Rich & Peaceful:
World Peace & Prosperity
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, … neither persons nor property will be safe.” Frederick Douglass
“Let us not use bombs and guns to overcome the world—let us use love and compassion.” Mother Theresa
“Poverty is a veil that obscures the face of greatness.” Kahlil Gibran
1. Introduction: World Peace & Prosperity (excerpts)
We can create a far kinder and more prosperous nation and world! In fact, we can make a huge leap forward into a golden age with a happier, safer, more cooperative world—even one with world peace—by simply choosing more just and effective policies that will take better care of people, protect them, lift them up, build our future, and create prosperity.
It is easy to be pessimistic in our troubled world, but the truth is civilization matures over time. The world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. The vast majority of nations now trade in harmony. Noble ideas such as human rights and the awareness and condemnation of domestic violence now help fine-tune our moral instincts and self-control.
Historically, we have had dramatic improvements in love and harmony over the ages and this can happen again. We can have both peace and prosperity worldwide and it can happen quickly and far more easily than you think. New ideas can have a profound impact on society and one person or a group of people can raise awareness that changes the whole world for the better.
In fact, as Steven Pinker detailed in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature, this is likely the least violent time in human history, per person, despite our media’s focus on violence.
In ancient times when people hunted and gathered food, approximately 15% of them died from violence. After agriculture started but before nations became widespread and strong, during the times of people like Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun, approximately 25% of people died violently.
However, the rise of stable nations or states with schools and police enforcing laws greatly reduced violence. This was our first huge leap forward in peace, kindness, and love. The obvious successes of intellectual reasoning and science in recent centuries have also helped reduce violence.
Murder is one hundred times less common now than it was five hundred years ago in the Middle Ages. In the 1900s, even with World Wars I and II, the death rate from wars, genocides, purges, and man-made famines, like those of Nazi Germany, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, and the Khmer Rouge, the death rate was only 3%.
So despite all the violence instantly communicated on the news, our civilized world is definitely much more harmonious than ever before.
We should judge our institutions by how they maximize caring, kindness, generosity, physical and mental health, and taking care of the environment, not just by how they create money and power. The most effective policies are family-friendly approaches that nurture and strengthen people and their personal growth.
These approaches treat people in loving, respectful, supportive ways and promote their happiness and productivity. In Christian terms, they are the most Christian policies. By using them, we can surely make another great leap forward in peace, kindness, and love.
Very often, more kind, humanitarian approaches would cost far less than what we are doing now. In our peace petition, we’ve seen how helping the world with clean water, food, and medicines could very cheaply end terrorism and bring world peace.
Instead, Congress spends tens of trillions of dollars fueling terrorism with our wars, diverting needed money away from our basic needs at home.
Despite repeated warnings by experts, Congress wouldn’t spend just $2 billion to protect New Orleans, resulting in the most expensive natural disaster in our history: Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,800 Americans and destroyed 126,000 homes!
Many cities have saved a great deal of money by simply housing the homeless. Leaving people homeless ends up costing far more in temporary shelters and hospital and jail stays. San Francisco saved 56% over 4 years by giving homes to the homeless.
Some states don’t spend enough on services to help disabled people live at home, so people who would love to go home are stuck in very expensive nursing homes, when providing home services would cost far less.
Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would actually save our government $76 billion each year or more by taking more than 1.7 million Americans off of public assistance programs. A $15 minimum wage would save far more.
Research shows generously funding high-quality early childhood education creates plenty of jobs while increasing the number of children who develop successful careers, reducing both their future use of welfare and their chances of ending up in prison.
In fact, experts believe investing in high-quality early childhood education would add $2 trillion to our economy each year within a generation.
Research also shows massive benefits from home visits and skills training for new parents and from very cheap early screening and intervention for children with anger management or poor social skills at school.
As we shall see in this book, these early prevention programs can save 28 to 100 times their cost by preventing later disability benefits, adult psychiatric services, crimes, jail costs, special education programs, etc.
