Towards harmony of society and economy or triumph of good over evil

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №2 - 2011

Author: Baimuratov Uraz, Kazakh Economic University in honor of T. Ryskulov, Kazakhstan

The universal law of harmony is valid in the Universe, nature, and human society. Certainly, this law is also in the economy from which it cannot be excluded.

In the modern society there are four most important processes to be combined: development of democracy, demography, spirituality, and economic activity. They all are finally connected in the satisfaction of spiritual and material needs of individuals and societies. Ideally all aspects of social life are in harmony so that they create the best conditions for the stable growth of the economy and fair business as well as for the whole social progress. Each of these aspects is well known in economics, political science, demography, sociology, science of culture, science of religion, science of science, etc. Each science studies its “own” subject of research. Thus, the whole is divided into pieces. Small attention is paid to synthesis of the results of the individual sciences, in essence. That is why the narrow and technocratic view in economics prevails. Attention is paid only to superficial events, and the deep essence is not revealed.

Thus, it becomes obvious that the mortgage crisis, which supposedly was the start of the financial crisis in the USA; and subsequent world shocks having flared up are only the peak of the “iceberg”, the deep reason is in society, namely in worldview and behavior of individuals and societies.

Different levels of economic crises (household, corporate, industrial, national, regional, and world crises) are consequences of the initial cause. We adhere to this non-linear, i.e. extended and profound approach.

The Search for Harmony is among eternal problems. The web of questions and only a few answers: what harmony is (if this notion is universal?) and if it can be achieved at all in socio-economic structure. If yes, then what are its signs and criteria; does any algorithm of its achievement exist?

Harmony is a multivariate notion and, in general, harmony conditions are not thoroughly investigated. The paradigm and philosophy of the social system development is its harmony defined as the essential connection between proportionality of and unity of parts of the whole, but on the basis of spirituality and morality. The spiritual aspect is the core of harmonization of the social system.

The nature of the human society and separate individual does not endure long-term disharmony. The system degrades in disharmony and strives for self-destruction. The ultimate reason of disappearance of whole ethnicities in the past lies here, and the basis of the reason is spiritual impoverishment reigning in the community.

Harmony is a spiritual and cultural guideline that leads to understanding of the universe (both as a whole and by fragments), socio-economic system, and the man from the position of their essential internal interconnection, orderliness, and proportionality. The unity and essence of harmony of the social system is here as a whole.

The basic and background harmony is a proportion between material and non-material needs of individuals and society, which arises on the basis of high spirituality – foundation of their whole life. It can be formed between the human community (its needs) as a whole and economy acting simultaneously as both sub-system of the society and holistic system. Individual harmonies are set inside the social system.

As a rule, for harmonic personality, harmony of group of people, and community as a whole, the following characteristics are common:

1) A whole spectrum of fairly justified (rational) needs is presented;

2) Moderation in consumption (optimality). Criterion of optimum: realization of needs of the participant without damage to interests of other participants. Poverty and wealth are extremities conflicting with the harmony;

3) Effective mobilization of internal resources (personal, group, society). “Life in debt” contradicts the spirit of harmony;

4) Rational use of external (borrowed) resources, including natural ones (taking into account interests of not only current living, but that of future generations as well);

5) Cooperation and tolerance.

Spirituality is to be interwoven with cloth of all constituents of social life. Unfortunately, this does not happen in most countries of the world. In particular, deep spiritual crisis suffered by the humanity is seen in the crisis of the financial system on a global scale.

Now in modern communities spiritual aspect is “the weak link”. This is also a problem of Kazakhstani society, where like in all countries coming out from the socialist camp, the change of value “poles” happened.

The need for not only understanding but implementing the scheme that returns to a natural position in the pyramid of priorities, when the spiritual aspect in all its diversity serves as a peculiar core of the society, seems to be fair. In turn, similar “spiritual constituent” of the society gives rise to the mechanism of harmonization of mesosystem – interaction of systems, sub-systems, etc.

Louise Ortega writes that in the modern culture the conflict between the spiritual and technical aspects of civilization strengthens. The technical progress is not accompanied by the progress of ethics and morality. The nature of the progress is conjectural, is seems to be doubtful, and often acts as a threat, and not only as demonstration of actual technology, for the culture. Today the humanity does not observe limits of even elementary and protective priority of ethics over technology. This is the main violation of Human Rights [p. 1].

One can agree with the author making the following more precise: the spiritual development is not only the thesis of inequality, but it assumes a big spectrum of spiritual values (education, science, culture, etc.), the core of which is personal faith of the man, that should be at last acknowledged by us, scientists.

We shall try to answer the eternal question of intellectuals: what a harmonic society is. The harmony in society means full conformity between spiritual-moral, democratic, demographic and economic development of the country. All these four aspects of life of society operate synchronously, fully intertwined. Lagging behind or absence of any of them, which is even worse, makes harmony in a society impossible. A special role is played by spiritual and moral development of individuals and societies as a whole. Spirituality and morality, as the whole history of humanity shows, make the basis (foundation) of society and existence of its civilization. The whole structure of welfare of the society is built just on that. Ignoring this fact can cause unfortunate consequences for civilization.

