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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Can there be (and when has there been) progress without injustice?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38857 points ) June 24th, 2010

Okay, so it’s not only because I’m watching the Story of US on the History Channel with its brilliant depiction of the pushing of the Native American people to reservations because of whites seeking profit and progress for themselves, so to speak…this has been brooding in my head for a while…things like railroads or towns or anything else that contribute to expansion and betterment of life for some always get achieved through some kind of disproportionate hell for those who help them get there…whoever is in power picks whoever is not and later discards of them…with history always repeating itself as this is a global issue and we’re no more living in a post-colonial world than we are in a post-racial, post-feminist America…

So, tell me, when have leaps of progress been achieved without blood being shed, without some groups becoming the doormat, etc. What of science – is scientific progress exempt? What is progress, anyway? Thoughts?

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16 Answers

KatawaGrey's avatar

I would like to point out that sometimes it happens in reverse. People get stepped on, and then those who have been stepped on say, “Hey, wait a minute, we’re getting stepped on!” and do something about it. I do agree that often it seems that progress is made by hurting a group that is not privy to the progress. However, I feel as if that is almost always external progress as in the case with railroads and towns. Internal progress seems to be the response of getting stepped on which can lead to external progress but I feel as if this kind of external progress can take into account the people libel to be hurt.

I also think that sometimes nasty circumstances can give rise to unrelated progress. Look at WWII. Were it not for all those women going to work in factories and generally taking up the jobs of all the men who went off to war, I do not believe women’s rights would be where they are today.

The example you gave of what happened to the Native Americans was I think an example of progress for progress’ sake. Manifest Destiny was stupid and pointless and now we have all this land we’re not using.

MaryW's avatar

Curiosity and goodwill and forward thinking people have made progress forward and the reverse has also made progress. Technically…Progress is movement in any direction. But I do agree that faster and more history making progress is made through conflict or injustice being opposed. Being poked gets a reaction of energy on both sides of a stand with evil and self indulgence often emploding on itself when those that care about the whole picture oppose tyranny of any kind.

lillycoyote's avatar

There can only be “progress” when there is an end to injustice. Though, I suspect there are plenty of people who define progress entirely differently than I do.

cheebdragon's avatar

Everything in life is trial by error…...unfortunately, some errors are much worse than others….

Nullo's avatar

A big part of the answer depends on exactly what you mean by injustice. For instance, it’s become popular lately to call unjust things that have long been considered right and good.

Presumably, you could have your progress without injustice by changing the parameters for progress and/or injustice.

mammal's avatar

Triste tropiques the anthropologist Levi Strauss called it. It keeps pulling you back, somehow, Mexicans know what I mean. There’s always this feeling that this sadness is the real truth about things and its better to live with a sad truth than with all the happy progress talk you get up here in the North.

Pursig, Lila

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. I think that comes down to which realm the progress was in. A lot of areas of science no one was basically rooked for it to benefit all. The progress made instant communication by way of the Internet no group was basically played from what I seen.

As with the Native Americans and many other indigenous people like those of the Amazon progress to industrialized nations usually always come at the detriment of them. It is not right but history has shown that might makes right, if you control the guns or the military you can pretty much get what you want no matter who you run over to do it.

Unfortunately this stuff happens because of greed and the misuse of capitalism. If capitalism was used in pure execution it would be a win-win situation.

Science has to be the least place or area where one group is running roughshod over another.

johnb1100's avatar

Injustice is the fuel of progress. It takes investment to make progress, majority of those who invest have some ulterior motive and would therefore be unjust.

What started settlement in America. Greed.Searching for gold and the fountain of youth while exploiting every Native American who got in their way.

Now lets go to the founding of America. It was the oppressive and unjust British who enticed the colonies into rebelling.

Slavery in the South made shipping products a necessity due to the sheer volume of products. Out of this came a need to travel the Mississippi both ways, thus the steamship.

The end of slavery after the Civil War demanded machines to replace the labor the slaves provided, thus research into this technology, the industrial revolution, and finally the internal combustion engine.

WW I – artillery\aviation

WWII – bombs\better aviation to combat the artillery. Research into nuclear technologies which are used in todays power plants due to the need for an Atomic bomb. Primitive computers were also developed to calculate hate velocity of battleship shells.

Cold War – The need to build better and better weapons caused many technologies to be improved upon including radar, space flight, computers, and so on.

Today – What we are on now, the internet…progress… http://www.fluther.com/ the result of injustices…

jazmina88's avatar

I think I had a dream 2 days ago where I was beaten down by personal in injustices.
Surely it makes one stronger and fight harder.

Nullo's avatar

The fact of the matter is that people want different things. Any course of action is going to impact someone in a negative fashion.
In our enlightened and sorta-democratic way, when the party that claims to represent the interests of the majority decides that it wants a freeway through your house, it is (they might argue) nothing less than your duty as a citizen to roll over and surrender your property.

roundsquare's avatar

I think this guy was able to do something without injustice, though someone who knows the history better may prove me wrong.

Otherwise, it quite simply comes down to people wanting different things (as @Nullo) pointed out. So long as we can’t all have what we want, there will be conflict, one group will “win” and they will define that as “progress.” Victors, history books and all that…

mattbrowne's avatar

Here’s one example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_European_Union#1945.E2.80.931957:_Peace_forged_from_cold_steel

“With statements such as Winston Churchill’s 1946 call for a “United States of Europe” becoming louder, in 1949 the Council of Europe was established as the first pan-European organisation. In the year following, on 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed a community to integrate the coal and steel industries of Europe – these being the two elements necessary to make weapons of war.”

From 1950 to 2010 we observed great leaps of progress that have been achieved without blood being shed.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Nullo I’m sure that’s helpful/convenient for some.

Justice13's avatar

No worries, everything is progress… to bloodshed. That should clear everything up.

Justice13's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I concur with your disagreement, clearly Justice13 is out of his mind!

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