Human Progress, A Myth?

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Go back 50 years and you would have found a general belief that the human race would be in a far better place 50 years from now, particularly for developed industrialized nations. Despite the beginning of the turbulent hippie generation it was assumed the future would see poverty significantly reduced, a more fairer and just society, a better standard of living, and technology providing us with less work and more time for family, friends, community and interests.

 

Well for sure some have seen their level of poverty decrease but they are still poor.  Social justice and harmony continue to allude us while hate seems to grow only stronger.  We are working longer than ever and haven't been this economically stressed since the 1930s.  Yet despite a strong business cycle and the rich having an ever increasingly bright future.

 

So what happened to reality near 50 years later?  How do we explain the discontent that brought someone like Donald Trump?  Why is the world on edge the way it was before World War 2?  And why hasn't progress wiped out most of poverty and given even more broad base success?

 

Were we as humans too naive to self interests, particularly of the powerful?  Do we overestimate the abilities of mankind to create lasting peace and prosperity?   Did we look at the future with utopia instead of reality?

 

For most of mankind most humans have been poor, usually desperate so and under the rule and abuse of the self centered rich.  Should we have expected no more despite advancements of all kinds.

 

Yes, in the past 50 years we have made great strides in medicine, technology, manufacturing and communications.  Its hard to remember what a 1967 Ford Fairlane was like or a rotary dial phone.  A time when we had to stand in line to get cash at a bank.  When we couldn't just have stuff delivered to our door step.  But did we complete the entire process of more fairness, greater opportunity and more time to grow as individuals?

 

We as humans have the amazing ability of imagination, thinking and changing the world around us. A tiger has never changed the jungle.  But we always seem to fall short when it comes to bettering ourselves.  Do we overestimate our effectiveness at changing the world around us and improving ourselves? 

 

 

Comments

Jenifer Frost Added Jun 10, 2017 - 8:08pm
I always stand in line at the bank so I can get proper change for the bus and the actual cash I need not just rounded to the nearest $20 dollar bill as per the ridiculous ATMs. I'm not afraid of people needing to do everything through a damn machine. 
 
Perhapes that's part of the problem. People dehumanizing and discarding people for robats, computers, and AI virtual worlds. Who has time to invest energy or effort in the real world of real people who no one cares about anymore (other than themselves). 
 
Greed is another problem, always has been that one. How can any expect a utopia when those who aquire power and wealth only want more for themselves and screw everyone else? Fifty years from now expect a dystopia reality. That is if civilization and humanity even still exist. 
John G Added Jun 10, 2017 - 8:34pm
Neoliberalism. The failure and spinelessness of the economics academy to reject the takeover of the monetarists and Austrians in the OPEC embargo fueled stagflation of the 70s when the politicians were looking for easy answers and big business was looking for bigger shares of national income.
They sold their souls to the charlatans of Chicago and the political/media class lapped up all their nonsense because the campaign funds came rolling in.
Leroy Added Jun 10, 2017 - 9:15pm
"And why hasn't progress wiped out most of poverty and given even more broad base success?"
 
Perhaps we have a rosy memory of the past.  Poverty rates are nearly half what they were circa 1959.   And, I imagine you had a more optimistic view when you were earning six figures.  The world probably didn't seem as bad.
Richard Plank Added Jun 10, 2017 - 9:46pm
George;  I generally agree with you.  The issue is complex, but I would argue our perceptions of improvement are because we have not examined some very fundamental assumptions.  All technology is not good, in fact some of it does some pretty bad things.  Everything we do is interdependent on and with others.  We are not individually responsible for our success and failure.  Systems are complex and not amenable to easy change.  Issues are not related in anything like the simplistic ways we portray them.  Complex systems are not only difficult to define and thus understand, but subject to inertia that is not only not well understood, but resistant to change strictly on terms of inertia, but also because we don't understand all the relationships to effect change.  I could go on, but one example is climate. There is a school of thought out there that suggests even if we make all the changes currently contemplated by Paris, nothing would really happen.  One could argue that is because humans cause nothing.  One could also argue that is because we have a complex system building for over 200 years and the Paris accords only deal with a small piece of the issue and certainly not the growth of population, which in 100 years is likely to be well over 10 billion.  For those of us that understand systems theory the latter is the case and since everything is interdependent the argument that humans can't have an impact is ludicrous.  How much they are responsible for is an empirical question we can't answer because we can't formulate the math to predict a system we really don't fully understand.   We will be extinct in 300 years. On that note Cheers!!!
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 11, 2017 - 7:27am
The Paris Accord was mostly liberal guilt. We pay the Third-World countries money while China pollutes like mad, hoards their money, and builds a military seeking to rival if not overcome our own.
Patrick Writes Added Jun 11, 2017 - 7:39am
These "the future is bright" feeling often go hand in hand with prosperous times. My understanding is, during the 1920's "the future was bright". Humans could do anything. The Atlantic was just criss-crossed by the airplane. Zeppelins promised trans-Atlantic flight as well. (The Empire State Building that was planned during the 1920's [but finished in 1931] was equipped with Zeppelin landing pad.) The New York skyline went from a turn of the century skyline to practically what we recognize today. 
 
