In the early stages of the transformation the awareness of change was limited to a minority of city dwellers. To the rural illiterate majority, change was a closed book. A great social gulf separated the feudal countryside from the growing centers of trade, commerce and industry. Bourgeois life processes narrowed and gradually bridged the gulf. Differences between city and country living persisted, but the stark contrast between city abundance of goods and services and their virtual absence from the common life of the countryside grew less and less marked as the proportion of the total population living in the countryside declined with the trek to cities and their suburbs.
Europeans living for the most part in a pre-civilized rural environment passed through generations of illiterate unawareness of the social process through which European life was expanding. The rapid extension of industry and commerce after 1750 (the bourgeois revolution) completed the transformation of a rural, semi-feudal west and central Europe into a continent of town and city dwellers devoting their lives to pursuits unknown to their immediate forebears. In this new Europe the countryside played a decreasing role, as food supplies and raw materials came increasingly from less developed parts of eastern Europe or from the colonies which were opened up by the planet-wide trade and commerce promoted by the aggressive expansion of the European empires.
Most Europeans, satisfied with the axiom "old fashions please me best" were stand-patters in the early stages of this transformation. As the conversion of Europe from feudal status to urban dynamism continued, however, an ever larger part of the population became aware of the change through which their society was passing. With the Renaissance and the Enlightenment inert unawareness gave place to enthusiastic propaganda in the writings of pamphleteers, essayists, poets, novelists and social reformers who set the intellectual tone for the new society.
In a very real sense, the bourgeois Europe which emerged after 1750 was something new under the sun. Large elements of the population, previously engaged in producing and consuming the bare necessaries of food, shelter and clothing were increasingly engaged in trades and professions and rendering services unknown to the feudal countryside. As the expansion of western civilization continued, entire European nations like the Low Countries, England and Germany turned to trade, commerce, industry, leaving only a dwindling minority engaged in agricultural pursuits. The change was speeded by the revolution in science and technology.
Changes in economic and social relations are paralleled by corresponding alterations in the total way of living. Western civilization was, in its entirety, a cultural departure from the pattern of any preceding experiment with civilization because of the drastic changes that the revolution in science and technology had introduced into human society.
Throughout the life-cycle of western civilization minor and major alterations have been made in its structure and its function. Some of the earlier political changes were part and parcel of the bourgeois revolution. They included:
1. The abolition of absolute monarchies and hereditary aristocracies and their replacement by limited monarchies and republics with various types of representative and popular governments selected by ballot.
2. The replacement of personal tyrannies and autocracies by written constitutions and laws passed by elected parliaments.
3. Replacement of war as the sport of kings and the chief instrument of policy makers, by negotiation, diplomacy, and treaties which became the core of existing "international law."
4. Arbitrary national sovereignty was supplemented by more or less permanent alliances and by the formal international organizations such as the Universal Postal Union, the World Court and the League of Nations.
5. Regional Associations were organized; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; the Organization of American States and the Organization for European Unity.
6. Disarmament conferences were held. General peace treaties were signed like the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928 and the United Nations Charter.
7. Two major efforts were made to establish a general confederation of nations and empires—the League of Nations in 1919 and the United Nations a quarter of a century later. Both the League of Nations and the United Nations proved to be feeble and ineffectual efforts to bridge the gulf between limited national sovereignty and planet-wide order and peace. But they were tentative steps in the direction of a federation of the world and they did mark a notable advance from the chaos and conflict incident to the planet-wide expansion of the European empires toward more stable economic and social conditions and more orderly international relationships.
Paralleling these changes in the political life of western civilization there have been a number of drastic economic reforms. One was the abolition of chattel slavery. A second was the replacement of serfdom and peonage by free labor receiving fixed wages and salaries. A third change was the division of large feudal estates and other concentrated landed properties into small units owned and operated by working farmers. A fourth change was the establishment of free trade areas within and among sovereign states. A fifth innovation was the transfer of individually operated and family businesses into associations and corporations with limited liability and widespread ownership by bond and stockholders. Sixth, trade unions and consumers' cooperatives were recognized and legalized. Seventh, legal provisions were made for social security against accident, sickness, unemployment, old age. Minimum incomes were guaranteed. Eighth, many steps were taken toward public or social ownership of the means of production, including land and other natural resources. Ninth, repeated governmental efforts were made to deal with the inflation that attends prolonged exhausting wars. These efforts included the regulation of credit and debt and the substitution of new currencies for old ones that had been hopelessly devalued.
Political and economic changes in the life-patterns of western civilization have been accompanied by far-reaching cultural reforms such as the provision of free public education; the emancipation of women; the provision of public recreation facilities; popularized culture through information, the drama, music, literature, art; equalizing opportunity and facilitating movement up and down the ladder of recognition, approval, disapproval.
Political reforms of western civilization date from the Reformation and the Renaissance. Economic reforms were speeded by the industrial revolution. Together they are often described as the bourgeois revolution, which resulted in the power shift from landlords, ecclesiastics and knights in armor to businessmen, protected and assisted by the state, the church, channels of information and propaganda, the police and other armed forces. Cultural reforms accompanied the reforms in politics and economics.
Underlying the changes and supplementing reforms were improvements in the means of communication and transportation; the discovery and use of new sources of energy and the changes in production and merchandizing which have played so vital a role in the transition from a skimpy economy of scarcity to an open-handed economy of abundance, extravagance and conspicuous waste.
Through all of the political, economic and social changes made in the structure and function of western civilization its basic activities have remained unchanged. The nuclei of civilized life have been cities concerned primarily with trade, commerce, industry, finance—planned, organized and administered by businessmen, their professional and technical associates and assistants. In practice, city centers of wealth and power have expanded, using the military as the readiest means of implementing policy. They have occupied and garrisoned the foreign territory brought under their control. At home and abroad they have exploited nature, men and other animals in their interest and for their profit. The trading cities of medieval Europe, the emerging nations of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the colonizing empires of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the industrial European empires of the nineteenth century devoted their energies increasingly to expanding into new territory, occupying and exploiting it, and fighting the wars which pock-marked the ceaseless struggle for pelf and power. In short, they continued to build up the institutions and to follow the practices of civilized peoples. This has been true of the millennium that began with the crusades and has hastened the rise of western civilization and its extension to planet-wide proportions.
Similar conclusions can be drawn from the life stories of the score or more of civilizations that rose, flourished and sank into inconsequence during the previous five thousand years.
Each civilization has had its own habitat, its own life pattern. Each has had its own languages, laws, traditions and customs. But despite such local differences, all of the civilizations have had in common those characteristics which justify their inclusion in the family of civilizations.
Anyone who wishes to test the accuracy of these generalizations may be satisfied by reading and observing the events that began with the wars between Japan, China and Russia, the Spanish American War, the Boer War, and the revolts in Cuba, China and the Philippines, all of which took place between 1895 and 1905. The present century opened in a period of critical struggle between empires, within empires and between imperial centers and colonial dependencies. These preliminary skirmishes led up to two general wars in 1914-1918 and 1936-1945, accompanied and followed by a score of minor wars and a planet-wide rash of civil wars and wars of independence waged by peoples of the erstwhile colonies.
Three johnnie-come-lately empires played star-roles in the drama: Germany, the United States and Japan. The histories of all three countries from 1870 to 1950 provide ample support for the contention that the central theme of western civilization, as of its predecessors, is a competitive struggle for wealth and power, aimed at expansion and exploitation, using war and the threat of war as instruments of policy.
Even under the pressures generated by the innovations and the political and economic changes of the current world wide revolution, the principle objectives of civilization have remained constant: geographical expansion; military, economic and cultural occupation; exploitation of the newly acquired territories and peoples. Each civilization has built up and maintained a professional military apparatus and used it as the final arbiter in the determination of domestic and foreign policy.
The means used to achieve these objectives have varied from time to time and from place to place. The basic pattern of civilization has appeared, disappeared and reappeared.
Each civilization has made heroic efforts to reform itself when submerged in a time of troubles that made its institutions and its practices intolerable to those in power or those groups and classes which had grown so desperate under its exploitation and oppression that they preferred death to continuance of the established order.
Each civilization has made its contribution, retaining its essential form while modifying its practices to meet the requirements of particular situations. Western civilization is no exception to this general rule.
Following the all but universal principle that "action and reaction tend to be equal and opposite," subjugated, occupied peoples revolt against "foreign" occupation and exploitation. Again western civilization is no exception, as the movements for independence and self-determination that followed the 1946 post-war collapse of the European empires clearly showed.
Reaction against western civilization went beyond revolt to include the rejection of the obsolete concepts, forms and practices inherent in civilization. Rejection has been accompanied and followed by proposals for replacing civilization by concepts, forms and practices more in keeping with the social relations and situations resulting from the current world revolution.
