Transcription of a video by O. Ressler,
recorded in Woods Hole, U.S.A., 37 min., 2003
My name is Michael Albert. I live in the United States.
I work with Z Magazine and ZNet, an online website.
I also happen to be a co-author and advocate, I guess
you might say, of an economic vision, called participatory
economics, or parecon for short. I am told this film
is about that kind of topic.
"What do you want?" is a question often asked
to activists. Parecon is a possible answer regarding
economics. It is an alternative to capitalism built
on a few key values and institutions.
The values are equity, solidarity, diversity and self-management.
Equity refers to how much we get from our work. And
the norm is that we should be remunerated for effort
and sacrifice, not for property or power. Solidarity
is the notion that people should be concerned about
one another and benefit in concert with one another
rather than be mutually opposed and trampling upon one
another. More solidarity is better than less. Diversity
is about the range of options we have. A wider range
of options is better than homogenizing and reducing
the range of options at our disposal. And self-management
has to do with how much control we have over our lives.
Self-management means that we have a say in the decisions
that affect us in proportion to the degree that we are
affected by them.
So for me developing an economic vision means trying
to figure out institutions to accomplish production,
consumption and allocation in ways that enlarge equity,
solidarity, diversity, and self management rather than
The institutions I come up with are workers' and consumers'
councils, balanced job complexes, remuneration for effort
and sacrifice, and participatory planning.
Workers and consumers councils are direct democratic
vehicles by which workers and consumers can develop,
organize, and manifest their preferences. Within these
we use self managed decision making methods to impact
how much is produced, what we consume, and so on.
The idea of balanced job complexes is to overcome the
division of labor that we are familiar with. Instead
of having all of the empowering tasks in a workplace
go to a few people and all of the disempowering and
rote tasks go to the rest, about 20 per cent in the
empowered group, and about 80 per cent in the subordinate
group, we divide up work tasks and responsibilities
so that all of us have comparably empowering work and
do a fair share of the rote and the tedious work as
well. As a result we don't have that division between
the 20 per cent who monopolize empowering tasks and
the 80 per cent who are left with rote and obedient
tasks, a class division, I think, where I would call
the former group the "coordinator class" and
the latter group the working class. We get rid of that
by having balanced job complexes wherein we all have
work that empowers us comparably.
In addition we have remuneration for effort and sacrifice,
this to determine peoples incomes. We get income for
how long we work, for how hard we work, and also for
how onerous the work is that we do.
Finally there is also the problem of how do we allocate
in the economy.
How does it get decided how much is produced? By whom?
Where? Where do the inputs go? How does the economy
settle on its outcomes?
The typical procedure now in the United States is called
markets, the procedure that used to exist in the Soviet
Union not too long ago was called central planning.
Participatory economics rejects both markets and central
planning and proposes instead participatory planning.
And, indeed, the key elements of participatory economics
as a whole are workers' and consumers' councils, self-managed
decision-making, remuneration for effort and sacrifice,
balanced job complexes and "participatory planning."
The resulting system is an alternative to both capitalism
and what has gone under the name socialism in the past,
but has really been an economy which puts that group
which has a monopoly on empowering work, the coordinator
class, in charge.
Now let's take it all in a bit more detail.
In any economy at any time people do their economic
activities, their work. That work in turn produces an
output, the social product, which we can think of, for
simplicity, as a giant pie. So the question becomes,
how much should each of us get? What share should we
get of that product? How big a piece of the pie, so
to speak? And that is remuneration. By what norms should
it be determined how much I get back for the labor that
I do in the economy?
In some economies one of the norms is that you should
be remunerated for the property you own, which is to
say for the product that results from that property,
which is called profit. I reject that idea. I do not
think it should be the case that because Bill Gates
has a deed in his pocket to Microsoft, he is worth more
than the population of Guatemala, or probably almost
as much as the population of Norway. That for me doesn't
make any sense. It is not economically warranted and
it leads to all sorts of injustices and horrors, so
I reject it.
Another notion, which is shared by the Harvard Business
School and most criminals, is that we should be remunerated
what we can take. It is a sort of thuggish approach
to economic allocation. We bargain and use our power
to try to take more. So this norm is that we should
be remunerated for our power. And I obviously do not
agree with Al Capone or the Harvard Business School
that this is either economically or morally wise, I
And the third norm some folks offer is that you should
get back an equivalent to the output that your labor
generates. This norm seems more desirable. If I do some
work and my work increases the size of the social product
by a certain amount, shouldn't I get back that much?
