“It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.” Song verse by the band REM
A few days ago, during an idyllic Indian summer afternoon, I was relaxing in my backyard, playing my guitar, soaking up the energizing sunshine. Several beautiful migratory birds stopped by, smiled, and enjoyed a quenching sip from the fountain before continuing on their journey. Suddenly from high above a less appreciative feathery friend let loose a messy blob that nearly knocked me off my chair.
This startling display of harsh reality sent my thoughts reflecting upon the latest display of corporate executive arrogance and avaricious behavior, perpetuated by the current global financial “crisis”. I thought, you know, the world would be a much more peaceful, harmonious place if it wasn’t for those few rich, greedy, powerful CEO, CFR, secret hand-shaking Freemason, Illuminati, nudge nudge wink winking Skull and Bones world dominating thugs and thieves periodically dropping a massive load on the rest of us, messing with our lives.
The same players who brought us S&L bank failures, Latin American bank loan failures, massive Wall Street financial fraud and now the housing market fraudulent irresponsible manipulations, are once again gorging themselves at the taxpayers’ trough, demanding a bailout handout; corporate socialism at its best. This blatant arrogance would make Marie Antoinette blush.
Why, after crashing peoples’ housing prices, destroying our economy, creating unemployment, depleting many Americans’ life savings and even breaking the kids’ piggy bank, while THEY continue to live an opulent lifestyle, do we still put our trust with these guys and their rigged financial institutions?
I’m reminded of the scene in the movie Animal House where Kevin Bacon’s character, desperate to join the evil-minded fraternity, is on all-fours in his underwear getting whacked by a wooden mallet screaming “thank you sir may I have another!”
I would think a more appropriate response from people today would be to open their window and, like in the movie Network yell “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Where are those courageous folk who used to throw pies at the corrupt CEOs?
If these financial institution leaders’ actions have done you harm you may be tempted to contemplate a scenario where these rotten scoundrels are brought to massive public trial, justice determined by a five minute speedy deliberation followed by a good proper hanging.
Another idea could be the creation of a reality show where everyday people get to hunt CEOs, and other corrupt business executives. The average American gets to select the crooked businessman of his choosing to hunt in the wild with paintball guns, a mild form of retribution but certainly cathartic for him, or her, and an appreciative audience.
On a more optimistic note, the current global financial crisis may be evidence of the necessary breakdown in public trust toward our global and national institutions that will lead people’s belief systems to transcend to a higher level as we approach the Mayan prophesied date Dec. 22nd, 2012. Wishful thinking?
Let’s look at the tremendous success of KIVA.org, a financing organization that puts its trust in the compassion and kindness of everyday people. Here’s a micro-loan financing organization, where no profit is sought, where the default rate is practically zero, and is currently so successful that KIVA is asking loaners to be patient while they try to find more eligible loan requests for people to loan to. KIVA.org’s peoples banking system: a fine example where an individual can choose to trust in people helping people rather than our unreliable, corrupt institutional banking systems.
Of course the corporate socialism policy our government leaders have eagerly adopted doesn’t stop with financial institutions. The bailouts, preferential taxbreaks and corporate welfare continue with the auto industry, airline industry, big oil, big agribusiness, large pharmaceuticals companies, etc., rewarding bad business practices and sticking us with lower wages and higher prices at the pump, the grocery store, the hospital, and exorbitant debt.
What’s a better choice? Don’t rely on these crooks. Don’t live beyond your means and be indebted to them. Consume less, live more. Don’t allow your government and its business cronies to pick your pockets while they rummage through your luggage at the airport. Our society is entrenched in this atmosphere of distrust created by the very people who should not be trusted, and is a prevalent perverse philosophy throughout Corporate America.
Long ago, I worked for a government defense contract corporation where corporate executives instill an atmosphere of employee distrust primarily because they know they themselves can’t be trusted, as proven by their morally questionable billing practices, so they assume all people can’t be trusted. How about WalMart whose corporate ethical practices are questionable yet enforces a policy that questions your integrity as a customer by assuming you may be stealing that product you’re carrying out the door.