Most reforms of civilization have been attempted during the life of western civilization because during that era both the structure and functioning of civilization have been called into question. In no civilization (Egypt, Rome or the modern West) have the essential principles of civilization been seriously modified. Again and again, during the times of trouble that marked the breakdown of successive civilizations, particular institutions were rejected but civilization as a way of life has been accepted and re-established in the course of each new cycle.
During previous cycles the breakdown of a civilization had been followed by a period of rest and recuperation before the beginning of the next experiment. The breakdown of western civilization, a negative reaction, has been accompanied by a planet-wide drive to replace the concepts, forms and practices of civilization by the concepts, forms and practices of socialism-communism.
Socialism-communism as a way of life for nations and continents is a new experiment on the planet earth. Heretofore there have been small groups—families, tribes and sects—that have adopted and followed cooperation as a way of life, but widespread planned cooperation on a national or continental scale is a novelty.
As a result of these changes, conflict-torn and fragmenting western civilization found itself divided into three factional groups:
I. Corporate business organized domestically and internationally to preserve and extend its wealth and power. Big business interests, their dependents and backers were concentrated chiefly in West Europe and North America. Their network of interests and controls was planet-wide. Literally they were the backbone of western civilization.
II. Builders of socialism-communism, an alternative and rival life pattern, have been concentrated in East Europe and Asia. The socialists-communists occupied a minority position in most of the countries dominated by big business. Their program called for the replacement of capitalist competition and conflict by a cooperating, planned, planet-wide society operated for service rather than for profit.
III. A third segment, made up largely of nations and peoples located in Africa, Asia and Latin America, who up to war's end in 1945 had been colonies or dependencies of the big business directed empires. Since 1945 they have become increasingly independent and self-determining.
The three-fold division of the planet was determined in part by the age-old ideas, principles and practices of civilized peoples during the past six thousand years. In part, it was the outcome of the planet-wide revolution of 1750-1970. It was likewise the result of the wars, revolutions and independence movements that have upset and realigned the world since 1776. Under the impact of these forces human society was being unmade, re-examined and remade.
By comparison with its own beginnings and with its predecessors, western civilization has made many changes in its political, economic and sociological way of life. It has also developed national and regional variants of its overall pattern.
Despite these changes, and with the possible exception of its very large and significant socialist-communist sector, the West has retained the structural and functional features of previous civilizations: urban nuclei supporting themselves by trade, commerce and finance; expansion up to and beyond the point of no return; the life and death power struggle within and between its constituent peoples, nations and empires; the use of war as the final arbiter in these struggles; the rise of the military to a position of supremacy in policy making and public administration; an all-pervasive pattern of exploitation within the urban nuclei and between rival provincial factions; speculation in the necessaries of life; the growth of overhead costs far beyond the increase of production and of income; the degradation of currency; multiple taxation; the abuse of credit; inflation, unemployment and chronic hard times.
Western civilization differs from its predecessors in one crucial respect: it is planet-wide. Previous civilizations known to history have been limited by oceans, deserts and other geographical barriers. The revolution in communication and transportation has by-passed geographic barriers.
The French saying "the more things change the more they remain the same" finds ample justification in the story of western civilization and its predecessors. In one instance after another, for at least six thousand years, civilizations have been built up to summits of wealth and power. Then, on the downward sweep of the cycle, they have declined, decayed and been dumped on the scrap heap of history. No two of these cycles were exactly alike. Each cycle was a social experiment that followed a well marked path. There were variations, innovations, deviations from the norm, but institutions and practices were strikingly similar. In this broad sense, and despite minor departures, the life patterns of civilization have appeared, disappeared and reappeared with close similarity in structure and function.
Western civilization has had a life cycle of approximately a thousand years. During that millennium it has undergone many changes—political, economic, sociological, ideological. Throughout these changes its basic characteristics have remained; have appeared and reappeared. In the 1970's western civilization retains the essential features which justify us in describing it as a civilization.
The great revolution which began about 1750 and has increased in breadth and depth throughout the past two centuries had led to vital changes in structure and functioning, particularly of the West but generally in the entirety of human society. So far-reaching are these changes, and so deep running, that human society, particularly in the West, has outgrown or is outgrowing the life pattern evolved by civilizations during the past four or five millenia. As a consequence, geographical expansion by the time-honored method of grab-and-keep has become more difficult, far more expensive in manpower and material wealth and is in growing disrepute among a sizeable minority of individuals and social groups, even in the centers of western civilization. It is in notable disfavor among the former colonies and dependencies of the European empires.
At the same time, war as a means of achieving social ends has fallen into greater and greater disrepute. War costs, measured in terms of human well-being and welfare had soared to fantastic heights before 1945. The devastation, during that year, of two moderate sized cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was a foretaste of the increasingly bleak chances of human survival with the stockpiling of nuclear weapons far more destructive than the fission bombs used on the two Japanese cities.
Under the conditions prevailing before the great revolution, competitive struggle between nations and empires, expanding as a result of victory in war, had ceased to be a practicable means of gaining, holding and increasing wealth and power. If the costs of the international power struggle exceeded the gains, there were no longer victors who won and vanquished who lost. Instead, everybody lost as the entire social structure was wrenched, dislocated, wracked and down-graded. Certainly this seemed to be the plain-as-day lesson of the two general wars and the flurry of minor wars which swept the earth after 1910.
Expansion through armed struggle no longer paid its way. It was the obvious lesson stressed by J.A. Hobson and Nicolai Lenin in their respective studies of imperialism (1903 and 1916). It was the theme of Norman Angel's Great Illusion. It was summarized by Arnold Toynbee's War and Civilization.
If the costs of expansion exceeded the income, the outcome of expansion would be dismemberment for the vanquished and bankruptcy for the victors. Indeed, this formula generalises the experience of the survival struggles during the war years which began in 1911. I summarized the experience in The Twilight of Empire(1929).
The catastrophic economic breakdown during the Great Depression of 1929-1938, the spectacular and fateful rise of Hitlerism in Germany after 1927, the destructive Civil War in Spain from 1936 to 1939, followed immediately by the war devastations of 1939-45 were part and parcel of the same picture. The same may be said for the revolt of the colonial peoples, downgrading all European "victors" in the war of 1914-18, and the social revolutions following 1945 that shook up the planetary power structure and opened the way for socialist-communist forces to begin socialist construction in one country after another.
Some European states had become super-states, armed to the teeth, surrounded with their satellites, dependencies and colonies. They expanded, exploited and battled as they played the absorbing and ruinous game of "Beggar My Neighbor". Politically and economically the struggle reached and passed its high point between 1914 and 1945. The subsequent years have revealed the aftermath—a down-graded Europe and an ascendant Asia.
Empire building has been made prohibitively expensive by the revolution in science and technology; if the human family is to survive in anything like its present numbers, a way must be found to end the use of war as a means of attaining social objectives. New techniques, chiefly non-competitive, must be discovered and employed in the maintenance of social relations.
Not only must war be abandoned as a means of achieving social objectives, but exploitation of nature and man must be superceded by a planet-wide life style that conserves natural wealth and shifts the center of economic endeavor from competition to cooperation.
Abandonment of war as an instrument of policy and the renunciation of exploitation of man by man and nation by nation as a means of enrichment would put an end to the scandalous and corrosive extremes of riches and poverty that have cursed every civilization of which we have a written record.
Western civilization, like its predecessors, had consisted of rival nations and empires competing for living-space, wealth, position, expanding territorially as they exploited nature and available labor power for the advantage of the few.
Civilization as a life style, built around the competitive struggle for wealth and power, using war as an instrument of policy and multiplying the techniques of expansion and exploitation, has had a series of experimental tryouts already under way at the dawn of written history. Under no circumstances has civilization proved to be wholly rewarding and satisfying. The current revolution in science and technology has rendered civilization unreformable as well as obsolete.
The structure or pattern of civilization has divided western civilization into separate parts that benefit by separateness and profit from conflict. The result is a typical example of a self-destroying life style struggling through an impasse from which there is no escape save through a third fratricidal war.
Today civilization is a bad buy, especially for young people starting out in life. Civilization still has its advantages for those who have lived actively, achieved many of their material objectives and retired to spend their declining years in a well-feathered nest. For some privileged young people, willing to settle for comfort and conformity, civilization offers the leisure to learn, and an opportunity to test themselves out against a big field of ardent competitors. But for energetic, forward-looking, idealistic young people, the opportunities offered by western civilization are deemed inconsequential, trivial and in the long run, inadequate. For them, the game is not worth the candle.
