Genevieve Tran

This conversation is closed.

Does your society lift young people up or push them down?

I think people become fearful with age. They get a family, a job that pays well and a mortgage. It is both comfortable and high-stakes--and they don't want to shake it up. Perhaps, also subconsciously, they are afraid of anyone else changing it (i.e. young people)---and they actively set up systems to stop it. In my worst conspiracy-theory death spirals, I will think of the following:

Huge student loans will keep young people quiet and toiling for a long while. Vapid pop culture will occupy their exhausted minds. Aggressive marketing will eventually run up their credit card debt and depression. Ever-changing fashion and its association with personal relevance drains their funds and regard for the worth of others and the environment. Prohibitively expensive rent / homes will keep them dependent / unsheltered. The expectation of getting degreed in university will waste their time (in many cases). A political process they don't understand will keep them irrelevant. An education that does not teach nutrition or personal finance, will keep them enslaved by food corporations and banks.

I read recently that Italy is "increasingly becoming a nation of pensioners, ruled by pensioners for the sake of pensioners". Don't even get me started about Japan, where I live. Baby boomers, you've dominated us demographically. You are our parents. What is this?

  • Nov 21 2011: Your sentiments are "dead" on and "the times they are a changing" to quote Dylan (albeit a bit late). More importantly don't despair. In your lifetime and perhaps even mine it will happen. Here are my thoughts using the USA as a model. When a government fails it's people and dissatisfaction grows to the extent in the USA, government will not be forced to change, it will simply be replaced with an improved model of freedom. The stage is now set for this transition. The issue is the lack of a logical plan, both in terms of objectives and the path to get there relative to our current government and corruption. History bears witness that change will occur....the Arab Sprint as a recent example (and yes I am working on it and have been for several years as undoubtedly others have in their own way).

    The simple issue is that our forefathers could not predict what this country would become - meaning the Constitution no longer is adequate, and to the extent that it does serve the country, it has been violated repeatedly despite the controls incorporated into it. While I have great respect for Jefferson and the original signers they were simply men, not infallible. 'The crime is it has not been changed and today over time and now change, under the current political system, is impossible. When it happens, it will be peaceful, it will occur very very rapidly. My hope is that the new model will be adopted by other nations and spread. If you wish to stay in touch downstream drop me an email. Tangoblue@netscape.net
  • thumb
    Nov 17 2011: Genevieve -- I think your "worst conspiracy-theory" you've outlined is happening as we speak. It has yet to be given a good name, so let's think of a label we can pin to it for all to see and understand. What you are describing is a strain of capitalism that is driven by greed.

    Don't get me wrong - I think capitalism is generally speaking a good economic engine - but not the unconditional/unbridaled form we are grappling with presently.

    Let's give it a name. From time to time I've described it as capitalism on steroids. It is definitely a form of capitralism that places almost no value on morality and responsibility to others.

    Thanks for bringing this issue to the fore. People need to speak out more forciblly on this isssue. It is a large part of what the Occupy Wall Street movement has tried to express, but it has largely failed because of a lack of leadership in the movement.
    • thumb
      Nov 17 2011: Before we label the OWS as having a lack of leadership or being leaderless, perhaps we can be open to a new paradigm of extreme decentralization. I've read that perhaps, it is "leader-full"--that the dad-at-the-helm / top-down approach is exactly what the movement is rejecting. I think it is analogous with how life really works: a big amorphous undefined blob, that we just have to make sense of. We can't say that it has failed, until it has. Today is a big day, in fact. Stay tuned.

      I am watching with great interest how this will take root in society. It is provoking such telling reactions by mayor-directed police. Before we ever criticize China or some African dictatorship, we should get a load of how we operate.

      BTW, I think the word that you are looking for is: "Capitalism", no surprises, nothing new. These effects are exactly what was called for. And incidentally, the Invisible Hand holds the police batons that beat anyone who dares oppose it. The OWS is just basically and finally, a coincidence of A LOT of people who realize that the system does not work for them. I think when Capitalism came around originally, it seemed like a much more democratic alternative to feudalism or serfdom, so it got wide acceptance. And the middle-class upgrade of the serfs shut us up for a good long while.

