Civil Society

I came across this a few days ago. I think the article was about what do you think future generations of ours would tell us we should have done better at. There were a wide variety of posts most were the typical, climate change, fossil fuels/energy crisis, exploring the universe more and so one. The below quote really got me thinking.


Can you imagine what kind of world we’d live in if everyone had a reasonable standard of living? If, instead of burning up in factory fires to make Performance Fleece, Bangladeshi workers were making a living wage and able to educate their children? Imagine how the kind of world we’d live in if everyone had the standard of living necessary to give their children an advanced education. We’d be colonizing Titan within a generation.


I do not know who posted it but I think they made pretty solid point. Imagine a world with no poverty where everyone had a real chance to get an education. Sounds like the perfect opening to a dystopian society novel if you ask me. When I first read this it struck me and immediately saw both sides of this argument. You may be thinking that there is not another side but I think there is.

Let’s say that some point in the future there is a society like the one mentioned above, where no matter where you are born you have an equal opportunity to go to school and get an education among other opportunities. I think this would be huge for the human race and the possibilities that could arise from it are staggering to think about. I would think that poverty would be almost nonexistent in this world, and at some point I would think technology would take a giant leap forward compared to today’s crawling technological pace. Since now you would probably have twice the amount of intelligent individuals working on any particular problem there would be great advancements in all fields of science.

This sounds so much more like science fiction than fact. It would be truly remarkable if this is what our future held, sadly I do not think it will be anything close to this. When I was in college I took a global economics class where we had to read a book, Banker to the Poor by Yunus, and write a report on it. The book was about how micro lending would lead to the end of poverty in third world countries and eventually the world. Now I am sure most students gushed over the book and told the professor what a great read it was and how this will change the world and all that garbage. I, on the other hand, was not as sold on the ideas in the book and my essay reflected my thoughts on the matter.

I will admit first off that I have never heard of micro lending before so I was interested in how it worked. The basic principle is this, let’s say that there is a local fishing village in remote Africa. One woman gets a loan of $20 to buy a cell phone for the village, she charges a small fee for others to use it to buy things or what have you. So almost immediately that small loan increases commerce in the small village and starts to improve the lives of others. It is more or less a very small loan that can help improve commerce and life quality in a small rural community. At a very basic level it sounds like a great idea.

I think it is a great start to helping people but I in no way think that this idea will overcome poverty. To me, and I want to be very clear here this is my opinion/theory/belief that, poverty will always be around. It is kind of this circular argument, as long as we have some sort of civilized economical society there will always be poverty and a poor class, it is impossible to have one without the other. In my mind the only way to not have any poverty would be to completely destroy the economy and have nothing resembling a society, basically back to the hunter gather days. The minute you bring civilization back you start to have those that have and those that have not, i.e. the rich and the poor.

It is interesting to think about how our society, although it is great and has accomplished many things, and if you are a Hobbesian society is mankind’s greatest invention and rivals that of any deity, but it still has its many faults. I agree to some extent that a civil society ranks up there with our greatest invention, if not our greatest, it has created an opportunity for us to achieve so many things. On the other hand though for every opportunity given there is probably an opportunity that is taken from someone or something. I think this is more or less just the state of nature we live in currently. Perhaps in the near future we will advance to an even higher civil state that would abolish poverty and give equal opportunity to everyone on the planet, but I do not think that is possible. As I have mentioned before something big will have to happen for us to change our ways, some major event. The problem is that it could be so big that the event could just do away with our society all together and we could revert back to a primitive state of nature, basically living in fear of food and for safety. But if that something is just right I think it could help our civilization reach the next great juncture in our evolution and not only abolish poverty but advance every form of our technology to an exponential level. Maybe this event could even be enough to put us on the Kardeshev Scale.


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