Monday, August 08, 2011
Enough is plenty
Enough is plenty. This is the title of a book, written by a Sociology prof at NUIM (who is also an occasional member of Transition Town Maynooth).
It is also the topic of today's blog as I have recently plunged down the path of dark thoughts and dark spaces.
Clearly, the King Louis the XVI moment is upon us. And I am silly for not having recognized this earlier. The world economy is in decline. The end of plenty is upon us. And few of us are willing to accept our, now smaller, piece of the pie. As an older person, retired, or close to retirement, it is the diminished returns of your savings that is affected. For younger people, and certainly for the hefty majority of the planet whom are amongst the lower socioeconomic strata, the diminished global economy affects the ability to gain employment and earn enough to ever actually achieve a life of stable financial means.
Thus leading to the riots in London, the Greek protests, the Middle East uprisings, along with the rise of right-wing conservatism (like the Tea Party). These groups may seem to have completely different political motivations, yet the root of their convictions stems from the same heart... trying to gain (maintain) a certain share of the pie in world of diminishing returns.
So now lets descend down a path of blame... certainly the financial market and regulators; the lenders and the buyers; and all the people whom can be painted with the brush of the greedy. Governments, too, are responsible. For they collectively turned a blind eye to all those advisers ringing warning bells of increased government debt and an overheated market place. Research into the topic clearly indicates that the Irish Government was certainly well warned in advance. Surely the Greek government knew of their debt issues. And I really doubt Bush Jr. and his advisers could proclaim innocence. Et cetera, et cetera.
Was it greed, or an unwillingness to take responsibility for bursting the bubble that allowed this situation to steadily inflate? Likely a bit of both. But I can hardly claim superiority, from my arm chair vantage point, for I too am more than willing to take something for nothing. For all that we may complain of China's rising super power, and lack of integrity (in terms of copyright, and labour laws, etc.) we are more than willing to benefit from the goods produced by those "loose morals". As a parent, I am all too aware of the cost of toys produced in a "developing economy" versus those produced locally. It is simply the "survival of the fittest" side of our animal nature that leads to this want for more than our share. So while it's easy for me to condemn David Drumm, it's also easy for me to behave in a similar manner by simply distancing myself from any actual responsibility.
Does such a dark place of human nature have a bright light? Yet there is a heart of hope in this bleak blog. To be human is to struggle towards kindness, community and thoughtful understanding.
Enough is Plenty. The book itself is rather dry, but the concept is simple and wholehearted. Perhaps if we all started actually considering, WHAT IS ENOUGH? and HOW SHALL WE LIVE? then we can move on from a place of anger to a place of ensuring that there is enough for everyone and everything. Let us truly join the global village, for "united we stand, divided we fall".
The picture is of Brad and Nikolai waiting for the commuter train to arrive in Maynooth.