      Anyway, fast forward to now. OWS is unfortunately, populated by many young people, born too late in the game where head starts mean a lot.
      • thumb
        Nov 18 2011: First of all, I love your response, your intelligence. But I have some differing thoughts I'd like to share (though I am largely with you).

        I think the symbolic importance of physically occupying space in major cities to bring attention to the pressing economic, political and social problems has been spent... In fact, they have done themselves some harm by not controling the message and by allowing a segment of parasiites to muddy the movement for change. They spend more time trying to cope with and manage the logistics of Now they need to move on to stage two.

        Stage 1 was a success if for no other reason that it expressed the frustration (understatement) with unbridaled capitalism, political polarization and stalemate, and the frightening chasm between the haves and have nots. But we could lose that if we don't build upon it. In my opinion OWS has plenty of consensus but not a very impressive strategy for affecting change.

        Still, I'm with them all the way - or until they lose there way.

        I disagree with your blanket condemnation of capitalism. I definitely think the deadly strain of capitalism ("lethal capitalism"?) that has gotten us to this critical turning point needs to be rooted out and destroyed; but compassionate, moral, socially acceptable capitalism as an economic engine for a society can be just as powerful to do good for the vast majority of a democratic society.

        Thsnk you for starting this conversation...
        • thumb
          Nov 18 2011: I agree that the OWS could lose their way--but 2011 has been such a year for unprecedented success for youth around the world in overthrowing norms. I cannot begin to underestimate what might happen next.

          Also, I think Capitalism necessarily morphs into the lethal form over time, especially when administered by humans. The more compassionate form did exist in the beginnings, when abnormal growth of the few and decimation of the many hadn`t happened yet. Evolution, as the basic law of how natural systems go would dictate that resource hording effectively strangles out other competition quite effectively. Capitalism teaches effective hording skills.
  • thumb
    Nov 27 2011: Yep... ITS A GOOD QUESTION!

    Who is SOCIETY by the way? Are we not part of it? CAN WE NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT US(we) PUTTING US(we) DOWN?

    I mean society is US(we). The youth is the FUTURE of SOCIETY.

    YES, it is US.

    The real problem is that only few CONTROL the institution of SOCIETY.
    The moment the YOUTH will have CONTROL is the time we are SET FREE.
    WE, the YOUTH should then encourage our FELLOWS to TAKE PART.
    to have BETTER CONTROL
    of our OURSELVES(sexual,living,money etc.)
    OUR ENVIRONMENT(natural, economic and social etc.)
    and our FUTURE(?)

    Knowing that our SOCIETY pulls YOU DOWN is one great reflection.
    But KNOWING how TO PULL YOURSELF UP is ONE GREAT ACT.
  • Nov 24 2011: I have been recently thinking about exactly this issue.
    It is hard not look at the baby boomers as the luckiest and maybe most selfish generation in the history of the world.

    They enjoyed most of the benefits and will not have to face many of the consequences. It is the 'me' generation that gave us counter-culture, hippies, yuppies, an environmental crisis and now a financial crisis and epitomised by the King of Cool Capitalism Steve Jobs. Tempting to think they are different people but it's just the same cohort getting older and dominating the social, cultural and economic scene.

    It is the generation that put their parents in nursing homes but they're not going to let anyone put them in a home. They are a demographic cohort that will use their power to protect their pensions and increase their rights. The generation that could defy their elders can defy their offspring.. It's not an evil plan, they are just doing what people with power do - dominate.

    Expect to see a rise in religion when they approach death and find atheism which many promoted to be somewhat less appealing.

    But this is only one side of the story, it is a Western-centric story. The birth of the 7 billionth child reminds us that we have more youth in the world than ever and we are still an overwhelmingly youthful planet.

    So what are WE going to do about it?
  • Nov 20 2011: Perhaps we lift them just enough to separate (dehumaninze) them. I think American society has this kind of double-standard. It gives the appearance of lifting them up, (give them free "ABCs -n- 123s," free lunches, un-free forced medication!), but as far as core strengths are concerned: nada (Make Sure that the Coke-Machine stays at the front-&-center of the lunch room though). It protects kids more than it respects them! (Even the esteemed Dr. Phil says: It's natural - now put a stop to it. [paraphrased])

    Even the tiniest of our organizations seem to need their top-down by-laws & micromanagement regulations; whereas simple friendships just have trust & respect, and apologies & a humble step back.

