How do we know when life is improving for ourselves and our communities? Pease of mind is a good sign of personal advancement and the more people who get it is a definite sign of an improving society. Peace of mind and social change is not static. When forming the United States of America, it’s forefathers wanted to improve their lives by creating more freedom and equality for all by fighting injustice and inequality. However, they didn’t come to America on their own, they went as a group and started a new society based on a democratic system of justice for all and created a new and independent nation. The Declaration of Independence was an improvement on their lives and the prosperity and peace of mind that has followed since has improved the lives of billions. However, only wealthy land owning white men had this freedom and equality in the beginning, and this had to change to create the prosperous nation of its future. Many Americans are still working on giving freedom and equality to those without it while there are those who are trying to take them away from others. Even when laws are made, they have to be enforced and encourage by the culture that follows to call it an improvement. It seems as things improve, there will always be more work to do, but the goals for a better society will never change.
How do we know when improvement is reached? It starts by knowing what the goal is and whether we’re getting closer to it or moving away from it. The highest goal of a great nation is happiness and the physical comfort that avoids pain, suffering and unnatural death for the majority of it’s people. This objective is not just humanistic; it also has an economic benefit. Society is about the exchange of goods and services to maintain the human race’s survival so improving individual life benefits society and improves civilization for all who come later. The more educated people are, the more educated society becomes and benefits through technological advancements. The more happily employed people are, the less troubled they are, and the stronger the community becomes. Even if helping others didn’t improve society, every human being on earth wants inner happiness, physical comfort, and social inclusion. No mentally healthy person goes through life wishing they had more pain, suffering or isolation from others. Homelessness is never a choice. It happens when the choices are limited. Unpleasant things happen to us all, and we have to struggle continually against them. It just helps if we are working as a group and not individually on our own to benefit the whole larger system and not just ourselves and our tiny social communities because the more lives we improve, the more benefits there are to go around. So, developing a nation happens when it’s society works together to improve all people’s quality of life and not just a few who believe only some people are worthy of the fundamental human needs for survival.
How America has improved the lives of people in 235 years is a very long list. It has more ways to limit pain, suffering and unnatural death that has doubled the human lifespan. It’s people have become more socially connected, more educated, and they continue to include more people into its national prosperity through changes like allowing women to vote; eliminating slavery; keeping children from work labor and opening its boundaries so more people can prosper and improve the world. This development of the individual American life leads to improvement of its society that leads to growth for more in the world that leads to an improved civilization for all. These are examples of improvements, so what does it mean to move backward? We are moving in reverse every time someone tries to take away these basic inalienable freedoms and rights from anyone or tries to take away the opportunity for anyone to be healthy and happy, leaving them with pain, suffering, a shorter lifespan leading to higher costs for the social system to support them. This reversal can happen when the wealthy and powerful take resources from others to improve their life without giving back to improving the lives of others. Going backward by stopping the work to make as many people prosper so society and civilization can advance leads to its downfall. If improving our lives is so simple, why do we go backward? It’s not a choice; it’s a misconception by some as to what is moving forward: To enlarge unendingly the financial wealth of a few or to share the abundant resource wealth with the many?
There is an old argument that with a higher standard of living for more people comes the inevitable running out of the very resources that make us happy and comfortable. When the fear of dwindling resources is high, many start forming smaller groups and choosing sides to guarantee that they’re on the winning side of the battle for resources. With fear also comes heartless self-protection such as selfishness and greed. A democratic government is about improving the lives of others, and if our politicians are not working for the people, they are not improving our society. A representative is going backward when they focus on preserving “perceived limited resources” for a chosen few and not working to improve the lives of the many. An example is the economic “Trickle Down Theory”, which means to give a few of the economic top unlimited resources so that they can prosper and give to the many at the bottom if they feel inclined to. Unfortunately, those who fight to get to the economic top are rarely the psychological type to focus on giving to the lower classes once they get there. They are more focused on building their wealth to unending heights, and often see sharing as limiting their prosperity. But socially healthy democracies work together as a group against this type of oligarchy. This idea of dwindling resources is an old mindset and argument because people and civilizations have come and gone for eons, and the fear of inevitable collapse is something that has always been there walking beside growth and success. But it’s finding ways to share the wealth that always improves society, even if that means finding new ways of sharing resources, not hoarding them. Just look at the rise and fall and rise again of China, Japan, and Germany in the last century. As long as people stay hopeful that they can better the lives of more people, which means they are moving forward. And when they are fearful and start choosing who gets to survive and who must become a sacrifice, like those in African, the Middle East, and homegrown American extremists, we are all moving backward.
It’s a constant fight to keep society from being taken over by fear and greed. We all want happiness, physical comfort and to live as long as possible while avoiding pain and suffering. From the beginning of human life, we have mastered this ability to survive and do it well, or we wouldn’t be here basking in the rewards of a better society. The basic requirements for sustaining human life are clean air, water, nutrients, sleep, shelter and the exchange of goods and services through social connection: Six simple things that are needed to survive today and into the future. The quality and complexity of these six things change, but their basic requirements never do. The earth can continue to give us all of these renewable resources unless we disrespect them and take them for granted. If improving life means making more of these six things available to more people more of the time, than taking them away from people is detrimental to life itself. It’s not an apocalypse, a meteor or religious zealots that we should fear; it’s wasteful, selfish greed and fear of sharing resources that can destroy us.
If we want to improve our lives, we have to stop listening to people who wish to drag us backward by telling us that not every human being has the right to take part in a better life. Or anyone who says tax money is only for the wealthy to become more prosperous and not for the needy, (This ignores the fact that people who are suffering are draining our resources rather than being able to contribute to them as they would like). Or those who believe it’s impossible for everyone to earn a “living wage” for a full-time job while those who allocate the wages take the basic needed incomes from those at the bottom. Or those who believe medical care is not a human right for all and not just those who can pay excessive costs for it. It’s harder now for all to get a decent education than it’s been in 30 years when educating everyone has previously made such an improvement in society. And it’s become more difficult for the disenfranchised to vote. Worst of all it’s harder today for many more Americans to have access to necessities of survival such as jobs, food, housing, clean air, water, and earth. These are definite signs of moving backward because improvement means moving towards happiness, comfort and social inclusion for as many people as possible which are the principles that America was founded on, and it’s what has improved its society for over 200 years. So taking away these benefits to all so the wealthy can become richer will only destroy civilization as quickly as deciding who gets to live or die because of religious ideology will destroy its soul. The old excuse that there isn’t enough to go around so some people will have to suffer is not accurate. It’s a deception by those who have the most and don’t want to share it. It’s an imbalance in economic equality that is saying that there is no way to fix the problems of our times when fixing problems and moving forward is what we’ve done for thousands of years. Improvement is about protecting the ability to share, not the ability to take. The truth is that the goals to improve the world haven’t changed, it’s still about happiness, physical comfort and to live a long and healthy life through the access to those six simple needs: Healthy air, water, food, shelter, sleep and social inclusion. It’s about benefiting more people and not fearfully, mindlessly and unnecessarily going in the wrong direction. Improvement is a sign of success. Having success is creating better lives for more people more of the time. Social success is never fully reached because it’s an ongoing process. If this weren’t true, we would have died off thousands of years ago. Improvement is when more people have access to prosperity more of the time, and this is our touchstone for moving forward. If anyone tries to tell you that there are not enough resources to go around, or we, have to eliminate some people to survive it’s because someone, or some group, is hoarding their share or creating inequality and imbalance or living in socially destructive fear. Once we accept this simple truth, all signs of improvement will be back on track and moving forward again.
From Angela Conte of the Axis4Group, August 18, 2016
At the end of life, few say, “I wish I had accumulated more stuff.”
The only way the human species can improve on life itself is to work towards all people regardless of shape, size, color or personal preferences, having the inalienable right to be born into welcoming arms with access to minimum basic needs for survival including productive social opportunities and a peaceful passage into death once they’ve accomplished a quality life on earth. From the start of life, human survival is based on an instinct for selfish survival but humans soon develop group cohesion because living in groups brings more survival opportunities to the individual when there is a fair exchange of goods and services than if they must go it alone. The fair and equitable exchange of these goods and services forms a balanced socioeconomic system. For an economically stable society, there needs to be strong core human rights that all people respect and receive. The following are a list of basic bottom-line core values needed to sustain every human life on earth and should be accepted as minimum universal rights for all people regardless of size, shape, color, age, sexual orientation or ability to purchase them. They are also the core values of Hive Tech Living Environments which are a type of proprietary shared living community conceived by Angela Conte.