Today civilization is a bad buy for two reasons. The first is that antisocial, predatory, exploitive and parasitic elements are unfortunately and unnecessarily prominent in the lives of all civilized peoples, including the present West. The second reason is the arrogant, self-righteous, peremptory, bragging, bullying, dictatorial approaches adopted by civilized people in their dealings with those who live on the fringes or outside the pale of civilization. The first reason is an inescapable consequence of the political, economic, ideological and sociological assumptions of the civilizing process. The second reason is inherent in the methods used by civilized peoples in their dealing with the uncivilized majority of humanity.
Steps Beyond Civilization
TEN BUILDING BLOCKS FOR A NEW WORLD
In the previous chapter I argued that we are marking time in a fool's paradise while western civilization slips backward and downward toward dissolution and oblivion. Like many of its predecessors, our civilization seems to have exhausted its capacity to create, progress, advance. Instead it is disintegrating and breaking up in our current time of troubles.
In an earlier epoch of human history civilization helped to bridge the wide gap between man the victim and plaything of nature, and man as the user, director and, to a limited degree, the coordinator of natural forces. Today questions of our demise or our survival and advance are pressing and urgent.
Civilization has played an important role in the social history of mankind during the several thousand years when segments of the human family have turned their backs on barbarism, regrouped their forces, revamped their patterns of association and experimented with the more complicated, specialized and integrated life pattern of civilization. These experiments have paralleled or followed one another, separated by shorter or longer ages of rest and recuperation. Each epoch of civilization has contributed ideas, artifacts and institutions to the sum total of human culture. This has been the case with past civilizations. It is true of western civilization.
Civilization, like other aspects of human culture, is never static but always dynamic. It changes constantly, waxing and waning. It develops, expands and contracts. It reaches out toward universality, then breaks down and dissolves into a welter of conflicting regional and local interest groups. These changes are the outcome of hard-nosed experience. They are related to alterations in ideas, outlooks and purposes. They are often associated with technical discoveries and inventions. They come and go in more or less clearly defined cycles. They are influenced by deep running political, economic and social forces and trends.
Each civilization matures into forms and develops functions and institutions that tend to consolidate and crystallize in well defined social patterns and habit grooves in which two forces oppose each other: one force is status—preserving that which is; the other force is change—that which tends to become or is becoming.
Status and change confront each other at all social levels. During periods of rapid social change they take the center of the stage and dominate the drama.
The planet-wide revolution of 1750-1970 is an outstanding example of rapid change. The current opposition of status and change has pushed other aspects of social life into second place and has made the social status of yesterday outmoded today and obsolete tomorrow.
The disintegration of western civilization (indicated by its 1910-1975 time of troubles) is having profound effects on western man. The effects are physical, mental, energenic and moral for individuals. Socially they find expression in vandalism, hooliganism, major crime, in the break-up of the family; in alienation, inertia, boredom; in laxity, indiscipline; loss of faith, weakness or absence of purpose. Most serious of all, perhaps, western peoples are learning to ignore principle, live for the moment, satisfy their already sated appetites and pay little or no attention to the future. These attitudes are widespread in the western world of the 1970's, particularly among the young. These effects, on the whole negative, are offset by a number of positive factors. Human beings are curious and imaginative. They are also ingenious, inventive and intuitive. All of these attributes are assets when dealing with the future and the unknown.
In a previous generation, preceding the war of 1914-18, a very large part of the West was under the influence of the Christian church, which promised good things in the hereafter. During the ensuing years of military conflict, planned destruction and wholesale murder, another considerable part of the West, both socialist and liberal, was promising security, comfort and convenience here and now. The influence of the Christian church on life style, even among its own membership, has declined in the past half century. Affluent monopoly capitalism, meanwhile, has provided the rich, the middle class and important numbers of workers and farmers with necessaries and amenities far beyond the levels imagined by reformers and revolutionaries of a previous generation. As an integral part of this maturing revolutionary situation a generation of human beings born since war's end in 1945 has come on the scene, surrounded by the concrete and glass buildings, block printed nylons, the automobiles and domestic appliances of monopoly capitalism and by the social security of socialism. In both segments, capitalist and socialist, the more gifted, original, sensitive, creative members of this comfort-pampered generation have turned their backs on affluence and security and begun shouting a new slogan: "We want to live!"
There is nothing surprising about this development. Many trained, experienced observers have been predicting it. Youth, idealism, aspiration, optimism, ambition—cannot be satisfied with status in any form. They want to live, to achieve, to face difficulties, to overcome dangers, to express themselves, to create. They are not content merely to arrive at physical affluence. Affluence and social security cannot satisfy. They merely sharpen the appetite for a continuance of the life journey, on the best terms permitted by the current time of troubles.
Among the members of the post-war generation, this ambitious, perceptive elite is aware of two disturbing and compelling realities. The first is the peril to mankind implicit in a continuance along its present disaster course of war, with its inescapable counterpart, social dissolution. The second is the possibility that out of the wreckage and rubble of an outmoded cultural pattern, a mature, chastened, more experienced, more consciously purposive generation will arise, possessing the wit to see the necessity of creative advance, and the wisdom to guide the pioneers of humanity along the difficult and dangerous path that they must follow if they are to reach the land of purpose and promise.
Current frustrating experience with the breakdown of western civilization, coupled with historical precedents, confront the present generation of mankind with a compelling challenge and a unique, precious opportunity. The challenge arises out of experiments with particular civilizations and with civilization as a way of life. Our analysis of this situation leads to only one possible conclusion: Repeated experiments with civilization unmask it as a way, not of life, but as a cycle of rise, expansion, maturity, decline and certain death.
The challenge is emphasized by the failure of reforms and reformers of civilization to make changes in structure and function sufficient to meet the challenge of the birth-maturity-death cycle. Nor has it been possible for western civilization to take advantage of the drastic changes and challenges arising out of the current world revolution.
Man's top negative priority at the present moment is to reject the wiles, the temptations, the mortal conflicts and the annihilative destruction which have disrupted and decimated civilized society during the past six thousand years and reached their apex in the Great Revolution of 1750-1970. These experiences prove beyond the shadow of doubt that this pattern of human collective life is inadequate to meet the present and future needs of the human family.
Man's top positive priority is the present-day occupancy of the planet Earth by 3,700 million human beings who wish to survive, to utilize and conserve the natural habitat and to improve the social environment. Within narrow limits, almost all members of the human family want to live and to help other humans to do likewise. Multitudes of human beings, particularly among the youth, want to enjoy outward looking, satisfying, productive, creative lives. They also want those near and dear to do the same thing.
What steps must they take in order to realize their hope and fulfill their aspirations?
Broadly speaking, they must pick their way warily through the maze of artifacts, gadgets and gimmicks produced by human ingenuity during the current world revolution. Most of them are superficial and time consuming. A few are fundamental. They are of the utmost importance as implements to human advance. Taking what advantage they can of recent innovations, avoiding dead-ends and illusion leading to rainbows, the more sensitive and more competent segments of mankind must close ranks and move upward and onward to a new level of culture. The chief instrument available for such an enterprise is the twentieth century version of the political state. The bourgeois revolution was achieved through the developing, evolving political state. The political state is the binding force that held scattered fragments of the human family together during the stresses and strains of the current revolution in science and technology. It is the political state that must be depended upon to resist the fragmentating forces of a disintegrating western civilization, to preserve the social structure and administer human society through the transition from civilization into the structure and functioning of the new social order which is presently supplanting civilization.
Through Europe's transition from feudalism to capitalism, the feudal state, here and there, step by step, was replaced by the bourgeois state as the chief structural building block of western civilization. The bourgeois revolution, in various parts of Europe, lasted for several centuries; the process was well under way by 1450. As lately as 1945 feudal pockets remained in Eastern Europe.
An even more profound transformation of European society is made in the course of the Great Revolution of 1750-1970. The transformation is in its early stages. During the process, the political life of Europe-in-transition will be administered by the political institutions of the bourgeois state, together with the closely related state patterns of socialism-communism which have come into being during the present century.
During this transition the bourgeois state itself has evolved. At the outset it was a revolutionary force devoting its energies to the elimination of feudal institutions and practices and replacing them by the institutions and practices needed for the advancement of bourgeois interests.
Today the bourgeois state is a bulwark of conservatism; devoting its energies to the preservation of bourgeois forms and practices and doing its utmost to fulfill its counter-revolutionary role of resisting and, if possible, destroying the institutions and practices needed to replace the political institutions and practices of civilization by the new institutions required to move mankind from the outmoded lifestyle of civilization to a lifestyle beyond and above that to which humanity has become adapted during the now obsolete epoch of civilization.
At the same time, the socialist-communist variant of the bourgeois state pattern is providing the framework within which the institutions and practices needed for the transition from civilization to a newer and more universal social order are being matured. At the next stage in the birth process, the institutions and practices necessary for upbuilding the social order that will replace civilization are being worked out in theory and embodied in experimental practice.
