Announcing an Innovative, Comprehensive Social Advancement Agenda that Can End Our Dark Times

Los Angeles police ignore tent residents “stopped” for months under the “NO STOPPING ANY TIME” signs because the homeless shelters and jails are full.

The threats are real. If current trends continue, our nation will descend into a dystopia or disintegrate.

My books, The New Enlightenment and Amazon as Metaphor provide urgently needed detailed agendas to reverse our social decline trends and radically improve most people’s lives.

But no one person can detail fundamental advancements in our economic and political systems perfectly. Public feedback will likely result in improvements. Please consider my proposals for your support or suggest improvements. Thank you.

These Are Dark Times.
Now, a Path to the Light is Clear.

What Are People Saying About The New Enlightenment?

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ROBERT POLLIN, Ph.D., Economist, One of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers.”  Read more.

JAMES B. STEWART, Ph.D., Economist, National Economic Association Former President.  Read more.

More comments on The New Enlightenment on “Endorsements” page.

 I hope my books attract you to be part of a mass movement in the direction they define. In all cases when a nonviolent 3.5% of a country’s population actively demanded major social change they succeeded.

Robert Bivona

Signs of Dark Times

Many Polls Show a Widespread Desire for Fundamental Social Advancements

43% of men under the age of 50 express “Total approval for participating in a political revolution even if it is violent.”(Source)
Voters rate political corruption as America's biggest crisis. 87% say it is widespread in the federal government.(Source)
79% believe reducing economic inequality should be at least a high public policy priority; 42% percent think it should be a top policy priority.(Source)
70% “would be excited to vote for a 2020 presidential candidate who promises to reform the economic system.” (Source)
66% believe major structural changes are needed to our system of government.(Source)
70% say U.S. economic system unfairly favors the powerful.(Source)
Seven in ten Americans say the country is in crisis and is at risk of failing. (Source)

More Signs on Dark Times Page

The above polls’ majorities would be significantly larger if we had well-functioning mass media and educational institutions.

 And their desire for major social advancement would be much more urgent.

“The ruling class has the schools and press under its thumb. This enables it to sway the emotions of the masses, and make its tool of them.” (source)
                             Albert Einstein

The mass media does not report adequately on economic and political inequalities, their consequences, fundamental causes, and robust solutions. Read more.

Also biased in ways that benefit elites at the expense of the rest of us are our educational institutions. Read more.

Available 2023

Read the Introduction

The Ways to Prosperity for All and a Genuine Democracy

If you believe that our economic and political systems require fundamental advancements, you will find this website and my books interesting, and I hope much more—inspiring and useful. If you would be satisfied with minor economic and political system reforms, you will not be interested in my work.

If instituted, the political system advancements I detail will create a better-functioning democracy than has ever existed in a large society. A well-functioning democracy will enable us to institute the economic system advancements I detail that will eliminate poverty, create a large dominant middle class, and bring democracy into the workplace.

Our nation’s birth was an integral part of the Age of Enlightenment when aristocratic societies were made more egalitarian and democratic. A New Enlightenment era must now begin, this time to radically advance the conditions of all races and genders. Read more.

Enlightenment Philosopher Leaders of the 18th Century American Revolution Would Be 21st Century Revolutionaries

Some of the most significant injustices described in the Declaration of Independence to justify and motivate the Revolutionary War are like those we experience today. They must again motivate a revolutionary advancement.

“When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive, … then may that country boast of its Constitution.” Thomas Paine, Founding Father of the United States
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Extreme and Growing Economic and Political Inequalities Threaten Our Nation’s Survival

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Compared to our plutocrat’s wealth, the famously extravagant wealth of the “roaring twenties” plutocrats was little.

Click here to see the size and significance of the vastly larger wealth of modern-day plutocrats.

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Compared to our plutocrat’s income, the famously extravagant income of the “roaring twenties” plutocrats was little.

Click here to see the size and significance of the vastly larger income of modern-day plutocrats.

Views on Our Path into Darkness ↓

Technological Advancements Enabled Historically High Productivity

A well-functioning democracy would have ensured that our unprecedented productive capacity enabled everyone to meet their material needs easily. Instead, in the wealthiest nation in history, the U. S., 64% could not meet their basic needs if they miss one paycheck, and 38 million live in poverty.

Why every American needs to understand this graph’s significance. Read more

The graph’s “Productivity” line is a measure of the value an average worker produces per hour and “Hourly compensation” is for the typical nonsupervisory worker.

Productivity and Pay, 1948-2018

(Hover over line to get data point values) Data: Economic Policy Institute

As our political system's functioning declined, a small elite’s share of national income boomed

Upper corporate managers benefited massively from the profit boom created by the growing value generated by their employees. About 2/3 of our top 0.1% in income are top corporate managers.

Managers of large corporations are empowered to create extraordinary degrees of social harm. Reasons exist to be concerned about top managers’ power and character. Read more.

Average Income Ratio: Top 0.1%/Bottom 90% & Confidence in Congress

When stock prices rise, owners of stocks benefit.

Who owns stocks?

The public indeed owns public companies, but the top 1% own more than the rest of us combined and 16 times the amount 80% of Americans own.

