7.6 Human development: Education, science and culture in a green social democracy

If good health in a healthy natural and social environment is one condition for the free development of every person, education is society's other main investment in human development. In a just, sustainable society, an education is not only a benefit to those who receive it, increasing their sense of well-being, strengthening their connection with nature and improving their relationship with other people, it is also an investment in the future, in our social capacity to meet the challenges ahead.

Here we mean by education all those activities that develop the mind, body and spirit. In the public sector of a green social democracy these would include formal and informal education, science, the arts, the communications media and sports and recreation. In the private sector, these would also include religious and cultural organizations and institutions.

Education in a green social democracy would be free of cost for tuition and materials in accord with the principal of inclusivity on which this alternative to capitalism is based. In order to obtain an education, individuals must, of course, also have time free from the necessity of work. A social dividend that includes an annual guaranteed basic income and basic accommodation would assure every person the minimum resources needed to support their living expenses while they are engaged in learning. This would also support those electing to serve voluntarily (that is within the non-market economy) as teachers, researchers, artists and journalists and otherwise contribute to the educational and spiritual development of others.

The primary change in both the content and reach of public education would likely come as a consequence of conflict of interest legislation prohibiting private-for-profit advertising, science, artistic production and communications media. The resources thus liberated would thereby become available for the unadulterated purpose of human development. This would probably mean more than a doubling of the resources, especially people, available for teaching, research, the arts and non-commercial public communications media.

Also important would be the commitment of a green social democracy to reduce the hours of work required for producing the other needed goods and services. Increasing time and opportunity for teaching and learning, research, artistic activity and other engagements in human development would be created by investment in technical innovation and the reduction of wasteful material production. Greater sharing and improved product durability would be among the advantages of a green social democratic economy.

Among the educational policies and practices of a green social democracy are likely to be all those that support the free development of each as the condition for the free development of all, which in addition to making education and learning resources free and accessible to everyone electing to engage in learning would include:

  • Providing all the necessary support, encouragement and resources necessary to enable life-long, self-directed learning by everyone;
  • Prohibiting public funding and support of privately owned or run educational institutions;
  • Certifying educational attainment on the basis of successful application of knowledge and skills where these are needed (authentic assessment) and NOT on standardized tests or time served within the walls of educational institutions, the first of which would be eliminated in a green social democracy, while the latter would be reduced in proportion to the increasing engagement of people in apprenticeship (in the community, out in nature and on the job) and independent learning;
  • Rewarding teachers for their success in facilitating student apprenticeship and self-directed learning by making all savings in required classroom time available to teachers for their own further learning, preparation of learning resources for students, and conduct and communication by teachers of scientific research, production or performance of art, and other contributions to knowledge and culture;
  • Making education a community affair, including collaboration between students, parents, community members and teachers;
  • Requiring that all publicly funded institutions, including but not limited to educational ones, be secular, consistent with the principle of separation of Church and state;
  • Accord equal respect and rights of belief and expression, including secular and non-secular beliefs, to all who work in or attend publicly funded institutions;
  • Exclude endorsement of religious beliefs at publicly supported events and activities and on public buildings and publicly created or supported materials, including but not limited to devotional references to God in pledges of allegiance and national anthems and on monetary units and public buildings.

Among the other practices of a green social democracy are likely to be found the following:

  • Initiation of activity in the fields of science, culture and communication by any individual or group with the interest in doing so, enabled in part by the social dividend that would be provided to every person in a green social democracy and facilitated by the increasing availability of the other resources needed (such as specialized structures, instruments and materials);
  • The extension to all teachers of the common practice at colleges and universities of expecting their teachers to spend part of their work-time making contributions to science, information or culture, in which case past and concurrent contributions to one of these areas might become a normal expectation for employment as a teacher at any level;
  • Additional public funding for science, information and culture allocated democratically in a decentralized manner, possibly by worker's councils or local assemblies, perhaps based on consideration of portfolios submitted by those seeking support;
  • All information about products and services generated by research conducted by persons and groups that are independent from the providers of the goods and services being evaluated; and
  • All research made public in a manner accessible to all.

Welcome!

This website was launched September 1, 2010 in support of a green social democratic alternative to neoliberal capitalist policy and practice. The primary result is a work by Charles and Karen McFadden of seven chapters, grouped under the title, Towards a Green Social Democratic Alternative to Capitalism available here in pdf and html formats.

Below under the heading What’s New can be found the most recent materials posted on this website, including opinion pieces, book reviews, articles and selections from the 2017 edition of the main work.  For the interest of new and returning visitors, new materials will be included quarterly.

What's New

NEW & REVISED

Authors' Preface

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

6.0 The socialism we need against the "socialism" of the 20th century

6.8 Additional concerns about 20th century variants of "socialism"

6.9 The people united!

7.1 Policy alternatives and political movements to advance them

OPINION

Charles and Karen McFadden, Is revolutionary transformation on the agenda

Charles and Karen McFaddenHumanity on the Brink

Charles and Karen McFaddenMovements of Resistance to Movements for System Change

Charles McFaddenTranslating Green Principles into Education Policy and Practice

Charles and Karen McFadden, The Role of Revolutionaries in the Labor Movement

REVIEWS

Charles McFadden, The People United for a More Just Sustainable Future

Karen and Charles McFaddenCan emergent early 21st century neo-fascism be defeated without coming to grips with late 20th century restructuring of capitalism into a global system

Karen and Charles McFaddenA Dominant Capitalism or a Sustainable Environment? Why we can't have both.

US CORNER

William I. RobinsonThe Crisis of Global Capitalism and Trump's March to War

William I. RobinsonTrumpism, 21st Century Fascism, and the Dictatorship of the Transnational Capitalist Class

CANADA CORNER

George HewisonWINNIPEG 1919 & THE COLD WAR

George HewisonArt Manuel - "Unsettling Canada

George HewisonThe NDP and LEAP

RECOMMENDED

Albert Einstein, David Swanson, Jill Stein, Chris Hedges, William I. Robinson, and others Selected articles for Winter 2018

FEATURED WORK

ECONOMICS

1.7 The dynamics of capitalism as a system and the limits of single issue reforms

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

3.1 The challenge of a moribund economic system

3.7 Public banking: A cornerstone of a green social democracy

4.7 Economics and culture

6.5 Using the non-market economy as an opportunity to begin moving beyond capitalism

HISTORY

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

2.0 Theoretical Perspective: Defining Green Social Democracy

2.5. Socialism and green social democracy in historical materialist theory

4.3 Culture in historical perspective

5.1 Contrasting a green social democratic world with the currently prevailing, but challenged neo-liberal one

6.2 Socialism and capitalism as coexisting social systems

LABOR

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

5.7 Defeating neo-liberal capitalism: The role of social movements

7.3 Justice: Creating a just society, based on the right of all to a dignified, secure existence

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies to all work posted on this website except that which appears with authors whose last name is other than McFadden, in which case standard copyright should be assumed to apply.