For example, we shall detail the lifelong mental and physical results of child abuse on the survivor. Researchers estimate the average lifetime medical costs for each abused child at $210,000. Add it up and you can see the massive savings from spending on early prevention programs.
Early childhood intervention can prevent delinquency and turn emotionally disturbed toddlers with severe behavior problems into normal functioning adults, even when a parent is alcoholic, a drug abuser, or emotionally disturbed. Prevention programs are far cheaper and far more effective than jail later on.
Treating psychiatric patients better would save us plenty of money, too. Over the last 50 years, one million psychiatric patients were discharged from psychiatric hospitals and the exact same number—one million—ended up in prison.
We have 10 times as many psychiatric patients in jail as we do in mental health hospitals—over 350,000 on any given day. Almost 60% of all our inmates have mental health problems and 16% are seriously mentally ill.
Because they have problems following rules, guards often beat them, spray them with chemicals, or shock them with electronic stun guns.
Their conduct violations often result in solitary confinement—which is extremely expensive and just makes them much worse. Then they get released with minimal or no support system in place.
Instead of keeping the mentally ill in jail, it would be far cheaper to give all these people effective, compassionate outpatient mental health services and to use assisted-living facilities when needed.
Paying home health aides to check on mental patients to make sure they get their medicines would also save a great deal of money by preventing both hospitalization and jail.
Programs using trained police and crisis intervention teams to avoid arresting and jailing the mentally ill and to refer them to treatment are very successful and far cheaper.
We’ve done a great job in reducing deaths from heart disease, cancer, auto accidents, and AIDS. Sadly, however, rates of suicide, drug overdoses, homelessness, and people in jail have increased.
Experts understand pre-crisis mental health is far cheaper and far more effective than treating mental health only when a crisis arises. Why do we ignore mental health until people become a danger to themselves and others?
Since 2008 alone, we’ve foolishly cut mental health services by $5 billion. Our government says 55% of all US counties have no practicing behavioral health workers! Offering counseling services to everyone who needs it would save massive amounts of money in the long run.
Offering literacy, GED, and job skills training is far cheaper than dealing with the health, jail, and public assistance costs from not helping people lift themselves up. These services reduce both homelessness and prisoners going back to jail again and increase our tax revenues by leading to employment.
In various states, 40 to 80% of prisoners are functionally illiterate. The average prisoner functions at a 5th grade level. Prisoners who participate in an education program in jail are 43% less likely than other prisoners to end up back in jail in the next 3 years.
All economists and the White House now agree prisons crowded with nonviolent offenders hurt both families and the American economy, while literacy programs, prisoner education, and jobs for ex-prisoners would improve our economy.
We could save huge amounts of money by releasing most prisoners over 50 years old, especially those over 65 years old. They are far less likely to commit new crimes than are younger people who have never been in jail.
Politicians who have cut food stamps and want to cut them further need to understand how incredibly beneficial and cost-effective food stamps are.
Researchers find food stamps help women have healthier babies, reduce obesity, diabetes, and heart disease later on, and even make it more likely children will complete more school and earn more money, reducing the need for welfare as adults.
Finding and treating everyone infected by HIV would save tens of billions of dollars long term, for two reasons. First, it maintains their ability to work.
Second, controlling HIV with treatment makes it extremely difficult to infect other people, even with unprotected sex, drastically reducing the number of future AIDS cases. This is very important economically because our government pays for most AIDS treatment.
Treating the poor far better and helping the poor lift themselves up would greatly improve ALL our lives. Leaving poor people behind weakens our economy, creates misery that makes us less safe, and sabotages our whole society in many ways.
Our economy is 70% dependent on consumer spending, so when the working poor struggle to pay for shelter and basic needs, they can’t spend much and our economy stays weak.
Researchers estimate child poverty costs us about $500 billion a year in lost productivity and extra health and crime costs.
Studies by the conservative International Monetary Fund (IMF) prove countries with great inequality like ours grow slower and suffer more financial crises than societies with less inequality.
According to Richard Wilkinson’s TED talk on How Economic Inequality Harms Societies, countries with great wealth inequality like ours have far more problems than more equal societies.
