outsell smaller corporations with superior products, we will have a situation in which an autonomous body will evaluate and compare products and tout either the virtues or defects according to their investigations, making this information available to the public. It is the economic equivalent of the notion of checks and balances-an economic separation of powers which serves the public interest rather than the interests of powerful corporate entities. The body that handles advertising, which will be popularly and democratically elected, will be responsible for testing and evaluating products much in the same way that the people who publish "Consumers Reports" do. This magazine is a forerunner and a harbinger of the function of a democratic, socialistic advertising agency. Advertising will not be seen in the media-not on TV, not on radio or billboards or in the print media. This in itself will produce a renaissance in the quality of the media environment. Instead of advertising being force-fed, top-down to the public whether they like it or not as it now is, it will be demanded by the consumer in a bottom-up arrangement. In other words there will be a demand economy for advertising instead of the command economy that exists now in the US. Advertising will be there and available and will be given to the consumer freely but only when requested by him.
It will work very simply thanks to the computer and the TV screen. The consumer will use his TV in an interactive mode and request information from a data bank about a certain type of product. The computer will come back with a directory of the products for which the consumer requests information going more into depth in any particular area and on any particular product as the consumer demands it. He will be given test results, pricing information, characteristics, informaion regarding any health hazards etc. When he finally makes his choice, he can order the product and have his total order set aside to be picked up or delivered. The money will automatically be debited from his account and he can see his balance at any time by calling up that information on his computer. Thus much time is saved that would otherwise be wasted in shopping, and the best individual choice can be made in an intelligent manner without being coerced by conventional advertising or a salesman. The consumer is spared the onerous interruptions of his favorite TV programs as he is bombarded with information which is an insult to his intelligence. He avoids being brainwashed by TV commercials.
The judiciary would be expanded to include not only an interpretive function but a critiquing and evaluating function as well. For instance, there would be a body whose purpose is to critique consumer products-a consumer watchdog agency. This body would critique the products on the market which would be produced by multiple, redundant "production teams" which would be voted in and out similar to the "management teams" of the press. The judicial critiquing agencies would be a check and balance to the executive production agencies and would guarantee high quality products. Expertise and track record would be important qualifications for these "evaluative and critiquing teams" who would also be voted upon. Just as there would be redundancy in the number of production teams producing the same product, there would be redundancy in the evaluating teams so as to keep them honest. Second opinions on each product would be available to the public. This would keep vested interests from forming and would eliminate shoddy goods from the marketplace. It would also tend to eliminate corruption. This is a generalization of the consumer protection work started by Ralph Nader and much credit should go to him for the initiation of these concepts.
CONSUMER AND WORK DEMOCRACY
Consumer democracy is democracy that sees to it that consumers are well-served by producers and not pawns in their hands. In addition work democracy means democracy in the workplace. It means that work is democratically shared. It means that the workers themselves have a decision making voice in the production process. Erich Fromm in "The Sane Society" discusses an experiment with a Community of Work. "Most interesting is the solution they have found for a blend between centralization and decentralization which avoids the dangers of chaos, and at the same time makes every member of the community an active and responsible participant in the life of the factory and the community. We see here how the same kind of thought and observation which led to the formulation of the theories underlying the modern democratic state in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, (division of powers, system of checks and balances etcetera) was applied to the organization of an individual enterprise."9
Fromm is talking about work situations in which, for example, the foreman is elected democratically by the workers under him. He goes on to say:
"The worker can become an active, interested and responsible participant only if he can have influence on the decisions which bear on his individual work situation and the whole enterprise. His alienation from work can be overcome only if he is not employed by capital, if he is not the object of command, but if he becomes a responsible subject who employs capital. The principle point here is not ownership of the means of production, but participation in management and decision making. As in the political sphere, the problem here is to avoid the danger of an anarchic state of affairs in which central planning and leadership would be lacking; but the alternative between centralized, authoritarian management and planless, uncoordinated workers' management is not a necessary one. The answer lies in a blending of centralization and decentralization, in a synthesis between decision making flowing from above to below, and from below to above."10
Of course the question of ownership of the means of production is begged if the workers have democratic decision making power over all aspects thereof. Fromm is definitely concerned with overcoming worker alenation by giving him a stake and a role in the work process. He is also concerned about creating a better sense of comraderie by eliminating competition and rivalry. In other words he is concerned about the psychological and spiritual aspects of work and what conditions lead to a feeling of brotherly love among workers as well as to a worker's getting a sense of satisfaction from his work.
Fromm, too, is concerned about the consumer: "As a third participant, the consumer would have to participate in the decision making and planning in some form. Once we accept the principle that the primary purpose of any work is to serve the people, and not to make a profit, those who are served must have a say in the operation of those who serve them."11
In fact, in the economic system pictured herein, it is consumer demand that drives production. Consumers specify their preferences and the production system is set up to satisfy them in the optimal way taking into account the fact that consumers are also producers and balancing off their demands for goods and services with their willingness to work. It should be known that, in an enlightened socio-economic system, consumer demand would be formulated "freely" and not be driven by advertising imposed upon consumers by corporations with an imperative to sell products. Since there would be no vested interests involved in which products are bought, consumers would make a truly free, rational and informed decision as to what to buy. There would be a "separation of powers" between the production and advertising functions in a truly democratic economy so that the same people do not both produce and advertise.
The situation in present day capitalist society is according to Robert I. Heilbroner the following. "Not only is the individual managed and manipulated in the sphere of production, but also in the sphere of consumption, which allegedly is the one in which he can express his free choice. Whether it is the consumption of food, clothing, liquor, cigarettes, or of film and television programs, a powerful suggestion apparatus is employed for two purposes: first to increase constantly the appetite for new commodities, and second, to direct these appetites into the channels most profitable for industry. The very size of the capital investment in the consumer goods industry and the competition between a few giant enterprises makes it necessary not to leave consumption to chance, not to leave the consumer a free choice of whether he wants to buy more and what he wants to buy. His appetites have to be constantly whetted; his tastes have to be manipulated, managed and made predictable. Man is transformed into the 'consumer,' the eternal suckling, whose one wish is to consume more and 'better' things."12
Fromm is very sensitive to the psychological ramifications and overtones in any work situation. "If the workers and employees of an enterprise were exclusively concerned with their enterprise, the alienation between man and his social forces would remain unchanged. The egotistical, alienated attitude would only have been extended from one individual to the 'team.' It is therefore not an incidental but an essential part of workers' participation that they look beyond their own enterprise, that they be interested in and connected with consumers as well as with other workers in the same industry, and with the working population as a whole. The development of a kind of local patriotism for the firm, of an 'esprit de corps' similar to that of college and university students, as recommended by Wyatt and other British social psychologists, would only reinforce the asocial and egotistical attitude which is the essence of alienation. All such suggestions in favor of 'team' enthusiasm ignore the fact that there is only one truly social orientation, namely the one of solidarity with mankind. Social cohesion within the group, combined with antagonism to the outsider, is not social feeling but extended egotism."13
The concept of Western style democracy needs to be extended into the economic arena. In Western style democracy people have political rights and some sort of democratic voting process for the election of political leaders. However, they have neither economic rights nor any sort of democratic voice in the decision making that takes place in the economic arena. That is the prerogative of the owners of the means of production, the employers.
"In the capitalist production process, decision making by employers is a right. The ownership of property carries with it legal control over its use. This poses a fundamental dilemma for the American concepts of individual freedom and democracy: if a person is employed (does not own the tools of production), he or she is governed without recourse by others' decisions about work. To the worker, it makes no difference whether these decisions are logical or arbitrary; they govern absolutely the conditions of work in that enterprise.
...Worker control of production and the accompanying alternative organizations of work (such as a greatly reduced division of labor) could well result in greater output, more employment, more efficient use of labor, and less intensive use of capital than the present hierarchical arrangement. Workers might also enjoy their work more if they had greater say about how it is organized and what they produce, and participated directly in productivity increases.
