We’re forced today to battle to hang on to what little we have. But it’s good to keep in mind what we actually want.
For example, we are trying to keep the bosses from shipping our jobs overseas. Mr Trump says he will help us. We say we want to keep those jobs, but is that really our ultimate goal?
In a Better World, We Don’t Want Jobs
What we actually want is wages, not jobs. We get fooled on that when politicians announce that they have brought in a certain number of jobs after giving away millions in tax abatements and other concessions to this or that corporation. The jobs, if they ever materialize at all, often turn out to pay very little. Texas is a great example of this. Texas politicians claim that they brought in more jobs than any other state, but they hide the fact that they also have more minimum wage jobs than any other state.
Texas and the rest of the South had full employment up to 1860. Everybody who wanted a job had one. Lots of people who didn’t want a job still had one. Slaves didn’t make any wages, but they by Golly had full employment!
It isn’t jobs we want.
If all our gains in productivity (wealth produced per worker per hour) went to shortening our working hours, out jobs would only last about two hours a day, 5 days a week. As the wealth produced would still be the same, we could enjoy the same wages that we made with the old-time long hours.
In a Better World, We Don’t Want Obama Care
Right this minute, the fight is on to try to save the Affordable Care act. But is it really what we want? Wouldn’t we really rather have free health care as a right — so we could have great public health services and medical experts consulting with us to keep our health at the peak?
In a Better World, We Don’t Want Electoral Reform
The Republicans have severely battered the democratic system, and they are probably going to try to do a whole lot more damage before the Mid-Term elections. We have to fight to stop voter suppression, the flood of money into elections, and the outright falsehoods perpetrated against us in election campaigns. But what would we like to have?
Now that almost everyone in America has access to a telephone or a computer, why shouldn’t we do away with representational democracy altogether and begin direct democracy? It would be a lot easier and cheaper than the present system, not to mention being far more fair. Why not have a national discussion over, for example, the federal budget, and then take a day or two for everybody to register their vote electronically? Computers could count the vote and let us know the outcome right away!
We could say similar things about free education, ending chauvinism, the right to emigrate, ending wars, child care, military expenditures, etc. There are better ways to do things than the options we are presently being offered.
A Better World Is Attainable
Shorter working hours, free health care, and direct democracy may sound like science fiction. It’s probably true that they wouldn’t have worked as well in the past as they could work now, and they would certainly work better in the future than they would work now, but they could work now!
The system that we live under doesn’t adapt to the possibilities of improvements for its constituents. Mostly, it only adapts to the possibilities of improvements for a tiny few rich people, and those rich people do the best they can to hold everybody else back.
But we could have a better world for everyone. Having a clear idea of what we want is Part One of developing a strategy to get it.