"Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will."
"True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
–Martin Luther King Jr.
Our task is to change the culture we live in. We must demand and create dramatic change now so future generations may be raised in a world where contribution is the norm and accumulation the aberration. We are not beggars, we are equal participants.
We are socialized to accept competition and individual wealth as natural elements, but this is ultimately a matter of choice. Those that benefit the most from our current economic system will typically be advocates and the loudest voice by proxy. But is the current system maximizing quality of life and opportunity or diminishing it?
Does the person raised by a single alcoholic parent in a poor neighborhood have the same opportunity as the person raised in a wealthy 'connected' family?
Is the CEO of a cola company actually contributing more to our society than a fifth grade school teacher?
Are we gaining or losing the benefit of useful talents through a system of ownership?
Can we expect a livable planet if we view nature as a commodity?
To change the cultural norm we must first ask questions. We must then have the courage to take action. A new world is always possible. We must never stop asking questions.
I realize that if you have joined IOPS at this point, I am likely preaching to the choir. So I think perhaps I offer the handful of questions above as typical questions I have at some past point asked myself and might ask someone who has never considered a different social model. I find that many people recognize we have some problems but assume the current structure in their exploration. But I believe the major problems we face have no solutions under the current model and it is the model itself that is the root problem. Asking simple questions can challenge that mentality and help break that automated acceptance, leading to more creative and constructive thought processes. And I find it better to challenge the thought process than to dictate.
Comments? Perhaps you have had similar conversations and would like to share some of the questions you ask or methods you use to communicate to those who have never considered the possibility of an alternative to capitalism.