In practice, an accurate distinction must be made between the conservative bourgeois state, the temporary transitional state and the universal socialist-communist state that will shepherd humanity along the difficult and dangerous path of the political life pattern beyond civilization. In theory such distinctions are needed as part of the scaffolding within which the social pattern of beyond-civilization will be constructed.
Like most decisive epochs of human history, the revolution through which we are passing has had both a negative and a positive aspect. In Chapter 11 I wrote about one of its destructive aspects—the extreme destructivity of two periods of general war. At this point, I would like to list ten positive contributions made by the same revolution toward the development of a social life style that is offering itself as an alternative to civilization.
1. NEW SOURCES OF ENERGY. Up to 1750 human beings had the energy of the human body plus the energy of domestic animals. They used wind to turn mills and sail ships and water to turn crude wheels. They also burned various things, particularly vegetable fibres, to produce heat. During the revolution they have learned to use steam, electricity and chemical explosives. Recently they have learned to use the energy in the atom, to use water power extensively and, to a slight extent, the energy of the sun and the tides.
2. The revolution has taught people who previously feared CHANGE, to welcome change and take full advantage of discoveries and inventions that modified nature and profoundly altered human society.
3. Among the INVENTIONS were the extensive use of the wheel for movement on land, the use of steam engines and electric motors for moving, manufacturing and transportation and the use of electricity for communication.
4. INCREASED HUMAN MOBILITY on land and water, and, more recently, in the air and, still more recently, in outer space. Easy and rapid movement, and almost instantaneous communication brought people together in towns and cities, built up trade in goods and services, increased speed of communications and enabled people living at a distance from one another to keep in close touch, bringing human enterprises and human beings into continuing contact. Human life, thought and action were coordinated. Increased mobility UNIFIED HUMAN SOCIETY.
5. RESEARCH is now an accepted aspect of all phases of human life and activity. Research is a recognized occupation. Research teams solve problems, map the paths of enterprise. We are learning first to think, then, only after careful study, decide on courses of action and follow them through.
6. The field of inquiry and research covered the entire range of human experience. Information, resulting from research, provided the subject matter of new sciences. In the new fields new skills were developed and new professions built up. The members of this new TECHNOLOGICAL INTELLIGENTSIA, added to the learned professions, created a large group who expected and enjoyed affluent living conditions.
7. SPREADING AFFLUENCE increased the number of families that enjoyed abundance of goods and services, comforts and luxuries mass produced and offered in a mass market, lifting people out of scarcity by growing abundance. Scarcity ceased to restrain. Instead, people learned the values of RESTRAINT, ECONOMY, FRUGALITY, SIMPLICITY.
8. Increase in size and complexity called into being a new profession. MANAGEMENT with the necessary PLANNING, BUDGETING, COST KEEPING.
9. Large numbers of well-fed, housed, educated and aware human beings created the possibility of arousing, mobilizing and utilizing people—especially young people—to take part in voluntary group projects, co-operate and create. Such experiences developed SOCIAL AWARENESS and led to LARGE SCALE MASS ACTION.
10. People growing up in affluence, living above the rigors of poverty, asked questions about themselves, their society and the universe in which they lived. They learned that they and their fellows had not only the five accepted "senses," but additional senses with corresponding experiences. This opened their eyes to the possibility of additional or extra senses, opening the immense field of "EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION," E.S.P.
These ten areas, opening up largely during the years of the great revolution are "new wine" which cannot be contained in the old wine skins. They raise questions and open up vistas which transcend the narrower confines of civilization. They are among the materials and facilities out of which a new world is coming into existence.
MOVING TOWARD WORLD FEDERATION
One of man's earliest collective experiences is summed up in the saying: United we stand; divided we fall.
United we survive and prosper. Divided we quarrel, fight and sooner or later break up into smaller sovereign competing groups. If human beings wish to utilize nature or to enjoy the advantages of collective action and group life they must get together and stay together.
This necessity for collective action has appeared and reappeared all through written history. It is one of the most important lessons of present-day human experience. It holds for families, neighborhoods, villages, cities, nations, for mankind as a whole. It is joint action for the general welfare.
The principle of collective action has been recognized and put into practice during the ten centuries that span the rise of western civilization—put into practice up to a certain point—the nation or the empire. Beyond that point, collective action has taken two forms: competition and conflict, including war, and coordination or cooperation under agreement, contract or treaty.
Among the outstanding results of the great revolution, improvement in communication and transportation have brought humans into contact with one another on an increasingly extensive scale, reaching its high water mark in planet-wide networks of trade, travel, migration and diplomacy, leading up to the One World which was so much in the foreground of public discussions between the two general wars of 1914 and 1939.
Much has been written on the subject. I contributed by two bits in The Next Step, a book published in 1922 and United World, published in 1945. Perhaps the most critical failure of western civilization was its inability or unwillingness to take that next step during the decisive years that followed the Hague Conference of 1899.
In listing the Ten Building Blocks for a New World (Chapter 13 of this book) I began with world federation because in terms of the public life of the earth around 1900, the planet was divided into two alliances of nations and empires—the Allies, headed by Great Britain and the Central Powers, headed by Germany.
Instead of cooperating to gain their declared objectives of peace, prosperity and progress these two power blocs engaged in an armament race from 1903 to 1914, leading up to general war in 1914, with a second general war between the rivals in 1939.
When I was organizing Part II of this study (A Social Analysis of Civilization) I had to decide whether to begin with economics or politics. As an economist I was inclined to put economics first, but since the study centered on civilization, and since all known civilizations were not groupings of economic subdivisions but aggregates of nations, empires and their dependencies, and since the expansion of civilization has consisted in enlarging the geographical area of the civilization in question, I decided to begin with politics. As the study has progressed I have seen no reason for reversing the choice.
On the contrary, since I began collecting data for this study at the time of the first general war, I have watched the unfolding political struggle for economic and cultural objectives with the increasing conviction that politics is the primary focus, with economic forces always in play, but usually in the background, leaving the center of the stage to politics.
This is another way of saying that the present-day world is divided primarily into political nation states rather than into areas of economic function. Always, economics is important. But, at least superficially, political considerations are in the foreground to clinch decisions. A time may come when economists or sociologists occupy the central offices where primary decisions are made. That time has not yet arrived. In so far as the present generation is concerned, politics is in the foreground. The politicians make the crucial announcements and sign the key documents.
Therefore our survey of the Steps Beyond Civilization begins with politics. Our attention centers on the political aspects of World Federation with economic considerations present and always operating, but not dominating the crucial decisions.
For better or worse, in 1975 and the years immediately succeeding, we will be living on a planet divided into some 140 politically sovereign states. In view of the widespread pressure toward self-determination, the number of sovereign states has increased considerably, especially since war's end in 1945.
Presumably the principal "united we stand" applies to those 140 sovereign states.
Sovereignty includes the right of self determination—putting the interests of one particular state above the interests of the entire family of nations—the part before the whole. Here is a contradiction and a possible conflict of interest. Britain's Prime Minister Heath, like many another spokesman in his position, summed up the issue in the pithy phrase: "British interests come first."
If the French, Italian, Japanese and other prime ministers take a similar stand, implied by the principle of sovereignty, situations are bound to arise in which the interests of two or more nations clash, opening the way for conflicts at many levels: differences of interpretation, negotiations in the course of which concessions may be made by both parties. The differences may be settled by diplomats sitting around conference tables or by armies on the battlefield.
With 140 sovereign states on the planet, the probability of conflict would seem to be overwhelming. As a matter of daily experience such confrontations and conflicts do occur. Most of them are handled by negotiation. A few lead to armed struggle.
Since 140 sovereign states exist on one earth, means must be found that will enable them to co-exist, if possible, without conflict, and certainly without military conflict. The means generally relied upon today for dealing with such problems is negotiation between representatives of all parties at interest. At the national level this would mean negotiations between representatives of the involved governments.
Negotiations between representatives of various governments are always going on—dealing with political, economic and cultural issues. Within each nation such negotiations are conducted between spokesmen for various government departments. Internationally they are conducted by representatives of various governments working through their diplomatic or consular services. Within each nation and between nations confrontations may be settled by negotiation. At each level they may result in armed conflict.
Governments exist to deal with conflicts and, where possible, to resolve them before they reach the shooting stage. This is notably true in domestic affairs because there are usually public officials charged with the duty of dealing with problems. Internationally, unless there is an international agency such as the Universal Postal Union of the Organization of American States, the issue must be settled by special representatives of the parties.
The argument for a world government begins with the assumption that means should exist to deal with international issues before they reach an acute stage. Such means exist within each local government. Similar arrangements should exist at the international level to deal with issues that arise between governments.
