The Universal Energy and American Alliance Party frameworks are designed to address core human problems that have persisted for millennia. Their intent is to give us a platform to build a world that is spared of these afflictions, one brighter, better and stronger than the world we live in today. This world is something we need, it is something we deserve, yet it is a world that requires vigilance and the right social mindset to maintain – things we currently lack.
We lack these things because the afflictions of our present world have deprived us of them, leading our society to stagnate and weaken. This is something that must change, and through the improvements and advancements we've discussed, this is something we can change, but we must actively seek that change through our actions and our choices. It needs to be an active choice to care about our world, to care about our society and to care about each other – because nobody else will if we do not.
To this end, the final framework of this writing details how we can focus on improving our social fabric so that we can operate more fluidly, healthily and harmoniously as a people. This framework is called the Seven-Pillared Society, and like the Alliance Party and Universal Energy before it, it is a model that is purpose-engineered to provide a specific function.
That function is to objectively identify the most important aspects of our society and provide a roadmap towards how they can be cultivated for collective social benefit. This model is based on the belief that a healthy society stands on seven dedicated pairs of social components that each play a critical role alongside each other to ensure social health and encourage social progress. These pillars include:
Energy and Resources
Health and Wellness
Economy and Infrastructure
Education and Information
Leadership and Justice
Security and Liberty
Innovation and Advancement
As pairs of related components, they are referred to as pillars for they very much act as supports of a structure; in this case, a social structure. And like the structure of a building, when all pillars are strong, society is strong. Yet when the pillars weaken, the structure weakens and thus so does society.
At the core of the model is energy and resources, the fundamental components for society to exist. But our society is more than just existence, as there are other areas that must be sustained as well – and each depends equally on the others to do so.
The ability to make money means little if one is not healthy. A society cannot have an economy without infrastructure, nor can it have infrastructure without an economy. A society can have neither without education or innovation, nor can it have legitimate leadership without justice, nor justice without liberty – and none without security. Every component of these seven pillars owes its existence to another, with each one both providing for and subsisting from the others as a self-reinforcing phalanx.
This phalanx provides the basis for our society to thrive, and because of the importance of the components that comprise it, they must be considered priorities and command an appropriate degree of social attention.
Above all else, it is these things that are important. Not anecdote-driven ideology, debates over “big” versus “small” government, or social engineering through cultural or faith-driven morality. These things. These pillars are what make it possible to be a strong society, and also a happy society, an educated society, a healthy society, an advanced society and a society that maintains the drive and the will to continually better itself for the sole reason of doing so. Not just as a whole, but for all of us as individuals, as society is the manifestation of our collective selves and is thus only as strong as our measured strength combined.
Yet today, these components are not approached with the right mindsets, and more often, they are neglected, mismanaged, or held falsely sacrosanct to the point that they become immune from improvement. In the same vein as shifting our focus toward better models for energy and resource production, politics and government, this framework will do the same for our society, going through each pillar in the order listed previously.
Energy and Resources
Energy and resources are the single most important components for a society to exist, and thus their provision is the core of this framework. This pillar is provided through Universal Energy and its subsystems, allowing us to synthesize society’s five most crucial resources to indefinite extents. Once implemented, it is the singular solution on which all other solutions stand upon and remains our primary mechanism to build a better world. The nature, function and benefits of Universal Energy and its subsystems were discussed extensively in Part I of this writing, and for sake of brevity we will not paraphrase them here.
Health and Wellness
Our productivity and happiness as a society is directly proportional to how healthy were are as individuals. We are happiest, most active and most productive when we are healthy and mentally whole, and we require far less resources to be devoted to our medical care. Yet as we become less healthy and mentally unwell, our happiness, energy and productivity dwindles in a self-perpetuating downward cycle.
The end result are afflictions like obesity, depression, heart disease, diabetes, and hosts of other health ailments that cause healthcare costs to skyrocket, costs that are ultimately paid by society as a whole. As American healthcare costs are roughly double what the rest of the developed world pays, as discussed, the Alliance Party intends to establish a single-payer healthcare framework that replaces today’s private insurance system for basic medical care.