Our patriarchal systems and institutions say to blindly trust their authority yet as noted by acclaimed author and professor of psychology, Dr. Robert Hare, there is strong evidence that many corporate executives exhibit psychopathic behaviors. Still trust these guys?!
These high profile powerful predators prey on your weaknesses. Don’t capitulate; get strong, get smart. Explore new ideas on how to live our lives and build a better a world. Who is more trustworthy to make better decisions concerning your life than you?
Consider the approach to social/economic solutions mentioned in E.F.Schumacher’s book Small Is Beautiful – Economics As If People Mattered such as Buddhist economics. As an individual, apply Kristnamurti’s philosophy where one is encouraged to question authority. Also, educate yourself to become a citizen of the world, not a globally employable worker as promoted by our corporate influenced educational system.
Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan’s recent apologetic admission that he had not foreseen the potential human irresponsibility and wanton greed inherent in the current financial structures may ring hollow coming from its premier architect; still, it’s a telling confirmation that their economic philosophy is a failure.
We may take encouragement from the Czech and Slovak Republic’s peaceful Velvet Revolution example in which the people just stopped listening to the failed totalitarian dogma.
This troubled period may be the necessary collapse in the failed dogma of unbridled capitalism, greed; institutions’ unchecked governance designed for the benefit of the select rich, powerful few. This is our wake up call. Rome may be burning, but the clever Phoenix is rising from the ashes.
We’re witnessing a pivotal moment in our history to rethink and reform our society; time to deconstruct our institutions, create decentralization and “small is better” solutions that better serve the people and the natural environment.
Look at the recent trend in the medical care field, thanks to new entrepreneurial companies such as House Call Doctors, where doctors are again making house calls, improving medical care while lowering costs. There’s also the innovative approach taken by Ashoka.org, an organization which financially promotes social entrepreneurs; those individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs find what is not working in government and business sectors and solve the problem by changing the system, creating solutions, and persuading entire societies to join in the change.
When able, I like to test the human range of generosity within a corporation, and on a recent roadtrip to the Pacific Northwest, I was able to do just that with my morning coffee craving.
It may be McDonalds’ policy, or it may be mine, either way, I apply the free refill theory to all McDonalds’ outlets as I travel across country and without hesitancy, the employee gladly refills my coffee. While conservative and Christian radio reigns supreme over radio airwaves in America’s rural heartland sowing seeds of hate and discontent, I try to counter the corporate sponsored airwaves by initiating pleasantries and discussions with the good service industry folks you meet along the road, bringing smiles to both our faces.
Will this recent financial crisis help people recognize and understand the impermanence of market values, whether held in one’s stock portfolio, house or commodity prices, and gain greater appreciation for the true tangible values of love, friendship, good health and happiness?
Given to me as a gift by some newfound friends in Brazil, I carry in my wallet a list that contains the five principles of Reiki, Buddhism influenced principles that help me stay spiritually grounded. The five principles are: Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings, I will not worry, I will not be angry, I will do my work honestly, and I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing. They help me keep life in perspective.
One may even find the occasional voice of reason within the ranks of the corporate elite. “I think that the heavens, or natural common wisdom, may be suggesting that we try to live more down-to-earth and honest lives”, says Kyocera’s Chairman Emeritus Kazuo Inamori, who is also a Zen Buddhist priest. He says profit is society’s reward for serving its interests. “In order to restore and revitalize capitalism, it is crucial that business executives regain this attitude”.
As I journeyed down the Pacific Coast, basking in the coastline’s natural beauty, my thoughts about humanity’s silly antics fading away, I was awestruck by the majestic redwood trees’ silent grandeur and the refreshing barks coming from the sealions on the ocean rocks below; Nature’s enduring symbols that supply us with a sense of spiritual clarity and humility.
And now, back home, sitting in my backyard, the sun still shining, the sky an aquamarine blue and the birds still bathing in the fountain, I think I’ll go back to playing my songs and reading my five principles.
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