Friday, August 24, 2007



One of the first by-products of an egalitarian infrastructure is the policy that one should not waste resources that are not surplus, "surplus" meaning that all the needs for survival are met. There is no particular reason not to use perishable resources for non-survival purposes so long as everyone has enough to survive and there are no unmet survival needs that could be produced as an alternative to those perishable resources.

"Waste" would be defined as a purpose (or lack of purpose) that causes the resource to be expended in a way that creates an unmet physical need somewhere on the globe. For example, creation of a dress uniform for an official or a "fashion" for a civilian when there is a person anywhere on the globe who is insufficiently clothed. Or taking food and not consuming it when there is a person anywhere on the globe who is insufficiently fed.

I say "physical" need, because there are symbolic wasteful actions that may satisfy neurotic "needs" in some individuals. The need to be in a superior stratum in a stratified infrastructure and demonstrate that by the use of resources for symbolic purposes is such a neurotic need. The fact that it is common in some varieties of social infrastructure does not make it less psychopathological.

In the past, and to a certain degree at present, a certain amount of waste was inevitable; but with modern methods of information transfer, perishable storage, and transportation, much less waste is inevitable. That being so, we have to decide whether is it proper for some people to waste by using resources for symbolic purposes while others have insufficient resources to survive, or at least insufficient resources to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Of course if one believes in inequality, then any amount of unequal distribution of resources is acceptable and may even be desirable. If one agrees that "All persons are equal" then an unequal distribution, for whatever reason, is unacceptable.

So "All persons are equal" and "Do not waste" are of equal importance as slogans.

If all persona are equal, there does not seem to be any reason for awarding some people with resources while denying them to others. Sufficient materials in a form suitable for direct personal consumption by everyone can be produced by automatic machinery so there is no reason to make consumption conditional on any particular activity such as "work". In fact, it is undesirable to have anyone "work" unless they can do something better than a robot or computer, because that would be inefficient, i.e., wasteful and nekulturni. Those who can do something better than a robot (e.g., be creative) will compete for the chance to do it for personal satisfaction.

This gets back to my Utopia, so I'll have to look at this carefully to see that I'm not just copying myself.



I've been surfing around the political blogosphere to considerable disappointment. There doesn't seem to be anybody with a long-term view. Maybe I should reinvent the fabians? But the idea that we (of the left) can agree on equality as a goal is something that I should think about--not on whether or not it is desireable, because that's just a matter of having our infrastructure match our need for species survival--but on how well the various kinds of leftists actually have that as a goal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007



Evidently her indisposition was more showy than serious. She's back out of the hospital and has taken her radioiodine thyroid scan. I suspect it was the combination of a rough colonoscopy and a strong laxative that resulted in bleeding in the colon. Cat scan said nothing serious but they didn't feed her for a week while she was off her thyroid medicine and that made her very weak. She hasn't gotten over that yet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007



There was an "On Point" show on public radio the other day about the future of the Democratic Party. I had already noticed that it was a Farmer-Labor Party when I was a kid, pretty much through the depression and World War 2. But the flow of social evolution stopped around 1950 so that the bureaucratic establishment (corporate, government and academic) closed the door to upward mobility for women and people of color. Now they are closing it off for the lower levels of the bureaucracy because the status marker for the upper levels is the ability to waste resources, and there aren't enough resources to do that any more. The establishment are building walls around their ghettos (Israel and the US in particular) to keep out the "outside proletariat" (in Toynbee's sense) and the alienated "internal proletariat" are getting a sense that they have been left hanging out to dry.

The Republicans and "Centrist" Democrats are just trying to maintain their status under stress, scrabbling for those remaining resources they can waste. The "Liberal" Democrats are trying to adapt "New Deal" policies that are out-of-date to meet current problems. The "Progressive" Democrats sense that something is wrong, but they can't find anything to believe in among the available slogans that fits the current situation.

What the Progressives have to do is jump over the slogans that just serve to reelect politicians. Those slogans are too closely tied to the status quo. They need to believe in something that may sound impossible but feels comfortable. Like "All persons are equal".

In the current situation that isn't true anywhere. All the little political subdivisions have some quality that they use to divide society into strata. Some places it is appearance, or religious sect. In Western Civilization those exist but the primary division is the appearance of wealth.

If the Progressive Democrats take "All persons are equal" as their guiding principle the fact that we don't actually live that way isn't important. The important thing is that all progressives can agree on the goal even if they may differ on the method of achieving that goal.

My contribution is that "Wholly holistic evolution, Mr. Darwin" [] and "What Now?" [] argue that the direction of human social evolution is precisely toward a future in which "All persons are equal". There is even a novel, "Utopia" [] in which that is officially (and almost actually) true. None of those books or essays plump for a particular method, so any progressive can create a hypothetical history that allows us to reach an egalitarian Utopia, and that can be different from the hypothetical history of any other progressive; and all progressives can feel a sense of unity because whatever the disagreements on method we all share the same goal: "All persons are equal"

I'll write some more about this from time to time, but this blog, and the books and essays mentioned, are enough to satisfy the needs of Progressives of all political creeds. Anyone who doesn't believe that "All persons are equal" except as the unfortunate description of a stratified society, simply isn't progressive. Anyone who does believe that "All persons are equal" will be willing to hear out, with respect, the argument of any other progressive. Eventually we will figure out just what kind of a global infrastructure will work; because we have the test that any infrastructure that maintains a stratified society is not progressive.

Send any comments to progressive [at]

Sunday, August 19, 2007


What's Up

Sally's in the hospital right now, which makes things complicated, but we still intend to go back in October.

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