It took until the 1950's and early 60's for "the future is bright" outlook to return. Then it returned again briefly in the late 1990's (although a bit jaded by then). 
 
That's point one, but point two is humans don't change. They are the same creatures that Homer captured pretty well in the Odyssey and Illiad 3000 years ago. We're selfish, petty, mean, untrustworthy, the list goes on. 
 
Another ancient document contains this statement (that rings true for me): 
 
"And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. This too is meaningless..."
George N Romey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 9:05am
All great comments.  Patrick I agree that humans haven't changed much despite the many achievements we have made in material contributions from advanced technology to streamlined sky scrapers.  We still suffer from the same ailments that have dogged us for millenniums.   And we keep arguing over what to do about the poor, crime, hate, greed, etc. never really solving much of it.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 11, 2017 - 10:06am
Jeff
 
We pay the Third-World countries money
 
Huh ? You pay Western-influenced dictators money so they can put it back into Western bank accounts. And then the IMF/World bank gives them "credit" for "development" which mainly goes to the same ones. The ordinary citizens see nada of all that. That money is also used to serve Western globals like Monsanto, Nestlé etc. - and to exploit the resources of these countries.
 
They import Western stuff (customs are state within a state in 3rd world countries and linked to government officials), put horrendous import taxes on it which will return to the same ones again.
 
And that Western stuff is so expensive that the regular guy can't afford it.
 
THAT's reality.
 
while China pollutes like mad, hoards their money, and builds a military seeking to rival if not overcome our own.
 
Concerning the third world: At least China builds infrastructure in those countries, while the US is merely busy flattening places. That's the typical US arrogance. Don't allow ANY country to balance US military power.
 
wsucram15 Added Jun 11, 2017 - 10:11am
As far as arguing over the poor, etc.., people that can really make significant changes, wont.  It will be the rest of us fighting to solve the crime, hate, poverty..because we have to.
We have mad great strides in changing the world, the problem is we never look ahead to see the collateral damage we cause along the way.
George N Romey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 10:20am
Jeanne I'm not sure that the rest of us can.  America is the great Democratic experiment and in many ways much better than other countries yet we never solve the problems we keep talking about that need to be solved.  I'm starting to believe that humans are no better than animals at changing the environment and conditions around them.
Jenifer Frost Added Jun 11, 2017 - 10:30am
George writes "


I'm starting to believe that humans are no better than animals at changing the environment and conditions around them." 
Not true! Humans have succeeded at GMO, one strain of which would have made all plants on earth sterilized had it gotten out, who knows what irreversible damage is being done by what we have unleashed upon ourselves. We have poisoned the environment conventionally and through nuclear radiation from power plants and we have the ability to make the planet completely uninhibitable with nuclear weapons. Hey but we got cell phones with VR so it's all good, right? 









 
 






George N Romey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 10:34am
Your right Jenifer we are good at changing the world around us in horrible ways.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 11, 2017 - 12:05pm
Jenifer
 
We have to accept that the era of Homo Sapiens is coming to and end. We're not intelligent and empathic enough to avoid that.
Billy Roper Added Jun 11, 2017 - 12:45pm
The abandonment of eugenics, both formally and informally, has led to the decline of the human population's quality, as has the blunting of the group natural selection competition.
Dino Manalis Added Jun 11, 2017 - 4:26pm
We still have much to do and there's no time for gridlock and delays!
George N Romey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 5:41pm
SEF what I believe is that the human race is headed towards an economic collapse.  Western economies and Japan have been kept alive by central bank gimmicks.  Our economy is built on debt not investment.  Equity growth comes from not building products the world wants but from stock buy backs and acquisition and service companies that have no real value.
 
