In Wednesday’s blog, “How long can a society last without hope?”, I suddenly realised that the new Great Divide of (i) Ideology versus Pragmatism (my 2020 blog), and (ii) the generational conflict (my 2021 blog) have a remarkable overlap. Combined, they represent a new Great Divide of the Greater Good versus the Happy Few.
The Greater Good theory assumes that efforts, which are deemed necessary, will benefit the majority of the population (eg, China). This ethical theory is also known as utilitarianism: “maximize happiness and well-being for all affected individuals”. I suspect, however, that such efforts would never hurt the Happy Few. That is an implicit prerequisite.
The Happy Few concept may be viewed as the opposite of the Greater Good theory. The Happy Few is usually the upper class, which “is the social class composed of people who hold the highest social status, usually are the wealthiest members of class society, and wield the greatest political power” (Wiki). Other words are oligarchy (eg, Russia) or “Grachtengordel” (Dutch).
All models cause frictions in society, including the two above.
The Greater Good model has a clear benefit as frictions will – by definition – involve minorities (eg, Uyghur in China). The majority will (always) find (moral) ways to condone these situations. Another benefit – and/but less visible – is the ability for maintaining a nation’s social fabric.
The Happy Few model benefits the “few” to a ginormous extent (eg, oligarchs in Russia). This situation requires lots of repression because frictions in society will continue to show and will have a tendency to increase, following the continued accumulation of wealth by the Happy Few.
Covid-10 is ripping apart the social fabric in many societies. Some governments show a fawn response by “immediately moving to try to please a person to avoid any conflict”. Still frictions in those societies will build as some (or many) groups will feel left out from that fawn response.
The problem with the Greater Good is, however, the following:
Dazed (2014) by Men I Trust ft. Geoffroy & Gabrielle Shonk
Moulded the vision I had of our sphere
Through meditation and observation
A social fabric tangible and clear
My disembodied thoughts in station
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.