Sorry it’s taken me so long to get these comments posted. I’m in the middle of a move, and everyone knows how much fun that is. Also, my blogging system, which is entirely homemade, does not currently have a setup for automatic comment posting (obviously).
In response to my proposed platform for a party of the left, Matt Davis makes a couple of excellent points:
I would offer a slight alteration: We should offer full employment, and opportunities for fulfillment, for all. Fulfilling employment for all, I’d bet, is theoretically impossible to achieve. But employment for all, with shared opportunities for occasional fulfillment, seems a lot more achievable.
Matt may be right. I want to believe that fulfillment is possible for everyone. But the current system, which values only profit for the rich, overloads us with VCRs while allowing many people to starve. My claim is that we can re-orient ourselves to do only useful stuff. But this might require taking out certain sectors of society, whose goal is to increase the gap between rich and poor.
Mike Liverght says:
I like the set of objectives but…
. 1) What I have not seen is an effective economic theory, (how to best allocate scarce resources), except the Free enterprise theory. If we are to ensure the “We Can’s” then how do we prevent over use and under support?
. 2) Also note: Newt Gingrich is coming out with his proposal for “Winning the Future” and even though he is a Republican, I find his thoughts are useful to consider.
. 3) I believe that the initial democratic objectives, are at least to have a society that ensures Equality, i.e. that no groups share the societies wealth less than other groups, and Educational excellence, i.e. that at least education is superb and available to all who can take advantage of it.
If we have an educated population and allow all our citizens equal access, both directly and by eliminating the social disadvantages, then we have a chance to do the other things proposed above.
If we are not superbly educated or prevent some of our citizens from contributing as much as they can, then we are just trying to consider how to divide an ever decreasing pie.
Mike makes a lot of sense. My disagreement would be along the lines of claiming that scarce resources have, throughout human history, been the determining factor. This is no longer true. We can feed, clothe, house, educate, and give medical care to everyone, if we choose to. But of course this doesn’t help the leisure class (more on this in an upcoming post…). This is why the rich have always opposed social actions, such as public libraries and education, that would improve the lot of the poor (as usual, meaning the bottom 90%). After all, if people are educated, why would they choose to be butlers or to flip burgers? We accept jobs that are beneath our capabilities when we’re without alternatives. Therefore, according to the leisure class, alternatives must be excised.
But Mike is entirely right that an educated population is the sine qua non of the whole platform. That, I claim, is a choice we can, and should, make.