Commerce without Morality, Science without Humanity

A recent opinion piece in Bloomberg stated that social unrest is going to be an inevitable legacy of this pandemic. There are a lot of reasons cited, from the conspiracy theories to the economic realities. The most compelling, and terrifying, argument is that this sort of thing happens with every plague. We have data on this going back centuries.

Looking at things from that perspective, it’s bad. It wasn’t enough that a certain country was unprepared for the impacts on health and wealth. Why are there no long-term plans for the historically-validated effects on civilization itself? How is there no plan for instilling confidence in the process, or the leaders, or the institutions of government itself?

Oh, right.

“Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.”

Mahatma Gandhi, a list closing an article in Young India (22 October 1925)

When you consider that Gandhi wrote that almost a hundred years ago, it stings. We know these things, and we still allow them to happen. For some reason we continue to allow the unprincipled, the lazy, the psychopaths, the corrupt, the immoral, the monstrous, and the greedy to run things.

Commerce without Morality, Science without Humanity

Things are bad because those sorts of people were in charge of the pandemic response. It’s even worse because those same bad actors have leveraged the pandemic to further their own aims. The only way we can properly prepare for the next one — and there will be a next one, even if it takes another hundred years — is to weed their people out of leadership positions. We need to have systems in place that reinforce the values that Gandhi talked about, and elevate only the people that can attempt to embody those values.

Published by

2 Replies to “Commerce without Morality, Science without Humanity

  1. Unfortunately, we can also see from history that your solution only helps for about three generations, and then the whole cycle more or less repeats. It is not so much that history is the same all over again, but that similar processes are being repeated over a period of roughly 100 to 150 years. There is a crisis (usually one of power, like a civilizations elite no longer willing or able to defend their place in power, because of a fractured power base. Then there is a new group/movement (usually either religious or political (with religious overtones like communism of fascism)), which grabs power by being united, and inspired. They then ensure that previously marginalised groups (which were either the power base of the “movement”, or closely related to them, to begin with) are now able to get their children, and grandchildren to be able to rise to positions of power. After which this new elite starts closing those same avenues to power for the next generation(s). Then the group(s) in power start fracturing, and their repression (either harsh, in dictatorships, or soft (by denying groups access to media) in democracies) and marginalizing of other groups builds a new power base, after which the whole process starts anew.
    So your best bet is to either form that new group, and find a movement that has a need of both political power and some sort of spiritual resonance, to try and take over the present group.
    It is a rather bleak world-view, but it is all part of the human experience.
    You can see the whole cycle being played out in India for instance, at the moment. Gandhi managed to oust the British, and the new people in power, and their children and grandchildren, were willing and able to work together for a common goal, namely a strong independent and (more or less) secular (or at least not overtly religiously dominated) India. However, some groups in power (notice that the elite is already fracturing) now see religion as a way to hold on to that power, and no longer are their actions for the best of whole Indian, but far more for the benefit of the smaller group in power at the moment. So there is, or will be, I think, already a new movement growing that will in time (say 10 to 20 years) overthrow the present power structure.
    There is some progress in this, as for the last 150 years we managed (at least in the western world) to do some of this in ballots and elections, although there still were wars, there also were countries where this was not necessary, which was more or less a first in history, at least in my view.

Comments are closed.