Wednesday 11 June 2008

Robert F. Kennedy challenges Gross Domestic Product

I sense that we are in a time of great change, perhaps of the same historical magnitude as the fall of Rome and the descent of Europe into the Dark Ages, the concommitant rise of the superior power and culture of Islam, the Renaissance, and the drive to throw off the Colonial chains of Europe that swept across the Americas, from Canada to Argentina, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The end of the era of unlimited and cheap energy is certainly part of this sea change.

How the United States adapts to the new environment will determine its future and its standing in the new world order.

A new philosophical framework will be required. Our definition of "good" and "sucessful" will have to change. Over the last three thousand years the ascendent philosophies were, in chronological succession: Paganism, Islam, Christianity and Enlightenment rationality.
"We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missles and nuclear warheads.... It includes... the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children. "And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials... the Gross National Product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile, and it can tell us everything about America -- except whether we are proud to be Americans."

The New Age will require a new philosophy, and the people that is the most creative at crafting this new philophy will dominate tomorrow's world, both from a power and cultural perspective.

No comments: