I drafted this on January 22 of this year. I don’t think I’m gonna finish it, so I’m gonna just pubish it without editing or re-reading. Hope it’s ok.
Capitalism, as a whole, has come under greater collective scrutiny than at any other time during my life. People blame correctly blame capitalists or capitalism for a great many ills that have traditionally been blamed on laziness, misfortune, cultural deficiency etc. Now that the excesses of capitalism have begun to affect the white middle class, we begin to see people taking note of the true causes of people’s “misfortune.” When “they” are poor, it is their fault. When “my” tuition bill is too high, its the fault of the 1%.
Nonetheless, it is an exciting time that people are taking a new, fresh look at social problems, and using new language to describe ongoing problems. After all, saying “we are the 99%” is a new, politically palatable way to say “we are the proletariat.” In any case, while people are taking capitalism to task, fewer people are offering an alternative vision of what should replace it. The pochteca in Mexica society best represented entreprenerialism. Unfortunately, entrepreneurialsim in an economic context can be taken too far, as it has in today’s society. The capitalist entrepreneurial class have come to believe that they are above the law
In the few spare hours that I have today, and in between trying to make sure my daughter, Emiliana Mextli, doesn’t put toothaste on the lap top, making sure my other daughter, Citlali, doesn’t sleep past noon, and making sure my soon Joaquin Tonatiuh, doesn’t climb on top of the fridge, I thought that I might share some ideas, as exahustive as I can, regarding what our economy should look like.
I have always believed it useful to preview any ideas of theory with ideas of philosophy. Philosophies build theories. Theories build policies. Since policies are a political manifestation of philosophical values, I find it useful to start with those values.
Many people these days tend to shirk labels. In this instance, I think it is good to know from which angle I approach these ideas. I have often identified my thoughts as those of a New Anahuac Nationalist. Roughly, it means that I approach things from an indigenous, Mexica frame of identity and philosophical reference, hence Anahuac. I don’t believe that we should strive for a carbon copy of our abuelitos, hence New. I also believe in self determination for our own people. I don’t believe that people with a different history, culture, language, and especially interest should be able to determine that our people should go fight in a war and how our taxes are spent. This is magnified by the fact that these lands were occupied illegally by foreigners, and that no proper reparations have been paid to the people of the original or of the new occupations, hence Nationalist.
In any case, my ideas of philosophy and theory come from this ideological framework. So the philosophies…
Selfishness vs. Altruism
At the center of many policies is the question of whether man is by nature selfish or altruistic. Capitalism takes the perspective that man is essentially wholly selfish. Thomas Hobbes, in The Leviathan, perhaps best describes the idea by saying that in nature, there is a “war of all against all.”
Socialist strains tend to believe that man is or can be made into a wholly altruistic being. It is the idea behind what the Chicano Movement called carnalism. This was the idea that Che Guevara touted with the idea of creating a “new man.” This is the idea behind a moral economy.
From an Anahuaca perspective, the ideas of European capitalism and European Socialism developed at relatively the same time, a couple of hundred years apart only. They are the mark of an immature society trying to find path, responding to one extreme with another extreme. In fact they are less mature than the Anahuaca philosophies and observations by about two thousand years.
Anahuac philosophies, however, caution against characterizing anything in extremes. I believe that we are natually both altruistic and selfish, and not one or the other exclusively. Bonfil Batalla, in Mexico Profundo, writes about the idea of the agricultural techniques in Mexica society. He points out that Mexica traditionally planted the corn with beans growing around it and other veggies being protected all in the same few square feet. This lack of specialization in growing only one food was for that individual to avoid being totally dependent on the society to live. One person could grow everything for her own sustenence while also contributing to the collective.
Entrepreneurialism vs. Dependence
A discussion of modern entrepreneurialism versus total dependence on is especially prudent at this point. In any society there should be an ability for a person to make his or her own way. Total dependence on society, I have seen, can create some very poor values, which I believe work against Our Restoration (O/R). Total dependence can lead to demoralization, a lack of intellectual curiosity, complacency, values which will keep us stuck in our current Dark Age. I can not see a point in seeking indepence for our people, only to create a system of total dependence in our new society. Dependence in some form is acceptable an healthy. It is good to know that if I work as hard as anyone else, I will have at least the necessary food, shelter and health care. Depending on society to make sure of thise creates a healty psyche. We do not have thse guaranties in the US today. However, depending on society to tell you how, when and where you will work, for the same pay is the total dependence that we must guard against.
