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Oct 11 / Jonathan

The real problem is…

Via Bob Morris, a fine piece by Sharif Abdullah.

…What is the real problem? (You may not like my answer.)

The problem is NOT mortgage-backed securities, credit default swaps, collateral debt obligations, or any of the other gobbledygook cobbled together by Wall St. whiz kids. Yes, they have created a wall of opacity compounded by incomprehensibility. But, that’s not the problem. The problem is not even “greedy” corporate CEO’s with golden parachutes.

The real problem is… you and me. I say this for 3 reasons:

1. We have created a society that profits from greed and waste. Wall St. didn’t create it, we ALL are complicit in its creation. (Yes, some of us are more complicit than others, but that does not change the fact that almost all of us participated in this orgy.) Every one of us who bought a bigger than needed car or house (“We just needed a little more room”), who lingered over those advertisements for the $80,000 car or the $10,000 watch (even if you didn’t BUY it, your lingering created the ALLURE, the DESIRE of the unattainable) contributed to the “you can have it all” mentality. We look at these huge Wall Street hogs, all lined up at the trough. Although we are just little piglets, we are lined up at the same trough.

2. We have created a nation of debt. We ALL created it. Our political and economic leaders have mortgaged our children’s future to pay for their addiction-induced wild partying. (In my book, “Creating a World That Works for All”, I talk about money addiction as the only form of addiction where the supply of the addicting substance is completely controlled by the addicts themselves.) But, our leaders are US. Don’t you run your household on a debt basis? Don’t your credit cards, car bills and mortgage greatly exceed your fixed assets? That bubble had to pop at some point in time. What you’re seeing is simply the check that has finally come due.

3. We maintained the silly belief that we could grow forever, without any consequences. In Nature, the only entity that grows forever is cancer. And that is only until it kills its host. But, we said, “We’re different.” Now, as it turns out, we’re not.

The real problem is not an economic or financial crisis. Our real problem is a moral and spiritual crisis that has manifested itself, this time, in the financial arena. And, in these troubling times, we lack the moral and spiritual leaders and institutions to even address it – most of our “religious” institutions are just as complicit in this crisis as we are. Our “religious” leaders looked the other way as the collection plates filled up and the “churches” get larger, fancier — and richer. It’s hard to denounce greed and money addiction when you are the direct beneficiary of it.

Amen (and mea culpa), Brother Sharif.

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