A fox, a chicken, a bag of grain and the smelly old farmer, who owns them all are on the side of a river bank. The farmer wants to get to the other side with all of his possessions intact. But---he can only cross with one of them at a time. Considering he's got a microcosm of the food chain at his feet, how does he cross without loosing one possession to another? How does he cross without losing the chicken to the fox and the grain to the chicken? Most adults have a very hard time solving this riddle. Why? Because, they are forward thinkers.
We think about solutions as linear in time: We complete step 1, we complete step 2 and then step three, and then we get our final outcome, the solution to our problem. And, we never go back to step 1 or two. Now, many direct problems are solved with this forward thinking; however, many problems cannot be solved like this. The crossing problem certainly cannot. And, many of our most important political problems cannot. Watch the news, or listen to political conversations in school, church or Starbucks. They all have one thing in common: they are forward. Consider the political debates of our time: Immigration, Social Reform, and market fluctuations. We build a fence for immigration, we add to existing systems in social reforms, we stabilize the market with more money. All of these are forward thinking. We see a problem and we add to it.
But, like in the riddle, we keep ending up with the same outcome. Something always gets eaten. Immigrants are starved, murdered or get across anyway; The poor get poorer and the rich get richer or the poor get more dependent and everyone gets poorer; and, the market absorbed more money, and then again goes through it's boom and bust cycle, and people continue to get a fortune or lose a fortune. It seems like we are living in a paradox: If I take the chicken first, then I either have to leave it with the grain or the fox when I go back for the grain or the fox. If I take the fox or the grain first, It is the same.
So what do we do if what we have always done isn't working--although many would Americans would say, "it does work!". But, that is only because they are too uneducated (or watch too much FOX news (it is so entertaining)) to realize that western nations (and China) are build on the failures of other people. We use our most impoverished because they are willing to do necessary but terrible work; we use 3rd world nations because they strip their nations wealth for us cheap because their officials are corrupt and their people desperate; and we use other nations as dump sites for our toxic waste, so we don't have to see it's effects and affects and we make a dime off of it while we are creating "Cancer Villages". And, even our middle class in America keeps fluctuating, losing their houses and malnourishing their children because they can't feed their children nutritious foods.
So, what is my proposed solution? Go back. We need a fresh start. There will always be the fox, the chicken and the grain, but we can go back and figure out how to keep them separate and thriving. We'll always have those who easily get power, those who are easily taken advantage of and the resources in-between. We have to get across the river, though, and move through time to a better place. We can't cross the ambiguous waters where the change of movement allow predators to thrive unchecked and feeders to eat themselves out of their only supply of food. The people, those who are the thinkers, the dynamic moral thinkers, usually the educated middle class, those who can see both sides of the bank and all that is in-between, need to solve backwards.
We've been working building on systems that are hundreds and thousands of years old. Now, we need to look to our sociologist, philosophers, psychologist, ecologist and maybe some of the best economic theorist, and look for a better system of doing things. We need a better design, one that is not based on a predatory system, like unfettered capitalism. Instead of building on these old systems--politics, current financial systems and educational systems--we need to start a new.
Politics needs to be eliminated. We should not choose our leaders like we choose between Coke and Pepsi. We should develop system of leadership that puts the best people in the best positions without compromising representation. As a starting step, we should not allow a person to be chosen based on appearance, charisma, or unlimited funds. Instead, we should find a way to allow the public to choose based on principles that are more valid. For instance, all leaders to be elected should should have their entire life laid bare in all things relevant--like financial history, academic writings and college transcripts. Instead of limiting political ads as they are, they should be eliminated. There should be a way to post information about political things that is completely without the flash and manipulation.
Also, until the education system can fixed there should be a special series of classes for voters that is based on the best educational theory, one researched by our brightest minds, that helps people learn basic valid reasoning, like recognizing fallacious reasoning, and psychological principles, like how easy the mind is to persuade and in which ways; and, also, how to operate in the new system of voting, where you have only writings and other appropriate materials to show what the candidates are like. Everyone who wants to vote should be required to have these classes and made so that no matter what ones situation, they can easily take the class.
We need an entirely new system and as a nation and as the world, we need to discover what things we need to change piecemeal and which things we can change immediately and completely. Politics, as it is, can be changed almost completely--Now. It needs to. Economics and education may need to be piecemeal. But all of it needs to change in synch with one another. And, it needs to happen in a generation, lest others forget the movement.