This planet is absolutely bursting with people who want everyone to live in peace and prosperity, and for the most part it has always been that way. Ninety-five percent of us don't lie or steal or cheat to benefit ourselves at the expense of our neighbors, and this is true regardless of religious or political affiliation, all across the world. Nearly everyone simply wants to live a comfortable life with personal freedom and a sense of dignity. It seems like so little to ask, and since nearly all of us want these conditions, it seems impossible that peace and prosperity are not flourishing everywhere in the world. So what's the problem?
The world is a mess because people are supporting the wrong ideas about how society should operate.
We all mean well, and we all think we're right. But we can't all be right if we have different opinions, so it's obvious that some of us have got it wrong and need to change our minds. Of course, that means other people are the ones who have to change, because you know you're right, and most of your friends agree with you.
Since everyone feels that way, from Christian fundamentalists to someone in the Taliban, it seems that there will never be any way that people can come to agreement, that we are doomed to live in a world of chaos and violence. Fortunately, that is not the case.
A fundamental quality of human nature is that no one wants to be wrong. On the downside, some people refuse to question their conclusions precisely because they are so afraid of discovering they may be incorrect. People refusing to question the validity of their beliefs is a huge problem. But the flip side of that coin is the fact that no one knowingly chooses to be wrong. That would be irrational. It would be insane.
If any of us believed we were wrong, we'd change our ideas in a heart beat. Would you hold onto an idea if you knew it was totally invalid? Since no one sticks to an idea once they learn it is incorrect, the moment people realize they have been wrong they change their minds. The idiots wise up and fix the mess. That's the good news. The bad news is that you are almost certainly one of those people who has to change one's mind, and none of us like to let go of our cherished conclusions.
If I were to ask if you have all the answers, I think you'd have to admit that you don't. No one has all the answers, not even me, and just like you, I think I'm a smart person who has thought a lot about this stuff. Because we admit that no one has all the answers, that means we must all accept that some of our conclusions might be incorrect. If it is possible that you might be incorrect about something, since none of us want to be wrong, that means you will want to discover where you have been incorrect so you can stop being wrong. Right? The way to discover the truth is to have an open mind and compare our previous conclusions with new information. If you do that and your conclusions turn out to be correct, you won't have to change them. You'll be even more assured that you know the truth. If you discover you have been incorrect, you simply accept what you now realize to be true and stop being wrong. Either way it's a good thing, so there is nothing to lose and only benefits to gain from being open minded and considering new ideas.
The ideas in this little book explain how we can live in a world where 90% of the population has at least double their current standard of living, and many can achieve this working only 20 hours per week. If you pause to ponder what that means, twice as much income and twice as much free time to enjoy it, you may want to take the time to seriously consider if it can actually be achieved.
Imagine how things would be if we had a true democracy where the people could vote directly on every decision that affects them and replace government officials at any time. We could vote to get money out of politics, stay out of wars, and it would put an end to corruption. We would truly have a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Big biz and special interests would no longer control our lives.
An "exchange tax" paid by the receiver in every transaction, at the same rate for everyone, with no loopholes and no other taxes, would be absolutely fair and would result in a redistribution of wealth through government services. These would include free health care, free education, financial security in retirement, investment in renewable energy, cleaning up pollution and much more. At the same time everyone would be free to make as much money as they want.
Other policies would make small business loans available to everyone regardless of income. Inflation would cease to exist. Everyone would have free broadband Internet and unlimited digital media (movies, music, software, etc.). There would be no starvation, homelessness or unemployment. Pollution, global warming and deforestation would cease to be problems. We would end large scale wars and no longer live under the threat of nuclear annihilation. Crime and prison populations would be cut by as much as 90%, and people would be free to do whatever they please as long as they didn't harm others. The list goes on and on.
There are obviously huge benefits possible when we approach things with a truly open mind.
For example, how does one end war and the use of nuclear weapons? How many of us have given up on trying to solve that problem? But the answer is simple: We do it by having a single, worldwide government. Without separate states there is no other country to fight against and no reason for nuclear war.
Yeah, that would work, but most of us believe that having a single worldwide government would be terrifying, because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely - which has often been proven to be true. That's why such a government must be in the form of a democracy controlled by the people voting directly on every issue. In a later section I explain how direct democracy can work while elected officials run day to day operations and the problem of mob rule is avoided.
