Reo McCaslin 1982 Published in: Technocracy Digest, 2nd quarter 1996, No. 320
“For a long period of time, people knew what the problem was: they didn’t have enough of anything. They were having a hard time to gain as much as they possibly could out of the scarcity that was available. They knew what their problem was.
“But what’s our problem today?”
“We’re in a mess. We have unemployment. In San Francisco it’s estimated that there are 10,000 people who don’t have a bed to sleep in at night. They say New York and Los Angeles are much worse. In San Francisco, a church that first feeds the hungry, clears away the tables, then allows people to sleep there, but must still turn away hundreds.
“That’s the situation we’re in. Why? Are you concerned? Are we concerned about it?
“Well, some of us are. We realize that something fundamental has happened which has changed things. But most people don’t know why. Ask them on the street — all they’re interested in is “a job.” They have been so conditioned that they think they cannot have a place to sleep unless they work — unless they have a job. There isn’t enough work to go around at the present time. Our technology — our new method of doing things — has changed things — we no longer have a scarcity.
“Our businessmen are jockeying with each other trying to get sales, to get rid of what they have. It’s there, but they can’t get rid of it, because you have to have a monetary token to exchange for what you need, and if you don’t have a job and the money to pay for the goods, the goods remain on the shelves.
“So we’ve become all confused. We’ve become conditioned to the point where we have accepted the monetary exchange as the primary objective of life.
“Everybody wants the almighty dollar. Wars are fought for it. It has captivated us. Money is not wealth. But natural resources — physical wealth — that’s the wealth that means something. Yet money is acting as an interference at the present time to prevent us from getting that which we are so capable of producing for our own use. It’s very pathetic, and it’s reached a point where it’s becoming a very grave problem as far as our future is concerned.
What is happening to our land and economy? We need three trillion dollars to bring our cities up to date.
“Have you any conception of what a trillion dollars is? When they first came out with billions, we didn’t know what a billion was, and we got some conception when somebody explained that if you had saved a $1,000 a day from the birth of Christ until the present time, you still wouldn’t have a billion dollars.
“What’s a trillion? The new budget brings the national debt to something over a trillion dollars. For 100 million taxpayers that’s $10,000 per taxpayer on which we’ll pay $1,000 per year in interest. $1,000,000,000,000! If you started counting $100 bills at 100 per minute, 12 hours a day, you’d count only $26,000,280 in a year, so you’d have to keep it up for 4,000 years to reach a trillion.
“Fantastic, isn’t it? Here we are — a people in the most favorable spot that civilization has ever been in, as far as our ability to produce and have those things that are necessary to make life enjoyable, and yet we’re so muddled, so confused. We want to solve the problem, but we want to do so within the framework of what we already have — a Price System, and that’s the interference with which we’re faced.
People want a change, but they don’t want a change.
Oh yes, a lot of people out there want a change, but they don’t want a change. They want a change which will miraculously make what we already have workable — but it’s not workable anymore. It worked fine under conditions of scarcity, but today it can’t.
Economists have varied solutions. It is said that if you got 100 economists in a room, they’d all agree that we’re in trouble, but every last one of them would have a different answer as a solution. None of them can understand that the fundamental processes of life have been changed — changed by the introduction of technology; changed by a new method of doing work.
That which works now is technology, and human beings are being set aside, where they don’t have to slave and toil as a means of providing a livelihood. It’s now being provided by technology; we don’t recognize that yet. We’re still trying to wheedle the human being into the scheme of things so that he continues to work in order to provide a living.
You know, George Bernard Shaw said “The Earth is the lunatic asylum of the Universe!”
And these leaders of ours — charlatans — they don’t know; they don’t understand; they’re ignorant of the very processes that they’re trying to solve. They don’t understand them, and as a result we have the greatest hodge-podge of activities here, all of which conflict with one another.
Who is it that’s in trouble? The party that’s on relief? The party that’s unemployed? Yes, they’re in trouble. How about the old people, who are on pensions? They’re afraid to do it now, with an election looming, but these politicians got their hammer out to take some of the pension plans apart and reduce them.
