I am under the impression that a time will come when the human species shall no longer rule this planet, be it from us following the ways of the dinosaurs or the forces of nature becoming overwhelming for our existance.
Now between now and then is there an ideal system that may ensure that the resources are distributed equally, knowledge is dispersed indiscriminately , human life( and animals and fauna, for that matter) span is prolonged (not only for those who are in countries that are more scientifically progressed). What are your take on capitalism, has it failed or has it been abused? Do humans have a better system? Or is this the beginning of the end of the great Homo Sapiens? Should we just embrace what we have and enjoy this life knowing that in a few generations after us there shall be no human life in this planet?
To those who are in the field of science: Is there any hope of human survival even after some great nature disasters that are emminent in the future?
There is no panacea, not even democracy can solve all of our problems.
I'm thinking about asking aliens to waive their prime directive, and give us a hand. They could be just waiting for us to make an overt request, right?
I was a behavioral scientist before disability and retirement and will attempt to answer your query. However... WOW, what a question!
Your query is headlined “What is an ideal system of ruling” but what it asks in the body may be a bit off the main subject. So I will answer it in reference to as much as possible, but in short as what you ask contains queries I have not seen sufficiently addressed by any dozen peer review papers published in Nature magazine.
The ideal system of ruling is too dependent on a wide variety of aspects to have a simplistic and singular answer. In times of less dense populations, it may be a strong but benevolent king. When the population is massive and crowded—as it is now in China—a dictatorship may actually be the most effective, however both carry negatives as well as the obvious positives. You cannot please everyone and perhaps one shouldn't try.
Population density, especially considered per sq. meter is an extremely serious subject that affects people mentally and physically, can promote or reduce crime, and can, in a highly destructive manner, become self controlling when the density exceeds what the populous is willing to tolerate—especially if privacy is lacking. What governmental system is best then?
I feel we may expect to see some destructive population levels as the population has been experiencing exponential growth without an end in sight since the 1500's. If big religion has it's way in influencing the populous in America, we will see some extreme problems of population densities as religion relies on an antiquated myth that will never change and is not responsible to current difficulties. Naturally occurring forces as studied by John B. Calhoun in rat population densities could also effect humans in some distant time—and those are anything but pretty. Here are some sites that may assist in comprehending what humans may face. Regrettably, overcoming and controlling this may require a Big Brother governmental approach.
I would doubt that anything can ever be distributed equally. What about those with low income and specific needs? Do they deserve more, or are they expected to survive as well as unaffected humans when suffering from untreated disease and injury? Also, lets not forget the human need for entertainment in this modern world. Should the poor and disabled be provided computers and televisions? Would the population accept such things? This is a Pandora's box that has not been opened, and one may speculate, but few claim actual knowledge.
Will the population survive or do we face extinction? Another difficult question, however myself and other scientists feel that humans have an extraordinary opportunity to survive most extermination events. Why? Simply put, we have the intelligence to consider our own position in a calamity where other animals do not. They must react instinctively where we can consider and devise—a considerable difference, and one that can well effect outcome, wouldn't you agree?
Insects, including bacteria, have always been the dominate life form on earth. We could never exterminate all insects and bacteria and if we were to, we would so disrupt life on this planet it could spell the extermination of most, if not all life—even human life. So are humans actually the dominant species? Yes, but we depend on the insects, and not the other way around.
Capitalism works—to an extent, but so do most all other forms of governing, including religious systems such as strict Sharia Law as enforced by the al-Qaeda religious fundamentalists. Yes, not what Americans would accept, but people do accept it and it controls people—a governing objective.
Acceptance may not be associated with the highest functioning form of governing, but every person has a personal view and most are subjective, and I truly doubt government can ever be completely objective. Perhaps it may be as experienced in a prison where the objective of ultimate order and control is generally met, however, as in Sharia Law, it is at the expense of those governed. There are far too many subjective concerns to be addressed for a single system to be considered best for all.
“Should we just embrace what we have and enjoy this life knowing that in a few generations after us there shall be no human life in this planet?”
My response may not be what you and others wish to read but it is one of the most effective personal choices for psychological stability. That said, here goes.
Yes, we should all embrace life and accept what we have now. That is the psychologically effective response, and it works. Yes, we should hope to see a better future as humans need hope, but how far can we realistically extend our concerns? To constantly worry over the human condition beyond the range of your abilities to currently assist an outcome can be the basis for developing a personal delusion. This is what religion does. With so many apparently less concerned about their personal freedom of experience in the present, they are following unquestioned rules while really waiting for the ultimate experience, or end of life? How many expect that to be the beginning of eternity? So where is the focus, and is anyone's life personally best served remaining in a condition of overt concern where one cannot expect success? I would certainly not think so.
