Breakthrough Newsletter
By George Pitagorsky

Volume VI, Issue 2                                                                         Top     February 2014
In This Issue
We Have a Problem
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We Have a Problem
by George Pitagorsky 

 

 

  

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, in case you are not aware of it, we have a problem.  

 

We face a complex of issues that include a growing gap between rich and poor, global warming, the rise of violent terrorist groups that owe no allegiance to nation states and an ever quickening advance in applied information technology and robotics.

 

At the same time we suffer from a shortage of leaders, an overabundance of politicians and ideologues and majorities that lack both a long term view and the patience, and maybe the capacity, to acknowledge and address the issues at hand. A very small minority hold the reins of power and the world's wealth. The vast and growing majority are poor and getting poorer. Anger is boiling over into acts of terrorism, rebellion and violent clashes between religious and ethnic groups.

What Will the Future Be Like?

What will happen if current trends continue? While we don't know for sure, it doesn't seem as if the picture is bright and cheery.

 

A continuation of the technology revolution can make for fewer jobs with robotics replacing skilled and unskilled labor. Climatic changes can create food shortages, increasing food prices.  

 

Holders of Power and wealth have historically been unwilling to sponsor and drive the kind of change that is needed to make a difference. The attempt to keep the masses down has resulted in revolutions, dictatorships, war and more revolutions.

Who Is Leading Us and Where?

Voices in the US are beginning to acknowledge the growing disparity in wealth and its potential impact. The country is divided into opposing camps with one denying that there is a role for government in addressing the problems and the other, while believing in the role of government to help to resolve these problems, seem to be at a loss for how to manage the future.

 

We see ideologues and greedy captains of industry reducing food stamp payments while sustaining farm aid that benefits large scale industrial farmers at the expense of small family farms, taxpayers and consumers. We see denial of responsibility for environmental conditions. We see inept execution of attempts to execute progressive economic and social programs.

 

Is there any hope for a ten to twenty year change program that resolves these issues without significant disruption? It's hard to predict the future, though given the propensity for short range thinking driven by yearend profit reports and election cycles it seems unlikely.

 

As Leonard Cohen says, "There's a judgment coming, but I might be wrong."

 

What can we do about it?  

What can we do to address this problem?

 

As individuals we can cultivate our own unconditional happiness and express it in kind and compassionate acts aimed at relieving suffering - our own and that of others. This implies that we take control of the way we think, speak and act.  

 

We can give up the quest for certainty and begin to take action. It is that quest that leads people to believe the promises of self deluded ideologues and con men who promise a rosy future through some simplistic program. There are no easy answers. Uncertainty is certain with few exceptions.

 

Question everything, particularly, the rhetoric that political, government, religious and business spokesmen and women dish out through the media.  

 

Say something. Don't let it go when someone says that the free market by itself is capable of dealing with the problem of poverty. You know better. Ask questions like, has this ever been the case? Is there any evidence that left to its own devices the free market has ever led to a smooth ride that has benefited everyone? What about the great depression; the banking debacle of 2008; the growing divide between rich and poor?  

 

Don't vote for people who are willing to take food stamps and unemployment benefits away from people in need without any alternatives or expression of compassion and understanding. Don't let yourself fall for the fiction that the people who benefit from these social net programs are cheats and lazy.

 

Also, speak out about the inability of government to manage the markets. There has been sufficient historical evidence that strong centralized governments create chaos when they try to control the economy.  

 

Ignorance and greed seem to make no distinction between the left and right.

 

Don't believe the ideologues, even if what they say makes you feel good. Use your intelligence to drive your votes and the way you spend your dollars to make practical choices that are founded on a long term view and practical compassion. Be willing to give up some of your immediate pleasure for the greater good, within reason.

 

Personally confront small minded ignorance and promote compassion, understanding and kindness. Take the risk to stand up for what is right. Do it at business meetings and social gatherings. Teach your children to be open-minded and open-hearted.

 

The future may be bleak or bright. It is up to each of us to make a difference.


2014 George Pitagorsky                                    Top