The Human Right to Survival Through Access to:
1. Clean air.
2. Clean water.
3. Clean nutrient food from a healthy ecosystem.
4. Sleep in safe and healthy shelter.
5. Cultural and legal right of every human being to participate freely and equally in all social and economic opportunities. The opportunities include social basics such as:
• Political participation
• Health and medical care
• Legal and civil representation
• Income production
• Spiritual and/or Self-expression that does not infringe on the quality of life for others.
• Right to life and right to death for self and unborn fetus as a part of one’s body.
Planet Earth’s Ecological Rights Include the Following:
1. Clean air.
2. Clean water.
3. Debris and chemical free earth surface and soils.
4. Right to a balanced existence for all species of fauna, flora, and the protection of their ecosystems.
5. Control from human or other species overuse of ecological resources.
Since many of the human needs and earth’s ecosystem needs are related and humans are dependent on earth, whereas earth could do well without humans, there are six core values to sustaining human life that require the protection of earth’s rights and these six rights are:
1. Clean air.
2. Clean water.
3. Clean surface and soil.
4. Human shelter.
5. Equality of human social inclusion.
6. Protection from physical abuse and depletion of human and earth’s resources.
These six core human rights represent everything necessary for human survival and yet few people think about them or make them a priority in their everyday lives. Even the common basic need of fresh water, food and shelter are considered luxuries to be given to those who earn them and not necessities of human right to survival. What seems to be the only shared priority to American Culture today is the right to accumulate wealth. These six are not everything everyone wants or desires but only include what is necessary for life and anything else that people aspire to should be theirs to work for if it doesn’t impede on other’s survival rights. Creating human rights focused on these necessities globally would not be easy but with so much cultural and political divergence today urban planning can become the foundation for altering the world’s current unsustainable trajectory by creating more balanced micro communities focused on these rights at the local level. And this process for change can begin with rethinking the most complex priority core-value number five: The Equality of Human Social Inclusion.
Fiscal common sense says the more financial diversity in an economy, the healthier it is, so the more people who make money to put into the economic system helps its cycle continue to grow and maintain balance; and any depletion, or stagnation (i.e. economic recession), or accumulation of resources at a single point will disrupt the system’s balance. Unfortunately, global economic cohesion is not functioning this way as America becomes a nation of oligarchs due to money in its political system and the accumulation of wealth at the top while many other western nations also suffer from debilitating long-term recessions due to lack of global economic inclusion. Given these current economic factors it is imperative that western nations create an economic system that benefits as many people as possible rather than protecting the right of the wealthy to hoard as much wealth as desired given this practice’s lack of socioeconomic cohesion and equilibrium. In an ideal capitalist society everyone is entitled to seek a share of the economic pie as long as it’s within the policies and laws established by the republic through a fair and equal democratic system; and so western political systems are designed to work when everyone has an equal voice in how things are done to maintain the balanced equilibrium; and, if not in balance, at least there is trust that the system offers future equilibrium through fair voting rights for all stakeholders. In healthy functioning, multiparty systems all parties must work to keep any one party from being too dominant or balanced social equilibrium is lost. For this to work efficiently politics must be a system of give and take that requires compromise. Parties must work towards their highest priorities while giving up lesser priorities as wager benefits to the highest priorities of the other parties with the single goal to all parties to generate the best solutions for everyone in the end. Today’s western democratic capitalism is full of checks and balances like these meant to keep everyone’s interests represented, however problems arise when parties interfere in the all stakeholder solution building that is necessary for a functioning social system. We see this in the recent refusal of the GOP to participate in any politics until they get their way and only their way. Another example is when anyone in power divides people into groups of those who deserve access to resources and those who don’t with the intention of gaining more resources for themselves and those who stand with them. They use manufactured limits of resources to create fear and demand everyone chooses a side. This misleading focus on a lack of resources keeps everyone fearfully worried about their share of a limited pie rather than anyone’s right to survival or from realizing that these basic survival needs are easily available to everyone if a plan is worked on for efficient distribution in a limitless pie world. An example of dividing of social groups in to those who deserve and those who don’t is when people say those who use illegal drugs, or partake in crime, or are mentally or physically ill, or are of another sex or ethnicity, or are simply unlucky to be born into poverty, do not deserve basic human rights to survival. Yet, this refusal to care for others risks the sustainability of the entire social system and depletes its resources without replenishing them. Even demonizing those in need as a way to encourage more social participation from them doesn’t make sense because no one in their right mind prefers (or chooses) a life of crime, drugs, poverty or mental or physical illness. It happens to them and without social support people become stuck. To change this negative perception of people who need support as social leeches without value it needs to be remembered that sharing is an evolutionary means to human survival for all and helping others is part of natural human survival. If some people are demonized and society stops supporting them, it breaks down the very system designed for human long-term sustainability. Without long-term growth and sustainability society dies. In truth, the only thing that can change people in distress is to help them get to where everyone wants to be and that is to a life of health and happiness filled with social purpose. And if anyone continues to be disenfranchised they are damaging the social core and the survivability of the group. Demonizing them is not helping them or society because if they are unproductive they are not giving back to the social system while creating economic burden. Help them and they can give back benefiting everyone. Unfortunately, there are those who don’t want money or resources going to help the needy because they are only thin king about themselves without acknowledging or understanding how this impedes on their quality of life. This type of anti-social irresponsibility happens when groups don’t see, care or understand the value in other people’s quality-of-life as it relates to the whole social economic system. What they do see is the cost to themselves so instead of solving the problem by giving minor social support to get everyone to a level of productivity they decry that not everyone deserves support and so leaving people suffering and a burden to the system. However, they are often quick to demand that needs based resources be given to those who have proven their value through financial success. An example of this are all the government financial support and tax breaks given to large corporations and financial institutions. The American banking industry functions on the belief that loans are only given to those who already have proven an ability to make money which assumes someone’s bad luck is a reason not to help them. On the other hand, if these wealth producers can’t survive without public tax support then maybe they aren’t equipped with what it takes to survive and should be left to fail so others can take their place especially if they are taking support away from the needier people at the bottom whose very lives depends on these support resources. With failing businesses comes new businesses which is the kind of competition a healthy functioning economy needs. Instead American elitist created a system of hoarding wealth and demanding more resources for themselves instead of those that need it while denying their negative impact on the entire social system. They benefit from holding back from others while collecting resources for themselves but this kills a socioeconomic system. It is selfish greed that all humans are born with but most grow out of that causes some to refuse acknowledging that human survival is dependent on the fair and equitable exchange of social resources and that the more people who benefit, the more people there are to give back to the system. Another example of how this demonizing backfires on society is ignoring how years of anger, frustration, and anxiety leads to depression and or substance abuse, unemployment, crime; and how a loss of hope and opportunity lead to anger and frustration; so, one can say that loss of hope and opportunity can lead to mental illness, self-medicating, unemployment and the crime that goes with them costing more time, money and quality-of-life for the society and risking self-destruction. Not fixing these types of social problems means years of expensive problems leading to even more burden and expense for everyone and not just those who are in trouble. If a nation wants to fix its problems, it must address them with a clear understanding of what is necessary to human survival that leads to socioeconomic cohesion and then make them a human right. From the right of fair and equitable basic resources comes social survivability. Fixing the individual problems in society may cost some financial investment in the short-term but once they are established into the system, long-term cost is significantly reduced. An analogy for this type of proactive problem-solving is when a child is born with a fixable physical anomaly that could cause social alienation, depression, drug abuse and/or eventual crime if left unfixed, it only makes sense for the parents to fix the anomaly before years of self-destruction takes over causing a lifetime of pain and suffering for the child and significant ongoing expense for the family and society. What is also lost in ignoring the child’s needs is the opportunity for society to benefit from another happy, healthy contributing human being. The argument that disenfranchised people will just continue to take from the social pie if they are helped is unrealistic because all people, except psychopaths, seek healthy productive lives. It is basic human nature to seek comfort and stability unless you lack a biological gene causing psychological pathology, (Note: There is evidence that many of the people in positions of power who are greedy, lying, and antisocial are actually the successful psychopaths of society, including some CEO’s, Financial Professionals and Politicians, and not the needy poor and disadvantaged at the bottom.) Society is like that child at risk but it is made up of millions of children who fall through the cracks and end up unendingly depended on the social system when they are not given everything they need for basic survivability and productivity. Some may have to learn how to take care of themselves after support begins but that should be part of the support system because maintaining the momentum to address everyone’s basic needs for survival requires making human survival an ongoing right and not a privilege for the deserving few. If every one of these six necessities to human survival is focused on in our current technologically advanced world, we could improve life on earth for 90 percent of the world population by 2050. This idea is a fundamental paradigm of human functioning that could reverse socioeconomic dysfunction simply by adhering to these six basic human rights and allowing anything beyond them to be the luxury rightfully available to those who want to strive for them. Simply put, allowing everyone the right to participate in socioeconomic inclusion and share equally in survival resources doesn’t mean that anyone will have less, it just means more people would have more to give, and anyone who says otherwise is not being honest or real with themselves or others.