But healthcare expenses are only just one component of the total cost we pay for a less healthy society. The reality of the damage cuts deeper, as there’s a huge opportunity cost to having millions of people operating below their potential as individuals, and it contributes to widespread feelings of apathy and despondence on a large scale. Few people are able to live happy lives if they are in ill-health or obese, and combined with the despondence that health afflictions bring, it leads to greater social disenfranchisement.
We all benefit from having a fitness and wellness mindset, and promoting that as a society needs to exist beyond platitudes and lip service during a politician’s photo-op. Beyond a single-payer healthcare framework, we have multiple opportunities to improve our approach to public health. Some of the best include:
Investment in public recreation and fitness centers. Society sees great benefit from public gyms and workout facilities, climbing walls and parks, yet outside of facilities built by private industry society has not devoted significant attention to these areas as of late.
It’s counterproductive that we’d expect someone to spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars a year on a gym membership to stay healthy, as it doesn’t take many resources to build more of these facilities. And subsidizing access to them makes sense since it saves us money in reduced healthcare spending over the long-term.
Considering the improved construction methods described in Advanced Infrastructure, we can build these facilities bigger, better and less expensively with Universal Energy, thus allowing more of them to be offered to society at large. In the context of the Alliance Party’s proposed handling of fines and asset seizures, public recreation centers and parks would be excellent uses for that revenue.
Tax unhealthy food to subsidize healthy food. Food costs money, and healthy food is rarely cheap. In fact, healthy food costs considerably more than unhealthy food which forces people, especially those with lower incomes, to subsist on junk and suffer the health consequences that accompany it.
To put things in perspective, a pound of organic grass-fed ground beef costs around $8 in my neighborhood store and a gallon of organic milk can cost as high as $7. Yet I can buy a 2-liter bottle of soda for $99 cents and walk down the street to McDonalds and pay $1 for a cheeseburger. If you get paid $8.50 an hour and have a family of four to feed, which option do you think you’re going to choose? Exactly.
For the record: an estimated 1 in 3 Americans are obese, leading to the risk of chronic, if not critical, health problems. Type-II diabetes, the kind you get from unhealthy lifestyles, currently afflicts 29 million Americans, costing an estimated $245 billion per year across all social externalities. That’s largely in addition to the hundreds of billions billed to Medicare and disability insurance for other health issues that prevent Americans from working, coming to a total cost of trillions of dollars over time.
With this in mind, I don’t think it’s asking much that we use subsidies to make healthy food more affordable and tack on a little extra for unhealthy foods to offset the cost of any social afflictions they cause. Naturally, if done in today’s political environment some junk food trade group would pour money into a politician’s lap so they would make enraged speeches about how this was an “assault on freedom,” white-knuckle-gripped American flag and all, waved with such teeth-clenching vigor that they nearly give themselves an aneurysm.
But the Alliance Party is not interested in obliging the agendas of political charlatans, and neither should you. It costs us little as a society to lower the price of healthy foods and incentivize their production, nor does it burden industries or consumers to have them pay a few cents extra to cover the social costs of filling human bodies with trash – especially if it makes the difference for those with lower incomes to eat better. Our society pays trillions for the price of unhealthy lifestyles and there is no sound reason why we shouldn’t encourage society to save money by investing in healthier ones.
Providing wellness-driven tax incentives. In the same vein as investing in healthy lifestyles through public facilities and subsidizing healthy food, we can provide incentives for companies and individuals who make an effort to live healthier lives.
On the corporate front, a company could rise in corporate class and pay less taxes for buying workout facilities, letting employees work less, etc. Americans are notoriously overworked today but having your employees work a 30-35 hour week with great benefits might not be affordable in a competitive environment. Getting a 10-15% tax break for doing so changes that. Companies should be financially incentivized to make their employees happier and healthier and rewards for doing so cost us far less in the long term than the opposite.
On the individual front, people should also enjoy similar rewards and incentives for losing weight, quitting smoking, etc. If you significantly improve your lifestyle in terms of health, you could qualify for a special tax break, for example. Someone’s extra pounds, sodas, cholesterol and cigarettes might cost our healthcare system tens of thousands in the years to come, billions to the whole of our country – what tax breaks we give in the short term to incentivize a healthier country is a pittance in comparison.
