I'll probably question the wisdom of this later, because after an afternoon in the sun, a barbecue, and a bottle of wine, this post is likely to be rather more random than the subject matter deserves.
But, here goes...
After my last post, I thought about some of the comments. There's a lot more meat to be picked from this particular bone in future posts, but right now I decided to ramble a bit about what I mean by "Citizens first" - what it is, and what it isn't.
First off, a few things it's not.
This is not a rant against the evils of money. I actually think money is a great invention, and essential to getting us beyond simple bartering. It is a sophisticated way of allowing us individuals to specialize in what we're good at, and to exchange what we can offer for what we need. Without it, we would not have access to the bewildering range of products and services that we have come to enjoy.
This is not a rant against greed and corruption. They will always be with us. It is part of human nature. No. This is a rant against the social, political, and economic structures that allow greed and corruption to flourish. That is a very different prospect. You have little chance of stopping people from acting selfishly, but I think you have a very real chance of arranging things so that self interest aligns with the public good.
Finally, I saw the word "politics" in the comments, and thought to myself "this is not political". However, I have to retract that somewhat. Sure, this is not about conventional politics. It is not promoting socialism or decrying capitalism. Forget the "isms". However, as this touches on government and power, I guess that does make it political.
So what do I mean by "Citizens first"?
This is a dream. A dream that we can escape from the self-serving madness that the world has become. Where we are driven to exploit the planet at unsustainable levels, not because it makes any sense, but because it yields the biggest profits. Where things are produced deliberately to degrade and need replacing because that helps sell new products, whether they are needed or not. Where our leaders are not necessarily those who will make the best choices for us, but those with the best funding, connections, and sheer ambition to win the election race.
This is a dream, but more specifically this is about some concrete and - I think - achievable ways forward. This is about manipulating our web of interactions so that the ordinary citizen is considered the most important player. This is about devising new sets of rules and rewards to incent beneficial, rather than harmful, behavior.
Back to the "Nots"...this is not wishy-washy idealism, as in - if we can all just agree to get along, then everything will be hunky dory. I don't believe that. And that is not cynicism, it's realism.
This is a call for people to take concrete action, beginning with research and understanding of how people and organizations function. It is a call to find ways to motivate people so that their actions serve themselves by helping others, rather than at the expense of others.
I don't pretend that these thoughts will have universal appeal. Not everyone will agree.
Putting the ordinary person back front and centre of society is a choice, not a given.
If you are greedy or uncaring then you will not like this direction. But if you have half a heart for your friends, your neighbors, and your children, then you might agree that enough is enough.
The question is...are there enough of you out there to wrest your world from the hands of the greedy and corrupt few?