At some future point the glue won't be able to hold it together.  Maybe six months from now, maybe 10 years from now.  When the crash comes a couple of scenarios will play out.  First global war in which we kill off the species.  Second a meltdown in which many perish.  However, the survivors might start something fresh.  The super rich will be off on their remote islands living their remaining years in vast comfort and peace. 
 
The human race has probably reset multiple times over the years.  Unfortunately what intelligence we have seems to be our downfall.
Peter Corey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 6:42pm
>People dehumanizing and discarding people for robats, computers, and AI virtual worlds.
 
Amusing, coming from someone who has just used a computer to post to a blog on the Internet.
Peter Corey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 6:45pm
>The abandonment of eugenics, both formally and informally, has led to the decline of the human population's quality,
 
That observation, of course, must apply to you, as well as to others.
 
Or are you claiming that you are a product of some eugenics program we don't know about?
Peter Corey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 6:50pm
> Our economy is built on debt not investment. 
 
???
 
Hmmm. If you "invest" $10,000 in someone's new business venture — e.g., you lend him $10,000 of your savings in return for a share of his business venture's expected future revenue — doesn't that mean the business owner has taken on debt? $10,000 of debt, to be exact?
 
Seems to me that "investment" and "debt" are often just two sides of the same economic coin.
Jenifer Frost Added Jun 11, 2017 - 6:52pm
Peter writes ">People dehumanizing and discarding people for robats, computers, and AI virtual worlds.
 
Amusing, coming from someone who has just used a computer to post to a blog on the Internet." 
I'm glad the irony wasn't lost on you Peter. 
George N Romey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 6:56pm
This to me this isn't a technology is good or technology is bad argument.  The argument is that human beings have been able to develop the most advance systems yet still fight the evils that have dogged the human race before the printing press.  Most people in the world hundreds years ago lived under the cruelty of a king or dictator.  The kings might be gone but millions still live under a serfdom like atmosphere.
 
In developed countries we thought we had moved away from this kind of life.  People no longer had to work every single day of their lives just to sustain themselves.  Now for too many we are going backwards. 
Peter Corey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 8:17pm
>I'm glad the irony wasn't lost on you Peter. 
 
Nice save.
George N Romey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 8:20pm
Yes Peter debt can be investment.  However, not all debt is investment.  We've as a society have gotten hooked on debt as a means to drive a standard of living our incomes cannot support.  
Peter Corey Added Jun 11, 2017 - 11:59pm
>We've as a society have gotten hooked on debt as a means to drive a standard of living our incomes cannot support.  
 
Consumer debt.
 
And what do you think is driving consumer debt?
John G Added Jun 12, 2017 - 3:43am
Seems to me that "investment" and "debt" are often just two sides of the same economic coin.
Neither Corey nor Romey understand debt or investment.
LOLz.
Neither have a clue about the system.
George N Romey Added Jun 12, 2017 - 7:35am
Peter there are a couple of things driving consumer debt.  For some their paycheck isn't big enough.  Others are trying to outlive their lifestyle which is encouraged by our greed. 
Leroy Added Jun 12, 2017 - 10:05am
Consumer debt is driven by the desire to live largely.  I can't speak for the motivations of the poor, but for people with moderate income, the only concern is whether or not they can make the monthly payments.  Maybe they have a retirement plan as a backup, which allows them to live more dangerously.  More than likely, they use a line of credit based on the equity of their home to smooth out the bumps.  The fatal flaw is usually underestimating what they need in retirement and having to work longer than anticipated. 
William Stockton Added Jun 12, 2017 - 2:59pm
George, I think you are missing 90% of human history in your conclusion.  Certainly the majority of the history of the universe.  I think living in a wooden house, with electricity is far better than burning cow dung in a damp cave.  Not sure how you can ignore life's history prior to the existence of TV sitcoms.
 
See, there are two things persistent about our universe . . . progress & change.  You are under the impression that somehow we humans are influencing our destiny and hence missing the forest for the trees.
Humans are not the authors of the play, we are the actors.  Ancient scripts having been written long ago.
Bill Kamps Added Jun 12, 2017 - 4:52pm
George, you seem to think there is a plan, and you are asking for the plan to be changed.  There is no plan.  No plan for equality, fairness, or any of the other aspirations mankind might have.  The world economy is not driven top down, it is bottom up from all the millions of decisions that get made every day.  The outcome is somewhat random.  We cant predict how many people will be employed in some industry 10 years from now, it will be what it will be. 
 