The political core of a social stage beyond civilization will be a planet-wide, international, regional and local network of institutions, integrated, coordinated and administered on the federal principle: local affairs controlled locally; regional affairs controlled regionally; international affairs controlled by a planet-wide political authority. Such a relationship would imply states rights for the local authority; regional rights for the regional authority, and full awareness in the central authority of the possibility, at this juncture, of establishing order, justice and mercy on the planetary level—in our present terminology, a "world government."
Basic to this federal structure would be the Jeffersonian assumption: "That government governs best which governs least", with an amendment: "provided that the authority in question governs sufficiently to establish and maintain physical health, social decency, order, justice and mercy in reasonable proportions throughout the area subject to its jurisdiction".
At each level, local, national, regional and planetary, there will be committees, councils or other authorities with full responsibility for the conduct of public administration at the local, the national, the regional and the planetary or international level.
Currently the federal principle is widely established at local and national levels. Attempts are being made in various regions to effectuate stable authorities at the regional level, such as the United States of North America or the United States of Mexico. There has been much talk of planet-wide government established by one wealthy and militarily powerful nation over its peers, or by a voluntary association with its peers. Institutions established thus far: League of Nations, The United Nations, The World Court, the Universal Postal Union, have fallen far short of stable, planet-wide, all inclusive political authority.
At the moment there are 122 states which are members of the United Nations. There are perhaps an additional score of nations which have applied for membership or which might be accepted if they made an application. Accept this rounded figure, and we have perhaps 140 nations or potential nations on the planet. Some are long established and stable. Other nations are new-born, with small populations, few resources and minimal means of defense or offense. By and large this is the family of nations which might be coordinated into an effective world authority which would be responsible for order, decency and peace in a federally coordinated world.
World authority, to be effective and reasonably stable, must be equipped with sufficient delegated powers to maintain orderly and decent relations between its members, establish peace, and carry out policies necessary to provide and promote ecological and sociological welfare. To achieve such results it must have a built-in balance between central authority and local-regional self-determination. It must also enjoy sufficient elbow-room to provide for social change and for consistent social improvement.
The goal of world government, as of any political enterprise that pretends to represent human needs, will be social stability, security, efficiency of service, and enlarged opportunities for citizens to speak and act for themselves, directly or through their representatives, at all levels. Politics is the theory and practice of the possible in any given situation. Executives and administrators in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo or in the United States, Britain and Japan will deal with public transportation, public education and public law and order in terms of general principles such as those stated in the opening sentences of this paragraph. They will also face specific situations arising out of climate, access to raw materials, custom, habit and other ecological and cultural factors which differ profoundly from continent to continent, nation to nation, city to city and district to district in the same nation.
Human communities have sought and found different means of dealing with the problems of community administration. At one extreme of social administration are various types of arbitrary, personal dictatorships. The Greeks called them tyrannies—arbitrary rule by individuals or small groups subject only to their own decisions.
At the other extreme are social groups that arrive at decisions as the outcome of discussion in which all group members may take part. Group decisions may require unanimity or they may be the outcome of voting, with a majority or plurality vote carrying with it the right and duty to put decisions into effect as part of the public life of the community.
Various forms of government have been established locally and regionally. At the level of a civilization, the government has been established almost universally as the outcome of armed struggle and military conquest, and has been exercised through the use of armed force in the hands of armed minorities.
A century without general war, 1815 to 1914, led to a widespread balance-of-power assumption that planet-wide peace and prosperity could be established and maintained by preserving a balance between the armed forces of individual nations or alliances. Hence there need be no more general wars fought for survival or supremacy.
The bitter struggle for markets, raw materials and colonies that followed the French-German War of 1870 developed into an armament race after 1899. From the Hague Peace Conference of 1899 to the outbreak of general war in 1914, desperate efforts were made to maintain the power-balance and avert a general war. The failure of these efforts proved the ineffectiveness of the balance-of-power formula.
Today it is generally taken for granted that a balance of power between armed nations is no guarantee of peace and order. It is also taken for granted that frivolous talk like that of an "American Century" after 1945 has no justification in the light of present-day history. As matters now stand neither a balance between rival armed powers, nor the domination of the planet by any one power can be relied upon to maintain world order and keep world peace.
Forms of self-government and representative government developed during the bourgeois revolution and advocated and partially applied during the proletarian up-surge, are being continued or are reappearing during the current struggle for power and prestige at the planetary level. As the planet approaches one world technologically, there is an increasing possibility of a planetary political federation, directed by a world governmental apparatus.
INTEGRATING A WORLD ECONOMY
Repeated efforts have been made to establish large-scale, widely ranging economies. This was the case during Egyptian and Phoenician civilizations. It was certainly true of the economy of the Roman Empire and of Roman civilization.
Such efforts faced drastic limitations. The most formidable was the narrow margin of surplus produced by hand labor in the forests, on the fields and in the workshops, operated, in the main, with hand tools, with minor inputs of energy supplied by domestic animals and with the small amounts derived from wind and moving water.
Two further limitations existed. First, as each civilization matured its leaders and policy makers ceased to labor on the land or in the workshops, preferring to keep their hands and clothes clean, to free themselves from irksome demanding toil and devote themselves to tasks more befitting "gentlefolk." This was notably true of landlords as a class. It was also true of the richer traders, merchants and moneylenders, particularly of the third and fourth generations.
Expansion of empires and the civilizations which they developed entailed military operations. Military operations, in their turn, produced war-captives, who must earn their keep and, if possible, something more. Sold in the market to the highest bidder, war captives and their descendants became chattel slaves. As civilizations were expanded by conquest and matured by struggle, they developed some type of forced labor to balance the increased parasitism of the masters and the growing numbers who were called upon to produce "services" rather than material goods.
Certain areas of civilized economies were taken over by the public authorities. Planning and building of cities and their ports, of highways, including bridges, of viaducts, aqueducts, of drainages for the cities, of public buildings. The construction of defenses, including city walls, were partly or wholly public enterprises. Temples and tombs for the mighty were often in the same category.
Maintenance of large elaborate households by political leaders, and in later periods of empire building, by the successful merchants and technicians, led to the employment of many servants, including subordinate members and relatives of the elite.
Much necessary labor was performed by members of each household. The resulting economy was therefore fragmented at the household level with virtually all of the energy supplied by human beings and domestic animals.
As each civilization developed its pattern of forced labor, including the labor of war captives, it launched the deadly competition between freemen and slaves which almost inevitably ended in favor of the slaves, who were housed and fed by the masters and who could operate at overhead costs lower than those involved in the hiring of wage or salaried workers.
Land ownership tended to center in the political-military leaders, the temples and, as each civilization matured, in the hands of its bourgeoisie.
Integrating such economies proved to be a difficult, arduous task, well beyond the powers of the average political, military or hereditary leader. In a very real sense, the problems of management were extremely personal and correspondingly concentrated in the hands of skillful acquisitors. Nowhere was the impact of the 1750-1970 revolution more far reaching than in the area of management.
Economic activities, in the course of the great revolution, had less and less connection with the homestead, and except for a tiny minority of the personnel, had no connection with the family of the owner-operator. The seat of the family—the home—continued to exist, but on a far more restricted basis. Arts and crafts moved from the household into the workshop, where they expanded both in extent and in complexity. Domestic tasks were associated with hand labor and simple tools. The great revolution filled the workshop with the ancestors of present day machinery, but with a prodigious difference. In the early step from home workshop to factory, hand tools in plenty were being used in the workshops. As "modernization" progressed, hand tools were replaced by specialized machines.
The implements of specialization—the machine building tools and the machine tools themselves—were housed in forests of associated workshops. The mechanics of specialization sprawled over acres and square miles of factory floor space. Nowhere were the results of the great revolution more in evidence than in the vast difference between the workshop attached to the house of the early industrialist and the forest of chimneys and stacks, and the acres and square miles of floorspace in present-day industrial establishments, with their personnel numbered in thousands and the capital invested in plant and equipment running into the millions or billions of dollars.
Two centuries of the great revolution have given present-day industrial society a capital plant the like of which has never existed on the planet in any historical period. After two hundred years of meteoric development, it exists today on a planet-wide scale and at a level of all-pervasive dominance undreamed of even up to the middle of the last century.
Modern industry "plants"—steel plants, cement plants, open pit mines, textile plants, machine tool plants, auto plants, rubber factories, oil refineries—not only occupy extensive acreage per plant, but the same interests and corporate managements operate dozens of plants in widely separated geographical areas and produce a great variety of goods and services. An experienced observer feels entirely at home in any industrial center, on any continent. In Detroit, in Dusseldorf, in Osaka, in Shanghai, in Bombay, the architecture of the plants is essentially the same, the machines in the widely separated plants bear a striking resemblance to one another, and the problems of management are similar.
