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We are failing ourselves

December 10, 2008

As the various crises of our collective irresponsibility come to a head (and they haven’t reached their peak by a long stretch) the actions of those in power, particularly at the highest levels of government, are now well beyond inadequate. They are criminal. Our own lack of action is no less criminal. Our continued reluctance to face the realities behind the crises of finance, energy, raw materials etc (essentially greed and denial) will only make the impact far worse in both the short and long term. Much should have been done over the last 25 years let alone the last 5 years let alone right now that has simply not been and is not being done.

With regard to the irresponsible behavior of our heads of state, I will use the UK – my home – as a prime example. What does it say about Gordon Brown and HM Treasury that instead of collecting the outstanding corporation tax that’s owed to the government…

an initial report last year suggested the figure could be as high as £8.5bn.
–BBC news

…they are borrowing against future taxes – our future income – to bail out banks that have invested unethically and irresponsibly. Whose best interests are being looked after here? As always, it is those of the shareholders – the profiteers. This has become so transparent as to be perpetually outrageous. What else is the UK government doing to hold corporations accountable for their appalling sociopathic behavior? How about some dividend exemptions for profits made by multinationals outside the UK? It seems the financial meltdown is now being used as an excuse to give big business more freedom to exploit and control for the sake of profit. This is totally unacceptable. History will not forget these people who have led us blindfolded to the edge of a precipice, themselves perhaps not so much blindfolded as looking the other way, and off into the abyss without so much as a rubber dinghy.

As for our own role in this, we have all looked the other way – particularly with regard to our own habits as consumers – for far too long. Many of us know it is a poor philosophy to be wasteful and yet still allow it to happen. We buy food that is not organic (and therefore damages our most precious resource: land), food that is not locally sourced (costing far more energy for poorer food quality) and food that supports unspeakable cruelty to animals – to name but a few common misdeeds.

It is the collective neglect of the impact we each have that must be swept away if we are to make the transition into the uncertain future of the next few years. We must all change our habits.

It is the overt abuse of power in favor of the super-wealthy that our government must correct or be replaced immediately.

There is no time to waste. If we do not act now the blow will be all the more swift and all the more painful.

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