A few weeks ago I wrote the prologue to CLARKE’S PARADIGM, and so today I bring you another episode in my 2007 wistful musings of how we could create a more just, caring, and profitable society.
The First Law of Clarke’s Paradigm :
“Competition and Profit should not exclude Social Justice.”
In the USA the majority of our society cannot afford the basic requirements for living. In the average family, expenditures far outweigh incomes and it is only through 100% mortgages and credit cards flowing through the mailbox that most people survive. Most families cannot afford ongoing medical insurance coverage, and simply do without. The public school system is so far broken it is not amusing anymore, and senior citizens live in fear of growing old.
So many people in the USA have an abject irrational fear of anything they are not required to pay for. The very notion of being able to simply walk into a doctor’s office and be seen without paying is unheard of, and the thought of not having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for an essential operation is beyond most Americans imagination.
As an English/American I find the notion of NOT having a Government run medical service down right stupid. Contrary to what everyone this side of the pond thinks, the National Health Service in UK works pretty well. And guess what people? The British also have the choice of having Private Insurance too. And guess what? They don’t have to change Doctor’s because so many doctors who work for the NHS also have private practices.
But apparently having a choice doesn’t work for Americans, because of their totally irrational and stupid idea that anything with the word Social means instant Communism.
Urghh!!! I despair.
The argument against Government run Institutions is that the Government doesn’t know how to run anything and always screws it up.
Okay America, I give you: The US Army, the US Navy, the US Airforce, which you say on a daily basis is the best in the world. Which private companies run those departments?
We also have: The US Coastguard, the Fire Department, the FBI, the Police. Which Private companies run them?
Of course the whole discussion is specious, because actually if we put abstract political fear mongering aside, and just look at what should be basic Human Rights in any Society, Rights that will help Society run more efficiently, more constructively and more happily, we end up with just four:
1. HEALTH: The Right to Be Healthy and therefore function as an efficient and beneficial member of society.
2. EDUCATION: The Right to be Educated to a level that produces a smart person able to contribute to their own and society’s success.
3. RETIREMENT: The Right, after a long hard working life, to retire with a measure of comfort and physical well-being.
4. SECURITY: Pretty much already covered under the Military, Police and Fire Departments.
These are not ‘Benefits’, they are Basic Human Rights and any Society who thinks otherwise are just plain backward.
Anything beyond these basic rights should be paid for, and I include the Post Office, which should be privatised immediately. Gain many small Post Offices in the UK, Australia New Zealand and many other so-called Socialist countries are actually operated by owners of small grocery type stores. Pick up a newspaper, vegetables, canned goods and candy with your stamps and drop off your letters and parcels.
So how do Competition, Profit and Social Justice join forces to pay for these Human Rights. Well its pretty simple really.
Change corporate philosophies.
Companies need to think about the people that create their profits, and here I am talking about the workers not the executives. In most companies I have worked for, the executives are the ones taking all the benefits and driving down the profits. Corporate philosophies have changed to become investment tools for the management and senior executives, the workers almost ‘slaves’ with low pay and no benefits.
Many companies like Costco actually do work towards social justice with their programs for workers, but they are in the minority.
Corporations have grown into monsters of greed driven by sociopathic CEOs and CFOs that have no social conscience whatsoever. The ridiculous thing is that a happy, healthy and well-educated workforce, is much more efficient, productive and PROFITABLE than one that isn’t.
One way to bring companies profits back onshore is to make it illegal to take profits offshore.
A reasonable flat corporate tax should be a tiny burden that companies should be willing to pay. With Health Care and Retirement for their employees already taken care of there would be more profits available for expansion, hiring workers, effective and workable R&D, and profit sharing for all and not just the CEO and Board of Directors.
Slim down Government, which means half the IRS disappears as well as the aforementioned Post Office and other useless State and Government departments.
So this second Law is about social responsibility, you know, that thing you Bible bashing members of the “God and Gun” club keep going on about in Church, “Help thy neighbour.”
For any society to survive it has to be an “US” society and not a “ME” society.
Don’t the demise of the Greek and Roman empires provide a cautionary tale?
Next week, the Second Law of Clarke’s Paradigm: “There is no Upside to Greed and the pursuit of Power.”