Robert C. Koehler
"Everyone loved him."
The hole was too deep; these words couldn't fill it. But there they remain, floating on the regret, vibrant with the possibility of a different kind of world. We've always been in the process of building that world, but the process has lacked a central cohesion . . . a god, if you will, to bless it and keep it.
"The next morning, Perris took the hand of his ailing 90-year-old mother. They climbed to the roof of their apartment building and leapt to their death."
"Everyone loved him," a local cafe owner said. People would have helped him out, and helped his mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's. But they didn't know how badly the two were doing. Now their deaths are a gash across the community, across the country and perhaps all of
The situation has gotten so bad that the idea of debt forgiveness is gaining mainstream cachet.
"In many ways," he observed, "rather than creating a sustainable economy built around steadily rising middle and working class wages, we've built an unsustainable economy built on consumer debt. That debt has propelled the growth we've seen in recent years, acting as a sort of perpetual Keynesian injection into the economy. Now we're paying the price."
While I see debt forgiveness as a move in the right direction -- an acknowledgment that debt isn't simply a moral failing, and that the wealth of creditors, who have in so many ways rigged the game in their favor, isn't all that matters -- I wince at the provincialism of those who limit their concern to the American middle class, or would do no more to fix the system than increase wages for the working and professional classes.
Better wages that are the result of devastated environmental regulations, or that come at the expense of the Third World or future generations? The economic crisis is global in nature and the flaws of the system are deep and profound.
"The economy's only valid purpose is to serve life,"
The economy should not be an end in itself, an irresistible force that we fail to serve at our peril -- yet that's the conventional attitude. The economic suicides of
We live within an economic system that is cruel and impersonal, divorced from gratitude, empathy, compassion, love and nurturance. (Money, whatever else it is, is the root of all cynicism.) This system is also voracious. It's eating the planet: eating, i.e., privatizing and selling back to us, what was once the human and environmental commons, the context of all life.
"Real capital assets," writes Korten in his excellent essay, "have productive value in their own right and cannot be created with a computer key stroke. The most essential forms of real capital are social capital (the bonds of trust and caring essential to healthy community function) and biosystem capital (the living systems essential to Earth's capacity to support life). We are depleting both with reckless abandon."
Trapped within the present economic system, so many people have limited patience for what they value most deeply, e.g., the happiness and loving growth of children, the glorious fecundity of the earth, the peace that passes all understanding. Who has time? We all loved him, but . . .
As the system crashes, we have the opportunity to look beyond it. Let's dig deeply to establish the foundation of its replacement.
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- Beyond Money
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- Drugs Legalization Could Make Things Worse
- Time to Separate Drugs Policy from Crime
- Organized Crime Won't Fade Away
- Is Treating The Symptoms The Way Forward?
- Heads of State Show Lack of Faith in Own Health-Care Systems
- On Drugs and Democracy
- Financial Markets, Politics and the New Reality
- BRICs Should Focus on their Own Problems
- The Persistent Threat to Soft Targets
- The Rich Grabbing Bigger Slices of Pie
- 21 Trillion Dollars Hidden in Tax Havens
- Geopolitics The World is Changing Minute by Minute
- Could We Have the Wars Without the Manipulation?
- Blowing Up History
- United Nations Human Rights Council is Irredeemable
- Triumph of Green Capital
(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.