This idea pays homage to the “nanny state” argument which ridicules regulations that penalize those who make unhealthy choices. And while I think that it’s true in certain cases, this idea avoids that criticism because it’s not adversely affecting anyone for their choices, it’s simply providing a reward for people who make a life change that improves social health and saves society money over the long term. When all externalities are considered, it’s well-prudent financially.
Better mental health coverage. Beyond the increase of mass shootings and other violent actions from disturbed individuals, our society as a whole has not done a good job at dealing with mental health problems of our fellow citizens. Moreover, in professions with difficult duties (police, military, emergency care), seeking mental health assistance is often stigmatized to some degree, discouraging those who might need assistance from seeking it out.
It’s rarely easy to admit when one is having trouble coping with the hardships of life, especially if they fear it makes them appear weak. Those people should not stand alone in their struggles. It’s perhaps easy to brush off someone’s internalization of their demons as something they ought to be able to work through, but that takes positive perspective and appreciation through outside sources that aren’t always available in times of need.
The consequences of their absence are staggering. Roughly 40,000 Americans kill themselves every year, approximately one suicide every 13 minutes, leaving their families devastated and broken. To capture just how heartbreaking that statistic is, I’ll share with you a quote from Ken Baldwin, who survived a suicide attempt by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, paraphrased in The New Yorker:
40,000 Americans a year die in similar circumstances and likely experience such regret before they do so. We owe it to ourselves to reduce that number. If someone is in a place where death seems desirable, then our value as a society counts for little if we have ineffective mechanisms to save them from it.
Yet with this said, suicide is only one mental health problem that requires social attention. America has an epidemic of homelessness, self-destructive drug use, compulsive criminality and violence that are rooted one way or another in mental health. Our approach today to these people is to give them a pill if they can afford it, or put them in prison if they can’t – and that should not be good enough to meet our standards.
Therefore, our public functions should devote resources to building effective and humane mental health facilities for those who are too disturbed to interact with society. And for those who need a qualified person to talk to who actually listens and cares enough to work them through their problems, then we should be providing that, instead of sending them to someone who will give them a bottle of pills and send them out the door – a practice that should be applied to medicine in general.
Wellness-driven medicine. The previously proposed improvements to our society’s approach to healthcare and education are likely to drive down medical costs society wide. This affords us opportunities to reform the “revolving-door” approach to healthcare, which is to put people in front of a doctor for the shortest amount of time possible, leading to quick diagnosis and solutions by way of prescription medication. In saying this, I by no means intend to suggest that modern medications are somehow ineffective or unnecessary – quite the opposite – they’ve saved the lives of millions. But there can be too much of a good thing.
Prescription drugs have been the go-to hammer of today’s profit-driven healthcare system, and when all one has is a hammer – everything’s a nail. This does not occur in a consequence-free environment, as prescription drugs are often misperceived, improperly used or intentionally abused to socially destructive ends:
- Accidental misuse/overdose, improper prescription or drug conflicts lead to the deaths of approximately 128,000 people per year. That’s more than suicide, homicides and drunk driving accidents combined.
- Painkillers are a commonly prescribed medicine for people with injuries and chronic pain. Although these drugs are essential for individuals who seriously need them, their euphoric effects make them targets for abuse. According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Heath, 2.4 million Americans abuse prescription drugs, and every year they join the ranks of approximately 128,000 people who die annually from pharmaceutical drugs.
- Many Americans have so many prescription drugs that they’ve been flushing them down the drain. This has caused pharmaceutical contamination with the outside environment, resulting in hormonal imbalances and health problems with animals and the rise of drug-resistant bacteria.
- This latter problem, drug-resistant bacteria, has become especially critical as of late, a problem compounded by the fact that many Americans also do not properly complete their antibiotic regimens. The result? Infectious bacteria adapts to the drug and becomes resistant to its effects – requiring stronger and stronger antibiotics to kill it with finality. These antibiotics are both more toxic, more rare and more expensive, leading to the resurgence of once-defeated ailments such as tuberculosis worldwide, especially in hospitals and more impoverished areas.
- Continuing this problem, doctors are often enticed by drug companies to prescribe their medications, especially in cases where they can bill public health programs to cover their exorbitant costs. Drug companies court doctors with trips, gifts and other benefits (in similar ways as they do politicians), and reward doctors monetarily for prescribing their drug. This of course induces doctors to oblige their benefactor’s requests, especially since they can simply bill programs like Medicare without blinking an eye.
