Hey! Im a college student writing about the progressive ideology found in this community. If possible I would love to have y’all’s take on the issue I am writing about.
I have been exploring the idea that with an increase people trying to better themselves rather than be consumed by greed for wealth and power, there could either be a positive or a negative impact on society. Positive because people would find much more meaning in life and they wouldn’t be concerned with a career they don’t enjoy, making them a much more positive person and a light for others. Negative because without our society’s pressure on humans for wealth, many people could lose their drive to improve the world and slow down progress.
I think as far as your negative goes, it would be interesting to question what defines “progress”. Is it progress if more people have TV’s and cars, but less people have clean drinking water? If more of us have swimming pools and can take airplane rides, but we feel happiness and fulfillment less often? You can probably already see my bias :P
There’s an awesome documentary called “Surviving Progress”, maybe you could watch it for some thoughts. It’s about exactly what it sounds like; can we survive economic progress if it inevitably destroys the natural world that sustains us?
Also, explore what it means to be a “much more positive person and a light for others”. What would that looks like in the world? I think people would still find ways to occupy themselves that contribute to society. My thoughts are that hopefully we can move away from thinking about our career and move toward thinking about our contribution. One is about me & mine, the other is about the impact my work has on others. Could we have a society with more people genuinely interested in careers that are beneficial for humanity and the natural world at large?
I don’t know, answer that in your project :)
I think we would actually generate more progress if we weren’t so focused on external man-made things like wealth. Money is just a trading tool and it will eventually become obsolete. Allowing everyone to pursue their own passions and contribute to society would create a lot more diversity in our economy, allow for more inventions and innovation, and increase our productivity quite a bit. Money does create dynamics in our economy and drives people to earn and produce. But what are they producing? ONLY things that will generate the same or MORE money. They are not allowed to explore any other avenues.
I work in marketing, and how that works is target market. My business thinks they should only advertise to older wealthier people. It’s true that that target market (aka stereotype) may be our HIGHEST return market in terms of sales, but what happens when those people die? We should be advertising to a broader audience to capture younger people who DO have the means to afford the brand. So you see, targeting a small slice is very effective for high return (boom and bust), but if you diversify what you are doing, you end up having a good return, and a very stable return over a longer period of time (progression). Likewise with jobs, If you pigeonhole yourself to go to where you perceive the “gravy train” is, (highest paying job) you realize that so has everyone else, because money is the universal driver in this scenario. You must share the gravy or fight with all of those others clamoring to get on board the “gravy train” too (extremely long schooling, debt and workplace competition is brutal). Eventually, there is no more gravy for anyone, except the conductor(the industry is saturated, and crashes). Then you must start all over again from the bottom.(Find another job, or profession). Most people quit careers that they started for money in favor of something they CARE about doing. Most humans do this because that’s what we REALLY want, not money.
In a society where Individual Passion and Purpose is the most sought after ideal, (science has proven our productivity skyrockets if we are able to work on something we are passionate about. It also increases job satisfaction and you’re less likely to burn out, less likely to cheat, steal, be corrupt, etc) each person would be allowed and ENCOURAGED to find their own inherent skills and talents, and then develop them of their own will. This eliminates the whole “Why couldn’t you have been a doctor to pay for your mother’s retirement?” “Well, you should be a stock broker and make the big bucks.” “Oh honey, why be an artist when you could be an engineer like your father?” Bullshit on all those. Society perceives only certain jobs as more important, therefore higher paying, than others. In reality, every contribution to society is worthy. A doctor is no more valuable than a teacher. When money or power become focus, things change.
I had to add, this idea that without money all humans would just be lazy monkeys is just kind of a sham, really. I’m sure some people wouldn’t do much, but without the constraints of budgets or sources of funding, think about what NASA could do with the moon? with Mars? And they could do it for the PUBLIC, not to make a ton of commercial money for the investors.
Money was a tool we used to help ease our transition from pastoral to civilization. People are afraid of loosing it because it has come to represent power. They will think up any excuse they can to justify keeping monetary system instead of attempting to think about how we could live without it. We are such a slave to money we are too afraid to even IMAGINE a life without it. That’s sad.
This lie is a leftover from the cold-war, to try to discredit the
communist idea of “To every worker what he needs, for what he gives”.
Because communism “failed” in practice, capitalists love to point out
that you can’t leave men to their own devices or they wont “do enough
work” for the set pay they are given. Capitalists are just afraid of
their slaves finding a gap in the fence and running, thinking outside
the system is that gap in the fence. They don’t want you to do it.
I think it’s important too to note that all the examples of failing communisms are facist modern-era communisms like USSR. Those states were primarily facist, secondarily communist. It was a powerful ruling elite making itself wealthy, just like in today’s capitalist economies, only they used forced communism as the mechanism of control instead of the allure of consumerism.
A lot of older societies, like many nomadic and even agrarian Native American tribes, were essentially communist economies. Just without the facism and oppressive elite.
I don’t necessarily believe communism is the answer, though. I think a system of government/economy needs to fit the culture within which it operates, and I don’t see communism fitting with every culture in the world. But I think it’s foolish the discredit communism and communist ideas as if they have no value.
I know, I actually am partial to communism on paper, but modern examples have not been so successful, due to the facsism and classism. I wasn’t trying to discredit or devalue it, in fact my sister is a communist. Interesting that you mention how culture must fit with the style of government, something I never considered for long.
I saw that you weren’t trying to devalue it, I thought my comment was in agreement with yours/expanding on your point :D
And yeah I haven’t thought about it a lot, but that’s why I don’t believe there will ever be a “perfect” system of government/economics that all the humans should adopt. I think the idea that there is a best system and everyone should use it is destructive – especially as it’s playing out now with the globalization of capitalist/consumer culture. I think capitalism could be done well, and I think communism could be done well, and I think socialism and almost any other way of organizing things could be done well. They each just have to make sense in the context of the culture of a people. But no matter what, the real problem seems to be how to not let a ruling elite deprive everyone else, which keeps happening again and again no matter what system we try. Wish I had an answer to that one but I don’t :P