|Wednesday, 10 August 2011 10:51|
Too many years ago to admit, I had the privilege and persistence to study economics and political theory with the best minds of the time. When these renown, experienced intellects cited post-WWII economics, pre-WWIII economics and the future, they drilled into our tired minds the inevitability of the critical situation that we face today. Even Galbraith, as a professor and in person, a relative moderate, would become furrowed with worry over a future he continued to feel wretched about as he settled into old age at his bucolic home and property in Vermont. He foresaw, and lived to see, a deficit impossible to control, divisive politics due to an unbridgeable chasm between the super-rich and the poor, the compromising of basic humanitarian programs and more.
As he would say and others would paraphrase, “A sound economy is a sound society. A good economy is a good society that can take care of its own”. All free market economists or political theorists who believe free markets can work, they worried and warned decades before the fact. Today, sucker punched by a country they served in at least one war, they are all elderly and, like the vast majority of the North American (and European) population, helpless. They are also ashamed. So am I.
So often throughout history so many good people have said, “But there was nothing I could do”. As a periodically annoyingly vituperative social critic with a public stage, I am saying the same thing. While I am as concerned as the next person for the security of my family, I am listening and, in more than a few cases, observing the very “me-ness” that has led us all into this fluid, fiscal ditch. This, from older baby boomers who expected more of an inheritance, who will or have made it under the wire in terms of now threatened pensions, and who protested friskily during the era of wine and roses – youth and (parental) prosperity – in the late 60s and 70s. They still lean on their once adequate (most, parent-paid ) educations, on an award here and there, and, for blind optimism, a sense of entitlement only surpassed by that possessed by their progeny. Now, in the crunch, I hear nothing about those suffering cuts from entitlement programs, the increased poverty and ghetto-ization of African Americans and other ethnic groups, the increase in hate crimes, the effects of future and current climate change on the innocence of recent newborns, the loss of life in two major ongoing wars and on and on.
Most disheartening, I hear and have heard, for many years, nothing about service. I see no increase in a sense of generosity and kindness. I also see no call for service from inadequate leaders scrambling to “message” the next kick. Leaders flail, the long semi-privileged but naïve huddle in fear – all making life worse for everyone outside the rarified, tax-untouched bubble assiduously constructed over 40 years by the super-rich.
It really is time for a generation to grow up, to realize that it is on its own, and to give from what they do have and carry within them to others, hopeless and on the edge of homeless.