03 The Welfare State


Without the heart, the person is never present

Carlos Casanova

As human beings we are born with different levels of evolution in terms of the three innate capacities we enjoy: thinking, feeling and acting, and while one of these may come to the fore, it is highly recommendable to foster through education the development of all three, along with a certain balance between them for an ideal life. I also think that we all set out with a very clear challenge which we must address, and which in many situations requires us to decide between what is moral and what is immoral, and which to a degree prevents us from viewing ourselves as free until we have conquered the first of these, given its supreme importance. This choice must be established through our feelings, since it is this capacity which allows us to generate, among other aspects, the required empathy with the individuals with whom we interact. It would nonetheless be fair to say that culture and the specific situation in question also heavily influence the final decision.

It would seem logical according to this perspective to believe that healthy collective and individual evolution would depend on the governing class and civil society firstly fostering through education and culture the balanced development of these potentials, and furthermore the complementarity of individuals in the political, legal, economic and social spheres.

The reality, however, is quite different. Historically, the capacity of FEELING, which is developed through aspects such as emotional intelligence, artistic capabilities or respect for human values, has been relegated to third place, and remains today unfinished business and an unknown dimension for many individuals, including much of the male sex. One need only if in doubt ask women about the difficulty men have in expressing their feelings.
There is today a clear imbalance between the intellectual and technological development we have seen and the far-reaching moral underdevelopment to which we are prey, making it important to remember that it is thanks to feminine feeling that new life is preserved, and this, together with masculine aspects, allows for well-being and development up to the point at which that new life becomes independent. Without this capacity, the human race would scarcely have survived so long.

The welfare state is to a degree the equivalent of this protection generated within the family context initially by the mother, but on a larger, social scale, requiring structural resources in order to generate prosperity, and also to address the problems which are faced daily by the most valuable aspect of any nation: its constituent people. It is therefore an essential element, and also a right demanding a quality response, since its existence is based on individual contributions. And in order for it to be fair, healthy and free of abuse, we should view as inevitable the existence of quality moral education for both individuals and government, allowing for a rigorous approach to the facts through thought, and tenderness towards people through feeling. This last aspect would suggest the existence of a healthy and indispensable emotional tie between governors and governed, as is typically found between mother and child.

Unfortunately, however, this country has for years now, irrespective of political orientation, been run by an economic, financial and political class (mostly male and neoliberal) which functions through class feelings, with certain honourable exceptions, leading to an immoral attitude towards others, undoubtedly because of an inappropriate or incomplete education in terms of feelings. And this ultimately leads them to govern in some cases through fear, hatred and lies, preventing the emotional ties required in order for the country to run smoothly, and creating a a society sick with vanity, greed and selfishness, as clearly seen in the current process of the dismantling of democracy and the welfare state, undermining the middle class. For details on the process I would recommend a reading of ” The Lugano Report II” by Susan George, and for economic figures in this regard, the report “The Scorecard on Development, 1960-2010: Closing the Gap? by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

And given that the current model is being dismantled with the excuse of the economic crisis, every indication is that it will disappear as being unviable and unsustainable unless there is some check on the plundering of the public coffers, or legislative action from Europe. If we add to this the poor quality education received by many, the future LOMCE Educational Reform Act and the numerous and simultaneous factors faced by many people, in other words pollution, job stress, unemployment, dysfunctional families, mass entertainment, aggressive marketing, biased information, the subtle figure of Lazarillo de Tormes and the dogma of survival generated by the scientific imposture of Darwin, it is clear that many will be unable to manage their own welfare in the future, just as they were unable some years ago, and that this will result in an increase in levels of social exclusion, hunger and disease. Unless the heart of those in power softens at some point and they decide to bring down the Gini index, which measures income inequality.

Nonetheless, despite all the above I do see an incipient and positive paradigm shift in certain spheres, such as psychoneuroimmunology in medicine, the “CO” concept in business, new and more aware generations, and the existence of many wonderful people capable of helping and achieving progress, using the economic crisis as a lever for social and professional change.

I lastly wish to point out that for the existence of a healthy society we must all give of our best unconditionally, and also be capable of taking on board the virtue of others while overlooking the negative; and that requires without delay a new form of education centred on development and personal leadership, and focused on a vital social renewal.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela

Carlos Casanova

Carlos Casanova

Architect and former MBA student at Barcelona School of Management

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