2) Introduction

“When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a poverty of the spirit – which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance. We learned to fly the allied birds. We’ve learned to swim the seas like fish. And yet, we haven’t learned to walk the Earth like brothers and sisters!” – Martin Luther King

Yes, “there’s trouble in River City”! There’s a malady raging right here in America! It’s a malady even more threatening than atomic proliferation, environmental pollution, biological warfare, or killer- diseases such as AIDS. It’s more dangerous because this particular malady spawns all of the above.

The malady is ignorance! It’s realized, of course, that this is said at the risk of sounding arrogant. Actually social scientists have a much kinder term. Their word is “cultural lag.”

We must recognize, however, that the water runs deeper here. And, though ignorance floats on the surface, it’s what lurks beneath that truly deserves our attention. Just as we’ve heard that behind every great man, there’s a woman, behind ignorance there’s “Old Mother Greed.”

In American Society greed is often excused as being an unalterable aspect of “human nature”, or is actually valued as an essential tool which enhances and encourages achievement. Both are dangerous as well as fallacious assumptions. It’s the central purpose of this paper to demonstrate how institutionalized greed can cloud our thinking, and distort our perception of reality; thus opening the door to those forces which greatly endanger human survival.

The goal here is also to raise the hope that we human beings might yet learn to differentiate between self-interest and greed before it’s too late! That ludicrous rationalization, believed by many, that someone possessing 100 times the wealth of an average worker deserves it because he earned it, must be confronted. We should not allow our love-affair with incentive to drift into overkill, and blind us to reality!

Much has been spoken, and written of the “cultural lag”. That term, of course, refers to man’s mastery of technology outpacing his growth in social understandings. That technology has created the massive environmental threats. Obviously, social science must rise to the occasion, or the unthinkable will happen! At present, many ingrained and interlocking aspects of human culture stand in the way of the necessary progress of social science. (Social science is basically synonymous with human understanding and cooperation) This writing will seek to sort out and examine the many cultural traits and institutions which appear to block or impede the growth of social science. Religion, economics, politics, education, recreation, are all part of the picture, and the problem.

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