After all, if I get more than that much I will have
taken the product that someone else generated. And if
I take less than that much, I will have taken less than
I put in. Is that fair?
Of course, if you do believe in this norm, then you
think, that for instance Michael Jordan - when the Chicago
Bulls were winning the NBA championship every year -
should be remunerated each year millions upon millions
of dollars for the labor he was doing, running up and
down the court. Why? Because it was valued that tremendous
amount by society. Society wanted to watch. They got
pleasure out of it, enjoyed it. Whether one thinks that
is sensible, as I do, I happen to enjoy it, or whether
one thinks it is not sensible, is irrelevant. In fact,
people enjoyed it, people valued what Michael Jordan
Do we think, however, that people like Michael Jordan
should be remunerated for being lucky, so to speak,
in the genetic lottery?
Michael Jordan was born with certain capacities, I don't
have them. I could train from now on to the year 4042,
and I would not be able to play basketball in the way
that Michael Jordan plays, nor would I be able to compose
like Mozart did, and so on and so forth. Jordan and
Mozart were born lucky with certain talents that other
people admire and can enjoy and benefit from. But what
this remuneration norm then does is to flood him with
money. I don't agree with that. I don't see why he should
be remunerated for luck in the genetic lottery.
I also don't think a person should be remunerated more
because he or she has better tools. If I go out in the
field and cut sugarcane, and somebody else goes out
and cuts sugarcane, and I have a better knife, should
I get more? If I have all sorts of better tools, should
I get more? If I am bigger and physically stronger,
and because of that, even though I work the same length
and intensity as others, cut more, should I get more?
The norm that participatory economics comes up with
for remuneration is that we should be remunerated for
the effort that we expend and the sacrifice that we
endure in our work. If our work is more onerous, we
should get more. If we work harder, we should get more.
If we work longer, we should get more. We have to do
socially responsible work, but we should not get more
by virtue of having some additional talent or better
equipment or for working with other more productive
folks and so on.
Moving on to decisions, you might imagine interviewing
a philosopher about how decisions should be made, and
the interview goes on for four weeks or something, and
is also incomprehensible but I don't think it is that
complicated an issue.
Considering the economy, suppose I work in a workplace,
and I have a kind of space I work in, and I want to
put a picture of the person I live with on my desk.
Who should make this decision? If I ask anybody about
this, they would say, well, you should make it. If I
then ask if I should make the decision by myself, like
a dictator, so nobody else has any say, they will think
for a minute and say "yes". It say "Like
Stalin?", they'll say, "yes, for that decision,
to put the picture on your desk, yes, you can make that
decision alone, as a dictator."
And I then say instead, suppose I have a boom box,
as it is called in the United States, a kind of a portable
music-player, that I want to put on my desk and play
loud heavy metal music. Who makes that decision? Is
it again me, like a dictator? And the person will then
reply: "No, you should not be able to make that
decision, like a dictator, like Stalin." And I
say: "Who else has to be involved?" And they
will say, "the people who will hear the music.
The people in the neighboring area." And I say:
"What about the person who is two blocks away,
who will not hear it?" - "No." "What
about the person who is next doors?" - "Yes."
And it seems to me that what we have done is to demonstrate
a norm. Implicitly we all understand that people should
have a say in decisions in proportion to the degree
they are affected by them. That's a sort of idea to
strive for, that accomplishes what democracy really
ought to mean - which is self-management. It isn't the
case that we all should have one vote, and that it should
be 50 per cent plus one needed to decide whether I can
put a picture of my spouse on my desk. That's ridiculous,
it shouldn't be consensus. It shouldn't be anyone but
me deciding. But when it comes to loud music on my desk
then the people who are affected have to have a say.
And they have to have a say in proportion to the degree
that they are affected, which means, they can easily
overrule me, which is as it should be. So how do you
accomplish this norm of self management? There is no
single way. Some decisions would be one person, one
vote, 50 percent plus one decides. Some decisions might
need three quarters. Some decisions would be consensus.
Some decisions would be literally dictatorial. Some
decisions would be taken by a small group in context
of a larger framework that has been set by a bigger
group. Some would be taken by the bigger group as a
whole. There are many different situations and the methods
we opt for are all just that, methods or tactics for
attaining the real goal. The real goal is self-management.
The real goal isn't consensus, it isn't 50 per cent,
it isn't any algorithm of that sort, it isn't any method
of any one time, it is self-management.