But how do we get from where we are now to a single worldwide government? How do we go about removing tyrants and the greedy rich who currently dominate over the rest of society?
The answers to these questions are more complicated, but by working together we can achieve almost anything, because nothing in society happens unless the people make it happen through their own action or inaction. We make this world what it is every day, and if we act upon new ideas new conditions will become part of our lives. We simply need to agree on what those ideas should be, then take action to see those ideas implemented. After decades of serious contemplation I realized that four basic principles can be applied to find solutions that nearly every rational person can support. Those principles are reason, fairness, freedom and opportunity. Can you imagine any decent human being arguing that these principles are in any way unjust?
By applying these principles we can create a world of peace and prosperity for everyone. But we need more than just ideas. We need to have an open mind, and we need the motivation to get off our butts and do something to change things.
I grew up in the United States, and from birth I was told by everyone around me that I lived in a land of freedom, justice and opportunity. I believed we had the best system of government possible - till I was 17-years-old in 1970 and realized that most of us are condemned to a life of slavery.
Nearly all of us are forced to spend the majority of our time working rather than enjoying our lives, and the rewards of our labor often go to benefit a few rich people while the rest of us are left to merely survive - if we even can survive. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are homeless, and tens of millions without medical coverage can lose everything if they become ill and can't pay constantly rising medical costs. Student loans enslave us to the banks for decades. Back then young men were being drafted to fight in the Viet Nam war, and with a simple change in law it is still possible to be forced to kill or be killed in some war intended to keep the rich people rich and the rest of us slaves. We are told we have unalienable rights such as the pursuit of happiness, yet if we express that right by smoking marijuana we can be thrown in prison. When I was young these realizations made me suicidal. Young people today are seeing conditions even worse than what I experienced then.
Fixing the world requires mobilizing masses of people in support of the same ideas, and I always knew that wouldn't be possible until things got bad enough for average people to wake up from the brainwashing that made them content to be slaves.
That time has finally arrived. Things got bad enough as a result of the financial collapse of 2008, huge increases in food and energy costs, massive unemployment, government bailouts of banks which then foreclosed on millions of homes and paid themselves billions in bonuses, and congress made totally dysfunctional by blatant attempts by the rich to screw everyone else so they can have it all. Many millions of people are finally willing to act now. The Arab Spring and Occupy movements of 2011 set the ball in motion, and all we need to transform the world now are ideas that most of us can agree upon.
Perhaps some of the ideas I present here won't appeal to you at first glance. I didn't like some of them much in the beginning either, but that's because I didn't realize how intently I had been brainwashed to believe what everyone around me had been programmed to believe. Free your mind, but never let go of reason. Accept nothing as true unless you compare all the alternatives and it still makes complete sense to you.
I must write from the perspective of an American, for Americans, because this country is all I really know, but these ideas can be implemented across the entire world. Think of the countless millions both rich and poor in India and China, the housewife in Minnesota and the tycoon on his yacht in the south of France. Imagine the pearl diver in Indonesia and the Muslim shouting the morning prayer from a loudspeaker in Iran. From starving kids in Africa to commuters on the New Jersey turnpike, wheat farmers in Russia to Carnival dancers in Rio, this world belongs to all of us. We want what's best for all of us, and we want to determine what that is for ourselves.
And how do we implement these changes? First we work to incorporate these ideas into national governments by passing legislation on particular issues, eventually adopting constitutional amendments which will result in each country having nearly identical constitutions. From there we simply merge them all into a single, worldwide government with the same constitution applying to everyone.
A section near the back of this book describes things you can do to help bring about the necessary changes - without attending protests. Protests are important, and leaders and spokespersons will emerge over time, but the thing to remember is any movement toward a sane and just society must be led by ideas. Whole movements can be stopped by taking out the leadership, but an idea can not be killed or imprisoned.
One man can not change the world alone,
This is the second version of this book in three months, and it is still incomplete. I wanted to get the main ideas out ASAP because the people are ready to act, and the technology of on-demand publishing makes it possible to update the material with new ideas and information. Later versions will have higher version numbers on the cover. When the book is finished (or I end up dead) no version number will appear. So please have a look at the ideas presented here and try not to jump to conclusions, for or against. No one has all the answers, but in this situation I think reason, fairness, freedom and opportunity can provide the way to discover them. If you like what you read here, please share these ideas with someone else, 'cause after all . . .
The world becomes one
Koda, April, 2012
The Greatest Problem Facing Humanity
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