“Life should not be estimated exclusively by the standards of dollars and cents. I am not disposed to complain that I have planted and others have gathered the fruits. A man has cause for regret only when he sows and no one reaps.” –Charles Goodyear, the true inventor of the vulcanization process that made rubber useful
What an inspiring quote from someone who was denied a comfortable life when industrialists Thomas Hancock and Charles Macintosh outright stole his invention. While this one individual was doomed to poverty due to unscrupulous business practices, the fact such a pivotal innovator was denied the wealth he needed to invest in his ideas hurt society as a whole. This has happened too much in our society and continues to happen far too often. That said, Goodyear’s words are humbling.
Over the past two centuries, the human race has accomplished seemingly impossible tasks through our technological and intellectual pursuits. To improve upon our great works and go beyond the impossible, scientists and engineers have turned to nature as a model. From nanostructures to birdlike jets, the world is headed into a new age where our technology can better serve our needs with fewer costs in terms of dollars, resources, environmental damage, etc, because we seek the opinion of nature. Given the economic and political turmoil in our world, social scientists, especially economists, need help create governing and economic models that better reflect the interests of the broader human population. Although there are few models in nature for us to follow, economists should look to human nature itself.
Animals survive in nature by pursuing their own self-interests at the expense of weaker animals. The same is true for humans and this impulse has certainly been built into our economies. On the other hand, the human race has been far more successful than any other species due largely to our altruistic behavior. It is our capacity to seek out and respond to the needs of others, coupled with our ability to work as a massive community, that enables us to pursue impossible tasks. Emotions, values, and other subjective concepts are very difficult for business leaders and economists to justify in terms of their current thinking on profit, outside of pursuing these social interests for good PR. “Greed is good” and other bad thinking, which has helped cause great wealth inequality that culminated in the Great Recession alongside other social failures, does not serve the needs of most people. Using scientific modeling for human altruism, the leaders of society need to recalibrate their thinking.
June, 2012, the Supreme Court reaffirmed corporations have First Amendment rights once again. I will agree the press/media has First Amendment rights limited to the pursuit and publication of knowledge and truth, as I stated in my original article on the Citizens United case. Adding to my earlier thoughts, however, the decision of five Justices was based on our Law’s longstanding mistreatment of corporations as people, not the Constitution, which resulted from our Legislators lazily failing to produce parallel laws for non-people legal entities. That said, even if should we foolishly concede corporations are people, corporations are owned by foreigners as well as citizens. Foreigners do not have the right to democratic representation. Because political speech is the right to pursue democratic representation, corporations have no business manipulating our political system with their money while they certainly have no right to speech in the political arena. They may lobby Congress and they may lobby the Executive Branch transparently for policy changes that influence their interests, but they do not have a right to choose our democratically elected leaders. Based on this reasoning alone, even the Roberts Court should realize it erred.
I have had much to say on healthcare reform and foresee the need for better reform. For now, the most important thing to say on the Supreme Court decision upholding the law is this: I would have preferred the individual mandate, as well as a few other provisions, struck down, but I am glad to see that “pre-conditions” can no longer be used to deny coverage to individuals in need while the momentum now favors additional change over no change.
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