The old decision-making mechanisms in Yugoslavia were
very far from what I am talking about, for important
reasons that have to do with the institutions. It is
very possibly the case, and let us assume that it is
true, that when the Yugoslav economy was established
with markets people wanted self-management. People wanted
the workers in the workplaces to control the workplaces.
If you actually look at the old Soviet constitution
you find the same thing. The workers in the Soviet workplace
were supposed to be the final court of appeal, the power
over decisions in a workplace. Of course they weren't.
The central planners were. In Yugoslavia the market
system that they had for doing allocation created a
dynamic which yielded the division of labor in the Yugoslav
workplace. It created a situation in which there were
managers and engineers, and there were other actors
who had a monopoly on the daily decision-making positions
and on the tasks that empower you, that give you knowledge,
confidence and skills requisite to making decisions
and developing agendas. And then there were about 80
per cent of the population of Yugoslav workplaces who
had rote and tedious work all day long. And those people
you could say had a kind of formal power due to the
constitution, but they did not have any actual power.
When it actually came time for the workers' council
in Yugoslavia to meet and make decisions, the 20 per
cent who had all the knowledge and all the confidence
and all the requisite skills totally dominated. To achieve
real self management and real classlessness, that has
to be undone and so the task of creating self-management
has to be accomplished structurally by institutions
which make it viable. And the key structural institution
is balanced job complexes and the mode of allocation.
First let's figure out what this balanced job complex
notion is: In any given workplace there are lots and
lots of things to be done, all kinds of tasks. So the
typical way of dividing up the work now, is to say:
Let's look at all those tasks and let's create jobs.
A job is a combination of tasks. A job is a set of responsibilities
and tasks that we have. The way that we combine tasks
now is that we create a kind of a hierarchy: here is
a job, here is a job, here is a job - up and down this
hierarchy. And what characterizes the top of the hierarchy
is that the task the person is doing is very empowering.
The task that the person does not only requires skills
and knowledge, but conveys skills and knowledge. They
convey confidence and they give day to day control over
phenomena in the workplace. And as you go down this
hierarchy it is very rote and obedient. And the people
are being robbed of their skills and talents by the
onerous and obedient labor they do which does not call
for skills and talents associated with making decisions.
So in this context the bottom group is ruled by the
top group and that is the class division that I would
call "coordinator class" and working class.
If we get rid of that, if we have balanced job complexes,
if we take the workplace and divide up the tasks in
the workplace, so that you have a job and I have a job,
and they are different, because we have different inclinations
and so on, but your job has comparable empowering effects
for you as my job has for me, and likewise for everybody
else, it means, when we sit in our workers' councils
or in our work team, and we are worried about what should
be done, what should the agenda be, what should the
decision be, we are all capable and participating. No
one is capable of dominating the rest, because we all
have comparable work. We have different work, but it
is comparable with regard to empowering effects.
Some people's reaction to the idea of balanced job
complexes is: Well, it sounds nice, that we should have
our fair share of empowering work and have our fair
share of fulfilling work, and nobody should do more
onerous and more boring work. But isn't there a serious
problem? Doesn't it mean, says the person who is wondering
about the desirability of this idea, people who are
highly productive are wasting some of their time?
Suppose we have this person who is... Mozart. And we
say to Mozart, not only can you compose as part of your
job complex, but now in addition to composing you have
to do this other stuff like cleaning up, so that your
job complex is balanced. Well, every second that Mozart
is not composing is a great loss for not just a few
people, but for all of humanity. So doesn't it make
sense to ask Mozart to only compose? But the reply to
that, even for Mozart, I think, is, if we organize society
so that job complexes with about 20 percent monopolizing
empowering work, what we will get is some number of
exquisite composers, "X" at any given time.
"X" is a big number, 1.000, or 10.000, whatever
it might be in a given country. But if we organize society
in a different fashion, if we have balanced job complexes,
how many people will be doing excellent composing? It
used to be the case that 80 per cent of society had
their skills and talents squashed out of them by their
socialization, upbringing, and schooling. With balanced
job complexes that is all gone. Schooling, socialization,
and everything else is oriented to have us be the fullest
people we can be, the most capable and productive people
we can be. We don't have to have our capacities trampled
in order to fit slots where there is no capacity needed.
That is no longer a part of a participatory economy.
