Tuesday, October 7, 2008

National Priviledge

We are privileged to have the environment we have for our lives (I wouldargue that the baby boomers of Amercia have had the best living in recordedhistory - and its something we should be proud of). I personally believethat having a safe place to live and grow up is implied in the "unalienablerights" clause of our constitution. (ie. NOT a privilege, but a right).Unfortunately, the gentlemen in power are not willing to take the necessaryrisks to work in that direction. The power of America depends partly on theenvy of the world. If we make every other country as safe and their marketsas solvent as ours, we would no longer have any leverage amongst ourneighbors. It is, however, important to note that the power of America beganas a function of the respect other people/nations had for us during ourbeginnings. We had new ideas and concepts that held promise. We were willingto work towards them and we had nothing to lose. This is no longer the case.The types of risks that we take with our resources and power are aimed atcontinuing what I am calling the solvency of our markets. I am sure therearea economists who understand this stuff better than I do, but you get mygeneral idea. The solvency of the American market depends on big oil and bigmilitary at this time. There is (as you pointed out) much suffering in theworld. I agree with you that we have the power to minimize this suffering.Unfortunately, we have not figured out a way to make and control hugeprofits off of farming. In fact, we routinely subsidize most farming in theUS because they can't make a profit (or pay for their up-keep). Also,farming is done by huge machines. There is a low labor demand in farming.This will not produce the types of jobs you are hoping it will. This is nota bad idea/strategy for changing the course of our impact on the world, andis not a bad start at brainstorming about how we could keep the relativesolvency of our markets without causing mass destruction and consumption.The reason we need to preserve our market solvency is because we owe lots ofmoney to other people/nations. If we show that we can continue our strongmarket, then we will continue to have investors. Its funny, we have ademocracy that is supposed to be controlled by the people, but is truly aslave to its debt. This debt is a function of our over-consumptivetendencies. The fact that other interests own more than 50% of America'sdebt is a serious problem, because our debtors do not have the bestinterests of the American public in mind, and our leaders are underincreasing pressure to satisfy these other interests. Our leaders know thata certain standard has to be kept up in order to discourage civil unrest,but they and the other interests are not really worried about us losing1800+ of our volunteer army or billions of our (their) dollars, so long asthe economic forecast remains sunny and bright. It is a small price to payto those who have control of the American decision-making process.Unfortunately, again, this is not us, the people of America.One thing I can say for the Clinton administration is that they managed toeliminate the federal government's fiscal debt. This is a step in the rightdirection from my perspective, because it means that there is a small hopethat we could free ourselves from the debt of foreign interests, which wouldallow us to (if we wanted to) take control of our foreign agenda.The people of America are something akin to the spoiled teenagers of theworld's elite. I know that this is a loose analogy, because I have seen thepoverty and adversity in our country (ghettos, Indian reservations, methamphetamine addiction, methadone clinics, homeless shelters, halfway houses,etc.). Unfortunately, this is how the world views us and it is the role wehave assumed under the leadership of the presidents/administrations duringmy lifetime. The heroic America of the past has no real meaning or cloutanymore.I believe that you are right, if we want to be the leaders of the next fewgenerations and enjoy the high moral ground we love to talk so much about,we are going to have to refocus our energies and thought processes towardsthe true adversities in our environment. This might mean giving up some ofthe lessons of the market and embracing some new lessons. After all, how cana market really work if the people growing the food are not making anymoney? It also means looking towards our domestic problems as a place tolearn some of these new lessons, not rehashing old arguments about women'srights, discrimination, and the role of the christian church in school. Oncewe can understand things like rampant prescription addiction, depression,gluttony, and over-consumption, we might be able to offer each other adifferent outlook on our situation. We might be able to grow up and become avoice to be heard. Which might lead us to the solutions we are hoping tobless the rest of the world with. There's no doubt we have the power andtechnology to solve many of the problems in the world today, but we do nothave the maturity to perform such tasks. I am not sure any of thepost-modern power structures have this maturity.At this point, our perspective of privilege and the image we turn to theworld and each other are extremely hypocritical with respect to our actions.We want to pretend that we are saving the world from evil adversaries tofreedom, but we're not fooling anyone (except maybe the voters in Ohio- andmaybe not them anymore).Its natural for social creatures to give themselves over to a benevolentpower structure. Believe it or not, this can happen in Theocracies,Oligarchies, Democracies, Republics, Dictatorships, Cults, Fascist regimes,etc. Large social structures succeed for long periods of time when peoplebelieve they are being taken care of. That is the situation we findourselves in today. Most people don't think there is a huge problem with theway our society is being run and the results we are getting. SO, for changeto have any impetus at all, we need to convince people to look critically attheir environment. This is not impossible. We also need to convince peopleat the highest levels to do the same and to relinquish some of theirill-gotten power to the people who they are sworn to represent. This is amore daunting task, but again not impossible.We have been able to overcome so much human adversity in such a relativelyshort time. It will continue. This adversity has also been the mother ofinvention, innovation, dreams, hopes. We will never be able to overcome alladversity, because we will always be finding new mountains to move. Therewill not ever be a guarantee of a safe place to live and raise yourchildren. This stuff is nonsense, but we can strive to keep "raising thebar." The fact that our leaders will misrepresent our lust for thepreservation of the market as a step towards freedom is shameful anddishonest. I hope that I will see the end of that crap in my lifetime.

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