Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Future First

"We are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP."
--Paul Hawken 

In order to address emerging problems and thrive in our rapidly changing world, Canada needs a government that will trade the vestiges of the past for the ideas of tomorrow; abandon its “this-or-that” attitude in favour of balanced solutions; collaborate with its citizens; encourage public participation; and strengthen its weakest links.

The solution to yesterday's problems cannot solve the problems of tomorrow. It should be no surprise that the political parties of yesterday are helpless to address the issues weighing on the minds of Canadians and people around the world. Climate change, income inequality, political and corporate corruption, and the rise of extremist ideologies form a threat, not to any single person, commercial entity, or political party, nor even to a single nation, but to all humans.

For the past 200 years we have operated within the confines of a socio-economic system forged in the Industrial Age. Such systems are inherently rigid, hierarchical, and secretive. They discourage public participation and encourage the fragmentation and compartmentalization of information. The left hand never knows what the right hand is doing, allowing for rampant corruption.

What is the alternative?” you may ask. “Free market capitalism and representative democracy may not be perfect but they are better than everything else we tried in the past.”

No one will argue that our current paradigm is superior to the ones created by feudalism, despotism, fascism, and communism. Does this mean we should accept our flawed system as it is because "it's the best one around?"

At one point in time, the Model T was the best automobile around. Based on the above logic, we should all be driving Model T's right now.

Why aren't we?

Because we are constantly learning new things and applying them to our industries and everyday lives. We're constantly innovating and developing new technologies. Everything in the world, from automobiles to computers, is in a state of perpetual improvement.

Except our government.

Our government has regressed. It has become less efficient, less accountable, and less functional. It has lost sight of its purpose--representing the people--and has become a selfish organism concerned with one thing only: self-preservation. Rather than invest in the future, our government--and many other governments across the world--is borrowing from our future in order to finance its selfish endeavours in the present.

It's time to put the future first.

Our detractors will accuse us of oversimplifying issues. They will call into question our ability to lead and cite our lack of experience as proof. They will say that the people cannot be trusted to make decisions for themselves.

Yet who could be better at representing the people than the people themselves? We've put our trust in career politicians and look where it has landed us! What started as a noble idea—a political system that gives voice to the masses—has devolved into a corrupt oligarchy bent on preserving its power and wealth at all cost.

Elected officials no longer work for the people: they work for industries, corporations, special interest groups, and above all else, themselves. They do not make informed decisions based on facts: they make decisions based on belief systems and subjective ideologies.

The time has come for us to rise up and form a government that works for all people, not just a select few. Together we can restore Canada's reputation on the international stage as a forward-thinking, socially conscious, and economically robust nation.

We can lead by example. We can show the world that a country can preserve the environment and stimulate its economy; that the people, when working together toward a common purpose, can do a better job than career politicians; that socialism and capitalism can and should co-exist; that lifting the poor and downtrodden out of misery does not require taxing the rich; that transparency is always better than secrecy; and that evidence always trumps ideology when making decisions that concern the masses.

We can embody these ideals as a people and a nation. We can use them to build something remarkable, admirable, functional, and valuable: the world's first  truly Innovative State. We can spread these ideals outward to our neighbours and watch as the world rearranges itself from a place of violence and conflict to a place of peace and cooperation.

I know it sounds Utopian but we're already halfway there.

We have entered the Information Age. Some institutions are fighting hard to keep us trapped in the past but together we form an irresistible force. If we move as a collective those institutions will be powerless to stop us.

As Napoleon Hill said, "Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds."

True, there are obstacles barring our path, but so what? Our ancestors overcame larger obstacles with less. We are fortunate to be alive in this age of technological wonder. We can start a revolution without leaving our homes and take power without shedding a single drop of blood. We are part of the first generation of humans capable of liberating themselves from oppression.

We need only act.

And if you feel that the obstacles before us are insurmountable, that we're better off just settling for what we have, remember these words from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius:
The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
Let's take the obstacles barring our path and transform them into advantages. Let's leverage those advantages and achieve victory.

Together we can change this country--and the world--for the better. Together we can drag the rest of our society into a world of plentitude, peace, and freedom.


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