    You ask the Baby boomers what this is. I think they don't know either. (I think you need to go back at least to the creation of The Fed at Jeckyl Island - that's one big sword in our back.)
    The Baby boomers were too caught up in the big wars to really live their lives like they wanted.

    Do your children ever get to see you cry, and work through it? Do we ever sit them down & ask them where we're going as a family, and get their input on what to do next?

    I think you've covered your conspiracy well.

    (and a nice set of related talks, too)
    • thumb
      Nov 21 2011: The alternative to the conspiracy theory, according to what you've written here, is that none of use really have a clue; that this is what happens when conscious, cognitive, educated decisions are NOT being made. This totally makes sense too. When our bottom line decisions are always informed by profit margins, instant pleasure, or the easiest way out, this is the resultant society we get.

      Our parents were too busy building the image of happiness advertised to them. There really are no parenting classes and each person just hits the ground running whatever generation they're born into. I sympathize with adults who have put in a solid lifetime''s work for a middle-class definition of a good life. I feel that they have somehow been duped too.
  • Nov 19 2011: May I suggest a slightly different view.....Starting at the top the system, government, capitalism and human nature, both greed and apathy, are the issues...as well as dispute a fact or two. First student loans average $25,000, less than the price of many new cars. As for those that create much larger debt what can I say other than dumb. Doing the junior college two year basics and then on to a college / university makes much more sense. Secondly education will come down dramatically in cost within the next ten years, possibly sooner and the beginning is already there...the academics and tenure will be replaced by any education you want on the internet. Third....a higher level education dos not guarantee you a "good' (as in perceived) job and in fact most do not work in the field they graduated in nor do they look back at is as being overly beneficial to what they have ended up doing. As for culture (or lack of) I could not agree more that it appears that way but most of us wear jeans and are comfortable in not terribly expensive shoes. The advertising hype is just that....my hope is it only impacts nubile 13 year girls. Most of us grow out of that phase. The mortgage issue you bring up has changed....housing is down and will very probably stay down. Couple that with the recognition that big is not necessarily better and we evolve into a more practical existence....one curiously that also supports living. With respect to fearful....many may get fearful but it's about death more than loss of possessions. That probably is natural to some degree. Because a couple of generations were brought up with an overwhelming desire for material possession and relative apathy with respect to government there is a future effect. That though can be fixed and some of us are working on it. Keep the faith....mankind will survive.
    • thumb
      Nov 21 2011: Hi Stephen, I feel that we are slowly awakening; that mass consciousness in 2011 is building up critical mass around the world. The rush of information floodwater all around us has caused the hollow, insubstantial ideas of our society to reveal themselves by hopelessly bobbing around (ex: the recent "pizza is a vegetable" idea endorsed by congress has got to be the worst case of this). Dang pizza farmers! Anyway, it is amazing how many bad ideas there are that have been stuck to us for so long.

      Soon, for instance, I think people in the US will be sick and tired of those 2 hackneyed political parties and will overthrow that false-choice system. Canada, where I'm originally from, has the same issue. Our current "leader" is gross.
  • Nov 19 2011: The Andrzej's country is Poland. Mine too. He is talking about past times I think, when there was comunism in Poland or early stages of transformation. The problem is that our country still don't have any conception about helping young people, in any way. The diffrence is that we now have vast opportunities, because of globalisation and our opening to europe. The real problem now is: We have many ways to go, but no support on which to choose, which we want. Young people are confused on what they really want to do, I'm
    • thumb
      Nov 19 2011: Oooh, please please please learn from our mistakes. I'm excited for you!! I think it is CRUCIAL that your young people understand what is at stake: the unchartered frontier for the whole country is at risk of being taken over by first-responders with money (maybe from other countries), that will exploit the confusion and no-plan of the young people / future.

      I think you should leverage technology and start "educating" each other on a new charter (list of what you want for your future). Make entertaining youtube videos in Polish to talk about what you want for Poland. Interview random people and ask them that question. Ask them what they DON'T want -- as learned from western cultures gone wrong. Find out what your collective values are: social well-being? Health? Education? The Environment?

