Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases:
It’s completely impossible.
It’s possible, but it’s not worth doing;
I said it was a good idea all along.
– Arthur C. Clarke
Imagine a nation with very little debt, low taxes and a balanced budget. Imagine a nation where, like a family, we do our best for every single citizen. Imagine a nation that provides health care, education, and a minimum allowance to cover basic food and lodging. Imagine the relief knowing that medical care is available if you or your family become ill. Preventive care is available to all, and you can comfortably seek medical help at the earliest sign of serious illness. When you’re seriously ill, you might not have a private suite in a hospital, but you could always pay a premium for one. Or – no imagination required – study the healthcare systems of Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan…(and that’s just the ‘A’s.)2
Imagine a nation where you can get all the education you want at no individual cost, for yourself and for your children. You might not have a premium berth in a prestigious private school, but you could always pay extra if you want one. Imagine well-funded public schools in which teachers make salaries commensurate with their extremely important role in our lives and in a democracy. Imagine there are enough colleges to accommodate anyone who wants to study. Or – no imagination required – look at over 24 nations today that provide an education up through graduate school to all their citizens: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Iceland, Brazil and eighteen more.3
Imagine a nation where everyone has good food on their table. Everyone’s food is organic, because why would we want to feed any of our citizens cardboard and a side of toxins in the name of efficiency and profits? You can still have a box of donuts, a chocolate mousse, or an especially sweet hybrid strawberry.
Imagine a nation where everyone who wants a home has shelter. It might be a small and simple studio apartment with heat in the winter and basic utilities. But everyone who wants a bed and warmth, and a modicum of privacy and independence can have it. You can still have your 10,000 square foot castle if you choose and can afford it.
Imagine a nation where everyone can get around using an efficient public transit system. You do not need to spend hours of your life in traffic. Everyone is still free to buy a Ferrari and zoom around to their heart’s content on roads in good repair.
Imagine a nation where labor-saving devices, automation, and technologies allow time for family and leisure. Everyone works fewer hours each week and has at least a couple months of vacation each year. Think how strong our families can be when we have time to spend with each other in leisure. Again, no imagination required, many European nations are well on their way to providing these benefits to workers.4
Imagine a nation where people can choose to devote their lives to doing good and still be able to live well. Imagine a nation where people can choose to repair and heal our planet, to mentor the next generation, to put music and art on street corners, because we have money in our public coffers to spend on repair, maintenance, and life enhancement. We can all find the greatest expression of our unique gifts and choose our own balance of financially and soul rewarding work. None of us will be so desperate we accept work conditions that slowly kill by overly long hours, stressful poverty wages or unsafe work conditions. Employers will still be free to offer jobs as they like in the marketplace and employees will be in a position to demand fair wages and safe work conditions. Business can and does prosper under these conditions.
Imagine a nation where everyone is equal under the law. No one has special privileges that give them control over citizens’ lives and our economy. We have the wealth to do all of this right now.
This book is about how we can do it. There is a practical path to this future.