Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Positive Developments in the Social World

Positive things will soon start happening world over, as they already have in some Arab and Muslim countries.

It is inevitable that, as information becomes more and more available, the conditions we live in will change. Ignorance (other than willful ignorance) will become less of an obstacle. Certainly, not everyone possesses the intellect to make use of the information sources that are now available. But those who are capable are no longer held back by limited availability of information. If you find a gadget you don't understand, you sit down at your computer and look up everything you could want to know about it. You can satisfy any scientific question (unless it is at the boundaries of expert knowledge) in seconds. Look up formulas, learn a new language, research a purchase, or a hobby or any subject whatsoever. This IS the whiz-bang world of our dreams, in terms of information access.

I don't know how the availability of instant information and mobile communication has exactly worked to bring about the recent examples of "people power". I suspect that scholars are busily writing good explanations of that as we speak. What I expect to see manifesting more and more in our society, are quiet victories of best practices. More people, more of the time, more rapidly, will see what policies and practices are most beneficial. Not in the big areas of conflict, like abortion, where our warped media have sensationalized the issues. But in ways that people live their day-to-day lives. Things like organic gardening, learning how to knit or make candles, healthy eating, avoidance of environmental toxins, minimization of waste. How to deal with your teenager's emotional problems. How best to support a friend who just revealed having a debilitating condition like diabetes or MS. The easiest was to prepare any food.

I think we will begin to have some trust in each other again. This is why I am writing a blog - so that people can read my collected writings, and come to feel that they know who I am as a person. I may not actually need to have anyone read this until the moment I am trying to get a job, or make an economic trade. My writing might be quite boring to almost everyone. But at a certain moment, someone will be very interested in what and how I think. If I can write what I think and not be ashamed to have it on public display, then it becomes a living resume. The fact that it has been published over time gives it credibility. (I'm not saying that fraudulent web credentials are hard to get. But if the other person really wants to know how I operate, they have enough to read to get to know me. For most purposes they might have with me, they can then quickly determine, from personal experience with me, whether I have accurately represented myself.)

We WILL find ways to cooperate and help each other more. We will stop wasting human capabilities (those of the unemployable) because for-profit business can't figure out how to use them. People are going to stop overworking, and will find ways to trade what they want to do for what other people want to do. I know that sounds like wishful thinking, but everything humans have ever created, they have first wished for.

We wanted a light bulb, so someone figured out how to make one. We wanted to trade with money that wasn't as heavy and physically limited as gold, and we finally created monetary structures that allowed rapid and focused development of building and factories. The industry of finance then developed to exploit the capabilities of those monetary structures. As that industry matured, it destroyed many of the qualities of the monetary structure that allowed it to be used as a tool for advancing the interests of the commonwealth. Free markets, as Adam Smith described them, no longer exist in the developed world.

At this time, the structures of our economic system, which are created and supported by our system of laws and government, are under the control of and used largely to concentrate wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands. That this is insanity, is an understatement. US government at the highest levels has descended into farce. There is less and less of even a pretense at doing the "will of the people". The last act of that farce is the Republicans' attempt to push a radical, anti-abortion, anti-labor, anti-woman agenda. And Obama seems to have bowed to the inevitability of longterm, mass unemployment.

Getting back to wishful thinking of the creative kind (I hope), people could change their way of life pretty rapidly. If we can feel that we really know the people we are dealing with, we could create more connection, trust and caring between people. My anecdotal experience of what people are getting from social networking websites, especially FaceBook, is that the good greatly outweighs the bad.

I don't trust Facebook, though. I would like to see all important infrastructure of the internet be open source and/or somehow democratically regulated. That includes search engines, especially Google.

No comments:

Post a Comment