It’s important to state again that this problem is by no means endemic to the use of pharmaceuticals in medicine, but rather to our healthcare system’s over-reliance on them as a one-size-fits-all means to cure ailments instead of encouraging (and even allowing) medical professionals to recommend alternative approaches that might not involve pills beyond those sold over the counter.
This framework proposes that these alternative approaches warrant a closer look, as they likely hold unrealized social benefits. That, combined with an increased social focus on general wellness and mental health as discussed above, along with the implementation of a nationwide single-payer healthcare framework and low-cost education, should free up enough resources to allow medical professionals more time and flexibility to interact with their patients as they see fit.
In effect, this will make us collectively stronger, as we will be less beset by afflictions that weaken us and make us less capable as people. Health and wellness is the core foundation of life, and having that foundation made strong allows us to realize greater potential and exert greater effort toward more positive ends, both as individuals and as society as a whole.
Economy and Infrastructure
Social advancement stems largely from the desire of individuals to create, to function in roles useful to society and to be recognized for doing so. The occupations behind these functions, and the positions and wages that come with them, are a means of self-respect and a sense of accomplishment which provides the currency required to enjoy life to the fullest. That ambitious nature is the lifeblood of a strong society. Because of this, a society must have a strong economy and supporting infrastructure to support innovation and commerce, things that remain intertwined as they cannot exist, nor improve, without each other.
Our economy will never be strong if our infrastructure is lacking, our infrastructure will not be advanced without individual ambition to advance it, yet there will be no ambition without an economic reward. Universal Energy and the Alliance Party are designed to provide the means to build better infrastructure and power a stronger economy, but embracing those means are only one-half of the equation. We still need the drive of the entities and individuals that comprise our economy to be engaged for that end, and that requires purposeful social focus.
There are many challenges that await us in the coming future, and there are many things that we are capable of doing that we have not yet realized. But these challenges will not be met, nor will these capabilities come to pass, if we do not have a means to actively incentivize people to rise to them – and that incentive usually comes in the form of money. Human beings covet money, success and power. We covet these things primarily because they give us the ability to operate freely and seek our own paths for happiness on our own terms.
The incentive that monetary rewards create is of social value and thus is something that society should encourage. If left unchecked, the pursuit of money can be corrupting – but corruption in that regard is merely a reflection of the inability for society to regulate effectively, not that a drive for wealth is inherently negative. If properly regulated, money and capitalism can be good things as they are a vehicle for driving progress. This is also especially true in the form of incorporated business, which is a fact warranting of specific mention.
This writing has been arguably harsh toward corporate industry in certain instances, but it was so due to the recognition that if left to their own devices, corporations frequently cause social damage and interact with society in harmful capacities. If held truly accountable to society’s laws, corporations can be and do great things, as the advances that can be made through corporate business stand to benefit society in ways few other things can. Everything from our smartphones and computers, to our cars, clothes and kitchen appliances and nearly every luxury that we’ve ever seen or owned have been inventions made for commercial sale by corporate entities.
These benefits have contributed massively to society, circumstances that corporate business can repeat in the future due to its unique ability to drive innovation through expected rewards. This is why the frameworks proposed thus far seek to lower the tax and regulatory burden of companies that operate for the public benefit and seek to concentrate society’s resources on enforcing regulations against companies that act against it.
Business is the backbone of our economy because it, fundamentally, entices human nature to ascend via prosperity rather than take from violence, thus as a social construct it is essential. Held accountable to the law, it can drive social progress and employ people so they can do the same as well. Therefore it is critical that society take care not to stifle business for ends that ultimately prove misguided, however well-intentioned. Bureaucratic red tape and effective regulation are not synonymous; society can competently regulate a business environment without hindering its ability to operate, and essential point is something that must be strongly emphasized.
Indeed, it might seem curious to now take a rosier look at things like a chase for wealth, even greed, whether in individual or corporate form because they often translate to negative effect in our society today. Yet this negative effect really only applies in the context of scarcity, where one takes more than they need from people who need more than they have. This does not apply in a scarcity-free world. In a society powered by Universal Energy, the poorest person on the planet still has a roof over their heads, running water, electricity, plenty of food and an ability to self-advance if they choose to do so.