Political rights have been extended to an increasing fraction of the American population-blacks, unionized workers, women-all of whom fought for this extension throughout the nineteenth and twentieh centuries. The principle of one person/one vote in the political arena, however, confronts the reality of unequal economic rights and an unequal distribution of economic power. The two cannot be separated. The 'free speech' of a General Motors is obviously greater than that of any individual. We cannot speak of political power distribution as unrelated to economic power and rights, even though the two may not be the same. Economic democracy is a crucial ingredient in political democracy and vice versa. Under the capitalist organization of production, political democracy is an imperfect concept and can be achieved in practice only through a democratization of the economy."14
There are societies in the world today-and societies outside the so-called communist world-that incorporate some of the values we have been discussing. We intentionally study Sweden because it is a Western country with Western values. Nevertheless, as we shall see, the values espoused and implemented there are an evolution of rather than a contradiction to so-called Western values. Please note this is not an Eastern bloc nation, not a nation that we are involved in an idealogical quest for supremacy with, but an ally of the US. Nevertheless, what is going on there economically and the ideas being debated are fundamentally different. "Over the years, labor market policy in Sweden has been separated from fiscal and monetary policy and raised to independent status. Besides satisfying the labor movement's desire to increase income equality (or, at the very least, to prevent inequality from increasing) and the government's desire to control inflation, active manpower policy addresses an important dimension of welfare in industrial society: the issue of freedom of choice. The goal is not merely full employment, but a situation in which workers are employed in jobs they select through personal choice. This concept, moreover, is extended to all groups in the population who wish to participate in the labor force.
"...Regional development policy is an important example of the efforts to permit more freedom of choice in employment. The basic principle is to make work available at the individual's place of residence. Thus, since 1965, the government has been providing financial support for plant location, with priority given to a designated developmental area reaching from upper-middle to northern Sweden and representing two-thirds of the national land area and 15% of total population."15
The idea that government action rather than free enterprise may result in more freedom for the worker may strike some Americans as a novel idea. The basic policy in Sweden has been to increase the workers' freedom while restricting somewhat the freedom of the owners of capital. The authors continue: "Such a policy in Sweden restricted unlimited freedom of choice for capital owners investing in Sweden and for managers in Swedish corporations, while increasing opportunities and options for employees. The government's policy lowered unemployment rates, provided retraining, and made it more difficult to lay off workers without offering them alternatives; thus, freedom of choice for workers was greater than in a situation where they do not enjoy such guarantees. Not only are individuals protected from the vagaries of capitalist development, but they can change jobs and even careers under government-sponsored training programs. But, under the traditional nineteenth-century view of 'freedom'-that is, the freedom to become an individual capitalist-choice may be reduced in a society where increased advantages go to the employed rather than the employers. The freedom to earn very high incomes is also severely curtailed in a Swedish-type welfare state, although the post-tax income distribution figures indicate that the highest 20% of income earners receive about the same percentage of income as in the United States and that average income in Sweden is somewhat higher. So, higher income earners in Sweden are not as badly off as is sometimes claimed."16
Yes and the high income earners, as well as the low, have a comprehensive social insurance package guaranteed by the state, which protects them in the case of accident, unemployment, illness etc. That kind of protection must be worth giving up some income for.
"American ideology continues to stress the harm government intervention can cause to individual rights, particularly the right to make economic choices. Americans are still imbued with the idea that the ultimate freedom is to be self-employed and to make one's 'fortune.' Yet only a small and declining per centage of Americans are self-employed (about 7%) or ever will be. The percentage has been decreasing steadily since the last century. The United States, like most advanced industrial countries, is an economy consisting of a few managers and capital owners centered around large corporations (with a periphery of small production units) and a mass of employees and production and service workers who are receiving wages and salaries. The American concept of freedom is anachronistic in this context; moreover, the anachronism serves the interests of those who would lose out if the concept were changed to focus on workers' choices and the meaning of 'freedom' in a wage-earning society. In Sweden, these are real issues. But the discussion is on a different plane than in the United States: most Swedes have discarded the nineteenth-century notion of economic choice and individual freedom. Rather, the issue has become the rights of workers and capital owners or managers in a capitalist society and the function the government should play as intermediary in their bargaining. The 'debate' is not conceived in these terms in the United States, in fact may never be framed this way, given the nature of American institutions and history."17
Interestingly enough, this is similar to the Canadian situation, discussed previously, in which the government bargained with the doctors' association in order to set medical prices.
We have commented on the misallocation of resources under the present US economic system. Fromm writes: "Another aspect of the same phenomenon is the tendency to waste, which is furthered by the economic need for increasing mass production. Aside from the economic loss implied in this waste, it has also an important psychological effect: it makes the consumer lose respect for work and human effort; it makes him forget the needs of people within his own and poorer lands, for whom the product he wastes could be a most valuable possession; in short, our habits of waste show a childish disregard for the realities of human life, for the economic struggle for existence which nobody can evade.... [A sane society would] direct production into fields where existing real needs have yet to be satisfied, rather than where needs must be created artificially."18
In the system proposed in this book, there would be no waste since only what consumers have expressed a preference for and only what they would be willing to supply the labor to produce would be produced. Basic economic rights would guarantee that everyone would have at least an acceptable subsistence standard of living.
The critiquing function mentioned earlier would extend into the cultural arena so that people would at least be informed by knowledgable opinion as to what constituted quality entertainment and art. Public tastes and sensibilities would not be given over to mass manipulation by powerful economic interests who are not subject to independent criticism. In today's world the "critics" are subject to being influenced by the economic interests who produce and package the entertainment for public consumption. Not only that but the weight brought to bear through advertising far outdoes the influence the critics have upon the public. In the new society the producers of art would not be allowed to criticize their own productions-which is to say to ballyhoo them. Independent bodies of critics would both inform the public as to what's available and also advise the public as to the quality. These critics, in order to be truly independent, would be publicly supported, and, in order to have checks and balances, more than one critic would comment on any particular offering. Consumers could dial up several reviews of a play or movie using their computer and have this information at their fingertips before deciding what to do on a Saturday night.
The "experts" would reside as much in the critiquing and evaluating agencies as in the legislative and executive agencies. A tyranny of experts would be prevented by providing a variety of counterbalancing voices, a variety of opinions, and by making their positions elective and subject to change in according with the voting process presented here. Thus minority viewpoints would automatically be included.
The "commanding heights" of the economy would be publicly owned: such things as communications, media, transportation, energy, medical facilities, agriculture, large scale manufacturing etc., but this does not preclude small scale enterprises in some of these areas such as agriculture, housing etc. Small scale businesses such as restaurants, shops, crafts etc. should be encouraged and even subsidized. Local managers should have a lot of autonomy in reaching their goals and workers should have democratic control over their own work processes. Innovation, invention and entrepreneurship should be encouraged. Venture capital for promising start-up operations would even be provided by the society. In this way new ideas and fresh technology are encouraged. The operations that were successful might then be taken over by the society after they had reached a certain size. This would be known as "going public" only instead of shareholders becoming the owners, society in general would become the owner. Many entrepreneurs that start companies eventually sell out and retire anyway in capitalist societies so the net result would be the same as far as the entrepreneur was concerned. He would be rewarded for his contribution to society. However, instead of selling out to a private party, he would be selling out to a public interest. He might even stay on as manager.
There would be a Department of Peace which would be funded at least as greatly as the Department of War. The Department of Peace would pursue its activities in periods of Hot Peace just as the Department of War used to pursue its activities in the period of the Cold War. In other words the peace buildup should continue even during times of war. All nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction would be eliminated. The means for the implementation of wars on any but the smallest scale will have been liquidated.
People will be encouraged to become highly educated not only in a technical specialty but in regard to their choices about the products they consume, the entertainment and culture they consume and the political process itself. People will be educated in how to operate politically as a citizen as well as in culture, art and relationships. Diversity as opposed to conformity will be encouraged. People who are best qualified, people with merit in their respective fields will tend to find their way into the key positions simply because the process will be open to everyone regardless of their political or economic power. Because of redundancy and diversity throughout the society and because the society is people-centered instead of property centered, propaganda and mass manipulation of opinion will not work or be tolerated. Advertising will be the function of the critiquing agencies and the educational system. Information concerning products and services can be obtained through one's home computer in a demand mode instead of forced fed through TV in the command mode. In other words the information will be available to the consumer as requested by him and not placed before him in such a way that he has no choice over what information he is exposed to. People will be informed as to the products, services, educational opportunities, entertainment, culture, art, travel opportunities, work opportunities etc. that are available to them and the information will come from agencies and entities that are independent of the agencies and entities that produced the products etc.
Mutuality in relationships will be encouraged. Wives and husbands will share equally and be considered as equals in the eyes of society. This will apply to education, job availability and financial compensation in particular. Maternity leave and parental leave to care for young children to be used by either parent will be available to all. Day care centers will allow parents to participate in the work force with the knowledge that their young children are being given the proper care and attention. Children will also have rights and no child will ever have a lack of nutrition, education, housing or medical attention.
There will be redundancy in manufacturing as there is today. Several independent firms will be set up for each product. This will ensure diversity or variety of choice, but, at the same time, the choices will be meaningful and not just based on different packaging. So the choices will be kept at a reasonable number to prevent unneeded replication of brands whose products are substantially the same. Competing for market shares by companies who offer essentially the same product in different packaging will disappear due to the radical transformation of product critiquing and advertising.
So there will be direct consumer decisions, but there will also be indirect control by consumers over the production process by the election of key "management teams." This prevents the present-day situation in which powerful economic interests control the workings of the market. They decide what products and what politicians will be offered up to be voted upon by the masses of voters and consumers who get to have a choice among the alternatives offered to them but are powerless as to the selection of the alternatives themselves. Today, the alternatives themselves whether they are products, politicians or entertainment are selected by plutocrats in the interests of plutocrats and then are forced-fed to the general public with the process made palatable through advertising. People are pursuaded that what's being offered to them is really in their best interests when it is not because a small number of wealthy interests control the political and productive process.
Experts and critics will not be hired by private interests to represent the interests that hired them but will be hired by the people and given the autonomy to solely get at the truth. The journalist's job will be to get at the truth. There will be inherent forces in the society that encourage people to be honest and have integrity simply because there will be no economic advantage accruing to those who are dishonest and misrepresent themselves. Thus the dilemma of substance versus image which today is decided in favor of image will be decided in favor of substance. There will be too many checks and balances built in at every level of society to make misrepresentation of reality worthwhile. The only mechanisms working today to produce integrity in government are (1) the election process and (2) the appointment of people to long-term or lifetime positions such as in the Supreme Court. The election process as it exists today is vitiated by the fact that it is privately funded and also by the fact that, in order to build a coalition big enough to win, the politician must "move to the center." What this means is that politicians with a serious chance at winning usually avoid any serious discussion of the issues and instead try to confine things to style and personality. The "winner take all" form of majority rule used in the US in itself prejudices the election process towards this result. The generalization of majority rule presented herein makes it possible for politicians to get elected without diluting themselves in this manner. Therefore, it encourages integrity in the political process. Redundancy of function and the inherent proportional representation make it possible to get elected without pandering to the opinion of an absolute majority and also due to the fact that second and third preferences in the voting procedure carry some weight. Also redundancy of function tends to promote integrity since no one entity is given sole responsibility in any particular area and the other entities act as a check.
On a social and spiritual level, since competition has been eliminated, people will be encouraged and find it possible to relate lovingly to their fellow men and women. There will be a flowering of friendship, a renaissance of brotherly love. Individual morality and ethics will be in synch with societal morality and ethics. It will be possible to be a good Christian without losing out economically. One integrated system of ethics will be possible so that one's personal morality and ethics can be practised both at home and in the marketplace. There will not have to be two opposing systems of ethics-one designed for a successful family life and one designed for success in the business world.
The welfare mess that we presently find ourselves in will be totally resolved by going to the root of the problem. The root of the problem is structural unemployment which with the advent of automated manufacturing and bookkeeping systems will only become worse. Under the capitalist mode of societal organization the private sector is just incapable of providing enough jobs in an advanced automated society. Not to have a job is to be economically disenfranchised unless the individual possesses property or capital. Most people on welfare are capable of working, indeed would prefer to work and earn their living but there are no jobs that will allow them to pay their own way. A minimum wage job certainly will not allow a person to provide food, housing, clothing, medical care, transportation and other essentials for a family. The other side of the welfare coin is that there are some people who, for whatever reason, are incapable of working. In a humane society these people need to be taken care of and it should be seen to it that their needs are met. In the new society, a person's right to employment is constitutionally guaranteed so right away most of the people presently on welfare will be off welfare. The people who can't work are taken care of by the constitutionally guaranteed economic rights which provide that their needs are adequately taken care of. The kind of chance that someone is born with a birth defect or an elder has Alzheimer's disease is something that should be protected with social insurance not something that should be borne privately by each family unfortunate enough to sustain such a tragedy.
So the welfare system is an integral part of the total society and not something that is grafted on and grafted off depending on which administration is in power as in present day America. The reason why the welfare system as it is presently constituted will not work is that the government refuses to be the employer of last resort except through the military, and most of the people on welfare are women and children who traditionally don't enter the military. The reason the government refuses to be the employwer of last resort in the non-military sphere is that the government is controlled by private economic interests with whom the government would be in competition if it were to employ people growing food or building housing or otherwise providing for their own needs. So there are sectors of the economy that benefit greatly from the present welfare system which gives welfare recipients money to be spent in the marketplace with established businesses while keeping them unemployed and unemployable and dependent. If the government were truly in the business of getting people off welfare, it would have to be in the business of helping people to be economically independent and self-sustainingi.e.giving them the training and the means to provide for their own needs. In today's system it is not the welfare recipient who benefits so much as the slumlord who receives an exorbitant rent indirectly from the taxpayers since it goes from them in one step through the welfare recipient to him. It would be far better to set up an operation in which the welfare recipient builds his own house, with government assistance, that he then would own.
The same applies to doctors and the supermarkets. Money goes in one step through the welfare recipient to established economic interests so they have a lot to gain by maintaining the present welfare system. If the people on welfare, however, were organized and given the means to provide for their own welfare, were put to work growing their own food, building their own housing, caring for their own sick, then not only would the cost of welfare be reduced dramatically but people on welfare would become self-sufficient and have a sense of pride from their accomplishments. Who would lose? The slumlords, the doctors, the supermarket chains-the established economic interests who are making a profit off of welfare recipients at taxpayer expense. This is the only real solution to the welfare problem but our government won't do it because it smacks of socialism and by the way is a threat to established interests who through their lobbies exert a powerful influence on the making of public policy. So the government as presently constituted vaccilates between the liberal solution of giving welfare people the money they need to buy things in the private sector which is tremendously expensive to the taxpayer and the conservative solution which is not to give them anything and to let them fend for themselves which is cruel and heartless. In the meantime the structural problem remains, and it is a problem which is endemic to capitalist society and can't be solved without abandoning cherished capitalist precepts.
The organization of work in the new society will be entirely flexible. People will list their preferences periodically both for the type and kind and amount of work and also for the products and services they would like to receive. The maximum utility social decision function will integrate this information from all citizens and come up with a social allocation both of labor and of products and services so that there will be a unique solution for each individual tailored to his specific needs and so that satisfaction within the society as a whole is maximized. There will be a nonstandard workweek which will apply to everybody. Some people might be working 10 hours a week, some 20, some 40. The number of hours will be totally flexible. People guilty of insider trading might have to work 60 hours a week to pay back the people they've bilked out of their money, but that would be OK since they were already working 60 hours a week in order to bilk them out of it in the first place. The number of hours will be totally flexible and variable from week to week depending on a person's needs. If a person's needs for products and services decreases, he can choose to work less and receive less. If his needs increase, he can choose to work more. Adolescents can choose to work a few hours a week during the hours they are not attending school. College students can work their way through college by integrating their work time with their college curriculum. Older people can keep their hand in by working a few hours a week. There would be no mandatory retirement age, but senior citizens need not fear since social insurance provides for their needs. As a person's family grows up, and his needs diminish as he grows older, he can gradually taper off the number of hours he works per week without ever formally retiring. As he tapers off the benefits accruing to him from his socially provided pension would kick in in accordance with a formula that is fair to all. Since his own work is related to the production of things which he himself consumes, there is no need to retire people in order to make room for new people entering the job market.
