Social futures LO7526

Michael Erickson (
Tue, 21 May 1996 08:26:34 -0700 (PDT)

Replying to LO7510 --

Hello all.
I had a few things come to mind upon reading the
following conversation, and thought I'd add them to
the stew.... I suppose this could be titled "human currency"

On Mon, 20 May 1996,
> I believe very strongly that changing the status quo of business is vital
> to changing society, and that the creation of a more just, more humane
> society cannot come about without fundamental changes in our assumptions
> concerning paid work (this is not to suggest, though, that this is the
> only system that must be changed, only that it is one of several critical
> ones).
> I agree. In a finite, high techology, world where the wealth needed to
> sustain societies does not require everyone to labour to produce it [we
> have escaped subsistence industry as well as subsistence agriculture and
> cannot produce beyond resource limits] we will not create a future worth
> the name without rethinking fundamental assumtions concerning work. I just
> wish I knew where that lead, previous experiments having largely failed. I
> support Terri in asking for ideas, for the sake of a learning planet.
> Comments anyone?
> If Price

Having just viewed the film "Braveheart", the idea of "what really makes
socioty "go" is uppermost in my mind. The film portrayed medieval
Scottland under the heel of English rule (around 1200 ad). While this
film is only a snapshot of history, I think it could have fit nearly any
Iron age socioty from 1000 BC (during the reign of King David in Olde
Isrial) to the 1200's where the story is actually set.

It seems that the unit of ultamate value (or the lowest level of
"currency" in these socioties was the labor of the individual human
(serf-farmer). All the battles over most of time have been about who was
servant and who was master. If a city became rich enough through the
labor of it's people and the trading skills of it's leaders, it became a
target for invaders who would try to TAKE what these people had built.
The serf/farmer/crafts folk of these places were considered to be part of
the "booty" to be had.

Supposedly the creation of the Magna Carta and the Declaration of
Independance etc. raised human rights to a high enough level to where
people were no longer considered to be property, But we still retain the
Command and Control Mindset (among other things) that from my perspective,
originated in the old city states of pre-history. (talk about an imbedded
mental model).

The idea that "people are our most valuable asset" reflects the idea that
the individual worker is a "replace-able widget" in the work place and is
still an item to be "won" or "lost". The way many of our tax laws,
property rights and business behavior seems to retain a lot of that old
medieval thinking. Usually bringing up this subject gets people talking
about political orientations, but from what I can tell, communism,
capitalism or any other ism, still is more about administration of the
available wealth/assets/capital than it is about the value of the
individual human. It seems that the flaw in all the assorted "isms" is
weather it USES humanity as pawns or tools to gain and maintain
wealth/power-whatever rather than building the intrinsic value of

I've been observing the cultural shift currently taking place both from
inside a large corporation-so I get to see what actually changes at close
range, but I've also tried to look at it from the outside to see how our
socioty will change, and to be truthful, I have some serious doubts or

We've all pictured the utopian dream where the individual is allowed-or
even encouraged to reach his or her highest personal potential, and where
the Noble and Honorable is held in highest esteam rather than the rat race
we seem to have about us these days. Why else would Star Trek have such
an appeal and why are you and I attracted to this concept of the learning

So-the point of this rant....

I agree with the comment that "we will not create a future worth the name
without rethinking fundamental assumtions concerning work." But it can't
stop there. I think that in order to change our work we have to change
ourselves. I can't claim great insight as to how to effect this change,
but it seems that what we are really talking about (bottom line) is how we
value humanity. Human life is not a unit of currency, (or is it?) and if
it isn't-then what is it?

Any comments?

Michael Erickson


Michael Erickson <>

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