Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Someone asked me this week if I thought we could dig ourselves out of the current financial mess that the country was in.
I said no.
I guess that answer needs a little clarification. We can’t fix it from within its own paradigm and those in control are disincented to change the paradigm. In other words, it can’t be fixed without first fixing the conflict between personal benefit and collective benefit. Once one single person is a wealthy as Carnegie or Vanderbilt, our morality insists that besting the last guy is more important than the costs associated with it.
The failure of our society to self-regulate has resulted in corporate mission statements that are applauded for focusing the entire sum of the company’s efforts on “maximizing shareholder value”, which is financial-speak for “make money”. The once-present statements regarding sustainability and social responsibility – even if mere window-dressing – are now relegated to the marketing department.
This collective deterioration both reflects and fuels our individual deterioration into a consumption-fueled despair that leaves us unwilling to participate in the greater good.
Hoover’s Presidential campaign slogan in 1928 “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” - clearly a collective wish – transforms into 1984’s “Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?” Eisenhower and LBJ somehow become Gordon Gekko and Carl Rove and the cycle of deterioration is acclaimed as beneficial.
Do you feel better? You won!
Posted by Eddie Proulx