The country is in such bad shape, I mean, physically; the old cities in the east — the sewage systems are breaking up, the roads are in bad condition; the bridges of the country — a bridge collapses every day somewhere in the United States. They’re in bad shape. The whole country is faced with a rebuilding, but they figure, what is it going to cost? And they estimate it at $3 trillion; to bring it up to standard. Now these things are happening. Where are we going to get the money?
We have reached the point where our economy is faced with a shortage of the materials that we need in the physical world. In other words, we have squandered our inheritance. We have squandered it on wars; we have produced war machines and equipment, in World War I and World War II, and the Vietnam War. We squandered billions of tons of materials in the destruction of war. Now we’re short of some things. And so they’re beginning to talk about conservation. We’ve got to conserve things — we don’t have them in abundance like we used to, so we’ve got to be careful how we use them, and re-use them at all times. And so they started out by asking people to save the materials — save your newspapers.
We can’t conserve under this set-up. The minute you conserve, you hurt somebody. The minute you cut down on using something, or using it over and over again, somebody gets unemployed. Sales go down. That’s what we’re faced with.
I have something of interest here, just to show what I mean. We’ve got a problem of overpopulation, not only here, but throughout the world. In China, they want their people to have only one child; two at the most — to cut down on the production of humans, because there’s not enough space to provide for them, not enough material to provide for them. Well, I have an index here on motherhood. Now, if you were to have only one child, or two children, to cut down on the over-population, it says here — here’s what would happen. The pregnancy tests by physicians would be reduced — they’d have less business. In home pregnancies, that test, E.P.T., would also suffer. Obstetricians would suffer; they wouldn’t have as much business as they used to have. The people that make bassinets, they, too, would suffer because people were not buying the number of bassinets that they used to buy. Maternity clothes — three outfits would be eliminated for each baby that was not produced. Maternity stockings; blankets, baby blankets; bottles, 8 bottles; crib; time off from work; safety pins, two cards, four each; baby powder, baby clothes, pink or blue outfit; caesarian procedure; cigars, one box. But this gives you an idea. If you try to conserve, you ruin things.
We’ve got to continue to expand; we’ve got to buy more; we’ve got to keep the wheels of industry going. Otherwise, it gets in the reverse, and we’re in trouble. And so, we can’t face the problem of conserving under our present mode of operation. Oh, I have a few more things here — the labor room, the baby sitter per hour, baby formula, 8 bottles, disposable diapers, one case a month — and so on it goes. I’m not taking time to read it all — but it gives you a general idea that you can’t conserve — this economy that we live under is an economy of expansion and destruction. The more you destroy, the shabbier the goods, the quicker the turnover, the greater the profit. And that’s what we’re interested in — we’re interested in profits more than anything else.
Now, that’s the condition of the country, so don’t feel too bad about your plight, because it’s perhaps insignificant. At least you can get on relief; at least you can get unemployment insurance. But if these big fellows fail, you won’t even be able to get that, you see. They’ll be in the same boat.
What did Shaw say? The earth is the lunatic asylum of the universe? Intelligence? That’s what we’re supposed to have. And we’re arming the entire world — the “free world” that is. We’re sending off our natural resources, and selling them, in the form of tanks, airplanes and war materials.
Intelligence? That’s our leaders? The Charlatans and Fools that are guiding our destiny? Well, now, what about them?
Yes, charlatans and fools are shaping our destiny, and we’re allowing them to do so. What they hope to do, is to somehow, miraculously, work this thing around so that we have an “up” as far as our economy is concerned. But we know, in a physical world, that if anything goes up, pressure has to make it rise. It doesn’t rise by itself. It has to have the application of energy, to make it rise.
Now, somebody said we’ve hit bottom. Yes, and we’re going to lie on the bottom until something comes along to make it rise. In the past to bring it up they have used war and warfare, to bring about enough demand to wholesale destruction of equipment, food, and so on. We don’t have a war at the present time, but what are the prospects?
Those people who are guiding our destiny — the people who are imperiling our very existence, are a very small minority. Now, what’s the matter with the majority that allows their guidance of destiny to go on? Let’s think about it. We’ve got to inform people, and make them aware of what is happening, because the entire population of the earth can be wiped out; we have that ability in our own hands.
