There are two significant challenges facing us all – one is material and the other is moral.
Materially, we need to wake up to the fact that the capitalist system we are trapped in is fundamentally flawed. One needs to follow the money to see who is suffering and benefiting - the rich are getting richer, and the poor are poorer. Oil companies, banks, major corporations and their shareholders are particularly benefiting from the current inflation.
There is always a simple answer to a complex problem, which is always wrong.
Short-term actions can be taken other than raising interest rates. The obvious one is taxing the rich and corporations on their national income and revenues on their net profits monthly rather than annually. In this way, you apply a graduated tax. The higher the tax, the less corporations raise prices and the greater their tax burden until they pay every dollar they make in taxes.
Another less popular and more complex action is to rationalize wages across sectors so that people doing work requiring comparable skills and experience are paid relatively the same salary.
A third needed initiative is to significantly reduce the cost of government, especially at the provincial and national levels, in one way by distributing much more responsibility to local governments and providing the necessary tax revenues to support the added responsibilities at the local level. This initiative would help to reduce the cost of central bureaucracies that are inefficient and ineffective.
Eliminating the Senate and the office of the Governor-General would drastically reduce the number of provincial and federal politicians. Furthermore, more tax revenue would be available for other purposes. For instance, we would be able to assist those in need in our communities and fund many other programs. The benefits would be both social and political. Of course, these actions are challenging to implement as the existing public sector is designed to protect itself and increase its size to insulate itself from substantive improvements further.
These initiatives could, at least to some extent, help reduce the extremes of wealth and poverty in our nation until more systemic, fundamental changes to our global economic system are made.
The next and even more fundamental challenge is the moral bankruptcy facing our increasingly secular society. This pandemic infecting our world cannot be overcome by more restrictive laws, more oppressive policing, increasing military interventions and bad autocratic governance.
Until the moral underpinnings of our society are revived, political corruption, crime, climate change, the economic crisis and the many other ills facing our world will not be substantially improved.
To address this challenge will require a change of consciousness, recognizing our reality as intrinsically noble spiritual beings. Our spirituality can be understood and fostered through rational, independent investigation of and adherence to true religion. This will result in improved individual wellbeing and increasing unity across society enabling constructive actions for the betterment of the world.
The incredibly adverse reaction of many people to even the word “religion” and others to even contemplate looking beyond their religious practices demonstrates just how far we need to grow.
Although there is a multitude of worthwhile, positive initiatives working to relieve the many pressing ills facing our society, until the underlying moral and material challenges are, to a great extent, resolved, the condition of our world, at all levels of society, will continue to worsen.
Don Brown is a Sooke resident.