Appendix II. Social Evils
In Chapter 5, I introduced the list of defects of capitalism discussed by Marx and Engels in the first chapter of The Communist Manifesto . This list was compared with the starting point for this essay, namely, my list of the defects of materialism.. (It was written originally on the back of an envelope.) As my thinking progressed, I began to see more problems with materialism and to think of the old problems in different terms. Throughout this essay the defects of materialism are pointed out wherever it seems appropriate to do so. In another essay , I identified what I call the money and power seeking class. This is the class of people who perpetuate materialism most vigorously. This essay is not really about blame; but, if one is looking for a culprit, try looking in the mirror. Except for a handful of people who are fighting materialism as vigorously as the money and power seekers fight to satisfy their unslakable thirst never getting any closer to their goal, which, like a desert mirage, is as impossible to achieve as it is harmful and stupid to try to achieve. “Successful” people are guaranteed to fail as they are really trying to become infinitely wealthy and/or powerful, which, obviously, is impossible. I owe this observation to Durkheim , however I have observed it among my wealthy friends, one of whom committed suicide.
In this essay, we have been discussing the harm done by the political and economic circumstances that allow, even permit, the existence of the money and power seeking class, mainly players of the Money Game. The materialism plague has infected every single member of the human race, regardless of the degree of intimacy of his association with known carriers of the disease. Total avoidance of the society of human beings has not prevented contagion since the “civilized” world comes to the recluse no matter where he goes to avoid it. Eventually, some bureaucrat will place him within his purview and infect him with some sort of nonsense regarding taxes, special regulations, or, in metaphorical terms, the virulent government virus. Perhaps, the plague will end before the human race is extinct. The Black Death died out; but, in that famous epidemic, not everyone was infected. (To continue the metaphor in the religious tradition, since, for all practical purposes, Jesus’s work was in the health-care sector: Perhaps, our unshakable faith that disease is no more than one of Satan’s countless tricks to create delusions and to lead us into error, which itself is illusory, may result in divine intervention and a miraculous healing – Deo volente.)
In my earlier essay “What We Want and What We Get”, I discussed some of the institutional corruption caused by what we do for money – even excessive risk to entrepreneurs. I noted that the economy has become a Frankenstein monster that no one understands. I discussed the undesirable effect of the money culture on our attitude toward work (many workers are reduced to virtual slavery). Also, I discussed the effect on education, science, medicine, commerce, and highly paid dangerous sports. I implied that trade leads to imperialism, which leads to war. (Perhaps, some wars result from other causes, but these, too, can be related to our economic system.)
I discussed the environment in terms of the unintended effects of what we do. The inevitable destruction of the environment caused by materialism is a theme that recurs throughout this essay. I discussed how our economic system affects our thinking and the thinking of our children, emphasizing “doublethink” (the ability to hold conflicting opinions simultaneously), intolerance and hypocrisy, racism, and our thirst for vengeance to appease the victims of crimes that we should recognize as inevitable under the circumstances of our materialist society and that we all are responsible for – except, perhaps, the perpetrator. I pointed out that our government has become (has always been?) a tyranny and discussed the undesirable effects of that in case anyone thinks that tyrannies are useful. I discussed the demise of the best cultural traditions as money and commerce infiltrate every aspect of art and popular entertainment. I gave examples of how we dehumanize ourselves or, rather, how our economic system dehumanizes us with our cooperation. I discussed deteriorating ethics in the face of ludicrous moral standards that no person of spirit can live by. This results in anomie and the inability to respect rational morals, which we are unable to distinguish from irrational morals, which we violate routinely, usually intentionally. I gave examples of people who behave unethically and are completely unaware of it. Due to the lack of a rational social contract, social chaos and disorder should be expected and we share a mutual responsibility for unacceptable crimes no matter who commits them, thereby invalidating our system of punishment for non-standard behavior. Finally, I reissued the warning issued by George Orwell in his book 1984 . The year 1984 has passed, but just barely. I have stated why I believe we stand on the brink of the Orwellian abyss. [Note in proof (5-31-96): Perhaps it’s too late.]
In the text and in my other essays, I showed that, rather than freedom, most Americans are presented with very few choices. Most of us do what we do because we have no choice. Narrowness of choice leads to poverty and poverty leads to crime; but, naturally, the desire to get rich accounts for a great deal of crime too and rich people don't stop committing crimes once they “make it”. They stick with the methods that “got them there”, although they may refine their methods. (The Rockefellers no longer blow up competitors´ gas stations.) In my disorganized collection of short essays on crime and punishment, gathered together within my collected essays, I discussed the failure of punishment as a deterrent to crime. In fact, I identified punishment itself as one of the principal causes of crime and a fundamental evil of materialism.
