America Reinvented, Mankind Revived
by Rev. Paul J. Bern
(excerpt from chapter 8 of my book, “Occupying America: We shall Overcome“)
Old-style authoritarianism and hierarchical management have worked well throughout history because of restrictive educational methods that taught the masses how to be workers, while teaching leadership skills to only an elite few. But by the present-day early 21st century, computer technology plus the Internet and other modern scientific advancements have both equalized and greatly accelerated educational opportunities, while evaporating 19th and 20th century racial and economic barriers. Internet-based distribution of educational resources will make re-education throughout one’s life a fundamental right – as it should be – instead of the luxury it is now.
Contrast the industrial revolution with the early 21st century, where vast quantities of data and information that were formerly only available to the best educated are now available to everyone instantaneously and equally, and at nominal cost. I believe that the ultimate outcome from virtual education in the workplace of the 21st century will be that every worker will have virtual management capability with direct participation in overall enterprise operation, and with unconditional equality. However, unconditional equality must be pursued as a genuine reform that is both the law of the land plus mandatory primary and secondary school curriculum in order to succeed. Otherwise equality becomes little more than an abstract concept of philosophical debate, being part of our world yet outside of the mainstream of life. Because, with social equality comes economic equality, and that is the part that the well off (not to mention dictators and racist hate-mongers) have a big problem with. The rich and powerful, who have twisted around the original reasons for the existence of capitalism to fit their own financial objectives, are unwilling to give up the unfair advantage they have taken from the rest of us working Americans. It appears that we will have to take back our equality through mass civil unrest, economic boycotts and other related protests and disruptions by any means at our disposal if the economic playing field is to be leveled in 21st century America. Power, a famous man once said, is never relinquished voluntarily – it must be taken by force.
Furthermore, traditional authority has lost its credibility because so much breach of trust on the part of established authority exists in America today. The backlash from all of this fraud and breach of trust among our leaders will be that, in place of traditional authority, small groups of multitasking worker-managers will replace large and inefficient public corporations with a lateral authority of peers connected via the Internet. Most modern companies will have to give traditional manager-worker relationships an extreme makeover as they permanently eliminate many layers of government bureaucracy and corporate management while making American business far leaner and much more agile in the new 21st century global business environment.
Only by slashing entire layers of management within companies and governments, and then replacing it with an Internet-based virtual command structure where every employee takes the initiative and has an equal part – including employee ownership – can American businesses survive the 21st century. Instead of waiting for orders from on high in a 20th century style bureaucratic workplace, workers in America’s new virtual economy would work from home or from small businesses, organizing themselves on their own initiative into specialized teams or micro-businesses that will be connected through the world wide web. Modern American workers will decide collectively rather than bureaucratically how any given company is going to be managed, with authority and administration being delegated laterally in a team environment so that every employee or contractor can have equal access and mutual input.
Organized civil disobedience to further the cause of and to re-establish the American middle and working classes can be initiated by setting up a web-based “virtual management” business and government model that competes with (or maybe even runs in spite of) the present hierarchical brick-and-mortar governmental and management structure. Okay, so how do we disrupt the wealthy power establishment’s bureaucratic chain of command with one that is omni-dimensional? From my vantage point, this should be accomplished with a group or team command structure that distributes instructions laterally and equally to a group of peers via the Internet and social media, satisfying the needs of citizens and clients by giving governments and companies infinite flexibility while remaining lean and profitable. So very lean, in fact, that the era of big blue-chip corporations, not to mention colossal bureaucratic governments, is likely at its end. In its place, the golden age of multitudes of small e-businesses organized as a honeycomb of many interconnected virtual cottage industries is already well underway, as the growth history of the Internet and e-commerce continues to prove. The days of authoritarian, bureaucratic bullying that enforces the management of populations through mass manipulation and control is finally and mercifully coming to an end. Virtual management does away with often-abusive and unnecessary authoritarian enforcement by replacing it with an Internet-based management model that equalizes opportunity by equalizing access to employment, to education, to health care and to the management process.
Besides learning new and better ways of management, allocation and sharing of resources, and decentralization, we will also need to completely rethink our educational systems from pre-K to post-graduate. Instead of our children being coerced into thinking and acting similarly as is currently the case in America’s schools, I envision an Internet-based educational system of infinite dimensions. Let new virtual courses be made available free of charge that teach clean-burning energy generation technologies, as well as new communication, robotic and computer technologies. These and other complex courses should be made available even at the elementary school level, including computer-based courses in environmental conservation and reconstruction as well as the new vocational trades of the 21st century. I think we very much need to expose our children to a space-based curriculum, including such things as new aerospace technologies, new propulsion systems, new robotic technologies and other new ways to explore the universe. Understand that the colonization of space is mankind’s new frontier, and so the United States should be a world leader by becoming the world’s teacher regarding space-based education and technology.
Liberal education being equally and unconditionally available to everyone causes all citizens to become peers and equals, with little or no social distinction between incomes, classes and occupations. Formal or vocational education that becomes equally available to all without cost via the Internet eliminates social, class and economic barriers that have existed for centuries. Unconditional social and economic equality in the 21st century includes the death of hierarchy and bureaucracy as we have known them, with the added benefit of putting the final nail in the coffin of dictatorship. With every US citizen being able to obtain advanced education repeatedly and at will regardless of economic status, the need for close employee supervision and for tiered company management within large bureaucracies will fade into history.
