Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Chronicles of Albert Einstein Part 2 : His Views On Society


Throughout history, man has always judged society based on their clouded perception of the world.  Most people take a primitive mindset and approach to human society rather than a logical and though out vision to society as a whole.  Very few men and woman in the history of mankind have been able to look past human emotion and envision society not as it is, but as it should be.   Society as a whole should seek a variety of things in order to truly live in a free and open society.  Society is only as free as the connection between the ideas of people and the ideology of self-determinism.  A free and open society can be labeled as having the interests of the whole in mind by man working together for a common goal.  The common goal is social, economic, cultural and religious freedom amongst men and woman of all ages.  From the time of the Great War through World War Two, such freedoms were oppressed and almost destroyed by governments and industry together.  As one will see, Einstein’s vision of society was one of great compassion, understanding, and hope for mankind to come together as a whole for the improvement of life for all people on Earth. 
            Economic equality plays a key role in society.  After the Great War, the German government and inevitably its people were debt ridden as a result for the reparations in which it had to pay France and Belgium under the stipulations put against them by the League of Nations.  As a result, the purchasing power of the people was diminished by the idea of hyper-inflation where the government of Germany printed large amounts of currency to be able to pay for the war debt in which was inflicted upon them.  Einstein believed the workers of society should be guaranteed a fixed minimum wage that created a linear system between the purchasing power of the workers and the price of the products in which were sold.[1]  A fixed minimum wage that correlated with the rising inflation would increase the purchasing power of the average citizen.  Inflation causes a decrease in the value of the money over a period of time which would inevitably cost members of society more money to purchase goods and service.  By increasing the minimum wage relative to prices, society as a whole would be on an even playing field.  The problem with labor, money, and society is the technological innovation society as whole has brought to the table.  As a result of societal progression, the need for human labor decreases as the technological innovation invented by man increases.  Because of the decrease in the workforce as a direct correlation of exponential technological growth as a function of time toward the future, this creates it many issues.  First of all, the decreased need for labor because of new technology causes a social outcry amongst skilled and unskilled laborers.  One could insinuate that Einstein believed and understood the idea of the Wage-Fund theory although he does not directly discuss it in his writings.  The Wage-Fund theory is an economic and social theory that states that if the demand of a job or profession is high, but the need for the positions is low, than the wages of a said job or professor will, in turn, be significantly lower than a job or profession where the need for positions is high, but the quantity of individuals in the field is low.[2]  “Jobs are hard to come by because of progress of production.  Only a fraction of the available labor in the world is needed for the production of the total amount of consumption goods necessary for life.”[3]  Between the period of World War I and World War II, the technological progress of science and business, left much of European, more specific German, workers without jobs.  The lack of jobs combined with the crushing blow the League of Nations put on Germany following the Great War in terms of reparations really caused a societal outcry because not only was technology causing people to lose their jobs, their money wasn’t even worth enough to buy their families food.  Economic inequality following the Great Depression was at an all-time high and was unlike any time before it in modern history.  Einstein believed society needed to increase involvement of younger people in the productive process, and exclude elderly from certain sorts of work.  Instead they should receive a certain income, for they have contributed enough to be considered productive to society.(Ibid, 77)  In the end, the exponential growth of technology and the inflation of monetary currency during the first third of the 20th century caused significant social issues and public outcry across the globe, but centrally located in Germany.  Einstein felt that making wages proportional to inflation, and increasing the younger generation’s active role in production and decreasing the productive role of the elderly were tangible solutions for such consequences.(Ibid, 73)  By increasing and maintaining a fixed minimum wage, it would allow greater purchasing power for the worker that was proportional to the pace at which production was being put forth by industry.  Einstein’s philosophy was based on economic equality as one can see.  After the Great Depression, the gap between the worker class and the entrapaneurs was growing quite extensively because although Germany’s government was printing large sums of capital for the war debt, business owners and industrialists still maintain a good deal of purchasing power which they took advantage of as a result.  By identifying this issue, Einstein felt that by increasing minimum wage at a fixed rate and fixed working hours, it would even the playing field between workers and industrialists in terms of time, energy, and purchasing power.(ibid, 72)  The thought of fixed working hours, in theory, would decrease the rate of unemployment in which it could one day be abolished.  The Liberalist view on economics in society puts emphasis on an increased labor force.  To decrease unemployment and create less socio-economic stress, liberals seek to put employ more workers in the economy.  Although the strategy looks good in the perception of the general public, the increased labor force drives the overall wages down to where a large portion of society is an un-naturally low socio-economic level.  The Liberal views, in the eyes of Einstein, provide a means to alleviate unemployment, yet it creates a worker class with no purchasing power as result of unbelievably low wages.(ibid, 77)  Looking deeper at the use of purchasing power rather than monetary worth, one can make draw a conclusion as to why Einstein used this term.  As one can see that the purchasing power and the overall monopolistic tendencies of their tyrants of business, the prices should be controlled by the governing body of the state, so that prices could stay reasonable for both business and workers alike in society because if one lets business do as business does, it will leave industry with artificially driven prices and manipulated markets.  A linear system, in theory should be created to even out the production and consumption of goods to implement and maintain a proper balance, but at the same time not hindering the capitalist nature of business which thrives off economic growth.   During times of hyper-inflation, the value of  money is diminished to below half of its worth, so the value is almost non-existent, yet the acquisition and hoarding of large sums of capital gives an individual the ability to purchase goods and services indicating the individual has increased purchasing power over another.
