Thank You for Counterfeit Stability and the New Humility

Every time I talk to someone I hear about another person who has lost their job, must move from their home, or is looking for a new way to survive in these uncertain times.

The system we have been using is not working for many of us.

We have traded our place in the cooperative tribe for an individual rung on the corporate ladder leading to nowhere.

The ladder is collapsing and some of us are caught on the broken rungs.

As I watch friends and acquaintances extricate themselves from these broken rungs, with splinters in their hands, I am wondering where we go from here.

What is the alternative?

How do we return to stability for our families and security for the future?

Is there such a thing anymore?

We have bought into the illusion of stability with counterfeit dollars and inflated our survival with the helium of false pride while we have insulated our illusions with superfluous consumer goods and shiny toys to represent our success in this system.

We did not succeed. We merely hand fed the whales at the top with capital plankton until they got too fat and fell on us.

Now what?

Here we are, surrounded by whale fat and broken ladders. It’s humiliating.

We don’t have the fortitude to go back to the drawing board, right?

We don’t have another two hundred years to start over.

Some of us don’t even have two months before we are looking at moving into our car.

Remember those folks who didn’t fit in well? The ones who couldn’t seem to get the hang of Capitalism, the under-educated from lower class backgrounds?

We told them to “Go get a job at McDonalds, Pull yourself up by the boot straps, Make your own opportunities—adapt!”

Maybe they will not judge us for not knowing.

Maybe they always new it was counterfiet and they can teach us how to be humble enough to live like there is a tomorrow.

Maybe they will teach us how to survive these interesting times. They’ve been practicing for decades.

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~ by leakelley on September 4, 2011.

5 Responses to “Thank You for Counterfeit Stability and the New Humility”

  1. You said it (almost) all, and powerfully, with “illusion of stability — helium of false pride — and — We merely hand fed the whales at the top with capital plankton until they got too fat and fell on us.”

    Now to explain the (almost). Disclaimer: I am a card carrying Capitalist. I believe totally in the system and in individuality. The “under-educated from lower class backgrounds” “sticking together” sounds too much like socialism, community organizations, and the now powerful “those like me” groups. We have to come to the aid of those who need help, never forgetting it is the individual with an idea and enterprise who made this country great and employ those who don’t have what it takes to create wealth.

    Our economy is not in a mess because of Capitalism, but because of criminal activity of some thinkers and wealth builders. The me first attitude of a generation has brought us to this, I think. It’s not the system, but the systemic lack of morals of the whales at the top, and you are right, it really hurts when they fall on us.

  2. I’m feeling the crush of the weight of the whales. I lost my job almost 2 months ago and I’m still looking for another. Then, as if that wasn’t enough to bear, my former employer is appealing my Unemployment benefits–saying that I don’t deserve them. I’m told the employers usually come out the winners in these appeals. If she wins, I not only lose future Unemployment checks, I have to pay pack what I’ve been given! Just where is THAT money going to come from? What kind of system is this??

  3. “We merely hand fed the whales at the top with capital plankton until they got too fat and fell on us.”

    This is by far the best description of our current circumstances that I’ve read to date. But I have to admit that the part of me that doesn’t take things too seriously was reminded of the whale in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Now that I think about it, perhaps that’s just as serious given that the whale was last seen crashing to the ground.

  4. Anhinga,
    Thanks for a thinking woman’s response!
    “It’s not the system, but the systemic lack of morals of the whales at the top”
    I agree.
    Any system can be abused or manipulated by the unforeseen falibility of humans.
    I have participated in Capitalism as a sole proprietor in a few of my own “individual” businesses. I, too, am a carrier of a Capital One card. (and a wise guy, forgive me, I can’t help it)
    But I do believe the individual is only as much a genius as the collective that supports that individual.
    We are social beings, tribal beings, one huge clan, if you will.
    Capitalism is not designed to endure without continuous communication and self referential check points among all participants.
    The Industrial Revolution required a special kind of support for the genius of individuals who initiated group investments. A single merchant could not handle all the needs of the giant clan.
    The “Clan” invested in, labored for, and supported the concept which seems to have naturally evolved into a sort of post Calvinistic absolution of the whales.

    This part does not work for me.
    I am grateful I can start my own business, use my individual genius, and even incorporate the genius of others into my endeavors.
    I like the socialism involved in good capitalism.
    And in regard to “those like me”… they all are … including you, my brilliant blog friend..

  5. We agree on so much. Those creative, industrious individuals must have supportive “clan” or workers, but the tone is set by the top individual. I think this is why so many companies are now in trouble. The person at the top was rotten. I am the whipping boy during football season, branded as a traitor because I “didn’t stick with my team through thick or thin.” No, I didn’t, but I did stick with my coach, Coach Dungy. He is the man at the top who brought order and decorum and –dare I say — morals to whatever team he coached. His influence is tangible. So is that of the heads of Lehman Bros., Citi Bank, etc. I think the “collection of individuals” can be elevated by the right genius at the top.

    Capitalism is on shaky ground right now, and “collective systems” are waiting in the wings, with our new president’s blessing. I fear a nation of takers. Without capitalist there will be no one to take from. So we’ll agree to disagree and hope for the best.

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