Competition year: 2004
About Hank Preiser
REDIRECTING THE GLOBAL MARKET ECONOMY TOWARD BELLAMY’S QUEST FOR A JUST SOCIETY.**
H. S. Preiser
During the past decade, the global economy has been on the launch pad poised for lift-off. The engines, fueled by free market capitalism, have been primed to provide full thrust. Now at the dawn of the 21st century, the countdown is nearing completion. Ignition has begun. Lift-off is imminent. Close observation of the political, social and economic components of the tail fin stabilizers has revealed perturbations in the engine burn rate. The trajectory path for a smooth, stable, sustainable orbit is threatened. Our mission is to increase global income and wealth. To achieve this necessitates coupling of dynamic capitalism with resource conservation restraints. This complex mechanism must be further balanced by the imperatives of global human needs. The United States is in command of the spaceship.
We are now entering the critical phase of our journey. Will we have to abort the mission or reprogram the rocket for a soft landing? At risk is the possibility that the huge economic space ship will crash-land causing major havoc and destruction in its wake. The success of our mission to achieve a predictable and reliable global orbit will require technological fine-tuning and frequent, mid-course corrections from mission control. A consortium of leaders from economically advanced nations, backed by the democratic support of its citizens, advises mission control. The skill and resolve of the mission control team will determine the outcome of its endeavors. The consequences of the mission will have a direct bearing on the well-being and ultimate survival of a vast majority of the people on planet Earth. Are they up to the task?
While there is still time, let us ponder our marvelous invention and consider what forces are at work, both positive and negative, that will impact on our mission outcome. The positive driving forces in the rapid expansion of our global economy are: unrestrained free-market capitalism; and exponential technological advances in communications, transportation, energy production, manufacturing and materials. The negative destabilizing forces are many, the more important of which are: excessive concentration of wealth without regard to national boundaries and thus political power by the few; the severe inequality of income distribution and social benefits among the working world populations; the wasteful depletion of natural resources and its concomitant environmental pollution; and overcapacity of production tied to erratic, uneven, geographic distribution and consumption of finished goods.
At this historic juncture, there is a renewed interest in Edward Bellamy’s enduring vision of a just democratic society, based on political and economic equality. Without further reference to our metaphor, this essay explores and reconciles the most practical aspects of competition (capitalism) with cooperation (equality) tempered by a committed sense of global social justice. The policies and actions of the United States will play a leading role and serve as a guide for other nations to follow.