What the Heck is a Social Contract and How do We Renegotiate?

A Short Discussion of What’s Wrong With Our Capitalism

Thomas Hobbes

The number one issue since Hobbes’ Leviathan has been protection of the people from the war of all against all, which was the case during the English civil war (1642-51).  This is otherwise known as the social contract. We surrender personal liberty to government in exchange for protection against lawlessness.

Reshaping capitalism in the first place must eliminate unrestricted capitalism and provide tangible return on invention and initiative while acknowledging the contribution of labor to the success of the American enterprise.  Education is a common investment in the future of our economy and should be heavily subsidized to allow access based on merit.  Education includes art, music, science, and the liberal arts.  A society unschooled in the appreciation of the arts cannot expect to produce an enlightened citizenry.

Investment is essential for the maintenance and construction of necessary infrastructure of road, rail, environment and cultural patrimony.  Poverty must be lessened through investing in  the most disadvantaged and eliminating the core reasons for criminalizing youth.

The government must staff and pay for institutions like schools, prisons rather than privatizing them.  Private prisons develop private lobbies to build more prisons.  There must be a justification why the US has 743/100k imprisoned and the UK has 150/100k (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate).

Limits must be placed on the accumulation of wealth beyond a certain amounts.  The ratio of pay to a CEO and the least worker has changed unreasonably and the flow of wealth must not be from the middle classes to the super rich, but for the benefit of the middle and lower classes through taxation.  (http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20060621/)  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woIkIph5xcU)

Justice must demand that the wealth of the Earth be spread proportionately among those who produce it.  Certainly the entrepreneur whose imagination and skill created the wealth must be rewarded.   But that reward should not be so excessive as to create an aristocracy.  Living in a society in a state of war of every man against every man creates a state where the more able exploit less able without regard for the contribution of those whose sweat created the wealth.

Accompanying the wealth disparity is the specter of a Malthusian catastrophe where hungry mouths chase finite resources to an inevitable collapse.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusian_catastrophe).  In plain language this event occurs when people, having enough food, breed creating more people who need more food.  This is eventually scarcity is unsustainable and if you have ever raised mice as a child you know that without enough room and food, mice will eat their young.  Our population must be controlled to a sustainable size.

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About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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