|Ethics, Economics and the Future of the World|
HUMANE CIVILIZATION WORLDWIDE
Domestic Nonprofit Corporation, Texas 11/2017
Draft Document 11/2017 - ongoing editing, revisions and additions
Can we change the destructive developments in our civilization?
While studying the principle problems of our economic, political, cultural and legal institutions, we must create a vision: models of ethical alternate institutions must motivate and guide broad reforms. Institutions must consider the scientific understanding of human nature and are to bring out the best in every person, never exploit human weaknesses.
We – individuals, NGOs, religious groups, politicians, etc. must cooperate as a global movement, working towards such a vision.
Modern democratic governance, free markets and a debt based economy controlled by financial institutions and large corporations do not make humane conditions a priority.
Western democracies hardly offer a viable model for Third World countries.
This draft presents a fairly comprehensive framework of proposed institutions: economic, social, governmental, etc. and an evaluation of ethical principles. Our goal 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.
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|About the Principal Author H. Aeschbach, M.D. firstname.lastname@example.org|
Destructive developments in civilizations?
Many people assume that technological progress will turn developments around, but profit-driven economic growth is destructive and improving quality of life is not its priority. Human activities continue to eradicate more and more animal and plant species, and it is likely that large parts of the world, including most of India, will become essentially uninhabitable and too hot 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.
Progress in many areas has been accelerating in an astounding way and much of what is discussed today may seem obsolete in the near future. There is hope that present trends of broader cooperation and sharing of knowledge will lead to a more humane economy; on the other hand, developments in artificial intelligence and biotechnology will raise ethical issues that must be addressed before catastrophic developments occur. Improvements in our civilizations’ institutions and the broad exploration and teaching of ethics are extremely important.
The question whether people in most parts of the world are becoming healthier and happier remains unanswered. Medicine made huge progress in treating and preventing physical diseases, and benefits of medical sciences are spreading throughout the world. But has research concerning psychosocial-psychiatric problems a similar impact? Are our cultures promoting peace, health, resilience, caring, love and happiness?
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. Our understanding of economics is based on flawed assumptions. Civilizations fought against feudalism, monarchy, 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. 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? Today economists appear unable to advise governments how to regulate the extremely profitable financial institutions so that they will maintain a stable functional, circulating money supply, prevent severe recessions and unemployment, and lessen rather than increase inequality: Does this not indicate that our economic institutions and accepted economic theories are fundamentally flawed? Our legal system appears wrong in principle and bad in execution. Is it not time to rethink legal doctrines?
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, more wars and anarchy.
People differ much in talents, values and temperaments, but we all experience grave conflicts, inherent in our social systems and caused by cultures; and in most civilizations, people inflict much senseless suffering on each other. However it is our environment, the 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 safety net must provide for anybody who is unable to work. 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 thinking and behaviors. 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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