Prosperity at what cost, is something we have to look at.
One of the biggest pains in Asia in the past few decades is that many nations tried to imitate how Western societies crafted themselves. This has not fit into people’s way of thinking, feeling and doing things in the East, and it is causing a lot of struggle. A lot of policymakers have been influenced by one successful culture and in trying to implement the same thing elsewhere, have caused a lot of disasters and pain. This is not a question of right or wrong. It is just a question of what works for us here.
If you look at the kind of economic structures we have created today, they are simply unrealistic. For example, if you take the American economy as the ideal, because that is among the richest societies on the planet, and if you provide that for the 7.2 billion people on this planet, I think we would have just another 30-40 years before extinction. We have to reinvent the way we run the economy, so that it is not self-destructive in the process of creating prosperity. Prosperity at what cost, is something we have to look at.
Prosperity does not necessarily mean simply more, more and more. There is only one planet to live on. We can’t continue endlessly with more, more and more. Societies have to look at how to generate well-being for everyone within what we have.
Unfortunately, societies get identified with policies, systems and ideologies and we forget that all this was created only for human well-being. For any government, the main policy must be the well-being of citizens of that nation. All other policies should be around that. To fulfil that one policy of well-being of the life on this planet, we may have to continuously evolve what we are doing — it could change every other day as situations change.
There may be situations where the government has to step in sometimes and pump up a few things because it may not be happening the way it is supposed to happen, but any long-term intervention from a government could, in most situations, lead to resentment. There is no common prescription; these things must be decided and determined by different societies, as it is necessary for them.
Today, for the first time in history, we as humanity have resources, technology and capability to solve all the basic problems of human population. The only thing missing is inclusive consciousness. Every society should focus on producing the right kind of people who have a larger vision of life. If we want to create gentler and more compassionate economies, where every human being can find a way without being ground down, it is very important that public policy comes from a more inclusive understanding. Essentially, every human being should be focused towards creating well-being for all life on this planet. That should be the fundamental policy.