Also, in the text and in my collected essays, I issued a serious warning about the intentions of the leaders of the large multi-national corporations, who constitute the greatest threat to the future of mankind the world has ever faced, as I see it and concerning which I am joined by Noam Chomsky . I pointed out that the United States is a plutocracy, which masquerades as a democracy; but, on closer inspection, is recognized as a dictatorship, with the dictator changing each time a new president is elected; but, the dictatorship, consisting of the plutocracy that owns the country, tells the president what to do and is permanent. The plutocrats, working behind the scenes, are not interested in publicity. The great American democratic social experiment has been concluded and the result is – failure. Basically, the candidate who can raise the most money wins, thus materialism killed the last semblance of democracy, the chance for the people to decide who will take orders from the plutocracy. I have denounced American conservatism, which is based on materialism. I have shown that competing political philosophies are unsatisfactory because they do not address materialism. Every competing (please ignore pun) political movement of which I am aware is in an indefensible philosophical position. Also, I have begun to address the problem of “natural leaders” (or leaders in general) who are both a cause and effect of materialism.
In the preface, I complained about the difficulty of getting a hearing for these ideas because of the disappearance, if it ever existed, of free discourse in America or anywhere else for that matter. Publishers, normally, are interested in “betting” on known authors only, i.e., “sure things”, as Kurt Vonnegut put it. (And, as he reminded me, I am no sure thing.) The quest for money has driven out other considerations, however noble, including, in many cases, the stated purposes of the founder(s) of the press. The Internet will have an effect; but, in June, 1996, no one knows what that effect will be. [Note in proof (10-28-96): As of this writing, most of my papers on drug policy can be found at http://www.calyx.net/~schaffer/debate/opinion.html. If not found there, simply do a search on Wayburn. There are only a few of us.]
In Chapters 3 and 4, I outlined my philosophy, the centerpiece of which is the system of axiomatic morality. These chapters illustrate some of the defects of materialism by suggesting what could be achieved without it, but it seemed necessary to me to devote a chapter each to the fundamental evil that results from violating each of the three moral axioms.
In Chapter 6, I discussed what happens when people do not respect the freedom of others. The idea that we must give up leadership and management will be extremely difficult to swallow, especially for people who intend to become leaders. (I am not referring to leadership by example here, as I hope I have made abundantly clear, but almost nobody who considers himself or herself a leader intends to lead by example only. Always they imagine themselves enjoying some power over others.) These people will imagine that the evils of leadership do not or will not apply to themselves. They have heard it said that power corrupts, but they cannot believe that the old saw applies to them. In fact, it applies most to those who think it applies least. Nevertheless, it is difficult to see how we will extricate ourselves from the mess we have gotten the world into without leadership. This was discussed somewhat and a scenario for social change without leaders was presented in Chapter 12 as a thought experiment. I must emphasize that, even though it is difficult to see how we can progress without leadership, with leadership we are absolutely guaranteed to fail.
In Chapter 7, we revisit the environment, concerning which we obtained some useful insights in Chapter 2. I hope I have not restated the obvious. My intention was to touch upon some aspects of saving the environment that do not come up in most discussions. I pointed out the undesirable effect on the environment of our incessant quest for money and I have indicated, in my essays and in the text, that it results, also, in a class of people for whom life is nearly unbearable. As these people have less and less to lose, rich people will no longer be safe in their beds.
Also, I hope I made it clear that when an immigrant says he came to America to have a better life, he means to consume more resources. This cannot be good for the environment. The fault lies not with the immigrant but with ourselves. The average American has an impact upon the environment thirty times more destructive than the impact on the environment of the average Tibetan – I am led to believe without adequate proof. In any case, what should we expect when an immigrant turns in his bicycle for a high-powered automobile. (Ten gallons per week equals slightly more than two kilowatts. The average Bangladeshi consumes just 0.3 kW. If he should move to America, he will consume six and two-thirds times that amount provided he doesn’t eat, wear clothes, live in a home, stay warm in the winter or cool in the summer, require health-care, ... I think you get the idea.) Solution: Reduce our consumption to one kilowatt per capita. Although this should be adequate for a moderately intelligent person, it will not create a people magnet.
Finally, in Chapter 8, I discussed the evils of disrespect for truth. The occurrence equivalence of these evils and materialism was proved in Chapter 9. This enabled me to prove the Fundamental Theorem, the Doomsday Theorem, and some other results in Chapter 10.
In Chapter 5, I first introduced materialism (M) formally. (It was termed competitionism (C) by this author for several years during which time he wrote and spoke often enough that the reader might run into the term, which is to be taken to be absolutely synonymous with materialism.) Another synonym, namely, artificial economic contingency (AEC), was introduced intentionally to clarify the concept. I was amazed at how much trouble I had getting people to understand what I was talking about no matter how precisely I defined it. (Some people thought I wanted to replace cash payments with barter. The idea that people would get nothing for what they did, gave, or said must have seemed pretty strange to acquisitive Americans.)
Materialism (M), or artificial economic contingency (AEC), is the model in terms of which I wish to analyze the defects in society. I claimed it is superior to other models enjoying currency. I gave my list of the defects of materialism and the list of Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto, which confined itself to that manifestation of materialism that we recognize as capitalism. These criticisms were fairly inclusive, but not in any particular order. Thus, I had not yet attempted to enumerate all of the defects of materialism (other than tyranny, geophagy, and falsity) in a systematic way.
