Our economy system is a mess. Inequality in personal wealth is a threat to our democracy and to peace. The unemployment rates all over the world are a threat to our democracy as well. Banks and financial institutions do exactly the same things as before the 2008 financial crisis. (In the London city they are certain that the next crisis is nearby, and this time the governments will not have the money to ‘solve’ it). Economic interests create war all over the place. There is no answer to the question how to grow without aggravating the ecological crisis. There is no agreement among experts about how to solve all these problems. Political parties , left and right, are failing to turn up. We simply DON’T KNOW. In the meantime governments frantically try to promote economic growth to no avail.
Research, both in the US and in the Netherlands show that the vast majority of the well-to-do don’t give a damn. As long als they can accumulate wealth in the short term, more, more, more, they don’t care. This is especially true for the very rich ones (there are exceptions of course). Montesquieu, the great philosopher about the political system and democracy, already said it: ‘Love for democracy is love for equality.’ But in this society another value completely pushes this value of equality aside: the value of absolute freedom, the right to act as one pleases no matter what.
The ecological and economical problems and the problems of war and peace are all interconnected. No improvement or sustainable progress can be reached in one of these areas separately. What to do?
I think the first step is to make explicit which is the society we want. Not in general terms, but in concrete images and concepts. That we have to do each for him or herself, and then also on a collective level. This issue should be the object of dialog in each school, in each firm, in each political party and in each institution. There should be one or more special think tanks to discuss this matter and to develop a vision. Then the next step should be to develop ideas about how to get there. Then, at last, we probably have assembled enough courage to look at the present situation as it is in all its horror. We then do not have to talk about it anymore in vague, non committing terms, as we do now. And then, probably, we’ll develop the political will to move. Many problems will show itself on our way, but in the end a radiant future then may lie before us.
All big changes of our time started with movements bottom up: the French revolution, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Empire, the fall of the apartheid regime of South Africa, the liberation of India and Pakistan. Then great leaders understood the signs of the time and could pick up and channel the energy of the masses. Something like that could happen today. Big crises could catalyze that process.
Our responsibility is to start each for ourselves. Let’s start today, and develop our vision about the future, and share that with everyone, wherever we come, and whoever we meet. As Eleanor Roosevelt said: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” And John F. Kennedy: “We have come too far, we have sacrificed too much, to disdain the future now”.
By the way: a good way to start is to go to the nearby MasterPeace concert on Peaceday, september 1st. In 40 countries in the world. The Dutch concert is in Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam. See: https://www.masterpeace.org
For this blog I heavily rely on the article of Marcel ten Hooven in NRC/Handelsblad of August 24.
(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker).