First, it is not just one box, or paradigm, that constrains our thinking, it is multiple boxes, which together frame the familiar.
Box #1: The Patriarchy
Like the proverbial fish in water, the patriarchal system of governing has been with us so long that it seems invisible; but is it truly normal? I contend it is not normal to suppress one half of humanity throughout history, namely women. The way we teach history needs to be corrected to point how abnormal this has been, and how it is behind much of the violence we see in the world today — particularly domestic violence.
Box #2: Economics is only about money
The way economics is taught is focused entirely too much on the financial aspects of the economy, or financial capital, while neglecting the other aspects of the economy that really matter, namely people and the environment. This equates to the social and natural capital being neglected, while financial capital is overemphasized. Ecological economics is the future of economics, and this needs a place in every economics curriculum the world over. It deserves to replace unlimited economic growth as the dominant paradigm.
Box #3: The system is fair
Like patriarchy mentioned above, there is a grand illusion that the society we live in — supposedly the greatest democracy in the world — is fair. It is emphatically not fair for the majority of people, because the economy is optimized for the benefit of the One Percent in so many ways. This is true of the tax system, nearly every economic market from real estate to financial speculation, to even how our schools are operated. The way that wealth and income has been allowed to become so concentrated because of overt manipulation of financial and monetary regulation to favor the rich has become an obscene farce. To get an idea of just how concentrated this wealth is, see Wealth Inequality in America. But since that video was made in 2012, here is an updated video from the irrepressible Robert Reich: How Wealth Inequality Spiraled Out of Control
What is to be done? First, stop thinking inside these boxes. Second, develop the political will to change it; and third, change it by doing the following:
- Create a free health care system for all
- Make higher education free for all
- Begin to develop a UBI system – Universal Basic Income – that works for all