Our bountiful Continent

Chapter 2


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After the Directors of the various sequences had given their reports, and after they had chatted with the foreign Delegates (in some instances through interpreters) and had finally left the auditorium, I was pounced upon with such rapid questioning as to set my brain to whirling like a Dutch mill. Some -questions I answered. As to others, I referred them to other people the questioners could query at a later date. At last, when the noise had abated somewhat, Mr. Hoyt, a British Delegate, said, "I say, Mr. Thorp, why didn't we hear you give a report to the Board of Directors?" I said, speaking very slowly, for the benefit of the interpreters, "Mr. Hoyt, not only I, but four other Directors gave no report. Myself, as Director of Foreign Relations; Edward Williams, Director of Research; John Adams, Director of the Armed Services Sequence; Ralph Dodson, Director of Area Control; and Jack London, Director of Social Relations. We five are the Executive Committee, and are answerable only to the Director of the Continental Board of Directors. However, on occasion we do make a report when it concerns the production and service sequences, and the personnel of our sequences are always available around the clock, for Immediately, Mr. Hoyt wanted to know in detail what my functions entailed. It was rather difficult for him to understand that, in a sense, I am a counterpart of a Secretary of State, minus political affiliation.


Her Majesty's Prime Minister, Mr. Ditmor, said, "Inasmuch as you have everything on this continent, why do you concern yourself with foreign trade?"  He looked amused when I said, "Well, we don't have ever thing our people desire. However, generally speaking, we are a self-sufficient continent. There are some products        and resources in all parts of the world that we can make use of. Most of all, we want your goodwill and a sufficient amount of your monetary exchange, so our people can travel in your country. In turn we can keep you happy with some of  our vast productive capacity (things of which you are in short supply. Mostly we want peace and the goodwill of all the people of the world" The Prime Minister then said, "Seeing that you have such desirable living conditions for your people, it seems to follow that people in mass, from all parts of the world, will migrate to North America, requesting citizenship."


I suppose such a question evoked a startled expression on my face, because Mr. Ditmor smiled broadly and winked. "Mr. Ditmor, we welcome people of all nations of the world to this continent as tourists," I said, "those of course, who can afford to travel. To facilitate that purpose, we will, on their arrival, exchange our energy units for their respective monetary exchange, and we will again make an exchange when they depart.


No, Mr. Ditmor, anyone of foreign citizenship will  have to bring an extraordinary skill to this continent to be granted citizenship of North America." Mr. Proulx, the French Delegate, wanted to know how we could police such a vast area, and have things operate so smoothly. By his expression, it seemed rather difficult for him to comprehend such a complete departure from all other police systems of the world. "Mr. Proulx, the police of this continent are directly under and are a part of the armed services," I said. "They a subject to army discipline, but get their direction from the Area Control and Social Relations of each area, or Regional Division, of this continent. When no monetary reward is present human beings, for the most part, will police themselves. In the past, monetary consideration accounted for ninety-five percent of all crime." He was further surprised when I told him that


North America's Social Dynamic is a governance of things, rather than of people. Mr. Van Vorhees, the Delegate from Holland, whose curiosity and impatience were obvious in his attempt to gain my attention, inquired about our judicial system. "Our Social Relations Sequence," I said, "could be construed as a counterpart of a judicial system, but differs vastly, in that no twelve good men and true, who for the most part are incompetent to judge a horse race, will ever be allowed to sit in judgment on any citizen of this continent. When a citizen of this continent is accused of any wrongdoing against his fellows, or his continent's well-being, he sits before a panel of impartial judges who employ the aid of citizens who are acquainted with the accused, as well as the accuser, for the purpose of ascertaining guilt of the accused, and to determine any punitive action or  hospitalization, if the accused is physically or mentally ill."


Questions were posed so rapidly that I fail to remember the names or nationality of those making inquiry. I, of course, was asked to explain the function of Continental Research and Area Control. I explained that Continental Research is a very special sequence, which is granted extreme liberty, in that its personnel are permitted to tap in, so to speak, at any production or service operation to expedite its activity and conserve energy, as well as man-hours, in order that stagnation never set in. That individuals can transfer in and out of that sequence on short notice, where expediency is required. I explained that the Area Control Sequence's function was that of guardianship, to see to it that each district or Regional Division runs smoothly. It now comes to my mind that Miss Olga Jackson, the Delegate from Sweden, wanted to know how we dealt with alcohol and drug addiction. I told her it could best be explained by someone in the Public Health Sequence. I did, however, tell her that when there is no monetary reward for dispensing it those products, their use to excess is very rare, and I had been informed that, when there is a case of excessive use, the individual user is confined to a hospital to determine daily intake. thereafter, his daily intake is diminished so gradually that over a period of time the intake reaches zero, and his system no longer requires the product.


Almost in unison several Delegates said, ”If your people are supplied with abundant living, by what method do you induce them to work?" I said, "People! People! The term 'work' at this point in North America is a nasty term. We prefer to use the phrase 'Social Responsibility.', The term "work' denotes drudgery. In your travels over this continent I think that you will find no one who considers his social responsibility as being of a drudgery nature. I think you will find that their vocation is their avocation Mr. O'Riley, the Delegate from Eire, wanted to know how the new social order dealt with, or what was the new social order's attitude toward, religious faiths and denominations churches in general. I replied that, inasmuch as religious teaching is a part of the educational Sequence, he had best consult someone who can speak with authority. I told him that, in this fifth year of the new social order, the personnel of a sizable number of sequences and their various branches, are holding conventions to ascertain if any improvements could be made in their respective  departments and that he would be welcome to sit in while the ecclesiastic branch of the Educational Sequence is in session.


