Many may believe that global prosperity is impossible, and with the current mindset it very likely is, but if we change the way we think, we can do it.
The problem is that the world has become very competitive. Competition in itself is not bad, but carried to excess, it leads to greed. Greed is the main obstacle in the way of prosperity for all.
Our competitive mindset leads us to believe that we can win and take more than our share. The problem with having winners is that this means we must also have losers. When one gains excess, another does without. We saw an extreme example of this in the first two centuries of USA history. This glorious nation carved out her destiny on the backs of slave labour. The competition went to the extreme level were the winners owned the losers and had the power to force them to do whatever the winners wanted done. Although this led to the strengthening of the slave class, the master class became weak and ignorant. As a result, the society overall was delayed in its development. This is proven by the fact that overall prosperity in the north, were slave labour was not used, was greater than in the slaveholding south.
Now we have another situation. No longer do we use the whip to control the less fortunate, but the weapon of today is more injurious than the whip ever was. Now we have a system of welfare and charity that keeps the poor in their place. Even the welfare system has become competitive and those who understand how the system works know all the loopholes and can milk every available cent from the system. Thus a few live in luxury without having to work for their money while others do without.
When the fugitive slaves came north to Canada, their overwhelming cry was, “Don’t give us charity, give us opportunity.” They knew that handouts made people lazy and that they could not succeed if they depended on the welfare of others. But give them a job and they were willing to work harder for very little pay than they ever did when being driven by a whip. Thus those who grew strong through hardship contributed immensely to the prosperity of Canada. Although, by crossing the border, they gained the recognition of being human beings, Canada was also afflicted by the slave owners mentality and those fugitives from unjust laws were met with prejudice and hardship in Canada. Despite the hardship, the obstacles put in their way and the injustice in the way their labour was exploited, the fugitive slave flourished and contributed greatly to the prosperity of their new home country.
If a man is hungry, we need to feed him. If he is hungry again the next day, he needs to be fed again. But if hunger is an ongoing problem for him, he needs opportunity. He needs the opportunity to earn a livelihood for himself. Jobs should not be limited to those who compete well in the job market. There may be others who are more willing and able to do the job but lack the skills for getting the job. Some are too honest to lie their way into a high paying position. Some are too busy honing their skills to learn how to market them. Should these ones be dismissed as being of no value to society? Should they be paid to sit by idly while others take on two or three jobs? Think about the contributions these ones could be making to our society. We could all work less and have more time to enjoy the fruits of our labour. We could attend more faithfully to the important task of child rearing and build a more positive future for the world. But that cannot happen when our minds are stuck in this competitive mindset.
Another drawback of competition is war. Yes, competition can get ugly and deadly. This is especially true when it is competition without rules. When it takes force and weapons to win the competition, the losers are disabled or killed and cannot contribute to the wellbeing of humanity. The winners, bent on the destruction of the opponent, are not contributing to the welfare of others either. Thus, even the winners end up losing and we have a lose, lose situation. Again, to end war, we must change our mindset. Let us not be bent on competing for what we want but let us strive to cooperate to be sure all have enough. If we must compete, lets compete to be cooperative. Let those who are most cooperative win the prize. Let us reward those who find hidden talents in others. Let the highest pay go to those who can train and bring out the best in their students. Let the highest regard go to mothers who raise their children to be outstanding citizens.
Our society has a great injury and it will take much time and a lot of energy to effect a cure. We have allowed a welfare mentality to afflict the poor and it will take much effort to convince one who has made a living doing nothing that he will be happier if he worked. Yes, as the wise fugitive slaves have said, charity makes people lazy. There may be some who, through mental of physical disabilities may not be able to earn their keep, but they also need opportunity. We need to work with them and find out what they can do and encourage them to do it. We should not be in a hurry to discount those with disabilities. Their abilities may be in an area unfamiliar to us. If we search we will find the key to turning all into productive citizens. When that happens, we can all lead a more secure and happy life.
One only has to imagine what he or she would do if there was no food for the children. Can a loving father sit by and watch his child starve? Would a caring mother not starve to death herself before she allowed her child to go hungry? When we have such extreme poverty, it is easy to convince one to pick up a gun and take by force what he needs. Global peace depends on global prosperity. So long as one is in need we have a risk of violence. Yet, as we have seen, to give charity only makes people lazy and unproductive. What we need is opportunity. “Give a hungry man a fish and he will be hungry again tomorrow, but teach a hungry man how to catch a fish and he will have food for himself and his family forever.” This old adage never rang truer. The key to our success is to teach the socially disabled how to look after themselves.
In the competitive society we now live in, we have winners and losers. The winners have to invest huge amounts of money in security to protect their wealth. The winners have to work multiple jobs so they can afford to pay welfare recipients not to work. In this systems the winners are also losers and nobody really wins.
In a cooperative society we would make sure all had enough and we would not have to worry about them stealing from us. Everyone would have the opportunity to work and we could all work less. Most importantly we could have one parent stay at home and concentrate her (or his) efforts on raising the children which would lead to a future generation of good citizens instead of criminals. The strain on both the welfare system and the criminal justice system would be eased allowing for less taxation, less expenditure on security and more opportunity to use our resources where we can enjoy them. One only needs to imagine the advantage to all being on the same team and having no opponent to worry about. The peace and security we could enjoy cannot now be imagined.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)
Jesus, in the above quote, tells us that he will discount no one and all will be welcome in His kingdom if we but come to Him.
“That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician. This, verily, is the truth, and all else naught but error....” (Baha'u'llah, The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, p. 67, 68)
God has sent His skilled and all-powerful Physician and we now have the prescription for success. Global prosperity, peace and contentment cannot be achieved unless we follow that prescription. A team cooperates to win its victories. When all are on the same team, we have no opponents and the victories come more easily and more often.