I barely know how to balance my household budget, let alone fix the economic crises facing the world, but…I do understand the social contract that got us all here in the first place.
That social contract goes all the way back to the earliest days of homo sapiens, and it’s based on co-operation /within/ the group which allowed the group to compete with the ‘outside’. In other words, the group was stronger than each individual and therefore protected the majority of individuals within the group.
Even today, herbivores that can’t fight off predators on their own congregate in large herds. The sheer size of those herds provides a measure of safety to every animal in the herd…except those on the very edge. Yet even they have a better chance with the herd than if they were on their own.
Humans are herd animals whether we want to admit it or not, and all the rules and structures we’ve invented over the millennia evolved to allow ever increasing numbers of humans to live in our herds without turning on each other.
Thus protection from the ‘outside’ always required an element of compromise. For example, to allow the herd to survive, individuals are banned from killing each other. When that rule is broken, punishment follows.
No one wants to be punished, but we accept it because it’s still better than being deprived of all the benefits society [the herd] provides.
This, at its most basic, is the social contract. It’s what we expect of our governments and institutions. It’s the reason we accept rulers, the Law of the Land [herd] and pay taxes.
Unfortunately, being human, we always want more. More goods, more safety, more power, more ego stroking. And that’s okay too, up to a point.
What point? The point at which the desires of individuals start to threaten society as a whole.
I believe we are at one of those points now. The primary role of government, any government, is to protect the lives of its citizens. Instead, our governments are sacrificing lives to protect an imaginary concept called ‘the economy’.
The following article by Cynthia Kaufman explores the idea of the ‘economy’, how it works now, and how it could work in the future. As she says “The economy exists to serve our needs, it isn’t a god which requires sacrificial victims.’
As the U.S. begins to reopen after being shut down to protect us from spreading Covid-19, many people are beginning to talk about a choice between what is good for the economy and what will keep us healthy. Much pain and suffering has come as people have lost their livelihoods and their homes, and so we need to move quickly to put into place the things that will ensure that people have what they need to live. But rather than sacrificing people for the economy, we need to rethink what we mean by “the economy.” No one needs to be killed for us to have a healthy economy.
We live in a world where there is enough of everything we need for us all to live well, and to do so within the ecological limits of the planet. And yet, as the Covid-19 crisis has laid bare, the social systems…
View original post 2,198 more words