NEW CASTLE, Pa., July 6, 2016 — Just as the sounds and sights of fireworks resonate long after America celebrates the birthday of modern democracy, so should the message: Democracy is a way of life built and sustained by a country full of people willing to sweat and sacrifice so everyone can enjoy freedom.
In many respects, democracy is the product of one of humanity’s best traits: altruism. Unfortunately, many Americans have grown increasingly egocentric while government officials have become increasingly self-serving as they pursue their own agendas. This shifts American thinking toward purist capitalism and a hyper focus on individual rights, where the needs of the community are evaluated solely in terms of self-interest. Americans need reminding that altruism is a key to our success.
Over the past two centuries, the human race has accomplished seemingly impossible tasks through technological and intellectual advances. To improve upon these great works , scientists and engineers have turned to nature as a model. From nanostructures to birdlike jets, the world is headed into a new age where technology can better serve our needs with lower costs in terms of dollars, resources and environmental damage, because researchers are building on what nature has already done.
Given global economic and political turmoil, social scientists, especially economists, need to update their economic and political models, so they better reflect the interests of the broader human population. Successful communities are, after all, successful because they properly address and balance the interests of all members. Although there are few models in nature for mankind to follow when it comes to complex social structures, social scientists can look to human nature itself
Animals survive in nature by pursuing their own self-interests at the expense of weaker animals. The same is true for humans, and this impulse can certainly be seen modern society and the economies of the world.
With that in mind, the human race has been far more successful than any other species due largely to its altruistic behavior. It is this capacity to seek out and respond to the needs of others, coupled with the ability to work as a massive community, that enables humans to pursue impossible tasks.
Emotions, values and other subjective concepts are very difficult for politicians, business leaders and economists to justify in terms of their current thinking on profit, outside of pursuing these social interests for good PR. “Greed is good” and other bad thinking, which have helped to cause great wealth inequality that culminated in the Great Recession, along with other social failures, do not serve the needs of most people.
Using scientific modeling for human altruism, the leaders of society need to recalibrate their thinking. If not for the altruist nature of America’s Founding Fathers and all those servicemen and women who scarified for the freedoms of all Americans, democracy would not exist in the modern era.