We have less opportunity, worse health, shorter lives, more chronic illness, more violence, higher homicide rates, higher teenage birth rates, lower levels of trust, more obesity, more drug and alcohol addictions, more bullying in school, and more mental illness than more equal societies.
More equal developed societies often have as little as 1/3rd the rate of mental illness and 1/10th the violence of countries with great wealth inequality. We don’t trust each other nearly as much as more equal countries. For example, Americans trust each other less than half as often as people do in Sweden.
A new survey of 50,000 people in 21 countries over a period of years shows people who live under larger governments (as a percentage of GDP) that spend more on their citizens and regulate labor to protect people are happier than people who live under “free market” policies.
In fact, living with a large government is more strongly correlated with individual happiness and life satisfaction than even being married or having a job.
More equal societies are happier societies, with far less problems and more trust in others. So helping the poor isn’t just for bleeding-heart liberals and true Christians. It would greatly improve our economy and ALL our lives.
Our fates are closely linked to the well-being of others around us. We must give everyone a fighting chance. Inadequate food, medical care, and education for the poor sabotages their chances of living happy, productive lives.
High quality health care and education are extremely important foundations for individual success and equal opportunity.
Investing in all our people is the only way to have a happy, peaceful, prosperous nation. America became great because we invested in our people, with compassion for the poor, homeless, sick, and hungry.
For much of our history, America used to invest in its future with massive building projects and free college education. Government spending built our schools, cities, bridges, and highways.
It also made college very affordable, made us the world’s leader in the sciences, and sent men to the moon. It created the touch-screen technology in our computers and the GPS in our phones.
Yet now many members of Congress hate big government and constantly cut government spending. At the same time, they constantly give more tax cuts and subsidies to massive corporations and the rich—proving they’re hypocrites, not really concerned about big government or our deficit at all.
These government cuts actually prevent us from growing our economy. Traditionally, we always used government spending to spark consumer demand, especially in hard times.
As just one example of this widespread problem, since September, 2008, we’ve lost 236,000 public education jobs. If we hadn’t made these cuts, these workers would be spending their income and boosting our economy. We actually need 410,000 more of these jobs to keep up with the growth of our student population.
We desperately need to invest more in health care, education, job programs and job training, mental health counseling, addiction treatment, infrastructure, energy efficiency, and research. This is how nations build prosperity. It would grow our economy and make America competitive again.
Now is the perfect time to invest in our country and the future of our people. Our government can borrow money incredibly cheaply. US Government bonds are, by far, the safest investment in the world. Because of this, people all over the world are happy to loan us money (buy our bonds) for very little profit (extremely low interest rates).
As Nobel Peace prize winning economist Paul Krugman notes, interest rates on index bonds are barely above zero, so government financing for nearly anything we want, such as roads, bridges, and sewers, would be almost free.
In addition, our companies and our superrich have massive, untaxed savings. Right now, our country can very easily afford it.
In Sweden, everyone gets cheap daycare, free college or vocational education, unemployment benefits, job-placement, paid retraining services, paid parental leave, and old age pensions.
This is true freedom, equality, and opportunity—not having to worry about losing your house or owing money for the rest of your life for a big medical bill or how to get in a good school, afford college, find a good job, or take care of your elderly parents.
We can end economic crises and create a happier, more cooperative society with more loving policies. For example, our laws give serial killers access to weapons unfit for hunting animals but ideal for killing people.
Aren’t serial killers terrorists? Shouldn’t we clamp down on military-style assault weapons to prevent this violence, just like we do shampoo in carry-on luggage at airports?
Worldwide, too, all we need is loving policies. Too many Americans think violent, dangerous Islamic terrorists force us into our just wars.
But virtuous, decent, God-fearing Americans regularly unleash drones to destroy innocents, even women and children, along with our enemies.
Aren’t our drones and wars also very dangerous violence? Every time we kill a terrorist or an innocent civilian, we create new enemies in their sons, daughters, grandchildren, tribe, village, city, country, or religion.
