Do Rising Tides Lift All Boats?

There is a popular saying, when it comes to economic forecasting, that ‘a rising tide lifts boat and anchorall boats’.  This expression provides a comforting and confident view of top line growth in economies, with the associated presumption that even small and struggling boats will do better in better economic times.

Would that it were true.

I found myself thinking about anchors – those devices that hold us in one place.  For many of the smaller vessels bobbing around in this stormy global economic sea, they have disproportionately huge anchors, with mighty short chains, that hold them down.  While the massive cargo ships, tankers, destroyers and aircraft carriers are built for deep and stormy waters, these smaller mom and pop businesses, in my view, are held down by the increased power that giant corporations have – power to create advantageous regulatory policies; power to merge and grow larger; power to undercut on prices to kill small businesses.

I think this is worth consideration and debate.

And if you’d like a more authoritative view on this, I’d encourage the reader to explore Klaus Schwab’s (founder of the World Economic Forum) 2016 article about the fourth industrial revolution, and the need to ensure a future that is bright for all:

In the end, it all comes down to people and values. We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them. In its most pessimistic, dehumanized form, the Fourth Industrial Revolution may indeed have the potential to “robotize” humanity and thus to deprive us of our heart and soul. But as a complement to the best parts of human nature—creativity, empathy, stewardship—it can also lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny. It is incumbent on us all to make sure the latter prevails.

photo credit:  fotolog
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Bias in Reporting = Bias in Thinking = Bias in Reporting

One of the reputable news sources I go to with regularity is The Conversation.  I recommend it.

Today there is a post regarding research done on the reporting of mass shootings, and specifically on the characterization of the person doing the killing*.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a stark difference in how White American killers are portrayed, vs. Latinos or African Americans.  (BTW fewer than 1% of the cases studied from 2013 -2015 featured female killers).

shooting profile

The above chart is featured in this report, and I encourage the readers to read it, and then commit, or re-commit, to the practice of telling new and different stories (to ourselves) about people for whom we may hold bias – the poor, the racially different from us, the ethnically or religiously different, etc.

I find this to be a useful practice:  I tell myself a different, interesting, perhaps compassionate story about the person I see that normally I would brush off, or otherwise rapidly categorize in some way.  So when I see the young and hoodied person of color looking shiftless on the sidewalk, I remember my own youth.  I remember being shy.  I remember seeking to hide in my clothing.  I remember following fashion trends (to my close friends, that comment will make them laugh out loud).

And then I seek to look him in the eye, and smile.

Good luck 🙂

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A Brave and Startling Truth

exoplanets

My hope is that, as we continue to discover more and more about our place in the galaxy and universe, that this outward expansion of inquiry will be accompanied by an equally-deep introspection into who we are as people, and how we will be with one another, and with our natural world that sustains us.

A Brave and Startling Truth

Maya Angelou, 1995maya-angelou_D1TR3

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

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