The integration of work with leisure time can be accomplished as the computer is used to organize work based on individual preferences but in such a way as to maintain an orderly and productive and efficient economy. People can be trained in different types of work and choose to spend so many hours at one type of work per week, so many at another etc. Education can be a lifelong vocation as the integration of work life and educational life can be achieved. A pregnant woman or new mother can choose to cut back on her work life considerably in order to have time with her young child. Her parental leave rights would then kick in so that her family may maintain its standard of living. She may choose to gradually increase her work hours as the child gets older. As technological progress and automation proceeds, the amount of work required for a given package of goods and services decreases. This is the societally shared equivalent of profits in a capitalist economy. The profits devolve to society in general and to all its citizens instead of ending up in the hands of the few. Volunteerism would be built into the system as people who wished to be active in the society but had few material needs and no worries as to accumulating money in the event of a personal disaster, knowing full well that they would be provided for in that contingency, would contribute their services without receiving the full package of goods and services to which they would be entitled. As this phenomenon increased, a state would be approached in which the society represented truly one in which "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" was manifested. Thus communism would be achieved voluntarily and without coercion and as a result of a greater realization of potential, neighbor love, mental and physical health and security among mankind.
In the judicial arena, the adversarial system will be replaced by the principle of redundancy. Instead of getting at the truth by having adversaries competing with each other, we will get at the truth by means of independent, redundant systems which provide error correction. For example, in the trial system lawyers will not represent the interests of their client but the interest of getting at the truth. To facilitate this, lawyers will not be privately retained but will be provided free of charge. This will also facilitate justice since it will prevent the richer person from gaining the advantage by hiring a more high-powered and expensive lawyer. There might be several lawyers of different persuasions who will each independently study the case and interact with the principle parties involved. They will then present their findings to judges and juries. The redundancy of testimony will provide consensus; it should serve the function of correcting errors and establishing the truth. In cases where this process is inconclusive, several trials or judicial processes might proceed simultaneously or sequentially with either the truth being established conclusively or by weighing the complete record to arrive at the most probable version of the truth.
Statistical voting will be common. It can be shown that entire elections or votings need not be carried out in order to arrive at the outcome with a statistically very high degree of certainty. This has been known for years and is used to provide the data for opinion polls. In order to move toward a direct democracy both politically and economically, it is necessary to move away from delegating representatives to make the decisions for us. This, however, places a greater burden on each citizen as he then has to be better informed and spend a considerably greater amount of time and effort in the political-economic decision-making process. Also with the maximum utility social decision function, much more information is requested from each citizen since he has to give a complete specification of preferences over all alternatives rather than simply voting for one. The way to alleviate each individual's being inundated with demands for information is to gather the information statistically. In some situations it might be preferable to let democratically elected representatives handle things; in others it might be preferable to have a complete non-statistical voting precedure. But in many instances in the interests of direct democracy, which is closer to the true ideal of democracy than is representative democracy, a statistical election procedure seems justified. In such situations citizens might be selected at random to do decision-making duty just as they are now selected for jury duty. This might be for a short period of time. Or a citizen might be selected at random to study one issue and render a decision on it. In the economic arena, polling would also be helpful say to establish the demand for toothpaste without asking each individual in the entire society about his specific needs for toothpaste. The citizen decision-maker could sit at his personal computer going over as much information as he deemed necessary in order to make an intelligent decision on a candidate, an issue or a work-consumption choice. He could then vote using his computer without having to go to some polling place. In addition he could be paid something by society just as people who do jury duty are and to reinforce the idea that the business of being a citizen-decision maker is an important function-one that should be compensated!
THIRD WORLD POVERTY
The notion of a transfer of wealth from the more developed to the less developed countries needs to be addressed. And it should be addressed on the level of the people who are starving in those countries, not on the level of "development" in those countries which would then trickle down to the poor. "Development" in many cases, especially as conceived by capitalist countries, only helps the wealthy and middle classes in the developing countries and not the poor at all which only makes the disparity between rich and poor even greater. Development has to be conceived in human terms not technological ones. A country may be "developing" in the sense that modern technology is introduced into the country, but the majority of poor peasants may not be any better off. In fact they may be worse off as the gap between them and the wealthy grows even greater.
In the book "Food First" Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins write: "Part of the reason that most people have not been able to perceive this tragic retrogression is what we have come to call the 'language of deception'-terms that obfuscate reality. One such term is 'per capita.' In Indonesia, for example, we discovered that the country's per capita GNP is $220 but, for the bottom 40%, it is $95. Of what use is the per capita figure?
"It is precisely the kind of development policy that measures itself in per capita terms that results in the absolute decline of the majority. ...[P]er capita production and income have been going up in the very countries where often the majority of people have become worse off with each succeeding year."19
The authors point out that the per capita food production in most countries of the world is enough to feed the people if, indeed, each one ate the per capita production! But instead too often the case is that what is produced by the people is not consumed by the people but is instead exported. The current Third World debt crisis has exacerbated the situation even more as exports are needed in order to pay off international debts. Notice, however, that the US, the world's largest debtor nation is not subjecting its people to an austerity program but instead continues to borrow on the international capital markets because its credit is better than the Latin American debtor nations. In other words the relative well-being of a whole nation of people is based on the fact that international creditors would rather loan money to the US than to other countries whose people, in absolute terms, may need it more. The large capital loans to Third World countries in the 1970s that represented the capitalist world's solution to the problem of poverty in those nations have only ended up creating even further hardship for the worst-off segments of those societies, and thus represent the absolute failure and bankruptcy of the capitalist world to address those problems.
"Many view the Green Revolution as a technical innovation and feel that, as such, it should not be expected to solve social problems. But what we have found is that there can be no separation between technical innovation and social change. Whether promotion of the wealthier class of farmers is deliberate government policy or not, inserting any profitable technology into a society shot through with power inequalities (money, landownership, privilege, access to credit) sets off the disastrous retrogression of the less powerful majority. The better-off and powerful in a society further enrich themselves at the expense of the national treasury and the rural poor. As those initially better-off gain even greater control over the production process, the majority of people are made marginal, in fact, totally irrelevant, to the process of agricultural production. In such societies the reserves of landless and jobless function only to keep wages down for those who do find jobs. Excluded from contributing to the agricultural economy, the poor majority are no longer its beneficiaries, for being excluded from production means being excluded from consumption."20
One can see how this process has worked even here in the US. Government agricultural subsidy programs have helped the big farmer much more than the small farmer since they're paid proportional to the size of the farm. Therefore, there has been a relative advantage created for the big farmer. Being in a stronger position, he can then proceed to buy out his smaller neighbor, who may be having difficulty paying his bills. This puts him in an even stronger position and qualifies him for even more government subsidies. In order for government programs to be effective in preserving the family farm or in alleviating the plight of the poor either here or in the Third World, they have to be directed at helping the poor and disadvantaged and marginal. This is what makes the social system stable and prevents the concentration of power, wealth and the promotion of inequality. Across the board subsidation programs end up making the plight of the poor and vulnerable even worse because they make the powerful relatively more powerful with respect to those at the bottom than they were previously.
