|Ethics, Economics and the Future of the World|
DRAFT, SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION - ongoing editing, revisions and additionsCan we change the disastrous course of our civilization? We believe yes; however:
We must understand the principle problems of our economic, political and legal institutions.
We need a vision with clear goals: models of alternate institutions must motivate and guide broad reforms.
We – individuals, NGOs, churches, politicians, etc. must cooperate working towards this vision.
Modern democratic governance, free markets and economic growth often fail to advance health and happiness. Western democracies do not offer a viable model for Third World countries. The Renaissance and Enlightenment brought major reforms to religious, political, economic and legal thinking, but modern institutions appear stuck in 18th century notions. Humans are not born equal; justice, equal rights, freedom, etc. are elusive concepts. Civilizations fought against feudalism, slavery and colonialism. Today we must again seek broad institutional reforms. It is our ethical obligation, if not an issue of survival, to develop and pursue a vision of worldwide, humane civilizations that are based on the evolving understanding of human nature, our social systems and ethics.
This draft presents a fairly comprehensive framework of proposed institutions: economic, social, governmental, etc. The goal of our organization is broad cooperation between organizations and individuals who share some or many of our goals and to convince and pressure political, economic and other leaders to pursue broad reforms. The deceptive appeal of wealth and material growth may lessen as credible alternatives become meaningful goals.
|H. Aeschbach, M.D.: About the Principal Author email@example.com|
Disastrous course of civilizations? Many people assume that, just in time, technological progress will turn things around. But should we gamble like that? Rapid, profit-driven economic growth is destructive and hardly improves quality of life. Human activities may eradicate most animal and plant species in the near future. It is likely that large parts of the world, including most of India, will become essentially uninhabitable, too hot and dry for our domesticated animals; that large, densely populated areas will be frequently flooded and later below sea level; and that extreme weather conditions will be frequent.
And are people in most parts of the world becoming healthier and happier? Medicine made huge progress in treating and preventing physical diseases, and benefits of medical sciences are spreading throughout the world. But has research concerning social and psychosocial-psychiatric problems a similar impact? Are our cultures promoting emotional health, resilience, caring, love and happiness? With focused efforts, we certainly could do much better.
If we do not trust our governments, is this not an indictment of our constitutions? A challenge to rethink the structure of our governments and their institutions?
If economists cannot predict how by governments regulated banks will maintain a functional, circulating money supply; if economists are unable to advise governments on how to prevent severe recessions; does this not mean that our economic systems and economic theories are fundamentally flawed?
If we have no vision of more ethical and humane institutions, our civilizations may destroy the basis of their existence, and/or drift toward a dictatorship by the wealthiest, large scale wars and anarchy.
People differ much in talents, values and temperaments, but we all experience grave conflicts, inherent and caused by cultures; and in most civilizations, people inflict much unnecessary suffering on each other. However it is our environment, the social institutions of our civilizations, which bring out the best or worst of human nature.
We believe, a humane civilization promotes cohesive communities that support all inhabitants, individuals and families. Its government is decentralized and democratic. Guiding principles of all institutions must include natural ethics and efficient application of science and technology.
In a humane, democratic economy, money is allocated by elected, well-educated representatives of cooperatives and development banks, not by profit-driven financial institutions and investors. Bank lending is limited but consistent, thus avoiding business cycles and large fluctuations in the functional money supply. Development banks' primary function is to advance quality of life for present and future generations, rather than material growth. Production and service organizations are decentralized, adapted to local conditions and needs. A major function of taxation is to discourage what is recognized as bad for society, ecology and future generations.
Instead of equal rights and justice, humane conditions for all is the primary goal. Families, schools, communities and service organizations help prevent unethical acts and criminal careers. People who are dangerous to self or others are treated, if necessary, in safe, structured long-term residential facilities. Science-based natural ethics must be the guiding principle of all institutions.
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