Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What's the Economy For?

What is the economy for? A profound question, isn’t it? Is it to create ‘jobs’? What kind of jobs – minimum wage jobs? A single person much less a family can’t survive on that. Is it to create ‘profits’? In what form and for who – for the workers, the managers, the owners; as stock, bonuses, or increases in pay? Does the economy exist for everyone, so that everyone can have at least a minimally decent life, or does it exist for some more than others?

What is the economy for? Does it exist to provide a good, fair or poor quality of life?

How is one to participate in the economy – as a minimum wage laborer, professional, golden parachute manager or silver spoon owner?

Is one’s place in the economy earned or is it a matter of chance? Do the people without education, decent food and housing have the same chance to succeed as those with all the necessities?
Is the economy about opportunity or outcomes?

Do we want the economy to provide people, simply by virtue of their being born, minimum standards of nutrition, health, and employment? Or, as we do now, want the economy to deal with the crime, disease, corruption and lack of productivity that comes from the absence of minimum standards?

These are profound questions. In our current polarized ego dominated society they seem to be either/or choices – that the best we can do is equal opportunity, not equal outcomes, and even minimum standards for outcomes are beyond us. That people by virtue of their birth alone, even here in the greatest country on earth, are guaranteed nothing, not even the kind of true equal opportunity that would come from minimum quality of life standards.

Yet the truth is, with spirit, all things are possible. Instead of being about spirit or ego, either/or, win/lose, equal opportunity or minimum standard outcomes, it can be about both/and, win/win, both equal opportunities and minimum standard outcomes.

It doesn’t have to be about the primitive, competitive, dog-eat-dog, winner take all standards we employ now. There can be competition, but not vicious dog-eat-dog, winner take all standards we employ now. There can be compassion, joy, cooperation and community.

In fact, if you look at most of everyday life, compassion and cooperation are still the norm, tho fading fast. So what’s the economy for – either/or, or both/and? Believe it or not, it’s our choice.

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