Mr. Varsolov, the Delegate from the Soviet Union, had some difficulty in posing a question concerning the American people's choice of a new social order. He said, "Did your people establish the Social Dynamic because of its desirability, or did it come about spontaneously?" "Mr. Varsolov, in order to answer that question correctly I will have to employ some qualifying material," I said. First of all, all price system economies, under which all nation: the world, with the exception of North America, are laboring were born of scarcity in a low-energy, hand-tool era, long before man was cognizant of technology, and sufficed for a long period of time, insofar as commerce is concerned. Had not man's curiosity led him to technological thinking, a price system economy would still be applicable. "The effectiveness of a price system economy on any land area decreases in direct proportion to the degree of technology introduced therein. To elucidate, a price system requires that a sufficient amount of monetary exchange be paid to the populace in the form of wages and salaries or profits, to purchase all the goods and services rendered. When technological equipment is used to produce goods and perform services (resulting in the use of extraneous energy, versus human energy), any number of foolish things have to be done to stave off economic collapse. When all goods and available services can't be purchased by the people of a land area, a system of waste has to be introduced in the form of planned obsolescence or built-in short wear, style change, and of course war, or exports to mention only a few. "It is understandable that North America, with its vast array of resources and a people possessed of pioneering spirit (drawn from all parts of the world), would come to an economic stalemate in advance of the rest of the other land areas of the earth. Yes, there came that period in North America around 2008 A.D. when we had reached such a degree of chaos that decisions had to be made rapidly, if we were to survive as a society, or become extinct, as did the dinosaur. "The first positive action was initiated by the governments of the United States and Canada in the form of martial law. Yes, the armies of the two national entities were in complete domination over the populace. The first period of control was rough, both for the civilian population and the army officials. The army officials soon came to realize that their personnel had not been trained to operate a society that had reached such a degree of technology. This resulted in their decision to employ the aid of the scientist, engineer, and technician to formulate a social system, or governance, in the absence of monetary consideration, resulting in our Social Dynamic. No, Mr. Varsolov, even though our people think that our Social Dynamic is desirable, that isn't the premise  on which it was conceived. We had no choice but to institute a social mechanism that is compatible with technology. "Thinking in retrospect, people are amazed at themselves that they didn't organize for social change in advance of the social breakdown. One often hears the statement: 'If we had been sufficiently organized we would not have had to  suffer through that rough period of army domination.' Yes, it could have been brought about by people pressuring for congressional action, or even a presidential decree. Had that been the method of bringing about social change, those holding political office at that time would have a more favorable place in history, having done something socially useful


"Italy's Delegate, Mr. Garibaldi, posed a question: "Mr. Thorp by what method do you compensate people with special skills those who are outstanding and who contribute more to society than do their fellows? Do you, in order to show appreciation, give them a greater income, in the form of energy credits than is received by the less deserving?" In spite of being aware that Mr. Garibaldi's question was asked in all sincerity, I was still caught off guard, to the extent that I almost lost my cool. Observing my facial expression, Mr. Garibaldi said, "Oh, I beg your pardon, I realize now that that question was in poor taste. What I really meant was, is there a friction between individuals concerning income?" "Mr. Garibaldi, the question you pose requires a multi answer. To begin with," I said, "I can't think of any way to give a person something that he already possesses. To differentiate between individuals concerning consuming power would not only cause friction but would require a cumbersome record keeping system that would stagger the imagination, thereby putting such an extra burden on our people as to hinder them in performing of socially useful functions. Mr. Garibaldi, our people enjoy such a high degree of  consuming power through degradation of energy in producing goods and performing services that it seems to stagger the imagination of those not familiar with our Social Dynamic. Yes, it would certainly be a rare event for someone on this continent to be short of consuming power. Consuming power is theirs by virtue of citizenship." "Your answers are very lucid," he said, "but, so help me, I still don't understand the mechanics of your distribution. Would you be so kind as to explain that phase of your Social Dynamic?" "It is a simple matter to keep a record of all the energy degraded in the production of goods and the performance of services," I said. "After all 'overhead such as new plant equipment, the various construction projects; hospital maintenance, education, and child care is calculated, all remaining energy expended is prorated equally among the adult population of this continent. This, however, is not done because of its desirability, nor only for the sake of record keeping. When the people of this continent surrender their certificates of energy over any given time period, we know exactly how much to produce, and of what kind, for the next time period, with of course, enough surplus to take care of any emergency. This can be defined as a system of 'energy determinants.' While I was talking to Mr. Garibaldi, I was conscious that Vivian Vollnogle was attempting to attract my attention. When I turned to face her she said, "Mr. Thorp, in spite of your very lucid description of the new social order, I have been very curious about the complete absence of politics.  Why is that, and what have you done with that segment of your population?" I told her that there is no place in the new social order for politics or politicians, that politics could function only in a scarcity society, that the politicians' function was to enact laws to control peoples' actions and behavior, that many of the laws they enacted were to protect those who have from those who have not, that ex-politicians had found a place in society and had become useful citizens. She said, "One more question, Mr. Thorp: Did those people of great wealth oppose the institution of the new social order?" "On the contrary," I said, "when those people who had acquired monetary wealth came to realize that what they considered as wealth were promissory notes that had lost their validity and were worthless pieces of paper, they became the greatest proponents of the new social order."


When there were no more questions forthcoming, I said, when we travel across this continent, and you have the opportunity to observe the landscape, the sequence functions, and how the people live and think, I am certain there will be more questions you will want to ask not only of me, but of people you will meet while you are traveling and observing our new America. "Before you leave this continent, you will have traveled rapid train, by bus, by boat and barge, and by elevated train and tramways. I will do all in my power to cause your visit to be a pleasant one. Have a good dinner and sleep well, for tomorrow you will be seeing things that you will never forget things that will cause you to think about reorganizing your respective continental areas. "Good night."

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