So the first answer is, in a parecon we will have more
Mozarts or composers at a lesser level. We will discover
more people who have these talents. Additionally in
an economy which is organized as ours is now, most creative
talent of course goes to selling things. It doesn't
go to producing works of art that people enjoy, it goes
to producing manipulative images or words that try to
get people to do things that they wouldn't otherwise
have done, as in advertising or other means of manipulation.
That is where most artistic talent goes. So that is
the first issue. In the parecon each talented person
spends some time not using their talents, but more talents
are revealed and used in total, and they are put to
more desirable ends.
But let's take a different person, let's take a surgeon.
So we have a surgeon now, with our current corporate
division of labor, who is doing surgery. And this critic
of balanced job complexes says, "Well, wait a minute.
You are saying that in a participatory economy the person
who would have been doing brain surgery in capitalism
would have to spend some time cleaning bed pans and
other things in his balanced job complex." - I
reply "Yes, that is right." And they say,
"how can that possibly make any sense? All this
training is embodied in this person, all the skills
to do the surgery. How can it make any sense for such
a person to spend any time cleaning bed pans which doesn't
utilize any of that training?"
Well, there are a few answers. The first answer is
that in capitalism surgeons don't do surgery 40 hours
a week. That's not the case, they spend a lot of time
playing golf, and they spend a lot of other time manipulating
and maintaining hierarchies of power in the workplace.
But let's say they did spend 40 hours a week, or 50
or 60 hours a week literally doing only brain surgery.
Let's give them their assumptions, a world, that doesn't
exist, and still let's see what happens.
Is it the case then that if we have that surgeon not
do 40 hours a week of surgery, but 20 hours a week of
surgery and 20 hours a week of other stuff that makes
it a balanced job complex, it is a loss? Yes, we have
lost 20 hours of surgery from that surgeon. What have
we gained, other than the 20 hours of less valuable
output? We have gained an equitable workplace and an
elimination of class distinction. So what we have gained
is that 80 per cent of the population is now a pool
from which there will emerge a tremendous amount of
surgical capacity and talent. This capacity will more
than offset the individual loss for existing surgeons.
To see how this works consider that in the United States
the American Medical Association is an institution of
doctors including surgeons. It exists not to further
health care, but to defend the relative advantages and
power of doctors. And it does that largely by preventing
others from accruing the talents and the skills to do
medical work. So it prevents nurses from doing more
then a limited amount which leaves them with limited
bargaining power, which leaves doctors accruing more
health care wealth. So the answer to the question is,
what we gain when we switch to balanced job complexes
is not only equity, diversity and solidarity, and not
only the elimination of diverse ill effects of class
division, but even regarding productivity we gain the
productive potentials and capabilities of those 80 per
cent who are in a class divided economy stamped down.
Beyond remuneration and division of labor, any economy
has to deal with allocation. This is the more complicated
part of economics. The rest is only difficult in so
far as it is very different from what we are familiar
with. But it is not complicated. Allocation can get
a little complicated. Each firm has to take stuff in,
inputs, with which it produces outputs. How does it
get determined how much the firm takes in, how much
the firm puts out? How does it get determined what I
am going to consume? What of all the various possibilities
are going to be the ones I am going to consume and how
much? How are the relative values of different items
that are made available determined? Why is a chair worth
14 shirts, as compared to 12 shirts? What is it that
determines these things? The answer is the allocation
The two most typical allocation systems employed in
economies are markets and central planning. With markets
buyers and sellers compete with one another. They try
to get ahead and when the buyer gets ahead the seller
looses, and when the seller gets ahead, the buyer looses.
It is a competitive dynamic. Central planning is a dynamic
in which there is an apparatus of central planners which
decides the relative inputs and outputs of all the units.
In the market system it is the competitive dynamic between
the buyers and sellers that slowly arrives at the inputs
and outputs. In central planning, it is authoritative
decree from above. Participatory economics, however,
has a different kind of allocation system called "participatory
planning." It is a little hard to describe quickly,
but the essence of the idea isn't that complicated.
Workers in their workers' councils including individuals
and also groups, teams, and industries, and also consumers
in their consumer councils including individual consumers
and groups of consumers, have to arrive at economic
decisions. There are groups on the consumer side as
well as the producer side because a lot of consumption
is done collectively. For instance a park is collectively
consumed, the roads, the air, whether there is pollution
or not. Many things are collective consumption goods
that effect groups.
