Friday, October 17, 2008

Being Middle Class II

The beauty about the system founded here in the US is the diversity of industry and the notion and reality that average Americans can make a difference in their communities by providing needed services. The large companies alone do not fuel the economy and technology alone will not be able to fuel the needed diversity in industry.

The fact that there are Fortune 500 companies will undoubtedly always be, tech ones or otherwise. Business is about the needs and desires of people. Fundamentally, our needs are basic and our desires can be titillated, creating industries that evolve beyond its initial purpose. The Internet proves this point.

Yes, large companies spurred other smaller companies. The Big Three, for example, created suppliers that assisted in the creation of the middle class in America. The largest problem with what occurred in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and other industrial cities, is the lack of diversity. Once plants closed there was nothing else in place to sustain the community. Industry diversity is a necessity. This includes technology.

The redistribution of wealth does not readily mesh with capitalism. The systems are not singular. I have always associated the former with a system of bedrock socialism and the latter with free markets. Now, one might consider that in such a time as this that there are no clear cut distinctions. But I beg to differ considering the evolution of both systems. While the temporary intervention of government into private industry may be necessary from time to time as history has shown, the core belief that we can en masse produce for ourselves and communities remains.

The rich and poor we will probably always have with us. But the solid middle class is also necessary. The beauty about a system whose core is freedom, which isn’t that far from the ideas found in our founding documents, remains, even if adjustments and re-adjustments are needed.

I believe in a New Testament idea of the “perfect law of liberty.” But the awesomeness of this law is the necessity of being your brother’s keeper. Now being such a one does not mean enabling one or eliminating the sense of fair competition that spurs innovation and excellence. It does require thoughtful deliberate actions and the necessity of considering others always.

A new world global order without nationality and a core essence that supercedes real communities may someday occur. If not from a phyical standpoint, but from an intellectual one. Technolgy will play a major role. But jobs besides tech ones are necessary and a mass iniative to educate the masses technically.

The average households in America, Africa, Eurpoe, India and China must be considered. Many are without computers; many cannot even feed their families. How will these participate in this new tech economy? Perhaps this is where you were initially going with the rich/poor distinction. Maybe it is government’s role to assist in this effort. Work matters. Here is the great Pope John Paul II on work and humanity:

“When dealing with human work in the fundamental dimension of its subject, that is to say, the human person doing the work, one must make at least a summary evaluation of developments during the ninety years since Rerum Novarum in relation to the subjective dimension of work.

"Although the subject of work is always the same, that is to say man, nevertheless wide-ranging changes take place in the objective aspect. While one can say that, by reason of its subject, work is one single thing (one and unrepeatable every time), yet when one takes into consideration its objective directions one is forced to admit that there exist many works, many different sorts of work.

The development of human civilization brings continual enrichment in this field. But at the same time, one cannot fail to note that in the process of this development not only do new forms of work appear but also others disappear. Even if one accepts that on the whole this is a normal phenomenon, it must still be seen whether certain ethically and socially dangerous irregularities creep in, and to what extent.”

Technology is but a form of work. It will take all kinds of work to rebuild the American middle class that doesn't have roots in the redistribution of wealth but rather a retooling, work ethic, and belief that all things are possible.

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