Unit plants and their coordinated managements in the aggregate compose the present-day world economy. They are the essence of its being. They occupy the skyline and dominate the economic life of modern industrial society. They are the units which make up the sum-total of modern industry which, in its turn, is the bony structure around which have grown the sinews and muscle of present-day planetary economy.
Modern state structure goes back through the half dozen centuries during which it has been developing. Its ancestors may be met with in the history of previous civilizations.
Modern industrial structure on the other hand is something essentially new under the sun—newly imagined, designed, constructed, productive. It has no ancestry before 1750 because its essential building unit—the modern machine—did not exist previous to that date.
In the last chapter we dealt with the growth of states into empires and the aggregation of empires into civilizations with the possibility that the existing states could be welded into a world federation. One of the chief obstacles to such a development is the centuries of conflict during which modern nations have been built up and the strong bonds of nationalism have been established as a means of holding divergent groups of people in line by particular oligarchies operating in particular civilizations.
On the economic level such difficulties are minimal. The process of coordination and consolidation was far advanced before the end of the last century. The practice of integration—joining productive units in functional sequences—was also accepted and followed, with little regard for political or cultural considerations. The result has been an economic integration which has developed inside the chief industrial nations and across national boundaries.
Despite political obstacles, economic integration has proceeded with giant strides, especially during the past hundred years. Under a well developed world political federation the world economy could be integrated and used to provide the necessaries, conveniences and minimal comforts for the entire human family. There are nationalistic obstacles to political federation. Economic integration is an obvious must and a logical outcome of the industrial integration that has gone on so swiftly during the great revolution of 1750-1970.
When we talk about integrating the world economy we are dealing with a problem which no previous civilization has faced because no previous civilization had machines or the social and cultural institutions which have grouped themselves around the ultra-modern machine phenomena.
World economy in 1975 includes three essential elements: the planet earth and its resources; the institutional structure of modern society; and human beings with their diverse concepts and skills which provide its motive force. These three factors, land, capital equipment, and human energy, are the three-fold apparatus upon which 3.7 billion human beings depend for the goods and services which sustain them from day to day and year to year.
At an earlier period this economic apparatus centered around the land and its cultivation (agriculture). Since the onset of the great revolution the goods and services have come increasingly from a factory-office centered occupational apparatus. When we consider the integration of the world economy, it is this industrialized, modern economy that we have chiefly in mind. No previous civilization faced such a problem. There are no real precedents upon which we can rely. We must go forward, if we do go forward, experimenting with problems which face the human family for the first time.
The integration of planetary economy in 1975 is a total, or unitary, problem. It is not a problem of one continent, of one nation or empire, of one racial or cultural group. It is a problem which the human family faces as a human family, occupying our planet Earth. It is our capital equipment. It is the success with which we apply our know-how to the earth, using our capital equipment and our skills, producing the goods and services upon which our physical existence depends. We rise or fall, sink or swim in terms of our own capacities, our own abilities to adapt ourselves to historical circumstances which will determine the conditions of life on the earth. Indeed, our decisions and consequent actions may determine our own extinction or survival.
Planetary economy will aim to provide the means of livelihood for its constituents along six lines: to conserve the human heritage of natural resources, using them sparingly and, where possible, adding to them; to produce and distribute those goods and services which are needed to maintain health and provide for social decency; to produce and distribute goods and services honestly, efficiently and economically; to assure simple necessaries for all, including dependents, defectives and delinquents; to give high priority to local self-sufficiency; to maintain enough central economic authority to guarantee adequate goods and services to successive generations of the planetary population.
An effective world government, therefore, must adopt and administer an economic program designed to: (a) Utilize and conserve natural resources, making them available, on a just basis, for the use of successive generations; (b) End involuntary poverty and insecurity and the exploitation of man by man and of one social group by another social group; (c) Make necessary public services generally available on equal terms, to all mankind; and (d) Guarantee equal opportunity to earth-dwellers based on the greatest good to the greatest number.
Feeding, clothing, housing and educating an agricultural village was a prime consideration at an early stage in social history. Providing the necessaries and amenities of life in a commercial-industrial city occupied the attention of city fathers as a consequence of the shift from agriculture to trade and commerce as the principle source of livelihood. Caring for the physical, physiological and cultural needs of populations in the United States, Britain, Japan and other growing commercial-industrial nations presented difficult challenges. The organization, expansion, defense and improvement of the American, British, Japanese and any other contemporary empire, posed even larger and more complex problems which have nagged mankind during recent generations. Recently, the planet-wide revolution of 1750-1970 has brought the entire human family with 3,700 million members isolated in 140 different nations, face to face with political, economic and social problems on a planet-wide scale. These problems are planet-wide in their dimensions. Measures designed for their solution must be equally planet-wide.
Villages, cities, regions and nations have learned, often the hard way, how to think, plan and act in terms of their own interests, or, more concretely, in the interest of their owners, masters and exploiters. It is with politics and economics of this planet-wide level that we of the present generation are particularly concerned.
Dwellers in western Europe and North America have to deal with the politics and economics of monopoly capitalism. Its central offices are generally located in particular countries—Britain, Holland, France, Germany, where big business enterprises had their beginnings and from which representatives of oil, steel, textile, motor and banking enterprises spilled over into the territory of their competitors as well as into the "third world" of erstwhile colonies and other dependencies.
Monopoly capitalism has made no real effort to organize a functioning world economy. On the contrary, it has established, maintained and consolidated centers of economic interests and activities at the national level. In theory and in practice the bourgeois-dominated planet is divided into economic and political states and spheres of influence, each equipped with the separatist institutions of political sovereignty.
Politically the task of setting up a competent world government has not been seriously taken in hand. The same may be said for the organization of a planned, organized, supervised planetary economy. So far as we know, such world economic institutions and practices cannot exist in the chaos of one hundred forty sovereign states, each exercising authority over its economy, each with its own program for growth and expansion, and putting its claims for wealth and power above peace, order, justice, and mercy for the entire human family.
General economic practice throughout the 1450-1970 experiments with nation building, empire building, competitive struggle and sporadic efforts at world conquest, occupation and exploitation have crossed national boundary lines as a matter of necessity. It could not be otherwise, because no nation has been able to reach the cultural level of civilization on a basis of economic self-containment. Primitive agriculture can maintain a high degree of self sufficiency. City populations abandon self-sufficiency and adopt the principles of expansion, occupation and utilization of foreign territory and exploitation of resources and manpower, at home and abroad.
As western civilization has matured, power struggles at the top, conquest, occupation and exploitation have come more and more to the fore until, in the era of monopoly capitalism, they dominate the field. In this period of human history nothing less than the just sharing of available goods and services will implement the principle of "to each according to his need".
Monopoly capitalism, throughout its entire history, has tended to function internationally, moving across frontiers in search of raw materials, markets, and fields of profitable investment. Inter-group trade has been carried on between and through "foreign" markets, cities and states. Not only has the flag followed the investor, but the investor has used governmental agencies, including the military, to protect economic interests, promote them and expand them. Early in their history, western nations subsidized private organizations like the Dutch East India Company and the British Hudson Bay Company and authorized them to exercise quasi-public authority. International banking and insurance paralleled international trade.
Western civilization, from its earliest beginnings in foreign business relations and ideological adventures like the Crusades, has spilled across national frontiers in its search for adventure, for experience, for information, for pelf and power. A part of the expansionist drive was "strictly business" in character. Another part—international conferences, public and private; tourism; the export of artifacts and of information, were promoted by mixed motives, from missionary zeal for the propagation of The Faith to international business for profit, public and private.
One of the most spectacular aspects of European expansion during modern times has been the growth of production and trade; the rapid increase in "foreign" investment; and governmental efforts to tie together geographically and ethnically remote places and peoples into neat bundles tagged Spanish Empire, British Empire, French Empire, Russian Empire. Nineteenth and early twentieth century history centered around such international experiments and included inter-state build-ups like the European Common Market and the Organization of American States.
War losses and emergency spending incident to warfare led to large scale financial assistance from one government to another. Such transactions are not confined to recent times, but during the war years from 1914 to 1945 they reached fantastic proportions. The United States foreign aid program alone, following the war of 1939-45, involved grants and loans of $125,060 million dollars from July 1, 1945 to December 31, 1970 (Statistical Abstract 1971 p. 958). Similar grants and loans were made by other countries to their allies and associates. These examples illustrate the build-up of an extensive international relationship that has been an integral aspect of the 1750-1970 world revolution.
Throughout this experience two parallel forces have been at work. One was the effort to establish a stable, renewable and self-renewing social environment. The other was the effort to adapt and remake man (human nature) to fit into the rapidly changing social environment and to expand and deepen relations with nature.
