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Author Topic: Suggestions to the Federal Cabinet.
Zatamon
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posted 11 October 2001 11:41 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The suggestion takes the form of a fictitious cabinet meeting right after election victory.

........................................

"JEAN CHRÉTIEN: Gentlemen, the country is in a big mess. There are a lot of unhappy people, hungry children, abused wives, waste, crime and corruption. We are elected to solve these problems. What are we going to do about it?

SHEILA COPPS: Mr. Prime Minister, we have to plan scientifically. We have to define the objectives of a human society and then plot a course to get there from where we are.

ELINOR CAPLAN: I agree absolutely. In my view a society is a community of human beings, organized by using division of labor, to achieve production, distribution and consumption of goods for basic human needs, and after those are satisfied, some luxuries for those who want to work for it.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: Very good. Since the purpose is to satisfy basic needs, we have to make a list of them so we all agree what they are.

DAVID COLLENETTE: That is very simple, sir. We all need food. clothing, housing, energy, medical help, education, protection, entertainment.

ALLEN ROCK: If we want to function as an organized industrial society, then we also need transportation, communication, power, tools and basic raw materials.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: Don't forget about the clean-up. We are not starting from zero, we have a very sick environment on our hands, we have to do something about all the pollution and crime and mess we inherited.

ALLEN ROCK: We also have to make a list of our resources to know how to allocate them to the different tasks we will have to perform. We have our population, we have our row materials, we have our energy sources. That is all it takes to do anything: people with skills, materials and energy.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: Excellent. We are making progress. What are the skills we need for creating the basic needs?

PAUL MARTIN: Sir, we have a problem with that. There are a lot of 'skills' that, frankly, do not do any good to anybody.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: Really, what are those?

PAUL MARTIN: Everybody involved with money. Anyone who does not directly contribute to production and distribution. Accountants, bankers, investors, speculators, cashiers, mint workers, etc. etc. It is a very long list.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: That is true. Money is not a basic need, it was invented to help distribute the produced goods according to contribution. It seems that we spend more time and energy arguing about how to distribute goods than we do producing them. Is there an alternative?

BRIAN TOBIN: Actually, sir, there is. If we decided to share the produced goods equally, then we could liberate all the wasted energy and manpower that is now spent on arguing over and handling distribution. My estimate is that due to the enormous simplification of our economy, we would all be better off then most people are today.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: Everything? Do you suggest we share all produced goods equally? But we don’t have equal needs and interests! How do you allow for individual differences?

BRIAN TOBIN: You are absolutely right, sir. What I am proposing is to put our priorities right. We have to identify those products that are needed by everyone. Our job is to make sure that every citizen’s basic needs are satisfied. We have to have control over what is required for providing adequate levels of food, housing, clothes, health, education, protection, means of transportation and communication for everybody. Beyond that – this is a free country. If some people want luxuries, they are welcome to produce those in their spare time, provided they do not harm the common good in any way – by pollution, noise, crowding, fraud or exploitation.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: It sounds like you propose to merge Capitalism and Communism. I have to admit, it is an attractive thought: Save the best part of both systems and have some basic fairness, compassion and freedom in the Country. But what about the lazy bums? Those who would just help themselves to their share without contributing?

BRIAN TOBIN: That's true, sir, there would be some of those, inevitably. However, we just agreed that we have all those unproductive millions today who do not contribute anything to satisfying our real needs. I am sure that the number of those who would just bum along would be significantly lower.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: How about justice? How can we tolerate that some people get a free ride without contributing?

BRIAN TOBIN: Sir, we can not avoid that. There will always be bad apples. We have them now. Just look at all the rich speculators and manipulators who are ripping off the system. Is there justice in that? We have to make sure that the system is as fair as possible. It will never be perfect.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: True, we don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water. Our objective is to create a country with a largest number of happy citizens that we can realistically have. It would be stupid to drop the overall level of happiness just to make sure that nobody gets away with anything. We would end up exactly where we are now.

ART EGGLETON: I agree, sir. There is another point in favor: most of the lazy bums have families. We can’t punish their children by withholding their share. The children are not to blame. It would be cruel and unfair. We don't want to continue with the poverty and suffering that we have now. Also, it just occurred to me that most of the criminals would be out of business. If there is no money, we would not have bank robbers, muggers, embezzlers, thieves. Very few people would want to steal finished products that they can not convert to invisible cash. It is a lot harder to unobtrusively stockpile antique furniture or TV sets than to hide money. Also, can you see a drug trade flourishing without the cash it is based on?

