A market economy has the capacity to manage resources via the interplay of supply and demand while simultaneously providing a level of interesting activities and choices to participants via the exchange of goods and services. In short, it’s a fun way for people to spend their time on Earth.
But of course, that’s when it functions properly. When mismanaged, it creates artificial shortages and under-participation. When the market becomes lopsided, a significant portion of players lack the means to meaningfully participate — and lack necessities even though resources are not scarce. In short, it’s not fun anymore.
At some point, government attempts to relieve the results of imbalance through aid programs. But these are only effective in the short-term, as the necessity of aid indicates a poorly functioning market. If corrections are not made, the reliance on aid grows in breadth and depth.
A lopsided market is such, when too few have too much. Big players essentially choke the market’s ability to function while dictating the terms of the marketplace. Competition is replaced with collusion while average players lack influence to facilitate adequate income. And eventually, even aid to those having the least becomes a target.
In order to rebalance the market, power and resources must be redistributed to more players. Such rebalancing dismantles large concentrations of wealth, regulates influence within the market and upon government, provides free high-quality education, regulates wages and working conditions, provides care for the weakest segments of society, and selectively cancels debt accumulated through the exploitation of an imbalanced market.
Superman stopped bank robbers, but not the reason banks were robbed. Through violence and intimidation, his powers served as a bandage upon society’s ills, not a solution — perpetuating the festering conditions of inequality and unrest.
Then what ability makes for a useful superhero? The power to impart empathy. A being whose thoughts become the thoughts of others — not through coercion and incarceration, but by altering perspectives to shatter stunted worldviews — this is the power mankind needs.
When one understands the pain of another as his own, he can not help but seek to relieve such suffering. The anguish of those trampled upon ends only as witnesses perceive hardship as their own. What are tears but salty liquid, until they are understood as hurt and the need for comfort.
And what’s more, this power exists within us. Through writing, speaking, by whatever media ideas are transferred — humankind has the ability to obliterate the fog of ignorance, the illness bringing misery to us all. Conveying compassion as we listen, saturating minds until we know others as ourselves.
An excerpt from the fictional tales of An Alien on Earth
What problem does politics attempt to solve? It is difficult to exploit a populace through brute force, as people will readily detect their oppressor’s presence and methodology — and upon sensing injustice, rally defenses against it. To counter a people’s innate desire for fairness and self-preservation, politics allows for exploitation through misinformation, remaining relatively undetected while avoiding the overt nature of violence.
If the goal of politics dealt with establishing fairness, its relevancy would have waned long ago, as the optimal method of fairly managing a society is readily solved. But exploitation takes finesse, as those infested with parasites become wary if overly drained — moods must be managed with constant care.
What do those in government do, but spend time in self-interested endeavors, creating exemptions and loopholes for supporters — such constant upkeep is simply not needed when rules of equality and fairness are in place. One might define the historic role of politics as a means to obfuscate the swindling of a people.
While lofty ideals are often spoken about in speeches, their implementation fails to manifest. Utilizing propaganda, the people are induced to enthusiastically reject their own interests in favor of the politician’s. Programs and policies that function are readily discarded as they are not the end-goal, a people divided and struggling amongst themselves is much preferred. Politics, while useless in bringing about a decent and just society, has proven itself perfect for profiteering.
I have the inclination to worry about everything, creatively so, imagining the worst possible outcomes. Many in my family do too, as panic attacks appear on both sides. Often times when the phone rings, my mother’s initial reaction is that someone’s sick or dead.
Luckily for me, I’m not really affected by worry anymore. I’m not sure why this is, but I’ve observed changes in my thought pattern over the years. For instance, I used to be certain I knew how the world worked and I was certain of consequences — I’d confidently predict the most dire results of every endeavor. Nowadays I readily admit my ignorance of how the world works, and it has led to positive side-effects.
