Tag Archives: world problems

The Thing About Taxes

I will preface this by saying I am not well-researched in the areas of politics, national financing, or whatever actually goes into this mess, in the United States or elsewhere.

But I think it might be worth mentioning my thoughts on a few things, based on personal experiences, and some things I’ve heard that just… don’t make a lot of sense.

Taxes aren’t inherently bad.

The word “tax” in itself has come to have largely negative connotations–if you’re being “taxed” by something, you’re being weighed down or put upon. We have classic examples of people, like the Sheriff of Nottingham from the Robin Hood stories, who abuse taxes.

In a truly ironic state of affairs, my dad is adamantly against any kind of raise in taxes, but he also works for the state of Minnesota, and part of our taxes are what pay his own wages.

But if taxes are being abused, for things like… oh, say, a giant wall, or a football stadium… then, yeah, I wholeheartedly understand the aversion.

I don’t think anyone is ever entirely sure what taxes are used for, but there’s obviously some mismanagement going on somewhere, and that’s the bad thing. Taxes themselves? They have some truly positive possibilities.

Let’s just, for the sake of imagination, pretend that a perfect world is possible. What should taxes, in a perfect world (and my opinion) be used for?

  • Protecting/conserving the environment
  • Researching and developing important new innovations in energy, transportation, and health (cure for cancer, anyone?)
  • Providing/maintaining a basic standard of health and well-being for everyone
  • Paying first responders, health professionals, and peace-keepers
  • Educating people well
  • Preserving culture by investing in arts, museums, libraries, archives, and community centers
  • Community improvements, like road construction, parks & rec, etc.
  • Providing some kind of safety net and/or rehabilitation programs for those who are  out of work and/or homeless. (This would include retirement, and being out of work due to an injury, veteran benefits, and other things of that nature, in addition to being in a bad situation for other reasons.)

Some people are really put out by the thought of providing for others. Which… I get, to some extent. At the moment, it’s hard to fathom providing for myself, let alone anyone else in the country–but that’s because a lot of things in “the system” are broken. They’re not being used the way they should.

If I had the peace of mind that came with guaranteed good health, the basic ability to learn the things I need to know without being in debt for the foreseeable future, and the reassurance that life as we know it wasn’t on its way to being toasted out of the Earth like a bad virus, I would happily give away a third or more of my income for the rest of my life.

In a perfect world, what would your taxes be used for?

What would you be willing to provide, to make your own life and the lives of others easier?

So…Can Technology Save the World?

Photo courtesy of Woot!

Global Connections and Technological Solutions

For the first time in the history of humanity, we have the tools to communicate across the globe and propose solutions to problems that have plagued humans since ancient times.

Global Issues Global Solutions
Climate Change Coordinated Environmental Policy
Malnutrition Global Food Logistics
Poverty Fair Trade Global Economy

Communication Enables Process

The Global Communication Newsletter is a publication of the IEEE Communication Society, a professional organization dedicated to the development of communication professionals and the propagation of communication networks worldwide. Despite their business interest in global communication, they are pushing forward with global designs for 5G speeds and multimedia-rich mobile networks. You can read more about their proposals and ideas in their newsletter. Outside of the United States, more people access the web though mobile devices than traditional computers, so a faster network with broader service areas and better multimedia support increases the ability for more human connections to be established than was ever possible in the past.

This enables processes to be developed for us to gauge environmental and human needs and respond accordingly. One sticking point that is addressed in the newsletter is the lopsided distribution of bandwidth in the radio frequency spectrum that constrains mobile networks while providing underutilized bandwidth to television networks. Solving this would grow global communication and responsiveness, and would allow the spread of knowledge and techniques that could save the planet and its citizens.

Earth-saving Technologies

Some of the new ‘ecotech’ that we could spread virally, via our nifty new 5G networks, come in the form of fusion energy (if it is ever perfected), needleless vaccines, and nanoparticles that leech pharmaceuticals from water supplies that are subject to pharmaceutical waste. Other agricultural advances could increase yields while reducing pesticide use.  An ecodesign website called inhabitat.com includes some awesome examples of the technologies on the horizon that could save the planet and its people. It also cites new developments in rapid communication as an enabling force for positive change.

For all of the negative energy that is directed at technology in some circles, it is easy to lose sight of the promise of technological advances in the areas of environmentally-friendly design and global communication. I, for one, choose to look at the promise of technology and do rest my hope in technology as the missing link in solving the 21st century problems that our global society faces.