What don't we get about ____?
Commentaries on Social justice issues – Getting to Fundamentals
– a political & organizational perspective.We need to make decisions in light of fundamentals.Social justice activities take place within the context of our government.Much revolves around the role of government and organizations.The following sections deal with several issues and perspectives within this context.
PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT
- To serve the needs of a society within a given boundary (country, state, county, region, tribe, city…)
- A society consists of individuals, ultimately.
- Individuals have two basic driving motivations: self-interest, and caring for others.
Jesus showed us the importance of the latter.
1- Defense/security/safety of individual members of that society
Controlling or dealing with the bad actors – unacceptable behavior of members
2- Doing what individual members won't or can't, but can be done when acting collectively
- Which can benefit society
3- Establishing & controlling the money supply which facilitates economic activity (federal only).
Understanding the opposing interests of parties within society can lead to conflict and the need for negotiation and deliberation to arrive at acceptable compromise.
In the United States only the House of Representatives is truly representative (everyone's vote counts once). The president is elected by the Electoral College, not the people. In the Senate, every state has two representatives, regardless of its population, similar to the Electoral College. The judiciary is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate (now only requiring a simple majority).
ROLE OF THE OPPOSITION
In government, we always need "her majesty's loyal opposition" – loyal because they are still acting to serve society. Their role is to serve as a check on the powers and actions of the majority (as well as to jointly craft legislation for the betterment of society). While attending the University of Alberta, I remember the legislature with the party in power having an overwhelming majority. There were only 4 members of the opposition. Those were very important people. The US constitution was pretty good at establishing a system with appropriate checks on the balance of power, but even that has been abrogated recently.
ROLE OF ORGANIZATIONS
The role of organizations is similar to the role of government in society. When people act collectively and gather together resources, they can accomplish things that individuals can't or won't. People don't always have the power or ability or resources or incentive to act individually. The difference is that organizations also act in their own self-interest (or the interests of the owners/shareholders or the leaders). Ideally, organizations (and governments) should act in everyone's best interests. The purpose of business is not simply to make a profit. Profit is better viewed as a constraint, i.e., an organization needs to make a profit (income exceeding expenses) in the long run in order to survive. The organizations which thrive are those that have a mission focus which is outside of themselves, to serve some constituency (customers, etc.). The challenge to organizations is to balance the goals of various stakeholders – shareholders, customers, employees.