“The Nation” magazine is having an essay contest — re-imagine capitalism – in 400 words or less.
I’ve been thinking about ethics and money a lot recently, so I thought I’d give it a shot and see if I can do it…
We need to remember that economics is a human construct, rather than people being an economic construct. Given that, we should START with people and go from there. Therefore,
1) We need to go low-tech in order to create jobs and give people’s lives meaning. Instead of ATMs, banks could spend all of the money the ATMs presently make and hire tellers. When they are hired, they should be given benefits, decreasing government costs and increasing personal health. In most places where people can do a job, they should.
2) When people receive money for food from the government, they should be given — among other things– vegetable seeds. This will cost less, give people better nutrition, and tie people more to nature. Plus, it will make farmers “experts” and in demand in the city as people learn how to plant. Besides, it’ll lower stress on farm land and maybe decrease pesticide use.
3) As there is a psychological limit after which money doesn’t make you happier (I think it’s 4 million dollars), no one individual’s wealth should increase more than 4 million dollars per year. If a person makes more than that, they should have the option to: a) give it to the federal government; b) give the excess to a community or state or c) give it to a 501(c)3 (non-profit charity) where more people get use out of it. Among other things, people will be able to see the national pastime with their present income and entertainment (like movies) will become cheap enough to see at a theater again.
4) New law: no building in America can be built without AT LEAST some form of passive solar energy built in. Walls facing the proper direction, clotheslines included, solar water heaters — something. This will decrease need and decrease the need for wars over oil.
5) Combat veterans should get free medical care for life from any doctor they choose. And yes, the government should pay for it.
6) Everyone in America should be required to volunteer a year of their lives to others when they turn 18. During that year, they should receive free health care at the doctor of their choice. Same thing re: government paying for it. Feds, state, city, whichever government get sthe benefit of the work.
7) There should be better limits set on interest that can be charged. The norm should be no interest loans paid back. No pay back, no more loans.
8) Daycare should be affordable and safe without so many regulations. Your average mentally healthy mother or father ought to be able to have a small daycare.
9) especially if you receive a check from the government due to disability, you should do what you can to take care if your little part of the world – your sidewalk, the road in front of your house, a nearby park should be cleaned and street sweepers (humans with machines) ought to not have jobs. Even if you don’t your area of public space is your responsibility.
That’s it. It’s not everything, but it’s a start. 543 words is the best I can do.
What do you think?