      Above all, make sure that there is somehow a conscious effort, conscious movement to PLAN. Without one, there will be people sure to feed on general ignorance and naivete--eventually they will influence politics and the laws that govern you. Start a TEDx there!! Or a Pecha Kucha--maybe there already is! Make sure that the presence and consciousness of young people of Poland is savvy and aware, not ripe for picking by stupid corporations. Brand yourselves that way--it becomes a self-fulling prophecy!
      • Nov 19 2011: Learning from someone else mistakes is hard, I know it. But there is a small problem with what you are saying though. Geopolitics is against us. I live in quite small country, developing country, may by someone called emerging country, but close to western countries. What it all means? It means that european crisis is not touching us, we live quite well and many of us, just simply don't want to change anything, to make our lifes better. It's also written into our nation genome, we complain everyday on almost everything, but we don't change anything. You have no idea how much time and energy I spend to reverse that process I was thaught. I knew that complaining would't help in anything, but that is what everybody were and are doing. In other hand it became national flaw, and many youg people had realised that. Every Poland achievement in science/education is powered by young people, but sadly those who were raised in comunism aren't helping a bit. So i think my society is pushing young people down. Every person up here knows that but noone does anything apart complaining how bad it is.

        PS. Those things that you said about asking ourselves, about our collective values, we do that, but not as a whole nation. There are polish sites about self development, career, life in general, some of them are very good, but they are directed to the people who really care about theirs life quality, and that is a small group. We can't infect it to whole nation, belive me we tried, and at some point we gave up. Well that's all, please tell me if you meant something else, and i didn't understood it, it's a complex case
      • Nov 19 2011: By yours reply i can tell that you haven't spotted where the Poland is on those charts in the video you linked ;) "(Bulgaria seems to have it a lot worse)" Well our problems are diffrent than Bulgaria's. The biggest is that very few young people wants to fight for a change, and I as their representant shall mind my own business and suggest to move on over that. Thank you for usefull conversation(for me). Bye
        • thumb
          Nov 20 2011: Well, in that presentation Bulgaria was Dead LAST in:

          - Innovation,
          - Health Care,
          - Happiness Relative to Income per Capita
          - GDP
          - Reading Math and Science
          - Consumer confidence in Business
          - Rate of Business Start Ups

          sometimes in the EU, sometimes relative to OECD countries. Steve Keil wanted to say that they were last in everything. And perhaps their sense of doom and social malaise kept them down. Poland featured on the first two indices and were a few rankings ahead....so, I hope that there is hope!
  • thumb
    Nov 19 2011: Both... Depends upon the thinking...
  • Nov 19 2011: The beauty of this system is that it will integrate knowledge like a multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. The pieces that make the most connections have the most weight. Anything that can’t be verified is tested against existing and new knowledge until it is explained or proved wrong. Thus the accuracy of the database improves, as does the education of the students. It doesn’t matter where they attend. They are all at the same university. In the way that Facebook and Linkedin matches those of similar backgrounds this system will match people of similar intellectual pursuits and be able to assemble very effective multi-disciplinary teams. Those would be truly inspirational experiences.

    I believe that the monetary system should go for many reasons. Here is my most recent thought.
    Martin Luther discovered that the Catholic Church was corrupt. He struggled with the implications of this and decided that a new reformed church could be a better channel to God. He could not accept the truth: that there was no God, it was simply a myth used for political manipulation.

    Similarly, John Maynard Keynes discovered that the corrupting affects of the monetary system caused the 1930s depression and the Second World War. He decided that well run government and new international institutions (World Bank and IMF). Our governments are not capable of Keynesian economics: they cannot make cuts and saving during the good times in preparation for the inevitable downturns. The World Bank and IMF are not longer populated by economists devoted to the Keynesian cause. The solution is inevitable. The monetary system is the cause of our problems.