Capitalism seems to be the form of materialism that best nurtures the most wicked aspects of materialism. To be fair, the class of materialistic systems does not include many economic systems that do not think of themselves as tending toward capitalism, therefore it is not surprising that capitalism is the most harmful example of materialism; but, it would be a mistake to suppose that no others could exist. In particular, every socialistic country supports materialism. Most importantly and significantly, no economic system in the world has abandoned materialism completely, and that may have been true always! Thus a natural economy genuinely exists “nowhere”. Think about what that means. What does it say about how important this theory is? [Don’t jump on the straight-line that calls for the retort “Utopia”. This is too important for that level of criticism. By all means criticize, but be sincere.]
It is difficult to select the best order for the enumeration of social ills; therefore, in this appendix, I planned to construct a mini-encyclopedia of social problems. Under each entry, I was going to describe the problem, identify the immediate cause or causes and describe their mechanisms. (I would have traced each immediate cause to materialism.) Also, I would have shown how the problem could be traced to a breach of the morals derived from our moral axioms, discussed the harm we may expect if we don't solve the problem if it is not obvious, and, finally, considered how we might begin to solve the problem by taking a step on a path of continuous improvement – leading to the tentative ideal society espoused in this essay.
Rather than my original plan to enumerate and explicate the defects of materialism, which, naturally, are shared by capitalism (which is quintessential materialism), the best I have been able to do is no more than enumerate some of the defects and the only systemization I have had time for is to put my terms in alphabetical order, which is slightly better than unsystematic enumeration. This arrangement may be useful to the reader if he uses this essay as a handbook. (The index may not have an entry for every social ill in this list.) But, truthfully, I think most readers are aware of most of these social ills and know that they are caused by our economy with its vast disparities in property and income. Some of us hide it from ourselves, especially if our ability to earn a living depends on our naiveté; but, deep down, we know. Just wait until your child needs medical treatment that you cannot afford!
Below I offer the outline I planned to employ in constructing an encyclopedia of social evils. The system might be useful to someone else who wishes to attempt this exercise. I went so far as to choose a single capital letter for the name of each primary problem, except that artificial economic contingency continued to be represented by AEC.
A. Definition of problem
B. Why this category ( logic)
1. Tyranny (T)
2. Geophagy (G)
3. Falsity (F)
D. Relation to evil I wish to eliminate (another way of looking at the problems)
1. Artificial Economic Contingency (AEC)
2. Materialism (M)
3. Ineffectiveness (A)
4. Globalism (D)
5. Indoctrination (I)
6. Laissez-Faire Economics (failure to plan) (L)
7. Overpopulation (O)
Note. Of course, 1. and 2. are the same thing, but they sound different.
1. The likely outcome if M is not eliminated
2. Why the problem will disappear when M is abandoned
F. First steps toward solution
This is an example of the scheme I first decided upon to classify the social problems in America and in the rest of the world, too, if it is not too presumptuous to claim knowledge of circumstances that I have not witnessed personally. (If we accept the Fundamental Premise, the misery in the rest of the world is part of our dissatisfaction.) This particular organizational scheme leaves much to be desired. I offer a few examples of my comments as a sample of what I intended to do. I abandoned the idea of the encyclopedia as soon as I realized how much work and time it would take. I want to get this essay finished. Further, I think the average reader can guess what the commentary will be as soon as he sees the list of social problems. (I was shocked when I realized how long the list would be, even accounting for duplications and redundancy.) Thus, the encyclopedia serves no useful purpose except to satisfy my weird taste for completeness, a taste that can never be satisfied with respect to anything. As it is, Appendix II will reinforce my incessant whining about how screwed up we have become. But, almost no one doubts that “we are really screwed up this time, general, sir”. In this nation of malcontents, dissatisfaction is plentiful in all quarters regardless of the philosophy, religion, or politics of the “plaintiff” (dissatisfied person).
This version of the list was supposed to be classified according to cause despite the difficulty of assigning causes to effects. According to the author's view of the world, all of the causes are subsumed by one “cause”, namely, materialism itself, as defined in Chapter 5 and elsewhere. Under each perceived problem, I planned to place a short essay that might include: (i) a brief explanation of what is meant by the short-hand term used to name the problem (only if needed), (ii) why the problem belongs to the category into which it is placed, (iii) how the problem can be traced to a breach of morals, (iv) a brief discussion of the harm that can result from not solving the problem (again if not painfully obvious), and (v) a possible first step in solving the problem under the present circumstances. Since many of the problems would have been attributed to more than one cause, the essay would appear under whatever cause the author considers most important. A note in the other relevant categories would direct the reader’s attention to the imagined prime cause. Not everyone will agree that each is a legitimate problem, since in nearly every case someone is benefiting from the problem not being solved. The problems were divided into seven categories according to cause as follows:
1) Problems that result directly from materialism, i.e., because materialism exists
2) Problems resulting even more specifically from commerce, which is the heart and soul of materialism
3) Problems resulting from employment as an institution, which also belongs to materialism
4) Problems that could be solved by isolationism (if you are against it) or decentralization (if you are for it)
5) Problems that result from the public choice to indoctrinate and train rather than educate (I must agree that whatever we teach pre-reason children is indoctrination – by definition. My contention is that we have been filling children’s heads with nonsense that conflicts radically with the average child's “innate” sense of reasonableness. This explains why rebellion is a normal part of childhood.)
