that we as a species are terrible at is predicting the future. and yet, this has never stopped us from trying.
here are a couple of those imagined situations, which would constitute a future that i would like to live in.
- no one is legally allowed to earn more than 100,000.00 USD PPP, per year, per capita.
perhaps the biggest problem we're facing today is that one of the two things that we still conceive of as being limitless is profit (the other one is progress, and even that is debatable). it seems to me that putting a hard cap on how much one can earn could help shift our motivations to do good work from an external one (good work for the good money that it brings) to an internal one (good work for the happiness that it brings).what would be your threshold?
- the most sought after jobs are the most needed jobs.
in short, nurses and personal care aides. as per maslow, we should start by encouraging what is necessary, and then follow with what is nice to have. recognizing the invaluable (and i'm not using this word as a figure of speech, but quite literally) aspects of said jobs would allow us to get the basics straight, to cover our future and, incidentally, give praise to the people who are currently doing those jobs—people of color and immigrants.why aren't those jobs highlighted as reliable, future-proof employment?
- cars are seen as what they really are: excessively lethal modes of transportation.
decades after deliberate lobbying from the car industry to shift the responsibility from the perpetrator (the driver) to the victim (the pedestrian), it would be nice to take a step back and realize that our surroundings are saturated with whirling, multiple-tons killing machines, which also take up a disproportionate amount of our living spaces.
if we were to think of our streets as a videogame, in which you lose your only life if you touch one of those moving elements, there would be a very-well justified outcry from players (i.e. us!) regarding the blatant, almost sadistic unfairness of such a level design.why do we tolerate cars? what does that say about habit and/or convenience?
- some members of the government are chosen at random amongst the citizens of the country
the greek democracies that the contemporary western world admire so much included a randomly-picked citizen in their decision making processes, and such a citizen was called "the one chosen by the gods". the assumption here is that, while the information-gathering process still needs to be done by people trained to do so, the decision-making process can be done by people with basic intelligence—i.e. anyone.
it works for juries: we are very comfortable with the idea of trusting a possible life-changing punishment to a group of randomly-picked individuals. if anyone is deemed able to enact fair justice, why isn't that the case for the rest of our political bodies?do you trust yourself to make decisions that would affect a lot of other people? and after three months of thoroughly studying the subject?
- globalization is honest with itself and either limits the flows of goods and capital, or allows the unlimited flows of people.
if we want a connected world, we need to connect all parts of it. it is expected that population flows would want to follow wealth flows. one of the main reasons why population flows (some call it immigration) might have negative impact on their host (host!) countries, is that they are still denied the possibility to access the wealth create; that is, the right to work (whether or not that work is done for money, or for happiness—see above).
and if that doesn't work, then we readjust, because systematic inconsistency is fertile ground for political violence, whether ground-up, or bottom-down.if we destroy a country's homes, what should the homeless do?
- we are seriously considering animal rights.
there was a point in history during which white europeans believed black africans did not have souls. this seems absurd today. how absurd will it look in a couple of hundred years that we once thought non-human animals did not have souls either?are humans animal? what's the likelihood that we are actually special? what's the likelihood that we are not?
- residents of a country have a right to vote in local elections.
if you live somewhere, you probably know better than foreigners (governement officials) what is best for your neighborhood. while that knowledge might not be backed by numbers, it is backed by lived experience, itself a powerful means of understanding.
additionally, the residents of a country that came from somewhere else have forcibly uprooted themselves to get to where they are now, and that fact alone should be grounds to trust that they want to make the place where they live the best possible.what do you think the requirements for voting should be (if citizenship wasn't a thing)?
- education is recognized as the single most important factor for making the world a better place.
another problem that we are confronted with as societies is that everyone is the first human; that is, everyone has to learn everything that we as a group know, from the day they are born. everyone has to learn, experience, assess and re-assess values, morals and priorities.
while there is no radical solution to this problem, education can mitigate it by speeding up that process, and allowing future generations to stand on the shoulders of those that came before.why are elementary/highschool teachers so poorly paid?
- trade unions are, in part, publicly funded, just like political parties and media broadcasters.
it has been shown that unions reduce economic inequalities—and the assumption here is that reducing economic inequalities is something that is desirable, if we also desire long-term social peace. their reach therefore goes beyond their immediate domain of activity, and could be considered a public good.
while this runs the risk of nepotism, corruption and stagnation, i doubt that this would make things worse than they are now, and would also send a signal that workers are considered as highly as politicians and journalists, which would be an interesting plot twist.why do trade unions have such a bad reputation?
- we look at the increase of suicide rates in socio-economic categories to inform public policy.
we spend most of our lives sleeping and working. while, as the great afro-american poet said, "sleep is the cousin of death", work is the majority of what we do on any given day. so perhaps we should start looking at the kind of work that is so unbearable that one is ready to give up absolutely any other possible lived experience to make it stop. and perhaps we'd look at those of us working as policeperson and farmers differently.could work really be one of the main drives of killing oneself? if so, why?
- we re-consider justice as "love with open eyes"
this means that we assume everyone is trying the best they can reasonably be asked to, and we do not expect less than that from anyone. perhaps this is also called "benefit of the doubt".what is your definition of justice?