Friday, April 22, 2016

The Not So Free Market of Ideas

A world based on the free exchange of ideas ought to lead to ever improved outcomes, if only
because the best ideas out-compete inferior rivals.  The most fit and innovative ideas will have been discussed, refined, and then implemented in a mindful fashion toward world betterment. Whether addressing climate change, collective happiness, individual satisfaction, diverse species health, universe exploration, artistic creation or food supply economics, one would think the best ideas would rule the day.  So why, as a rule, don't they?
Cornucopia or Corruptopia?

A significant factor is that in reality legacy power schema control much of the idea landscape.   Which is to say, it's a jungle out there.  Weeds grow in an untended garden because if an established niche exists where an invasive species can thrive (given nutrients, temperature, space, et al) then it will!  Subsequently, the yield of the crop will suffer because grasses and dandelions subsume the productive biospace.  In the global environment, humans and their organizational constructs leverage all manner of technology, economy and brute force effort to shape the wild environment to their will, disregarding improved and more ethical ideas when localized personal gain flourishes.

Now a market of ideas can operate with some inherent ineffiency.  To be sure consumer demand can send out mixed signals as it contemplates the best ethical path to what communities and individuals need.  I suspect a truly free market that is regulated to account rationally for ethical values, limited resources and fairness has the potential to be positively productive for humanity and all of Earth's systems.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a huge propensity for people and organizations to game the system. Regulation loopholes, legacy subsidies, inherited resource privilege and behind-the-scenes manipulation are all at work the current "free market" system.  Such corrupting factors ought to have an effective self-correcting feedback loop. For-profit lobby inputs to the free market system seem more often than not to influence irrational decisions over rational, ethical, science-backed resolutions.

A truly fair system which accounts for real value of resources, value of humane treatment, value of fair trade, value of species, value of beauty, can begin to turn the table in the favor of progress.

Writing Goodness First articles for me has been my attempt to seed thoughtful ideas into the long-term ethical global system.  I profit only by the rush I feel when I see my ideas take seed and spread. Perhaps the effect is minuscule yet it is enough to know I sow a garden that could be bountiful if a large enough number of people mindfully champion a vision of greater goodness.

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