As a child, I grew up on dad's stories of world war two mixed with president Kennedy's vision of men on the moon. As the Vietnam war progressed, I was certain that I did not want to fight a war. I wanted peace, and fairness.
What was fairness?
After many years of inquiry, it looks like unfairness is someone else having something that you haven't got and don't have a reasonable expectation of being able to get through your own efforts.
Therefore a way to get rid of war, is to give all people access to as much as possible of what is available.
As Pink Floyd say (Album "Dark Side of the Moon")
We need a bigger pie, and everyone wants a big slice.
For the first time in human history, it is now a real possibility!
I spent quite a bit of time looking at history. The rise and fall of the Roman empire, English history, history of the western world, a little of Arabian, Indian and East Asian history.
Both the Greek and Roman civilisations had economies based upon slavery. Democracy was available only to citizens, not to slaves. As today, economic freedom is genuinely available to very few. No-one likes being a second class citizen, and the inevitable is a revolt of the slaves, or invasion from outside.
Marx had an interesting analysis of what money is, and where value is derived (it's far from original, but is well known, so I'll use it). He identified 2 components of value in any good or service :
Looking at free markets:
In a free market of willing offers of goods and services, and willing sellers. People set an asking price, and purchasers either accept it or haggle, or decline.
In classical markets, the art of purchase was in the haggling. So it is today in many markets, but less so in commodity markets. Supermarkets and bulk stores have no room for haggling, you either accept or reject the contract offered.
Economics is well worth a look. Eric Roll produced a good little book "The History of Economic Thought", Adam Smith, Keynes, Friedman, and Marx are all worth a read.
The fairness of a free market revolves around multiple suppliers and multiple purchasers.
One of the forces present in any market is the advantage in eliminating the competition, or forming a strategic alliance with them. So there is a see-saw tendency as markets move from open, to monopoly and back to open again (unless coercion is used to maintain a monopoly).
One of the unfortunate outcomes of the mathematics of a free market, is that it is very rarely economic to produce and distribute large volumes of goods for the lowest end of the market. Once 60-80% of the market has been met, it is almost always more profitable to develop new products, rather than reduce costs on existing products to capture the last few percent of the possible market. Hence a free market always has a significant group at the bottom who don't enjoy it's fruits directly.
This property-less class is fertile breeding ground for all sorts of disruptive behaviours, and is no respecter of property rights.
We can't have slaves, or a permanent economic under-class. Both solutions are unstable mathematically, and have a tendency to produce revolution.
What else is possible ?
What if we could produce a machine, which could (within quite broad limits) produce any good or service requested of it, including itself ?
It would drive the value of those goods and services to zero. It wouldn't be able to produce a van Gogh there are a limited number of such works. It could produce an imitation which few humans could distinguish from the original without mechanical aid. Markets would still exist for original works, in all forms, from service to design; but commodity markets would no longer exist.
Economies have been a great tool in allowing development to this point, and with the possibility of developing unlimited productive capacity, the nature and roll of "economies" may be about to undergo a transformation.
How many people could be persuaded to make war, when all had access to food, shelter, travel, communication, and whatever resources they needed to pursue whatever interested them ? Not enough to be a serious threat to very many (methinks).
I have read quite a bit of philosophy, and debated with a lot of people. My readings go from Plato to Wittgenstein, including Aristotle, Kant, Hume, Pascal, Mill, Bentham, Einstein, Russell, Dawkins, Rand, de Chardin and many more. I was active in the rationalist and humanist societies, spent a little time with the Theosophical society, and studied a little at university. I was active for many years in Mensa, with it's wide ranging debates, and in many levels of debate within various political groups.
From all of that I have a few core beliefs. Primary amongst those beliefs is the inseparable nature of rights and responsibilities.
Rights and responsibilities are like two sides of your hand. They are different, each has their own uses and characteristics, are unique; and yet they are inseparable. One cannot have the front of a hand without also having the back of a hand. There is no stability in claiming a right, if you are not being responsible for what gives the right.
The American legislature and judiciary seems to have made a fundamental mistake on this point.
It is powerful to make Rights available to all, until they are removed by failure to fulfill on the responsibilities attached.
To claim a right, one must exercise the responsibility that goes with it.
The right to free speech, does not cover advocating the removal of free speech. You are free to say it, once, then the right is gone, by your own actions. It is a consequence of action.
One of the fundamental aspects of humanity is our capacity for individual freedom of thought. Our capacity to create, to choose, and to act - independent of anything which has gone before.
Without that capacity, then we are no more than automatons, creatures doing what they always had to do, entirely predictable.
It is interesting to contemplate choice, and creativity. They both have the same root.
Choice is the ability to take responsibility for, and own the consequences of ones actions, even when the circumstances appear to allow no other possible course of action. The act of choosing the consequences, even when they appear inevitable, is an act of creation. It creates something from nothing, for no particular reason, other than the will of the individual to make it so. It is in that creativity that the power in being human resides.
All actions have consequences. Even inaction, is an action in this respect, and has consequences. (Something which many people in large bureaucracies tend to forget.)
If we put the responsibility for our actions on our circumstances (our parents, society, language, church, school, mates… etc.) then we are not owning the consequences of our actions, we have given up our responsibilities, and have therefore, forfeited our rights.
Real power, and personal freedom, lies in owning the consequences of one's actions, and cleaning up the messes when things don't go according to plan (as inevitably happens from time to time).
Responsibility in communication is very powerful. Human enterprise is best progressed when individuals communicate clearly what they have to say. Communication in this regard involves both speaking with integrity and listening from the other person's perspective. Communication only happens when a concept in one mind is duplicated in another mind, anything else may be interesting, but isn't communication.
