By now we see that all the talk about austerity in these economic hard times does not apply to the wealthiest whose wealth has increased as their taxes remain low It does not apply to military spending or the budgets of the intelligence community. It does not apply to the bankers in the too-big-to-fail banks. It does apply to those with no jobs, low-paying jobs, and insecure jobs. It does apply to students in state universities, to people without health insurance, and to many who can no longer self-identify as middle class.
Entries in economics (4)
What time is it in Earth’s story? Thinking in terms of geological epochs, we currently live in the Holocene epoch, a subcategory of the Pleistocene Era. The Holocene dates from 12,000 years ago, or 10,000 BCE. That is when the last epoch of glaciation across the northern hemisphere receded and temperatures began to moderate globally. All of what we call the “history of civilization” has happened within this Holocene period (Wikipedia) —a period of relative climate stability. The story of homo sapiens goes back well before civilization to 200,000 years ago. That puts the emergence of our homo sapiens ancestors in the latter part of the Pleistocene epoch which measures back to 1.8 million years ago.
Each religious tradition, through various spokespersons, speaks of living faithfully within Earth’s majestic, evolving story. Similarly, each religious tradition has voices critiquing economic behaviors and systems that exceed what Creation’s orders can handle. The story of Earth and the cosmos of Creation impact us in all those ways that we cluster in such words as “spiritual,” “sacred,” and “holy.” That impact evokes in us awe, wonder, reverence, worship, caring, love, and great inquisitiveness. Our curiosity is expressed in both everyday observations and in refined scientific inquiry.
More and more of us are finding that parts of the story we’ve been living aren’t working. When we talk about what we are doing, some words that flowed and described our activity before now stick in our throat, or somewhere. In our gut or heart or head, other voices are saying, “But it’s not working. You need to change.”
This story which is now failing, I call the multi-Earths story because it takes multiple Earths to sustain it. The endless wars and ruthless competition for the resources of our one planet expose this story as utterly inadequate to fit within the carrying capacity of our planet. That the multi-Earths story is a weakling story is further revealed by its reliance on and animation of lower human capacities such as greed and fear. Its frailty to address such realities as radical inequalities of resources and power, species dieoff, and a rapidly expanding population all convince us that we humans are capable of a far better story.