Do we want the human species to continue?
by C.A. L'Hirondelle, May 13, 2012
This is part of a series of articles on guaranteed livable income (aka basic income).
Last one out turn off the lights!!
No one should have to point out that unless you are one hundred percent in favour of the extinction of the human species, that some women, somewhere, must have babies. Yet current economic rules have the same effect as if society wants to End the Human Species. But there has been no open Declaration To End The Human Species. Therefore there is an assumption that we want the human species to continue...
A SEARING CONTRADICTION
1) Society (via tacit agreement) accepts economic rules which penalize the activities that are required for the human species to continue. This shows up in economic sanctions against unpaid care activities and women's higher poverty rates. Doing more "unproductive" activities makes you poor —every hour working unpaid means an hour less for paid work (see the writing of Marilyn Waring). Yet society and the economy relies on this work being done in order to function. (see Mothernomics)
photo C.A.L'Hirondelle 2003
2) Second, we expect (again via tacit agreement) that the human species should continue. Yet we then expect this work to be done without allocating sufficient resources for the task (see #1).
Humanity must openly declare whether we want to a) continue, or b) go extinct. An open acknowledgement of one of these goals (extintion or continuation) means the allocation of resources would then correspond to the goal.
If the openly declared goal is for the human species to go extinct, then women would be forewarned they would face severe obstacles if they decided to defy the goal of extinction and have a child —since there would be no resources put towards production of human beings at any stage of this process from pregnancy to education.
If the decision is for humanity to continue, then a livable amount of resources would be dedicated to the task. The needs of children, their parents and other caregivers would no longer be on the bottom of the resources priority list.
The current situation faced by those who are involved in any way in the production of human beings, is one of being pulled in two different directions and being caught in the crossfire of contradictory demands of society.
Currently allocation of the world's resources is according to what is considered 'productive' under current economic measures (the GDP). Anyone in the economically 'unproductive' category such as caregivers, children, elders, people with disabilities, or chronic health problems, is at the bottom of the resources allocation priority list.
Resources for the needs of children and their caregivers are starved, while massive amounts of resources are directed to any and all games and extravagances deemed 'productive' by the market.
The message is overtly, 'oh aren't kids great, they are our future', etc. etc. but in reality, children and those who care for them are starved of the resources they need to thrive. It is only after people have a child, that they learn this. And woe to you if you have a high-needs child. And double woe when you try to duck the avalanche of shame and blame that will rain down upon your head if you 'can't provide' for your children.
The current situation promotes the idea that society wants humanity to continue, while withholding most of the resources needed to do so.
CHILDREN: SWARMING BLIGHT OF UNPRODUCTIVE DEPENDENTS OR SOURCE OF LIFE?
"Even Nuu-chah-nulth words can emphasize the underlying unity of creation. For example the word for grandchild is qua-ootz, the same word that Chief Maquinna gave to the Spanish explorer José Mariano Morziño when asked for the Nuu-chah-nulth word for God." —E. Richard Atleo (Umeek), "Tsawalk, a Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview", 2004
What is reflected in this story —where the word for 'god' and 'grandchild' are the same— is that children both create humanity's future and carry forward our past. Children are human time machines; they are the planet's future caretakers (for better or worse); and they are the future caregivers of the generation that came before them (for better or worse).
WE ALL DEPEND ON OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN
Adults, especially as we age, depend more and more on new generations of young humans. Yet we take for granted the work of the mothers who gave birth to and raised (by mothers or others) the young people who help us in stores, who serve us food and drinks, who pack our groceries, trim our hair, mow our lawns, and tend to us in hospitals and nursing homes. These young people had to be birthed, nurtured, and raised to maturity by someone, usually a mother, but also by fathers or kin caregivers.
It does not matter whether we like or don't like children, it is a fact that we all first start life as a child, and that we rely on other people's children for help.
Yet because of 'lone ranger' cultural propaganda, many adults have erased memories of their own dependency. They want to believe they are 'self-made' men or women. By forgetting and erasing their own needs as children, they forget and erase the needs of today's children.
This is why children in the world are starved for resources, while resources are lavished upon any kind of adult whimsy.
When decisions are made as to how resources are being allocated, we need to answer the question: how would we want resources to be allocated if we were children again?
Viewing children as a cost to society, or a personal hobby, is a view that negates our existence both as individuals and as an entire species.
It appears there are a number of influential people who, on some level, want the human species to come to an end.
Openly declaring this goal would at least make for an honest discussion. However, those in the "End Humanity" camp might have a difficult case to make since it would seem to have some fairly long-term repercussions. (See A Tale of Two Memes and Guaranteed Income and Population for more on these issues.)
The question of whether we want humanity to go extinct requires a yes or no. And we better start asking this question, and then make resource priority decisions based on our answer.
This is a series of articles on guaranteed income, redefining work and productivity. See also:
A Tale of Two Memes
The Manly Mythology of Work
Guaranteed Income and Population
Housework under Capitalism
Crapitalism - definition and solution
Dependence is not a dirty word
Defining Money and Productive.