6) Problems that could be solved by economic planning
7) Problems that result from overpopulation (We will assume that after materialism has been abandoned the chief reasons for violating the Token Principle, the moral metaphor that discourages more than one child per person, will be gone. These (most important) reasons are three in number, namely, we don’t expect all of our children to live, we intend to use our own children as forced labor during our own productive years, and, finally, we hope our children will support us when we are too old to support ourselves. Earlier, I mentioned other, even worse, reasons, e.g., to spread a religion as rapidly as possible.)
All seven categories would be empty if we were to abandon materialism, defined roughly to be the linking of our personal economic well-being to our social activities – normally our job, which is conveniently described as artificial economic contingency as readily as materialism (or competitionism) because even if we do not compete for wealth and power our economic well-being will depend on something other than “acts of God”.
I realize that, from the viewpoint of the psychologist, the anthropologist, the mystic, or other scholars, the problems of the world can be identified and attributed in different ways and, to them, their view seems fundamental. (An excellent case can be made that the fundamental problem is sexual prudery, but I believe that the desire of some to control others leads to sexual prudery; in any case, the two seem to be occurrence equivalent.) We are talking about models of the world. Materialism is the model of the world that I have chosen, and it explains the relevant phenomena to my satisfaction. The reader may disagree, in which case he should supply an alternative model and I am available to criticize it. Clearly, there is a need for scientific and historical explanations of why human society clings to materialism.
Commerce is near the heart of materialism, which would not be the monster it has become without the institution of employment whereby people sell their labor and the time of their lives for money. Thus, commerce and employment are traced directly to materialism.
But materialism drives the captains of commerce to expand their operations as far as they possibly can, which leads to foreign trade. (Capitalism requires expanding markets. This was proved in my essay “On Capitalism”.) Moreover, industrialists need a readily available, cheap supply of docile laborers, which leads to immigration and unemployment.
To ensure a cheap supply of docile laborers, the schools avoid teaching the truth about the role played by economics in society, which, if widely understood, would result in rebellion. Also, the best that materialism can offer the majority of young people is a life of meaningless labor on the notorious corporate ladder or in complicated forced labor camps as cogs in a giant machine. With such incentives young people of spirit refuse to learn even the component of the curriculum that can be regarded as factual unless they are possessed with above average curiosity or an indomitable imagination or a burning vision of a better world. Thus, the failure of education can be traced to materialism. (On the other hand, perhaps the reason I learned so well in school is that I was inordinately stupid!)
Commerce would like to have an unrestricted license to make money. Blinded to other considerations it would soon self-destruct without the restraint of government regulation, which is permitted to exist because wiser heads among the commercial class recognize its necessity, but commerce cannot tolerate too much regulation. In particular, the federal government is permitted only one or two controls on the cardio-vascular system of the economy, namely, interest rates and the money supply, which it controls loosely through the semi-autonomous Federal Reserve Bank. Thus, the lack of economic planning can be traced to materialism.
Overpopulation can be traced to materialism in at least three ways, the first of which is the failure of education itself, which prevents people from understanding the necessity to control population and the methods of controlling it. Secondly, commerce itself has no incentive to encourage population control because of its need for cheap labor and a pool of unemployed people to deal with the cycles that arise because it cannot tolerate economic planning. Finally, one of the greatest stumbling blocks to the successful socialization of humanity is Religion with a capital R, i.e., improper religions (as opposed to the sincere pursuit of spiritual health and other spiritual goals). Religionists have become the willing tools of commerce in many ways among which is their continued opposition to all efforts to control population. Some other groups, including the Socialist Workers' Party, oppose efforts to control population, but behind all such opposition looms the specter of materialism.
The following lists will be far from complete, actually quite short, since they serve only as examples of what this approach might have looked like. The reader can skim this section rapidly. The more nearly complete and much longer list appears right after this material. The author completed nearly all of the work necessary to include it years ago, so it is no inconvenience to him to include it on the off-chance that it will be useful to someone.
1) Problems that result directly from materialism viewed as an improper game
a) Meaning of term
This is an antique term that refers to (usually) informal conspiracies among people who find each other useful. They aid and abet each other’s business schemes by providing favors and other benefits to the exclusion of outsiders. Old boy and young girl networks are examples of cronyism.
b) Choice of the prime cause (or category)
Since improper games do not require the same number of players on each team, one can acquire unfair advantages by accepting favors and other benefits from parties who are not generally recognized as legitimate participants. No one would be interested to achieve personal goals other than by fair and open methods dependent upon one’s own effectiveness (in interaction with the world) if effectiveness were the only route toward satisfaction and, in turn, happiness. One does not get much satisfaction from an achievement that is wrongly attributed to oneself because of cronyism – or which would have been achieved more effectively by someone else if one’s crony had not intervened. (This is not meant to disparage open and above board legitimate cooperation.) After some deliberation, the prime cause of cronyism is assigned to materialism itself. The reader may disagree.
c) Moral axioms violated
The Truth Axiom is violated because the principal actor appears to be more effective than he really is. He may be fooling himself. In a materialistic economy, people who rely on cronies have unfair advantages over competitors who rely only upon themselves or their legitimate partners. Thus, if this situation persists, eventually the Freedom Axiom will be violated – in one case, because the competitor’s decision to rely upon cronies is not really his own; in another case, because his freedom is compromised by having relatively less status than the man who cheats. In either case, all parties have incurred contingencies, which is immoral.