If we make that rock bottom, and furthermore build mechanisms that incentivize businesses to allow their employees to work less, take more vacation and live more wellness-centered lifestyles, then there’s nothing wrong with people amassing wealth, so long as government is immune from its influence and society is objectively healthy. While the Alliance Party’s temporary tax model does take more from the wealthy in its initial stages – that’s only to fund Universal Energy and to pay off the national debt. Once those systems exist and government operates at a surplus, society should not limit the drive to amass wealth if other areas of society remain sound. If all is truly healthy, the sky should be no limit.
Collective Capitalism. The application of this mindset is something the Alliance Party refers to as “Collective Capitalism,” which is the idea that as an economic system, capitalism has huge potential to improve our way of life because it inherently drives innovation due to the profits its successes bring. But today capitalism is often viewed negatively because it's taken to its extreme where the average consumer is often placed between business models that are on one hand predatory in nature, and on the other cronies to government (“crony capitalism”) who have bought influence from the right political players. In effect, those on the losing end of this dynamic feel cheated (rightfully), and become ultimately unable to change their circumstances as they progressively worsen due to wealth and income divides.
One immediate consequence is that this makes capitalism's alternatives (socialism/communism) seem more attractive, which with a shiny appeal, obscure their deep-seated flaws and failures. Although all economic systems have meritorious ideas under the right circumstances, running an economic model based on state-ownership of markets and property rarely leads to ideal efficiency and transparency, especially in a single-party government that has no political mechanism for external reform.
Another consequence, one overlooked and just as serious, is that those cheated by capitalism's extremes often become cheated permanently, insofar that they aren't able to build themselves back up after a bankruptcy, loss of job, failed investment, etc. Instead, should they lose our economic system effectively devours them, and if they lose bad enough - they lose forever. This is a highly negative result because it removes that person's innovative potential from our economy and prevents any future benefit they could potentially deliver.
In saying this, I by no means suggest that there shouldn't be winners or losers in life or in commerce- quite the contrary - but the key function of winners and losers is that losers get to try their hand another day. 32 NFL teams compete for a Super Bowl championship, and only one can win. But every team gets to try again next year, the losing teams don't get disbanded and thrown into Section-Eight housing or live on the streets. All too often today, that is the result for American families.
Collective Capitalism seeks to fix that by adding in a few market protections, some of which we've already discussed. Removing exorbitant healthcare expenses through the Alliance Party's single-payer framework is a major example. Breaking up corporate monopolies and investing in inexpensive higher education (discussed shortly) are others. These approaches reduce the cost of living and getting back on your feet after an economic stumble, and they also reduce the strain on society's resources and raise the number of advanced degrees that can enter our workforce.
But they alone only go so far. Other measures the Alliance Party would consider go further. Some of these may include:
- Revamping the credit score system to have negative information removed after a shorter time period.
- Reducing the time bankruptcies remain on credit reports.
- Preventing employers from using credit checks to determine employment eligibility.
- Limiting what aspects of a credit report a landlord could access before renting to tenants (such as defaults and failures to pay rent, not their payment history on credit cards).
- Limiting the industries that could post negative information to credit reports (financial debt only, not failing to pay a cellphone bill).
- Providing tax breaks to small business owners.
- Providing tax breaks to business owners who hire veterans.
- Offering low-interest loans to small businesses.
- Granting the Citizen Advocacy Service resources to help small businesses navigate regulatory compliance and patent/trademark filings.
As initial measures the Alliance Party would take to help improve and expand access to the innovative rewards of capitalism for all of our society, they are the beginning to a future longer list. We believe that an open market of products and ideas that is regulated lightly - but effectively - is essential for a prosperous economy. But beyond that, we also believe that these rewards should be obtainable for anyone who has the requisite drive and energy to reach them. Should they fail the first time, a prosperous society should have mechanisms in place to see them stood up and dusted off so they can try again.
With the combination of benefits delivered by these frameworks: higher quality of life at less cost, dramatically increased employment opportunities in advanced industries, superior public functions, subsidies and investments and lowered taxes for all but the ultra-wealthy, individuals and entities of all income classes have significantly more money to devote for things other than base necessities.