There has to be some sort of communication between
consumers organized in their councils and workers in
theirs. The communication of central planning takes
this form: a central planner sends down instructions,
they all send back whether they can fulfill them. The
planner sends down instructions, they send back obedience.
It is an authoritarian system. In a market system what
happens is the communication is basically each actor
proposing what they wish to do, competing in an effort
to extract as much as they can. The owner tries to extract
as much profit as possible, the employees try to get
as high wages as possible, the buyers should try to
buy as much as they can for as little as possible the
sellers to sell at the highest possible price, and so
on. In "participatory planning," in contrast,
what happens is, the consumers propose what they wish
to do, the workers propose what they wish to do. Because
of the institutional framework each is in position to
judge and to see and to understand the proposals of
the others. There is a second round where each alter
their proposals in the light of the feedback they have
gotten from the whole economy. And there is a third
round and a forth round. What you have is a conscious
cooperative effort to determine what inputs and outputs
will be. It is a cooperative negotiated planning among
all these actors.
If you work in a capitalist firm you have an interest
in selling as much as possible, to increase revenue
as much as possible. You may get a little piece of it
as a worker, because the owner has an interest in paying
wages in order to profit as much as possible. So if
we sell books, and you can get people to use the book
as a doorstop instead of reading it, that is fine, who
cares. It is the bestsellers list, it is not the most
valuable books list, we want to get on. If we can do
ads to get people to buy the book subliminally trying
to improve their sex live, and the book is actually
about how to go fishing, no problem. It is the same
with clothes, same with anything else. That doesn't
make any moral or social sense. It shouldn't be the
case in an economy that you want to produce and distribute
something which is not meeting needs. It ought to be
the case that you only want to produce more if it fulfills
people and that you do not want to spend your time doing
work if it is not going to fulfill people, or even worse,
if it is going to make people miserable. So you want
an economic system in which the true social costs and
benefits have to be accounted for. You need to decide
what to produce in light of how the products will help
and fulfill people, and what will the costs be in using
up resources or maybe pollution, or other adverse effects?
"Participatory planning" is a system, which
- I claim - accounts for true social costs and benefits,
and lets the actors - workers and consumers - influence
decisions in proportion to the degree they are affected.
So the final result that you get, such as factory x
produces so many books, so many bicycles, so many shirts,
whatever it may be, and Michael consumes so many shirts,
so many this, so many that, and so much other stuff,
and works so much at a balanced job complex, occurs
so that the sum total result is in accord with peoples
desires and tastes and preferences and respects effects
on the environment, effects on social groups and so
on. This is what I think, "participatory planning"
achieves via its negotiated cooperative, exchange of
information and preferences between councils.
What happens if there is a participatory economy in
one country and a capitalist economy in another country?
Well, it depends. If there is a participatory economy
in a relatively small country and the capitalist economy
is in the United States, the United States will seek
to squash it, because of what is called the threat of
a good example. The United States would want to prevent
it from showing the world that it is possible to organize
an economy in a way that is humane, that is beneficial,
that meets needs and develops potentials and supports
values that people aspire to. The U.S. would not want
that set of possibilities to become known and advocated.
If a movement begins to get close to creating a participatory
economy in say Brazil, in Argentina, or in any of a
couple of hundred other countries in the world, there
will be tremendous international pressure to resist
and turn back that process, largely from the United
States, Europe, and so on. Even if such a movement would
grow in France or in Italy, and if it wasn't happening
simultaneously elsewhere, there would again be tremendous
international pressure from the United States. That
is what empire is all about. The possibility of preventing
this pressure from having adverse effect rests with
the population of the United States, or Germany, Europe
and so on. Movements there have to protect the movements
elsewhere from being crushed by us.
Participatory economics is not going to be won in the
United States or in Cuba or in South Africa or where
ever else next week, next month, or even next year.
It is going to take time. So the question is, what difference
does it make to have this vision in your heads for the
I think it makes a lot of difference.
People ask activists all the time, what are you for?
I think, they ask that for a very real reason. If you
told me I should join a movement against gravity and
I said back to you, "you are crazy, go, get a life."
