Responsibility?

The New York Times reported in a February 22, 2013 article, Mindful of Bubbles in a Boom for Deals, by James B. Stewart, that according to Thomson Reuters, in the first two months of 2013, there have been more than a thousand mergers and acquisitions, valued at more than $162 billion, which is more than twice the increase over the same period in 2012. At this current rate of mergers and buyouts, the total for 2013 could be more than $2 trillion, which will greatly surpass the $1.57 trillion in 2007, before the financial crisis spread across the world.

The last few years have witnessed increasing reports of record levels of corporate profits, while layoffs and unemployment increase, leaving citizens and governments virtually powerless to institute any substantial changes, with most governments also unwilling to even attempt to institute changes to improve the lives and income of working people, the 99%.

Yet, our various media sources, politicians, and scholars continuously pump out reports of how so many economic, social, and environmental conditions continue to deteriorate, heightening the sense of crisis, fear, and powerlessness in the hearts and minds of so many billions of people. That is, if those billions of people are actively paying attention rather than attempting to seek some balm of escapism from their feelings of powerlessness, or even shame.

Responsibility?

How can we effectively and morally discuss the issues of responsibility for these gargantuan challenges we are all confronted with, in terms of the average citizen worker and consumer?

I cannot find within myself any moral right to suggest that unless everyone does at least something to begin to turn back this tsunamic tide of decline in our quality of life that they are irresponsible: I suggest that, whether considered consciously or not, each person has the unquestionable right to live their own life as they must, as long as they are not directly responsible for any damage to anyone else’s life and limb. That said, then how can we effectively discuss the issue of responsibility, a subject which is paramount to any relational, social, or political condition?

I suggest that we each consider if there is not, in fact, some minimal efforts we can make to both improve the potential of our own lives and the lives of most people who share this planet with us: Each hand lifting water at the edge of the ocean could create, if not literally, then at least figuratively, a tsunami of change which could be seen and felt by most who cared to look. What change could this be, what would it look like? As for responsibility, it would not actually require all of us to be responsible for that effort, for that commitment to change, only a tipping point of a few million, but those few million acting in some sense of a chorus of unity, a chorus of recognized and committed responsibility, freely chosen and freely given in a sacred and compassionate act of sharing.

It is really quite simple, but not easy: The United States represents the most powerful economic and political force among all the nations of this world, and historically presents itself as the model of democracy and human rights.

However, much of that presentation is a great deception, a deeply embedded lie, arising for the most part out of our own willingness to be decieved, lest we risk the pain of coming face to face with how our own culture and government actually places very little value on our individual lives, and has never actually attempted to create a social and legal structure to provide for the general welfare, in grave contradiction to what the Preamble of our Constitution claims.

How much unity of voice would actually be required to change our social and legal structure, how much expenditure of energy would we have to invest in order to turn this great battleship of our country around and begin to change our system, to bring forth “a new nation, conceived in liberty for all”? I suggest that if some few million of us only spent five minutes a week for some six or seven months engaged in the same general conversation about the proposal on this site for a set of major Constitutional amendments, then we would witness the “tsunami” of potential change happening right before our eyes and within our hearts: We just have to agree and commit to this singular, united effort, and consistently devote a minimum of five minutes a week, discussing this proposal with our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

At the same time, we must be ever vigilant about becoming invested in efforts for social and political changes which only address symptoms of what ails our nation and our world, rather than what is really missing from our fundamental social and political structures. We can too easily be drawn into actions which might make us feel better about ourselves and our sense of commitment, but will not actually bring about the fundamental kinds of changes which will generate new roots sprouting with ever-lasting green shoots.

As I said, “it is really quite simple, but not easy.” And the world has never witnessed such a small but united and powerful commitment. We just have to do it. Five minutes a week for some six or seven months. Do you have a place in your heart to commit to that few minutes a week?

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Corporations Will Eventually Wake Up and Support Workers

Ultimately, it is possible if not even likely that the corporate world led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its capitalist driven, profit-valued fundamentalism, will begin to support the more liberal and humanist value of supporting employees by providing better income and benefits and shorter working hours because it is the most logical direction to take, given the corporation’s fundamental value of profits:

Profits and their increase eventually require more consumers and it is ultimately only with the cooperation and direction of corporate policies improving employee income and working conditions that steady growth in first world consumption can occur. How long this revisionism will take to manifest, remains to be seen. Many, if not most corporations will likely continue on their current path of converting the impoverished of the third and second world into lower-paid new consumers, and until that approach begins to show diminishing returns, combined with any increase in loud and outraged voices in the U.S. and other first world nations, the impetus of the status quo will almost certainly continue. In addition, there will remain the inherent contradiction about how this ultimate eventuality of the increase of billions of new consumers and the increase of consumption of the current consumers can also be reconciled with a sustainable world. However, only the most myopic reactionaries could fail to foresee that this redirection of multinational corporate policy would achieve the greatest implementation of double-speak since Orwell first coined the term. Endless television, print, and internet advertisements would make this religious conversion of corporate philosophy into the greatest modern body of heroes ever envisioned, doubtlessly followed blindly by a mass of all-too-willing consumers desperately in need of some new heroes to finally fulfill their faith in the normative world and its illusory, but compelling promises.

Yet, a truly sustainable world, a world committed to sustainable economics instead of profits, can only be achieved by the greatest commitment to cooperation of a vast number of citizen constituents. In order to achieve that level of cooperation, citizens must build, by a virtual non-violent revolution, a real representative republic, which can only be achieved by significant Constitutional amendments. Anything less is simply adding fodder to a faith in a disastrous and increasingly deadly illusion.

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