    We must switch to a resource base economy where everything is managed by the accumulation and integration of knowledge and application of that knowledge through the scientific principles to achieve the most good. This would lead inevitably to prosperity. The other path leads back to destruction.
    Check out www.thevenusproject.com.
  • Nov 19 2011: Your idea with the university is interesting. Generally speaking, especially for technical subjects, this is already done at post-graduate level. At this stage the commercial benefit to the company can be clearly shown. There are many areas of study for which there would no commercial benefit could be shown for the company. This would have a very negative impact on the students experience and enrolment numbers for these areas of study.
    However, you are highlighting a serious problem attributable to information overload. Universities today, and don’t even talk about high schools cannot keep up with our advances in knowledge. What is needed are computerized tutors with access to whole world of integrated knowledge. What Wikipedia does for general knowledge, www.wolframalpha.com does for mathematics. These types of intelligent databases are already available to the military and one is a competitor on Jeopardy.

    This way, students do what student should do, pursue their curiosity. If they ask something that stumps the tutor it is fed back to a central database. If they discover something new it is immediately update centrally. Thus, the life of a student makes a contribution to society at large and their eagerness and curiosity is greeted with relevant discussion and updates not the usual snow-job.
  • Nov 19 2011: Hi Genevieve,

    On the subject of access to information: it is more than we have ever had before but very distorted. The pressure to make information saleable changes its content. Opinions are labeled as facts and arguments are made by recourse to emotions rather than the impeccability of the logic. Contributors withhold information out of fear of creating the wrong impression, betraying valuable secrets or the sheer complexity to explaining a study that they themselves do not fully understand or at least could not simulate in their own minds (or even with the latest computer models).

    On the subject of greed, Ayn Rand has been badly misused. She pointed out the negative impact of the type of altruism which wastes resources giving people what they don’t want for themselves and living off the political capital. This message got distorted into the “greed is good” slogan and used to justify the great many “Chicago School” experiments with pure capitalism that destroyed so many lives. However, wanting to improve a process, a machine, a means of analysis to improve your own situation has the knock on effect of helping others. This is good. This is the type of greed we need: a hunger to understand and a desire to improve.

    The problem is that so much of what we do is automatic. Just like driving a car, we rarely improve after a certain point. Our reactions become fixed. The traffic situations change the power of the vehicles increases but our reactions remain the same. It is not just the prescribed manuals that are at fault but the map inside our heads (or spine in cases where we don’t have time to think). This does not happen with the new Google car which constantly collects data and subjects it the statistical analysis to inform the best driving style that the data will allow. Similarly, your GPS unit can guide you to anywhere in London without you passing the London taxi driver test.
  • thumb

    Ryan F

    • 0
    Nov 18 2011: In the United States, where many of your fears are rather relevant, I would say that these distractions are very real, but not intentional. We often portray entities of power as brilliant and diabolical; this is rare in my experience with the older generation, because contrary to our most paranoid inclinations, these people are just as ignorant and distracted by similar (if not the same) rubbish.
    • thumb
      Nov 18 2011: You are totally right. Like the saying goes, (sort of): it is the inaction of the rest of the people that lets "evil" flourish. I bet many "powerful" people don't even know how / why they got to be that way and self-destruct out of insecurity / guilt / indulgence. I just wanted to know if any of the crap was on purpose.

      Though, if you are right (that the powers-that-be are as cluesless), then how uncannily our society / economy favours the established must mean that:

      1. God is a hedge fund manager
      2. Some people are just "luckier" (below in other threads I've already gone on about unrewarded talent, genius, hard work etc)

      Seriously, tho, I think the subprime mortgage disaster was a totally orchestrated act that damaged millions of people, as are the decisions to inject plants and animals with hormones to make food look the same, but require less resources (and nutrition) to grow. Child labor in the early 20th century only ended because Lewis Hines came in the factories with a camera. Before that, industrial managers knew that kids were easily manipulated / subdued and had more prehensile fingers and better eye sight. Wikileaks etc. is letting us know behind the scenes decisions (my "favourite" was the tacit decision by the Israeli government to keep the Gaza economy at bare subsistence level, so that the people may never rise up; tho it was written in a diplomatic cable).
  • Nov 18 2011: I agree with you in the concept of stagnancy of young people but Im also totally calm about them simply because nature goes on it's phases. I see in my country growing subculture of egsaltation caled hmmm..."CyberEmoGothica I Suffer and deny". Ii have not seen that in my young age time, when running worn in skateboard fancy style, smoking joints, making some performance. that was in the past, my past, they have own present role - play the card of self identification make own crystal form, independence platform, proceed life , proceed the fun, with the group not with parents authorities.
    after it just make next step, become adult, that is the theatre. Young should be left in peace at the time until become adults. then should be leave as well to let them test what have learned.

