Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Negative Thoughts

Friday, March 4th, 2011

“This is where I get most of my negative thinking done.”

New Yorker cartoon of a woman showing buyers her home office

Economically and environmentally, for Americans the past three years have been difficult, at best. Even those whose jobs were secure and finances healthy have felt the impact: government cuts to essential programs, neighbors who had to sell their homes, friends who were unemployed, new carcinogens and ever worsening global warming. Worst of all, the nightly news reminds us how bad things are. All that in addition to our personal  challenges.

In times like these, optimism is hard to summon. The cartoon I quoted above is not far from the truth — we often get so trapped in worrying that we can’t do Good Work! (more…)

2010 – Happy New Year

Friday, January 1st, 2010

2010 – Happy New Year! 

Well, here we are. Ten years into the New Millenium. Post 9/11. Post Economic meltdown. Post Bush-Cheney. Several degrees into Global Warming. Several setbacks into Global Cooperation. The backside of the Great Recession. The end of a decade of decadence. Folks, straighten your chair backs, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for landing; somehow or another, we made it!

So – as we come to the end of this bumpy ride—what’s next for us?

I have no crystal ball to foretell the future, but my hunch is that, like so many generations of God’s people on planet Earth, we are about discover the consequences of having to collectively learn things the hard way!

Here are just a few of the tough lessons in store for us: (more…)

If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

You Lie!    

Representative Joe Wilson to President Obama

I have been thinking a lot the past few days about free speech. I have also been reeling from our abuse of it.

In 2007, long before the current controversies over the economy recovery and healthcare reform, a friend of mine, Donna Bowling, co-authored an insightful book called, Reclaiming Civility in the Public Square – 101 Rules that Work. While I have often recommended it to those I know in leadership, I must admit that in the past two weeks I have been tempted to send it out en masse. (more…)

Social Networking – Modern Day Moai

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

       “Value your relationships.”  Barbara Bush

Lately, I have been thinking about relationships and the strength they bring to our lives.

With that on my mind, this week I read an insightful article  about “the power of many” in an investment newsletter. As evidence of how personal relationships empower us in the midst of these unsettled economic times, the article noted an interesting custom I read about several years ago in Dan Buettner’s eye-opening book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest .

The custom comes from the island of Okinawa, where for years people have formed social cooperatives called moai. Essentially, moai are informal groups formed by people who want to count on and cooperate with each other. (more…)

Question for the Day 6-24-09: Healthcare

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

 

We all profit if our healthcare system is transformed…

and that profit will not be just financial! 

This week in Washington, the hot topic is healthcare. Those with an eye on the cost and scope of expanding healthcare are calling for reform. Those with a heart for medical care as a humanitarian mission are calling for healthcare to be transformed. Most of us, confused and concerned with how to provide healthcare for our own family and others, are somewhere in between. (more…)

Problem Solving 101

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

The problems that exist in the world today

cannot be solved

with the level of thinking that created them.

Albert Einstein

Hope! Change! Possibility! Excitement!

The year 2009 began with a bang. The amazing celebrations surrounding the inauguration of Barak Obama as the new President offered Americans some much-needed optimism about the future. Some of us even let ourselves believe the worst was over!

While it was nice to have that brief January respite from the storm of bad news from around the world, February seems to have tossed us overboard: Worsening economic conditions.  The catastrophic environmental crisis. Governmental gridlock. Terrorism. Genocide. Famine. Illness. And so far, most of our leaders are displaying a stubborn and often selfish allegiance to old ideas and older fears. (more…)

The Question No One Is Asking

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Cash for trash!

Paul Krugman discussing the financial bailout, New York Times, Sept. 22.

Ahh, memories of 2008…

First came the slump in the housing market and growing mortgage defaults, then we found out about those infamous credit default swaps which were followed by the collapse of financial institutions and insurance companies (and the stock market along with them), then the call for a bailout of auto manufacturers and later other smaller companies and most recently the Bernie Madoff investment debacle. The economic house of cards that American finance built over the past two decades is in a heap on the floor, and we, Americans, are asking ourselves disturbing questions: (more…)

Change!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Let today embrace the past with remembrance

and the future with longings.

Kahlil Gibran 

As the west wind of our first real cold front swept the last bits of summer aside yesterday (and I changed from shorts-and-Tshirt to blue jeans-and-a sweater!), I was reminded of the blessing of the seasons. Each one is a new beginning, and not just for Nature. As the trees throw off their stiffened leaves and settle in for some well-deserved rest, we too can begin a new season. Fall, especially, offers a time of reconsideration–a chance to leave behind old sadnesses, errors, grudges and regrets. We can rethink our priorities and recommit to our best selves. We can rediscover gratitude and optimism. We can change! (more…)

Facing the Music – Learning to Dance

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

For two decades, Americans have romanced the idea of money.

First, it was the dot-com boom with twenty-somethings turning into millionaires overnight. Then came the housing bubble with charming neighborhood homes being torn down to build McMansions. Later, morning talk programs were eclipsed by financial news shows with live stock market feeds. Late night television followed with Mad Money’s Kramer becoming a national celebrity.  Year by year, credit cards replaced savings accounts as individual safety nets. Leverage became the new business plan. More and more college students were graduating with enormous school loans. America piously preached democracy and capitalism to other countries, then proved the limits of that system with our own avarice. Washington was no different. To repay campaign donations, politicians owed lobbyists their livelihoods. Even the U.S. government became mired in debt, and, internationally, we earned the label of the biggest debtor nation.

Is it any wonder that the stock market and the American economy are crashing down around us?

But, despite the gloom and doom from Wall Street, despite our own personal crises, despite the political rhetoric, all is not lost.  (more…)

Our Sacred Role in Democracy

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Politicians and Financial Leaders Bicker over Wall Street Bailout

Presidential Candidate Suspends Campaign

Congressional Talks on Credit Crisis Breakdown

As recent headlines suggest– this fall, what was to be our rapt attention to America’s quadrennial electoral season has been totally derailed. The usual political banter in urban coffee shops and small town restaurants has almost completely shifted away from evaluation of the candidates (except regarding their media-hyped personalities) and discussions of the party platforms (most people don’t even know what these documents contain). Instead, wealthy investors as well as those living paycheck-to-paycheck are transfixed by the hour-to-hour coverage of our national financial crisis. Money and the curse of its power have consumed us. With unpredictable posturing, media-generated suspense and continuing financial bad news, the whole country has become obsessed with the Reality TV programming of Washington and New York as they reconsider their mortgages and their 401(k) allocation.

Hellooo, America! In just five weeks, as part of the most successful democracy in the world, we will be asked to select the party and individuals to lead our country for the next four years! (more…)