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The Trend toward Failure

It's amazing how ethical trends degrade right in front of us and we don't see it happen.
For example, the loss of automotive jobs in the United States was no accident. Our brightest minds knew that innovation and business integrity were vital to keeping the industry alive and strong. They ignored such actions as too costly in the short run. Business people in Asia quickly took the market from under our noses.
Once again the American auto industry ignores the obvious, despite their previous failure. The price of gas and oil is on the increase, and will never be inexpensive again. Resources are limited. The constant burning of fuels is damaging our climate, and may lead to the devastation of us all. Everyone knows that more energy efficiency is needed, along with alternative fuels.
How does the industry respond? By dragging its feet, lobbying Congress to keep efficiency standards lax, and building more inefficient SUVs.
Will Asia and Europe do the same? Probably not. Like before, they focus on competing in the marketplace, now and in the future.
So, why aren't American industries doing the same? Didn't they learn their lesson? Shouldn't CEOs be working to protect their employees and their stockholders' investments? Where is the logic of their decisions?
A cursory glance reveals their logic, and the unveiling stains us all. These business people aren't stupid. They learned their lesson — but it was not the lesson that we think.
The profits of American CEOs are so inflated that long term planning isn't necessary to acquire their own personal wealth. Fighting for the present year's profits alone has become their primary goal. If things go bad, they can bail out and let someone else benefit by coming to the rescue, albeit too late. Laying off people and closing down plants then falls under "damage control." These new CEOs then become heroes for the "necessary" devastation that they cause, reaping huge rewards and bonuses for making "tough decisions" that should not have been necessary to make.
This recurring cycle is no accident. It runs alongside the trend of building a highly successful business, and then exporting it overseas to increase already bloated profits. Many a million dollar bonus has been gained by this tactic as well. If the CEO is no longer needed, who cares? The profits already garnered are enough to last a lifetime.
This is the logic of short-sighted Capitalism as it has morphed in America today. We see a variation of it in politics as well. Throw money at a problem, no matter how ineffectively, and then claim to be a champion for its cause. Reap the benefits of lobbyists even though the nation is harmed in the long run. Stonewall progress in the name of partisanship. No one seems to notice.
This lust for short-term profits over a more intelligent and moral longevity extends itself into all aspects of our lives:

  • We continue to condemn the world to deadly global warming, under little more than the banner of self-righteous denial.
  • Our representatives rob the Social Security surplus to pay for other programs, knowing full well that coffers will be drained because of it. They even have the audacity to admit it!
  • Leaders try to make war look more palatable for the upcoming election, using words like victory, when the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives signifies only the defeat of all we stand for.
  • On a personal level, we play the same game by putting off until tomorrow what should be done today. One more cigarette won't hurt. One more drink won't make a difference. But they do, and we know it.

In simple terms, the insanity that accompanies selfish greed is ruining the world we live in with moral laziness and fleeting, irrational profits. There is no honor in this. No virtue worth extolling. While the practices may be legal (thanks to unscrupulous laws), they are immoral and should be recognized as such.
As long as money is our god, there will be no solution to this problem. As long as we teach business leaders and politicians that this kind of behavior is acceptable, we are doomed to having our lives infected by it. As long as we view people as commodities, and the earth as our sewer for as long as it lasts, we become the shameful, ignorant culprits who eventually destroy everything.
A culture is what it believes in. People are moral only in as much as their beliefs and actions are moral.
Talking about liberal compassion for the poor or conservative family values in order to garner votes means nothing if not accompanied by good will and intelligent action. We have born the burden of lies too long.
If we don't open our eyes and act quickly, we will be the generation that destroyed paradise out of blind greed.

Let's take back what was lost!


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