Thursday, January 29, 2009

What’s the Damn Hurry?

As I listen to the brisk, sometimes heated economic discussions underway in our national forums these days, I wonder if there are any right—by which I mean “correct”—answers.

One thing seems plain—if it’s coming from self-described conservatives it’s probably discredited by its own history. Clearly it doesn’t work to put unfettered business in charge of the common good. We were sold a pile of fool’s gold on that one.

If, on the other hand, it’s coming from the left we have good reason to believe that a working class dictatorship trips over its own contradictions. Didn’t that system essentially fail twenty years ago?

Presently, it seems that some sort of temporary quasi-socialism will become the economic policy choice, with the apparent hope that it will soon revive capitalism so we can hand it back to the capitalists and resume where we left off somewhere in the past—2007 for some, 1996 for others, but you’re invited to fill in your own best year from the good old days.

For my part, despite many pleasant memories, I don’t think there’s a past I really care to get back to.

And as for going forward, which way was that again?

I think it’s worth considering whether to let the old system go. By that I don’t mean do nothing. I mean don’t try to fix it.

Instead, go organic. Address need. You’re unemployed? Your school is failing? You’ve been wiped out by medical bills?

Let’s talk. What are your dreams? What do you need to get started? A loan, a grant, a reliable car?

Some things can be put off, some things demand immediate attention. Meanwhile, change is happening, new solutions are arriving in place, patched in as individual situations require. Old stuff fades away as new stuff takes shape out of its lost or forgotten parts.

We could be very busy, very soon. We may not be making any money, but we’ll be providing goods and services to one another on a daily basis. Isn’t that what an economy is supposed to do?

We have the institutional infrastructure, public and private, capable of handling this on a wide scale. All we need is our own permission.

We’ll have to take stock. With the old system of prejudice and privilege lying on the ground in a useless heap like Humpty Dumpty, what kind of a society do we want to build in its place?

Does everyone get counted in or not? Do we need loafing leaders to tell us what to do, or can we trust ourselves and others to do the right thing for the health and welfare of everybody?

How much do we really need to live? What will it take for us to live together without envy or violence?

Where is the line between human beings and Nature? How much can we use up before we are poachers on the property of Universal Life?

Our collective answers to these and similar questions will define the kind of society and social relationships we’ll build as the old system, like the feudal castle on which it was modeled, topples into rubble.

It seems we have some time to think it over. Let’s promise one another to choose wisely. There’s an old adage which applies here which I’ve found to be true.

Haste makes waste.

We Americans have always been a people in a hurry. And we’ve created incredible waste.

How much more can we really afford?


At 5:37 PM , Blogger kate loving shenk said...

Hi D11 Thanks for the post!

And love the pic of dear D!!


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