America’s pioneering forefathers didn’t aspire to a democratic capitalist society where only a few deserving would have the right to take freely as much as they can at the expense of others. They wanted to create a more fair and equitable society for all rather than the feudal monarchies and growing oligarchies supported by peasant slave labor that they were leaving back in Europe. The freedom of private wealth accumulation for all was their priority and that’s what they accomplished but I don’t believe that’s where they would have left things if they had all the information that is available today that shows how limiting this freedom of capitalism is when left unchecked. Today there is much more empirical data and knowledge plus the technological ability to create more distribution of resources if society wasn’t instead fighting the oligarchs of today. With this knowledge and technology what needs to be focused on today is more equitable allocation of resources with special interest in those resources that are necessary to human survival. This benefits the whole society and lets those who aspire to more wealth and luxury obtain them at will if they don’t infringe on the survival rights of others. America’s forefathers wanted the right to make a living through freedom of commerce, ownership of land and other resources, and this has been accomplished but it is not humanities final frontier. There is much more that can be done if true human sustainability is ultimately the American goal starting with these six human rights to life.
Going down the list of these six human rights, the right to clean air and water is commonsense. Dealing with climate change would be an efficient start to improving both air and water along with adding more regulations on anything that damages them. Food can be grown most anywhere when climate and water issues are dealt with, and seeding distribution is coordinated universally along with other healthy food sources. The millions of unemployed people around the world could be put to work developing these distribution streams along with the production of the food supplies in their local regions. Most people appreciate employment in food production activities if the work they do is contributing to everyone’s quality of life and not only for the benefit of other’s wealth. Right now, in the US the plan is to continue industrialized food production on large centralized land swatches where the food must be transported at great cost, and where corporate chemicals, gene manipulation, and fertilizers are needed to kill pests, produce food faster, keep food longer and replenish the barren land for continued reuse when locally grown food is healthier and creates more valuable employment opportunities. When it comes to shelter, few people can live without it let alone live a healthy productive life without it yet homelessness is rising in the US, and the housing industry has stagnated because of the high cost of housing production and the number of financial stakeholders who want a piece of this high valued commercial pie. It doesn’t help that since the 2008 real estate crash more US citizens now live in rented housing because of the lack of affordable ownership opportunities and mortgages. This means that many are paying unlimited rising amounts of money to landlords instead of the money going into their personal equity, or where they would have some control over rate increases. The banking industry is only working with wealthy real estate investors like REITs and large corporate real estate developers and getting out of the local real estate industry all together. Again, this is happening because of unregulated capitalism and society ignoring the basic survival needs of people. What needs to happen is minimal shelter ownership must become a human right and the government must work to produce it as a supporter of these rights. If people want to upgrade their housing options from government subsidized universal sheltering programs they can do so through renting or buying upscale housing but no one should ever be left without a livable home of their own. This government managed housing would again create jobs for many in housing development and construction as well as government, and could very easily be paid for by collecting more taxes from the top ten percent, including closing their tax loopholes, reducing the war chest through better international relations and putting price controls on healthcare and medical with universal healthcare just to start. It’s about shifting government priorities from a few who are well to do to focusing on people again as good governments are supposed to do. If the wealthy people or businesses threaten to leave and go to other countries were taxes are lower, than this will open up more opportunities for the people who stay in the US. If all people are prospering from government support there will be ground up economic development that will improve society, and the economy, and continue to make America a truly great place to live. What would be left behind after any massive tax dodge are people and businesses who want to contribute fairly and equitably into the socioeconomic infrastructure because they understand its value to ongoing economic growth and sustainability. Also on the list of basic human survival needs are social needs. Social needs begin with health and medical care paid for with a socialized single payer system where everyone contributes fairly and everyone receive care equally, just like they do in most other prosperous countries. If some wealthy people want special treatment they can pay for it. This attention to all medical services to everyone would continue to create jobs for people, especially if the cost of medical education and physician treatment fees is managed through government oversight. Reducing general costs also allows for increasing the number of healthcare professionals in the industry creating more jobs and solving the current lack of healthcare professionals which now includes doctors. The corporate medical and pharmaceutical industry revenues would have to be controlled so that the income is fairly shared with the entire socioeconomic system and not hoarded by these medical industry oligarchs. Education for all also benefits social economy and needs to be a right at all levels of academia because a smarter population adds multiple social benefits and the only people who don’t want an educated society are those who make money from a society of sheeple. When people are supported, happy, healthy and productive they don’t need to fight wars for survival, or engage in crime, or fight each other over things like religion or race. There will always be some psychopaths and sociopaths to contend with but at least society would no longer be run by them. Taking care of these basic human survival needs creates a functioning society where money is spent on maintaining socioeconomic sustainability and not just supporting capitalism. The last item on the list of basic human rights is the need to protect the earth and its ecosystem from overuse and abuse that will benefit not only all natural life on earth but it protects human life too. Why should people be so selfish and think about themselves first when protecting the earth because if people don’t think about their life first when protecting the earth than people will die off and the earth would be just fine without them. Again, the only people who would not see or understand the consequences of ignoring this fact are those who don’t want money to go towards benefiting anything or anyone other than themselves.
These six basic rights of human survival need to become global priorities that allow every human being on earth the equal right to obtain all six of them from birth to death. Retrofitting the world for utilizing these human rights would be extremely difficult but what isn’t difficult is creating this balanced socioeconomic equilibrium in micro communities at the local level in Hive Tech Living Environments (HTLE) while working on developing the support of the federal, state and local governments. HTLE are sustainable, green, multifamily, mixed-use, mixed-income, workforce and live/work housing communities for people that respect the earth and adhere to these six basic human rights as necessities for individual quality-of-life and human survival as well as components to sustainable worldwide growth and prosperity into the future. They combine all that is needed to create an environmentally healthy, economically stable, and socially vibrant community one group at a time, leading to one building at a time, to one community at a time and then one city and one earth at a time. Contrary to Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos’ plans for space travel we don’t need to spend so much money to move to another planet to find more quality-of-life for the wealthy few we just need to refocus our attention and resources towards the basics commonsense needs for human survival right here on earth. The knowledge and technology are available to adhere to these basics necessities; what we needed now is to make them a priority at every level of society through micro-seeding change in communities like Hive Tech Living Environments.
“The lifetime student seeks to grow;
the lifetime ignorant seek others to agree with them.”
Elite theory: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. In political science and sociology, a élite theory is a theory of the state which seeks to describe and explain the power relationships in contemporary society. The theory posits that a small minority, consisting of members of the economic élite and policy-planning networks, holds the most power and that this power is independent of a state’s democratic elections process.
If Earth is so beautiful, then I can’t wait to see how much beauty is still left for us to explore!
