Monday, December 24, 2007

Good People

Dear Colleagues

One of the sad realities is that good people are in the majority ... but have rather little of the decision making power that drives society.

This is not new. It probably has been this way for ever.

But some of these good people over the years have worked very hard, and at considerable risk, to make the world a better place, with more justice, equity and fairness.

Good people are still doing this.

But good people are also held hostage to impossible choices. In rich societies good people are employed in organizations where rather questionable business practices produce profit, and with this profit, the person gets to keep his or her job ... otherwise out, and someone else will do the work and get the pay. In poor societies, perhaps, the situation is worse. A child is starving or very ill and dying for want of some food or some medicine ... what is a parent to do? Stealing is wrong ... but a child dying is wrong as well ... good people faced with a choice like this will probably choose to keep the child alive by doing something that is wrong. Impossible choices.

The fact that society has landed up with so many good people faced with bad choices reflects on the leadership of society ... not just now, but over a good number of years, decades and generations.

In fact this is a conversation that we know has been going on since the time of the ancient Greeks ... and over the centuries thoughtful people have bumped into leadership that was very much invested in the status quo ... and have been treated badly because of it, including prison and including death.

So this is not new ... and the stakes are no smaller now than they have been in the past. In fact, arguably, it is more important now than at any time in history for the available technological power to be used for societal good rather than for other purposes. Modern technology may be used to constrain good people and their legitimate aspirations ... or grudgingly allowed to benefit society at large ... or used to its full potential for socio-economic progress. These are choices ... and in the past few decades there has not been much of technology use to optimize socio-economic progress, rather it has been to optimize corporate and private wealth at the expense of society as a whole.

My hope is that the capacity to communicate and to have global dialog will result in a better outcome in this century than at any time in the past. Good people exist around the world and in cooperation, the goals of good people should be able to win out over the hedonistic greed and grandiosity of those that believe that they deserve all that they can get.

I am an optimist. I hope it is not misplaced.


Peter Burgess
The Tr-Ac-Net Organization