Economic Crisis: A Collision of Trends

This year has been economically volatile for the United States. Trends which have been gaining momentum over the past 30 years have collided to produce an economic crisis of gigantic proportions.

Such trends as expanding global freedom, declining ethics, greater international competition, progressively greater percentages of oil being imported, and increasing ideological polarization have intersected to create an impacting train wreck that will be experienced around the world.

Will this create structural change? (Please refer to my blog of 9-2-08 for a definition of structural change). I believe it will. What I am observing from this phenomenon is that Americans are demanding more accountability and responsibility from their leaders representing both governmental and private organizations. Perhaps there are record numbers of people engaged in the political process who are demanding transparency from these leaders. People are moving from apathy to involvement. It is refreshing to see democracy at work and to witness the engrossment of citizens in the happenings of our country. They are demanding accountability in government, business, religion, and nonprofit organizations.

Yes, we are having a train wreck. It is still occurring. However, at some point, the wreckage must be fixed and the tracks repaired. As a country, we will do that, and, in so doing, many countertrends will emerge. Over time, this condition will be a part of history. But something bigger is happening. People are becoming involved. They are demanding empowerment. They are insisting on leadership transparency. This is the major structural change that is occurring.

However, great responsibiity is required of empowered people. They must be informed about the issues. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are essential in order to objectively assess circumstances and exercise sound judgment. I question that large numbers of people possess the skills and readiness to tackle this new assignment. Hopefully, more emphasis will be placed on these skills in our schools from pre-kindergarten through university level in order to equip our people with the wisdom required of empowerment.

Of course, in governmental affairs, there is always the fact that the general public deals in incomplete information due to security reasons. The questions become: Can good decisions be made without all the facts? Is having all the facts “go public” healthy for national security? Herein exists the dilemma. It stands to reason, then, in our republic, that somewhere along the way, we must trust our elected representatives who should have complete information at their fingertips. It, then, becomes the responsibility of the voters to elect trustworthy officials.

Yes, the United States and the world are living in uncertain, chaotic times. This is nothing new. With all of us working together and exercising wise choices, we can use this structural change as a pivot point for both national and global improvement.

© 2008, Carolyn Corbin.

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