If the people of planet Earth were to sit down together, and if we were to design a new economic system for humanity to replace capitalism, what would this new economic system look like?
Have you ever thought about this question? Have you ever considered how much better things could be for everyone if we replaced capitalism with a new and improved economic system?
What if we were running our world under a new economic system that is beneficial to everyone on the planet? A system that, by design, eliminates poverty, and all of the suffering that poverty brings, while at the same time eliminating capitalism’s incomprehensible concentration of wealth that underpins all of this suffering? What if a new economic system would bring far more prosperity to the vast majority of Earth’s people than the prevailing capitalistic system ever could?
Have you ever taken the time to think about designing a better system? Probably not, because we are all immersed in capitalism.
- For many of us, capitalism is not even noticed. Capitalism is so ubiquitous that people take it completely for granted. Capitalism becomes invisible, like air.
- To some, capitalism seems so entrenched that it is not worth thinking about, as it must be immutable.
- To billions of others, capitalism in right in their faces, because their suffering is a direct result of the rules of capitalism. They live in abject poverty because of capitalism. They know deep in their hearts that there must be a better way to organize a society instead of capitalism, because capitalism destroys their lives every day. Despite their numbers, they are powerless of affect any change to the status quo. The wealthy elite control all of the tanks, bombers, destroyers, soldiers, police forces, courts and prisons.
The Answer is Incredibly Obvious
So let’s repeat the question: If the people of planet Earth were to sit down together, and we were to design a new economic system for the benefit of all humanity, what would this new economic system look like?
The funny thing is, the answer to this question is incredibly obvious. If we were to design a new economic system from scratch for planet Earth, we would simply understand that every human being on the planet has a fundamental set of human needs. Regardless of where we live, what language we speak, what nationality we are born into, etc., this truth is self-evident. Therefore:
- Every human being needs high quality, healthy food
- Every human being needs clean water and sanitation services
- Every human being needs high quality, safe, secure housing
- Every human being needs high quality health care
- Every human being needs high quality clothing
- Every human being needs high quality education
- Every human being needs high quality transportation
- Every human being needs 24×7 electricity and Internet access
- Every human being needs a computer and a smart phone to access the Internet
- And so on…
This is so obvious… Obviously every human being needs these things, and should have these things.
And given that everyone needs these things, we should design the world’s economic system so that everyone receives these things. This, too, is incredibly obvious. Every human being on the planet should have high-quality food, water, housing, health care, clothing, education, transportation, etc. It is obvious.
What if we create “a new grand vision” for our world and its economics? The new grand vision should be this: “Let’s create Heaven on Earth for every human being on the planet, in a way that enhances rather than destroys our planet.” Let’s look at each part of this statement one at a time to understand its full meaning.
The “Heaven on Earth” part reflects the fact that every human being on Earth should have the opportunity to live a great life at a great standard of living. It recognizes the fact that every human being has the same fundamental needs. Obviously we should design the new economy to eradicate poverty completely, and give everyone what they need to live happy lives free of all of the suffering that poverty brings.
The “for everyone” part means that in the process of creating this new economy, we specifically eliminate the rampant inequality seen on Earth today. It states that the world’s economy will deliver the things that people need to everyone, so that we all have access to Heaven on Earth. We mentioned these two headlines in Chapter 1, and let’s repeat them because they are so absurd:
- “The top 0.1% of American households hold the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90%” [ref]
- “World’s 8 Richest Have as Much Wealth as Bottom Half, Oxfam Says” [ref]
The absurdity of this situation is incomprehensible. Yet we are currently living within a capitalistic economic system that makes these types of absurdity a part of daily life. This shocking concentration of wealth lives side by side with the horrible conditions that so many humans are forced to endure. Examples are myriad:
- About one billion fellow humans live in appalling slums [ref, ref]
- Tens of millions of people are living in refugee camps [ref]
- 70% of our fellow humans are surviving on less than $10 per day [ref]
- Billions of human beings lack access to any real health care system because of their intense poverty
- And so on…
We must design a new economic system that completely eliminates poverty, slums, etc., along with all of the suffering created by these side-effects of capitalism.
Enhances rather than destroys
The “enhances rather than destroys our planet” part means that we, as a species, must stop destroying the planet we live on. The destruction currently comes on so many fronts:
- Climate change due to carbon dioxide and methane emissions
- Mass extinction
- Collapse of fishing stocks from overfishing
- Plastic pollution in the oceans
- Untreated human waste in the environment
- Loss of habitat for other species on Earth
- Human populations beyond the planet’s carrying capacity
- Sea levels rising
- And so on…
The fact that all of this destruction is happening in the first place demonstrates how corrupt Earth’s current capitalistic economic systems are [ref]. Any valid economic system would prevent all of these things from happening by design. But they have happened, and are happening, and we must reverse course. We, as a species, must stop the destruction of our planet’s ecosystems, and reverse/repair the damage we have caused as a species. We must “enhance rather than destroy”, and design a new world economy that makes the enhancement process intrinsic to the system.
The new grand vision for humanity’s economic system should be this: “Let’s create Heaven on Earth for every human being on the planet, in a way that enhances rather than destroys our planet.” Now, let’s look at how far away from this goal we find ourselves today.