"...'Modernization' overlaid on oppressive social structures entrenches the ownership classes who are now even better positioned and less willing to part with their new-found wealth. Thus, to focus only on raising production, without first confronting the issue of who controls and who participates in the production process, actually compounds the problem. It leaves the majority of people worse off than before. In a very real sense the idea that we are progressing is our greatest handicap. We cannot move forward-we cannot take the first step toward helping improve the welfare of the vast majority of the world's people-until we can see clearly that we are now moving backward."21
Fromm writes: "Closely related to this problem is that of economic help from the industrialized societies to the economically less developed part of the world. It is quite clear that the time of colonial exploitation is over, that the various parts of the world have been brought together as closely as one continent was a hundred years ago, and that peace for the wealthier part of the world is dependent on the economic advancement of the poorer part. Peace and liberty in the Western World cannot, in the long run, coexist with hunger and sickness in Africa and China. Reduction of unnecessary consumption in the industrialized countries is a must if they want to help the non-industrialized countries, and they must want to help them, if they want peace. Let us consider a few facts: according to H. Brown, a world development program covering fifty years would increase agricultural production to the point where all persons would receive adequate nutrition and would lead to an industrialization of the now undeveloped areas similar to the prewar level of Japan. The yearly outlay for the US for such a program would be between four and five billion dollars each year for the first thirty years, and afterwards less. 'When we compare this to our national income,' says the author, 'to our present federal budget, to the funds required for armament, and to the cost of waging war, the amount required does not appear to be excessive. When we compare it to the potential gains that can result from a successful program, it appears even smaller. And when we compare the cost with that of inaction and to the consequences of maintaining the status quo, it is indeed insignificant.'"22
In "The Turning Point," Fritjof Capra writes about the fact that certain biases are built into the very structure of capitalistic economics. "This social inequality is not an accident but is built into the very structure of our economic system and is perpetuated by our emphasis on capital intensive technologies. The necessity of continuing exploitation for the growth of the American economy was pointed out quite bluntly by the Wall Street Journal in an editorial on 'Growth and Ethics,' which insisted that the United States would have to choose between growth and greater equality since the maintenance of inequality was necessary to create capital.
"The grossly unequal distribution of wealth and income within industrialized countries is paralleled by similar patterns of maldistribution between developed countries and the Third World. Programs of economic and technological aid to Third World countries are often used by multinational corporations to exploit those countries' labor and natural resources and to fill the pockets of a small and corrupt elite. As the cynical saying goes, 'Economic aid is taking money from the poor people in rich countries and giving it to the rich people in poor countries.' The result of these practices is the perpetuation of an 'equilibrium of poverty' in the Third World, with life near the bare level of subsistenance."23
"The world's hungry people are being thrown into ever more direct competition with the well-fed and the over-fed. The fact that a food is grown in abundance right where they live, that their own country's natural and financial resources were consumed in producing it, or even that they themselves toiled to grow it will no longer mean that they will be likely to eat it. Rather the food will go to an emerging Global Supermarket where everyone in the world, poor or rich, must reach for it on the same shelf. Every item has a price and that price, in large part, is determined by what the world's better-off customers are willing to pay. None wihtout money will be able to move through the check-out line. Even Fido and Felix in the United States can outbid most of the world's hungry. This emerging Global Supermarket will be the culmination of food interdependence in a world of unequals.
As much as agribusiness firms talk of producing food in underdeveloped countries, they are not talking about the basic staples-beans, corn, rice, wheat and millet-needed by the hungry. Instead they are referring to 'luxury crops': asparagus, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, pineapples, mangoes, beef, chicken, even flowers.
Furthermore, agribusiness 'expertise' is not so much in producing as in marketing. They know who and where the world's affluent shoppers are-a small group in the underdeveloped world's urban centers such as Mexico City, Nairobi, Delhi, and Rio and a much larger group in New York, Tokyo, Zurich, and Stockholm. And agribusiness knows what they 'demand.'
...Aid cannot help both the rich and the poor simultaneously. Strengthening the elites (the overwhelming impact of even those projects supposedly designed specifically to exclude the rich) directly undercuts the poor. With outside assistance, the better-off are able to control more land, machines, and other inputs-reinforcing landlessness and joblessness. Moreover, the notion that such elite-dominated development is better than no development rests on an untenable definition of development. Yes, elite-dominated economic growth can occur, but the concept of development implies the betterment of the lives of minimally the majority-not rising affluence for a small minority and increasing misery for a swelling majority. As Brazil's President (General) Emilio Medici once commented on his country's 'economic miracle,' 'Brazil is doing well but the people are not.'"24
Finally, we must be concerned about the notion of progress in evaluating a society. Justice, freedom, equality, happiness, satisfaction, security, brotherhood, compassion, progress and stability are all related. Progress should take place in a stable way i.e.in such a way that the basic values of society are preserved, not transgressed. A society in which progress occurs at the expense of the poor or in such a way as to widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots is not stable, and, ultimately, progress in such a society is meaningless. In the social system we have proposed, progress would not be for the benefit of some and at the expense of others. All would share. Everyone would be better off or at least no one worse off than before. Only then is progress meaningful. Progress cannot be measured in terms of new inventions or statistics that measure economic growth per se if that growth represents the enhancement of the situation of one class at the expense of another. For instance, in the present society, rents are continually going up. Is that progress? The cost of basic necessities should go down if progress is being made in a just society. On the other hand if one adheres to Nietzschean values, the fact of increasing rents might be looked upon as the stronger (the landlords) gaining at the expense of the weaker (the tenants) and, therefore, this would represent progress since the final goal of society is the triumph of the strong over the weak. But assuming basic Christian values, we have progress for the few (the ones who own the means of production of the basic necessities of life) and regress for the vast majority who have to pay the higher costs, who for the same effort have less than their parents had.
Because the basic necessities of life-or more properly the means of production of the basic necessities of life-are not owned by the people, they-the majority of the people-are subject to being manipulated by the people who do own them in the interests of the people who own them. This means that the costs will never go down, only that the people that own them will charge as much as they can get for what they have to sell. And as powerful corporations come to dominate the commanding heights of the American economy, they are in a much better position than the average person to set prices. The person whose only asset is his labor power is at a gross disadvantage, in fact at the mercy of the people that have control of the basic goods and services of life that he needs. What is needed here is not a return to a Robinson Crusoe society in which each person is totally self-sufficient and non-interacting on his own little plot of land, but a society in which the modes of social interaction and exchange and decision making are just and based on each citizen's having an equal share of power on all levels. The Jeffersonian ideal of a nation of small farmers and artisans, each owning his own property and each by and large self-sufficient is a far cry from the corporation dominated America of today in which the family farm is disappearing and with it the last vestiges of yeomanry, an America in which the vast majority of people are increasingly dependent on goods and services provided by others, an America increasingly composed of people whose income derives from wage labor at a time when the need for their labor, the need for their skills, is declining as automated machines take over more and more of the functions that skilled labor once provided.
Since labor is no longer at a premium, the average American worker cannot hope that progress will better his lot in life, that the continuing evolution of American capitalism will somehow reverse its own innate tendencies and land him up magically in paradise. As big labor unions are losing their power, the average American worker is losing control over the economic process at a time when he is increasingly dependent on it. As long as there was a demand for labor and a strong labor union movement, workers could expect to share in the progress, but, with labor becoming increasingly superfluous and expendable, they cannot. Instead of the increased productivity of society due to automation and computers being a harbinger of a higher standard of living for all, it is clear that the benefits will only redound to those who own the new technology while the others having lost their jobs will be worse off. Whether the owners of the technology are American or foreign really doesn't change the picture very much. What a cruel irony that while we hear that the American worker is becoming more productive (which is not true-Americqan machines are becoming more productive), the American worker is losing his means of livlihood at an accelerating rate.
In any kind of meaningful societal system, progress must mean that everyone is better off or at least no one is worse off after the progress has occurred. The time spent in work for a given amount of goods and services must decrease. Each generation must be successively better off than the one proceeding it. The average work week for everyone should decline as progress takes place, and the quality and quantity of goods and services available to the average person should increase. The level at which everyone is guaranteed a minimum standard of living should be raised. In this situation the society is advancing toward the point at which goods and services are free. As the ratio between work required and goods and services received diminishes, then consumable items become cheaper until we reach the point (when automation is in full effect and virtually no labor is required for the production of goods) that things are essentially free. This will only take place, however, if the means of production are socially rather than privately controlled.
As the work week decreases, the individual will have more free time-time in which to realize his full potential as a human being-intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Time to pursue a hobby, develop a talent, relate to his family and loved ones, to become better educated, time to travel and broaden his horizons.
