I was listening to the BBC on may way to or back from work the other day and I heard some interesting statements.
The overall topic was the economy and various theories and such about stimulating a down economy....with growth and progress being key concepts (traditionally) and it moved into ideas about sustainability and prosperity and our definitions of these things........
and while most likely no one will argue or disagree with the fact that poorer/developing countries are in need of urgent economic development and growth......there can be some very diverse ideas about whether or not those in rich countries really need more economic growth, higher incomes, etc.
Is it possible to achieve prosperity without growth?
So this gave me a lot to think about.
At the outset I thought: I don't define prosperity as growth.
But then as I went along and the program continued and expanded on different ideas - I suddenly thought about how 'we' view the next generation. . . .Don't we always want the next generation 'to be better off than we were'? Isn't that a statement you've heard before? Maybe embraced before?
And I thought - WHY? Why do they need to be 'better' off.....if we are prosperous now - comfortable, 'flourishing' (which ok, I know means different things to different people), enjoying life.........why do they need to be 'better off' (and how do we define that anyway)?
And is it all about money/economics?
Is 'more' also 'better'?
So while on one hand I'm not a material kind of person, and I have HUGE empathy and heart for those with less, and I have understood and appreciated how extremely blessed I am................this whole program on BBC revealed yet another dichotomy in life, for me.
One of those subtle shifts in which awareness is heightened, the fish feels or sees the water its in or I, the air I breathe. Think about being in a 'room temperature' setting and then stepping outside into a 30degree morning as I did today. I was breathing before I went outside but I was not aware of the air I was taking in. I didn't feel it moving through my nose and into my lungs.......it was there, but not there,
until I stepped outside.
Then I actually became acutely AWARE of the air.
I felt it moving in a cold rush - into my nose, down my throat, into my lungs............and I saw it wisp out in white tendrils as I exhaled.
It woke me up, that's for sure! Yesterday wasn't nearly as cold and I think we're definitely heading into winter.
That is the kind of subtle shift I mean. You already know it, but are suddenly MORE aware of it. Maybe it wakes you up a bit, informs you that things are going to be a bit different from here on out.
I have often believed 'we' could stand to slow down, back off of the mad dash to move forward, reeeeelaaaaaaaaax a little, enjoy life...............and give more. This idea of prosperity and redefining it moved me a little further along in my thinking though.....subtly.
I will never forget Bush's words on 9/11. He said a lot of good things but he also said: 'we are open for business'. Not in those words - it was actually "Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.".
Economy. It will be open.
Is economic growth the harbinger of prosperity?
do we have to keep growing, growing, growing? at what cost?
What alternatives do we have?
What prevents things from changing?
because it might upset the status quo......?
I'd love to hear any thoughts............