For instance, in the past I believed my thoughts had zero impact, they were just thoughts after all — no effects internally or externally. Now I’m not so sure. Internally, I’ve definitely witnessed the influence of negative thoughts on my mood. And externally, I often wonder whether worrying might cause my pessimistic musings to come into existence. Ideas and ambitions often come to fruition, why not worries?
And what’s funny, is that my fear of worries coming-to-life actually cancels them out. My mind says: uh-oh I better stop thinking about negative outcomes or else life will use my ideas to create what I imagine. So oddly, it seems my mind is using fear to fight anxiety. And when worry can’t find a foothold, my mood has no option but to lighten.
“Hi, mind if I sit here?”
She looked up, slightly startled.
The beach had been empty as she sat watching waves.
“I saw you from my balcony over there, and you looked a bit sad.”
Her eyes went back to staring, searching the horizon.
He placed his hand softly upon her neck, drawing his lips to her cheek.
“Life loves you”, he said.
“I’m not one for physical contact, but know that life wants you comforted.”
He stood up and left.
The warmth of his touch lingered, radiating into her heart.
What was that, she wondered as her mood lightened.
Hungry, she went back to her room, one last night before she returned to the familiar.
But things seemed a little different now.
She never saw him again, but she didn’t need to, it was life’s gentle caress that touched her that day.
I’ve noticed times when my thoughts seem tuned to a particular frequency, for years even, then abruptly change to a new frequency. What I once thought impenetrable, was now clear and relatable. What I once thought certain, was now a ridiculous notion. It’s almost as if understanding is merely a switch that turns on — not the end-product of gradual study and practice. When observing problem solving, I can see that solutions more often come from putting the problem aside and sleeping on it, not toiling away at it — then something clicks and the answer seems so obvious.
I’ve also seen claims concerning the power of intention. For instance, the placebo effect — expected outcomes coming to fruition despite the lack of functionality in the prescription. A patient intends for the “medicine” to work, and so it does. Is it true then, that mere intention is an active driver of destiny? But of course we must always wonder, where exactly do these impulses of intention originate — in that sense, we still lack ultimate control.
So in one sense, I can’t facilitate my own understanding — either it comes or it doesn’t. And in another sense, I can perhaps intend for my actions to bring about a particular outcome — and it may happen — although why I wished for such a thing, I have no idea. Life is an odd thing when scrutinized. As part of a society, we’re given a particular explanation of how the world works — but this explanation often doesn’t hold up under examination.
When everyone tells you something is one way, but you see evidence contrary to their claims, you’re left in a state of shock and quandary. Stating your case falls on deaf ears. Eventually you’re left with the idea that life is a mystery no one understands and everyone is clinging to whatever scrap of belief can keep them afloat. Lost in a sea of assumptions, attempting to find solid ground that’s nowhere to be found — shipwrecked — shipwrecked on Earth.
The fictional tales of The Gentleman from Massachusetts
Circa 2014. Massachusetts.
Scanning through the historic narrative, we can see that the first third of the twentieth century was fraught with massive inequality — an inequality not from resource scarcity, but mismanagement. Profit and punishment outweighed compassion and cooperation, tipping the scales of society towards hardship and hunger.
In the second third of the twentieth century, backed by the hungry masses, powerful leaders promising change swept into government. At least one of these leaders attempted to rebalance economic conditions in order to provide resources and opportunity to every citizen. And at least one leader took advantage of the economic conditions in order to fulfill a self-serving agenda.
But in both locations, the leader was provided with a measure of dictatorial control by the masses supporting him. The successful leader gave back to the people, dismantling concentrated economic power while establishing fairer economic practices. The ultimately unsuccessful leader concentrated power within his own hands and established unfair economic practices.
As our own time experiences its version of economic inequality, let us examine the past to understand our future. Do we the people support those seeking power through fear and the division and denigration of others — or do we support those seeking to lift all mankind through fairness to a state of decency and equality. We know the outcome of each path — may we choose wisely.