The extension of the political process both vertically in terms of the greater amount of information that is required and horizontally to the economic arena does make more demands for the involvement of each citizen. That is the price that must be paid for a fuller democracy if the people are truly to operate the society instead of delegating a certain group to run it and leaving it up to them. Our delegation of political responsibility to the politicians and economic responsibility to the larege corporations has brought us to the present pass where we are on the verge of large scale unemployment and financial collapse, to the point where we, as the world's largest debtor nation, go around telling other debtor nations that their people should undergo an austerity program so they can pay off our banks as we proceed to raise their interest rates by our practice of deficit spending. At the same time we continue to dole out Uncle Sammie Care Packages of economic and military aid to good little dictators around the world who would have us believe that, were it not for them, the communists would take over and who see to it that American interests are protected in their little corner of the world. No one ever questions that there might be a conflict between the promotion of American interests and the promotion of the welfare and well-being of the world's peoples.
These ideas are not utopian. They result from the rational link to the underlying theoretical substructure which has been presented in this book, the heart of which is the maximum utility social decision function coupled with individual political and economic rights. The underlying mechanisms which have been presented can be studied and modeled in advance of their actual implementation in society in much the same way that a new airplane is studied and modeled before it is actually built. The reason that this can be done is that the theoretical substructure is sufficiently well-defined mathematically. This fact alone is sufficient to pull us out of the horse and buggy days of political-economic theory into the modern age in which the study of society itself is on the same level of sophistication as the study and development of the physical universe. Information can be gathered not only through observation as is the case in a society that has a less well-defined theoretical substructure and has been the case in the study of history up to now but through simulation and rational analysis involving computers. It is only when new ideas are subject to rational analysis and a great deal of theorertical work can be done in advance that we can build confidence that the implementation of a certain system will produce the desired results whether this system is a communication system, a medical system or a societal system. The various uses of computers at home by consumer-citizens involving accessing information and shopping is already happening today so that is definitely not speculative.
I have tried to show the relationship among man's spiritual, ethical and psychological structures and his societal structure. There is a direct link between man the individual and what kind of society he creates. However, it is not necessary to wait until the time when we all as individuals have sufficiently evolved spiritually to put a societal system which is highly evolved spiritually into effect. In a sense the societal structure we live in could lead the development of the individuals living within it in much the same way that the societal system in which we now live in present day America either typifies or lags behind the awareness level of the average American. The societal structure is an embodiment of man's knowledge, values and ideals as they existed at the time of its inception. The constitution may be likened to a genetic code which contains the basic information which in its outworking forms and shapes the society. It is necessary at certain times in history to evolve new forms of society and new constitutions so that the process of evolution can continue as the older forms serve out their usefullness.
Today we are at a crossroads in terms of societal evolution. Do we want to continue down the road that our advanced industrial societies are taking us-a road that leads to a nuclear holocaust as the result of an ever expanding arms race, a road that leads to the global enfranchisement of poverty as the lot of the average world's citizen, a road that represents a regression to the neo-feudalism of a welfare state in which the underclass has no productive role in society but is thrown a few crumbs and allowed to live or the neo-Fascism of a Reaganesque society in which the underclass is forced to fend for itself without a safety net, a road in which the individual has lost his freedom to either powerful political or powerful economic interests or both, a road that allocates a trillion dollars a year to military interests that serve to promote a status quo in which the few, be they superpower residents or a multi-national conglomeration, control the world's resources to the detriment of the many while increasing numbers of people live in poverty, disease and hopelessness while, if the same expenditures were to be made in eradicating the problems of poverty and disease, then those problems would positively be eradicated but it would mean that the few would have to give up most of their power?
Or do we want to turn the tide and use the vast natural, human and technological resources that are now available to us, that make the eradication of hunger, poverty and disease literally possible, that could be utilized to provide a standard of living almost unimaginable to every human being, that could free man from drudgery and hopelessness and be the precondition for the universal realization of individual human potential, that could provide the substructure for a human Renaissance of the mind, body, heart and soul unlike any ever experienced by human civilization?
We do as individuals and as peoples have a choice to make.
In his book, "The Turning Point," Fritjof Capra discusses the choices humankind now faces.
"The evolution of a society, including the evolution of its economic system, is closely linked to changes in the value system that underlies all its manifestations. The values a society lives by will determine its world view and religious institutions, its scientific enterprise and technology, and its political and economic arrangements. Once the collective set of values and goals has been expressed and codified, it will constitute the framework of the society's perceptions, insights, choices for innovation and social adaptation. As the cultural value system changes-often in response to environmental changes-new patterns of cultural evolution will emerge.
The study of values is thus of paramount importance for all social sciences; there can be no such thing as a 'value-free' social science. Social scientists who consider the question of values 'nonscientific' and think they are avoiding it are attempting the impossible. Any 'value-free' analysis of social phenomena is based on the tacit assumption of an existing value system that is implicit in the selection and interpretation of data. By avoiding the issue of values, then, social scientists are not more social scientific but, on the contrary, less scientific, because they neglect to state explicitly the assumptions underlying their theories. They are open to the Marxist critique that 'all social sciences are ideologies in disguise.'
Economics is defined as the discipline dealing with the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth. It attempts to determine what is valuable at a given time by studying the relative exchange value of goods and services. Economics is therefore the most clearly value-dependent and normative among the social sciences. Its models and theories will always be based on a certain value system and on a certain view of human nature; on a body of assumptions that E.F. Schumacher calls 'meta-economics' because it is rarely included specifically in contemporary economic thought. Schumacher has illustrated the value-dependence of economics very eloquently by comparing two economic systems embodying entirely different values and goals. One is our present materialist system, in which the 'standard of living' is measured by the amount of annual consumption, and which therefore tries to achieve the maximum consumption along with an optimal patern of production. The other is a system of Buddhist economics, based on the notions of 'right livlihood' and the 'Middle Way,' in which the aim is to achieve a maximum of human well-being with an optimal pattern of consumption.
Contemporary economists, in a misguided attempt to provide their discipline with scientific rigor, have consistently avoided the issue of unstated values. Kenneth Boulding, speaking as president of the American Economic Association, has called this concerted attempt 'a monumentally unsuccessful exercise...which has preoccupied a whole generation of economists (indeed, several generations) with a dead end, to the almost neglect of the major problems of our age.' The evasion of value-related issues has led economists to retreat to easier but less relevant problems, and to disguise value conflicts by using elaborate technical language. This trend is particularly strong in the United States, where there is now a widespread belief that all problems-economic, political, or social-have technical solutions. Thus industry and business hire armies of economists to prepare cost/benefit analyses that convert social and moral choices into pseudotechnical ones and thereby conceal value conflicts that can only be resolved politically."25
And so we return to where we started-a consideration of values and different value systems. We started with a comparison of Christian values-the values of loving one's neighbor as one's self and that the strong have an obligation to help the weak-and Nietzschean values or the values of social Darwinism-the values of survival of the fittest and the strong should exploit the weak. The question arises that, since we see the survival of the fittest ethic in effect all around us in the natural world, isn't it only natural to incorporate it into human social ethics? Or, why are there predators in nature if God through his son, Jesus, preached the exact opposite ethic. God created nature. Why did He create this contradiction? One can't argue that there are not predatory animals. Predation is a biological fact of life. But, I would argue, we don't, ultimately, have to accept it. My belief is that God set the basic natural laws including the laws of evolution. Within these laws there is a lot of freedom, perhaps too much. Perhaps the constraints are too loose. We all know from history that terrible things can and have happened, and God let them happen. He didn't intervene. I would think of it not so much that God has let horrible things happen as that the constraints that God has set up are sufficiently loose as to allow these things to happen. Some of these horrible things are accidents of nature. Some are man-made. Perhaps the constraints have to be this loose in order that evolution can proceed toward its presumably God-ordained goal; or maybe God made a slight mistake when He designed the universe. Maybe this particular universe is a learning experience for God, and in the next universe the parameters will be adjusted slightly.