 Although Europe was paralyzed by economic hardship during the Crash of 29’, problems of socio-economic equality was not just concentrated in Europe.  The crisis struck the whole world, and through the eyes of Einstein, he broke it down into five basic factors(ibid, 71): Overproduction of wheat and the overproduction of vehicles.  American created an unstable credit system that allowed Americans to access new technological items which led to the rise of consumerism.  Consumerism led to overproduction of goods that industrialists thought would continue to be purchased, but this was a false perception.  Once demand for new technologies such as the Model T and other new gadgets such as the radio and the washer fell below that of the supply, the enire economy collapse leading to a society that went into socio-economic hardship. The overproduction of crops such as wheat left the U.S. agricultural industry nearly bankrupt when prices of wheat crept so low that farmers could not break even on their crops.  Secondly, as discussed earlier, the cost of reparations due to the war guilt placed upon Germany created a scale of hyper-inflation in Germany not seen for quite some time.  This hyper-inflation on the debtor nation really had a domino effect on that of American, the creditor nation because the linkage between the two leaves creditor vulnerable economically. This had a serious implication amongst Germany society and really was the gateway for further conflict amongst European society.  The erection of tariff walls in Europe caused significant socio-economic hardship during the Depression as a result of increased burden and thoughts of armament and political unrest.  Because of this, society as a whole had to suffer as a result of political and military unrest which caused workers and families to lose jobs and entire life savings because of high taxes put on good and services imported and exported among European Nations.  In addition, fall of the two powers Russia and China had serious implications.  Although the fall of these two powers did not directly affect the socio-economic status of America, the fall of these two powers had a dramatic effect on world trade.  Finally, the rise of the economic lower class since the end of the Great War led to the idea of scarcity of goods because of the increase in this class of people.  Having enough food to feed the people of the growing lower class of society can put a deep burden on society because goods can only be produced at certain rates, and the replenishing process takes time as well.
In order for human civilization to prosper, we must remember culture. (ibid, 74)  Society is quick to judge man based on their cultural background and the ideals and morals of which they were raised upon.  Between the time period of World War I to World War II, European society was crumbling to because poor decisions made by the world super powers.  During a time where morals and ethics were needed most to hold society together from destroying each other, principles of moral and ethical code were put on the backburner because of overwhelming political tension and economic hardship which caused society to revert back to its primitive nature instead of society coming together as a whole to bring social, political, and economic justice.  By having mankind come together as one world made up of different countries, society would transform itself into something better than previously imagined.  Einstein believed in such a society.  He believed in a society that was content on implementing social justice for everyone to enjoy, not just those in power.[4]  Social equality is an inalienable right for all men and women, and for all socio-economic classes to enjoy not just those who have political authority over the masses.  Like previously stated, society should not be a servant for the government, the government should provide for the wants and needs of the people they were elected to serve.  Members of society should acknowledge that these inalienable rights as human beings.  Members or citizens of society should not pass judgment on other individuals based on belief systems for life is relative to world through each of eyes and ears.  No man or woman thinks and believes the same, and Einstein knew that from my point of view.  Einstein called for a society that showed willingness to understand and except that all human beings re inherently different. (ibid, 70)  The most amazing thing about the human race is the fact that we are all the same, yet individually we are all so different.  God blessed each person with a gift or a skill that on can bring to the table and offer the world one simply needs to find it within them and perfect.  People go there whole lives without knowing their purpose or reason for being on this grand Earth, but once one finds meaning to one’s life, one should take advantage of the random gifts that the Creator offered thee.  “The cult of individual personalities is always in my view unjustifiable.  To be sure, nature distributes her gifts variously among her children.”(ibid, 37) 
During Einstein’s wonder years as I call them, which is the time period between his publication of special relativity of 1905 and his departure from Germany, Einstein was a prominent spokesperson for minorities as a whole.  Society always labels minorities as outcasts or different simply because they deviate from the societal norms of the masses which are controlled again by what I call the upper-class minorities.  Upon reading the book, The World As I See It, it truly made me think of my own life.  Throughout my life, I was an advocate for social justice and fair treatment of all those that are seen as different.  By labeling humans, we as a society are oppressing those in which we label, which in turn, causes them to lose self-esteem and self-worth which comes with how we view ourselves.  Those same minorities, such as those labeled as “geeks” and “nerds,” are the same individuals who go on to become truly successful people in terms of intellect, monetary worth, and political power, so the perpetual wheel of hate and resentful goes full circle when those individuals who were oppressed and labeled as minorities as a child, are the individuals as adults who oppress and label the masses, and inevitably punish them for their immature ways as a child, adolescent, and teen.  