Americans are much more likely to die in a terror attack by a right-wing extremist than by an Islamic terrorist. We are over 58 times as likely to die from falling out of bed as from a terror attack.
We are over 11 times as likely to drown in a bathtub, over 4 times as likely to die from a lightning strike, and over 4.4 times as likely to be killed by a dog.
We’re over 23,000 times more likely to be killed just living in St. Louis, Missouri than by any terrorist, over 21,400 times more likely by living in Baltimore, 17,100 times in Detroit, and over 16,100 times in New Orleans.
Yet we’ve foolishly overreacted to Islamic terrorism in exactly the wrong way, with wars and drone attacks that only create more hate and more terrorism.
Someday our enemies may use drones against us. Now 86 countries have drones and 19 of them either have or are acquiring armed drones. Ending war and drone strikes and helping the world instead could prevent such a nightmare.
Research shows local policing and intelligence work is five times more effective against terror organizations than using military force.
Just a few decades ago, we used to view torture and assassination as completely unjustifiable acts that only horribly evil communists would dare do!
Every war is a cycle of horrible, self-righteous violence, the same cycle of cold-blooded murder that plagues the Israelis and Palestinians or plagued the Hatfields and McCoys. It comes from our fear and hatred of outsiders or those different from us.
This dark side of human nature makes us forget people of all nations and ethnic groups are our brothers and sisters who suffer when their families starve, hurt, or die, just like we do.
War can’t win people’s hearts and minds. Violence triggers more violence. Our wars and foreign interventions simply lead to more terrorist attacks.
In 2000, there were less than 1,500 terrorist attacks worldwide. In 2013, there were nearly 10,000 of them. Most of them occur in places where we’ve waged war or attacked with drones: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria.
We’ve wasted nearly $8 trillion in our wars on terror in the Middle East and homeland security since 9/11 without solving the ethnic and religious conflicts in the region.
Al-Qaeda never existed in Iraq until after we invaded there. It was a small group in tribal areas of mostly Pakistan and Afghanistan but our wars have spread it throughout the Middle East and into West Africa and Southeast Asia.
We will detail various government studies and statistics proving both war and drone strikes are self-destructive, triggering continuing cycles of revenge and death. Even our Department of Defense admits many terrorist attacks are retaliation.
The CIA admits its programs arming and training rebel groups have almost never succeeded and that assassinating high-value targets can increase support for insurgent groups and radicalize the remaining leaders.
Retired 3-star general Michael Flynn, who oversaw drones in Yemen and Somalia, then ran the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, believes our drone attacks radicalize more terrorists than they kill, so he calls this a failed strategy. He also argues we are just fueling conflicts by giving weapons and dropping bombs.
Our military actions, whether limited, as in Libya, or massive, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, often backfire on us. In various times over the past forty years, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria used to be the most modern, secular, educated states in the Middle East. Afghanistan used to have full rights for women!
Both Iraq and Libya used to be moderately prosperous, with higher per capita incomes and better life expectancies than most countries in the region.
After our military interventions, however, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria have all become fundamentalist Islamic magnets for jihadic terrorists, exploding with poverty, conflict, and violence.
Poor countries with suffering people are far more prone to violence, civil war, jihadist ideology, and terrorism than are rich countries, especially if they see injustice.
That is why most of the nations we now bomb with drones are very poor, with little water, frequent famines, millions of hungry people, and a lack of jobs for young people.
For example, only 27% of Afghans have access to safe drinking water and only 5% to adequate sanitation. In Iraq, 20% of households use an unsafe source of drinking water but in the rural areas, 57% have no access to safe drinking water.
Even before the war in Yemen, 20% of their people went hungry, almost a third were unemployed, 40,000 children died each year before they turned 5 years old, and Yemen was running out of water.
This is the kind of pain and desperation that causes war and terrorism. After years of hunger, malnutrition, and drone strikes, war exploded in Yemen.
Now much of Yemen is on the brink of starvation, with 78% of the population desperately needing food, clean water, and medicines. Cholera and other diseases are on the rise there.
