“For the top 1 percenters, work calls. Addictions to money
and power mean too much is never enough.” (1)
Because it’s happening slowly many of us can deny experiencing the collapse of civilization as we have known it. “Communist China, socialist India, together with dictatorial (largely military) regimes in Latin America and Africa all found that their most energetic efforts at urban and industrial developments fell short of a solution.” (2) That sentence was written in 1978 and indicates that solutions to the overall challenges to our Global Village community remain beyond our grasp.
One example of our imploding civilization that we see now and will see more of in the future is mass migration. “Cheap immigrant labor had been welcomed in the rich countries during the post-war boom. But when unemployment became troublesome, racial and ethnic frictions mounted and boiled over into sporadic riots in the leading industrial cities of the Western world.” (2) That sentence written in the early 1980s, but relevant today illustrates that a global dystopia has been relentlessly unfolding for decades.
Why haven’t we been able to modify self-destructive human behavior to promote cooperation and compassion? We could use the ideas of Yale law professor Daniel Markovits, found in his book The Meritocracy Trap, to begin the kind of discussions we should be having. “The raw competition for success, so the argument goes, hurts the winners as much as the losers; it is ‘mutually self-destructive.’” (3)
For example, what are some of the self-destructive behaviors that the “winners” are engaged in? Financier William McGlashan was one of parents accused of gaming the system in the college admissions scandal. McGlashan photoshopped pictures of his son to make it appear that he was a football player to help him gain admission to the University of Southern California. “At one point, Mr. McGashan lamented, ‘The way the world works these days is unbelievable.’ But that is not the way the world works: It is the way he was working the world.” (3)
We have to sympathize with Mr. McGashan because we have all unconsciously conspired to create a narrative where “gaming the system” is the survival strategy we were taught as children.
Click on the link below to continue our analysis of the dystopian narrative that we could choose to avoid.
Insight # 160:
History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
— Stephan Dedalus in James Joyce’s Ulysses
- “Divergent Thinking: Stretching the Old Paradigm” on this blog and in print version, Where Am I? The First Great Question Concerning the Nature of Reality (2012), by Roy Charles Henry, pages 61-64.
- Williams, Alex. “The Idle Rich? They Wish.” The New York Times. October 20, 2019, page 1.
- Times Books Limited. The Times Atlas of World History. 1978, page 250.
- Reeves, Richard V. “Now the Rich Want Your Pity, Too.” The New York Times Sunday. October 6, 2019, page 5.