The Future: Trends into the Twenty-First Century (Annals of the American Academy of Political and Soclal Science)
a book edited by Joseph F. Coates and Jennifer Jarratt
(our site's book review)
This is a journal exploring the trends and what they say about the future. There is a futurist continuum at one end of which are structuralists, who feel that the future can best be influenced by social engineering done from the top by grabbing hold of the big levers of society and pushing them in a direction that will bring about change—as if the society were a mechanism. This is old paradigm (mechanistic-reductionistic) thinking. The other end of the continuum contains the movementalists, and the authors of this website are in this category—as are we. This group believes that an approach to the future is best promoted at the level of individual and personal responsibility. Amen.
The authors strongly advocate the new, ecological-holistic paradigm replacing the old, reductionistic-mechanistic paradigm
In truth, even if more collectivist or socialistic or welfare state solutions can be made to work in other countries, the U.S. is a unique entity peopled by individualists who cringe at the idea of a society run from the top down via “programs.” They prefer (and feel it’s their patriotic and moral duty to feel this way) the society to run from the bottom up via individual responsibility. We concur. More bluntly: social engineering sucks!
The collectivist, welfare-state mindset
There's a better way than either of the above extremes: MCs
The society wasn’t quite sure which way it wanted to go for a few decades from the 1960s to the 1980s. But, having looked at the mess world-wide social engineering experiments have made out of the 20th century, and specifically the mess that bleeding-heart-liberal social engineering has made in our own country in the past few decades, the society turned the corner on the issue in the 90s. In the 90s, the L-word became an obscenity to label nonconservatives with, and “liberal” anything was stopped dead in its tracks on general principles (e.g., the First Lady’s health care bureaucracy fiasco, which eventually turned into Obama's Folly—see Health Care Costs).
President Clinton actually joined with the conservatives and passed long-overdue welfare reform. Many Americans seem to have gotten sophisticated enough to realize that, even if welfare state programs don’t necessarily undermine morals and character in France or Sweden, they surely have in America. Perhaps it’s because in the land of the individualists—in the land that invented democracy and true freedom and true individual liberty—people who somehow don’t find within themselves the needed responsibility and resourcefulness to avoid social “programs” that are funded from taxing the rest of us know that, by American definitions, they have failed themselves (unless they’re retarded or disabled, of course) and their country, making the rest of us carry some of their load for them.
They are DEPENDENT, which somehow sticks in the craw of those of us who know Americans are defined by their INdependence, and we wonder in the back of our minds why do dependents want to live in a country where they’ll be looked down upon for their weakness rather than live in a European welfare state. And we unconsciously come up with answers that occasionally bob to the surface where we perceive them; they tell us: their character must be lacking. But then we see all the social realities wherein there are people in this country who are in poverty and haven’t been given the opportunities that this opportunity society gives the rest of us. If we’ll be fair and give them the opportunity then their character will strengthen and all will be well. So we give them programs or money for a temporary crutch and then cut them off, and if they can’t do well now it’s their own fault.
Money isn’t about to buy the needed character strengthening in this country so the social engineers may as well punch out and go home
Of course, the problem is that weak character germinated in a defective, dysfunctional environment may well prevent these individuals from using the crutches as we intend. They may just exploit the crutch for its cash and then go on to their next dependency scenario. Said even more concisely: These people didn’t need money or programs; they needed character strengthening until they were responsible and hardworking and felt like INDEPENDENT individuals who would contribute to their families, communities and country. And money isn’t about to buy much of this. Self-esteem aid from Hart’s Winning Family Lifeskills and Helmstetter’s self-talk and Pollard’s Self-Parenting goes in the right direction, but if the people involved are still in negative environments, self-help endeavors may get neutralized as fast as they are implemented. (So these self-esteem tools make the most sense by far in the context of an MC environment. See Why Register for an MC?.)
Registering for MC search and match
Perhaps tax-and-spend liberalism has had its day and we need a better idea (MCs)
All of this lends great support to our choice of staying at the movementalist rather than structuralist end of the continuum above. Top-down, money-based, Second Wave, old-paradigm solutions from mass-culture, one-size-fits-all political manipulations are becoming anachronistic. Bottom-up, think-globally-but-act-locally, Third Wave, new paradigm solutions from all the diversified, de-massified citizens are going to be what transforms America into what we’re all wishing it was, and what empowers our lifestyles to transcend their dysfunctional aspects and become what we all know in our hearts they should be. Perhaps the partial success of welfare state contexts in some European countries have emboldened the structuralist social engineers to overgeneralize and infer that if it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander, so structuralism can work here in the U.S. too. This would gladden the hearts of the would-be social engineers in the tax-and-spend, government-is-the-answer liberal camp. But it’s been tried and it doesn’t work, for the reasons given above and many others as well.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander—except when it isn't!
