Everybody knows that everyday we are writing a new chapter for our children’s history books. Depending on what course is taken, the chapter can be described with a wide array of titles. Hopefully it will sound something like: “Good Times, Flying Cars and the New, Fixed Economy.” If we are not careful it could take a more ominous tone: “The End of the Old American Way (and Why You Can’t Ever Get A Loan Again.).” I apologize if these speculative titles sound like names of Bob Dylan songs, as I am not a history book writer, but in any case, only time will tell what the name of the chapter will be.
On the matter of school books, I can’t help but remember my 8th grade economics class. The teacher was a balding, slightly overweight Polish man with a lisp. Rather than handing out a syllabus, he began by demonstrating his version of a WWF style atomic knee smash. This demonstration, I assumed, was intended to deter class disruptions and late homework. With that out of the way, he then began explaining why our capitalist economic system is fueled by the greed that is ingrained in each and every human DNA strand. Without this greed, the system would fail; likewise, without the system, greed would find itself unattended to. It appeared to him that because we are all greedy cavemen, the most powerful economic system in the world works in much the same manner as the Bedrock City Council, who’s slogan I believe was; “He who hath fire, shall be our mayor.” Even cavemen knew of the laws of supply and demand, and hence, the first capitalist system was born of round rocks and smoldering sticks.
We had no books in the class. I still wonder if the lack of books was due to that same capitalistic system, or if the teacher was just so mad at his union dues that he atomic knee smashed each and every book into pieces. We may never know. The irony lies in that his union, acting as a balance that tries to even the class scale, is a socialist ideal at heart. We all have learned that during the industrial revolution, poor work wages and conditions prevailed. In a simple synopsis, unions evolved into a force able to combat poor pay and horrible conditions with the threat of a united strike.
As long as citizens stay attentive to their environment, the collective masses hold the power of any economy. They earn the money and spend it. They are the cogs in the pocket watch and their bosses are the clock face that packages the time in a nice manner, with no real hand in keeping it precise. So what other options are there? Utopianism is an interesting system of government brought to north America by those wild Quakers, whose name alone conjures up ideas of the perfect social-economic system. Yet true perfectionism is next to impossible to find in anything in life, let alone in a government. Perfect government is not possible because people aren’t perfect. So then what is this crazy idea of Utopianism that so enthralled the funny hat wearing Quakers of America’s past?
Several Utopian ideals arose through history, but their basic consensus is this: an equal distribution of goods, with the total abolition of money, and the citizens only doing work which they enjoy, leaving plenty of time for arts and sciences. On the other hand, the dictionary simply states: “The views and habits of mind of a visionary or idealist, sometimes beyond realization.” Utopianism remains ‘beyond realization’ for many reasons, but obviously not everyone is going to get work they enjoy. I mean, how many professional beer testers, and Hawian Tropic lotion appliers can their be in this world? And what if people are not happy with being equal with everyone else, and they want more? Simply put, greed is why this system will never work. It may be perfect, but humans are not, and thus a system that does not appeal to our natural tenancies is beyond realization.
It is sad to me that the word ‘socialist’ has become a faux pas in our society. Most people who supported socialist ideas through history weren’t evil, they just had different morals and values that led them to believe that socialism was best for them. Socialist social programs in Europe certainly appear to be working. Medicare and the post office are socialist systems that seem to work. Who knows, it just might be possible for socialist and capitalist ideals to compliment each other in a society as close to utopia as we can get, a society that recognizes our human rights to freedom and equality, and also a system that concedes to the inherent imperfections we all have. So lets make those Quakers proud, and hopefully our children’s history books will read “The Second Depression, and The Beginning of Utopia on Earth.”