We learned in physics about cosmology theories of inertia, kinetic energy and metric expansion of space and how the universe is always expanding. Then there is the theory that “Everything flows, nothing stands still”, first quoted by Plato in Cratylus. The universe is a dynamic moving system subject to forces of constant instability that push us towards chaos, and if you want to have a happy, peaceful existence, you better maintain your chaos. Just think about house cleaning: as soon as you finish doing it, the home begins to deteriorate into chaos again; especially if there is more than one person. If you want to stay healthy, you can’t exercise one day and be done with it; you have to exercise every day, or you’ll immediately reverse back to that couch potato. If you want to avoid mental deterioration in old age; you’d better keep your brain cells active and working every step of the way. Life’s like that: We have to stay in control of all the change that’s hitting us or chaos ensues. Want a happy marriage: you have to work at it; Want successful children: you have to keep on top of their behavior and work ethics. There is nothing in life that comes to you that will not take work to maintain. That’s why I like rituals and habits: I can do them without thinking about them and enjoy the moments of peace and serenity that they create for me; but rest on my laurels, I can’t do for long.
At work, our main priority is to deal with constant oncoming chaos because that’s what we’re there for: to carry out the task of producing something for ourselves and others that corrals our socially shared chaos, and we do it in exchange for economic rewards that help us wrangle our chaos of living. Then there are the cities that we live in that need us to wrangle their natural chaos through constant planning, design, technical, infrastructural maintenance and general government operations. These civil services overlap with social and political systems such as judicial, police and fire chaos controllers. Could you image if we didn’t have laws and peace officers to maintain our communities? It would be a third world state of constant confusion.
North America has come a long way in a short time, and the United States has created one of the most stable chaos free civilizations on earth that many other nations envy and sometimes admire, so who would we want to live any other way? The thing is, to maintain this peaceful chaos free life in the US, we have to maintain it constantly just like we have to clean our homes and get off the couch and exercise. A nation doesn’t run on its own, it takes effort, and in America the system that we created is one where democratic participation is and honor and a necessity. Unfortunately, the people are losing control, and I have a theory of how we got to this point and what we need to do to fix things.
Business used to be mostly independent family owned. Now corporations are king. In the past, businesses were started up just where they were needed; then a couple of them would have a bit of competitive rivalry but everyone got by and the competition made everything a little bit better. Then advances in transportation created larger territories where national chains took over, and all businesses were in a game of survival of the fittest and whoever grew the most substantial faster could devour their competition rather than have to compete with them. Today, corporations are more like machines than human beings, even if people run them. In our global world, American companies have been devouring business overseas. To do this, they have to make deals with whoever is in charge, good or bad; and if they can’t make the deals with regimes in the open, they’ll use backdoor deception to get the right guys into power who’ll work with and for them.
As this happened for decades around the world, Americans we’re happy with comfortable chaos free lives and with cradle to grave corporate jobs with benefits. No one had a reason to challenge the status quo, because it was believed to be working for the people, including the little guy. So while Americans slept in their comfortable beds, the corporate machine kept working, and now it’s all coming back to haunt the US as other countries start to rebel.
As the corporate machine learned to control whole nations overseas, they also learned to control local, state and federal governments in the U.S. by using their growing wealth to put politicians in office that would protect them and create laws, even if these laws infringed on the rights of the people. That’s how they took over; they bought their way into office and made laws that protected their corporate rights and removed the rights of the American people, as the American people slept in their comfortable beds believing their companies would take care of them. Then the inequality of wealth started to destroy the economic system, and people started to come out of their slumber and wonder what was happening. So the businesses bought the control over the media and shamed the people into staying silent, or frightened them against imaginary forces that were working against them while they the corporate heroes were still the great protectors. Today, the government is full of politicians who are working for the corporation and against the people, and media pundits are paid to keep the people out of their hair as they do what the want in the name of American Patriotism or Religious Elitism. Another way of looking at the problem is through the economic numbers. The 40% of the wealth is now held in the hands of the top 1%, and these people bought the legal right to pay 18% to 0% taxes while the middle classes pay 30% and above. At the same time, they acquired the legal right to pay themselves 300% increases in tax-free income while middle-class incomes decreased 20% in the same timeframe. Then they say that it’s the fault of the people that they have to take their business overseas while they pay themselves hefty multi-million dollar severance packages. And they complain it’s the people’s fault that they had to take away the middle classes right to unionize or to protect themselves from unfair employment practices because it took money out of their pockets. Then they purchased the right from a politically biased Supreme Court to call themselves Human Beings so they could give as much as they wanted to the campaigns of those politicians who would continue to work for them. These are some of the things that have happened while Americans slept in their chaos free beds. Then America woke up to war because other countries got mad when things went too far with the American Corporate giants taking away their livelihoods too. It didn’t help that America went into multi-trillion dollar debt to pay for these wars, but then it was great for the weapons manufacturers and war mongers. To pay this massive debt, the American middle classes then had to pay more in taxes, (while the wealthy continue to pay less). And they’ve had to give up things like educations for their children, affordable medical care and security in their twilight retirement years, and food and housing for the needy who are mostly women struggling to raise hungry children. The American people are no longer thriving in their country while corporations and the wealthy 1% who run them, get richer and richer. And the people bought the story from the bought and paid for media that it’s the old, the indigent and the hungry women and children who are causing all the problems, not the ridiculously imbalanced wealth distribution. Do you see it? Snap out of your sleep and see the reality that all the wealth is now in the hands of a very tiny minority who have taken over our government and the media and while the middle classes are the majority of the population, they work longer hours for less pay and zero job security. Now fewer and fewer Americans have basic benefits while the millionaires turn into billionaires. Simplified it works like this:
1) The upper class, super wealthy, 1% that holds 40% of the money; money that is doing one thing: bringing them tax-free dividends that create more money in their bank accounts, not economic sustainability. The economy is stable when more people have money to put into it, not when a few people hoard the money in bank accounts to make more money while starving the economy.
2) Then there is the upper class 6% who are doing pretty good and living comfortable like their parents and grandparents did in the 1950 and 1960’s. Even though their incomes are much lower compared to the current cost of living and they are working more hours than their parents. They have a job, so there are no problems and no complaints from them.
3) Then there is the middle class who are becoming more and more the “working poor” because they are just getting by with paying the bills. Anything other than the necessities of life that are needed can go on credit where huge interest payments go into the pockets of the super wealthy again. They have jobs, sometimes 2, 3 and four jobs and are often one job or one illness away from total destitution.
4) Then you have the poor class that are working but who are not making enough to get by. Their children are going many hungry days, and they won’t get a chance to dig their way out of destitution and will most likely need government assistance the rest of their lives just to survive. While the wealthy elite continues to say, they are the enemy of a working system.
Which category are you in? Most of us are in the middle class and one job, one day or a retirement party away from destitution. Don’t fool yourself that things got better while you slept, thanks to corporate America, and if things aren’t working it the fault of lazy people. The only thing that happened was the wealthy elite took over the government, your lives and the resources needed for 90% of the people to thrive and survive.
The worse part of it all is we’ve found ourselves in such a mess today because we let them convince us that we, the people who are just trying to fend off chaos and get by, are the problem. The truth is, our economy is dependent on people, lots and lots of people buying things and investing back into the economy and as long as the wealthy keep taking all the money and keeping it for themselves nothing is left to be put back into the system. The poor don’t have any money to put into the economy, nor will they get the chance to better themselves. Their lives are full of hopeless chaos. The middle-income earners are making less and less and working more and more, so their lives are becoming more stressful every day while the wealthy elite’s money is rotating in hedge funds instead of going back into the economy. This chaos is happening, and it’s happening because the American people decided their lives are better and less chaotic if they don’t pay attention to politics, or question authority, or demand quality educations for all and a medical system that is equalized. Sorry, but that’s not how the universe works. You can’t just bury your head in the sand and trust the super wealthy will have your back because they don’t. They see the chaos coming at them, and they are stocking up and taking care of themselves, and the only way to keep a handle on your mess is to face it head on every step of the way.
9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact:
“An old friend who has been active in politics for more than thirty years tells me he’s giving up. “I can’t stomach what’s going on in Washington anymore,” he says. “The hell with all of them. I have better things to do with my life.”
My friend is falling exactly into the trap that the extreme right wants all of us to fall into — such disgust and cynicism that we all give up on politics. Then they’re free to take over everything.” – Robert Reich
2 Minutes to the Truth about the Economy:
“Build a community with people first in mind and they will stay and support your city forever. Build your communities for the money focused and short-sighted companies, and your city will only last as long as they are making huge amounts of money for themselves.”
