Friday, June 29, 2012

Part I

How many times have you heard that life is not fair? And it really does seem to not be so fair. But chew on this...if you believe in God then everything in life is perfectly fair. Everything that happens to you is for one of three reasons - for your good, a consequence of not following truth or it is inconsequential and does not matter.

That is what happens when there is an Almighty Being in charge.

Of course when we say 'That is not fair.' what we are really saying is 'In respect to this life, in the short term of my life, these things are not fair.'  We are not taking into account the eternities where everything is brought to account and all things are restored to their natural order. Here is what I mean by these two differences.

The Temporal View -

I had a really rough 58 years. I did everything the way I was supposed to but my life was filled with poverty, sickness, injustice and then I died. Everyone else around me won lotteries or married rich and lived long, happy lives. My life was not fair.

The Eternal View -

I had a really rough 58 years. I did everything the way I was supposed to but my life was filled with poverty, sickness, injustice and then I died. Everyone else around me won lotteries or married rich and lived long, happy lives. My life was not fair. However, after death I found that those experiences either helped me to grow or were a direct result of sin. And those tough experiences tested my integrity, which I maintained. To top it all off, God has now rewarded me with the ability to continue to progress indefinitely throughout all eternity.

So if you believe in an active participating God or just a God who has declared this creation 'Good' then you can not say life is not fair.

Now, as far as this life goes many people think that fighting for justice is a good thing. That things may not be perfect down here but we can try to make it as much so as we can. After all, we do have to spend some time here. This is how government fits in. It is nothing more than a mechanism to make this life as enjoyable to as many people as possible while still making the whole thing work. There are finite resources here and we all can not have what we want. So government helps us decide who gets what. 

Many people have made it their live's work to create the perfect (or just better) mechanism to facilitate this. So I have decided to put down in writing my mechanism. Did you know that Karl Marx would leave home and travel to the library where he had set up his impromptu office very early in the morning and stay there til late at night? He would spend horrific amounts of time studying so that he could finally create the perfect government model! It failed in large part. With hind sight and insight maybe I can add just a little idea to the conversation (I think that literally five people will ever read this, btw so do not think I have a big ego).

Hegel has this idea called Dialectics. You come up with some system/solution. There is an inherent flaw in this system/solution. The flaw becomes the death knell of the solution/system. From the conflict of these two arises the next solution. He applied this to great historical events and eras as well.

The current solution to the previous system is Capitalism. Now we all love capitalism. We often half jokingly say that greed is a good thing. That is, because of greed we go out the door at 6 am to walk up mountains for 10 hours (as in my case) for which I get money to satisfy my greed (it is probably true that it is not greed so much as it is self interest. i.e. this is the first time in history that the every day man can have a chance to live the good life and no one else is going to give me anything so I have to do what I have to do - watch Downton Abbey and follow the chauffeur's character). Now self interest (not greed) is the driving force to the system. As we have the fortune of hindsight we can see now (especially the last couple of years) that when things go beyond self interest it becomes greed. Greed has become the inherent flaw in the system.

We see that in this day things do one of two things - they get bigger or they get taken out at the hands of those that get bigger. This is the only outcome. If you think the local or specialty shops are the exception, wait 20 years. Eventually they will not survive. Of course this is not a hard and fast rule. There will always be exceptions because of human two people are the same. By in large, though, things always tend toward bigger and more complex.

The thing about getting bigger....well, it is very interesting. Growing in size can be more productive in many logistical ways by creating several opportunities for efficiency. However, it also means that some things that may appear to be efficiencies are really cracks and loopholes through which good things can be lost. When an airline buys another airline they gain instant access to each others gates, they can cut redundancy and get rid of a competitor in the process. But their new size becomes more and more unwieldy and as a result the rule put in place for any given situation must cover even more people. Because each person is slightly different, there are more people that the rule will not fit quite right. (If you have five people on welfare and you tell them that you must phone call in your application you would be hard pressed to find a problem with that protocol. But apply the same rule to 50,000 people and you end up with a mess - I do not have a phone, I pressed the wrong button on the options menu, I do not speak English, I did not understand question 5, how do you want me to enter the date with my phone?) You begin to lose the ability to scale management with resources in your quest for efficiencies!

In addition, anonymity creeps in as things grow in size which allows human nature to win out against optimal behavior. Ever flip someone off for cutting you off and then realize you know that person?I have not either and you can thank the anonymity that comes from living in a large city for that. But in the end you should not be flipping people off. so control is lost on a personal and managerial level.

We will see that anonymity and loss of control are the two factors that will lead to capitalism's demise. I like capitalism. It has gotten us quite far. Between it and the democracy that seems to buddy around with it we have all benefited very well. But it is beginning to hurt us more than help us. According to Hegel, this is just the nature of things. So what is next? Well I have it. It shares many common things with capitalism but lacks its main hang ups. I call it a meritocracy.

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