Wednesday, February 11, 2009

SUVs and Overseas Bases: Both Part of the Imperial Mindset

Two mindsets are clashing. The first is the "imperial" mindset, shared by the financial imperialists--the John Thains and Richard Fulds whose financial greed brought us the financial crisis--and the political imperialists--the Dick Cheneys and Binjamin Netanyahus whose greed for power has caused so many wars.

John Thain of Merrill Lynch wanted a $10 million bonus for destroying his company and Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers accepted $22 million in bonus for destroying his company, not to mention life as we know it in America. Fuld got about half a billion in salary over the years; he should have paid the Federal Wall Street bailout himself. Now they should both be working in soup kitchens...and living upstairs.

The other mindset is "think globally/act locally" mindset of modest, green, and responsible lifestyle.

Whether it is commuting alone in an SUV, signing up for a mortgage you know you can't afford, getting rich off credit default swaps, suppressing minorities so you can steal their land, or conquering oil-rich countries too proud to take orders, it is all part of the imperial mindset. In our complex (interconnected, self-adaptive) world, it's all connected. Chinese loans have been funding both our gluttonous personal   consumption habits and our gluttonous international empire-building habits. That means the solution will require that we temper our international appetites at the same time as we temper our personal lifestyle appetites. To eliminate the imperial mindset and learn to live within our means, both the SUV and those bases in Iraq and Afghanistan will have to go. 

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