The most psychologically stable people are often those that follow a simple example that most are aware of, yet so few consider. It is to find the ability to accept the things you can't effect or change, the courage and the confidence to change what you can, and the wisdom to understand and accept the difference. Yes, I reworded it slightly, but it needed a small change, I realized it, and I enjoy the confidence to do so. Whether it is correct or not is a strictly subjective matter.
Have fun with life and enjoy. Succeed if you can, accept your life if you don't, live mostly in the present, and try to be less concerned with the far distant future.
"Have fun with life and enjoy. Succeed if you can, accept your life if you don't, live mostly in the present, and try to be less concerned with the far distant future."
That is what I am preparing to do, thank-you, John. And Iwill be visiting the sites now.
Capitalism is in its death throes and good riddance. It is evil to the core. It's BASED upon greed and competition.
MOST people in America have been successfully indoctrinated. Since birth we've been fed the nonsense that socialism can't work (with all its associated lies about motivation, etc.) Because of the nature of capitalism, it's practitioners are ruthless and efficient at killing whatever comes between them and whatever they want (which, by way of a spectacular misjudgment, happens to be the one thing with no inherent value - money).
So, when these polished propagandists start spouting their nonsense about how, in a head-to-head fair competition, capitalism outperformed socialism. Bullshit. There was never anything "fair" about this so-called competition. Socialism is based upon helping, sharing, and cooperation. Just punching someone in the face and taking what they have (the root motivator of capitalism) would never occur to those looking for a fair and just society.
So capitalism didn't defeat socialism. Capitalism, with malice aforethought, did MURDER socialism - because socialism means that they would be asked to share what the society produced rather than take whatever the strongest can get.
These deliberately-introduced misconceptions include:
"the marriage of capitalism and science got us to the moon 66 years after the Wright brothers' first flight."
Nonsense! Human (esp, American) creativity accomplished this - and it did so in a societal model much closer to socialism than to capitalism. The MAJOR innovations in that endeavour were taxpayer-funded. Capitalists recognized very early that there is NO MONEY on the moon. The Government, by comparison, recognized that the offshoots of this R&D would benefit everyone. While capitalists ran around trying to slap patents on everything that moved, socialist forces were making advances. Instead of trying to stifle and thwart competitors, they were building upon advances of others and, in turn making these advances freely available to the next wave.
"Because of capitalism, we all have access to the accumulated knowledge of our species in our pockets."
How about DESPITE capitalism information-sharing prospered in universities while Monsanto was busy trying to make sure that every farmer in the world has to buy seeds from them EVERY YEAR and Pfizer can get away with making 10,000% profit on one of their little blue pills.
"It's supposed to be the government's job to set policy and regulate those things. They don't."
Because government is now a fully bought and paid-for arm of US corporatocracy.
"People are the real problem. With our animal nature,"
I believe that humankind has rendered "survival-of-the-fittest" a distant relic, to be practiced only by those tribes who have not evolved sufficiently to fit into a civilized society.
Who's going in the right direction? America, of course, is fucked - probably permanently. But a lot of Americans are not prepared to give up just yet. Northern Europe and Scandinavia are the happiest countries on earth. To me that says it all. Isn't that what life is about? NZ has, in the past, been one of the happiest but, unfortunately, a right-of-centre government seems to have set a course to transform NZ into an American suburb.
China has more going for it than one might think. Most notably the absence of democracy means that the leadership are free to appoint people to important positions on merit instead of charisma. (Why it so obviously suits the oligarchy to have the absolute STUPIDEST people available representing them in government is not yet clear to me. Perhaps it's just that they do what they're told.) So much for democracy.
According to my Chinese girlfriend, China seems to have a three-step approach: 1) make some money (mostly by exploiting American greed) so that China can do things that matter to Chinese; 2) directly and intelligently manage to undo the damage done by making all this money; 3) and then work on making the world a better place. The corruption engendered by one-party rule CAN be progressively dealt with - they've started. The next most important step must be to free their press. I hope they grow to see that soon.
Did you know that Sweden has an extremely competitive corporate tax rate as well as a voucher system for their health care, with a private option available? The most successful economies today have been the ones that have managed to restructure their government bureaucracies to in ways that have allowed them to streamline costs and maximize service provision (i.e., Northern Europe). This has been accomplished by gradually learning how to introduce market mechanisms to meet these ends, not by making blanket statements that have little to no merit, like "capitalism is evil."
