Before the financial crisis I never really understood what all the business bits in the news really meant, the whole economy was a bit of a mystery. Since then I have learnt a few things, one of which is that money is largely an illusion. As an individual it is very real, how much I have will determine much of how I live my life. But on a societal/global level it is simply a way in which we humans organise ourselves and the economic system is just a loose rulebook on the distribution of materials and labour. As much as we think the rulebook is based on rules that are fixed like the laws of nature, it can in fact be changed at any time, you just need the political will to do so.
Which is why it is encouraging to see the whole Occupy Wall Street movement spread throughout the world. As this great Business Insider chart article shows the economic system is well and truly broken. I have said for a long time that the 2008 financial crisis wasn’t a crisis enough. Maybe I was wrong.
If economic growth is the main driver in human behaviour (on a governmental level) and this apparently is for the good of the people and the future why is this link now broken?
The current system is now supporting the rich at the expense of the 99%. Also the levels of debt will not be able to be paid of for decades. The way in which we extract our energy and extract resources to feed this economy is slowly poisoning or eroding the natural capital base on which we are all dependent. Our desire for babies and our belief in family values has caused a boom in consumption, indirectly harming others. The notion of “love miles” – jumping on a plane to see our loved ones – is also doing the same thing. And once again, the bottom 99% are going to be most affected by all of this. Just what is the system designed for?
One of the problems is that we have all grown up thinking our actions are inherently “good”. It has been a long time since we as a society have looked in the mirror and questioned this.
If this video of Dylan Ratigan doesn’t stir the blood and get you thinking I don’t know what will. Just as the political process has slowly been corrupted, so too have our values as a society.