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: Excellent points.

LUCIENNE ROBILLARD: Sir, I think that many of the lazy bums would become productive if we found a real place for them in the production cycle. Just look at the millions of unemployed, under-employed or those who are employed in degrading ways. If we organized production intelligently, most of those people could become enthusiastic contributors.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: That is a very good point. This brings us to the next important question. What about unemployment? With the automation in our industry we already have a high number of people who have no jobs. If we eliminate all those unproductive occupations that have to do with money, then we will really have a lot of people with nothing to do.

BRIAN TOBIN: That is relatively easy to solve, sir. All we need to do is shorten the workday. This would be consistent with historical trends too: as our technology has been improving since the start of the industrial revolution, the workday has been shrinking steadily from 80 hours a week to the current 40, where it has been stuck the last fifty years. It does not make any sense for some people working for forty hours and some others none. The shortened workday would have another benefit: those who want luxuries will have plenty of time left to produce them.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: You are right. We can also use the additional manpower to clean up our lakes and rivers and air, fix our roads, provide day-care, improve our education, police, justice system. There is no end of real problems to solve, gentlemen, unemployment is crazy when there is so much to do. We just have to organize the work and allocate the resources. If we have no money to argue about, we will be free to act. The reasons our previous governments couldn't achieve anything was lack of money. If we eliminated money, we eliminated our problems. All we have left to do is organize our projects: we have manpower, we have resources, we have time. Let's do it.

JOHN MANLEY: We still have a problem, sir. How about the other countries? We have a global economy now, it is all tied together. How can we eliminate money and still be able to participate?

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: That is a tricky question, gentlemen. The biggest problem we have is foreign ownership of our economy. We will have to find a way to regain our sovereignty. One way of doing it is trading off those industries that we have no immediate need for, against those that are essential. Since now we produce so many needless luxuries and instant junk, I am convinced we still have enough capacity to produce for our real needs if we reorganize intelligently. As far as trading with other countries, there is no problem: we trade in goods instead of money.

BRIAN TOBIN: I agree, sir. It makes sense to aim at self-sufficiency when our basic needs are concerned. We are a resource-rich country, we have everything we need for our basic requirements, right at home. We do not want to risk serious deprivation in necessities just because there is an upheaval somewhere on the Globe! Like the collapse of the Pacific bubble, for example. We do not want to be hostage to situations beyond our control.

LUCIENNE ROBILLARD: Yes, but wouldn’t it be an enormous task to reorganize our entire economy for self-sufficiency in basic needs?

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: Gentlemen, we were able to reorganize our entire industry for war production during the last world war. In a very short time. If we were able to do it out of fear or anger, I believe, we should be able to do it out of wisdom and compassion.

LUCIENNE ROBILLARD: There is still one problem, sir. What do we do with those of our citizens who own our industry? You can not expect them to co-operate freely and give up their control.

JEAN CHRÉTIEN: That is another tricky question. Well, we have to be reasonable. We should call a conference with the owners of our industry and agriculture and explain it to them that the country needs their co-operation. They are Canadian citizens too, you know. I am sure they love their country just as much as we do and once they see how everybody would be better off with the new system, they would not oppose it. Those who would, well, we can not expect a country to stay miserable just to satisfy a few no good selfish bastards. If they do not want to be Canadian, they can go somewhere else. A society, gentlemen, is based on consensus of the community. If the community wants equal sharing, that is what the community shall have. Let's get started on the details. We have a lot of work to do."

[ June 24, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 11 October 2001 12:27 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I definitely second that motion. Basic it might be but by gawd it makes a lot of sense.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 11 October 2001 03:19 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
*chuckle*. If only our leaders were possessed of such breadth of imagination and wisdom.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 12 October 2001 12:59 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Of course this is going to happen -
about a week after we win the war on terrorism.

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Zatamon
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posted 12 October 2001 10:27 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
nonesuch, I love your optimism! (or did you mean never???)

[ October 12, 2001: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 12 October 2001 10:44 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I read it to mean never, because terrorism can't be fought by war. War only breeds more terrorists.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 12 October 2001 10:49 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Michelle, I reluctantly agree with you - it will probably never happen. However, do you think that the general attitude portrayed by the mock cabinet meeting is possible?

I mean: identify where we are, identify where we want to be and then use facts and logic to plot a course to lead us from A to B the most efficient way?

Please, say yes! ("I have a dream...")


