James Turner

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Is social engineering by governments good for a country or bad for a country.

This issue is about social engineering and the impact it has on countries productivity, and quality of life. Let me define social engineering as an act by a governmental body that forces one view or another on the general public. Let me use Political Correctness as an example. Some things should not be said in the work environment simply because they cause strife or show a disregard for others. Do we control that through rule of law or by through education of people?
No matter how hard we try to believe it all people are not equal in all things. Some are more talented and push themselves harder to reach a goal. Should we be forced to allow the most unmotivated and least skilled athletes compete in the Olympics by rule of law? An example might be a law require that a non swimmer be allowed to only do the run and the bike ride in a triathaelon and require that they get first place if they come in with the shortest time? That also is social engineering.
I know the examples are silly but they make the point of discussion. Is it good to social engineer or bad, or maybe it depends. Should governments be making laws so certain people do not feel bad about themselves?

  • Oct 16 2011: I don't think that government should promote a single idea.
    However, promoting absolutely no ideas could equally be bad.
    I think that government should try to promote as many different ideas as possible and let the people decide what to believe.
    For this to work, however, we would need various mechanisms of an educated population:
    -an open mind and willingness to be wrong
    -an ability to listen to new ideas
    -an ability to challenge pre-existing ideas

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    Oct 16 2011: James,
    we don't really know, do we?

    -the countries that have socially engineered in a communist model are failures
    -the countries that have socially engineerd consumers to bluntly swallow capitalism are failures
    -the countries that have socially engineered the "third way" seem to be successful

    So it's not a question of social engineering (all governments do this); it's a question of which type of ideology is inculcated into people.
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    Oct 18 2011: It has been said that those who stand for election to positions of power are those least suited to exercise power. Currently we have an abundance of exmples which support this viewpoint. On that basis, whatever a government does is more likely to be bad for a country than good for it.
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      Oct 18 2011: AS we say out here in the wild west Yehaaw and right on the point Thanks
  • Oct 16 2011: With "forces" being the key word in your statement, I would say no it's not good and I've never appreciated it in this country. I don't want any view forced on me for any reason. I think I'm still free because reality has not come through yet.
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    Oct 15 2011: It depends on the type of governement. A socialist government is based on the fact that everyone will have a job, home, etc. so that they are equal no matter the levels of intelligence, strength, wit, etc. So in a socialist government, social engineering fits perfectly into what they believe in.

    In a country like the USA, sucsess is considered to be reachable by everyone. If someone works harder than another, they should be rewarded for it. If someone is faster or stronger, they should be able to use their ability to give themself an advantage. The problem is, there will always be a 'winner' and a 'loser'. Not everyone can 'win' or be the best at something, but it is up to them to get back onto their feet and continue to lead a life they are proud of, doing something they enjoy, and hpefully, contributing to society. In a society like this, social engineering and its basis of ideas is looked down upon and considered to be against everything their country stands for.

    Whether social engineering is good for a country completely depends on the country. Some countries may benefit, others may not.
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      Oct 16 2011: maybe the key lies in the terms and ideas behind winners and losers. We assume that he winner is better and the loser is a total failure. Yet, the comparison is only between those who participated. I wonder how things would go if we got rid of the loser stigma and simply said that the person took second behind .... Let me use Sarah Palin as an example. She was on the losing team in the presidential election but has done a lot of good trying to help America stay strong. Did she lose? Yes but was she a loser in the sense of a complete and total failure worthy of contempt I would say no. I agree it is the second places person to get up and get going again and not depend on the government to make it good for them. That is why I question social engineering. I think at essence we agree
      • Oct 22 2011: Removing the "loser stigma" has already been tried for many years in the United States. Some examples include ninth-place trophies and schools not administering failing grades.

        We are reaping what we have sewn.

        It is now okay to be a loser, a bum begging for money or turning down jobs because welfare pays out more money. A lot of people think it is fine to break legal commitments such a credit card bills and house payments because nothing serious beyond a minor setback will happen.

        When you remove the loser stigma, people don't fear losing and thus they do not commit. Without the loser stigma, how can a person ever have pride? Pride is lost because losing becomes the same as winning. All the hard work one may do is not acknowledged because to acknowledge hard work is to acknowledge a winner.

        In a world where we can't make losers feel like losers, we can't let winners feel like winners.
    • Oct 20 2011: I find it quite interesting that Americans continue to believe in the "American Dream" even though it is not realistic for the majority of Americans. I completely agree with Laurens that each country indoctrinates its citizens and it seems that the American government has been very successful with their propaganda.

      If the USA is a place where success is reachable by everyone, why is the US Gini Coefficient on par with that of Mexico and China (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gini_Coefficient_World_CIA_Report_2009.png)? The statistic clearly indicate that success is shared only by a select few winners and these winners are duping the rest of the public to believe they can have a slice of the pie.

      James, why is it that Americans seem to be so easily duped?
      • Oct 22 2011: You have failed to see that the American Dream is the idea of having equal opportunity. (NOT SUCCESS)

        Many people including some Americans misconstrue the American Dream. People come to the United States for the equal opportunity but they also hope (dream) about the potential success that equal opportunity affords everyone.
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        Oct 22 2011: I agree with Bob the idea is to come to have the chance to succeed. History tells us of many other countries that have killed the chance to succeed. If, I may, Medevial Europe with the kings and nobles had no chance to succeed for the commoner. They had no dream to follow according to the written records. It ended up in the worst time in history in the Dark Ages. Granted a lot of it came from disease but according to the historians most of the learning stopped for the common man. The countries struggled to overcome this problem as I may infer the common man had no hope to "get above his station". Here we have had hard times like in the great depression but people still come here from Europe and the rest of the world for the Dream of the chance to succeed. Many many do succeed. Maybe not becoming millionaires but having a life that is better than they had at home. Their children go to college where they might not have been able to at home. They develop businesses that they could never have developed at home. Look at Baja Fresh a fast food restaurant that got started by two brothers from Korea whose father brought them here for the dream. The dream takes many forms and changes from generation to generation. The chance is held out to everyone that comes and if they choose to make the sacrifices and do the work they can achieve their individual version of the dream. I hope you find your dream if you have not already. Best wishes
        James Turner
  • Oct 22 2011: Social engineering is outsides the bounds of what a good government for the people should provide.

    That is my opinion and I'm glad that there is no government regulation (yet) against having one.
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    Oct 16 2011: The answer depends how you define a Government, its role. That is dictated by your family, social values and upbringing. What do you think the responsibility of UNBIASED parents to divide its property among its children with different ability and potential? Whether you believe that even the least intelligent and enterprising child has some legitimate claim over parental property or if you believe winners SHOULD take it ALL, no matter what the contribution of others are? Just extend that analogy to a country level and you will get the answer, hopefully.