By Angela Conte, October 8, 2016
Smart growth is about creating healthier more vibrant communities. Some of the requirements to qualifying as a smart city would be things like green technology, sustainability practices, material reuse, outdoor social green spaces, and building with mixed-uses that combine commercial with residential. Many green and sustainable cities also think about things like adequate public transportation to limit cars while encouraging more people powered forms of mobility to enhance health. Current smart cities are also about putting more people, businesses, and infrastructure into smaller denser areas to save money on energy, technology, public services and maintenance costs. While most city officials must now consider green and healthy environments for people and the earth, their bottom-line is still about making/or saving money first and improving people’s lives second. Of course, there wouldn’t be sustainable green development today if money wasn’t a big factor but planners and government officials are too often only about meeting the financial needs of developers, investors, and other financial stakeholders while leaving quality-of-life issues for their people as a happenstance. This means they are only looking at the short-term future while ignoring long-term sustainability and it’s in the long-term planning and development where the real financial returns and city survivability lay. For example, rarely does housing get produced just to keep people in quality affordable housing or to curtail rising home ownership costs so that more people can have shelter plus money to enjoy their lives with. If there is development today, someone must be making an enormous financial profit, or it doesn’t get done. Even banks are staying out of the home building business because there isn’t enough money in it for them. Yet the U.S. is decades behind in housing development which is impacting the GDP enormously through lack of income to sales profits. Why is this? Because city planning and building officials do not always use holistic approaches to designing their city’s economies and if they did they wouldn’t be ignoring their most important means for sustainability: Their people and their people’s need for affordable housing. And instead of thinking about the needs of people, city officials spend too much time focused on obtaining and retaining big business investment, when focusing on quality of life for people pays more and keeps a city vibrant and productive.
A people first focus on city planning means taking a holistic, multi-sectoral approach to community development and with this balanced planning comes housing, businesses, and jobs for local laborers, builders, architectural and engineering firms and sub-contractors galore which are a large part of a communities’ workforce. So when city planners think about housing development it should never think only about developing large expensive homes by high-end national builders with their out of town teams because this is economically one dimensional and doesn’t support their own economic infrastructure. In fact, they could be killing their chance for developing long-term sustainability rather than building the community value they want. They should be thinking about the entire social structure of their city which includes all types of development utilizing local area resources. If developers can’t be found to build these people first projects, cities should find other ways to make it happen as their primary and foremost responsibility for long-term sustainability. Focusing on just the wealthy single home buyer, owner, landlord, or real estate investor while ignoring affordable housing for the middle and lower income majority is how you develop a haves and have-not society that destroys a community and creates a polarized political system which are the very things that much of America suffers from today. If big cities and communities want to change the national inequality trends of today, they can do it without waiting for the Federal Government by investing in housing and people-centric community improvements right in their backyards. Just look at the cost that inequality is having. More money is going into building a police state in the US than in solving the problems that create the instability in the first place. You can’t have a strong functioning community if people can’t find housing or the housing is too expensive so they can’t afford to live life fully after paying their rent or mortgage bills. People need hope to expand their lives and not just physically survive and cities could be doing more to create this human spirit productivity but too many city officials are about resolving things like racial tension, climate destruction, transportation ills and housing shortages only after its gotten out of hand and too much damage has already been done. If they had thought about people first a century ago and not just when it begins to impede on wealth development of the highly vocal and financially powerful, they could have stopped the environmental destruction and/or crime and homelessness so prevalent in many towns and cities today. This is the benefit of utilizing smart planning for people first instead of utilizing it later when wealthy people or chaos dictate it. Housing is not a luxury it’s a human life sustaining necessity and if city officials can’t or won’t create housing for everyone, then they are showing they’re unwilling or unable to do their job no matter what excuses they come up with for why it can’t get done and they need to be replaced by more creative forward thinking problem-solvers. If high-end national builders only want to participate in high return developments than cities need to find creative ways to bring in more non-profit builders, B-corps developers or require the big guys to develop lower and middle-income housing equal to their high-end housing. If builders refuse to do this, cities must say “No, you can’t build here because we need an economically balanced future for all our people and our community’s sustainability”. Unfortunately, city officials find it easier to give in to the big developers and their media hype rather than do what is humanly right. City planners need to understand that if they don’t create this social equality than the high cost of housing will continue to contribute to stress that leads to crime, mental and physical health problems and costly social support programs. The choice then becomes thinking about what a small minority of wealthier people want or the needs of the majority of an entire city of residents need. In one choice they are creating small pockets of wealth in their cities and the other way they are creating a stronger healthier city that all income levels can benefit from.
People first thinking also means investing in small locally owned and operated businesses; equitable city maintenance plans; crime prevention and beautification where they are needed most and not just where wealthier people live. If city officials are more focused on sports arenas, business centers, and higher-end housing in gated communities while ignoring the basic needs in economically challenged neighborhoods than they are not building the financial security of all the people who could be utilizing these sports arenas, businesses, and cultural resources which is not good for everyone. Some cities are doing gentrification facelifts that add more architectural beauty and greenery to entice people and businesses to come to their cities but not because it improves the environment and the health of the people who already live there. In fact, it drives out one group of people for another with multiple ethical issues and racial undertones. They are not thinking about putting in vegetation to develop the health of all people; nor are they thinking about the pleasure and enjoyment of their residents. They’re still crying about costs of social needs while making their city or town look more superficially competitive with other towns and cities to entice wealthy businesses and people to come and create social balance, or is that imbalance? Yes, city planners are actually adding to the social imbalance that destroys cities rather than fixing the problems that create the imbalance. They’ll lure national big box stores and food chains to their towns because they’re told by big businesses that the tax revenue and jobs will come but this tax money doesn’t get distributed equality in the community to all the people, and the jobs are low-wage and eat into the tax base to cover social programs, all of which creates big-box communities with large numbers of poor people. These types of jobs only benefit the businesses and not the community. The number one objective for any smart city development department needs to be on long-term sustainability and making all people’s lives better through affordable housing and economic stimulation for those who need it most because it leads to more stability for the entire community as it saves on civic, medical, social and criminal costs while adding value to the community for everyone.
America was created to represent people instead of monarchies and oligarchs, but cities today are ignoring basic human needs such as affordable housing and small business job stimulation in favor of catering to big business and the wealthy. This is the creation of another oligarchic society and it happens every time cities fear big businesses leaving or not coming if they don’t get what they want which is usually lower taxes and no union or people support. This is a form of economic extortion and far from a realistic threat when you understand community stability and growth is actually depended on the economic needs of all its people and not it’s few big businesses. If a company decides to leave a people focused smart city, then there will always be people focused smart companies to replace them. City managers who think otherwise are short-sited city planners who need to understand that the more productive the individuals in their cities are the stronger their economy will be to improve the lives of everyone equally creating an ongoing cycle of stability that has long-term interest to new and future smart businesses. It’s not that big business or wealth-seekers are bad for a city it’s just they are not the most important element to growing a city’s long-term sustainability. Just look at what smart fast growing millennial companies are looking for in locations to set up their businesses today: Number one is lots of happy, trained employees to fill their labor pools and grow. What city officials are hearing from the big money focused businesses instead are they will move or are moving because taxes are too high, labor is too expensive or the municipality doesn’t do enough for them. That’s just more extortionist scare tactics going on from not so smart companies who need tax breaks to survive. If you want smart strong companies to come to your city then remember they are moving to find the smartest, happiest, well educated, most productive communities of people to relocate to and give it to them because they would prefer to live in a happy healthy economically balanced city rather than move to a place that has low wage poor people, crime and economic instability due to low taxes. If low-wage communities are what they are really looking for they will take their businesses overseas eventually anyways and you’re left with nothing. These dumb companies are looking for fast money and not long-term sustainability so they’re not the kind of businesses smart cities should be depending on. Once people are made happy and healthy, smart businesses follow, then the tax burden can be shared more equally and living wages will show returns from higher productivity and investment in local businesses not matter what size they are. Once a city is solvent and happy, these smart companies know they can expect other smart companies like themselves moving into town to combine resources with. Thinking about people first is a win, win, win situation for everyone. So it’s imperative to design and build communities for the people and the companies will follow; but, build if for the shallower money focused businesses only and the best and the brightest will go elsewhere. The guys who leave a solid sustainable smart city are the types of businesses that leave for cheap overseas labor taking away jobs and money from the very people they expect to buy their products. Not very smart or sustainable. It’s dumb money greedy businesses like this that created the industrial manufacturing rust belt. If a city wants to start building for a strong future in the 21st Century they need to focus on creating livable quality cities for people first to attract quality sustainable businesses. Build a community with people first in mind and they will stay and support your city forever. Build your communities for the money focused and short-sighted companies, and your city will only last as long as they are making huge amounts of money for themselves.