Starting in 2007, soaring food prices caused riots in around 50 countries, including much of Africa and southeast Asia. In 2011, high food prices helped trigger the Arab Spring uprisings in north Africa and the Middle East.
According to scientists studying tree rings, over the last 9 years, much of the Middle East, including Syria and Iraq, had their worst drought in 900 years. Of course, the cost of food skyrocketed. In Syria, the price of bread tripled in just 3 years.
In Syria alone, the drought forced 1.5 million farmers and agricultural workers from the countryside into cities and herders in the northeast lost about 85% of their livestock, affecting 1.3 million people.
The drought in Syria drove 2 to 3 million people into extreme poverty and 80% of those severely affected by the drought there now eat mostly just bread and sugared tea. Thirsty migrants living on the edge of Damascus must pay for water from tankers at inflated prices.
The poorest people in the world often pay 5 to 15 times as much for water as do those in the middle class. Nearly 40% of all healthcare facilities in Africa don’t even have access to even basic levels of water for sanitation.
The US and other Western nations have trained and supported opposition forces against Qaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria for years and helped Middle Eastern countries send thousands of tons of weapons to them.
Now many of these fighters and weapons are part of the Islamic State (ISIS). ISIS already has hundreds of thousands of US-made weapons, even heat-seeking surface-to-air missile systems.
A study of ISIS ammunition shows most of them have come from opposing national armies in the Middle East or from foreign-backed rebel groups across Syria and Iraq.
Almost all our military experts admit more bombing of terrorists won’t work. Clearly, our wars and drone strikes have made things much worse. Adding American troops only aggravates the problem.
ISIS now controls significant parts of Syria and Iraq and exists in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, and Indonesia. At least 20,000 foreigners from 90 or so countries have traveled to join the fight in Syria and Iraq.
Sadly, there are now 50 million refugees worldwide, more than at any time since the end of World War II, and millions of people are trapped in violent areas.
We desperately need to disarm the trouble spots in the world with arms embargoes and sanctions against offenders allowing money, weapons, and fighters through.
Taking care of people with clean water, medicine, food, and education is far cheaper and far more effective than violence and war.
As Martin Luther King said, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only Love can do that.” The Apostle Paul said, “Overcome evil with good.”
Imagine what would happen to ISIS and other holy war jihadist groups if we fed the world’s hungry people and gave them clean water, basic medical care, and education.
Education would be far more effective in fighting militant Islam and immensely cheaper than our military interventions. Of course, technology is making education far cheaper than ever before.
Even the US National Security Strategy argued for our own safety, we should help develop poor nations. We can bring an end to war, terrorism, most violence and sexual slavery!
Former President Jimmy Carter said if we’d have spent 1/10th of what we are now spending on weapons and fighting and rebuilt Afghanistan after the Soviets left in 1989, there would never have been an opening for Al-Qaeda to come in. Our economic support would have likely prevented 9-11.
We should tell Europe, Russia, China, and the rest of the world the following: The US will eliminate 1/12 of our military budget now, putting all the money into clean water, food, medicine, education, and clean energy for the world.
If the rest of the world agrees to do the same, we could eliminate 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, or more of our military budgets.
With global cooperation, we could also end the sale of weapons worldwide and start collecting and destroying military assault weapons in trouble spots around the world.
This alone would help a great deal. It sounds insane, but there are more regulations and trade rules on selling bananas than on selling weapons.
Many developing countries can already help and as the poorest nations grow, they will be able to pay for some of these public health measures themselves.
Experts estimate the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman hoard and invest $1.7 trillion for profits. We should encourage them to spend some of it helping troubled nations nearby and developing good jobs for their restless young men.
Because of the massive size of our economy, the world needs our trade and humanitarian aid and we have great leverage that we could put to use.
We already give much of the world economic aid. If we demanded both sting operations and the arrest of both the buyers and sellers of prostitutes in return for our millions of dollars in aid to Cambodia, for example, the child prostitution there would end immediately.