    It is up to us how we spend our lifes. When was young, 15 years old have read book of Sigmund Freud . the title was "Introduction to Psychoanalysis", effect ? trully got it therefore started to dig the hole, deep called perfect well. dig the library, then started study, spent money finished study. at the present time focus on been understandable to other people, if asked "are you happy?" I try not to answer by showing nonsense of this question. dive in modern philosophie for my own.

    Now real answer about the reason of stopping young people. Same habits, indoctrination and moral submission to those who think what is good for others and what is wrong. As for me :born not to follow but to performe and doubt in sense of the concept of the nonsense of the concept “right and wrong”
    • thumb
      Nov 19 2011: Hi Andrzej, I think just hanging out is a legitimate way for young people to pass their time. Some of that down time is important and formative, some of that is idle and structure-less. If the youth of your country are "doin nuthin" because there is "nuthin to do", can you think if your country (what is it?) actually has any ideas in place for youth to be constructive if they wanted to? Or are they largely ignored by adults tending to other things?
  • Nov 18 2011: This is all possible for him because, I believe he has an incredible zest and an appetite for learning. This is great kid
  • thumb
    Nov 18 2011: Hello, Genevieve. I'll tell you about our situation here in the Philippines.

    Where I come from, big families and tight family bonds are very much valued. Our society's built around this that even ten years ago, there were no avenues for young people to earn their own money. You can't apply for a job if you don't have a degree. In order to be considered for a job that pays well enough to live independently, you have to be a college graduate. The Filipino society designed that their children/young adults would greatly depend on their families.

    The past few years though, with globalization and outsourcing and the recent US economic crisis, young adults here are finding more financial freedom with outsourced jobs. Home-based jobs are the trend right now. Young people are earning dollars and spending in peso. Spending capacity is increased; young people are empowered to explore more of their individual interests.

    Our society is not responsible for this turn around of lifting up young people though. It's more like an opportunity that the young generation took advantage of. Our society is still stuck with the mentality that it will always be the older who are wiser. Regardless of your earning capacity and the knowledge you bank, you're nonetheless wiser in the eyes of the older generation so in a sense, society is not at all lifting the young people up. One thing I appreciate about the society I grew up in is that the society doesn't trust young adults enough to give out student loans, plus the fact that we're a third world poor-ass country, so once you step out of college and you have the capacity to earn, you can enjoy your money and invest in whatever it is you want without the problem of paying student loan debts.

    We have more freedom now and it's really something I'm excited about cos we get to pursue things that we want at such a critical age.
    • thumb
      Nov 18 2011: Your example is a great one of young people defining and seeking out their own path. Your generation has found an alternative way! I hope you have wise people among you to direct this new burgeoning growth in a way that is sustainable and will empower future young people too. Any good young leaders?
      • thumb
        Nov 18 2011: I forgot to talk about the other young people. There is still a big fraction in society that are stuck with the traditional loop. Those who are hard-set with religious ideas and over-nationalistic ideologies. A lot of the young leaders are emerging from that faction. And these are the ones being funded by the government and their visions are in no way any different from the old school's.

        For the "alternativists", organizations are just coming around and so far with the ones I've been involved in, sustainability is one of the major concerns. Seems really promising. A couple of non-profit organizations are being put up that's built around empowering young people and how they can contribute to society in alternative ways - independent feeding projects, education projects, etc. The whole movement's lovely. So, I must say, there are good young leaders coming out of it.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Nov 17 2011: Henny, no YOU have it so right.

      I should have realized that everything I have around me was built for ME. Enduringly and lovingly . This rose garden of opportunities. All I have to do is pluck or smell the sweet scent---and here I am complaining that someone doesn't come and smush a rose up my nose for me....

      You're right, it's actually ME standing at the top of the human-pyramid cheerleading formation that my forefathers and mothers have doubled-over for years to create, so that I might stand. They were only ever thinking of meeee.

      My suspicions that my generation has been condescended to must be unfounded.

      My banal search has resulted in my narcissistic reflection.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Nov 18 2011: Defining my own goals and success has unfortunately become a purely theoretical exercise these days.