Companies and people try to make decisions in their best interest.  Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail.  Sometimes they succeed in on dimension, like greater efficiency, but fail in another by making crappy products.  Often times like Uber, the change is good for one set of people, like the riders, but not good for the drivers.  It is a mixed bag. 
 
The more money you have, and the more political power you have, the more influence you have over some of the decisions that get made. But no one has control.  No small group of companies, or individuals control exactly what goes on in total.
 
The result of all the millions and billions of daily decisions, is the economy. 
 
Yes, despite all our progress, fear, greed, ego ,still drive much of what goes on.  The human condition hasnt changed despite that fact that we have indoor plumbing, and nice cars.
Leroy Added Jun 12, 2017 - 5:35pm
"You are under the impression that somehow we humans are influencing our destiny and hence missing the forest for the trees.
Humans are not the authors of the play, we are the actors.  Ancient scripts having been written long ago. "
 
So, you are finally ready to admit that nothing is random?  :)
wsucram15 Added Jun 12, 2017 - 5:47pm
George..animals adapt to their environment, they dont change it to suit them.  This is the difference between them and us. Also why humans no matter what strides we take fail to understand that our comfort,money and yes people are much less important than our environment whether it be natural or social.
Ive never seen anything so cruel as what human beings do to animals or children.  Its disgusting.
Leroy Added Jun 12, 2017 - 5:54pm
"Ive never seen anything so cruel as what human beings do to animals or children.  Its disgusting."
 
They say it is inhumane, but, in fact, it is very human.
William Stockton Added Jun 12, 2017 - 6:14pm
"So, you are finally ready to admit that nothing is random?  :)"
 
No Leroy.  The universe, although, is very structured by no means implies nothing is random.  Like waves on a shoreline, there is some order and regularity but in no way is 100% predictable.  This is exactly the same thing quantum physics tells us about nature.
 
The "scripts" I referenced were the order and rules written into the universe about how it will progress.  As I have said before, without some randomness no new information would ever be produced.  That new information provides structure, change, and progress.
Peter Corey Added Jun 13, 2017 - 2:48am
>Human Progress, A Myth?
 
Or a mithter? Which ith it?
Peter Corey Added Jun 13, 2017 - 3:05am
>Peter there are a couple of things driving consumer debt.  For some their paycheck isn't big enough. 
 
That answer is irrelevant to consumer debt. By definition, no one's paycheck is "big enough"; everybody wants more than they already have, which is entirely normal. That people "want" more stuff does not mean a bank issuing a credit card to them is going to increase their limit from, e.g., $4,500 to $16,000. So "want", "desire", "greed", "need", "covetousness", "envy", etc., whatever you want to call it, cannot be a cause of consumer debt.
 
Hello? What about the banks issuing the cards? From where (and from whom) do they get the funds to lend to consumers?
 
>Others are trying to outlive their lifestyle which is encouraged by our greed. 
 
You should save those kinds of non-answers for your Sunday School class. They have nothing to do with economics.
George N Romey Added Jun 13, 2017 - 7:42am
Again the central question is why over centuries of trying man has failed to fix those very things man says needs fixing. Jeanne is probably right that we don't adapt but try to change instead.
wsucram15 Added Jun 13, 2017 - 12:20pm
Leroy..you are right.  It is very human, which is what makes it disgusting. 
George..people much more intelligent than myself came up with that ideology. However, I have seen it in practice unfortunately..we change our environment to industrialize and expand, when all that time..we were killing the very planet and its ecosystem we needed to survive.   Did you know Congress revisited the Endangered Species Act and some endangered species (the bald eagle being one of them) will no longer be protected by the Act. "the law is burdensome and has far reaching implications".  Seriously? You cant drill, log or mine in those areas with protected species...thats the bottom line.  https://howtoconserve.org/2017/04/09/modernize-endangered-species-act/
Man has to learn to co-exist with animals, nature and this planet, to restore what you take.  Not destroy the habitats of wildlife that is part of the eco-system. 
As people, we cant do or protect everything..but animals and kids should be off limits and they arent protected by much anymore.  The planet isnt going to last at the current rate of carbon emission. Whether you believe in it or not, how can it hurt to try to clean it up a bit?   If you are interested in this, my BF son ( supervisor @microsoft) was just here and many states and companies are going to abide by Paris Agreement.  My mayor has signed on and I have contacted the Governors office to do so for the state.     Just contact your Governor. https://qz.com/999142/paris-agreement-all-of-the-us-cities-counties-states-universities-companies-and-investors-defying-trumps-stance-on-climate-deal/
 
