The Fundamental Political Question

Many folks seem to assume that we might get to freely choose between capitalism and socialism. This is unlikely. Instead, there is only one enduring political question that needs to be answered at any point in history: Should we do it together or do it apart? The "it" here is any human action whatsoever. The only way to answer the question is to experiment with the real world. There can be no pure individualism or pure capitalism, just as there can be no pure collectivism or pure socialism. As social beings, we operate with the reality defined by the environment that is presented to us at any moment. As the world changes, democracy allows us to evaluate and experiment with the solutions proposed by the left and the right. Solutions that fail the test are discarded; those that succeed are kept for a while. Dictatorships of the left or right invariably fail the test on a grand scale. On the other hand, growing populations invariably require solutions increasingly answered as: "let's do it together." Thus, even the most capitalistic of nations must adopt all manner of "socialistic" reforms to accommodate the increased social interaction produced by the Industrial Revolution. The corresponding Global Demographic Transition, centered on the year 1989, marks the half-way point in our maturation as a social species. Our social interconnections only can accelerate as a result. From a scientific point of view, this is neither "good" nor "bad." It just is. We simply will have to learn to get the most from it.

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