Our natures mean that there are both opportunities to envision a better way of doing things and some constraints.
A new (true) story
We can tell a different story, we can adopt a different mindset and work towards that paradigm shift that is the key to change.
We make our culture competitive by choice it is not an analogue of nature and this cannot be used to give it that legitimacy. We inherit a much higher degree of natural cooperativeness than is allowed by prevailing norms. I go further and say a new politics, based on our natures could aim to build a political economy that emphasise collaboration.
Better by design (not happy accident)
As we see in the discussion of culture of which our political economy is part – this is to a large extent something we have designed. If we were naturally selfish and competitive then our flawed system may indeed the best we can come up with. In fact we are social and cooperative; for many of us lucky to live in favored places this is daily confirmed by our mundane interactions with others (family, neighbors, colleagues).
Politics provides the rules by which we all rub-along. Given what we know about our natures we should design it based on what we know works and what will bring out the best in people. Seeing politics as a way of legitimizing a power grab which gives control to one group to impose its will on another does not appear to be a good place to start viewed from this perspective.
We design our economics. It provides the framework within which we all make a living. Given what we know we should design it based on what we know works. Seen from this perspective making the maximization of profit (rather than having it as the by-product of a value adding activity) unlocks greed and other undesirable behaviours, which would be better kept in check.
A new story not the new story
All I am calling for is a balanced view, I obviously favor cooperation – other may chose differently. For many people the alternative story will seem idealistic because they have grown accustomed to the language of competition – it needs time, effort and commitment to make it a common place. The alternative story is going to be fiercely resisted by those whose interests lie with the status quo (that’s the staus quo of intellect as well as power.
We are part of the animal kingdom (social primates) and therefore we need to understand our limitations and however we design our political economy it needs to go with the grain of our natures.
We also have to recognise that in groups "natural" leaders will emerge (there is hierarchy in primates) but also that the so called power distance between a silver-back and the other members of the group are actually very small compared to the ones we tolerate. We draw strength from groups, we are not solitary pursuers of our own self interests.
It is inevitable that we will keep on inventing and making things, therefore we a need a culture that allows us to exercise the necessary self-control.
Rulers like to rule. Most likely they will revert to coercion if the tide of opinion turns without a clearly articulated alternative and without the alternative many will be persuaded by populism & demagoguery.
How do we make progress?
Making valid observations does not bring them about. Power has to be used and confronted if progress is going to be made. The new politics does not flinch from this challenge and it is dealt with at length in the sections on strategy and tactics; this site is, after all about the theory and practice of a new politics.
My biggest challenge is to those who want to be progressive politicians. If they want a better world (I take that to mean one that is fairer, less competitive and allows everyone the opportunity to meet their potential) then my demand of them is unequivocal; practice what you preach, and lead by example. In business terminology - stick to the knitting. In this case that means sticking to the story (of cooperation and collaboration involving all citizens as a right of citizenship) even whilst negotiating with opponents in the ruling elite (Varoufarkis) . To do other is to invite dismissal as a hypocrite. This is is one of the things that a new politics has to address, it does so in a different way.
See Part 4 Act which covers Strategy and Tactics