I mean you people write every day...why not send a note to your governor and ask that person to join the US Climate Alliance.
George N Romey Added Jun 13, 2017 - 12:29pm
Actually Jeanne I have signed onto a group that wants to do town halls to raise awareness of infrastructure projects that are needed, including ways to better provide for the environment.  Read about the Summer of Hell in NYC in which because of neglect on rail lines means some of the LIRR lines will be shut down for commuting.  This will force people into cars (the ones that have the money to be able to commute by personal or private hire car) which of course will damage the environment even more while increasing congestion and likely accidents.  In the end this will be more costly if the tracks had been maintained or replaced years earlier. 
wsucram15 Added Jun 13, 2017 - 1:20pm
Good job..I hate to see anything hurt the environment and the rails in NYC have needed work for some time, although when I was there last they had a section between jersey city and 33rd street closed off for repairs except at limited times. Thats a busy section, well depends on the line I guess.  I had to cab it. 
I thought NYC was on the list of cities to enforce the US Alliance?
I look it up though.  Why dont you do a fund raiser based on the damage to the environment...sounds like a good Hollywood thing to me.
mark henry smith Added Jun 13, 2017 - 2:25pm
Animals don't change their environments, only humans do? From whence comes such madness?
 
Beavers build damns and hornets build nests.
Spiders build webs and eat some of our pests.
Cattle trample the ground so different plants grow.
Every breath changes something, that's what I know.
 
Productive debt is debt that pays for itself either in the wealth it generates or the utility it brings. Unproductive debt is debt that is squandered. The most unproductive debt in the history of the US was the debt used to pay for our Middle East debacles. Hey, Bush might not now be the worst president ever, but he made one of the worst decisions ever.
 
Humans cannot do randomness in regard to the direction of their lives and the future. To do that would require a complete lack of caring about the outcomes and that's just not the way we work. Nature does. Nature throws cataclysmic events at creation and randomly lets those things with the proper ingredients survive. What those ingredients are can't be know before the event. I have an essay on this on my LinkedIn account. It was picked up by someone at MIT doing work on artificial intelligence.
 
Thanks George, and despite all the people who think this is the end of us, all previous evidence must lead to the conclusion that it's really not.  
wsucram15 Added Jun 13, 2017 - 4:16pm
MHS..all of those things are in sync with nature.  What we are referring to is not.  This is what I know, or at least grew up around.   You are right though, nature does randomly select survival.  I doubt we would make the final cut based on current weather patterns and predictions for future events in this area.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 13, 2017 - 5:54pm
George material things are just a facade.  Let me look beyond the outer shell.


We are biologically 99.999% the same as the oldest bones of humans found.  The record of the societies man creates have fundamentally not change also.  The majority of societies have a class structure with a ruling class that may tell the other classes they are GOD or at least superior, aristocrats.  The majority pass aristocratic status down heredity lines.  Utopia written by Thomas More an aristocrat in England under Henry V is an idealized class society cited above.  Others have written and created similar ideal class structured societies the Republic of Plato, the Leviathan of Hobbes, and the Communist State of Marx that actually came to be in multiple countries.  George mans progress is a myth since these are all tyrannical societies.  Venezuela or ISIS states are examples of the creation of a country with class societies where force, bribery, or deception are use to maintain control and the lower classes or neighboring societies resist.   These are just the present ones in the news but history is littered with examples.


The 1% or their about of the societies created by man are different.  The two extremes of societies are anarchy, no laws or tyranny, ruler's laws.  The French revolution occurred I think within the term of President Washington.  The monarchy of France was based on the King's laws, tyranny.  But the collapse of the government resulted in anarchy.  Humans tend to quickly look for an end to anarchy, look for a leader which throws them across the spectrum to a tyrannical leader.  Marx a socialist realized that by creating anarchy and presenting a mask of forming a government with the middle ground, people's law he could once in power create a ruler's law society.  Marx was not at all unique.   But this required a leaders and a class that follows them without morals and virtue
 