          1. Organic farmers trying to farm responsibly get sued to pieces by Monsanto, when a patented seed gets blown (or planted) in their crops.
          2. Start ups like Dropbox.com must agree to get bought out by Apple, or die in the wake of iCloud.
          3. Everybody has to speak English or else they won`t count.
          4. In the US, if you aren`t chosen by a lottery to attend a half-way decent school, you are stuck with substandard teachers, and a statistically proven path to failure. Or, your family can go into crushing debt to pay for your private school.

          Unrewarded genius, unrewarded talent and unrewarded hard work, *G*A*S*P*, are sadly the norm. That was the irony of Auschwitz`s wrought iron gate, to say the least.

          But, don`t worry, I`ll continue to dream while I`m asleep.
    • Nov 17 2011: This is not about a worker’s paradise. There are no jobs in the fields, the mines and the factories. Automation is taking them all. Human (physical) toil is reaching its end (apart from your chosen workout). This is an event that should benefit the whole of humanity. It should be greeted with celebration, not result in people being thrown onto the scrap heap and jobs given over to slave labor while is still remains competitive.

      The winners and losers in this pointless game of Monopoly are becoming increasingly random. Capitalism was successful as a belief system while it could maintain the illusion of a casual relationship between competence and reward. Crass, oh yes, but that is its moral basis. The bailouts have destroyed all that. Capitalism has no backbone, no moral code whatsoever.

      The harvest of our technological revolutions are owed to Greek and Arab mathematicians, renaissance men like Leonardo de Vinci, the more modern genius of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and John Von Neumann. None of this was contributed by the oligarchs, politicians, day traders, generals, marketers and lawyers who are currently sucking it dry. This throws the whole concept of fairness into question. Who should have precedence over today's wealth, no-one. No-one has that right and certainly no-one has the right to stand in the way of human progress. The days of burying technology and creating artificial scarcities must end.

      We have the technology to provide generously for everyone on this planet. Our antiquated systems are in the way. It’s time to colonize the planet for the benefit of humanity: save the planet from the idiots and idiotic systems by which it is currently run.

      Once that is done you can seek enlightenment any way you wish.

      As for the money: you won’t need that. The monopoly game will be over.
      • Comment deleted

  • Nov 17 2011: You’re right Genevieve,
    Money and monetary systems evolved to overcome the inability of individuals to cater to all their own needs. Barter came first, of course but that was less efficient. Money makes 10 way trades possible without having to keep track of all the details. That was thousands of years ago and apart from the cosmetic differences of Socialism, Communism, Fascism and Capitalism they are all different faces of the same thing.
    We all desperately try to maintain an income level necessary to maintain our survival. We all try to get paid more for doing less. Accommodation, food, medicine, water and air are diminishing in quality and availability and going up on price.
    Just like the last few rounds in a game of Monopoly, the expense of going around the board one more time becomes increasingly prohibitive.
    All economic models make the assumption that the system is driven and delivers social advances through everyone’s individual selfishness. But most people don’t want to be selfish. Some want to work for the common good, to build technology and share ideas that help everyone, and not just trust the hand of the market to do so. The invisible hand (is this not a religious notion) is not delivering as promised. Things like open source are. This is the next step in our social evolution. Monetarism is too simplistic a view. We now have the technologies to create an abundance of everything at the highest quality. The market prohibits it. We have gone past the point where profits come from alleviating scarcity. They now come from creating scarcity.
    I have looked at and read at great deal about possible solutions to this problem: open source, community sharing, self-sufficiency etc. The best solution I have seen so far is this:
    www.thevenusproject.com
    • thumb
      Nov 18 2011: Hi Ian, your idea that there are only cosmetic differences among all these systems of governing is so true.

      Perhaps, now that we have managed to have unprecedented access to information, that we are more conscious than ever of our environmental footprint, that we are beginning to recognize the social implications of our greed, we should not be following any of these prescribed manuals.

      We need to write a new charter, given our new strange circumstances and enact this, not as nation states, but as a whole world of people. All based on altruism and balanced environmentalism, Here is one implementation idea I have:

      All companies, are required by law to plan, enact and maintain social responsibility projects for which they must hire college-aged students to collaborate. The companies pay for the college tuition and the student starts out life with a useful, inspirational experience.
  • thumb
    Nov 17 2011: Bah.. I wrote my comment twice... and twice I submitted and I was logged out already...

