Whenever one tosses about ideas for a brighter future, whether it is ideas for food, education, housing, politics, health care, etc. there is always someone telling you how it won't work and why. Of course many new ideas will not work in the current framework. You have to imagine there are new choices and less hindrances. You have to think outside of our reality occasionally. Dreaming is good. It's the first step.
My first dream is for government to bring Kiss to their legislation. No, not the rock band, but the old phrase "Keep it Simple Stupid." When I hear of a 500 page proposal to allocate extra funding to education that includes buried deep within funds for a bridge in Wyoming, and on page 362 funds for a casino in Delaware it infuriates me. They don't know what they vote for because they don't have time to read the whole thing and if they do muddle through it there is just so much.
I want the language and length of these bills simplified so all may read and understand. If something is put to a vote by the people they should know what they are voting for. If the newspaper feels the need to print a full page describing what four proposals mean then those proposals need to be rewritten. There is no reason to hide your real intentions behind murky language. Keep it simple so everyone, including our elected officials, can make an honest decision.
We live in a country of excess. Most manufacturing is automated. We have enough whatsits for every man woman and child in our nation. We also have a great divide between a few "have it all's" a larger group of "have enough's" and a greatly increasing group of "have none." Imagine a world where the resources are redistributed more evenly. I'm not advocating taking from individuals who have worked hard to get where they are. Bear with me, I'll try to explain.
From the perspective of the poor, where would you be if basic food, health care, and housing were already there for you. Would you feel elevated, more of a human being, more worthy? With time freed up that was previously used for basic survival in a world that didn't care, what would you do? Would you volunteer in a community garden, pursue further education, spend more time with your children? Would you work part time for a little extra in life or would you keep plugging away full time? What would you change?
In "The Overworked American" Juliet B. Schor describes a time during the Depression when a 30 hour work week was proposed so the work could be spread out between more workers. Some companies may have done this for a while but big business was definitely against this. Most corporations look at how they can gain from their labor not how they can improve the well being of their work force.
It's time to take the power from the few elite and the corporations. We should have regularly scheduled interviews with normal everyday citizens in the offices of our elected officials. Why do we allow lobbyists who represent corporations visit and gift our officials? Why do corporations have this power over American policy? It needs to change!
Future planner Jacque Fresco known for his "Venus Project" has given much thought to these problems. He is well known for designing buildings and cities of the future. While he shows great detail in his work and it appears like something from a science fiction novel he has also put just as much time into designing a theoretical future society. He proposes a resource based economy where the citizens have control and corporations no longer exist. He acknowledges there will be transitional phases, but to hear him describe it, it seems perfectly feasible.
Fresco proposes we already have the resources for all citizens to live well. Why should a few have an overabundance while others go without basic necessities? His cities would use power from wind, sun, wave or water. Without money and corporations clinging to the old way of doing things, the old way that pollutes our earth and lines their pockets, there would be nothing blocking the use of new technologies. Without a money based society, all citizens would benefit. It's not something that could be transitioned to overnight but it is fun to read his ideas and imagine what life could be like.
In "For Us The Living" Robert A. Heinlen describes daily life in a future Earth society. Basic needs are seen to and people are free to study and work as they wish. Imagine if you were able to study what interested you and choose work based on your passions, not what your earning potential would be. Would there be fewer disgruntled workers?
As for jobs that no-one particularly enjoys, imagine if job sharing was available at all levels. Citizens appear at the factory or field for a four hour shift. No-one is required to toil for twelve or sixteen hour days, six days a week for just a basic living with hardly any family time. That job will be split between four to six people. More people work and there is plenty of time left for creative pursuits, education, gardening, family celebrations, or gathering with neighbors. There may be a few that choose a shoddy life spent in front of the television with just the basics covered but I bet the majority would pursue the life they could only dream about in a conventional society.
Now readers, its your turn. Sit back, shut your eyes, transport yourself 60, 300 or 500 years into the future and tell me what you see.