d) The harm done
Just as virtue is its own reward; immorality is the great harm attached to itself. We have seen how all parties are moving away from happiness. Since, in this theory and generally throughout the world, happiness is regarded as a desirable state, moving away from happiness is necessarily regarded as undesirable.
e) A step toward a remedy
During the delegislation process we shall continue to have laws (although fewer than previously). Thus, one can regard business conducted with the aid of cronies as criminal in the sense that insider trading is considered criminal nowadays. Presumably, cronies tend to increase one’s material wealth. The law, then, can drastically decrease it. Remember, the punishment I suggested for white-collar crime was to bust the criminal down to minimum wage with no possibility of obtaining a greater income by any scheme whatever. His accumulated wealth may be reduced to what is just barely tolerable. No one should have less wealth than those who wish to acquire wealth unfairly.
Note. I believe that it is clear from performing this literary exercise once only that it is extremely unprofitable. I shall not carry it out completely again. The reader may find it instructive to see why I consider fashion, say, a social evil and which moral or morals I believe to be violated. As I said earlier, what was intended as a rather grand project has turned out to be merely a list. Not much of an encyclopedia, I’m afraid. I hope that my ambition to produce an encyclopedia is cured forever.
A few examples of additional evils I had elected to place in this category, for reasons which may or may not be apparent to the reader, are as follows: conspicuous consumption, purchases of useless or harmful articles, crime, poverty, epidemic disease, polarization of society, concentration of wealth, risky and dangerous business schemes, speculation, people in prisons, uncompensated victims, people feeling worthless, people feeling exalted, frustration and helplessness, suicide, the caste system, disenfranchisement, wasted lives, foreign trade, any and all trade, etc.
2) Problems resulting from commerce
Why is fashion a social evil and what morals are violated?
“The purpose of fashion is to induce consumers to purchase new clothing to replace older clothing before it is worn out.” This was said by a famous fashion designer whose name escapes me if I ever knew it. Thus, we shall have to accept it – at least provisionally. Certainly, it has that effect in many cases. This is a violation of the Truth Axiom as this vital information is generally concealed from the “victim”. Also, many people are under the impression that fashion enables them to express their individuality. If this notion contains even a modicum of truth and is not entirely false, it is true in a trivial and superficial sense only. It is a violation of the Environmental Axiom, also, because resources are consumed that otherwise would be conserved.
This concludes the samples of what my commentary might have been like if I had pursued my original plans. I don’t think it is worth carrying out. As exercises, however, students may wish to provide similar commentary in some of the other cases, particularly the subtle cases. For example, what’s wrong with roads? Helicopters?
Additional social evils that would have been placed in this category are government bureaucracy, corruption in government, advertising, debasement of culture, commercialization of art and artists, television, inappropriate juxtapositions of music or other media, tasteless signs and ads, ubiquitous junk music, insurance extortion and fraud, medical extortion, bad service, low quality, consumerism, aggressive marketing, phone sales and solicitation, unfair laws against computer “crime” and rebroadcasting (rebroadcasting might be considered a crime if the original broadcaster could exclude his electromagnetic radiation from your house upon demand), coupons, rebates, and sales, complicated pricing schemes, extreme variability of prices, violation of intellectual proprietorship, invasion of privacy, fads, frequent relocations, transportation, roads, airplanes, helicopters, automobiles, trains at night, decay of infrastructure, particularly bridges and tunnels, too many drugs (available to people who can’t handle drugs), not enough drugs (for people who need drugs to carry on useful (sacred?) endeavor, e.g., playing jazz music), economic vampires, economic parasites, white-collar crime, fraud, racketeering, homelessness, noise pollution, heat pollution, air and water and land pollution, big science, the star system, the cult of fame (people are taught to feel worthless if they are not famous, cf. People Magazine), immigration, government policies that favor childbirth, overpopulation.
3) Problems resulting from employment as an institution
Some of the social problems that I would have placed in this category are resistance to automation, wage slavery, hard work and long hours, two-job people, bosses, authoritarianism in the workplace, totalitarianism in the workplace, violations of human dignity, bad service, wasted lives, low wages, drug availability and unavailability, two-job families, breakup of the family, relocation, single parents, government policies that favor childbirth, overpopulation, unemployment, homelessness.
4) Problems that could be solved by isolationism (decentralization)
In this category, with the exception of those for which this is a secondary cause, e.g., a caste system, are multi-national corporations (avoiding regulation), colonization, state secrets and state crime, espionage, trade deficits, national debt, third-world debt, international trade, lobbying, imperialism, war, threats of war, economic war, the arms race, immigration, nucleation, teen-age gangs, unsafe streets, people imprisoned in homes, forced evacuation of neighborhoods, the caste system, overpopulation, emigration, loss of animal habitats, polarization of society.