It’s funny, isn’t it? We have created robots that do the work, and these robots have “eyes.” They can actually see; they know just where to reach, and where to put their projected tool that they want to accomplish a particular type of work — they know exactly where to put it. And so somebody got on the air, and he was talking about robots, and he said, “Robots make jobs;” and somebody said, “Well, how?” “Well,” he said, “somebody has to make the robots. People have to make the robots.” And then when you visit a factory where they make robots, who do you suppose is making them? Other robots! So, you can’t win, as far as the Price System is concerned.
There is nothing wrong with our ability to produce, or with the resources we have available. What we have is a mental problem. Physically it doesn’t exist but mentally, we members of the Earth here, which is the lunatic asylum of the Universe — we people are creating our problem. We don’t know what to do with the abundance that we’re capable of producing. We can’t organize and work together.
In scarcity, you have to have competition, but where you have enough of everything, you can’t have competition. You have to have co-operation. You have to work together, and provide for the people as a whole — not individually like you do in scarcity, but people as a whole.
Now, we’ve reached that point, the point that people have been trying to reach down through the ages, and at last we’ve arrived. Now, it’s going to get worse.
The thing that the politicians want to save more than anything else is what they call the free world. And we can get a kick out of that — if you believe there’s any such thing as a free world, you’d better have your head examined. What free world? The freedom of business enterprise to take advantage of each other, and so on. They’ve got us hoodwinked, and we just don’t understand it.
The youth — I’m surprised at the youth. Who was it, Bernard Shaw, or who was it, said “Youth is such a wonderful thing, it’s too bad to waste it on the young.” It’s too bad, because the youth — in fact, everybody — wants to go BACK to something. If we could only get back to the days when things operated in a more pleasant and a more profitable way.” And they all want to go back; nobody wants to go ahead. At last we have arrived, but now we want to go back to the place that we struggled against in order to arrive. Oh, it doesn’t make any sense, believe me, it doesn’t. And so that’s the way it is.
Technocracy offers a plan where people can join together and organize, and outstrip the organization of our leaders at the present time, and we could introduce a civilization that was never possible before in all human history — where we could synchronize our activity; where we could work as one unit for the production and the distribution of the things that people need; where people would become number one, not money; where the materials and the physical wealth would be preserved for their benefit, not only for now, but for future generations to come. If we use our intelligence we can do that.
It’s never a great majority that leads; it’s always been a small minority that leads. But if we can organize the majority under proper leadership, we can have perhaps the greatest production, the greatest distribution, of all of the things that we have the ability to produce.
Technocracy is an organization which has been for years studying this outcome. We’re not optimistic; we’re realistic. We’ve been gathering the facts, got our figures together; we know exactly what can be done — not through what we desire, that has nothing to do with it.
We take an objective view of the situation as we find it. An objective view means, setting aside all of your prejudices, all of the things that have influenced you — setting them aside — and looking at the problem and accepting it as you find it.
Well, we’ve got a job cut out for us. And the thing that I’m interested in right now, is finding those people that are within that 10% that are socially conscious, to get them interested in joining with others that are socially conscious; so that we’ll have a better opportunity to get the job done of informing more and more people.
We’re not trying to overthrow. We’re not advocating it for people. We know that if we arrive in the future in the state that we could arrive in, it would have to be along the lines of intelligence.
Any disruption on any major scale will destroy the very thing that gives us life — that produces the things that we live on. And so it’s a case of facing reality.
I can’t influence you. I can talk to you, but you’re going to have to make a decision yourself. I can’t change you, but you can change yourself. You can change your behavior.
Now, if your country doesn’t mean any more to you than you are displaying today, then you are a detriment to your country and a detriment to the future welfare of the people of this Continent. You have a responsibility, but you’re the one that’s going to have to exercise that responsibility. Nobody can do it for you. And if you accept the challenge, we can have more excitement; we can get more joy out of living, because we are working in a direction and accomplishing something that was never possible before.
And what a challenge it is. Can you accept the challenge? If you can, then let’s band together, and get the job done. The possibilities were never so great, and we are the ones that have to accept those possibilities and take some part in organizing to get the job done properly.
— The above contains excerpts from a lecture in Vancouver given September 4, 1982, by a member of the Technocracy Section in San Francisco. Now, it’s fourteen years later, and, as you can see, nothing much has changed (except to get worse.) Are you convinced now that we need a social change? Our solution is still as valid as it ever was. Why not join us in insisting on this change?