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Feedback on 'Future Imperfect - Part 2 - Weaving the Tapestry'
<rant alert> Being an entrepreneur isn't necessarily the same thing as "the simplistic pursuit of riches" or the "gratification of material needs" - it's about not letting other people define your worth (as happens to employees) but rather defining your own worth and then selling that definition to the world. Sure, entrepreneurs have got a bad press in recent years because of the small number of high-profile ones who have profited at others' expense. But there is no reason why entrepreneurs aren't also the same people who work "for genuinely worthwhile goals" like human dignity and human rights and so on. I personally know several people who are capitalists and entrepreneurs, who I think are also fine human beings with compassion for others, and I'm sure they are not rare specimens. You might guess that I consider myself a capitalist and entrepreneur, too, and proud of it. And I'm certainly not rich, nor is that my primary goal in life - not that I'd complain if it happens, just that I'm not pursuing it. </rant alert>
I enjoyed your essay about how people about how people gradually got used to negative elements of our culture without realizing the cumulative impact. I agree there will be some changes to equalize the wealth, education, etc. It would be interesting to see a lot of people choose a simplified approach to consumerism.
I'm also glad to see someone worrying about where we are all going with our lives. Somewhere I have a Treasury paper from the 1970's entitled "Economic Growth: Is It Worth Having", which considered some of the topics you raised and concluded (naturally) that growth is good for almost everyone. As for running away to Queensland and joining a nudist commune in the rainforest, I must admit that Funnel Bay certainly seemed a "clothing optional" beach when I visited.
I have the same problem with the second part of your 'Future Imperfect' article as I had with the first part: I agree with it so completely that I can't think of anything to add. I particularly like your analysis of the 'deeply offensive' Microsoft slogan. Joseph Nicholas wrote a good article in his latest political fanzine, pointing out that most of the money in the world now is not used for anything; it sloshes around, used purely for speculative purposes. All that money was generated originally by the productive services of individual people, but has now been siphoned off so that it cannot be used to improve the lot of any individual on earth, even individuals who are astronomically 'rich.' A tiny part of this wealth would provide the drinking water and basic amenities for all the world's poor people, but if anybody tried to spend it on such purposes, it would immediately lose its speculative value, and hence disappear. So George Turner's prediction of a complete financial breakdown (see my George Turner Memorial Lecture and George's own The Sea and Summer) is almost certain to happen, followed by a depression in Western countries that would make the 1930s depression look mild. I doubt whether what would follow could be fashioned into your 'democratic humanism.' Probably not many of us would be alive after the turmoil.
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Cartoonist Bruce Petty draws economic systems as vast purposeless machines.
Once again I couldn't agree with you more on 'Future Imperfect:2', particularly about Public Sector Poverty and that we should aim for 'effectiveness' rather than so-called and, I believe often false, 'efficiency.'
On your quote, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Enlighten him further and he owns a chain of seafood restuarants." It sounds a bit cynical to me, as if no one's got anything better to do with their lives than run chains of businesses.
It will be interesting to see if something like Democratic Humanism comes to pass. People who choose modular or freelance work aren't seen as pioneers, and are usually just surviving income wise. Hopefully they have more fulfilled lives.
Copyright © 2002 by Michael F. Green and others. All rights reserved.
Last Updated: 14 October 2002