5) Problems that result from the failure of education
Examples are illiteracy, racism, economic parasites, conspicuous consumption, purchases of useless or harmful articles, environmental destruction, ugliness, religionism, scientism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, big-brotherism, trade deficit, trade, unfair laws, crime, poverty, polarization of society, homelessness, child abuse, sexual frustration among children and adults, teen-age gangs, unsafe streets, people imprisoned in homes, people in prisons, thirst for revenge, anti-social local culture, the star system, the cult of fame, people feeling worthless, frustration and helplessness, elitism, the caste system, unfair procreation, the destruction of the cities, forced evacuation of neighborhoods, clonism, disappearance of independent thought, intolerance, doublethink. The failure of education is not the prime cause of most of these social evils, however it is a prime target for reform.
6) Problems that could be solved by economic planning
A few examples are business cycles, variability of prices, banking instability, instability in financial markets, trade deficits, national debt, concentration of wealth, decay of infrastructure, commerce (I have worked hard to show that commerce imposes upon my freedom).
Why is commerce a social evil and what morals are violated?
Commerce is occurrence equivalent with materialism itself. Its very existence is a violation of the Freedom Axiom and, normally, the other axioms as well. It forces people into the money game who do not wish to play it and it makes wage slaves of its employees. It encourages consumerism, which consumes natural resources more rapidly than they can be replaced. I would like to meet an honest businessman, but I doubt that he would withstand the type of scrutiny that the Catholic Church applies to candidates for sainthood.
7) Problems that result from overpopulation
Again a few examples for which this is a prime, secondary, or tertiary cause are epidemic disease, religionism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, imperialism, unfair laws, nonavailability of justice, emigration, loss of animal habitats, loss of agricultural land, threat of famine, crime, uncompensated victims, poverty, homelessness, child abuse, economic war, threats of war, war, concentration of wealth, teen-age gangs, unsafe streets, people imprisoned in homes, people in prisons, innocents accused and unvindicated, noise pollution, heat pollution, air and water and land pollution, people feeling worthless, the star system, the cult of fame, frustration and helplessness, suicide, the arms race, elitism, the caste system, unfair procreation, the destruction of the cities, forced evacuation of neighborhoods, environmental destruction, ugliness, disenfranchisement, clonism, disappearance of independent thought, intolerance.
This list is not nearly complete. One can scan a single edition of a big city daily paper and write down dozens of problems. In any case, this is not the best way to classify social problems. Probably, the reader can think of better schemes. The whole idea of this appendix, though, is to assure the reader that we really do have problems. Secondly, it would be nice if it is apparent that every problem will be eliminated if we abandon materialism. Moreover, no new problems of any significance will arise. Wouldn’t it be amazing if future generations can no longer conceive of a world with the kind of problems that are not fun to solve, unlike, for example, math problems that are fun to solve and aren’t really problems at all in the sense that these are!
