This book has been a reflection of and a reaction to the decade of the 1980s, the Reagan era. The motivation behind it was a need to speak out against what was perceived to be the insanity of Reagan Administration policies, chief of which was a build-up of tension with the Soviet Union. Such rhetoric as "the evil empire" to describe the USSR and planning for initiating and surviving a nuclear war brought the world that much closer to nuclear holocaust in the early 80s. Now, thanks to the INF Treaty, the world has been moved back a step or two from the brink and tensions have been decreased somewhat. This does not mean that there does not continue to be a serious threat along these lines only that the first steps have now been taken toward a saner world. The major share of the credit for this development goes to Mikhail Gorbachev who went out of his way-echoing many of the sentiments expressed in this book-to make peace gestures and thus initiate the peace process. The other major legacy of the Reagan era, a disastrous economic policy that turned the US from the world's largest creditor nation into the world's largest debtor nation and exacerbated the plight of the poor in the US, has not yet been ameliorated.
The references contained herein are mostly from the literature of the 80s and, as such, they reflect a certain time frame. Some of the statistical data, no doubt, has already been superseded by more current data. However, the spirit of the book has been to comment on a certain era rather than to provide absolutely current data. Most of the data and trends described herein remain pertinent today. At the present time, the primaries for the 1988 Presidential election are underway. The Republicans are running on a platform to continue the disastrous Reagan agenda. The Democrats seem to lack the courage to articulate an alternative vision based on the reality of the present. As a result, the nation will most assuredly continue to drift along until a crisis presents itself at which time more radical medicine will be deemed admissible. The gravest danger of the present era has to do with this inability to truly come to grips with present-day realities and a determination to do something about them. This situation obtains because neither the politicians nor the people want to face up to the current state of affairs and pay the unpleasant price of correcting them. At a time when federal budget deficits have gotten out of hand, it is political anathema to speak of raising taxes. This unwillingness to get our fiscal house in order results in a de facto permission to let the situation continue to drift. The unfortunate consequence is that it will take a crisis, possibly on a gigantic scale, before any real action will be taken to correct the situation.
While this book represents a reaction to and a criticism of the Reagan era, it also contains the basis of a theory of society which takes us out of the realm of a certain time frame and roots us in a realm of political-economic philosophy which is independent of any particular era. We have prescribed a method, based on ethical principles, which allows for a more fully realized version of democracy. At the same time the methodology has implications for the economic arena and tends to synthesize the principles of socialism and the market system allowing for individually demanded and individually ordered results within an overall framework of equal division of economic power among all citizens. The framework for a truly just society has been constructed. This should be of interest both to socialist countries who are in the process of incorporating market principles into their economices which don't, however, contradict the principles of socialism, and to democracies who wish to advance in their realization and implementation of democracy. Finally, the methodology allows for an integrated political-economic system which operates both politically and economically according to one coherent set of principles. Care has been taken to base these principles on the highest moral and ethical values. Basing a society on one coherent set of principles resolves the conflicts inherent in the schizophrenic societies of our present world which, on the one hand, combine the Judeo-Christian ethic with the ethic of cut-throat capitalism, and, on the other, combine compassion for humanity with authoritarianism.
We stand on the threshold of a new era-an era in which the dance of human interaction is in harmony with the evolution of ethics, in which ethics-like mathematics, something that is "out there", an inherent though little manifested part of the universe up to the present-will become, in a sense, materialized in the formal and informal conduct of our lives both as individuals and as peoples, and humanity will be able to attain a fuller actualization of the compassion and wisdom that represents its ultimate potential.