Anglo-Saxon that came to England brought with them the concept of common law or the people's law which appears in the  Magna Carta.  Laws are made at the local level.  Judaism old testament and the present state of Israel created a society of initially without a permanent leader and pyramid structure where most decision were made locally.  The  Iroquois Confederacy had the same structure.  Group defense and local tribal laws, and a means of removing errant chiefs. ref: olc.edu/~ljarding/webfolder/American.... "The Magn Carta and The Constitution of The Iroquois Confederancy, Foundations of the US Constititution"
 
USA has stopped teaching morals and virtue, God's Natural Law, in schools.   The realized that religion is the key and all religions share five things 1) there exists a Creator, 2) Creator reveals a moral code, 3) Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other, 4) Live beyond this life, and  5) Judged in next life. ref: "The Five Thousand Year Leap" Cleon Skousen 1981 American Documents Pub. LLC  Franklin TN
 
The progress man had made as Reagan said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children what it was once like in the United States when men were free."
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 13, 2017 - 6:17pm
Islam being a religion does teach these 5 principles and virtue, but being melted into a tyrannical government lead mostly by non- virtuous people that seek power, virtues people do not seek power for personal gain.  The leaders must declare those not of the faith as 'less then human'.  Only when the people believe this can they murder.  
wsucram15 Added Jun 13, 2017 - 6:25pm
Thomas..I went to a Catholic school until 1975 or so and learned religion in class.  However, do not recall being taught about Gods natural law in public school when I transferred during my parents divorce..and it was a good school.  Can you tell me when religion was allowed in the public school system..because one thing they used to teach but don't anymore in most schools...Civics and Government which teaches you Education/Religion is not fair based on various different religions, it violates the 1st Amendment via various cases.  We had big arguments in class about that which is why I remember it. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 13, 2017 - 6:47pm
When the progressives took charge of education they realized to make the Constitution "living" they had to first stop teaching  virtue and morals in school.   They took the words of Thomas Jefferson that talked about a "wall" between church and the federal government, and apply a wall to all levels of government.  The founders only wanted to not give favor to a religion.  The wall prevented a single American state religion that was the norm in Europe.  In fact there were State religions when Washington was president. 
 
Thus when you stop teaching the meaning of the words in the Declaration of Independence that are the moral code shared by all religions which Jesus answered a question to trap him by saying it is the first two commandments.  
 
What do you get WSUCRAM15 when you through out the second commandment?   Abortion any time and even after birth but before a birth certificate is issued,  welfare that has resulted in a rampant single parent house holds. murder by gangs running the streets anarchy, politicians that do not keep there word and are for hire.  
Fernando Alcoforado Added Jun 13, 2017 - 10:36pm
George N Romey, the definition of progress incorporates three key ideas: (1) a linear conception of time and that history has a sense, oriented towards the future; (2) the idea of ​​a fundamental unity of humanity, all called to evolve in the same direction together; And (3) the idea that the world can and should be transformed, implying that man asserts himself as the sovereign master of nature. The concept of progress implies an idolatry of the new. Every innovation is considered better simply because it is new. This thirst for novelty, considered to be the best, quickly became one of the obsessions of modernity.
The theory of progress nourishes the idea that indefinite growth is both normal and desirable, and that a better future depends on an increasing volume of goods produced, an idea that favors the globalization of trade. This idea also inspires the ideology of "developmentalism" for economically backward societies and exalts the Western model of production and consumption as the fate of all mankind. This ideology of development was formulated perfectly in 1960 by Walt Rostow, who enumerated the "stages" that each society should go through to reach the stage of advanced societies.
The facts of life demonstrate that material progress does not make man better and that progress recorded in one domain is automatically reflected in others. Today, more than ever, it is quite evident that the capitalist system on a national and global scale multiplies social pathologies and that industrial modernization results in an unprecedented degradation of nature. Increasing segments of the population now understand that "more" is not synonymous with "better". They are distinguishing between having and being, material happiness and happiness in general. The development of science is perceived more as a threat to the survival of humanity than contributing to the happiness of all human beings with its large-scale use for war and destruction.
Social progress is the most important indicator of progress. If we take this indicator into account, the Nordic or Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland) are at the top of the list because they use an exemplary model of social democracy. Scandinavia is the cradle of the most egalitarian model that capitalism has ever known. Its origins date back to Sweden in the 1930s, more precisely 80 years ago, when social democratic hegemony took place in the Nordic government, initiating a series of social and economic reforms that would inaugurate a new type of capitalism as opposed to liberalism of the previous decades whose final act was the Great Depression of 1929.
The success of this model was due to the combination of a broad welfare state with rigid mechanisms of regulation of market forces, capable of putting the economy in a dynamic trajectory, at the same time that it reached the best indicators of well-being among capitalist countries. In 2013, The Economist magazine stated that the Nordic or Scandinavian countries are probably the most well-governed in the world. The UN World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in Northern Europe, with Denmark at the top of the list. The Nordics have the highest ranking in real GDP per capita, the highest healthy life expectancy, the greater freedom to make choices in life and the greatest generosity. Among the Scandinavian or Nordic countries, Norway is the most prosperous in the world, with the welfare state characterized by much equality and social justice.
George N Romey, human progress is not a myth but a possibility. Scandinavia demonstrates that it is possible to do so.
George N Romey Added Jun 14, 2017 - 7:35am
Fernando the Scandinavians learned a long time ago that when you build great societies all is possible. Instead, in the US we have created a system in which only the few privileged are looked after while the masses continue to fight for an ever increasing smaller piece of the pie.
 
