There are times in history when the prevailing under currents and events start to become clearer in terms of their implications, and consequences. In other words, what the issues are become clearer with the subsequent questions of what to do about them.
The defining issues of our time are hierarchy vs. equality, competition vs. creativity, and pro-growth vs. post- growth. These are the fundamental issues to grasp for the better future.Then there are the endlessly itemized important problems we face right now. I have been listing some of the problems in my previous columns. But to tackle those problems, we need to understand human conditions, and need to establish our visions, guidelines, and mutual contracts.
It is important to realize what the basic frame-work of our situations are. In the U.S. we talk about freedom and equality, and Chinese are talking about "socialism with Chinese characteristics." We talk about freedom and equality all the time. But I know from my experience that it is not so easy to understand and to live with these very basic ideas. At the same time, the 'Chinese characteristics' requires time and effort to understand with mind and body, both. Meaning understanding and living with it in mutual contracts. There are long long tradition behind each culture.
▲ Old State Department building in Washington D.C. 1865 www.en.wikipedia.org
Everybody knows that the globalized world came with brutal competition. The brutal competition brought about suffocation of mind and body. The interesting point is that in this highly competitive world everybody is emphasizing the utmost importance of creativity. Where does the creativity come from? What is the best way to bring it about?
Recently, there was the talk of post-growth Japan. Mentioned was the growing opposition to the nuclear power and the reluctance to commit to large scale infra-structure projects. Do we really need the unlimited expansion of the economy to have more material goods? Would that make us happier and fulfilled ? What does being happy and fulfilled mean, anyway?
These are the issues to think through. Hierarchy vs. Equality. Competition vs. Creativity. Post-Growth vs. pro-Growth.