The Greatest Opportunity in Human History
Unprecedented world economic growth led by China, India, and Brazil, is taking hundreds of millions out of poverty. These historically colonized and exploited countries have no economic motivation to couple their rising economic power with rising military power. Five centuries of European Warrior State imperialism is displaced by economic cooperation in the European Union. America is now positioned to lead in demilitarizing the world.
The second evolutionary force that provides this ultimate opportunity is the economic system needed by Information Age industries. As they depend on the cognitive power of their people the work culture must be based on the full development of each in an environment of trust and cooperation. This economically determined morality is common with religion and humanism. Religion proposes a secular society based on the worth and potential of each united in brotherly love; Humanism found that the natural condition of humans encourages individual ambitions in harmony with group interests.
This represents a dramatic change in the work culture from the Industrial Revolution to the Information Age revolution. Both added substantial wealth producing capacity but the Industrial Revolution and division of labor demeaned the worker. Eight year old kids worked on the night shift and in some factories one-fourth of the children were crippled and deformed by excessive toil or abuse. The Information Age revolution, in contrast, gives the individual an opportunity to reach full potential but finance capitalism stills treats the worker as a disposable cost commodity.
Both opportunities depend on America becoming a team player in world events by rejecting imperialism and redirecting government support from finance capitalism to democratic capitalism. In this new role America can lead in demilitarization and support the moral economic system that can unite the world in economic common purpose. Demilitarization will redirect trillions of dollars annually to economic development, health, education, infrastructure, and environment. Support for democratic capitalism will stop the record concentration of wealth and distribute it broadly through profit sharing and ownership plans.
This ideal world is a pragmatic opportunity. There is strong momentum in this direction now that can be greatly accelerated by American participation. For example, people in the world trying to live on $1 a day plummeted from 40% in1981 to 18% in 2004; global warfare has decreased over 60% since the 1980s, and the present, despite the Middle East, is probably the most peaceful time in history. The product of the common morality will be improved performance and a higher quality of life in all human associations. All cultures, including Muslims, will find irresistible the world of freedom and comfort from a moral system.
The movement from desperate poverty to freedom and comfort can be examined in the comparative results of three 20th century visionaries: Beginning in 1965, Lee Kuan Yew led Singapore from an average income of a few hundred dollars a year to the world’s fourth highest, $30,000; In 1979, Deng Xiaoping led China to thirty years of 9% growth and a seven fold improvement in average income; in 1990 Russia led by Gorbachev.gave priority to glasnot, a democratic ideology, and not to perestroika, structural changes needed in support of economic freedom. Russia suffered the worse asset stripping in history and the condition of the people went backwards. Both Deng and Gorbachev studied the Singapore experience and consulted with Lee but only Deng understood the enormous management of change required based on structural support by government whose functions changed with time and place. Russia listened to American professors and finance capitalists none of whom were trained in management of change. Their “shock therapy,” resulted in too much shock and not enough therapy. Deng rejected ideology commenting that. he did not care if the cat was white or black as long as it could catch mice. Human rights advocates criticize both Singapore and China failing to recognize the enormous human rights improvement in the lives of hundreds of millions of people and failing to recognize that economic freedom will, in time, lead to political freedoms, but the opposite is not true.
This great opportunity is such radical departure from past history that the educators will have to work overtime to prepare citizens to understand and support the changes. The idea of demilitarization will take examination as war and violence have been part of the human experience so long. The military-industrial complex in America also sustains propaganda including a campaign to convince Americans that China and Russia are real military threats. Finally, the concept that there is an economic system that cannot not only eliminate material scarcity but also elevate spirits in a moral environment is so contrary to the cultural conditioning of academics that is will require an epiphany. This greatest opportunity in human history depends on education.