It’s a new year and we have a chance at a new start. Of course we always have a chance at a new start but something about changing our calendars has our minds thinking in those terms. As usual it seems “the economy” is a primary issue in many peoples’ minds. I’d like us to more carefully define that issue. It’s not “the economy”, as measured by the fluctuations of the Dow Jones that concerns most people on Earth, so much as it’s the material well-being of ourselves, our families, our communities. These things aren’t measured by the Dow Jones. The Dow Jones can be going up while most of our bank accounts are circling the drain. We really need to change the criteria by which our culture measures economic well-being to something based in grassroots reality.
Abraham Maslow defined for us a very revealing Hierarchy of Needs. He said that people who are hungry, homeless or just too worried about basic necessities don’t do very well at becoming whole, loving, fulfilled human beings. If I had ever told my Grandmother about what Maslow had to say I think her response might have been; “Doesn’t everybody know that?” So, don’t we? Basic material well-being is a foundation necessary for us to have a chance at building well-rounded, fulfilling lives. Isn’t it time that we concerned ourselves with a sound foundation being reasonably available to everyone rather than what the numbers in the Dow Jones are?
Imagine our nation, and our world, preoccupied with the physical, spiritual and cultural health of all rather than cutthroat competition for exorbitant wealth! There are those loudly proclaiming by word and/or action that greed is good. The fact is that it’s not. Not on a cultural level nor a personal level if we take the whole person into account. Because of the finite reality of material wealth, in order for any person to be exorbitantly/inordinately wealthy, many are going to have to accept less than an equitable share. In other words, exorbitant wealth for a few produces material poverty for many. Material poverty, which as Maslow described, translates into poverty of both body and spirit. This year I’d like to see a limit on personal income and accumulated wealth become a reality.