A recent cartoon offers a rather comprehensive take on corporate greed and the manipulation of values it requires to further greed‘s interests through the indecent machinations of political cynicism:
Limitations of location…
If life conditions vector values, then any given context can present a perspective that may be obscure and difficult (if not impossible) to see from another context and its perspective. Earlier we saw (here) that the two dominant, opposing groups in the culture wars (binary vs. plural) are both experiencing Stockholm Syndrome (an upsurge of Beige [AN] survival values) and yet have great difficulty seeing their opposites are in the same boat.
I have talked about our shadows, and so it is a naïve Orange penchant to make poverty and poor people invisible to our sight. Further, I’d suggest that if we have the opportunity to closely encounter a homeless person we are far more likely than not to avert our eyes, to avoid any possible eye contact or recognition of each others’ humanity. We hesitate to make a human connection with another we perceive to be a person of poverty. The dignity of both parties easily gets lost in these dynamics.
Recent posts have raised the specter of greed (a naïve, unhealthy expression of Orange [ER] merit values) and it’s ubiquity in the U.S.A. Greed is surely a dignity killer. Economic inequality is the product and systemic expression of greed, and it drives a great deal of American culture.
Movin’ on up…
The Jeffersons, a television sitcom that ran 11 seasons beginning in 1975, had a theme song by, Ja’Net DuBois, entitled, “Movin’ On Up.” While the lyrics don’t expressly state it, what’s taken for granted is the fact that when people move on up we have no intention of ever regressing back down. Especially with regard to class, or prosperity issues, instead of transcending and including we are far more likely to transcend and dissociate.
If a rise in instrumental utility (increased productivity through education, training, experience, etc.) results in a concurrent rise in personal economic status, then our tendency is to adopt an attitude and posture that refrains from ever even looking down. We exit the old neighborhood (economic class) and most often we never look back. This can, and does, produce a perspective that is blind to entire communities and populations of people who become largely invisible to the economically privileged. Our present life conditions are a reflection of this dynamic as inequality reaches critical mass and is nearing a tipping point in the U.S.A.
Prosperity vs. persons
An August 22, 2018, article in Forbes exposes the precarious situation in which our society finds itself. The article is entitled: America’s Real Economy: It Isn’t Booming. According to this article—while almost half of Americans gain some benefit from a booming stock market—fully half the population experience our present life conditions and economic dynamics as an existential struggle on a day by day basis. Peter Georgescu writes:
A third of the U.S. population has no savings and another third has saved less than $1,000. Two-thirds of American households, by this measure, are desperately scrambling to make ends meet from check to check.
In the following extended quote we see the profound inhumanity of the naïve expression of Orange [ER], merit values.’ We see the idolatry of the prosperity motif when it is disconnected from well being—an economy that serves wealth and not human beings (or life, or earth). A recent story by, Rajan Menon: “The United States Has a National-Security Problem—and It’s Not What You Think,” chronicles U.S. poverty and presents a clear indictment against the blind greed of our present system. The quote below is from Georgescu in the Forbes article and comments on Menon’s story in The Nation:
One of the most powerful data points in the piece described how empty the decline in unemployment actually is: having a job doesn’t exempt anyone from poverty anymore. About 12% of Americans (43 million) are considered poor, and yet they are employed. … At that level of income, there’s almost no way to pay for food and shelter in any sizeable American city. That means people now can both be employed and homeless.
Once again, “That means people now can both be employed and homeless” [my emphasis]. If those fortunate ones of us who have somehow managed to connect our instrumentality to Orange [ER] prosperity are unable to clearly see (e.g., perceive and empathetically know) the reality of the daily economic plight and the existential angst of the invisible half (to two-thirds) of Americans, then the resources, and communal commitment needed to address our unsustainable economic inequality, will remain trapped in corporate (and personal) financial security projects; Georgescu writes:
Our current course is unsustainable. And for all the proposals for changes in public policy to ameliorate income inequality, only the private sector can get the nation on a better track by raising wages, increasing benefits and investing in new ventures and expanded markets.
Prosperity vs. environment…
As we have previously noted, Greed and its by-products have created some devastating, unintended consequences environmentally—not limited to climate change.
Green [FS] justice values have long struggled to bring overzealous, naïve Orange merit values (e.g., prosperity) in check for ER’s overreaches amounting to environmental excesses. Until recently Green‘s efforts have been denied and rejected by Orange, and have been limited to the enlistment of Blue [DQ] legislative and regulatory measures. The Trump Administration—and its naïve Red [CP] energy—is driving a reassertion of naive Orange dominance, and has been diligent in overturning the fruit of Green‘s hard work to protect the earth.
Last week I closed with a link to an article that marks the beginning of real potential for change. The Business Insider article, “One of the largest banks issued an alarming warning that Earth is running out of the resources to sustain life,” describes how Orange [ER] merit–values-dominant organizations—like financial institutions, banks, etc.—are finally beginning to be able to see the negative environmental impacts of the corporate excess of naïve Orange prosperity because it is now showing up on bottom lines of financials.
Here’s a hopeful example of one Green response to the naive Orange “garbage patch” problem in a National Geographic story by Laura Parker: “Floating Trash Collector Set to Tackle Pacific Garbage Patch.”
We recall, new values emerge in response to changing life conditions. Some of the reaction is to the limitations or overreaches of previous stages of values development. So, once the commitment is made to honor the value sensibilities of all the stages of values development–and their healthy expressions—how do things change? Relationship.
New ways of seeing…
When shadows are shown to the light, new ways of seeing (and relating) occur to the sensibilities and animating energies of inter-level dynamics. When one values level is able to co-opt other levels in mutually beneficial projects, third win opportunities emerge and coalesce into harmonious synergies. How do “third win” strategies work? Examples of early experiments in inter-values harmonization are Toms Shoes Company and Whole Foods who offer illustrations of exercises in win-win-win thinking, or, corporate social responsibility [CSR].
Orange ingenuity, Green sensibilities
In his Green [FS] values-driven “earthship” creations, New Mexico architect, Michael (Mike) Reynolds, transcends naïve Orange [ER] greed and waste but includes healthy Orange science and innovation.
We’ll pick it up next time by continuing the themes of CSR and inter-level values sets recognizing each other and working together in concert to create outcomes that are more broadly beneficial, e.g., ‘third wins.’
I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say? —Agree or not, let’s hear from you!