At any rate one of the functions of intelligent life is to correct errors. Maybe it was a cosmic error that predators evolved. It is to be noted that there are also among the animal kingdom a lot of non-predators including the panda bear, the koala bear, the giraffe, the horse, the cow. Also, some predators can be "taught" to be non-predators. For instance, if the mother cat doesn't teach her kittens to hunt mice, they will never hunt mice. In fact, if they are raised with a pet mouse, they will all become friends. As we as human beings reach the point where it is possible to intervene in the evolutionary process itself, perhaps one of the corrective functions we should undertake is the discouragement of predation in the biosphere. Or the encouragement of non-predation. It is possible that the purpose of intelligent life is to correct some of the ways that Nature, Herself, has gone wrong, and to direct the course of evolution along the lines of non-violence and love.
We have shown how so-called Western values are schizophrenic in the sense that, although professing Christian values, the values of the capitalist marketplace are closer to being Neitzschean. At the same time so-called Eastern values or the values of the Eastern-bloc countries, while professing to be atheistic, are closer to the values of Christianity. Herbert Marcuse in "Soviet Marxism" describes Soviet values: "Care, responsibility, love, patriotism, diligence, honesty, industriousness, the injunction against transgressing the happiness of one's fellow man, consideration for the common interest-there is nothing in this catalogue of values that could not be included in the ethics of the Western tradition."26
In fact what we are seeing today in the Soviet society, thanks primarily to Gorbachev, is a democratization of the political structure, a democratization that will give more of a voice to the people in the running not only of their political but also their economic affairs. Mikhail Gorbachev in "Perestroika" writes: "The aim of this reform is to ensure-within the next two or three years-the transition from an excessively centralized management system relying on orders, to a democratic one, based on the combination of democratic centralism and self-management."27 Thus there is an evolution occurring which, it can be hoped, will result in a truly democratic form of socialism in which the people, rather than an elite, will make the relevant political and economic decisions. In the US, democratization needs to take place primarily in the economic arena, but the movement is generally away from this kind of democratization and toward the concentration and centralization of power in the hands of a few. The trade union movement is being virtually stampeded by corporate power taking its lead from Reagan's crushing of the air controller's union. This economic power is then used in the political arena with the result that there is a trend away from democracy in that arena also.
Gorbachev has done much to make the world a safer place and to open up a dialog with the West which has already led to increased understanding, friendship and a reduction in hostilities. "The process of perestroika in the Soviet Union holds out fresh opportunities for international cooperation. Unbiased observers predict growth in the Soviet Union's share of the world economy and invigoration of foreign economic, scientific and technological ties, including those maintained through international economic organizations.
"We are saying this openly for all to hear: we need lasting peace in order to concentrate on the development of our society and to cope with the tasks of improving the life of the Soviet people. Ours are long-term and fundamental plans. That is why everyone, our Western partner-rivals included, must realize that our international policy of building a nuclear-weapon-free and non-violent world and asserting civilized standards in interstate relations is equally fundamental and equally trustworthy in its underlying principles."28
We then examined the notions of freedom and equality. We developed the idea that freedom cannot be an absolute value in itself. Every individual should have freedom in his individual sphere which means the freedom to grow and develop to his highest potential which implies the material basis that supports this. The notion that one should be free to command and control a share of the world's resources disproportionate to one's individual needs, or that one's freedom extends way beyond his individual sphere, is outdated. The argument that private individuals who control a share of the world's resources disproportionate to their individual needs are somehow the stewards of those resources (human and material) and are somehow invested with the wisdom to make the right decisions about the allocation of those resources is less valid than the argument that a political elite will always act in the interests of its constituents. Immense private wealth not only gives individuals control over the allocation of resources but control over people as well. Just as they do not necessarily allocate resources in the wisest way, their power over the lives of other human beings does not necessarily result in the well-being of those people.
Today there are too many people and too few resources for any of us to have absolute freedom. The frontier is closed. We live in a global village. What someone does in New York affects the life of someone in Bangladesh. As long as there was a frontier, society could be considered an open system with essentially limitless resources. There was always a place to go where one could be totally free, where one could lead a Robinson Crusoe existence if he so desired, a situation of abundant and unlimited natural resources in which one could be only responsible to one's self and in which, if one worked hard, he could make a living. Today there is no more frontier; the world society is rapidly becoming a closed society in which the actions of each individual almost inescapably affect other individuals. At the same time Earth's resources are becoming more finite and we are rapidly approaching the age in which all resources consumed will have to be renewable. There will be nothing left that can be depleted with no thought as to replacement both for present and future generations. As the world, as society, becomes more of a closed system with the fates of all of us more and more intertwined, we have to change our thinking about social organization, what society owes its citizens and what its citizens owe society. We can no longer afford the luxury of being a nation of 300 million Robinson Crusoes.
When society was more or less an open system, when there were more or less infinite natural resources per capita of Earth's population, when there were frontiers, when there was essentially unlimited land to be settled, homesteaded and worked-the concepts of individuality and freedom as developed by John Locke and incorporated in the US Constitution were more appropriate. The idea that society did not owe its citizens anything beyoind protection of property rights made more sense when anyone could through his own labor settle and work the land and thus make a living. It was only a question of one's willingness to work. Today there is no more land there for the taking-waiting to be homesteaded-no more places to go to lead a non-interactive existence, nowhere to lead a life which does not affect other people and is not afected by other people.
The Newtonian motion of individual people-atoms careening around-each with his individual property and each interacting through competition-may have been appropriate when the number of people-atoms in the system was relatively small, comparable to a rarified gas. When the number of people-atoms in the system becomes relatively dense, pressure builds, friction increases as these people-atoms (each pursuing his own interests) bump into each other more and more frequently. Finally, some form of social organization which harmonizes the interactions of this dense population must be adopted. The atomistic model is no longer appropriate. We cannot operate as if there were infinite resources and as if our actions do not affect others. The question becomes how do we interact so that the individual maintains his prerogatives in his own sphere and the good of all-not to mention the biosphere itself- is protected and promoted?
"If, by altering our world view, we are to avert a collective catastrophe, then some major and fundamental changes will be necessary: changes in the way that we relate to ourselves, our bodies, and surroundings; changes in our needs; changes in the demands we make of others and of the planet; and changes in our awareness and appreciation of the world. As numerous people have pointed out, a new world view is needed, one that is holistic, nonexploitive, ecologically sound, long-term, global, peaceful, humane, and cooperative. This would mean a shift to a truly global perspective, one in which the individual, the society, and the planet are all given full recognition, in other words, a shift from a world view that is low in synergy to one that is high in synergy."29
American preeminence in the world is on the wane not because the US is losing out in the struggle with communism but because the US is losing out in the economic competition with its own capitalist allies-many of them created by and following in the footsteps of the US. As one person said, Japan thought that if they couldn't bomb us out they'd buy us out instead. President Reagan is sticking with the rules of the game advocating free trade even though now the shoe is on the other foot. Just as US corporations in times past have bought up huge chunks of foreign real estate turning them into plantations, foreigners are buying up huge chunks of the US threatening to turn it into a plantation dominated by foreigner interests. "The Reagan Administration generally endorses the idea that nations should keep their borders open for such investment, but not all Americans take such a laissez-faire approach. 'What other world power allows such a significant portion of its industrial base to be bought up by other countries?' asked Linda J. Hoffman, a vice president with the Automotive Parts and Accessories Assn. in Lanham, Md."30 The point is whether foreign firms import to the US market or build plants here and sell to it, the profits as well as control of the markets are going to foreigners.
What is happening is that as the developing capitalist countries gain control over their own resources (both human and natural), these resources are no longer available for exploitation by US corporations. Instead they are exploited by indigenous capitalists. The plight of the poor in those countries remains the same; the only difference is that they are now being exploited by their own countrymen instead of Americans. As such those countries are much more of a threat to American preeminence in the world than are emerging socialist countries whose priority is feeding their own people rather than competing on world markets with their exports.
