We could design a solarpunk future.
Have you ever played Civilization, the turn-based strategy computer game? Because it’d be a hoot to watch you start from turn 1 (at the beginning of human civilization) and see how you could employ all of these intriguing ideas to create a simulated “utopia” through the centuries.
I love this vision for our economy. You bring up an interesting vocational evolution of not working “full time” in one field. I think the transformation of the gig economy and continued investment into side hustles is only a natural progression of dismantling the one role society member as well as traditional class jobs (blue collar vs white collar).
How cool would it be if your hobby for cooking could be shifted to part-time work at your local diner? Or a line cook’s investment into coding school could be supplemented so they didn’t have to do it after working 40 hours a week at a restaurant?
I think having different roles in benefitting society besides a standard 40 hour a week will make our economy and society more fruitful and, hopefully, more understanding as a species.
My pleasure. And thank you for sharing your perspective as well. I look forward to reading more.
If « the same thing » is God meeting the need of each individual in the way appropriate to them, then yes, it’s a matter of words. But there is an absolute divine Love and law that stands behind it all, and that’s more than just words.
OK. I apologize in advance for the somewhat long essay to come…
Divine laws are the laws of God that hold the universe in harmony. The Bible describes some of the initial struggle of humanity to understand and apply those laws, culminating in Jesus, who understood the laws so thoroughly that he could demonstrate them fully in healing every sickness imaginable, walking on water, stilling storms, feeding thousands with a few crumbs, even negating death.
Fast forward to today, and it’s our task to understand and demonstrate those laws ourselves. We have the wherewithal to do it, in part through ideas that are coming all the time from God, which one of the main characters in my novel calls angels. A small example of how these angels appear to everyone with healing effect is in last week’s New Yorker, in an article by a long-time prisoner named Joe Garcia (“Listening to Taylor Swift in Prison” September 2, 2023):
“There was, in [Swift’s] voice, something intuitively pleasant and genuine and good, something that implies happiness or at least the possibility of happiness. When I listened to her music, I felt that I was still part of the world I had left behind.”
God’s angel, an idea that illuminates God's law, has lifted Garcia to feel something of God’s love, even while incarcerated for murder.
There are people who strive to practice these laws every day, and they find healing. These aren’t my ideas, by the way, but I have lived with them for a long time, and they are very real. I believe that in understanding and practicing these laws we will also find the ideas, patience, courage and everything else needed to create a world economy that sings.
You are definitely right, it's not impossible. One way or another we have to get to a future of hope rather than despair. I love your spirit. We need that.
What I mean by a scientific and provable God is a God that operates under laws that can be proved. Most religions do not believe such a God exists. They believe that material law is the last word, which means that in the long run it's mostly doom and gloom for humanity, at least in the scope of a human lifetime. There's a lot I could say on this, but I don't think this is the forum. But what Jesus did, for example, in his healing works and overcoming of death, was not perform one-off miracles but demonstrate divine laws that are still active and can be proved. To me that's the most reliable route to the kind of future you envision. (It's what I'm trying to explore on my own Substack site, at the moment through fiction.)
Hoo boy, does this sound excellent. Admitting that this is way too broad a question to answer in a comment section, how would you envision getting us on the track for this, if you had to pitch it? Does the free market lead us, or maybe the government, or possibly some particularly-calibrated balance of those two? No right or wrong answers, I imagine; just curious how you're imagining it.
Your vision seems impossible, given the obstacles we face to get there, but of course, anything that has moved humanity forward has seemed impossible, until it wasn’t. The main problem, as I see it, is not economic or technological or political but human nature, manifesting itself in hope and generosity but also greed and fear. For every step forward, it seems we take a step back. The only way to find permanent solutions like the ones you imagine is to lift human thought to grasp the eternal laws that transcend nature. This means bringing religion into the equation. It’s evident from your essays where you stand on religion, but maybe it’s a religious revolution that we need – an entirely new way to think about God, one that’s scientific and provable.
"In the United States, healthcare contributes very little to the economy (it’s not even on the above pie chart!), but it makes up a very large percentage of the government’s budget (26%!). "
I'm just stopped right there. Oh. My.
As always, I’m captivated by your vision. I’d love to live in a world like you’ve described.
However, it seems to me that work is antithetical to this vision becoming a reality. I think as long as most people have to sell their labor (their time, their life) for necessities, esp for the sake of someone else’s profits, then too many incentives to retain our current tyrannies remain.
Related, I think right now we have the resources to live in the kind of plenty you’ve described. The reasons we don’t, in my view, are the profit motive, private property, and the kind of fiat currency we have.
To achieve the utopian dreams you’ve deliciously laid out, I think we need to do more than redesign the economy: I think we need to do away with work and money entirely.