TED Conversations

peter lindsay

Physics Teacher,

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

The political debate regarding free-market v socialism v libertarianism etc is actually all a complete waste of time.

Every human civilisation eventually spontaneously generates an upper class that goes on to hoard all the goodies to the detriment of the plebians. You've just got to hope that as a pleb you can convince the upper class you have something they need. The time when you really have a problem is when the default ruling class have no ambition and decide to maintain the status quo. It's been 1955 in North Korea for over 50 years now for exactly that reason.

0
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Apr 4 2013: Please do not stop this debate.

    It has provided me with entertainment for years. It is much better than television.

    By the way, your contention is exactly what the upper classes want us all to believe, while the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Karl Marx believe there might be a better way to think. The lack of success to date is not evidence that the upper classes are correct.
    • thumb
      Apr 7 2013: Can you name a past civilisation that didn't end up with a well defined ruling class?
      • Apr 8 2013: No, and that is irrelevant.

        That fact does not imply that a ruling class is inevitable. I believe it is possible to organize a populous culture in such a way that a ruling class never develops. To do so, we may have to go beyond our current thinking about "free-market v socialism v libertarianism etc " It will require thinking outside of the box. It might require smaller government jurisdictions. Some forms of government do not scale upwards successfully. It might require a whole new way of viewing human rights, justice and civic responsibilities. It might involve a culture where ethics is more a matter of social acceptance than legal regulation and punishment. It will probably involve changes that I cannot now imagine.

        We each live for only about one century, so the course of history, about 100 centuries, seems like a long, long stretch of time. But history is not fate. The USA Constitution was written less than three centuries ago, and that was some very out-of-the-box thinking. Far from being the last form of representative government, it was merely one experiment.

        I can tell you one thing for sure, if we give up on the idea, and just concede that there will always be a ruling class, there always will be. I would prefer to try another experiment, and another and another. After another millennium or two, we just might get it right.
        • thumb
          Apr 8 2013: I don't necessarily see my initial statement as one of doom and gloom. I would argue that any of the current forms of governance can provide for everyone if the right people are in charge. It's possible to have a dictatorship where the dictator cares deeply for the well being of his/her people. Just as it's possible to have a free market where large corporations have the well being of prospective customers as a priority. Don't ask me to quote odds on either of these though.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.