Sociology, the science and art of staying together in more or less permanent social groups, thus becomes the theory and practice of association. Politics and economics are specialized aspects of association. Political relations, economic relations and other aspects of association make up the overall field of the human community or human society.
Groups of human beings are brought together and held together by various means, among which communication is outstanding. At every level, from the local to the general or universal, and in every aspect of politics, economics and other forms of association, human beings communicate.
One function of planetary association involves the establishment and maintenance of a network of planetary communication. Locally, nationally, regionally, and internationally the channels or means of communication have been extensively developed.
Devices designed to reproduce and elaborate oral and written communication blanket the planet so extensively that the individual and family privacy enjoyed by human beings before the middle of the last century has literally ceased to exist. In its place is a communications network that operates twenty-four hours in the day and seven days in the week. By a move of the hand and a flick of a switch everybody can be in touch with anybody and anybody with everybody almost everywhere.
Channels of communication, trade and travel keep members of the human race constantly in touch with one another. Except for the solitary, living alone in the wilderness (urban or rural) there is no hiding place. Mechanisms supplementing man's five senses, see, feel, hear and report everything.
Facility in communication provides a wealth of information. Using available means of human communication, a central planetary authority can inform, alert and arouse the entire human family with its 3,700 million members. Socially minded, it could announce and initiate the measures necessary to maintain peace and order through conformity to a common program of social action. Coordinating, integrating and administering the channels of communication at the planetary level will be a primary responsibility of any planet-wide economic program.
Planetary government will be responsible for establishing, maintaining and improving a network of communication and education designed to ensure both uniformity and diversity in the human population. The revolution in science and technology has been particularly noteworthy in the field of communication, extending from the family to the entire human race; from the home telephone, the morning newspaper, the phonograph, radio and television to regular mail delivery, the printing press, the camera, lithography, the typewriter, tele-communication, the computer, public address systems and the various devices for overhearing and recording that produce more or less permanent records of casual vocal expressions.
Planet-wide communication in the 1970's provides an example of the transformation from economic localism to economic worldism during recent times. By its very nature, communication tends to involve all four corners of the planet. In that sense, communication tends to become unique. It is not a real exception, however. Through communication channels, knowledge concerning every aspect of man's economy, from agriculture to commerce and finance, crosses frontiers almost automatically, strengthening, deepening and integrating planet-wide economy.
A planet-wide economy will not be designed, planned and coordinated as a result of either military conquest or political expansion and predation. Rather, it will be a public enterprise of the entire human family, operated by a world government in the public interest for the social service and well-being of mankind.
The worldwide revolution of 1750-1970 provides the economic basis for a planet-wide society—for One World. The real danger—that any local or regional war may grow into another general war in which nuclear weapons are used—provides reason aplenty to put the whole before the part and, in the pursuit of general human welfare, to federate the political life of the human family, following the many steps toward worldism already taken by various aspects of its economy.
CONSERVING OUR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
Beyond civilization we will conserve, share, beautify and, if possible, improve the earth, which is our physical base of operations.
The earth is an irregular sphere, one of a number of planets circling the sun, from which we get light, heat and radiation. The earth has a shell or crust made of various minerals. Two-thirds of its surface is water of various depths up to six miles. Above the surface is an atmosphere, some twenty miles thick, composed of various gases, dust particles and water vapor. Operating throughout the earth there are vibrations of different wave lengths.
As a whole the earth is a going concern that carries out its daily, seasonal, yearly business of providing a home for an immense variety of forces; for living forms, in the earth, on the earth, in the water and in the air. The earth and its attributes are the common host or mother of us all.
Some of earth's inhabitants are "alive". Many of the living forms move about—and reproduce themselves, passing through a life cycle from birth to death.
Some among the living forms cluster together into more or less permanent groups which develop social relationships including communities in which individuals are born, live and die.
Speaking in metaphors, the sun is the common father of us all, providing us with light and heat, the earth is the common mother of us all, providing us with sustenance. We living beings, progeny of sun and earth, pass through a span or cycle of earthly existence—helping one another, ignoring one another, jostling one another, annoying and even killing and devouring one another.
This is a roundabout way of saying that nature, human beings and human society are part and parcel of a total relationship which includes the planet earth, the solar system and an immense range of celestia which includes minute particles of celestial dust, like our earth, and majestic assemblies of celestial notables like the Island Universe of which we are unnumbered and barely noticed particles.
At some point in this vast assemblage, actually before the assemblage came into existence, there were responsible, animating forces in play. There was also the responsibility for the use or exercise of the operating forces. We humans are a product of those forces. We also share in their functioning. Consequently we share in the responsibility which is associated with their exercise.
It is the task of philosophy to designate the responsibility; to describe it, measure it and perhaps to assign it. At any rate, we find ourselves in a position where certain things are expected of us, perhaps even required of us as members of the human family and/or of the human family as a functioning whole.
It is entirely possible that, instead of overlooking, ignoring, bickering, quarreling and periodically maiming and killing each other wholesale, we humans should be devoting our energies, emotions, thoughts and plans to furthering the larger purpose of which the earth and its inhabitants are small segments. In a word, that we humans should be acting as a responsible part of a functioning whole engaged in the vast enterprise of being and becoming.
Whatever our ultimate tasks may be, our immediate problem is three-fold: (1) To make the earth the fittest possible living place for all of its inhabitants; (2) to organize human society in the way best calculated to achieve that objective; and (3) to make every reasonable effort to prepare ourselves to play a meaningful part in this cosmic drama to which we have been assigned.
Item (1) is the theme of this chapter, item (2) is the theme of Chapter 17. Item (3) is the theme of Chapter 18.
Passing beyond civilization we will attempt to conserve, share, beautify and if possible to improve our earth.
Our first task is to make the earth the fittest possible place for ALL of its inhabitants. In a way that is a simple assignment, but its implementation will take us into every nook and corner of the land, water, air, radiational field, and every other aspect of the planet, including the weather.
When we say ALL forms and phases of life we mean all. All microscopic life, all lichens and mosses, all vegetation on land, in the water, in the air. All insects, all birds, all fish, all quadrupeds. All two legged animals. All centipedes and all those in between.
All forms of life have been assigned to our earth for a purpose, or have made a place for themselves in the vast scheme of things or are clinging parasitically to life after their assignments have been fulfilled or as their usefulness is drawing to a close.
In a broad sense, that which lives on the earth, including mankind, has a right or an opportunity to be here, living to the utmost of its always limited capacity. How limited? Limited by the similar rights of all other forms and aspects of life. In a word life on the earth—each life and all life—is a shared opportunity.
Doubtless there are planners, regulators and arbitrators whose task it is to decide, at any particular moment, who shall survive and who shall perish. Actually we humans perform a part of that function every time we thin out a forest, weed a garden, select our seed or teach a class. At one stage of life we are the judges, at another stage we are the judged, performing multiple tasks that must be fulfilled during each moment of each day and each year.
In our Island Universe this earth is small. But in each backyard, on each acre or square mile of earth, decisions may be made or are being made that determine survival, utility, order, beauty. The results of those decisions appear constantly in the life all about us.
We have all been in homes where neatness, usefulness and good taste abound. We have been in villages and towns where the same conditions prevailed. On the other hand, we have been in situations that can be described only by the words littered, disorderly, chaotic. We have also seen neat orderly homes in disorderly, slovenly neighborhoods. Much depends upon who makes the decisions and whether the plans that are carried into effect promote or obstruct the ultimate purpose.
At the moment, we have the satisfaction of orderly, beautiful neighborhoods at the same time that we are surrounded by a disorderly, littered, chaotic international battleground.
The earth with its oceans and its atmosphere is a storehouse containing many if not most of the essentials for survival, growth and development, for mankind as well as a multitude of other life forms. Perhaps its most valuable single asset from the human viewpoint is its topsoil. Topsoil plus light, air and moisture provide the elements necessary for producing vegetation. Vegetation, in its turn, furnishes the nourishment on which animals thrive.
At the top of our priority list for the well-being of the earth stands the injunction: conserve and build topsoil.
Topsoil is lost through erosion—wind erosion, water erosion, erosion through over cropping. It is held in place by stones, grasses, and the roots of shrubs and trees. Untouched by human hands, on the prairies and in the forests, topsoil is deepened year by year as winter frosts break up soft rocks, as dead grasses, leaves, twigs break down into humus, to become part of the topsoil and provide the nourishment for a new round of vegetation.
Topsoil is renewable, replaceable. Lost through cropping and erosion, it may be rebuilt and deepened by natural processes. In temperate climates with normal rain and snowfall, the topsoil of grasslands or a forest may be deepened year by year and century by century. Topsoil may also be deepened by dust storms that pick up particles of humus from dry lands and carry them to moister areas.