Entrepreneurship, the ability and desire to develop and act on new ideas without depending or requiring social approval, is a SPIRIT that we should consider. In today’s society, entrepreneurship too often associated and manifest with the acquisition of wealth. In truth, entrepreneurship is a spirit found in many of today’s protest activities. Indepenent of anyone’s approval or consideration, people all over the world are organzing new forms of protest without waiting for official approval.
So the prior philosophical principle cited of avoiding extremes applies to this question. It is most ideal to allow for some dependence and some entrepreneurialsim.
In the most general of terms, most people who will help to build Our New Anahuac believe in equality. At the very least, it is easy to say that we see it as outside of our moral acceptability to live in a society in which at one end people can be wealthy enough to live ridiculously lavish lifestyles, while at the other end, people who have worked their whole life are unable to afford adequate health care in the event of a life-threatening illness.
Choice and Freedom
At the same time that we value some assistance, as mentioned in the above sections on egalitarianism and dependence, we are unwilling to totally sacrifice freedom in order to enjoy some basic assurances of health care, shelter and the basic necessities of life. In a society totally controlled by the state, total equality could be guaranteed. Everyone could be restricted to the same square feet for their homes, and everyone’s wage could be the same, but in so doing, every individual would necessarily sacrifice the freedom to choose a great deal of things for her/himself. Anyone living in any society will be required to give up certain freedoms, but total equality of condition would mean that individuals would be unable to choose what they would be able to do with an extra money, what they might be able to give their children for their birthdays, and even where they might live. Most are unwilling to give up such a degree of freedom for a promise of total equality of condition. As such, freedom and liberty must be factored into any economic system that we implement in Our New Anahuac.
The Mother Earth And Not Taking Before Giving
On the red road toward Our New Anahuac, we are taught to give to the earth in some way before we take. If we take willow trees for a temazcal we offer tobacco before doing so. Before we eat, we separate a pinch of food as an offering. The goods of the earth belong to nobody. Nobody can own water, petroleum, earth, land. We are caretakers of these elements. We can take for out use (not for our ownership) these elements if we give before we do so. We should not require a threat of global climate change in order that we give before we take. These moral imperatives will have an important role to play in our economic system.
Hard Work, And It’s Effects
In today’s society, the benefit of hard work is seen mostly through the prism of “productivity” for investors and the ostensible personal gain for the person exhibiting hard work. However, hard work offers other benefits which are usually not discussed, only because those people controlling the aforementioned prism see it and talk about it in their own ways. In today’s society, hard work keeps food and clothing available per our needs. Hard work keeps our vehicles operating. It keeps the stores stocked with good, and allows us to be out of that store in a reasonable amount of time. The hard work of others, essentially keeps our society running. It has the added advantage that many of us have come to value it as an ideal, not becuase it enriches capitalists, but because we value it as our ancestors valued it.
Hard work is the impulse that can drive someone to teach your children in the best way that they can or to handle your case in to the best of her ability, and it is the impulse that will encourage a mechanic to fix your car quickly, because you need to use it the next day. In an economy in which we depend on each other and place trust in each other, hard work is the currency of carnalismo, altruism. Positive innovation, for the purpose of this discussion, is an extension of hard work. Innovation is simply finding a new way to meet the needs and desires of the people.
The policies for Our New Anahuac must flow from our values as we go about the work of constructing economic policies. Without envisioning the bright future of our rising sun, and without being able to articulate our vision, we resign ourselves to being social critics, not builders of nations.
Let me begin by stating simply a framework for a policy on wages. Thereafter, I will associate the policy with the values described above. Our New Anahuac must consist of a maximum income, which is tied to a minimum income. In such a structure an individual will earn only X times more than the least paid person in society, where X shall be determined by further meticulous study.
Why a difference in income at all? In the values section, I listed the social benefits of hard work. Hard work, though, would fall by the wayside if laziness were rewarded with the same wage as hard work. If it made no difference to me personally whether I worked hard or worked lazily, any motivation to serve others through hard work would soon turn to resentment, upon seeing a co-workers slacking off and habitually under-working. If I worked with an idealistic, service-oriented mindset, as I do on a daily basis, to serve my neighbors, and the business owner next door worked with little to no regard for the neighbors, speaking rudely and insultingly to them and at the same time, this other business owner earned the same wage, it would be unjust, and it would stir resentment in me.
If on the other hand, my work helped my neighbors and it also helped me a modest amount as well,