Saturday, October 22, 2011

Passengers and Crew

Let's face it: there is something intrinsic to our sociopolitical and economic-environmental system that is failing consistently. Whichever the field of study, we see serious faults that prolongate or even worsen human life on the planet. Deteriorating public health, organized crime, lack of food and abundance of toxic agrochemicals, deforestation and overfishing, bankrupt pension funds, ineffective political leaders, corrupt public officials, irresponsible corporations, exorbitant fiscal deficits, etc.

In some areas we have transgressed the limits of decency. Bankrupt pension funds to treat with dignity the millions of "baby-boomers" that constructed the greatest United States there ever was and who have started to retire after a life of hard work is despicable. That some fiscal deficits require 50 years to be paid is an abominable injustice against our children and even against those yet to be born. That 100,000 people -mostly children- die every day around the world from a preventable cause is a sin regardless of your religion. That the oldest trees in the planet are wiped out for a short-term gain is a blunder we will pay for generations to come.

There seems to be no common thread between these phenomena, but I would like to propose there is. Although it is true the law was never enough to contain audacity and defiance of the human spirit towards creativity and creation skipping all obstacles to arrive farther, higher, deeper, until a few decades ago there used to be enough space for some to break the rules and discover new horizons. There was abundance of resources and Economics only theoretically referred to their limits. Demand was tiny compared to today's, as well as purchasing power. Life expectation was lower and global population was a fraction of the 7 billion we are today.

Globalization did not arrive all of a sudden. It was a gradual process which we adopted and adapted to in 50 years past. Since we landed on the moon we knew we were all on the same boat here on Earth.

Nevertheless, the new millennium made us think about the long term. According to present tendencies, where will we be in a thousand years? In a hundred? In fifty? And so we have come to the realization that we cannot continue on the same path because we will collapse if we do. The only way we can prevent a tragedy of cataclysmic magnitude -and, by the way, it is worth confirming that IT IS avoidable- is to arrive at global agreements to preserve what is essential of life on the planet and help the ecosystem regenerate itself.

Our ecological footprint must become positive very soon in order to revert the tendency we are on to allow the environment to flourish -us included. In fact, with us at the lead. As Marshall McLuhan once said: "There are no passengers on spaceship Earth; we are all crew."

The time has come for us to build a system of rules that is not pegged to money, because money is not a value, only a currency. And all the money in the world cannot recuperate all what has been lost from a planet that was perfect and unique in the universe as we know it.

We require values that are durable over time, simple to comprehend, intuitive, natural, pleasurable to adopt, and that distinguish its followers as the new leaders of tomorrow. As Émile Durkheim said: "when values are sufficient, laws are unnecessary; when values are insufficient, laws are unenforceable."

1 comment:

Eduard Muller said...

Congratulations for such a concise and precise analysis. We are starting to see a shift away from globalization. Corporations and banks are loosing ground. The youth and social media are making the change. A youth that is tired of seeing how us grown-ups are sitting and waiting for something to happen.