How do we eliminate class disparity and racial, social and economic inequality? What new weapon can the USA forge against foreign competition for American jobs, for the manufacturing of American products here at home, and to correct the current and dangerous American foreign trade deficit? How can we give working Americans better opportunities for advancement while closing the gap between the wealthy and the less fortunate? By having equal access to Internet-based education for every citizen for their entire lifetime regardless of race or color, social or economic status, gender, religion, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation, and all without having to leave home – that’s how! I am advocating no less than every American citizen having lifetime access to a free web-based public education system, with a curriculum that can be changed instantly in order to stay abreast of market changes, and that does away with transportation issues. Equally accessible education for an entire lifetime not only restores the global US leadership position in quality education, it will make American workers more skilled than any others by allowing us all the chance to obtain multiple degrees, diplomas or professional certifications over a lifetime. Although we Americans can never work as cheaply as workers in Asian or Latin-American sweatshops, American workers and managers can and should harness the power of the Internet in such a way as to be so much better educated compared to those overseas that it will cause US business leaders to think twice about outsourcing and off-shoring American jobs or closing American factories.
A flexible, scalable Internet-based curriculum that can be accessed from any world-wide-web connection without cost, and that can be edited on-the-fly by any publisher so as to keep up with market changes and scientific advancements, has advantages that 20th-century-style paper textbooks cannot begin to compete with. Having an adult population that can quickly reeducate itself at will in any subject combined with a web-based, interactive educational system that grades our kids on the same grade-point-average system that colleges use, will guarantee that the entire US public school system will regain its top ranking as the educational standard bearer of the entire planet. If Americans want to stop the outsourcing of our careers overseas, we can best accomplish this with a lifelong educational system that boasts a curriculum that can be changed as fast or faster than any market condition or any competitor’s strategy anytime, anywhere. It is from this all-new flexible, scalable and virtual educational system that tomorrow’s space conquerors and medical miracle makers will come from.
The real truth is that the needs of America’s job market are changing so rapidly that a system of continuous Internet-based education for America’s entire work force and their children, one whose curriculum can be edited at will and one that can be accessed from home or work, will be essential to maintaining and enhancing the standard of living for 21st century Americans. Going to college and getting a four year degree doesn’t work like it used to, mainly because the vocation that one may be training oneself to perform may be off-shored or right-sized to the third world for only pennies per hour within four years or less from today. On the other hand, various accredited courses dedicated to relatively short-term Internet-based vocational education where American workers and their children can get a new degree, diploma or professional certification in only months instead of years will be far more useful than the antiquated educational system that we are all currently stuck with. Workers and managers both need to have an ongoing and continuous national education system available to them at will and without cost so that they may compete on a global scale for jobs in the global economy of the 21st century.
So now it’s time to put all this together. If we truly want to renew our country and improve American society, we are going to have to start with the way we are being educated. What direction should 21st century education take? If we’re going to teach our kids what they will need to know when they grow up, then teach them about how we can explore outer space. That’s the new frontier, and that’s where mankind’s future lies. The time has come to renew and reinvigorate our country’s space program, and to directly link this space program renewal to all public and private education. When I think of the Apollo missions of the 1960’s and 1970’s, I think first of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, and of those dozen other astronauts who came after him, all of whom positively inspired generations. Technologies previously unheard of were developed that will continue to benefit mankind into the foreseeable future. Tens of thousands of high-quality jobs were created by the moon missions and more recently by the space shuttle missions. A new, vigorous manned space program may be very expensive, but it would create well over 300,000 new white-collar jobs, plus at least 300,000 more blue-collar and contract employment opportunities. Doing without one will be infinitely more expensive. After all, how does one calculate lost potential? Look around and you will notice we are drifting as a nation. What are we doing that is clearly impressive? We fight wars that stimulate massive transfers of wealth to tiny minorities of people via conquest, downsizing, outsourcing and right-sizing. We waste time in moronic meetings that produce nothing. I think it is high freakin’ time that we start producing again, how about you? A new space initiative will ultimately turn the weak jobs recovery of 2012 and the threat of another economic recession into something far more tangible and robust. If we are going to have meetings, then we will meet to discuss a new plan on how to build mankind’s first colony on the moon, a colony that will be the jumping-off point for exploring the solar system. Our great nation is surely capable of such an accomplishment, we urgently need this and other related new space industries, and space-based education is what our children must learn in order to secure the future of all mankind.
People are complaining that America lacks jobs. Part of the reason is that so many middle class jobs were outsourced overseas over the last 10 to 20 years. But we have within ourselves the power to turn this situation around by creating new and better ones. Space travel, exploration, and tourism are the new growth industries of the 21st century. According to space.com, we will go from several space shuttle flights each year over the last ten years to several orbital launches per day by the end of this decade. We will need space ship builders, people to service and maintain them, and people to fly them. Lots of them – so many, in fact, that there will be hundreds of thousands employed by this shiny, new American industry, and America will continue to be the technology leader so long as we apply ourselves in our vocations, exercising all due diligence, to maintain our position of leadership.
Where will all these new astronauts come from? If we start teaching this to our kids now, they’ll be ready by the time they grow up, and the technology will be ready for them as well. The international space station currently in orbit above the earth will have to be replaced sometime after the year 2020. As I wrote earlier, we will have the option of putting the next generation space station into earth orbit, or to build a permanent one on the moon. The time to start training people is now. Plus there’s all the other new industries I mentioned earlier in this chapter – such as robotics and clean energy generation – and others I have not, such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, stem cell research, and the ongoing advances in computer science and medicine. All together, it’s going to be a brave new world whether we are all ready for it or not, because it’s already arriving.
Reject materialism and vanity. Embrace peace and tranquil coexistence among us all. Reject excessive profit and the social imbalance it creates. Let’s beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Let’s melt down all the guns and make metal housing units for the homeless. Feed the hungry children, house the homeless, be a volunteer. Together we can all make the world a better place.