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A problem of distribution or production?

Have we reached a point where we have enough?

I’ll illustrate what I mean through use of a story, an analogy:

There is this big trough of water and are we simply at a point where we’re making sure everyone gets a drink at the trough or do we need people to find a new trough/source?

Put it another way, is it simply just a matter of distribution or re-distribution and making sure people get a fair share OR do we need to select certain people to get a lion's share to take us to the promised land and extend humanity further, solve problems (current and future) and find new and other "sources" for us all to thrive?

I see this same dilemma manifest itself in a number different discussions and arguments we’re having today – while they may differ, they all essentially come under the above “meta-problem”, if you will.

For the sake of brevity, I will only highlight these below and save a more lengthy and detail discussion for another time:

Capitalism vs Socialism or Communism – capitalism is concerned with production and socialism or communism is more concerned with distribution.

Competence/Meritocracy vs Equality, Inclusivity, Diversity – competence/meritocracy is concerned with production whereas equality, inclusivity and diversity is more concerned with distribution.

Masculinity vs Femininity – masculinity is concerned with production and femininity is more concerned with distribution. This can be seen in the stereotypical “father brings home the bacon and the mother makes sure everybody eats” familial arrangement and delegation of roles and responsibilities.

I find there are two main characteristics we’re trying to contend with as a species; our need/desire for innovation and novelty and our problems with overconsumption. The former revolves around the necessity to continually solve new and existing problems and wants as well as our inability to sit still. The latter concerns itself with the excessive pursuit of wealth creation, indulgence, mining the earth of all her resources, environmental damage and wastage – amongst others.

So how do we balanced this multifaceted problem that needs to be solved simultaneously? We have to sort out the distribution while we are producing! Naturally (and unnaturally), some people benefit more than others in this process, and some unfortunately get little or left out.

Now, this wouldn’t be one of my articles if I didn’t mention Plato or The Republic (or both), but fear not, and it is very relevant here because we are concerned with justice and the search for the ideal state. While Plato’s ideal state will never be realised (and maybe it was never meant to), much to the disappointment of “philosopher kings”, it does offer a critique into what is problematic with other forms of governance:

· Greed/avarice from chasing excessive wealth creation (oligarchic man).

· Equality of the wise and unwise, the educated and uneducated, the ethical and unethical (democratic man) *Note: it was democracy that killed Socrates.

· Oppression and authoritarianism, resource concentration (tyrannical man).

You can’t freeze society and its people in time; things that become stagnant and sterile wilt and perish. It’s not like The Matrix where you can recreate “the peak of human civilisation” and just live it over and over again.


Have we reached a point where we have enough?


Can we do a better job at utilising what we already have?


Are we prone to producing too much, overconsumption and wastage?


Is inequality a problem and re-distribution necessary?


Should we disproportionately give resources to and/or reward the best of us in an attempt to move humanity forward knowing we will make mistakes and as a result more will stack up at the bottom? Yes – although I do not say that lightly. Which is why…

My original question, “A problem of distribution or production?”, is rather a problem of being human. A very human one that is instinctual and existential. How do we best survive and thrive; through production AND distribution. Although, getting the numbers right is an ongoing challenge to us all.

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