Friday, February 27, 2009

Time to Downsize America's Collective Ego

As the nation's economy implodes around us, it might be a good time to re-evaluate our basic values. Considering the fact that the Japanese economy dropped by 10% in a single month this past January, which left thousands in Tokyo without a job, and desperate to find a way to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world, many turned to renting $20 dollar a day rooms that are barely larger than a closet. Others have taken to living in tents, and cars. Similar things are happening in the worst hit areas of the US.

Though I doubt people in the US will suffer the way the poor in developing countries will. It annoys me that the world's three riches men have more personal income than the world's 48 poorest countries combined and worldwide billions of people live on less than $2 dollars a day. But justice is a topic for another day.

For the majority of Americans it is a good time to consider ways to economize and downsize. (Check this out - Tumbleweed

In the 1930's, economic hardships changed the character of the American people. Sayings such as "Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without" became common. People were forced to make tough choices. Americans became more compassionate when they saw their hardworking, self reliant neighbors humbled by the tough times. The kids who arrived at school without shoes and big patches on the knees of their pants weren't laughed at, ridiculed or shunned. (What a contrast to today's standards where kids feel inferior if they wear a WalMart "NoLogo" brand of shoes to school.

The housing bubble set the trend in housing toward ever larger and larger homes. Observing from a distance to me it seemed that America was also in the midst of an ever expanding bubble of arrogance represented by the neoconservative's concept of American "Exceptionalism" (the notion that America has been chosen by God to have dominion over the world). Bush's arrogant leadership style is the hallmark of elitist thinking. (Bush called himself "the Decider." And despite his disapproval rating his administration claimed he had a mandate to rule). The idea that America is too big and too powerful to ever possibly fail should be forever cast from our collective concept of ourselves. Pride goes before a fall. It is time for Americans to wake up the delusional self adoration we have had the habit of promoting among ourselves, calling it patriotism. Sorry, I hate to tell you this but America is not number one.

It is time for Americans to "get real" and find our true place in the world and perhaps, eventually, by self-reliance and hard work, re-create the great nation we once were. In the mean time its probably a good time to downsize your personal lifestyle, by cutting out as many of the non-essentials as possible and redirecting your time and attention from entertainment pastimes to productive activities.

Our focus should shift away from consumption to the production of durable "goods and quality of life enriching services" Our "Conehead" over consumption compulsion has nearly devastated the planet. Over consumption is unjust, spiritually bankrupt and both physically and emotionally self-destructive. (The absurdity and injustice of the situation is easily seen when you compare the life of 10 year old Indonesia girl, laboring 14 hours a day in a piece-work garment factory to produce consumers goods for the overweight middle class woman who drives her Lexus to a super-mall, then rides the escalator to the gym where she works out on a treadmill to lose weight.)

Its not right for Americans to get fat and sassy as others around the world suffer and sacrifice to make our life easier. And worse we are literally impoverishing our children and grandchildren to do it.

It is time to downsize America's collective ego.

-Watch This Report on Job Losses in Japan - Report

-Compare US to China - Superpower China Built by Unseen Hands

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