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
meades
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posted 12 October 2001 05:16 PM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I fonly our cabinet WERE like that, alas, it shall not be.

One thing I noticed though, Pierre Pettigrew was missing, maybe that's why the federal cabinet appeared a lot more intelligent than usual

But whoever wrote that did leave out a lot of people; Alfonso Gagliano, Jim Peterson, Lyle Vanclief, Herb Dhaliwal, Claudette Bradshaw, Maria Minna, Jane Stewart, Hedy Fry, Ethel Blondin-Andrew, Don Boudria, Stéphane Dion, Martin Cauchon, Anne McLellan, Lawrence MacAulay...

Anyway, that's the kind of world I'd like. Good 'ole Swaraj and Swadeshi! No money! The mere fantasy gives you a sweet relaxing feeling

Will we get it? Eventually, of course. How often can we be wrong?(don't answer that) However I'd count myself as the luckiest person on earth if it happened within my life time. I'm pretty sure it won't happen in any of our lifetimes, and I'm not being pessimistic, here, either. Just realistic. One thing we can look forward to, we will get closer, and that will happen within our lifetimes

...well, unless you get hit by a bus tommorow. But you all better be careful crossing the street on Saturday, otherwise I'll look like a tool!


From: Sault Ste. Marie | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 12 October 2001 05:50 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I have always thought that - unless you live in an insane asylum - the solution to social problems is simple: just define your objective and plot a course. However, the insane asylum caveat always screws things up.

[ October 13, 2001: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 12 October 2001 08:52 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But we do live in an insane asylum. I guess nobody likes to admit it.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 12 October 2001 09:00 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
clersal, it may seem a pointless excercise to think about Utopia. What's the point, why bother, we will never live to see it (just as meades correctly stated).

However, We need to know what to believe in. Since it doesn't cost anything, why not go to town and dream up the sanest possible civilization we can possibly conjure. It will be very useful for us as a compass, showing us the direction we would like to travel.

All my life, I held, as a beacon, my convictions of what was right. What I considered sane, moral, admirable. Whenever I had a choice, I always asked myself: which of the options will take me closer to my world and I chose the one that was a step in the right direction.

In my mind I never compromised, I always did what I thought was right (of course I made many mistakes) but having an ideal world etched into my mind always helped me to cope with the one I lived in.

[ October 12, 2001: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 12 October 2001 09:11 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't think it is pointless at all. I just become very discouraged by the news. People who are greedy. People who call me a dreamer. How we boast about the free democratic society we live in and yet we have the homeless, slums, poverty, violence, suicides that are affecting more and more young people. That is just a drop in the bucket.

It seems so obvious of what we should do and yet we don't.


From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 12 October 2001 09:17 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
clersal, History is like an express train with enormous momentum. It can not stop or change direction suddenly without flying off the tracks. There is this n-dimensional rope-pulling contest of billions of cause-and-effect chains all braided together. It has an inherent dynamics of rise and fall of civilizations and empires and it takes a long time for new patterns to emerge.

But, if you can believe Dr.Sally Goerner in "After the Clockwork Universe" (I do) a major shift has been under way for some time and we are in what she calls "The fragility Zone" when we may make a quantum leap forward or collapse as empires usually do.

That is why I am working so hard now to do my bit in helping it along. We do have a chance. There is hope. Lets nudge it in the right direction!

[ October 12, 2001: Message edited by: Zatamon ]


From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 12 October 2001 11:08 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Unfortunately I think the top of the pyramid has become top heavy. It is doesn't stop me from 'preaching the good word'. I am impatient by nature. What bothers me the most is it not just the 'North American Empire' that is going to collapse. I fear that we have wreaked such havoc with our environment that we might have missed the boat.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 14 October 2001 02:57 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
For those of you who are interested, I have started a follow-up thread in "body and mind" with the title: "What one person can do". I made some practical suggestions (all of which I have personally implemented) that I believe will help to bring this Utopia about.
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Slick Willy
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posted 28 June 2002 06:53 AM      Profile for Slick Willy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is too funny.
From: Hog Heaven | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 28 June 2002 01:49 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hey lookit, if you got something useful to contribute, I'll be glad to see it. But if you're just gonna shoot your mouth off, I for one as soon would rather not have it.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 28 June 2002 06:36 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hey Dr Conway you were referring to whom? Just curious.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Zatamon
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posted 28 June 2002 06:53 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
clersal, just look above his post and your curiosity will be satisfied.
From: where hope for 'hope' is contemplated | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 370

posted 28 June 2002 07:17 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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