Social Economic Evolution

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Understanding mankind lately has been difficult for me. I see so much potential, but its mankind continually seems to be lost on choosing its future. Our vision is not clear and we move forward erratically trying to understand it. This post however is about something we have not yet solved: Capitalism..

Ever since I was young teenager, I could not understand one thing: if I help someone with their business, why are they so unwilling to share in the spoils. Are we not already in debt to something greater than ourselves?

It is such a hugely problematic issue I thought it’s time to voice my honest opinion on this matter.

Firstly mankind seems to have concluded that ownership is the way forward. It is a concept that creates a lot of contention. The first and biggest area of ownership contention is around land. Somehow the Roman/English/Dutch legal system invented a way for you to gain rights from the investment of the land. A new form of bullying was invented. Previously the biggest and the strongest would take dominion of the land which is still applicable with the occasional war breaking out on this planet. But this has created a new problem. That land owned becomes a form entitlement especially to those who have title to it, eventhough the community and the environment may not be achieving its optimal reward from it.

Many say that via Laissez-faire, the owner of the land is creating the most benefit to society. But lets break this down a bit:

– economics is measured by products and services that are measured by the tax system.
– charity is not and cannot be measured by the GDP of the country.
– learning cannot be measured by the GDP of a nation.
– social harmony cannot be measured by the GDP of the nation.
– environmental health cannot be measured by the GDP of a nation.
– full and happy tummies cannot be measured by the GDP of a country.
– clean water cannot… you get the picture.

GDP really is just a productivity index for customers that are able to consume its benefits.

I am not denying the basics but stated the obvious to me: essentially when you are building an economy based on unrestricted consumption, without balancing the needs of a community you create a dystopia. This is where I live. South Africa. It is a country which has one of the worst Gini coefficients of the world. The tide seems to be turning, after quite a few years of a dishonest cancer that entered the government system and the inherited effects of the Apartheid system (which segregated people based on colour – the raven paradox aka: racism). We hope it is turning but in the mean time it has done so much damage to our country. But I am not happy with it. Why?

Because South Africa is one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to unrestricted consumption. Let me expound further..

What are the prerequisites of creating an excessively consuming economy?

Create a passive populace. Excessive television watching is a mainstay in this country. South Africa’s addicted to it. Reams of information, but to what purpose? People hiding in their cluster complexes avoid the truth outside on this next community. Couch potatoes we are.
Create little opportunity to grow and learn. Education has not been a priority in this country for the last decade or so but many strikes only a few years ago has helped. Ignorance is not ok, if you know there is better.
Consumption. E.g. Takealot. This is one of the strangest names I have ever seen for an online shop. Yet this is a symptom of something wrong with out country. Marketing in South Africa is hugely driven towards consumption instead of charity. Considering that more than half the people in the country are struggling to survive? link
Lack of investment. Driving big or fast cars (i.e. work out some other form of segregation based on haves and have nots). South Africans for some reason, love their motor cars. So much so that forget about pedestrians. This is something I cannot understand, and the local councils seem to bend over backwards to ensure that motor vehicle traffic takes preference. I cycled to many shop centres here in Fourways where I stay and it is always such an issues trying to find a place to lock my bike. But if you look for vehicle parking. It is everywhere! Its a rarity for example to own an electric bike in this country.
Less exercise. Many South African do exercise but they do it for sport. This is perhaps great up to a point, but humans are actually given abilities (from above and beyond our understanding) that allow us to walk or run. We are actually designed so that we can walk long distances. Our weather is great and so we should have no excuses. We need to get off our addiction of using cars for transport.
Pollute the environment or make it expensive or difficult to access to areas that are beautiful. Who wants to experience nature when its polluted or hide great spots away from people that would love to experience it.
Focus on success as meaning having more financial wealth rather than real wealth like time with family, community, health or in nature doing things we love.

There is probably more, but let me stay within the bounds of this article, ownership. For what purpose is it? Accountability, responsibility, curatorship? I am really not sure. Heritage, yeah sure. But when does this right expire? One thousand years from now?

Lets look at other side of the coin. Obviously ownership might imply the person owning the item already has the aforementioned characteristics and that this person is optimizing the economic use of it? But for what purpose, so mankind is incentivised to consume more?

I saw rather look it from another angle. How should we be incentivizing each other? How do we create an awesome nation? How do we create awesome communities? How do we create lives that have more meaning for all.

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October 27, 2018