Does The Flap Of A Bankers Jaw On Wall Street Cause A Dust Bowl In Detroit


By Lisa Earle McLeod

Forget world peace, we just need to make money. To recycle a phrase made popular during another political season – it’s the economy, stupid. You can’t open the newspaper, surf the web, or watch TV without hearing someone either suggesting a plan for fixing it or arguing why the other guy’s plan won’t work. I don’t pretend to fully understand the intricacies of our nation’s financial system. The way all the pieces fit together, credit, gas, housing, the job market; how they’re all connected to the global economy; and why, when a potter can’t sell her earthen bowls at the street fair in San Jose, the guy who makes carburetors in Kansas might be looking at a shorter work week. It’s kind of like “the butterfly effect.” Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas? Only in this case the question might be, does the flap of a banker’s jaw on Wall Street set off a dust bowl in Detroit? Events of the last few years have made it pretty clear that, like it or not, we’re all connected spiritually, emotionally and economically. What happens to one person or group, eventually affects us all. Many have argued that trying to address some of our healthcare, education and environmental issues needs to be put on the back burner until we can get our economy back on track. But do we really want to rebuild our economic system exactly the way it was before the crash? I’m no stranger to economic angst; my husband and I lost our family business, and most of our money, in this crisis. Nor do I pretend to be a financial reporter but, as a spiritual and social observer, it strikes me that although we’ve been living with the illusions of prosperity for the last few years, our culture had in many ways become vacant, hollow and emotionally bereft. I don’t mean to suggest that we’re all shallow. People were feeding the poor before the recession, and I’m sure they find even more meaning, purpose, (and need) for their work now. But during the last decade, the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness often generated into nothing more than a quest for more stuff. And the noble goal of improving our economic circumstances through hard work and ingenuity was often replaced by quick cash schemes, and no holes barred greed. I believe that we are at a turning point. We can try to recreate what we had, or we can use this opportunity, when everything has fallen apart, to pause and think about how we can rebuild something better. We can reinforce the old values or we can stimulate new ones. Do we want to create an exterior world that matches the interior yearnings of our spirit? Or do we want to create another homage to the human ego? In this time of fear and uncertainty, perhaps we would do well to take a lesson from our forefathers; visionary thinkers who thought beyond the limits of their self-interests to create a system that brought out the best in our collective souls. If they were alive today, would they be worried about Wall Street? Or would they be trying to put us on a path to reclaim worldly wisdom?

Lisa Earle McLeod is a syndicated columnist, author, keynote speaker and business consultant who specializes in helping individuals and organizations create happiness and success. Her latest book is Finding Grace When You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear – For more info – <>

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