Disharmony is the frustration of life of a society, absence of coordination and conformity between its different aspects, and, as the main issue, rejection of requirements of the Creator of life on the Earth. This is a total comprehensive disharmony. In different parts and aspects of social life including economic activity, different disharmonies can arise. These are particular disharmonies. In economic sphere, disharmonies can include, for example, total aspiration for maximization of incomes (profit) to the prejudice of environment and health of population or at the expense of unjustified growth of prices for goods and services, occurrence of speculative business, shady sector of economy and corruption, different financial pyramids, credits with interests, etc. That is, consequences of spiritual impoverishment and immorality in economic sphere are diversified. Their essence is single – contradiction between constantly growing and non-regulated material needs and lagging behind spiritual and moral needs of individuals and society. This is the main disharmony in the society, which is divided into many particular disharmonies in the economic system.

Harmonic society is a society in which all four aspects of its life, i.e. economic activity, democratic, demographic and spiritual-and-moral development are interconnected and moderately developed, and extremities are absent in any of them. At that, spiritual and moral values make the basis (foundation) of the whole human society. If such basis is absent in the society or is insufficient, then only this circumstance makes the society and all its spheres disharmonious, and, accordingly, unstable, and finally subjected to the threat of destruction. Harmonic society cannot do without harmonic economy, harmonic democracy, harmonic demography, and harmonic spirituality and morality. Harmonic economy can be understood as economy able to satisfy the whole range of reasonable material needs of the absolute majority of individuals in the society in moderate scopes in accordance with labor performed, without accumulation of super-riches and without accumulation of poverty, developing evolutionally and stably, on the basis of high spirituality and morality of the society. Harmonic economy needs frequent deep changes and stable conditions, as well as slow progress. Such economy develops without “overheating” and “economic miracle”, but at the same time without “stagnation”. The medium vector and medium rate of progress in all the useful, reasonable and rational are organically peculiar for it. Harmonic economy is not “saving” or “innovative-industrial”, or “smart”, or “efficient”, or “liberal”, or “state”, or “market”, or any other economy with other characteristics, harmonic economy is all of the above listed taken together in their multivariable conjunction and in a single direction. But multivariable nature is not sufficient for full harmony, if economic development is not combined with democratic, demographic and demoithikic (spiritualic-and-moralic) progress of society (the 3 “D” as translated from Russian – foundation and two supports of economy). Its other definition can be expressed as “new social economy”, that was stated in more details in books “Social economy” [2, p. 74], “Socialization in economy: from individual to the state” [3, p. 15-16]. New social economy in contrast to existing economic models assumes harmony from setting final purpose of economic system to methods of its achievements, from macroeconomics to firms and households, as being characteristic for it.

The concept of harmony calls for keeping the limits. People know about the sense of harmony from old times. Unfortunately, in some aspects economics has not come to the level of understanding common people, which is a result of neglecting influence of mentality of individuals on economic activity, passion for excessive abstractions, “beautiful” pictures and formulas, i.e. simplified realities and narrow technocracy. Such method only suits for use at initial courses of economics. But it is not useful, so to say, in practical activity. It is not seldom when graduates of the most well-known world universities learning economics upon simplified schemes, additionally study at scientific institutes, business structures, and power authorities. The author had to face such phenomena.

Harmonization of life of society and its economic activity is the method of achievement of long-term stability and competitiveness of economy bringing it closer to dynamic balance, and prevention of sharp instability and crises. Its creative role is not limited by that, but extended to the whole civilization of countries and continents. Harmony is the way of civilized progress that protects against disappearance of civilization that has happened not once in the history of humanity because of deep disharmonies.

Accordingly, there is no alternative to harmonic development of society and its economy in any interval of time of any duration. In short-term period, those or other separate harmonic conditions in economic system, especially in its sub-systems, are possible. However, unfortunately these are rare and rapidly passing episodes of welfare, “instant happiness”, as they can appear and disappear in long-term and distressful evolution of the system. It should be marked that in this case we speak not about true harmonies, in essence, but about quasi-harmonies which have no solid foundation – spiritual and moral basis. Comprehending these realities, power, civil institutions, and business as the main thing all individuals can and are to make their choice in favor of harmonization of all aspects of life, certainly including economic activity.