73% of workers prefer to work for an employee-owned company rather than one owned by external shareholders. If most businesses were worker-owned and controlled, the wealth and income inequality reduction and other social benefits would be immense. See how we can accomplish this.

(I did not include a bar representing the .003% portion of public company value owned by the bottom 50% because you would not be able to see it.)

Percent Owned of “Public” Company Stock Market

A Small Elite Has Captured Massive Wealth Generated by Our Society

This graph displays U.S. wealth inequality. It’s extreme primarily because corporate ownership grotesquely favors a small elite. The 13,000 households in the top .01% have an average wealth of $608 million.

So you can see the $79,200 average wealth of households in the bottom 50%, I multiplied it by 500.

As a result of four centuries of systemic racism, Black families’ median wealth is about one-tenth that of white families. No progress has been made in reducing wealth inequalities between black and white households over the past 70 years. Read more.

Average Household Wealth by Wealth Percentile Groups, $Millions

The 2019 data graphed is from a Federal Reserve wealth survey. The vast inequality shown continued to boom. Based on Forbes data, U.S. billionaire wealth increased by $1.6 trillion, or 55%, from 3/18/20 to 7/9/21.

Click here for more graphs on the results of economic system dysfunction

Now Is The Time for a New Enlightenment

Extreme Inequalities Are Tearing
Our Social Fabric and
Harming Our Health

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One Way the Wealthy Captured Our Political System: Campaign Contributions

Democracies make real the preferences of the majority on social issues. Among the most significant of them is how the society’s systems divide what the society produces among its members both through tax and public expenditure systems and the fundamental character of economic systems. The extreme and growing inequality within nations worldwide indicates a widespread failure and continuing decline of democratic functioning—but in the developed world, the problem is particularly severe in the U.S.

Top 0.01%’s Share of All Campaign Spending with Their Share of All Income, 1980-2016

Democracy Lost

In the largest study of its kind, Princeton University researchers analyzed 2000 public policy outcomes over three decades.  From their report:

“… the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact on public policy…Policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans.”

The Capitol Building

Where We Have a Corporate Elite

Twisting Public Policy to the Right

After elections end, policymakers’ offices are overrun by high-paid lobbyists providing information and advocacy to serve corporate managers and major owners’ interests.

The pharmaceutical industry spent $4.7 billion on lobbying between 1998 and June 2021, more than any other industry.  As a result, tens of millions of adults cannot pay for needed drugs due to high drug prices that have contributed to the death of millions.   

Drugs are cheap to manufacture, and R & D costs far from account for the difference in average manufacturing and retail costs. Without patent’s promise of monopoly pricing power to incentivize drug R&D, my publicly funded system will accelerate the development of effective and safe medicines. The system has no net cost for the government due to a large decrease in Medicare and Medicaid drug expenditures, and it makes prescribed medicines available to patients at no cost. Read more. 

Money Spent on Lobbyists, $Billions

More Graphs on the Results of Political System Dysfunction

The Wealth of Nations

The Wealth of Nations, the title of the famous book authored by the “father of modern economics,” Adam Smith, the 18th-century Scottish philosopher, could be the title of the biography of some Americans. On February 11, 2022, Jeff Bezos had wealth greater than the nations Iceland, Iraq, Ukraine, Ecuador, Lithuania, Costa Rica, and Cyprus combined. Elon Musk had the combined wealth of the same nations plus that of Luxembourg.

No functioning democracy would allow systems to exist where a few individuals could take such a grotesque proportion of the wealth generated by collective action and social resources.

See Prosperity, Justice, and Inequality for the economic and moral justifications for a far more equitable distribution of income and wealth.

Economic and political inequality has grown independent of which party controls the congress or the presidency.

We need a new political party but not nearly as much as a new political system.

The New Enlightenment and Amazon as Metaphor detail the fundamental political system advancements we need.

Building Blocks at the Foundation of a Prosperous and Far More Just and Democratic Society:

Worker-owned and controlled businesses perform most economic activity.
Read more.
Election system eliminates private money’s influence, ensures outcome integrity, empowers non-major party candidates. Read more.

Average citizens in deliberative groups involving 0.1% of the citizenry develop some public policies. Read more.

A media system dominated by worker-owned and controlled media  enterprises with public support. Read more.

Lobbying system puts all citizens and corporations on a level, transparent playing field. Read more.

Public Sector enhancements for housing, college tuition, Social Security, public defense, broadband, misc. other. Read more.

New public institutions disperse benefits of internet commerce, support pharma R&D, resulting in free prescription drugs. Read more.

Widespread understanding of the moral and economic justifications for less inequality. Read more.

A much more progressive tax system, including a wealth tax. Read more.

Manuals for a Movement

Far more than offering details and new perspectives on our social ills, The New Enlightenment and Amazon as Metaphor are manuals for a movement to a fundamentally superior society. 

Free Review Books

Progressive political organizations or activists planning to form one, consider my public policy proposals for your advocacy. I will send you the books for no charge.

Only Systemic Advancements Can Solve Our Social Problems

If a detailed agenda for creating a fundamentally more just and better-functioning society is what you desire, you will find my books useful and inspiring.