November 19, 1989
2. Aggressive marketing
4. Alienation, of people who can’t cope with complexity of modern life, cf.., health insurance, income taxes, etc.
5. Alienation due to dehumanized work situations (cogs in a giant machine)
7. Anti-social local culture
8. Arms race
9. Artists and scientists not free to create; art and science dying
11. Authoritarianism in the workplace
12. Autocratic and sadistic bosses
14. Bad service
15. Banking crises
16. Banking instability
18. Bi-coastal marriages
21. Bio-diversity, disappearance of
22. Boredom, due to bad entertainment and constant intrusion of commerce
23. Boredom, due to uninteresting work
25. Breakup of the family
27. Broken promises
28. Budget deficits
29. Bureaucratic tyranny
31. Business, dishonesty in
32. Business cycles
33. Capital punishment
34. Caste systems
35. Catastrophic economic cycles
38. Child abuse
39. Child labor
40. Childhood homes unavailable
41. Chronic insobriety
42. Class war
47. Commercialization of art and artists
48. Materialism, causing neglect of priority activities (many)
49. Complicated pricing schemes
50. Concentration of wealth
51. Conspicuous consumption
53. Consumer fraud
55. Consumerism, as waste of resources
56. Consumerism, as a complication of life
57. Consumerism, filling up junk heaps
58. Corruption in academia
59. Corruption in government
60. Coupons, rebates, and sales
61. Craziness leading to unpredictable violence anywhere and everywhere
64. Cruelty to animals
65. Cult of fame
66. Culture, debasement of by commerce
67. Culture, debasement of by rich and powerful with no taste
68. Danger, of industrial ( even nuclear) accidents due to exigencies of competition
69. Death, of plants
70. Death, infant
71. Death, animals
72. Death, in cars
73. Death, in planes
74. Death, in boats
75. Death, of loved ones (unnecessarily prematurely)
76. Death, epidemic disease
77. Debasement of culture
78. Decay of infrastructure, particularly bridges and tunnels
79. Dehumanization, at workplace
80. Dehumanization, in stores and service centers
81. Dehumanization, of people who participate in cruelty to animals even if they eat them later
82. Dehumanization and debasement of culture
83. Dehumanization in all social activities (mostly junk music)
84. Democracy, as a failed experiment
85. Destruction of neighborhoods by creating a poverty class that is impossible to live among
86. Destruction of the cities
87. Deteriorating quality
88. Deteriorating service
89. Disappearance of educated people
90. Disappearance of ethics
91. Disappearance of independent thought
92. Disappearance of the wilderness
93. Disappointment, reality rarely matches expectations raised by school and media
95. Dishonesty in business
96. Disruption of utilities
100. Drugs, availability
101. Drugs, unavailability
102. Drugs, bad laws against
103. Drugs, impurities, wrongly identified, and no hint of strength
104. Drugs, designer, with no history of successful use
105. Earthquakes, people living where they are likely to occur
106. Economic growth, difficulties if it should actually occur
107. Economic growth, falsity employed to simulate it
108. Economic instability
109. Economic parasites and vampires
110. Economic war
111. Education, poor or none or false
113. Elderly, running out of money
114. Elderly, dysfunction in family leaving them defenseless.
116. Elitist clubs
118. Employment, prospects unequal (unfair)
119. Environmental destruction
120. Epidemic disease
121. Escalation of levels at which war is waged abstractly, e.g., SDI
123. Exaltation of excess
124. Excessive entrepreneurial risk
125. Excessive military spending
126. Excessive salaries and profits
127. Exhaustion of available energy sources
128. Existential alienation
129. Exorbitant promises
130. Extinctions of entire species
131. Extreme variability of prices
133. Failure of the legal system
135. Fear, of poor by rich
136. Fear, of rich by poor
137. Fear due to danger of humanity ending
138. Fear due to possibility of becoming extinct
139. Fear due to precariousness of life situation
140. Fear of war
141. Flooding, people living in flood plains
142. Forced evacuation of neighborhoods
144. Frequent relocations
146. Frustration and helplessness
147. Fully employed people who can’t afford housing
149. Gambling to innovate
150. Gambling to start an enterprise
151. Geophagy, of the land itself
152. Geophagy, plants and animals
153. Geophagy, humans
154. Good manners are nearly extinct.
155. Government bureaucracy
156. Government policies that favor childbirth
157. Government regulation, excessive and requiring much paperwork
158. Greed, even children are greedy
159. Hard work and long hours
160. Harmful enterprises
161. Health-care crises
165. Hustling (white-collar petty crime, e.g., confidence games) siphons off the best and the brightest from useful endeavor, i.e., producing food, clothing, shelter, health care, communications, computing, tools, and a few simple luxuries to take the misery and drudgery out of life, e.g., comfort heating and cooling.
168. Ignorance of human society as it actually is
172. Inappropriate juxtapositions of music or other media
174. Individualism, unbridled, practiced and advocated
175. Individualism frustrated
176. Indoctrination in the schools
177. Industrial accidents
178. Industrial planning unacceptably bad due to elitist manner of picking bosses, who, often, are not practitioners of the craft practiced by those they manage
179. Infant mortality
180. Influence, competition tampers with
181. Influence of materialism, on marriage
182. Influence of materialism, on what people read or study
183. Influence of materialism, on vocations
184. Influence of materialism, on relationships with other people
185. Inhumane treatment of animals who will be processed for food
186. Innocents accused and unvindicated
189. Instability in financial markets
190. Instability of neighborhoods
191. Institutionalized injustice
192. Insurance extortion and fraud
194. Invasion of privacy by business
196. Job, absolute dependence upon getting
197. Job, forcing one to make painful life choices to get
198. Job tyranny. The difficulties I myself have encountered because my interests are many and varied and are apt to shift at any time after a relatively short or long stint at one or another pursuit (I don’t know what to call this even. Everyone is expected to be just like the ideal corporate slave. Free choice of lifestyles is forbidden. Freedom doesn’t exist. Most people don’t even realize this because, for them, it is unthinkable not to act like everyone else. Conformity is willingly embraced – even pursued. Normal, natural, inevitable personal idiosyncrasies are ruthlessly weeded out – first by social pressure, then by careful imitation of others (euphemistically called role models), and, finally, medically if necessary. Let’s just call it job tyranny or career tyranny.)
