The lower (third) part of this post was my intent when I began. In the third section I offer 3 links to examination of our economic malaise – by powerfully well backgrounded participants who for the most part remain strong capitalism supporters.
The two upper portions are ‘background’ explaining ‘where I’m coming from’ in a more personal, and philosophical, sense.
I’ve marked each section with an ‘asterisk’ line. You can go directly to the third if you wish!
(Examining One’s Own Ideas)
I am pretty concerned about upcoming elections, and about the time beyond. I am not interested in ‘party’ outcome, (in fact, I ‘despair’ that there is so much focus on either party “competing at all costs” against the other.)
I am concerned at media participation in keeping people riled up and angry. I am concerned at the number of people who tell me they believe as valid – the vitriolic accusations made against whole groups and anyone who publicly seems to represent such a group.
If I let myself go slightly deeper in my concern on this, I feel alarm – extreme discomfort – and deep sorrow – that “my largest group” (my tribe human), seems to approve of behavior from our brothers and sisters who spew the vitriol. Since I don’t want to stay in a state of alarm, I back off from the experience, and shift to assumption we can dialogue and respect one another. An assumption also present is that we “all want the best outcome for everyone”; that we are not willing to bolster personal comfort by supporting deep misery anywhere on this earth.
This is why I am not a “nationalist” beyond a certain point. I simply never have been! Much about America has impressed me, but much about other nations and the lives of their people has also impressed me. My interest in America’s fate is that this is my physical location, my present source of community, and I want it to be a place where I and my fellow citizens can thrive. But I do not experience this as “greater than” what may be discovered and lived by another in a different country. I do not view “nations” as needing to “compete” for “leadership”, or any special ‘supremacy’.
In life generally, I try to keep in mind that I usually need more information, more experience, or more listening and learning from experience of others.
I also try to keep in mind the wisdom of the story of The Blind Men and the Elephant.
I try to keep in mind that “rigidity” of any “stand” I take (if I become ‘rigid’) must be based on very deep examination of personal beliefs, personal biases, how and where I ‘got’ these, whether they are valid in the best understanding I have of myself, of human reality, of human mystery, etc.
(A Conservationist Considers Truth, Capitalism, the Future, Current American Political Anger)
I sometimes feel “labeled”, (even ‘shunned’ in a quite ‘economic conservative’ human community), because (it seems perhaps) I have stood strong on a concept which they do not approve (non-profit health care for everyone, for instance) Few are willing to discuss, to hear and consider, my views, my experience, and my rationale on this.
It is very true to say that I am not “of their group”. I am not of any group! I am registered Independent for that reason. I don’t “join groups” except for periods of time when “coming together in community for best present and future human outcome” drives the agenda. I am seldom in full agreement with any group, as many ‘belief based groups’ claim a traditional “truth,” of one kind or another, as “the answer to everything”. In the comfort of such certainty, an elephant’s tail may remain a rope.
It is also true that anytime anyone gives me a statement of “unqualified truth” I am likely to pipe up with “what about …?” and point out where that “truth” may not hold up, (which of course means it cannot be an absolute truth!)
For what it’s worth, I apply the same scrutiny to most of my own “truths”. This means when I do take a ‘firm stand’ and don’t veer from it over time, it’s one I cannot find good reason to alter.)
I post the following links most especially to readers who consider me “in opposition to” capitalism, and who consider themselves absolute defenders of capitalism.
It’s true, I don’t “hold a lot of truck” for “capitalism” so long as it seems rooted in “high financial maneuvers” that seem only able to exist by “expansion”. Expansion of territory, expansion of levels of control of resources, expansion of earth destruction for immediate or relatively short term “success in the activity of expansion” (some irony there!). All of it measured by ‘profit’. (My preferred measurement is a positive answer to “is life able to thrive, ALL life?).
The part of me that is “conservative” is more “conservationist” than “conservative”, I guess. Conservation of earth, conservation of life, conservation of the concept (and reality) of opportunity so that it remains available. Conservation of these because without them, what are we, and how do we hope to proceed to “a better world”?
Do we really want to be a “flash in the pan” across earth history? The conservationist point of view means we reach toward whatever is unfinished, unexplored, incomplete – and we maintain human existence with the best possible stewardship in order that we can “buy needed time” to “get there – get to that unknowable, only imaginable, future in which we “prove” our capacity for a kind of maturity of civilization that genuinely “shines”.