A lot about smart growth technology is common sense. Solar technology makes sense because it’s an unlimited source of clean energy from the sun that’s available to everyone, anywhere, and any time the sun is out. And once the technology is created to harness it, it will be there even when the sun isn’t out. In the new century, solar technology is finally taking off because the value of fossil fuel is not as lucrative, and because the impact on climate change is becoming too expensive to ignore, and not because solar energy was a good idea for people and the environment, to begin with. Money made the difference in the change to solar power in the last twenty years but the issue came too late for the money people and now it will cost society even more than if city governments had invested in solar energy as a benefit to quality of life to their people when it mattered most. City planners must be able to see a good idea and go with it while always keeping in mind that quality of human life must come first if they want to be sustainable into the future. The same issue of lack of sustainability is happening with transportation. Urban Planners have known for decades that population growth would impact the ability for people to get around in population-dense communities that are car dependent. Large cities of the 18th and 19th centuries did well because they were people focused and dense without the hindrance of automobiles. Back then people walked and the diversity of retail goods and services were within walking distance and accessible to everyone. Schools, shops, churches, entertainment, parks, and community services were embedded into the each and every micro-community and within walking distance to homes. People got more exercise and engaged with their communities in active social ways whereas today in America most cities have outlawed the mixing of residential with anything else and thus limiting physical health, social engagement, political discussion and accessibility of resources to those who lack money for cars. If city officials had been thinking about what works for people’s quality of life first they could have avoided these unendurable cultural developments that have led to economic stagnation in many communities in the United States. Now they’re focused on saving “tax” money by privatizing schools, civil services and social programs further taking economic and social power away from their local people and communities. This is not progress and it’s not stable and it’s not people first thinking. These decisions are being made because cities are being lured into thinking there is more money to be made, or “saved”, by doing business with big money national companies and not their own local people first. They are favoring big business to the point of destroying their local citizen’s businesses and the socioeconomic spirit of their residents. There are so many ways cities in their short-sightedness have built communities for the wealthy and big businesses at the expense of their people and its these types of decisions that will eventually destroy their communities. If city officials are thinking about people first they would diversify business within their communities through small business development for the benefit of resident’s quality of life and allow them to set up shop close to where people live. This would mean more small community businesses and their tax revenues staying in the community, also more jobs and the incomes from them to be spent in the local businesses so that they create an internal economic cycle that can survive a 2008 like economic collapse. If you want an example of this type of sustainable community development just look at the small New England communities outside New York and Boston where they have created social and economic diversified villages that are small, walkable, economically interdependent and politically active. They also have two centuries of proven longevity. Their only advantage over most suburban enclaves in the US is their accessibility to larger metro centers for technology, educational institutions and the innovation that comes with them. As our world grows and communication expands these types of institutional resources will become accessible to everyone as long as each community looks to expand access to these resources to their people. Just image where cities would be today if they had focused on balancing the quality of life resources through smart planning and development for all people instead of only fixing major problems when they got too much for people to live with. They would be saving on the costs of healthcare, crime prevention and food and housing support if they focused on people first and made sure everyone had housing that is affordable and jobs leaves them with enough money to give to their local businesses to keep them growing and solvent.
If cities want to grow strong and survive they must begin to ask themselves, where in their plan is the human and social concern that is imperative to their citizen’s survival? And where is the thought and ingenuity to use today’s advanced knowledge and technologies to build better more balanced societies and not just more income for the wealthy? And where is the thinking that comes with working on creating a whole functioning community as a benefit in itself? Because the viable communities of the future will be the advanced smart green sustainable healthy high-density communities that bring people together and are about stable economies where everyone can benefit enough to give back to the social and economic life cycle of their communities. These are people first communities where those who fall through the economic cracks are caught by a support system that picks them up and gets them going again to keep giving to their communities; and where the brightest minds with heart and compassion will want to live and bring up their children because of the diversity, education, and creativity that is available and not because their city is designed to isolate them from the rest of the world and its problems. It’s these communities with healthy happy people with purposeful lives living in balanced economic stable communities that will create the prosperity to build these same communities anywhere in the world and end wars. When planning communities for a stronger healthier world for later generations, planners must start with people first thinking now and if they believe their job is to save money while making developers happy and investors wealthy, they are in for a major future shock. Building only for those who have financial resources while ignoring the rest of the population is never going to get cities out of the economic hole that they are digging themselves into. If city officials and planners want to stand out from the crowd and have a strong future for their communities, they can’t just say they’re into smart green energy and efficient growth because it sounds good they have to start putting the survival of the human race first in everything they do or get out of politics and community service.
Right now the housing industry is still stuck in neutral. Money and spending are starting to flow, and projects and jobs are beginning to trickle in for those who’ve weathered the economic storm enough to be still in business, but the production of affordable homes for people to live in continues to be decades behind the US housing need estimates. I say decades because we were ten years behind in 2007 so we must be at least another ten years behind now. Add to this time-lag the fast growing population in history and you start to get the picture of how bad it is going to get. Drive down the street and see the growing homeless population in your community and you have more proof of the low affordable housing stock storm that’s coming if we don’t start looking for innovative solutions now.
Much of the talk is about the lack of affordable housing, but most people don’t understand that affordable no longer refers to housing low-income families but for housing middle-income families too. We’ve become a society where fewer and fewer people will own their homes and will spend their entire lives paying to live in the homes of those rich enough to be able to invest in housing as a financial commodity. Gone will be the iconic American Dream. Instead would be the dream of just having a roof over your head, while the destitute live on the street. So there are two problems to be solved: 1) to build more homes fast and 2) to build them cheap enough so the average person can afford to buy them. And unless we find a way to do this so the builder can make a profit, we will be left with a housing industry that’s a public commodity owned by the wealthy investor/developer; or taking the drastic step to make housing construction a state-owned enterprise like the post office. I prefer that we deal with the problem now while it’s still manageable and avoid taking either drastic steps of corporate ownership or state management.
Like every industry in the twenty-first century, building and construction are being hit by higher cost of goods, services, labor and the technology that’s replacing people with machines. Along with some ill thought out political maneuvering, it’s all becoming too costly to pay construction people a living wage, (The same people who would be buying the homes if they were affordable). The trouble is, the history of the construction industry in the U.S. is about lots of separate components being put together by different specialists, leading to higher costs but more specialist jobs. Just adding a small 100 square foot bathroom on a house requires the expertise of a dozen different industries from architect, excavators, framer, plumber, electrician, sheet rocker, tilers, and painters, etc… All these people need to be paid a fair living wage for their work, right alongside the rising cost of everything else, so, of course, building affordable homes becomes a different housing animal from the feasible mega mansion PUD and custom project. Then you have all the people behind the work proving materials, appliances, and fixtures that come with costs to transport and distribute them; and then all the business management people behind the manufacturing and on and on it goes. What we end up with is a major disconnect between an industry’s need to offer everyone a fair living wage and developing a quality product, at an affordable price for most people.
So what’s the solution? The first solution is to keep the affordable housing building and construction industries in the hands of the majority of workers and out of the hands of the investor or the state. Second to begin working with technology and innovation to come up with faster more efficient and affordable ways of building homes so everyone can afford to own one. Both of these mean an entirely new way of thinking about the construction of homes and the kinds of jobs that people in the industry are trained to do to create them.
