Few would argue the fact that an educated populous is required to propel a healthy democracy in a good direction. Without educated people political decisions would make no sense. The decisions would lead us to war, impoverish people, and be unjust. It would be difficult to reach a consensus because facts would be camouflaged in a sea of hocus-pocus. Like governmental witchcraft, people would count on trickery, brute force or luck for sustenance, protection, and survival.
If education is indeed important for political survival, what should be learned? Since our political system seems to work much like what is described in the first paragraph, I would hazard a guess that we are not sufficiently educated. I would even go farther out on that hypothetical limb, and declare that our dedicated education system is so far off target that our uninformed electorate appoints leadership that is equally uninformed. They are misguided by peers who demand power and privilege for manufactured pseudo-facts.
In our entire education system there is no curriculum that teaches the dimensions and the importance of our ability to serve and protect each-other. The course would be called economics, but would not look anything like “Economics” that academia refers to as a “cold hard calculus.”
I know that if you are still reading this, you and probably most others, think of you as being educated and intelligent. There are some basic, fairly simple, things that some ten year old children should know, most voters should know, and every elected leader should know. With all due respect, I doubt that even you know these basic fundamentals of economics. You haven’t been taught them, and the blowhards that make up pseudo-facts, try to divert your attention.
The next five short paragraphs will briefly explain what we have been educated to ignore. It will explain our frailty, our interconnectedness, our importance, and our common goal. It will show how the fluid of our life eternally flows in the veins of humanity, mixing with that of Adam and Eve, and flows into the heart of those yet unborn. It tells of life’s seasons and its habitat. It tells how humankind needs and reveres its provider.
An infant takes the first breath of that foreign substance, air. Mom can provide love, little else. A child plays with toys, eats food, is housed, educated, and protected. A young adult is educated, fed, clothed, sheltered, transported, and protected. An adult works, is fed, clothed, sheltered, and protected. An old person requires special care, food, clothing, shelter, protection, and burial. They all need ability, inspiration, and purpose.
You are a smart capable person. What can you provide? Can you make the baby’s food, or a blanket? Can you make the child’s toys, or food, how about a house, a book, or around the clock protection. The young adult needs a computer, a car, food, a house, shoes, a lock and keys. Can you make those? Can you make tools, roads and electricity. Can you even make a belt buckle to hold up the pair of pants that somebody else made for you?
Besides your genes, you inherited infrastructure. Language, knowledge, philosophy, religion, tools, buildings, mines, roads, transportation, and communication were all here when you took your first breath, and before you take your last, you will leave something for those who will follow.
Of course, all that you inherit is not good. There is war, famine, ignorance, disease, infidelity, sloth, depression, impatience, and greed. Some of those could be your legacy. You must vigorously serve humanity at every opportunity. Heal the wounds of history by doing good when you can. Your efforts make life better for others. Their efforts make your life better. You have never met most of the people that you are capable of serving, and most of them are not yet born. Those who left you the good things you inherited, didn’t know you, but they knew you were coming. You know others are coming, and their lives will be filled with the gifts that you leave for them.
One of the gifts that you receive and pass on is money. Money has value because of what it will buy. The more diligent people are, the more money is worth. Money does buy happiness when it isn’t stolen by greed. Every dollar spent on service to humankind increases in value. Each dollar spent on disservice shrinks in value. If I had saved a dollar when I was four years old, that dollar would have shrunk to the value of a nickel. Seventy years of bigotry, war, greed, and economic ignorance has us traveling in the wrong direction.
With effort, practice, and knowledge we can be “our brothers keeper.” We can treat others the way we would want to be treated, and know that each of them will do the same when the season and opportunity present themselves. Kind competence is the principle of economics, and it is the economic result. “First do no harm then do much good.” Love and serve humankind. Love and serve our provider. This might sound like religion, but it is economics. It needs to be taught in our schools “with liberty and justice for all.