sábado, 23 de mayo de 2009

Utopia is urgent and necessary – English

Obviously the current social structure presents too many problems and too much irrationality, so it can’t be sustained much longer. Surely something has to go through and profoundly alter the current state of affairs.

We’ve left too many spaces to poverty and malnutrition, to human rights abuses, to misuse of natural resources.

Family is the basic institution of our society and we haven't paid enough attention to its daily needs or to education and recreation needs; we haven't paid enough attention to children protection either. We haven't taken proper care of drug addicts and the armed conflicts and wars reasons either. At the same time we haven't managed to emphasize the transmission of ethical and spiritual values and social coexistence as a way to impose these ideas and life guidance over the materialistic obsessions and the most selfish feelings.

Violent clashes between human groups by race, by gender or sexual orientation, by ideological and political differences, by cosmological-philosophical and religious differences, by ancient hatreds transmitted from generation to generation, are issues that we’ve allowed to progress too much. Obviously also the so called common crimes and street violence have progressed at an alarming rate, creating a feeling of insecurity which is unfortunately consistent with what happens in the social structure.

The Catalan social activist Agustí Chalaux said that love and solidarity -intelligently expressed in economic terms and in an appropriate institutional structure-, can provide us the most of gains. Manifestly, this intelligent social philosopher had the boldness and steadfastness of developing a complete social project, which is integral, comprehensive and feasible, and as a whole, accomplishes to solve the most serious problems of our time; but his words and ideas, which circulate in certain academic scopes, have not yet reached -as they should- neither the more prominent and important mass media nor the political decision-making ambit.

The previous paragraphs have identified a series of social coexistence problems that the vast majority of people will clearly identify as serious or very serious troubles, which we are clearly dealing with -as a society- in a very inadequate way.

Let’s see, we try to tackle poverty and destitution through international cooperation, through national social programs financed by the tax system, and recently, through the well known millennium development goals. Obviously these mechanisms have proved inadequate.

On one hand, we try to solve the problems generated by drug trafficking, smuggling of goods -particularly the smuggling of weapons- and the so called common crime through a repressive and punitive system that without doubt has given very few and poor positive results so far. And worse, our prison structures are so overcrowded and damaged that rehabilitation and reintegration of the offenders is a mere theoretical target which is not reflected in reality.

We’re not clearly managing education as we should, at least in some regions and within certain social groups; dropout and illiteracy still remain too high.

Today, values education is promoted by many educational institutions, and is certainly reflected in some educational content and also in the publicity that some educational institutions perform, but then, when students fully integrate themselves into civilian work life, they find companies which carry legal and illegal/deceptive accounting practices, as well as corruption and abuse of authority at various levels, widespread tax fraud, kickbacks and bribes, public officials who hasten administrative procedures for a small commission, irregularities and abuse committed by both employers and employees, high level professional speculators and also occasional opportunistic speculators who enrich themselves in an unmerited and unfair way, etc. And given this reality, a lot of people leave their principles aside wondering: Why not me too?

Climate change and environmental degradation are a palpable reality, but regulations -both at international and national levels- are inadequate and grossly atomized. The evidence on ecological damage and the economic assessment of these damages are set with excessive slowness and difficulty, and indeed the recovery of damages as compensation is late and happens in very few cases, so this course of action today does not act properly, neither as a source of deterrence nor persuasion.

However, money is the major distributor of resources and opportunities, and could be an organizational element acting with greater strength than the spiritual and moral principles. But of course, as Agustí Chalaux well said, the money we currently use is neither informative nor responsible, and as a direct result of this factor we live in an economic-monetary chaos, though it provides a predictable overall development, fluctuating between certain limits.

Nominal money and an intelligent currency engineering that allows the complete tracking of the payment chain and transfers on a global level could mean a very important roll in our coexistence relationships and in our social development. To a large extent today, the judiciary and the Government must act in hugely uncertain environments; and telematic money, proposed more than twenty-five years ago in the Catalan academic field, could represent a radical shift to this situation.

As soon as the chaotic situation and the possible change in the nature of money are considered, many will be convinced that the only viable solution for our sick socioeconomic structure is to move towards a higher degree of automation in the financial management, including the use of virtual currencies and also including a substantial improvement in the standardization and centralized management of historical transaction databases. This may well star out with a single country or a monetary union, but sooner or later, we should be able to cover almost the entire planet; otherwise we would be leaving a too valuable space to tax havens.

Tax havens are the weakest side of liberal capitalism. The sometimes pompously called “International Financial Services Centers” are the cancer of the liberal and competitive economy. Taxes and fees are the price to pay for a civilized society, but attention: tax evasion and tax havens should not be fought with inspections and punishment, and certainly not with calls for solidarity and morality. A suitable financial institutional framework -where tax evasion and tax havens are practically and basically non-existent- should be established; an appropriate financial institutional framework should be established, in which tax evasion and tax havens are basically almost impossible to carry out.

These thoughts end up here with a recommendation and an invitation to readers. The social order and the problems of our time are everyone’s responsibility and we would do wrongly if we conveniently leave these matters solely in the hands of technicians and/or the rulers of the day, and/or the heads of the international organizations. Each one of us at our own level and according to our abilities in this regard should have a careful attitude, in creative innovative thinking, in seeking information and solutions, and of course also in the dissemination of these concerns by word of mouth and/or through the available media.

We, who for some time have deepened in the solutions conceived and expressed by Agustí Chalaux, confirm that the marked path could provide us such great benefits, that their mere enumeration could easily make believe we’re describing a unattainable and unrealizable social utopia. But utopia is urgent and necessary.

We’re not asking the eventual reader to believe this lines as is; we’re only asking you to take into account the recently expressed points of view, and to become acquainted of this topics the best that you can, for example by appropriate Internet searches, for example visiting the sites listed below:
http://www.bardina.org/ http://www.chalaux.org/ http://www.finaly.org/

In the web sites listed above, there is plenty of information on the recently marked issues, both in video and text format, and indeed in different languages: Spanish and Catalan, but also English, French, Italian, German, Galician and even Esperanto. Inform yourself the best that you can, and form your own opinion.

We set social structure together, and together we must reorder it and improve it.

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