Now this isn’t nothing new. Japan and Europe are way ahead of the US in finding alternative home building systems with the use of factory machines and computer technology, so it’s not like we don’t have a few years of their experience to work from in developing a system of building affordable construction. We just have to make the pivots with them and be smarter about it. And sure there’re lots of innovative ideas floating around like building 3D houses, (and this may or may not pan out someday); but right now we have more realistic options, such as factory built component housing that’s already in production for a small portion of the affordable housing buyer. For those out of the loop: the factory home building industry has come a long way since the days of the tin can like mobile home park homes. Today, there are many companies, both in the U.S. and abroad, that build some or all of their quality homes in the factory. These are not thin skinned cheaply put together structures, but stable, thoroughly detailed homes that are superior to the stick built onsite homes because all the factory production controls can create uniformity and a precision product. There are different qualities of factory home builders out there, as there are different quality car manufacturers. You have your Mercedes and BMW housing manufacturers, your Toyota, and Honda, and your Fords and Chevrolet. Not everyone can afford the BMW’s or wants the Fords, but most of us would be happy with the Toyota home. The best thing about these new quality homes is they look and feel like any other home, and even a professional can’t tell right away if they’ve been made in a factory. The only thing that’s different about them is they’re uniformly built faster, cheaper and with less waste. Building a factory home today means quality control goes up while time dealing with overlapping subcontractors and city planning departments shrink. Design it; check it; prepare the foundation at the site and a couple months later it’s installed and ready to move in. You may be wondering why, if it’s so straightforward, why aren’t we doing this now. It has to do with fear of change that would mean the loss of money for the money focused people and building industry people worried that they won’t have a job because their specialty will no longer be needed. Some of these worries may be true but then life always changes, and as the wise among us know: it’s always best to deal with change rather than hide from it. We just have to stop ignoring the problems and start working on finding solutions.
What would help with change is industry and government support for the little guy trying to make a living. The government needs to deal with the money controlled wealthy who want to keep feeding off the real estate industry at the expense of the needs for people to have homes, but with industry jobs, we can’t afford the loss at a time when we need more jobs. But with factory built homes, the jobs lost on the construction site can move to the factory floor and into technology development, transportation, and installation, or repair and remodeling homes. Instead of the old types of jobs building a few expensive homes in a stagnant construction industry, we can create even more jobs where people are making a living building millions of homes they can afford to buy themselves: This is about building and viable housing economy. It all starts by shifting focus from how to restart an outmoded broken system that’s only going to make a very few rich while we live in their rental units paying whatever price they say they want for sub-quality housing; and instead shift towards better jobs that improve the economy and quality of life for everyone. Factory home building is a way of building faster, creating jobs and keep prices down for the majority of people. And this happens through healthy industry competition. The more companies out there hiring people and creating these millions of needed factory homes, the lower the cost of buying them. It starts with making choices for change that creates a system that works for us all through the use of creative innovation and embracing technology that supports jobs and affordable housing through job creation and fair competition, not an industry that only makes money for investors and financial institutions. It’s about creating a new way to build the American Dream.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 15 trips to carry that many people.
You’ll always be better at some things than others because people’s brains and bodies are wired uniquely like fingerprints. In childhood, you get to enjoy what you’re good at until the world begins to dictate to you who you should be. If you’re born into a family that favors some attributes over others, like physical agility, intelligence or creativity you’ll be more inclined to follow family expectations unless you’re terrible at them or hate them enough to rebel. Even if you decide to choose your own path in life you’ll always be looking outside yourself at society through the school system, your community, and the media for direction. If value and acceptance for your natural talents and preferred abilities are found in the world you’re one of the lucky ones. Others will end up following their family’s path and may succeed happily or not. Some will find an outside position to fulfill a community need and may find happiness or not. And a few will be so outstanding in their unique abilities they forge a new path for the rest of the world to follow. Unfortunately, tapping into the passion and abilities you were born with won’t make your life perfect or easy. It just makes it easier to ignore the difficult times while pursuing the awesome ones. The bottom line is: Finding survival success in the world is necessary but finding personal success and happiness is optional.
There are many ways to survive but what’s devastating to the spirit is compromising your innate abilities and life joy, once you’ve found them, to follow the family, society or anyone else’s idea of success at the expense of your personal passion. Once you compromise your talents, abilities, and happiness for anyone, you’re giving up your once only lifetime chance at being your fullest self because rare is the person who finds great personal success at something they don’t like doing. Even highly successful young people pushed into following their parent’s passion often end up bitter and resentful even if they sometimes enjoy what they were doing. It’s because they didn’t do it for themselves and they can’t stop wondering if something better and more fulfilling is inside them. No one finds happiness sacrificing themselves to fulfill someone else s’ dream. Anyone who expects you to compromise being your optimum self is not thinking about what’s best for you or anyone else, they’re only thinking about themselves. When someone disallows your living for yourself and ignores the benefit your happiness has to the community of others, they’re being selfish no matter how much they tell you they’re only thinking what’s best for you. In life, we need as many champions around us as we can because it’s never easy for the strongest of us to find our passion and succeed. So, if anyone tries to control you or hold you back, you need to find the strength to respect yourself and put yourself and the rest of the world first. This way, not meeting the needs of one, allows you to open yourself up to giving to the needs of the many.
Thinking about your personal needs first isn’t about neglecting your responsibilities to others, especially if there are those who are dependent on you. It’s about finding better ways of meeting everyone’s needs. It’s not about being selfish either. It’s about staying true to the passion inside you so you can succeed emotionally, psychologically, and economically and then share it with those you care about the most. Compared to doing something ridiculously lucrative but unpleasant, living an impassioned life that is at least financially comfortable, will make you happier and more enjoyable to be around. Making a lot of money doing something you don’t like and find unfulfilling can make you resentful and unpleasant to be around. Those who just want money from you and don’t care about you as a person will fall away from your life once the money stops flowing in and that’s a good thing because those who value you for being who you are are the ones worth investing yourself in. The best we can give to anyone is to share the bounty of our own happiness and success and give it back to those who support our happiness and who appreciate our true value. If you believe this, then the only thing you have to worry about is if society doesn’t value what you have to offer it. Ever have that feeling you’re living in the wrong place or time? That’s life telling you you’re ahead of the pack and a change maker not reincarnated. It’s your soul searching for meaning and personal value. It may take some time to find it, but it’s often found in your childhood memories of happiness and these moments are never entirely lost. So look there first and brainstorm how your past happiness can be shared with people today and you’re on track to your true self. Once you find your passion and your perfect life-flow-zone, the first step is over, so celebrate because you’ve just managed to start changing your life and the lives of others and all that’s needed from you is the next step, and the next step and the next.
Once you’re on track doing what you do best, using whatever your natural talents are, you’ll want to find a way to share with others. The money you make will be from this sharing and becomes a means to doing it. When you’re tapped into pleasure and happiness more than money and ego, you never feel like anything is missing. When the people you cherish the most benefit from your happiness and the emotional support you have for them, you never feel like your disappointing anyone if you’re not the richest person in the room. When you’re tapped into your true self, it’s not about chasing greatness through fame and fortune, it’s about just doing what you love for those you love and loving it. If fame and fortune happen to come with it, you can decide then if that’s a benefit or a hindrance because it’s common knowledge that many rich and famous people still feel unfulfilled and miserably unhappy. They don’t understand or don’t believe the power of great accomplishment is something that comes from inside them; nourishes them and becomes a mirror that inspires others, not something that comes from fame or money. Being true to the personal greatness and power that is uniquely yours and brings you the most passionate pleasure in life, will always trump the need to feed society’s shallow fickleness and your hungry damaged ego every time. Those who value impassioned cultural accomplishments over the ability to throw fame and money around will thank you for standing up, even if only in spirit as one of those who came before them and created a better world for them to follow in.
“Two sisters sit on a bench to bring up a brother: Two brothers sit on a bench to sell a sister” (From an Afghan women’s verbal heritage poem. In Afghanistan, it’s illegal for women to write ideas down or share them with others but they do it anyways, at the risk of death.)