In the context of advanced infrastructure and cutting-edge technology made possible by way of Universal Energy, it allows people to climb the economic ladder of what they are able to purchase and consume – giving nearly everyone a seat at the table of economic drivers. Class and disparity, remember, are inherently relative: a billionaire can be supremely wealthier than a millionaire, but in today’s economy, their purchasing power allows both to obtain nearly anything they want (within reason). With Universal Energy, there’s no reason why society can’t apply those same circumstances to the middle and even lower economic classes.
It might seem fantastical in the present context, but there’s nothing preventing our society from ascending to the point where the lowest classes live in the equivalent of a million-dollar high-rise penthouse today, whereas the upper classes take private spaceships to hotels on Mars.
Indeed, it is no different from someone suggesting 150 years ago that even the poorest people would have electric lighting or personal vehicles – circumstances which until last century did not exist for the past 99.99% of human history. In this model, while certain luxuries may be out of reach to all but the wealthy, most everything else is not – allowing more people to contribute to our consumerist economy than they can today.
Once this becomes the case, increased wealth and spending power increases tax revenue to government, even if at reduced tax rates than exist today (30% of 10, for example, is less than 25% of 15). This is especially true in the context of a national sales tax as proposed by the Alliance Party. In addition to providing the necessary revenue to fund social programs, it also allows the government to dedicate more revenue to build advanced public infrastructure to perpetuate economic growth.
This writing has emphasized the shameful decay of our public infrastructure because it is shameful, and has accordingly emphasized as to how Universal Energy allows us to overhaul it on large scales. It has done so because public infrastructure is critical to our society and economy, and as such requires dedicated focus.
I can think of few social afflictions more apparent than a government mindset that would spend $1.5 trillion on a new class of fighter jet while our bridges are collapsing and schools are failing. And the fact that this blight is allowed to exist on the heart of our society is Exhibit A in an indictment against the misdirection of our social priorities. Our remedy in this case is to shift that focus back to what actually benefits our economy and society, and in the infrastructure arena, that means building things.
Much as the interstate highway system overhauled our economy after the Second World War, newly built or overhauled schools, buildings, cities, highways, trains and airports present massive public benefit. Now that Universal Energy allows us to build these things better, faster and larger than we can today and to more advanced ends, doing so must be a primary concern of our society.
It shouldn’t be a hard sell: the average American spends 42 hours a year stuck in traffic. Multiplied by 324 million people, that’s roughly 13 billion hours that is wasted every year. I think we can do better. And “doing better” isn’t just a means to an end, either. Rather, it is a core perspective.
We didn’t build the interstate highway system to “turn a profit.” We didn’t put a man on the moon to line the pockets of corporate executives and we didn’t invent the internet and wireless communications to increase shareholder dividends. We didn’t ask the permission of special interests before we decided to earn that pedigree for ourselves – we just went out and did it.
We did these things because we could, because we were capable of advancing ourselves to that point. That is something that we can have again, and that is something that we should have again.
Part I of this writing culminated with the degree of infrastructure that we could build and how that could allow our civilization to ascend to greater heights. The nature of how we can do so will not be re-paraphrased here, but what should be concentrated on instead is this: building amazing things is something that society should continually strive for. Great societies are remembered by what they built and accomplished and ours should be remembered for not just that, but also for taking the initiative to raise that bar to uncharted levels.
We, too, don’t need to build things through the lens of “does it make a political contributor money?”, or “can it be used to blow things up?” We can build things because it inspires hope in ourselves, improves our quality of life, helps reinforce to people that our society is advancing upward and that tomorrow will bring newer and better things than they see today.
This is a perspective that we’d do well to remember, as that is the perspective which ultimately drives our economy and in turn evolves the infrastructure that powers it. We are visual creatures, and people need to see and touch things to interact with them fully. Expanding the scale of our public infrastructure does that, and reminds everyone that we are in fact working to constantly reach new heights.
People deserve to see their tax dollars result in something tangible and that the promises they were made for a better future were kept - people deserve to have their faith rewarded. Seeing that result from the social contract powers their drive to operate to their fullest. But as drive is a means to an end, it must also have context in which to be applied – which is why education and an informed society are equally critical.