Well, it’s ’bout time for me to post some thoughts about the current state of the world. I sometimes wish that I had a column in a major newspaper, so that I could generate national debate and establish talking points for The View. But, alas, my blog is just too random, too all-over-the-place, too largely mundane and only intermittently insightful, too much me, to ever hold such a place in the pantheon of established punditry. I wouldn’t have it any other way, of course. I will hold forth, in any case, as if the entire world listens attentively to my every last quest for meaning.
To the point: the major news item on our collective plate is the economy. We all know that the “bailout” plan, as it is called, is pretty much a bunch of hogwash, but we also all know that we need to do something, and not many of us are economically minded enough to know quite what that is. We just know that we want our retirement funds to stop being depleted, etc. First of all, I recommend checking in with Paul Krugman’s blog from time to time for some academic economic insight parsed down, relatively speaking, for the average Joe. He has written a short paper explaining what he thinks is going down right now, and to parse it even more simply into my own think-speak, it basically has to do with the global interdependence of financial markets. Which is why shortly after our economy started nose diving, the European economy has started feeling the effects of free-fall gravity as well.
If you follow my random output of thought consistently, then you’ve noted that I have a certain fascination with the concept of interdependence (go ahead and check out my posts filed under the topic of ‘interconnectivity‘ if you don’t believe me). I see interdependence, interconnectivity, the intwinement of multiple beings into one collective entity, as a source of greater strength. An individual vulnerability that establishes greater collective depth and power. This is the strength of the artist, the strength of the family, the strength of the nation. It makes us more open to superficial attack, but better resilient to sustained barrages.
Our economy—and hence, the global economy—is undeniably, at this point, in for some hard times. For how long, of course, no one can say. I have discussed elsewhere about how the economy is inevitably headed towards seeming disaster, but also about how what appears as tragic at the moment could potentially turn into a deeper manifestation of something necessary and redemptive i.e. the movement towards a more sustainable society. However, this transformation can only occur if we are willing to make some changes, such as move towards more Democratic—even *gasp* Socialist—notions of political governance as opposed to continuously giving in to Republican “small-government, big business” ideals. Obviously, putting Barack Obama into office is a great first step on this path. But beyond the presidential campaign, we need to push much harder for a move towards responsible government policy and regulation.
It’s sort of ridiculous that it takes a crisis or tragedy for people to awaken to the importance of individual sacrifice for collective betterment. It’s what we do in hard times, and it’s what people who live in poverty always do: help each other out. It’s about time that we start taxing the rich, taxing or putting caps on destructive and wasteful practices (such as lawns, SUVs, and plastic product packaging), and investing back into our society as a whole.
We all know that Communism and/or Fascism has failed. We all know that we believe in freedom and democracy for all. But it’s time that we grew up and recognized, as mature adults, that firm regulation, investments, and incentives must be established for people and businesses to do the right thing. And we must further recognize that we can’t go this alone. We need Government, with a capital ‘G’, and that means ‘G’ as in Global in addition to national. The US, for far too long, has been able to get away with insouciant and unconsidered behavior because we once were a superpower. We will henceforth be known as the last of the world’s superpowers. There will be no more superpowers, just as there will be no more Picassos. There will always be nations that have greater power, just as there will always be individuals who have greater influence. But no longer will there be a singular entity that can completely dominate and determine the direction of world commerce or culture.
What does this mean for us as a nation, and as individuals, then? It means that we have to become a team player. It means that we have to know our place in the world. It means that we have to not only compete, but cooperate. That’s what it means, at an extremely basic and fundamental level.
This ultimately ties back into deeper issues such as environmental stewardship, spirituality as opposed to religious fundamentalism, scientific advancement and technological development coupled with social progress, etc. But I’m not going to get into any of those wonderful issues at the moment because I’m beginning to get sleepy, and I’ve got another long week looming ahead of me. Due to my inability to post as frequently as I would like to, I’m going to begin utilizing WordPress’ nifty new function of sticking old posts up on my front page, so that you can see some selections of my old shit that I feel is worth perusing. Til next time, piiiiigs iiiin spaaaaaaace. . .