Human Rights are about everyone having a fair and equal right to take part in society; but the individual cannot, nor should not, be satisfied with just being equal. Here are my quick thoughts on the subject: 1) Everyone deserves social and cultural rights but there will always be differences in skin color, personal beliefs and aspirations that make us unique individuals 2) Women are statistically paid less than men in the United States for doing the same job but this doesn’t mean they should do the same job as a man, if they can do better. 3) Women aren’t getting paid the same as men, not because of men, but because they don’t expect it. 4) Women need to understand that if anyone is doing their job well and their employer wants to keep them, they’re in a good position to ask for more money and get it. The worst that could happen, if they ask for a raise and don’t get it, is they’re given some reality and find out they’re actually not keeping up there end of the employment bargain, (and can improve); or their employer doesn’t value their work, (so they can move on). Either way, its useful information that they’ll get from asking, even if they don’t get it, (Note to women: If you’re turned down, don’t hesitate to ask what you can do to get it the next time. Better yet, try to get it in writing). Men understand all this, but women don’t and until they do, they won’t change the system that pays them less than men. Bottom-line: If women don’t start asking for more money, their employers won’t give it to them, whether they deserve it or not. Even the asking is an important part of career growth. However, this article isn’t about inspiring women to get more money or ways to improve their careers. It’s about why they don’t do it in the first place and it’s up to them to change it for us all because men and women are not equal, nor should they be. They’re like two sides of a whole, and together they create social balance, but only if they value the differences in themselves and others while seeking the change that benefits the culture we all share. Until women step up and take responsibility for the value they contribute to the system, everyone loses. Here are a few quick notes on where I developed this philosophy of social wholeness:
- In Eastern Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin-yang is used to describe how opposite or contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world…Many natural dualities (such as light and dark, high and low, hot and cold, fire and water, life and death, and so on) are thought of as physical manifestations of the yin-yang concept…Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (instead of opposing) forces interacting to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the parts…Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and nighttime. Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.
- In Western Jungian theory anima and animus can be identified as the totality of the unconscious seeking to find its whole self through the masculine and the female that seek to be balanced by its opposite. The male seeks the feminine/anima for psychological balance and the female seeks the masculine/animus.
- Most recently a team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has uncovered many genes influenced by the male and female sex hormones testosterone and estrogen that, in turn, govern several specific types of male and female behaviors in mice…Female mice in the laboratory normally exhibit what one might consider classic motherly behavior: mating with male mice and nurturing their young…male mice in the laboratory display behaviors tending toward aggression. This means that we are genetically different and that there’s value in our combining these differences to make a more balanced society.
In spite of thousands of years of human beings learning how things work by observing the many variations of personality traits in people, combined with today’s common access to empirical data, aggressiveness is still more socially acceptable in men and passivity is more acceptable in women; and being socially outgoing and analytical is expected of men, while being shy and submissive is expected of women. These are just some of the common stereotypes that put men and women into separate forms of acceptable social behavior where the male’s resource gathering skills is encouraged in the workplace, while the female-whether she works outside the home or not-is expected to be compassionate and giving, which are traits associated with homemaking and child rearing. More simply put: Women are still thought of as the givers and men as the takers, despite everything we know about real life behavior. If we consider the values of the yin/yang and the anima/animus’ desire for a more balance world, where men and women can both use their personal attributes to bring in an income and care for others, than neither sex is better or more valuable than the other. Even if we admit an individual, of either sex, is better at something, it has less to do with their sex and more to do with their life experience and personality. There are aspects of all behavior that is useful at different places and times for anyone, so isn’t it time for society to begin to see these differences, not as good or bad, but as complementary and that men working together with women as equal partners is an opportunity to create a more whole and balanced society for us all?
To paraphrase something *Anthropologist Susan Parker once told me, “Its women who control society, even though its men who have gone out into the world to work for centuries, because for thousands of years women have been at home helping each other learn to survive together, while men have been competing with each other in the world of resource gathering including fighting to the death for survival.” I’d like to believe that women, with their gentler genes sides, do have this power for working together but why are they not using it now in the modern workplace? The problem is that even though women are becoming worker gathers and western men are participating more in child rearing at home, these shared compassionate female traits are still not acceptable outside the home by anyone. The idealized business person is still someone who is all business, competitive, aggressive and doesn’t take things personally or emotionally, which are male dominate traits. This means it’s still expected that the working women change and fit into this idealized cutthroat business persona, which requires squashing their sensitive sides if they have them. This also means that women who are having the most upwardly mobile success outside the home are often getting it by acting like men. It’s also why even in politics, we still see so much anti-human aggressive war mongering coming from women and being encouraged and applauded by them in men. Even though we have shifted the positions of the sexes in social place and time; allowing men to become more compassionately connected with their children and families, it’s only socially acceptable behavior in the home; so we still haven’t begun to benefit from the best that women have to offer the workplace. It may start with considering that no behavior is right or wrong, that aggression and compassion, both have their benefits when used appropriately. Sometimes everyone needs to focus unemotionally on the task at hand and be competitive and forceful; and other times they need to consider the people involved when making decisions: both at home and in the workplace; and if we want to reach a higher civilization plateau, we all need to stop regulating these behaviors to one place or another or to one sex or the other.
Even if we accept that both men and women need to use more feminine traits in the workplace, we still have to understand that its up to women alone to stand up for their innate sense of compassion and ability to work together before change can happen. It’s up to them to value and support6 these feminine traits in themselves and in others. Continuing to expect men to change the statuesque is not the way to do it. Why, because it would be another example of women not taking responsibility for their own power and worth in the social system; and it means they’re still waiting for men to make the changes for them. Women have to start believing in and respecting their own power as natural carriers of the social connecting gene and respect it in men and other women. This social paradigm shift could become the start of both men and women using all of their abilities and natural traits for aggression and compassion at the right time and in the right place. Once women give themselves permission to be fully themselves, I believe men will follow by helping to change the way they view what is appropriate behavior in the workplace too, leading to the hiring of more smart compassionate socially balanced women in upper management.
We know that public policy law hasn’t worked because equal employment legislation has been around for a while and it’s still only about companies filling hiring quotas or used for marketing purposes and it’s not been used for creating social systemic change. Yes, a few women are getting hired for more male dominated positions today, but only after they prove that they have extraordinary abilities beyond their male counterparts who they are competing with and willing to accept less pay. Once lucky enough to be hired, they’re expected to compete like a man to keep their jobs which often means not acting like women, or not working with women who act like women, if you want to succeed up the power ladder. Highly accomplished women don’t only have to do twice the work of a man in a similar position; and they feel they have to change their personalities to fit into a mens club or find a way to succeed alone outside it. Just image what could be accomplished if women could bring all their natural abilities at teamwork to the table. Unfortunately, few people-men and women-see the real benefit of more qualified women in the mix who bring a humanistic level to the business world for it’s owe sake. Changing this view would mean accepting that human survival and success in today’s global society is not only about standing up for ourselves and staying competitive, but it’s also about learning to support the larger whole and creating long-term social sustainability for the common good; and these are the very things women are naturally good at because of their gene’s, chemistry and intuitive social abilities that have supported human survival at its most fundamental level for centuries. Once we begin accepting everyone’s attributes and abilities equality, it will be easier to put women in charge of the decision-making process at the upper management levels for the right reasons and not just to meet arbitrary equity laws.
Even with the most progressive companies out there, it’s still about meeting equity quotas, even if some of their higher-ups are more progressive thinking; because the company culture hasn’t changed. Nor will it change until women make it happen. Until this happens, from the inside out, many companies will think their building a workforce of the most talented people available regardless of their sex, color or age but in reality their best people will still be working in a closed social system that makes their work unnecessarily harder. I believe change will happen once it’s not just about companies accepting women into advanced places of power; it will happen when we let them be women too. It will happen when we also let all company men be more compassionate and able to work at bringing people together as a principal of corporate cultural integrity. As individuals, we can’t wait for governments or companies to decide to change anymore than women should wait for men to change their attitudes about women in the workplace. Women have to change how they view themselves first and expect the people they choose to work with, also have an open fair perspective. From this starting point begins the social cultural change within the workplace that’s needed to change minds to the cellular level. It will happen when women find the courage to bring all of themselves to the table; including their self-respect, compassion, appropriate aggression, competitiveness; and the ability to value everyone’s full spectrum of attributes while showing others how to embrace these same qualities in others. If we want our workplaces to evolve and our culture to grow, we all have to step up and start the change in us that leads to a more balanced whole society but nothing changes without women stepping up first. .
“The worst thing about being a woman is that no one expects much from you. The best thing about being a woman is it’s easy to impress people. Now if only they’d get it that everything great I do is not a onetime fluke.” – Socrates’ Wife
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