Through a carefully controlled sequence, semi-desert lands planted first to grasses and then to shrubs and trees can be protected against wind erosion. As vegetation flourishes it increases dew formation and rainfall. Plant roots prevent runoff and retain the water in gulleys and low places. Evaporation builds up moisture content in the atmosphere. Water vapor forms drops and falls in rain or snow.
Foresighted husbandry not only prevents erosion but, practiced on a sufficiently broad scale, increases air moisture and modifies climate—the weather.
We are less fortunate with some of the critically important minerals that make up the earth crust.
During early centuries in the history of western civilization adventurers and prospectors concentrated on the precious metals. The voyagers and discoverers who sailed fifteenth century seas were seeking supplies of gold, silver and precious stones that could be cut and converted into the highly prized jewels adorning the crowns and scepters of the mighty.
Production at that stage meant agriculture, with side occupations such as hunting, fishing, weaving, tanning, pottery, thatching and peat cutting, in the all but continuous countryside. There was a very little mining, but outside of the commercial towns and the growing capital cities people made their living by taking care of domestic animals and tilling the soil. Between seed time and harvest they tightened their belts and prayed the Powers that Be for a bountiful yield. If it came they feasted. If the crop failed they struggled to survive on the narrow margin between hunger and starvation.
If they saw any money it was likely to be copper, with perhaps an occasional piece of silver. Gold was for the rich, of whom at that period there were precious few, even among the owners of land and the wielders of power.
Country folk barely scratched the surface of the earth. Roads were wheel tracks in the mud. Bridges were fords that became more or less impassable with high water.
These assertions sound strange and romantic to the modern beneficiaries of asphalt and reinforced concrete. They were the lot of most Europeans and North Americans when our great grandfathers and great grandmothers were in their prime.
What has made the difference between their use of the earth and ours? Chiefly, the newly tapped sources of energy and the wide variety of minerals—whose names were unknown except to scholars and scientists before 1750. It is the new sources of energy and the only recently utilized metals that have made the difference.
Farm land can be used and abused many times before its productive possibilities are exhausted. Even then, with foresight, technical proficiency, the investment of labor and capital, agricultural land can be restored to fertility. Iron ore, tin, copper and tungsten are extracted from the earth, refined, put to some use or wasted as the case may be, but they are gone. They may be replaced by other minerals. Through geological ages they may redeposited in the earth's crust. But to all intents and purposes, they are finished.
It is a source of pride to promoters and propagandists for the status quo that western man has removed more metals and minerals from the earth's crust in the past two hundred years than his predecessors removed during the previous two thousand years. It is also a source of danger, because the possibilities of taking those particular minerals from that particular cubic foot of the earth are ended.
Replaceable natural resources such as soil fertility, grasses and trees can be restored and reproduced. Irreplaceable natural resources are exhausted by one use. In so far as they are concerned, that part of the earth's crust has been impoverished—made poorer.
Wasted through neglect and careless use, squandered in the senseless destruction of war, the earth is still a rich treasure house for its multitudinous forms of life. Its remaining treasures can be carefully conserved. Such replaceable resources as topsoil, vegetation and water can be husbanded. Oceans, mountains and, deserts can be dealt with as we proceed with our programs for the most economical use of the natural resources that remain to us.
Western man is presently emerging from a boisterous era of invention, discovery, of multiplying productivity and corresponding waste of irreplaceable natural resources-temporarily justified by "national security" and "war emergency." The temporary loss of replaceable reserves and the permanent loss of irreplaceable resources is none the less tragic, no matter how urgent the immediate cause for their consumption.
At this stage in the history of earth's conservation, when so much is waiting to be done, if each family, each village and town, each city state and nation will do its bit to conserve, plan, shape, utilize, beautify, improve what remains of the natural environment, the results will be impressive enough to justify the time and means devoted to the enterprise.
Wherever we go with our plea for the foresighted and economical use of the earth and its remaining resources, we are met with the question: "But what can I do?" The answer is simple. Find your place in the nearest team working to utilize, conserve, and, where possible, enlarge the natural wealth of the planet. If no such team exists, join with your neighbors in organizing one. Take seriously your assignment to use the part of the earth with which you are in contact intelligently, economically, wisely.
Whether you are a novice or a professional, a homesteader or a longtime resident, be sure that each contact you make with the earth enlarges its possibilities of utility, order, beauty.
This crusade to save and utilize the earth as the common mother of so many forms of life must be carefully planned and well organized through successive generations. Men have spent far too much time and energy in destroying. The time has come when they must conserve, plan, shape, utilize, beautify, improve.
If the energies now going into business, sport, social events, frivolities, make-believe and the deliberate destruction of waste and war could be directed to planning, utilizing, beautifying on the circumferences and at the centers of population concentrations, immense forward strides could be taken in a single generation.
The planet still has immense, unused or little used reserves of natural resources. The old order is slipping, floundering, wasting. Civilization has told the best of its story and is busy writing its epitaph. The revolution of 1750-1970 provides the opportunity for a new beginning. The place is here. The time is now. Let us conserve, beautify, share, utilize and, in so far as possible, improve our natural surroundings.
REVAMPING THE SOCIAL LIFE OF THE PLANET
Beyond civilization we could develop a sociology-a cluster of associations, institutions, outlooks, purposes and practices designed to revamp the social life of the planet in much the same way and with the same general outlook with which we approach the political, economic, sociological and ideological problems arising from the presence, on the planet Earth, of some 3,700 million different human beings.
There are at least two approaches to the sociological aspects of our planet-wide, coordinated society. One way is that with which nature's cyclism has made us familiar—the "day" of manifestation (activity) and the "night" of rest (recuperation, restoration and renewal). This might be described as a natural, gradual evolutionary way.
The other way is based on creative intervention which shortcuts evolutionary gradualism in the same way that a great leap shortcuts many ordinary steps.
Perhaps the conception can be illustrated in a most effective way by the alternative presented during the great revolution of 1750-1970. At the beginning of this epoch man walked the earth literally, except when he sailed on the water or used the horse or some other swift animal to travel by land. In the course of the great revolution mankind has learned to move his body at speeds which sometimes exceed the movement of sound, on the land, on the water, through the air and into space. He has done this short-cutting by revolutionary changes in types of energy coming from outside his physical body. In another sphere—communication devices—man has stepped up the movement of his emotions and thoughts and his creative imagination beyond the speed of light.
This analogy is not complete, nor is it wholly convincing. But the great revolution in science and technology, applied in the field of social science can quite conceivably provide humanity with the means of short-cutting the normal or "natural" processes in sociology as it has already short-cutted the normal or "natural" process in human transportation and communication.
As long as human beings accept the normal, traditional, "natural" principles of association and group action, humanity will continue on the tread-mill of civilization with its long established cycles of beginning, expansion, exploitation, maturity, conflict, decline and extermination.
This aspect of planetary sociology may be illustrated by the rise and decline of total membership in the human family. We know that Roman civilization passed through a completed cycle of population expansion to an optimum, followed by a catastrophic population decline. Western civilization has been experiencing a population expansion or explosion that can be measured with a moderate degree of statistical accuracy. Planetary human population doubled from 500 million in 1650 to 1000 million in 1850. Between 1850 and 1950 population more than doubled (from 1000 million to 2,500 million). In 1975 the human population of the earth is close to 3,700 million.
An essential aspect of world government will be a population program designed to adjust social structure and planning to the means of production and to make generally available to all humans and, where possible, all living things, the results of invention, discovery and experience with affluence, general security and wide variations of vocational and avocational choice. In practice such a program would include the planned utilization and conservation of nature and the conscious improvement of society by society.
Social planning at the planetary level could deal chiefly with large national or regional groupings, more or less divergent in viewpoint but conscious of the necessity for bringing local and regional groups together in order to secure common agreement and to take part in directed joint actions. Such efforts must aim at sufficient cohesion to provide for normal social function at all levels; sufficient permissiveness to allow for a measure of self-determination at all levels; sufficient authority to carry on production and distribution at all levels, and sufficient libertarianism to tolerate discussion and opposition at all levels, with a maximum degree of self sufficiency and self-determination at all levels.
Nowhere is the need for social planning more in evidence than in the sphere of human population. In the early years of the present twentieth century, the human population was doubling in about 50 years (from 1500 million in 1900 to 2500 million in 1950, from 1,900 million in 1925 to 3,800 million in 1975). Had this rate of growth continued for another hundred years the planet's fertile acres would have been fully occupied by jostling crowds with standing-room only signs in the more desirable living spaces. Japan, the United States, several countries of West Europe and China have launched campaigns to reduce net population increase to one percent per year or less.