Einstein was an advocate against minorities who are seen by the majority as inferior to them which leads to oppression, and eventually the same oppression and hate of the masses.(ibid, 78)  The majority of human beings that are lazy and in some cases lack the intellect to think for themselves in terms of judging people are easily manipulated to believe in the labels in which cruel and powerful people indoctrinate a society with.  One could see this tactic in the political ideology of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s.  Adolf Hitler, who was known as a young adult to failed art school and was kicked out of the Germany army for lack of physical ability was judged and labeled by society as a misfit minority took that anger and oppression and turned it into political motivation.  His anger and resentment as a child turned into hatred for the those in society who were successful and controlled the means of business and banking which were of Jewish decent.  Hitler was able to indoctrinate the masses of Germany society, who were vulnerable in the 1930’s because of the Great Depression, to believe in his cause to bring back German pride and economic means to the working class or middle class.  By indoctrinating those individuals who were vulnerable and could not think for themselves, he was able to manipulate the minds of society to believe in his ideology to persecute and execute those were seen as minorities and inferior to the “Pure German Race”.  Dr. Einstein, who was an independent thinker and full of compassion for all walks of life, was a truly an advocate to rid the world of social injustice in terms of ending the societal labels were put on individuals, but he lived in a time in history where governments and industry indoctrinated the people of society to believe in their cruel, selfish ideology which eventually cost him his citizenship but never his faith in the social justice of all mankind.
The key to improving social, economic, and political justice and implementing those ideas of justice into society is through the free exchange of thoughts and ideas from the perspective of all members of society no matter their socio-economic stance within it.  By allowing the free exchange of thoughts, opinions, and ideas, society as a whole can slowly evolve into one of understanding and justice. 
“Whether we find the way of peace or continue along the old road of brute force so unworthy of our civilization, depends on ourselves.  On the one side, the freedom of the individual, and the security of society beckon us, on the other side slavery for the individual and the annihilation of our civilization threatens us.  Our fate will be according to our deserts.”(ibid, 56)
The future of society and the human race as whole depends on the sharing of thoughts and ideas because all social, economic, and political progress starts with one man or woman going against the status-quo.  Life, society, and innovation evolves overtime, and during the time of Einstein, one can see that the evolution of innovation was growing exponentially while the evolution of social justice was being crushed by the tightening grips of tyrants wishing to oppress the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of those individuals that they were voted in to serve and protect.
 “Common man is too afraid to speak out against the government and big business. These men are cowards.  Man will embrace you until you attack his self-interests.  The motto of a country mean is this, ‘Leave it alone and do not speak of it.’” (ibid, 69)
The society in which Einstein lived in, and even that of my parent’s generation believed that if you did not talk about it, the problems, issues, and concerns did not exist.  Without the willingness of the masses of all walks of life to come together as one and speak up and spend ideas and thoughts for preservation and promotion of social justice, progression and deviations from the status-quo will never happen.  As a whole, society wishes for the day where all man is on equal footing in front of the law, and the only way for that to truly become a living reality for all mankind is through the use of communication amongst all mankind, but no change comes easy.  Society as a whole through peaceful intervention and exchange can promote change through their words in the form of written language, or the sounds waves of your voice, but no change comes easy because those who control the means of change are not eager to allow.  Through perseverance and belief in one’s self, anything is possible.  Einstein was ridiculed his whole life by his family, his peers, his government, and society as a whole, but he remained faithful to himself because he believed in himself while no one else did.  This goes to show one that by believing in oneself is like believing in all of humanity.  The exchange of ideas and thoughts amongst man can only go as far as the belief and implementation of those thoughts and ideas in one’s own life prior to the change of world views of society as a whole.  The future starts within and expands steadily as ideas grow exponentially amongst all.  Einstein’s views on society were well ahead of his time for his views on society and science alike are issues that even until this day are still being fought for.  Those in power do not wish for equality of all man because it will mean their power will be decreased as a result of social change.  Social progression as a whole begins with one man or woman with a vision.  That vision can become a living reality when men and women alike put their differences aside, and work together for a just cause of social, economic, and political equality in beside the law.

[1] Einstein, Albert. The World As I See It. Translated By Alan Harris. Carol Publishing Group Edition. 1998. Secaucus, New Jersey. Copyright 1956
[2] Scarlett – History of Economic Theory and Thought. “ J.S. Mill’s Wage Fun Theory.” 1 May 2013. http://www.economictheories.org/2008/11/j-s-mills-wages-fund-theory.html. Copyright 2009.
[3] Einstein, Albert. The World As I See It. Translated By Alan Harris. Carol Publishing Group Edition. 1998. Secaucus, New Jersey. Copyright 1956
[4] Einstein, Albert. The World As I See It. Translated By Alan Harris. Carol Publishing Group Edition. 1998. Secaucus, New Jersey. Copyright 1956

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