Social Contracts in Theory and Practice-First of a series

Where are the Ferengi when we need them

As one of many Star Trek fans I Am fascinated by the Ferengi characters as members of a futuristic race that focuses their purpose in life to be superior interplanetary business persons. The type business they personify operates as close to the edge of illegality as possible while focusing on the principle of maximum profits derived from a minimum regard for interpersonal ethical considerations. In some of the Star Trek episodes they have exhibited gypsy like tendencies to actually delve into illegality in the course of their business dealings.

'A contract is a contract' any other consideration never counts for much in the Ferengi morality.

One wonders if the Star Trek writers were not parodying actual business people perhaps even paralleling concepts some in our society have of Jews as that type of business person.

I have read columns and comments right here on WOTL concerning social contract issues that could have been authored by Ferengii. The literal meaning of the agreement being the basis of the writer or commenter and to hell with the implied ethics or morality as long as one remains within the letter of the law.

I Am not only writing about general business practice here since an implied social contract was what originally inspired me to begin this series.

The problem with social contracts is that they require a lot of interpretation of something that is not clearly written if at all ,to begin with. Most of the controversy I have observed is centered on exactly what the social contract is that a citizen of the United States has signed onto either by being borne into or if able by choosing not to leave the influence of by moving out of the country.

Some 'Conservatives' will mention what they feel the social contract consists of while others who are considered Liberals will disagree yet both are considered covered by the same contract. 0 I would love to see what a Ferengi would say if his opinion (Ferengi females are chattel with no right to express opinion) was sought.

In a recent study of social history I have discovered that what is called social contract theory is not new although I find it hard to consider anything that is actually practiced to be called 'theory'.

For this first column I will forgo any actual mention of a specific practice or opinion on it except to say that my agenda is well known by my past writings and will probably continue to be evidenced in subsequent writing on this subject.

I probably won't be very fair and balanced as this series unfolds but still hope that the questions that form the basis of controversy might become a little less elusive.

I think it was Rodney King from Los Angeles who made the famous quote 'Why can't we all just get along?' Since the purpose of a social contract is to enable us to 'get along' we need to understand more about what one consists of.

In future columns I Am going to explore this question in the light of a social contract concept because like it or not one does exist. Is it a millstone around our respective necks or an example of the type reason why we have been able to evolve as a race from savage cave man to Twenty-first Century citizen?

© 2009 Matt 7:6(AKA Albert 1) - 10/7/13

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