Meanwhile, the US has become the capitalist world's rent-a-cops and hamburger flippers. The Japanese have a good deal going since the US uses its military to protect the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to Japan so that Japan can continue to outcompete the Americans. I can hear Japanese leaders saying, "You do it, America. You're the leader of the Free World. Remember our Constitution which you helped us write prevents us from being involved in military affairs. But if you need a loan to keep your war machine, er uh, military establishment operating, we will be glad to lend you the money at a certain rate of interest, of course." They must be laughing over this one in Japan. The US is defending their oil flow, paying for it by borrowing money from Japan and then paying interest to the Japanese with which they can buy up more US real estate.
The lowering of the value of the dollar has not served so much to make US exports attractive on world markets and foreign imports less attractive here as it has to make US real estate fire sale bargains for foreigners. Thus the US is cutting its own throat. The trade imbalance may indeed decrease but so what. Foreign firms operating here may find it expedient to export to their own countries much in the same way that US Fruit found it profitable to export from the Banana Republics to the US. Foreign corporations have the US coming and going since they can either import to the US market or manufacture here, sell here and export from here. Thus they can get around any kind of protectionist policy as long as the US is wide open for foreign investment.
We have developed in this book a theoretical substructure based on the work of English utilitarians and eighteenth century French scientists who studied voting systems. The work stems from the voting paradox, a phenomenon that has been studied for hundreds of years. We have found a way out of the voting paradox which allows a quantum leap toward the realization of a true democracy. Prior to this development, the practice of democracy had been severely constrained by its lack of theoretical development and the inadequacy of voting systems as they exist in the world. The new development calls for the manipulation of significantly increased quantities of information but this is no problem for computers. Getting beyond the impasse of the voting paradox also has implications for economics. It had been thought that there existed no social welfare function that satisfied Arrow's five basic and reasonable conditions. Therefore, it was thought, there was no way to combine individual decisions into an overall social decision in a way that was compatible with individualistic values. We have shown that there is a way to do this, and we call the algorithm the "maximum social utility social decision function." This is a rule for combining individual preferences in such a way as to come up with a social solution that maximizes either voter or consumer satisfaction. The advantages of this method are that many alternatives can be considered simultaneously and that there may be a multiplicity of social solutions each individually tailored, a necessity for applying the method in the economic arena. Thus the utilization of the methods presented herein would raise the synergy of both the world's political and economic systems considerably.
In a chapter of his book entitled "Towards a High-Synergy Society," Peter Russell talks about the changes that would occur as we progress toward that goal.
"The laws of physics, chemistry, and biology would not change dramatically, and each person would continue functioning as an individual biological being: still breathing, eating, drinking, working, playing, making love. The most significant changes would happen at the collective level, as our changed relationships, both with ourselves and with other people, begin to give rise to a totally different society. The 'laws' of economics, politics, and sociology would change radically, since they are dependent upon collective behavior. They might be as different from current 'laws' as the behavior of steam is different from that of water.
...The essence of high synergy is that the goals of the individual components are in harmony with the needs of the system as a whole. As a result there is minimal conflict between components, as well as between these components and the overall system.
...Being in tune with each other, humanity, and the rest of the environment would not mean we would all become similar, either in behavior or in needs [or wants or desires]. The cells in your body do not have to become similar in order for you to be a healthy organism; the oneness is at a far deeper level. Likewise, in a high-synergy society, there would be just as rich a diversity of people and interests as there is now. Indeed, freed from the psychological need to belong and to conform to a norm, people would be at greater liberty to express their individuality. Rather than everybody tending to become more alike, diversity would increase as a healthy and productive aspect of an evolving organic society."31
Along with an algorithm for combining individual decisions into social decisions in an optimal way, a way that yields maximal satisfaction to the society, we have emphasized that it is necessary to have a system of basic human rights-political, economic and social. The maximum social utility social decision function is a majoritarian rule-that is, it is a generalization of majority rule. It does not guarantee any minimal level of satisfaction to any particular individual. As such, it concerns more the middle class than it does the poor. It is for this reason that we advocate basic human rights which protect the individual and guarantee at least a minimal level of satisfaction in all areas. It is this more than a high-synergy social decision function that will abolish poverty in the world and that represents the Christian concern for "the least of these, my brethren," but the two concepts-human rights and maximum utility social decision function-work nicely and harmoniously together.
We have advocated that there should be a balance between freedom and responsibility-that an increase in freedom without a corresponding increase in responsibility only results in exploitation of the weak by the strong.
We have written of the usurpation of democracy by economic power in the US; of the suffusion of the merchandising ethic into art, culture, politics and religion as witnessed by the packaging and marketing of rock stars, political candidates and electronic evangelists.
We have written of the increasing need for us to identify with all mankind instead of just with a certain group or nation-to be mankind-centered instead of nation-centered.
We have written about the fact that in any competitive society the strong will eventually come to dominate the weak; therefore, the need to eliminate competition in a high-synergy society and instead to adopt the Christian attitude of concern for the needs of the weak and the poor and of how this corresponds with the ideas of systems theory in that concern for the weak and the poor acts as a kind of feedback which stabilizes the overall systemi.e.society as a whole. In order for a society to be stable, there must be an investment by the rich in the poor; there must be a flow from the top to the bottom in order for the whole system to circulate and not to stagnate. This is a primary Christian principle and it's also fundamental to socialist ethics and systems theory.
We should rethink the notion of technological progress. Technological breakthroughs in many cases have only allowed for the consolidation of power by the strong over the weak. As such, social progress will probably be enhanced if the rate of technological progress is slowed down. If technological progress does not go hand in hand with social progress, it is counter-productive.
Finally, we have written about a major trend in the world today: the internationalization of capital markets and power centers is leading toward the homogenization of the working class with the result that the American worker is sinking to the level of exploited workers in the Third World. In order for US business to compete with foreign business, it must transfer its operations to the Third World in order to take advantage of cheap labor, diminish the price of American labor, allow the flow of impoverished workers from Latin America to flow across our borders in order to constitute themselves as a cheap labor pool, an internal colony, or automate and robotize. The result is that the value of American labor is declining, the American worker is becoming increasingly economically and politically disenfranchised and the middle class is disappearing.
The main theoretical advancement presented in this book is the development of the maximum social utility social decision function. This represents a synthesis of the best aspects of democracy, socialism and capitalism. It is an advance for democracy since it allows for a social decision to be made among more than two options. There has never before been a theoretically satisfactory way of doing this. That is why in the US political contests have been reduced to two alternatives because the rule for specifying the winner is clear. The best feature of capitalism is the so-called demand economy-the mechanism that provides individually tailored economic solutions based on individual inputs, the proverbial market. The problem with the capitalistic market mechanism is that it is unfair. It accords certain individuals more "votes" than others. It is very responsive to an individual who has money; in fact, the more money he has, the more votes he gets. It is not responsive at all to people with little or no money. In fact it is a very undemocratic social decision function. Theoretically, socialism accords each citizen one equal share of economic power. The problem with most socialistic systems up to the present is that they haven't been responsive to individual preferences. Usually, an elite has made economic decisions in the interests of the people. However, there has been no mechanism to provide individually tailored results to each person.
The social decision function presented here is democratic in that it accords each citizen one share of political-economic power. It is general in that it produces both political and economic results. It can be seen that the classic political problem is one for which the social decision function must specify one result from among many possible alternatives and based on an equal consideration of input preference specifications from all citizens. Then the one result applies to the whole society. The selection of a President is an example. The classic economic problem is one such that individually tailored results are produced for each citizen based on a consideration of each individual input. Thus, whether a problem is fundamentally political or economic depends on the number of admissible results which can range from one to a number equal to the number of citizens. The maximum utility social decision function applies to all problems regardless of the number of admissible results. Therefore, it represents a solution to all political-economic problems. The fewer the number of admissible results, the more the situation is political; the greater the number of admissible results, the more the situation resembles an economic one. In the sense that each individual input is treated equally, it represents a democratic social decision function and to the extent that there are a large number of admissible results, it represents a market mechanism. Since it grants to each citizen the same amount of political-economic power, it represents an implementation of socialism. It is basically a device that allows the realization of democratic socialism or economic democracy.
END OF CHAPTER 6