Tag Archives: social progress

The Next Step in the Path to Progress

It should be clear to everyone that a fundamental problem in our society is narrow thinking. Kenneth Boulding called this problem “suboptimization,” meaning the phenomenon of figuring out how to most efficiently do something we shouldn’t be doing at all. What we need as a response to this tendency is holistic thinking. We need to fully take into consideration the externalities of our endeavors. We need to spend our time figuring out how to fulfill our desires without burdening anyone. Work doesn’t have to be by nature something we dread. Or am I being too Utopian? Do too many boring jobs need to be done regardless of the circumstances? Is biting the bullet inevitable? I don’t know, but certainly the economic situation could be much improved. However, human emotion cannot be ignored if we intend to make a substantial gain. We must strive to maximize net per capita happiness, not per capita income. But since the conditions influencing a human’s mental state are so complex we must work much more collaboratively and strive toward a fully holistic perspective through these interdisciplinary collaborations.

How much will the world change if we start acting on the basis of these just mentioned principles? It’s hard to say, but it’s no stretch to believe that out ways of life could drastically change. Perhaps a mass migration might occur in order to better meet our needs. Perhaps organizational structures will be transformed. Perhaps the nation-state system will disintegrate. I cannot predict the future. What I am working toward right now is simply getting these interdisciplinary collaborations together.

But what will these collaborations actually lead to in the short to medium term? I imagine they will lead to new organizational structures and projects to create the conditions that will enable the citizens to play the roles they must play in order to make this vision of substantive social progress a concrete reality. So surely media resources will have to be made available to the people to enable them to vote, shop, and work intelligently. These resources would also have to facilitate the establishment of alternatives to the old ways of doing things. I am confident that people want alternatives; it is largely the lack of a reliable mechanism for creating alternatives that has been keeping us back. But this can all change. And if my comrades and I have our way, it will change very soon.