Some ideas on alternative economy
- This page is part of an ERW course, Principles of economic restoration.
- By John Eagles, November 16, 2006
We have gotten rather used to the way economy functions today. Many people criticize the way that products are made as their production pollutes our environment and also helps to increase the gap between the rich and the poor. Another critique is on the increasing size of worldwide corporations and the influence they are gaining in the political field. To find a way out of these problems it does not suffice to install laws that prohibit the forming of monopolies or that slow down economic growth. At the core of the problem are economic principles that are fundamentally wrong.
I don't intend to provide for a complete solution to this problem, but i want to outline a few alternative economic principles.
The first principle concerns the making of profit. It is generally accepted that the ones smart enough to produce a product and to sell it with profit have a legal right for that profit. I think this subject is very confused. Of course, one can argue that corporations that make products should also account for the damage they made to the natural environment. But in that case we are still reacting to something that is bad and we did not give a principled frame for the division of income.
What is the original meaning of producing something? Imagine a small tribe. The tribe lives very primitively. I am picturing an ideal state here, not one that is likely to have ever existed for long. The members of the tribe are all related and love each other. At a certain moment, one of the tribe's members invents a plough. The making of the plough is a creative act and is inspired by the love of the maker for the other members of the tribe. What will the inventor of the plough do? In today's society, the inventor would try to get a patent for his invention and start mass production and set up an advertising campaign and get very rich. He would build the largest house in the tribe and with his money he would sell out the leader to make him do what the inventor and now also businessman wants him to do. The inventor now has become a leading figure himself, even though all he did was to have been smart and taken for himself what doesn't really belong to him.
From where did the inventor get his idea for the plough? Was this idea his own? The reality could be that he got this idea in an inspiration he received from the spiritual realm, or maybe from God directly. Does this idea belong to the inventor? Suppose he received this inspiration for the benefit of the entire tribe? I would argue that the invention of the plough doesn't belong to the inventor as an individual, but rather to the tribe to that the inventor belongs. The first crime the inventor committed was to steal for himself an idea that was given for the whole tribe. A mass-produced plough will still improve the life standard of the entire tribe, but also has led to such an undesirable effect as that the inventor has gotten political power without having gone a life course to acquire wisdom for that.
Suppose the inventor just offered the plough to his tribe and the tribe would offer it freely to other tribes to use. The entire tribe would benefit as they could produce more food and gain more time for other creative and joyful acts of life. The inventor would not be damaged in any way. He offered his love in the form of his invention to the tribe and in turn he will be appreciated and loved by the entire tribe. The tribe of the inventor would be appreciated and loved by the other tribes to whom they offered the plough. Nobody would lose anything. Everyone would gain in this situation.
Do ideas or new inventions belong to the individual? Does a piece of the earth belong to an individual? The sun, the air, our life itself, the earth on that we walk, the energy that we use, it was all given to us. How can we claim as individual property those things that were given to us in the first place? Likewise i think it is an essentially wrong principle to say that ideas can be owned by any individual. The root of the problem of unbalanced economical distribution lies much deeper than commonly is thought.
Let's look at another economic characteristic of today's world, that is the nature of our technology. Suppose that the world would be like the tribe i just sketched. If an inventor is allowed to mass-produce and sell a product to get profit for himself, then it becomes also accepted that he invents technology to still increase profit. For example, the inventor-businessman will try to invent machines to mass-produce his plough, he will try to get control over easy sources of energy etc. What is set into motion is the beginning of a world as we know it today. From one thing comes another. Because the inventor's motive was not to give to his fellow man, he will be driven to make more financial profit and he will arrange the entire world of nature and technology to suit his goals.
But imagine an inventor who naturally offers his invention to his tribe. Rather than seeking to mass-produce the plough, he will try to discover new inventions that would allow other people to produce the plough for themselves. Because he is not out for economic profit but for improvement of life of everyone, it will never come to his mind to abuse the energy resources of the earth. His whole frame of mind will be completely different. Because he loves his tribe, any damage done to the tribe because of pollution will hurt him personally. He liked to invent and assemble his plough. Will he like it to employ workers who do most stupid work at an assembly-line? Rather than using his inventiveness for making an assembly-line, he will try to invent tools that allow individuals to make their own plough. There may not be produced so many ploughs in that way, but all people of the tribe have a chance to develop their abilities and through that experience increased joy in life.
Many inventions and their resulting technology have been made in a world of people who were out for their own benefit first of all. What kind of technology would we have had if our ancestors had lived in a different society? I cannot tell you because such a world did not exist. I know that many beneficial inventions of the past have been dumped or been blocked by profiteers because they were afraid that they would lose their profitable position in society. What if human creativity had been allowed and steered into the direction of having energy sources that were available to every single household? Such technology has actually been found out, and it would be cheap and clean and without danger, but it didn't suit the goals of those who are controlling today's economy. Imagine what kind of world is waiting for us when we learn to practice altruistic economic principles.
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