Experts believe there are $1 to $2 trillion dollars in illegal money flows around the world every year and that the superrich worldwide are hiding between $21 trillion and $32 trillion in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes.
The illegal money flows sustain human trafficking, trafficking in endangered animals or animal parts, mobsters and criminal empires, corrupt government officials who loot the treasuries of their nations, and finance terrorist organizations and weapons for rogue governments.
As we shall see, many loopholes in the laws of Western nations allow the illegal money flows. Using economic sanctions or refusing to trade or bank with overseas tax shelters without full transparency could capture much of the illegal money flows worldwide.
This would be an easy way to fight poverty, crime, tax evasion, corruption, weapons sales, drug and sexual trafficking, and corporate crime. It would recover plenty of money to clean up the environment and bring food, medicine, shelter, and education to the whole world.
Once nations start cooperating on basic human needs, we won’t need to waste so much money on our vast intelligence and homeland security infrastructure. We’ve spent nearly $1.3 trillion on this alone since the 9/11 attacks.
We also won’t need to spend the $1 trillion over the next three decade now planned for upgrading our nuclear weapons. More nuclear weapons would only increase the chance of accidents, nuclear terrorism, or diplomatic crises.
All nations suffer from the race to the bottom in low corporate taxes, low worker pay and lost benefits, and environmental pollution.
With international cooperation on clean water, food, and medicine, nations could easily agree and set sensible limits on the excesses of corporations as described in the chapter on How to Make Corporations Serve People Again.
Helping poor nations would eliminate the motivation for wars and terrorism and make us much safer. It would also expand the world economy by including the 2-billion-plus people who can’t really participate in it today, making the whole world stronger and more prosperous and bringing new markets to US businesses.
Poor sanitation is a massive drag on the world economy. The World Health Organization estimates inadequate water and sanitation decreases the global economy by $260 billion each year.
People all over the world want the same things we do—to live in peace, to have food, comfort, and safety for their loved ones, medicines when they are sick, and freedom from oppression.
The only way to win hearts and minds is to help people with these things, stop our wars and drones, and live up to our ideals and stop supporting oppressive dictators and kings.
People all over the world admire and love our ideals, dedication to freedom and equality, material blessings, and personal freedom to go anywhere we please and live as we choose.
The vast majority of Islamic people are not violent and feel very concerned about Islamic extremism. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because the vast majority of victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslim.
Experts agree when you add up all the members of all Islamic terror groups in the world, you find that only 1 out of 10,000 Muslims worldwide believe in jihad.
Majorities in most Muslim countries in the Middle East say they are concerned about the problems faced by Christians and other non-Muslim minorities in the Arab world.
The overwhelming majority of Muslims condemn the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US and viewed Osama bin Laden in a very negative way.
The vast majority of Islamic people prefer democracy to other forms of government. Polls show most Muslims want to modernize. The Arab Spring showed most Muslims want jobs, freedom, and democracy.
Like Christians, Muslims believe in Abraham, Moses, David, and John the Baptist as prophets, the virgin birth of Jesus, paradise (heaven), hell, angels, and demons. However, they see Jesus as a prophet, not as part of a trinity God.
It makes no sense to blame Islam for the acts of terrorists, just as it makes no sense to blame Christianity for the two World Wars in Europe, the actions of the Klu Klux Klan, or the horrific violence against American Indians or Africans during Europe’s colonial period.
We just have to stop fearing others and realize we are all the same. Remember the British saw George Washington as a terrorist.
Most of the nations in the world are our allies now, with militaries of their own. We still have military bases protecting Germany, Italy, and England from Russia, even though there is no threat from Russia to these countries anymore and these countries can now protect themselves.
All the religions of the world teach training your mind in peace, love, forgiveness, patience, and enriching the world with good acts. Jesus taught kindness and the shocking idea of forgiving and loving your enemies, even those who harm you.
Jesus and the early saints rejected violence, choosing love and forgiveness, even so far as to accept crucifixion, burning at the stake, or mauling by large animals without rebellion and warfare.