    Lets say I agree with you... this is what I call the web! A well thought and refined web to hold people back!

    The only thing else I would like to say mostly not to turn this into a battle between young and old, is that we must be also aware that the world youth needs to listen to older people, is the only way how to learn and avoid the same mistakes. Young people are too self absorbed and intellectually arrogant. Most don't know how to listen and learn. Probably is part of the web, a faulty education basis.

    This said! I fully agree with you! What now?
    Lets hope that those aware come to power and when that happens, lets hope they act in a different way!
    • thumb
      Nov 18 2011: I agree, I probably shouldn't pit the old vs. the young. I just wanted to know if the older people had done any of this "evil" stuff on purpose. Or, does it just happen to fare worse for everyone-except-the-established?

      Also, I'm sure that we can hope / depend on the new generation acting "differently" (hopefully you mean "better")---education, as you mentioned, has been a huge problem, and without that, there is no consciousness to do better.
      • thumb
        Nov 18 2011: Yes by different I mean better... I could also say I hope people get there and start doing what they have preached...

        But it looks rather common that the few good intentioned people get in power do not what they had preach... something changes up in the chain...
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Nov 18 2011: Henrik, you replied to this particular thread citing "hater rhetoric" and to tone it down. What are you referring to? Do you label "hater" ideas ones that you disagree with? If so, then do recognize that some of your itchy "rhetoric"--though in a different thread, is highly disagreeable too. I might even add that compounding said rhetoric with an elitist, pedantic, theatrical tone is like attaching condor wings to any hater idea, letting it soar and poop down on us from a loftier, less detectable height. But, the bitter stains are unmistakeable.

          But, I refuse to subscribe to the premise that anything here needs toning down. TED conversations are much more interesting with a bunch of us haterz kicking around! I say: if you can dish it, take it.

          As for your hypocrisy of the "young": the energy demands; useless, impotent middle-class tat such as facebook and TED, Mark f#$%&n Zuckerberg and his island of servers and legions of coal miners---I agree. I've only recently awoken from my zombie state of enabling / perpetuating bad ideas known in my time. I've stopped shopping for crap--inhumanly hard in Tokyo. I have a 6-year-old-laptop and do not chase after / buy any new gadget. I will never buy a car. I've not watched TV in years, and will never own one. I have resolved to minimize flying and am thinking I should never to set foot on a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I try to maximize stuff like facebook and TED for socially / educationally redeeming purposes (I still don't understand the extent of its potential harm vs. its benefits). I get all my shoes repaired. I willfully tune out J-Pop and its trailing fish-poop industries.

          I am doing the TED 2011 Prize with a 16-year-old girl whom I recruited in Tokyo. She is way smarter, much more capable, and in seeing so, I have sought funding, media, exhibition space etc for us and recommended her to organize TED x Youth, which she did, and will host today in Japan! We are on it.
      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Nov 19 2011: Oh, no surprise there. You had me from "Genny" :)

          It was good that someone so old and grumpy took precious time out of his schedule of diabolically controlling the young to comment here. Tho, I suspect from your profile picture, that karma is kicking your ass.
  • thumb
    Nov 17 2011: Geneveive I love your death spiral. Seedlings will push up given light and nourishment and a little love. Things are tough. Bring all your young ones to Australia. The GFC forgot about us. At least for now. Things are crazy. Hmmmm. Tokyo? I, like many others do worry about the future of our young and their young. Life is expensive. Family is important at least at first, so you hope you arm them with the resilience to bounce back. Secure attachment. As for Italy i always thought they did sit around too much drinking coffee and making love. Time for work.
    • thumb
      Nov 17 2011: Hi Phillip! What is in Australia that lifts young people up? I happen to know some of my friends in their early 20's in Adelaide already have purchased houses because doing so on any salary is incentivized through manageable mortgages & tax incentives.
      • thumb
        Nov 17 2011: Hi Genevieve,Quality of relationships lifts people. Young and old. I have two motgages and this does not lift you up at all. Unless renovations do it for you? Im trying to think what lifts me up. The young ones just ooze energy. They lift themselves. Hmmm .Romance?