Our societal problem is to discover a new, unifying principle of relationship and a new concept of organization powerful enough to hold inviolate the liberty and interdependence of infinitely diverse people. It will not come from on high to the thunder of drums and sound of trumpets, but will arise silently in the consciousness of countless ordinary people until it finds the right voice.
"Science discovers, genius invents, industry applies, and man conforms"---so declares the guide book to the 1933 Chicago world's fair. The promoters of the fair apparently thought the subjection of mankind to machines and commerce laudable. Only fools worship their tools.
Science should be judged by whether it has diminished violence, eliminated war, enhanced justice, insured freedom, improved happiness, equitably distributed power and wealth, and protected the environment. By any such standard it has been an abysmal failure.
Each bacterium contains about a billion nucleotide pairs in its genetic code. More complex creatures contain up to ten billion. A change in a single pair can send life careening in a new direction. And we have the arrogance to think we can control everything with our clumsy technology and archaic four-hundred-year-old concepts of societal organization.
The question is not whether corporate capitalism produces good or evil. It obviously produces both. Nor is the question whether it is constructive or destructive. It can be either. The question is whether, in relationship with all people, all other creatures, and the living earth on which all depends, it is more beneficent than harmful. The evidence is not in its favor.