Who is steering the ship?

February 7, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Doug Skeates

Democracy is a fine goal in life.  Many Europeans, caught in the throws of Feudalism, headed across the Atlantic Ocean to find a better life. Despite struggles to produce enough food and to achieve a greater level of independence in an agrarian setting they largely achieved their goals.  The Industrial Revolution changed all that and it didn’t take long for the pursuit of wealth to supercede the production of food.  Over the past half century Corporatism  has been replacing Free Enterprise as the basic structure of our lives.  

One writer has noted that the result has been the evolution of the world’s greatest problems faced by mankind, global warming causing massive climate change, nuclear war with a potential for destruction  of human life, the growing gap between the rich and the poor with a rapidly diminishing middle class and fourth, a steady decline of the world’s resources with the loss of many species of plants and animals.  Mankind’s survival or even control of the decision making process are at risk let alone the forlorn hope for sustaining democracy.

Various protest movements have indicated a general sense of dissatisfaction with the present structural decision making processes around the world about which average people have little input.  Power structures, leaders in huge industries and governments, appear to be in ultimate control of national policies.  Probably the present struggle about climate change relating to global warming is the best  reported news item.  Obviously this is of world wide concern, a major issue in most peoples’ minds.  However action is a different subject.  Fossil fuels industries, including a high proportion of consumers benefiting from such a familiar and/or profitable resource, balk at making the necessary changes in public attitude.  Canadians are fortunate to be living in a  forested nation since global air patterns constantly move from one continent to another.  Though Canada is a small nation regarding generation of emissions, it’s trees have great influence in absorbing such pollutants to be stored in the form of wood.   It is up to mankind, despite leadership supporting economic priorities, to work with nature, maintaining or increasing delivery of this function.

The threat of nuclear warfare between the world’s super powers appears to have diminished in people’s minds with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Several lesser states have developed sophisticated nuclear technology.  The danger to mankind globally is not clear but concerns with nuclear development in India, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea are disturbing.  It must be kept in mind that the U.S. is the only country which has already  used nuclear power in warfare and having the capability of doing so again.  It only depends on one radical leader to press the button to initiate a global calamity and recent rhetoric has been unsettling.

Progress has been made regarding to the welfare of mankind but the present imbalance in power between the wealthy and the rest of the world’s population provides a dangerous gap in society.  The basis of democracy is the strength of the middle class.  It is interesting to note that the power structure in society has moved relentlessly to decision making by the wealthy, a  segment of society controlling  big business and big government.  Salaries for those in the middle range of society have stagnated as has their influence in managing life.  Obviously the powerful segment of society rules for their own benefit despite protest marches by the majority.  Those running for office tend to pay lip service to the masses on one day every four years when elections are called.

Many of the decisions made are based on corporate profitability. Development often takes precedence over environmental considerations resulting in lost habitat for thousands of plant and animal species.  Mankind is only one part of an interrelated mix composed by nature and as more and more plants and animals become endangered the loss to humanity is beyond measure.

In a capitalistic society geared to business profit, leadership in decision making leans further and further away from the basic elements required by society as a whole.  Dissatisfaction leads to ever greater disruption in public order hence increasing chaos in society often including violent behavior.  Just who is providing leadership?

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