Coming back to philosophy on a more formal level. One of the long established and proven principles of philosophy is:
How things are, cannot of itself (necessarily) tell you how they ought to be (it's another aspect of the choice/creativity argument). It is powerful to understand as many of the laws of nature as one can when considering a choice (deal with reality, not fantacy), and the choice needs to be made after, and not based upon, such consideration. Ayn Rand made a fundamental flaw of logic in this regard (one of only two I found - she was very good at what she did - but because of the 2 flaws, some of her conclusions were unwarranted).
Essentially, each of us is personally responsible for choosing how things "ought to be" for ourselves. Certainly we are born into a particular society, with sets of values agreed to by others, and we take part in various conversations, at school, church, home, or whatever; all of which bring more possibilities from which to choose. Yet, in the end, what we choose is up to us. It may or may not have the agreement of others, and it is ours.
I have found that "happiness within" comes only when I am true to my own choices, irrespective of the agreement of others. I also own the consequences of that lack of agreement. I take responsibility for generating that agreement, in the face of no agreement. I have also found that it works, if the models of "reality" I use to advise me in making choices, are actually in accord with that reality. I have found that it pays to test everything from time to time.
Ultimately, I choose to stand for a more fair an equable system, because I choose to stand for a more fair an equable system. It is my choice, and I acknowledge the contribution of many great minds which have gone before me, and those with whom I have had the opportunity to converse (there are many thousands in both camps). From Jesus to Ghandi, Buddha to Kennedy, Kant to Dawkins, Homer to Shakespeare all have made valuable contributions in the "read and studied" arena. Some more from the flaws in their logic, than their conclusions, and all for making the effort, in the face of no agreement. I have debated philosophy with cleaners, professors, politicians, fishermen, truck-drivers, house wives, students, economists, beneficiaries, lawyers, criminals, clergy and many others. It's amazing where and with whom the best debates occur. I recently got reminded of an aspect of reality by a nine year old, who had learned that lesson well.
There is no "right" way to be, only possible ways of being.
All ways of being have consequences. (Or another way of putting it is, some ways are more effective at meeting your objectives than others.)
Choose your own path. (You are welcome to share mine.)
Much of my childhood was spent on farms. I spent many hours with my dad working in the fields, and talking of the very practical matters of making a farm work. My degree is in zoology, core courses included ecology (marine and terrestrial), and biochemistry (with chemistry, physics, geology and botany). I worked for 16 years as a professional fisherman, where my livelihood depended, in large measure, on my understanding of the natural systems (from fish to weather, currents to sedimentation). I was a member of Friends of the Earth, and several other "eco" / "green" groups.
As a kid I was also interested in how things work. I took apart many things, from watches to transistor radios, lawn mowers to tractors, and often surprised everyone by putting them back together in working order (Sometimes not :(     ).
At secondary school I subscribed to both the Scientific American (monthly), and the New Scientist (a British weekly). I had and have a thirst to find out how things work, why things are the way they are, and how to make them different if I need to. What is possible, and what is fantasy.
I've hunted, fished, swum and tramped extensively. I've a deep love for natural ecosystems, and a deep love for humanity.
I don't see the actions of developers as bad. They are absolutely necessary for human survival; and there does need to be balance between the needs of man, and the needs of the communities of other organisms with which we share this planet, and on which we depend.
As human beings we are part of a complex web which supports life on this planet. Our technology is certainly the biggest disruption to that web in recent times (the last few thousand years at least, perhaps even for a few million). It is long past time that we put our knowledge of ecology to use in everyday life, and not just preserved large areas of "natural systems". I believe the technology I propose here is the best chance we have of producing that outcome. So long as the profit to be made from destroying ecosystems exceeds the profit in preserving them, they will be destroyed.
Free time, free travel, and tourism are, paradoxically, the best hope for wilderness.
Advances in technology are the best hope for sustainable balance within our daily environment. We have the technology to live in balance with our surroundings, it's just too expensive for the majority at present. Reducing the cost of living in balance (to zero) will increase the popularity.
If you are serious about providing ecologically sound technologies, and not on some imaginary nostalgia trip, for something that never existed, then this path offers wondrous possibilities.
We have no shortage of resources. We have all the resources there are. Even just on this planet, there is an awful lot of stuff, billions of tons per person. Sometimes we need to shift a bit from here to there, or extract minute quantities of something from large quantities of something else, but any of that is simply a matter of developing technologies which are appropriate to the requirements. And those are the types of problem that many people love to be involved in solving.
Beyond this planet the amount of matter and energy available is awesome. Even our lowly little sun converts over 600 million tons of hydrogen to helium - every second. A truly staggering number when you think of the energy released in that process (an atom bomb converts only a kilo or so of matter). There are billions of suns, mostly bigger than ours (and most probably with planets) in this galaxy alone, and billions of galaxies. There is probably life of some sort elsewhere. There may even be intelligent life elsewhere, though that doesn't seem very probable - we should have detected some evidence of it by now if it were common. (Perhaps we have, perhaps the missing 60% of the matter needed to hold the universe together is in extra-terrestrial Dyson Spheres - in which case we are going to meet some interesting folks soon.)
It's a big universe. There is no shortage of resources, not in the foreseeable future.
We can achieve ecological balance, without undue constraint on individual freedom.
Hey - it could be a fun way to live ! Peace, harmony, and prosperity - for all.
Energy & Wealth at your disposal - as much as you want.
Are you willing to talk to people about this?
For this to become real, it must be communicated.
Vision 2020 Home Page.