199. Jobs, offers we can’t refuse
200. Jobs, compromising our morals (for me, always)
201. Jobs, exigencies of, requiring disturbance of social relationships, especially painful for children
202. Jobs, as livelihoods, which may not be dispensed with even if not needed
203. Junk mail
204. Kicking incompetents upstairs
205. Lack of opportunities
208. Lives wasted on antisocial schemes
211. Long working hours
212. Loss of agricultural land
213. Loss of animal habitats
214. Low animal cunning dominating intelligence
215. Low animal cunning supplanting human intelligence.
216. Low quality
217. Low wages
219. Management, bankruptcy of entire concept
220. Manipulative media
221. Meaningless jobs
222. Medical extortion
223. Mental distress
223. Meritocracy impossible
225. Millions in prisons
227. Money, worrying about
228. Money, stealing
229. Money, borrowing
230. Money, arguing about
231. Money, telling lies about
232. Money, killing for
233. Money, feeling guilty about having too much
234. Money, feeling guilty (or unworthy) about having too little
235. Money, not knowing who your friends are when you have it
236. Money, not having any friends when you don’t have it
237. Money: intruding into every aspect of our lives and the trouble it causes
238. Movies and television, waste of resources
239. Movies and television, subverting emotional and intellectual growth (also political and philosophical growth)
240. Multi-national corporations (avoiding regulation)
241. Narrowness of vocational choice
242. National debt
243. Nature, destruction of
244. New American tribalism
245. Nonavailability of justice
247. Old-boy and new-girl networks
248. Outdoor signs
249. Overconsumption of resources
252. People feeling exalted
253. People feeling worthless
254. People have lost every aspect of dignity during their rise up the corporate ladder, which may fail.
255. People imprisoned in their own homes
256. People in prisons
257. People poisoning us with the fumes from vehicles they cannot afford to maintain.
258. Perverse interest and delight in scandal and the misery of others
259. Peter Principle
260. Phasing out health benefits and pensions, leaving wage slaves worse off than chattel slaves
261. Philosophical madness and inconsistency (e.g., fetuses vs. adult mice)
262. Phone sales and solicitation
263. Phony artists
264. Phony morality
265. Planning an economy, lack of experience in so doing
266. Play, disappearance of
267. Play, excessively destructive
268. Polarization of society
269. Polarized populations
270. Political conflicts, even petty ones far removed from these issues
271. Political corruption
272. Pollution, air
273. Pollution, heat
274. Pollution, water
275. Pollution, noise
276. Pollution, motion
277. Pollution, food supply
278. Pollution, inner space
279. Pollution, outer space
280. Pollution, mental
281. Pollution, literature
282. Pollution, art
283. Pollution, radiation
284. Pollution of the air, water, soil, and food
285. Poor access to the courts
287. Powerlessness, even over one’s own affairs
288. Precariousness of life on this planet
289. Purchases of useless or harmful articles
292. Radiation, sound, thermal, motion, and space pollution
294. Rape of the land, sea, and air
297. Remuneration is not only not fair, unless we abandon materialism it cannot be made fair.
298. Repression of dissent
299. Resistance to automation
300. Restricted movement within the community due to class war
301. Risky and dangerous business schemes
304. Savages ruling cultivated people
305. Scapegoats, needed to protect the protectors of materialism, e.g., drug hysteria
306. Science, as an industry (big science)
307. Science, abuse of
Marketing: psychology and statistics are abused.
Transportation, excessive use of energy in
308. Science, dishonesty in
311. Sexual and pharmacological prudery
312. Sexual deprivation
313. Sexual frustration among children and adults
314. Single parents
315. Sold-out artists
316. Sorrow due to dying wildlife
318. Star system
320. Starving and frustrated artists
321. State secrets and state crime
324. Tasteless signs and ads
325. Teen-age gangs
328. Television, as a promoter of consumerism
329. Television, as brainwashing
330. Television, as encouraging consumerism
331. Television, as encouraging unnecessary violence
332. Television, as subverting education
333. Television, as a source of misinformation
334. Television, public, as promoting Anglism
335. Television, as a wasteland
336. Television, as a sham
337. Television, promoting consumer fraud
338. Television, shortening attention spans
339. Television, as an annoyance
340. Television, promoting bad (or false) ideals
341. Tempting payments for unreasonable bodily risk
343. Third-world debt
344. Thirst for revenge
345. Threat of famine
346. Threat of war
349. Totalitarianism in the workplace
350. Toxic waste dumps
351. Trade deficit
352. Trade itself, which is a form of theft where no one knows who is the thief and who is the victim
353. Trade wars
354. Trains at night
356. Two-job families
357. Two-job people
358. Tyranny in art, science, and other scholarly pursuits
359. Ubiquitous junk music
361. Ugliness, cities
362. Ugliness, homes
363. Ugliness, public places
364. Uncompensated victims
366. Unfair employment practices
367. Unfair laws
368. Unfair laws against computer “crime” and rebroadcasting radio signals that enter our homes without our permission
369. Unfair procreation
370. Unfair procreation to spread religions and ideologies
371. Unfair remuneration
372. Unfair trading practices
374. Uninsured motorists
375. Union busting
376. Unsafe, unhealthy, and inhospitable workplaces
377. Unsafe dwellings
378. Unsafe homes
379. Unsafe streets
380. Unwanted pregnancies
381. Urban decay
382. Urban flight
384. Useless enterprises
386. Variability of prices
387. Violation of intellectual proprietorship
388. Violations of human dignity
389. VIPs and very unimportant people
390. Vocations, bad timing for entering
391. Wage slavery
393. Wasted lives
394. Wasted sexuality
395. White-collar crime
396. Work, excessive
397. Work, health risks of
398. Work, dividing up pie
399. Work, secondary, tertiary, tasks that serve useless endeavor
400. Work, hustling as a waste of talent
401. World trade without comparative advantage
November 19, 1989
Rearranged May 31, 1996
Further revised June 22, 1996
1. Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto, Washington Square Press, New York (1964).
2. Wayburn, Thomas L., “On a New Theory of Classes”, in The Collected Papers of Thomas. Wayburn, Vol. II, American Policy Inst., Houston (Work in progress 1997).
3. Durkheim, Emile, Suicide: A Study in Sociology, The Free Press, New York (1951).
4. Wayburn, Thomas L., “What We Want and What We Get”, in The Collected Papers of Thomas. Wayburn, Vol. II, American Policy Inst., Houston (Work in progress 1997).
5. Orwell, George, 1984, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Orlando (1987).
6. Chomsky, Noam, World Orders Old and New, Columbia University Press, New York (1995).
7. Wayburn, Thomas L., “On Capitalism”, in The Collected Papers of Thomas. Wayburn, Vol. II, American Policy Inst., Houston (Work in progress 1997).