I’m not sure we can ever actually ‘get there’, but I would ask readers to imagine a “best of all possible worlds” across the earth. What does it “look/feel” like for every single person of every chronological age? What barely imaginable talents, satisfactions, joys, are expressed by the people inhabiting such a future earth? In this future earth existence, how are we relating to one another? How are we behaving and responding to one another? If one of us, or a group of us, seems to bring harm to overall well-being, how do we respond? Can we respond without violence, without me/them vengeance? Can we respond in such a way that the person or group is ‘corrected’ and ‘brought back into the fold’? Can we do this without assumptions of our own flawless superiority?
One of the ‘biggies’ in America right now is centered on the economic mess, our experience with the larger global one.
We’re having a big fight, with lots of stress, worry, insecurity, blame, defensiveness, stubbornness, anger (all those emotions that aren’t supposed to be good for us physiologically and are known to make rational thought difficult).
We’re focusing the big fight in upcoming elections. Lines are drawn. Clever meanness is approved. Anger is vitriolic, and is also gaining favor as “justified”.
I ask you – how does the current mood in America fit the above thought experiment in imagining a best of all possible futures?
Is our current attitude toward one another likely to take us there?
(Sources of Deep Knowledge in World of High Finance)
I want to shift back to my intended ‘theme’ for this post.
Capitalism and its value for all of us; capitalism and its capacity to do harm.
The following links are all drawn from sources that favor enterprise, profit, “capitalism”. The people behind the linked sources are fully familiar, life-career experienced with, high finance – in America, at Wall Street, in Washington, and internationally.
Good news – they are not about to “bail” from enterprise, profit, “capitalism”.
Sober news – they explore serious maladies within existing systems and structures: Corruption, bribery, mafia involvement, malfeasance of trans-national corporations, the Fed and our interest debt, …
By all these maladies, ordinary citizens of our country (and of other countries) are “held to ransom”, are told they (at ordinary daily levels) are the “problem” and “must suffer severe belt-tightening”.
Please! I urge all who feel defensive and angry (dare I say self-righteous?) about “threats to capitalism”, to pay attention! The best spokespeople for cleaning up the system are those closest to it, those who most want it to thrive!
Any one of the links offered is a good place to begin delving into the nature of current “capitalistic” practices. Each is focused differently. Each represents a different ‘blind man’ at a different part of the elephant.
I once read a piece of advice on “personal change”: “Begin in the middle, the end, or at what seems the start – it will all begin to come together – the need is to begin.”
This link is to episode #5 from a series of lengthy discussions and interviews exploring America’s current “health” in critical thinking practice, in information availability, the economy, and more. Lots of history in addition to up to date expert knowledge.
Episode #5 is a 2.5 hr interview with Dr. Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock dot-com._Overstocked: How naked short selling and counterfeiting stocks create cascading economic failures. (Interviews begin with a music clip – length varies, so keep listening. This clip is of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” and is very brief.) There is much more detail on Bryne’s expertise, and on episode topics covered in the interview on the linked page.
(Related link: http://www.deepcapture.com/ Website of Byrne’s and others of experience and knowledge in financial world.)
This link to website of Raymond Baker, international financial career, and others with his level of experience and knowledge, at this site focus on extensive and incredible amount of national economic monies (I.e. monies generated out of ordinary citizen activity) is lost through trans-national theft by both legal loopholes and downright illegal but ‘untouchable’ due to perpetrator ability to slip away from one country’s laws by re-locating, and a range of means.
Related link: http://fora.tv/2006/02/16/Capitalism_s_Achilles_Heel Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Raymond Baker addresses World Affairs Council of Connecticut, Hartford, Connecticut. Event Date: 02.16.06. 59 minutes.
Confessions of an Economic Hitman: John Perkins. Book of this title published some time back. The google video linked here is 1hr, 42min. Shorter videos can be found on google videos, and on YouTube. (Some of them in ‘segments’; I often try to find whole programs so I can listen without running back to computer to start next segment.)
Perkins spent a career as an economic ‘hitman’. This is of necessity an international posting and ‘grimy’ to say the least. Has a lot to do with what goes on with money and politics.
A Lot of Learning To Be Done, A Lot to Think About!
(Whose belts need tightening, whose ‘entitlements’ are most costly – for all of us – now, and in our future world?)
My Best! –MaggieAnn