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Soclal Sciencejournal wisely points out the need for a new-paradigm systems context when studying the future.
(Using the example above, throwing money at something is a reductionistic pseudo-solution aimed at patronizing and pacifying constituents and it doesn’t consider the effects on the system to supply money and programs when the actual need is character strengthening which can result in a limited way from mere self-esteem programs, but in a holistic way only from enhancement of the environment in the MC direction. MCs are designed to root out dysfunctionality from the ground up, one family and individual at a time. The MC movement is designed always to operate from a context of individual choice where individual’s hearts respond to honest MC marketing and make an existential life choice about the quality of their lives. It will never be imposed, but experienced only by choosers, never by losers. Since those that live in MCs are by definition highly motivated with the intention to succeed, they will succeed, since the MC lifestyle is not challenging to adopt. In the future, a bigger challenge would be for people to see how MC people experience life compared to how they do, and then somehow warp their thinking enough to go the laissez faire route.)
Another example of systems thought making the difference between success and failure is the issue of, in this journal’s words, making things happen which requires “the support of the right people.” (An example would be the need for the right people [popular, known and trusted people] to support the MC movement at least minimally and at launch. People judge concepts by their spokespersons.)
The NEA has a choke-hold on American education that only the MC movement could alter
The journal lists the points that have consensus amongst futurists:
- Governments are not the answer to the complexity in today’s world; they’re too slow, entrenched, hierarchical, bureaucratic, Second Wave, and have incorrect worldviews that fit the smokestack era rather than the information age. More flexible, faster institutions are needed. [MCs fill the bottom-up, lower end of that requirement—consult Toffler and Naisbitt for the needed higher-end institutional requirements.]
- Science and technology are primary drivers of change. [New, science-backed MC knowledge and PSB technology dovetail with the other innovations now changing society to insure that the transformations due to science are in benevolent directions.]
- The avoidance of nuclear war/terrorism is one of the most vital areas of concern.
- Education needs an overhaul, but the entrenched U.S. system will fight the transition all the way so solutions will be from the bottom up until an outstanding success that cannot be rationalized away by the NEA wakes everyone up to the great potentials that have been missed.
- The way things are, the Age Wave (the aging of baby boomers) will cause lots of intergenerational conflict. [MCs incorporating elders into their personnel, as needed and loved MC members, will actually solve this for most well elders—which is the majority.]
- Raising of the status of women is inevitable.
- The failure of population control will create wide-spread, devastating problems.
- The poor, via communications technology, will continue to see how the rich live. Because of poor population control, this will have ugly consequences because those with nothing to lose will seek to threaten those with everything to lose.
- Environmental problems will be allowed to deteriorate until a significant number of people in the “haves” rather than the “have-not” category experience a serious survival threat.
This journal advocates less government and more governance. Governance is defined as the roles, manner, goals or functions of government. It’s view is that as there is a gradual shift toward more governance and less government, we’ll need “alternatives that lessen reliance on traditional governmental institutions and foster dependence on collaborative partnerships that seek the delicate balance of political, economic, social and cultural resources through the exercise of individual responsibility.” Examples are given relating to many areas, such as individuals not related to government taking responsibility for the development of innovative programs and approaches to such problems as day care.
(Since the word “approach” is used along with the word “program,” MCs can be included as an example of the new “government-is-NOT-the-answer” attitude that is the context in which this governance operates. MCs are microcommunities in neighborhoods started by families for families—no programs, politics, policies or bureaucracies of any kind at any time—ever!)
In the authors’ words: “. . . individuals can no longer only be part of the problems they expect government to solve. Individuals must act and collaborate as forces of stability within their families, schools, businesses and communities. The stability created by these grass-roots efforts will facilitate a smaller yet smarter form of governance in which individuals become part of the solution.”
A better way to say this is to point out how individuals will therefore need to define themselves in terms of their capacities and potentials, not their weaknesses and deficiencies:
“Individuals will no longer wait for institutions to provide solutions and opportunities. They will be more willing to act on their own and together within their multifaceted communities. . . . the ultimate purpose of human enterprise must be first to improve and then to maintain conditions of life within the capacity of available resources. Ethical and moral standards will be important if the United States wishes to remain a force for stability in the world. . . . Only 7 percent of the U.S. families fit the [old] description of a nuclear family, defined as a working husband, a wife, and two children. If this definition were extended to include two working spouses and any number of children, at best the category would include only 25 percent of Americans. Moreover, these numbers are still declining. A variety of family forms will predominate. . . . new definitions and new models of the family are critical.”
A nuclear family