Since 2007 when the US triggered the financial crisis with the subprime mortgage debacle, the world has suffered through a Global recession, banks and governments have gone bankrupt, unemployment has reached double digits, the on-going Euro zone crisis, the Arab spring, the Wall Street occupiers; the list is endless, and it is predicted that things will get a lot worse before they get better.
The blame is pointed directly at the unmitigated greed of the bankers and the banks, the lack of transparency and governance, and the need for accountability and transparency. While the US is drowning in negative equity and foreclosed homes, and Europe is losing the battle against the Eurozone, we are told that austerity is the only solution that will get us out of this mess. We are being told to tighten our belts, tear up credit cards and hang tight as the world as we know it comes crashing down and society slips into a welfare state.
Why does no one talk about growth? Self-reliance? Taking risks? Creating wealth? Well when Governments (the United States government is the nation’s largest employer and in the UK it is the NHS) have that kind of control (and however they reframe it,it is a socialist economic system) the economy comes to a screeching halt ; so besides raising taxes, austerity measures are their only options. But to quote Margaret Thatcher, “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”
It’s become politically incorrect to talk about wanting to make money. Business ethics is all well and good, however taking it to the extreme with the result that many businesses have gained a bad reputation just by being in business, is a reflection of the anti-capitalistic movement that is being promoted and encouraged.
According to Michael Moore, capitalism in 2011 is an evil system and the Occupy Wall Street Movement with their hatred of capitalism are leading the charge to remove it from society. Yet for the last 100 years it is that very system that made the United States and Europe great; it is capitalism that made them super powers and that created the innovation and inventions that exist today.
Why do we choose to embark on a witch hunt and destroy the capitalistic hand that feeds us, so to speak? That same system that gave us the freedom to dream, to aspire to greatness and to live out our ambitions and aspirations. And let’s face it, in the western world we all benefitted from capitalism. Not so long ago we were pretty smug in our capitalistic clothing. There were no complaints when everyone in the western world was buying coloured TVs, upgrading cars and homes every year, going on holidays and sending the kids to private schools, getting our overdrafts and loans from those same banks we now blame for the state of the economy.
We turned against capitalism, and in the process killed the spirit of entrepreneurism and creativity. As a result we now have business leaders, entrepreneurs and the dreamers lining up to take courses in enlightened leadership, to learn how to become more spiritual and more in touch with their higher selves.
But don’t we need our business leaders and entrepreneurs to be risk takers, innovators and visionaries? We need them to be masters of the universe, to be larger than life and to have the freedom, courage and the guts to create and manifest their dreams. We need them to reach for the stars and beyond. Because through them and their visions, mass wealth is created and it is key to a successful society. We are so quick to blame capitalism for its evil and greed, while conveniently ignoring that the polar opposite of capitalism is socialism and communism. No one wants to live in a socialist or communist society, yet here we are, embracing the very ideology that was responsible for the decades of atrocities in Russia, the Eastern bloc, Cuba, Korea, and China.
And on the fringes of this economic mess is the rise of radicalism, a stealth menace whose numbers are growing at an alarming rate on both sides of the Atlantic. The seeds of nationalisation are steadily taking hold.
So as capitalism lies in the ashes, world governments’ control everything and the wings of nationalism are rising phoenix- like once again, is it hypocrisy, apathy, or indifference that got us here?