“For thousands of years the best way of improving the quality of human life has been to raise material living standards. We are the first generation to have got to the end of that process. No longer does economic growth improve health, happiness, or wellbeing. If we are to improve the real quality of life further, we have to direct our attention to the social environment and the quality of social relations. But rather than continuing to tackle each problem separately, by spending more on medical care, more on police, social workers and drug rehabilitation units, we now know that it is possible to improve the psychosocial wellbeing and social functioning of whole societies. The quality of social relations is built on material foundations – on the scale of the material inequalities between us.”
This is a 16 minute * lecture by Richard Wilkinson. It is posted at TED. I am posting it here, as I can not believe this information has not received more attention now that the US is awakening from the decades long delusion of prosperity which did not and as shown in the lecture could not lead to greater justice (which implies equality) via the model of economics we have been using.
The model known by many aliases (Chicago School, Friedman, etc) has resulted in the thought that people are drowning in debt and that we have privatized the profits but socialized the losses. These are inaccurate metaphors. They are the results of the language of the delusion we have been living for 3 decades and thus by definition can not capture the truth of our condition. As the science presented in the lecture shows, if our all encompassing concern should be equality, then people are not drowning, they are dehydrating.
The dehydration is the results of privatizing security in life and socializing the risks in life. We are not “drowning” in risk or losses. We of the 99% are lacking in the substance that reduces risk. One can certainly drown from too much water, but the natural risk in life is not having too much water, it is having too little. Thus is the realization of the delusional statement “drowning in debt” and “socialized the losses”.
The lack of reduction of life’s risks is the inequality, the social injustice…the diversion from the purpose expressed in the preamble to our Constitution. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The following concluding statement from a different lecture by Professor Wilkinson summarizes the TED lecture. As you watch the lecture keep in mind the 4 goals I highlighted of the preamble and consider that they were put into a document that created an government 223 years ago this year (based on ratification). I have a greater respect for the intellect and their insight into the human experience of those who wrote and ratified our Constitution.
With information such as this research and that of the 2005 World Bank paper on what produces wealth , considering our Constitution’s preamble, we should not be struggling looking for guidance as to what direction, what path, what solution we need for our self (our self as in We the People).
*I tried to embbed the video, but for some reason all that happened was all the code being published and not the video.
(Dan here, h/t to rjs for the embed…