Harmonization of economy, in which market and non-market mechanisms operate, has fundamental meaning. In modern economics and practice the thesis stating that economic system, in particular, sphere of consumption, can be and is to be harmonized by means of regulation of the market by the state irrespective of the state of spirituality and morality of the society, is often expressed. Is strengthening of the governmental interference into this sphere able to stabilize economy and prevent its crises? In our opinion, it is not able. In conditions of spiritual impoverishment and immorality of individuals, it gives only temporary effect and can bring to even a social explosion after a certain time. How? Let us consider such event, for example, as the rise of needs, where different forces oppose each other which can lead to conflict. What forces are we talking about? On one hand, it is internal and very mighty motive of individuals to maximally possible obtaining material benefits and to accumulation of money, desirably by easy way without adequate labor contribution. It receives wide spectrum for its manifestation at absence of spirituality and morality, and spiritual-and-moral regulator of its economic behavior. Domination of material enrichment ideology, building of the society of super-consumption separately of spiritual and moral improvement of individuals in society pours water to the mill of individuals-consumers. On the other hand, this is external force of limiting consumer behavior of individuals through the state regulation of the total demand. But the problem is that the state machinery is not able to oppose extreme, unreasonable, and consumer aspirations of people, if it tries, for example, to limit the growth of consumers. In this hypothetical meaning, the struggle of mass against power would finish with obviously social explosion, solving the conflict in favor of social “lower classes”, as “upper classes” are often also infected with “economic virus of super-enrichment.” That is why the state regulation of economy, in particular, the sphere of consumers and consumption, or overconsumption if to speak more precisely, cannot fully supersede the factor of spirituality and morality – foundation of harmonic life on our Earth. It can bring to partial and temporary result, but not more, as attention is paid only to the consequence of the negative phenomenon, and its reason remains beyond influence. It is illusion to rely on ability of the state regulation of the market economy to achieve long-term stability of economic development. Without solid basis any system is unstable like a house without a foundation in a seismic zone.

Modern societies and their economic systems in the range of states of the world are subjected to instabilities, and contain big risks of permanent crises. The global crisis taking place demonstrates this trend. Big part of the world economy has found itself in the state of deep instabilities. Global economy reminds the “pyramid” turned over. It has no wide spiritual and moral basis and it lies on one point; due to that the system can come to and often comes to instability even at insignificant impacts. The deep reason of sharp bifurcation is in disharmony between growing needs in material benefits and lagging behind spiritual and moral level of individuals and society. Low spirituality opens the way to the world of criminality, immorality, profiteering, corruption, and other negative phenomena for many individuals. And this is in spite of the fact that in many countries of the world they try to compensate the lack of spirituality and morality by strengthening the role of laws and legal acts. For this purpose, they create manifold system of state power with mighty law enforcement, and punitive structures, and economic departments. The expensive machinery of management and power is kept at the expense of budget means coming from taxpayers. However, irrespective of the state costs in control and regulation of life, reasons and consequences of spiritual impoverishment and immorality cannot be fully liquidated. It is impossible, in principle. Spiritual impoverishment can be overthrown only by spirituality, i.e. by change of the internal world of individuals, strengthening their personal faith, and all constituents of spirituality and morality (education, science, culture, bringing up, and many other aspects) on this basis. But the effect is received incomplete and short-term. Economic “virus” of super-enrichment is cured only by growth of spirituality and morality. Isn’t it seen from realities of Islamic world, where there is no ideology of super-enrichment?

Harmonic economy is formed by transformation of existing national models. This transformation process, i.e. harmonization of economy, is long-term and stage-by-stage.

Basic criteria of harmonic economy include:

- Production of goods and rendering services, satisfaction of reasonable needs of individuals and society, excluding consumption of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, and other harmful habits;

- Formation of incomes on the basis of labor activity without excessiveness in amounts, especially in prices for goods and services; both too high monopoly prices and too low prices, which infringe the principle of fairness, are not harmonic. The principle of maximization of profit at the expense of deterioration of ecology, causing harm to individuals and population conflicts with the principle of harmony of all aspects of economic activity;

- Speculating constituent of business is practically absent;

- Borrowing of financial resources are not excessive and are not connected with the interest mechanism, and are possible in conditions of partnership of banks and companies, and strengthening trust between subjects of economy;

- Shady business, corruption, other manifestations of spiritual impoverishment came to naught; business is transparent and honest;

- Harmonic economy is very far from what is peculiar for modern state of the economic system, its negative trends and disharmonies. The progress in economic evolution is in movement to harmonic economy as the strategic purpose of the society;

- Harmonic economy is limited in space by borders of states due to inequality of location of natural resources upon regions and countries of the world, and different level of production forces. Unfortunately, such economy cannot appear everywhere and simultaneously. Every state or unions of states have their own way of development. Countries with rich natural resources, fertile lands, and favorable climate and transport conditions, with developed spirituality, democracy, demography, human capital, high innovative potential, and diversified national economy have more chances;

- The task is very difficult, but rather real. Personal and public mind is changeable, is permanently in evolution and not free from spasmodic changes. Judging by public processes existing in our time, the next qualitative turning point in world view of individuals and spiritual renewal of society is not far. In the author’s opinion, harmony of society and economy assumes transfer to principles of Islamic economic model and finance as its bench mark. The beginning of future harmonic world structure, partnership of civilizations, and the way to triumph of Good in life of humanity is in that model.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Louise Ortega. Mateza of super-systems.

2. Baimuratov U. Social economy/selected scientific works. Book 4 – Almaty: BIS, 2005 – p.320.

3. Baimuratov U. Socialization in economy: from individual to state // Selected scientific works. Book 6 – Almaty. Economics. 2007 – p. 320.



Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №2 - 2011

  
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