No one is about to deny that our way of life, particularly from an economic standpoint is, at best, currently in a sort of holding pattern. At worst, many are in a real hurtbag — foreclosure, lost job — the spigot for money has slowed to a pathetic trickle — the water is murky — no one really knows the size and weight of the dominoes in play. (A little bit of that ancient and current literary genre: doom porn, but can not help.)
And yet, as a nation that has feasted on the planet’s wealth for the past sixty years or so (in addition to the prouder American tradition of actually producing wealth), we have a store of resources, both human and material, that is certainly in our favor.
But what concerns me, and what concerns all of us whether we choose to recognize it or not is:
Are we too broke to not scam?
As summer 2009 gets under way, one hears things like, “Well, if it will bring in some dollars, I’m all for it..”
Resonating among the words of such declarations is a sort of implicit disregard for responsibility. This lowering of moral standards has historically accompanied such tough times. It’s a cycle that also produces a lot of anger — anger directed in many diffuse directions. Obscurity’s great manipulative potential takes on various fragmented forms — “social media”, pacts of “main street with wall street” and countless other slogans.
Yet our times also provide a receptive medium for sowing seeds for community health and empowerment — the links among us are more apparent than ever.
The way I see it we can embrace one of two mutually exclusive approaches:
The first one, mentioned above, involves a sort of selfish, short-term, frontier-mentality that goes something like:
“Hey Jack, I’ve got to feed and house my family and I frankly don’t give a damn if it’s good or bad. I gotta do what I gotta do.”
Cooperation, our last card in the deck, is destroyed.
The other, and what I consider the more essential pono (righteous) stance goes more like:
“You know what? We are in this very gnarly economic collapse due to parasitic scamming. How self-defeating, cowardly, and pathetic would it be at this point to just scramble around with nothing but the back pocket as the sole determinant of one’s behavior? — and not just self-defeating, but with ramifications for the community (on an island no less) that are obviously destructive.”
And if you’re still on the fence, try and reflect upon the unscrupulous dealings that have brought our economy to its knees. It’s been capitalism perpetuated by people having absolutely zero regard for personal and social responsibility — people with “value sets” (as one sweet potato farmer puts it) unable to even recognize this morally bankrupt behavior.
This survival of the greediest – morals be damned-ethos is the very same strategy we could choose to operate our personal economies — the very same approach as global venture capitalists. And similarly, it suffers the same unsustainable outcome: collapse.
And unless I’m missing something here, this strongly indicates that the only approach to take; the critically important approach, is:
“We’re not too poor for pono, but we are too broke for more corruption.”
So how you gonna act?