You would understand me. Likewise, if I gave a moving
speech about how gravity limits us, or how aging kills
us, and then I said, "join me in a movement against
gravity," or "join me in a movement against
aging," and people laughed at me and said, "go
get a life, grow up, face facts," I would have
to admit that they were right. But that is what people
say to us when we say, "come, join us in a movement
against exploitation," "come join us in a
movement against poverty," "come join us in
a movement against war," "come join us in
a movement against racism." Many say, "grow
up, face facts." They don't say, there is no war,
they don't say, there is no poverty. Everybody knows
there is war and poverty. Just like everybody knows
there is aging and gravity. Everybody knows that they
ravage us. Just like they know aging ravages us. But
they don't join the movement against injustice just
like they wouldn't join a movement against aging. And
I think a large part of the reason why they don't join
the movement against injustice is, continuing the comparison,
because they feel it is like gravity or like aging,
in that injustice too is inevitable. There is no alternative.
There is no way that we could live on a planet that
would not yield poverty and racism and all the rest
of it. Their view is not that racism or war or inequality
is good - or that it doesn't exist. Their view is "This
is just the way it is. So grow up, take into account
the reality that we confront".
I think vision is critically important to help undo
Margaret Thatcher said TINA - there is no alternative.
And it isn't enough to reply back, yes, there is an
alternative. That is not enough. That is not convincing.
It may convince me, it may convince you, but it is not
going to convince a 150 million people, or 3 billion
people. People need more than just an assertion. If
I assert social movements can end aging, come join me,
you don't buy it. You think it is ridiculous. If I say
social movements can end war and poverty, most people
don't buy it. They think it is ridiculous. So we need
compelling vision, which huge numbers of people can
in time posses, which gives people hope, which gives
people the feeling that something better really is possible.
If I work hard and have very little leisure time and
somebody comes along and says, come join my movement.
Come spend what little time you have or at least a significant
portion of it struggling in the movement - it is true
- it is a struggle, it involves risk, come do that.
But why should I do that, I will reply, when what you
are asking me to fight for seems highly unlikely to
be won, and if it is won, to make very little difference,
because it will just be rolled back? Why should I join
your movement given that I already understand what your
movement has been telling me for thirty years, that
capitalism is powerful, that capitalism exudes pressures
which control and contours everything. So if you win
a little higher wages, capitalism rolls it back. If
you win better conditions, capitalism rolls it back.
If you win more democracy, capitalism rolls it back,
and so on. If I feel that way about the way the system
works - which is the way you tell me to feel about it
- why should I give my very scarce time to your hopeless
Some people go out to inspire people and say to fight
the good fight. In the United States this is an expression
on the left, fight the good fight. It is sort of like,
go fight Mike Tyson and get your head whipped. Fight
the good fight! You are going to loose, but it is the
right thing to do. Most people don't want to fight the
good fight just for the hell of doing it. They care
for their families. They don't want to sacrifice their
families by giving up some of their time in order to
fight the good fight and get smashed. So part of the
reason why we need vision is to communicate that it
isn't just a good fight, but a fight for something real.
And we need strategy too. We need to be able to convey
a picture of how people's participation would yield
immediate benefits that last and that accrue into a
whole new world. So that is part of the reason for vision.
It is largely an emotional or psychological reason.
Another reason why we need vision is to orient what
we are doing. It is very possible to seek a new world
and wind up with something that you did not want. It
has happened over and over again. So one of the reasons
is that you need to know what it is that you actually
desire to achieve. It is so that the process and the
struggle and the strategy that you engage in take you
to your preferred destination instead of taking you
to some new land of horrors. If you have participatory
economics as a goal, for example, it has implications
for how you should organize and develop movements. It
has implications regarding the internal division of
labor in our movements, that we should incorporate balanced
job complexes. Our activism should lead into the economy
that we want. We should not be replicating the hierarchies
that exist now, we should not have norms of remuneration
the way it is in society now, but we should view it
according to our new norms, that we appreciate, that
we learn from, that lead toward what we want.
We should be able to offer with respect to international
relations, demands about the IMF, the World Bank, and
so on and so forth that aren't just good in the sense
of benefiting people, but that also lead toward what
we want. And I think, vision can, in other words, provide
motivation, provide hope, provide commitment, and it
can also guide. It can let us know, where we want to
go, what we should be doing to get there.
Not having vision is as if you went to the airport
and you knew only that you wanted to leave. But you
didn't know where you wanted to wind up. So you say:
Give me a ticket, and you throw money around, and somebody
gives you a ticket, and you get on the plane. You very
likely wind up some place worse than where you started
and certainly not at your preferred destination. That
is not smart. To take a trip, you should know not only
that you want to leave where you are, but also where
you want go, at least in its broad contours, lest you
make horrible mistakes in your travels. The same holds
for social destinations.