If you are going to use China as an ideal alternative economic/social model for Western democracies, then I hope you are prepared to consult more peer-reviewed literature to make your case than you have shown here. China has a huge property bubble, an ageing population that will put Japan to shame, is struggling to deal with shadow banking (unstable finance), depends to an extreme degree on the investment of foreign capital to keep their economy going, and is being out-competed at lower ends of their manufacturing sector by new players like Bangladesh. Please explain to us the market mechanisms that China is using to deal with these problems, how they represent your ideal of a socialist economy as opposed to a capitalist one, then we might have the beginnings of a useful discussion.
"more going for it than one might think" = "an ideal alternative economic/social model"
You're right. Not a lot of room for a useful discussion here.
I'm sorry to hear you think that. I'm perfectly willing to have my mind changed about alternative forms of social organization as long as sufficient evidence and reason are presented.
In addition, I think you misunderstood the premise of my comment. I was not making a positive argument for something having "more going for it than one might think," I was just trying to summarize the empirical arguments that I know of that would demonstrate that the vague alternatives you semi-proposed to the current system are not valid for a systemic negation of capitalism.
a "systemic negation of capitalism", eh?
First of all you seem to be misreading what YOU wrote. IIIiii said China has "more going for it than one might think" (referring mostly to the efficiencies that can be achieved if democracy is dispensed with - especially a democracy which happily elects morons). You argued vehemently against China as "an ideal alternative economic/social model" which I neither said nor implied.
Much more importantly there is NEVER going to be a "systemic negation of capitalism" which would ever satisfy both sides. What metrics could one possibly use which would be acceptable to both? It comes down to value judgments. Do you value an 8-digit bank balance or do you value a new school in a disadvantaged neighborhood. Do you see "good" as a $100 million golf course behind a gated community? Or is "good", to you, an adequately-fed populous. Is a successful society one where 1% of the population acquire, horde, and waste enough to solve all the financial problems of the other 99% yet spend all their energy fighting for more? Because capitalism systemically DEMANDS growth. Enough is NEVER enough.
Thank you for the reply.
That is exactly the reason I described the alternatives that you "semi-proposed." You began your comment saying that capitalism is evil, Americans are indoctrinated, and that capitalism "murdered" socialism. You are now trying to dodge the implications of what you said originally by failing to propose an alternative to the "evil" status quo. Your arguments were characterized in such a way that rejected capitalism systemically as being incompatible with human well being, but I am glad to see that you are shifting to a more pragmatic footing. With regards to Sweden and China, you contextualized these examples as being positive alternatives (or alternatives with positive features) following your diatribe against capitalism, so please be more specific the degree to which we should emulate these examples if we are to do so to any extent. I am not arguing for or against China as an alternative, I simply think you need to address the structural challenges I described if you are to make your argument more credible.
"What metrics could one possibly use which would be acceptable to both? It comes down to value judgments. Do you value an 8-digit bank balance or do you value a new school in a disadvantaged neighborhood."
It does not come down to value judgements at all. Societies can be measured at the macro-level by a plethora of quantitative indices, representing things like income disparity, different aspects of human security, health, nutrition, etc etc. We have a growing scientific understanding of conditions that lead to human prosperity and many of these things can be measured. If a society with an open market and some features of a welfare state produces conditions that produce higher or lower values than another country with a different organization, then we can begin to make an argument while taking into consideration historical contingencies, geography, and other intervening variables that contribute to the outcomes observed. My suggestion is that you begin by deciding what indices you think should be maximized as an accurate representation of human prosperity, and then explain why you think states with more state control do a better job of maximizing them.
It does not come down to value judgements at all.
Sorry. But all the academics in the world and all their studies will mean nothing as long as those few currently in control of almost everything are made to accept these "findings" and allow them to be implemented. It DOES come down to value judgments and, until the oligarchs change their values (including relinquishing most of their control and wealth - voluntarily or involuntarily), nothing else will change.
Come on, that kind of a retort is such a cop-out, and it doesn't relieve you of the responsibility of making an empirical argument as long as you persist with such sweeping normative claims.
Whether or not you have bothered to look at empirical research has absolutely no bearing on how policy is actually created and what knowledge enters into the legislative process in the real world. The very fact that states have shifted the way they implement their multi-billion aid portfolios according to the quantitative indices I am talking about is evidence for what I am saying.
I also find it interesting that you have shifted your argument to a conspiracy theory from our previous contestation of economic organizational structure (i.e., the utility of socialism versus capitalism).
Not only do you have you failed to provide some kind of objective means of measuring/defining human prosperity (even though I tried to offer one in my argument), you continuously shift what you are saying in attempting to avoid the responsibility of making a consistent, reasoned argument. If you would like/care that people to take your normative statements seriously, then I would suggest you consider addressing these criticisms.