If we Americans could dare to overcome the human instinct of fear and hatred, if we could follow the wisdom of all the world’s religions, dare to forgive and love our enemies, and simply enrich the world with good acts, we could win over the hearts of people everywhere and transform the world into a peaceful golden age.
We can end war and terrorism by showing hungry, suffering, and desperate people sympathy, compassion and kindness.
This book offers practical steps for doing just that—using America’s massive political power to lead all nations in cooperating to feed and provide clean water, sanitation, medicine, and education to the whole word.
As we shall see, it can be done much easier and vastly more cheaply than most people imagine. Once nations begin cooperating on basic human needs, there is no reason we can’t also cooperate in disarming the trouble spots in the world.
In sum, this book is a roadmap to both economic prosperity and world peace—a plan for bringing something much more like paradise on earth.
Surely we can do a better job of taking care of this beautiful, blue-green fragile earth. All we need is more loving policies—politics that protect, nurture, and strengthen individuals and families, both here at home and around the world.
We need to copy the many European nations in which health care, high-quality daycare and education, and vocational training or college are human rights.
Reducing military spending and copying the more loving and successful crime policies of other nations would free up money more wisely spent on supporting families with early childhood mental health prevention, education, health care, jobs, job training, addiction counseling, and housing.
Polls show the citizens of countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland are consistently the happiest people in the world. That’s because these countries take excellent care of their people, creating true opportunity for all and reducing the stresses and anger that often cause violence here.
Sadly, we are no longer the world’s greatest land of opportunity. Only half of Americans rise in economic class above that of their parents. The rest either stay the same as their parents or do worse.
Countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and Norway do much better. For example, in Denmark, over 80% of people rise in economic class beyond that of their parents.
We now face a world filled with violence, greed, abuse, hunger, suffering, war, and the possibility of worldwide environmental catastrophe. Cutting our defense budget and spending the money on food and medicine for the starving and sick could bring world peace.
Worldwide, we already produce far more calories than needed to feed every person alive. Yet almost 1 billion people chronically suffer starvation and another 1 billion are malnourished.
One reason for this is the same free trade rules that send our jobs overseas and create a worldwide race to the bottom in worker’s pay and benefits also force poor nations to grow flowers or other commodities for export, rather than feeding their own starving people.
As Nelson Mandela said, poverty is not natural—it is manmade and we can end it. Growing our middle class is not rocket science—Chile reduced its poverty rate from 50% to 8% in just one generation.
We can easily grow our middle class again by giving health care to all Americans, increasing the minimum wage, emphasizing quality education for all, giving more scholarships, job training, and apprenticeships, and generously funding pension programs.
We can make small cuts in defense, enough to win great victories against starvation and disease, until other nations agree to do the same. Many developing countries can already help and as the poorest nations grow, they will be able to pay for some of these public health measures themselves.
Isn’t it time to open our minds and see better ways to live on this beautiful, green planet? The most loving (and Christian) thing we can do is simply to see medicine, water, food, health care, and education as human rights, rather than as commodities for those who can afford them.
All of us can be selfish or wise, at times. Human beings have immense potential for both good and evil. In Christian terms, we have both God and Satan within our hearts. In conflicts, it is just human nature for both sides to think they are the righteous people acting in honorable defense and to demonize the enemy.
This does not doom us to forever live with violence and war, however. We can lift ourselves up and help civilization blossom by simply choosing the policies and laws that help and strengthen the happiness and productivity of individuals and families.
In this way, we can finally achieve our most cherished dream—a just, beautiful world full of peace, prosperity, brotherhood, sisterhood, love, harmony, wisdom, and accomplishment—a world in which every mother and father all around the world would happily see their children grow up without hunger and unnecessary disease and know their child has unlimited prospects.
The result might be new geniuses like Einstein, new Christian leaders like St. Francis of Assisi or Mother Theresa, or people who might solve the problems facing mankind in the future. Perhaps one of them will discover sources of clean, sustainable energy or discover a fountain of youth—a way to make people stay young and healthy forever.