The principal impact of the Axioms and Dogma is on the social and moral structure of human society. That is therefore the main focus of these Essays. However, that is not the sole effect of the Axioms and Dogma, a point made, if only obliquely, in the Discourse to the first founding book of the Society of HumanKind. Practical as well as philosophical and spiritual repercussions must follow from so fundamental a change in the definition of the meaning and purpose of human existence. The Axioms and Dogma have an impact on our practical activities as profound as those felt elsewhere in our lives.
Among the more significant of those practical activities are our economic pursuits and in particular, how we provide for our material needs. The process by which we produce our food, shelter, clothing, tools and all the material goods which sustain us and make the wider cultural and philosophic aspects of our lives possible is of particular importance to the Society. For where would learning be without labour? The Society will be unable to devote time and energy to the infinite survival of humanity and the growth of human knowledge if it does not recognise, acknowledge and encourage the work of those who toil to produce the goods and services on which its continued existence depends. Yet how disdainful in the past have intellectuals been of those whose hard lives and corded muscles are the foundation on which scholarship and intellectual progress are built. The value of those efforts to meet the material needs of others, on which both the Aim of the Society and the peace and progress of humankind rely, is recognised here.
It is, of course, the Second and Third Axioms and the consequent choice of the Dogma that has the greatest and most direct effect on our economic activities. So profound and wide-spread are the necessary changes to our society that it is perhaps easier to begin by setting out what is not changed in our economy by an adoption of the Dogma.
In the first place, choice of the Dogma does not alter the physical condition of our environment. It adds nothing to the resources available to us and subtracts an equal amount from our material needs. The fundamental premise that our economic resources are limited is therefore unaltered, as is our consequent need to devise and implement systems by which those inadequate resources can be properly divided between the competing demands we make upon them. What is changed however, is the horizon to our lives and with it the perspective of our economic plans.
The Conditions of the Dogma propose that the human species should survive into the infinite future. That is a prospect beyond the range of any existing economic thought. Current economic principles are based upon ideas of growth, development and expansion in both our output and our consumption. Our present economic plans are concerned primarily with maximising the efficiency with which we discover and exploit the resources that are available to us on our planet. Only then do they address the problem of dividing that product of our economic effort between fiercely competing existing, projected and created demands. The overriding objective of present economic planning and policy is growth; now, tomorrow and always. But if our present resources are finite, as they must be if they are measured against an infinite time scale, then growth in economic production and consumption must end sometime and somehow. That being the case, perpetual growth cannot be the base for our economic planning in the era of the Society of HumanKind. A radical reappraisal of our approach to these problems will be needed in the Axiomatic age.
The Society of HumanKind will return to first principles in its search for a solution to these problems. It will conclude that the prime purpose of economic activity in the age of the Axioms is to generate a supply of material goods and facilities sufficient to provide a secure base for the maintenance of...
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