I have friends from these countries that at one time lived in the US but since have returned.  While they miss the diversity of our huge country, the better weather, some of the natural beauty, etc. they are very happy to be back in their home nation.  They look upon the entire political theater here in the US and wonder with amazement how 330 million people could let their country devolve into such a situation.
Fernando Alcoforado Added Jun 14, 2017 - 9:28am
George N Romey, Scandinavia is an island of social progress in an ocean of barbarism that characterizes the rest of the world.
wsucram15 Added Jun 14, 2017 - 9:29am
Thomas..I asked you a basic question.  What school teaches religion?  Its against the Constitution and has been challenged to my knowledge since the 50s, with one of the largest and longest standing cases taking place in 1962. 
I dont want to hear about abortion and morality, thats  NOT THE SCHOOLS JOB, instead it is the job of the parents and in fact the community in which they reside.  You know the old saying "it takes a village to raise a child".  Its about culture....which is your point.   You are arguing and many like yourself the wrong issues, which is why you are dismissed.
As far as politicians, well maybe they should have to pass a test on ethics, but even if they did..one month in DC would fix that, I promise.  Look what they did to Carter, he was at least an honest man.  You voted for Trump and you think he is an honest guy? Seriously?
wsucram15 Added Jun 14, 2017 - 9:32am
George..I know I have spoken to a few people recently who are really shocked and amazed at what is happening here.  Actually kind of upset since it seems to be affecting everyone. 
George N Romey Added Jun 14, 2017 - 12:29pm
Jeanne the world is looking at the US and saying "what in the world happened there?"
wsucram15 Added Jun 14, 2017 - 2:18pm
I guess..I have not polled everyone lol..   But from the reaction I am getting via twitter and online.  yes, its affecting other areas.  But to me, its not really us as much as something a little darker.  However, we are I guess being blamed somehow?  Someone sent me a picture of people in another country shooting I think paint it was, at a blowup trump doll.
The general consensus is how could you people elect this guy? I have had the population argument with a few...but that makes it worse.  So I no longer say anything.  I studied it with supporters and it is a genuine belief that Trump will upend the government as it exists and reform it again as only he can. He is maybe going to upend the government...but unlikely he will be the one to fix it.  However, If I am not mistaken, The last person that tried to even correct corruption  in office and others along with him were murdered.  It is debatable..but Im pretty sure.
wsucram15 Added Jun 14, 2017 - 2:20pm
I keep getting data from Jester, a dark site.  Its crazy. Not conspiracy stuff, just research.
wsucram15 Added Jun 14, 2017 - 2:47pm
Ok two killings this week, one on SF, on Potrero Hill and the other in Portland, Oregon by extremists.  The other by a goof shooting at people working for the government.  People have been let out of their cages, its crazy...
 The hate has to end..period.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 14, 2017 - 6:14pm
wsucram15, I get dismissed because they know I can't change the school districts unless I replace the full board and the state board.  Which is not happening in Illinois.  
 
This is not true, "What school teaches religion?  Its against the Constitution."  What is against the Constitution is favoring one religion over another.  Equal protection under the the law does not mean making religion against the law.  First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of
grievances. 
 
