In 1980, Werner Erhard, a man I regard as extremely prescient, said:
“We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family.
“We can choose to make our love for the world be what our lives are really about.
“Each of us now has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us. …
“It is much more radical than a revolution – it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet.” (Werner Erhard, Graduate Review, February 1980.)
I am convinced that Werner was absolutely right and that it lies within our power to create a world that works for all of us – and, what is more to the point, an America that works for all of us.
Faced with a crisis of the proportions of the one that is sweeping America right now, we might be too fazed to see the opportunity it presents to us. Old structures are falling. The dead hand of a corrupt ruling class is losing its grip on us. Economic policies based on greed and corruption are proving themselves bankrupt.
The fall of these unworkable institutions and policies presents us with an unparalleled opportunity.
We have the opportunity to build in their place a new and uncorrupted economy and society – a world that works for all of us, and not just a few of the rich and powerful – and right from the ground up.
To start the ball rolling, I’d like to discuss what I regard as six principles that underpin the creation of large-scale employment projects.
This article is meant to start a discussion, not to end it. Nothing I say here is intended to be conclusive, but just to start you thinking.
For me, the first principle of a modern “New Deal” is that, if we want to create jobs, all there is to do is to notice unworkability and turn it into workability.
If you’ve noticed, unworkability (that is, a problem) commands our attention. If a table is tipping, we notice it and attend to it. We may not have noticed the table as long as it worked.
If a computer file suddenly disappears from the screen, we begin to fuss with the computer. Until now we had been oblivious to the computer except as we used it.
Unworkability is readily and easily seen and becomes the matter which calls forth work from us.
Following this principle, we can provide endless jobs if we identify and then take on a system-wide condition of unworkability and fix or end it.