Hey i'm not trying to enforce anything left, right or center referenced in your note below. And I have carry no brief on what the Miami U student government should or should have not done with regard to campus coffee purchases.
I most certainly do however, have a very strong opinion about someone's statement dismissing the plight of others less fortunate than they with the comment that dissatisfied peasants in Columbia can quit and get another higher paying job. I have a most definite opinion that if people cannot nurture a good deal more empathy than Mr. Ulrich (along with the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal) has shown, than our civilization as an expression of our humanity is bereft of what is necessary for our souls to flourish and prosper.
You see, even though I am a card carrying economist, I do not conceive of THE market as something so exalted that it transcends what it is that can make our ugly brutish selves into something very beautiful. Once the market becomes an end -- an arbiter of all interactions -- instead of a means within tightly constrained bounds that recognizes its inherent limitations, we have consigned ourselves to the mindless pursuit of money for its own sake without regard to the others with whom we momentarily share this small globe.
What I'm trying to do is not enforce anything on Mr. Ulrich. Even if I were to try, that would be a notably ineffective approach. What I am suggesting that we do is attempt, without judgmental disapprobation, to reach into that kernel of goodness which resides in everyone, and through that transcendence that comes when one does strike gold -- and that's what that spiritual awakening constitutes -- use that as a vehicle to help others similarly situated in mindset, see a possible pathway out of their crabbed and conflated excuse for living.
In Europe, as the pressures mounted in the 1990's to work longer hours and pursue the very highest profit margins without regard to the human consequences, the society as a whole paused and asked themselves whether a higher standard of living when measured in artificial monetary terms is worth those human losses. In America, quite the contrary. Not only don't we ask, we do not even notice the transition to our becoming mindless, monetary automatons.
How we define ourselves as a people is the single most salient battle for America's hearts and minds in this new century, and any small step that we can take to epitomize the issues and raise them up the flagpole constitutes for America the potential for a renewed beginning.
One more thing, since this is occupying the Greenyes listserve: the success of recycling -- built as it is on people's desire to try to do something palpable that is good even though it works largely against the marketplace -- ultimately depends upon rejuvinating that better part of ourselves.
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