So where does it say in that amendment against religion?    Protestantism bases every decision on the bible that all of its member are free to read and expected to read.   Protestants are expected to interpret the Bible. The Constitution is for all of us to read and interpret it because as the Declaration of Independence states the government exist with the consent of the governed.  That is reject the wall interpretation of the Supreme Court and how it is put into practice. 
wsucram15 Added Jun 15, 2017 - 3:04pm
Thomas;
They cant do that even if they do overturn the board..its federal law. If even ONE person challenged that, it would stop.
The cases I cited are SC court cases keeping with no secular religion in schools. "1963 and after. In these two landmark decisions, Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), the Supreme Court established what is now the current prohibition on state-sponsored prayer in US schools."
Even the word God has been taken out of the pledge of allegiance based on a SC court case (which I thought was dumb) brought about by a father.  In fact, Im not sure, but I think that saying the pledge is voluntary now also.
You are allowed to take time if your religion requires for prayer via a student ( and I think they have to be provided a space) but no state or individual school can use facilities to force ANY religion. Its been a huge debate for some time now.
So you see, it is against federal law...try it and find out.  Ill read about it.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 15, 2017 - 3:18pm
And the next time a case reaches the supreme court the judges need only in overturning  the exclusion of religion from government but to return to no preference of religion by government.  This case cite the first amendment and go back and present the words of Washington, Franklin, Madison, and other words of Jefferson,  The test of the Federalist papers.  The other side presents what other then this cherry picking of Thomas Jefferson? 
Tamara Wilhite Added Jun 17, 2017 - 2:15pm
Poverty by the historical definition IS being wiped out at a record rate, with the lowest percentage of people living at the equivalent of a dollar a day the lowest it has ever been in human history. Millions connect to the power grid and gain running water for the first time every month. Hans Rosling's TED talks on this are great for perspective, showing how child mortality has dropped, life expectancy gone up, near starvation poverty are falling worldwide.
The West's first world problem is looking at relative poverty and asking why it isn't gone, when our lower class lives better than the middle class in many other nations.
mark henry smith Added Jun 19, 2017 - 12:56pm
Tamara, there is no doubt that we are living in the best of times and the worst of times. Hey, that could be the first line of a novel. And yes, services are bringing more and more people into the modern world, but the problems this way of living brings with it have yet to be addressed. It appears obvious to many that soon we will be forced to change how we live on this planet, weaning ourselves away from fossil fuels and the automobile. It could be that bikes replace a lot of traffic, or magnetic carts, but traffic is nuts all over the world.
George N Romey Added Jun 19, 2017 - 2:53pm
Yes extreme poverty is being cured but those people remain poor.  In the meantime the Western world is declining.  Its referred to as the Elephant Curve because those at the very bottom are making some progress, those at the top are surging and those that were in the middle are falling behind.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 19, 2017 - 4:03pm
So let me see George.  The poor are receiving the redistribution of wealth.  The top pass the expense of the wealth the are redistributing to the poor on to their customers the people between the poor and the wealthy.  Yep, those people are falling behind.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 19, 2017 - 4:08pm
Since we have thrown out natural law, the top and bottom of the population that make us the majority can vote to redistribute the wealth of the people in the middle.  You see natural laws are universal and non-changing so, "rulers laws" can not alter them.  Without natural law the ruler can make laws to retain in power.  The Roman Empires were the first to use welfare to get the support of the mob.  So this is not new.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 1, 2017 - 10:42am
The late German author, Gunther Grass, provided a keen insight into human progress in his epic chronicle of the battle of the sexes The FlounderI've always considered it as one of the most profound observations of the human condition.
In an early segment of this book Grass muses over the practices of prehistoric man. Prehistoric man hunted as a group for their food. After the kill was cut up and placed over the fire individual members of the tribe would go off and eat alone. This was presumably a primal instinct not to place their share of the kill at risk before consumption. After dining they had the curious practice of gathering at a communal defecation pit and would ponder the merits of each other's waste. This was the origin of the term "don't shit where you eat".
 
Grass wryly observed that in all of the many centuries of human history to follow the only true advancement that we have made as a species is that we now dine together and shit in private.
John G Added Jul 3, 2017 - 4:21am
And you believe that "After dining they had the curious practice of gathering at a communal defecation pit and would ponder the merits of each other's waste" why?
I'd reckon that Gunther Grass was a fraud if I read that. Because a) he couldn't possibly know such a thing and b) it is contrary to all animal behaviour.
You appear to be very gullible.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 3, 2017 - 6:53am
if you could read it. 

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