Sunday, October 12, 2008

Personal and Collective Behavior

When I look back in time, it's now unthinkable that I was a cigarette smoker and filled living space with a smoke clouds.  It was commonplace during the '50's and '60's for people to smoke in homes and inside cars.  Non smokers accepted it without too much complaining.  Today, if someone lit a cigarette in my home or car, I'd be appalled and you probably would also if it happened to you.

Looking back further in time, it's unimaginable that the United States and other developed countries conducted Operation Crossroads in 1946 and exploded two atomic bombs on the island of Bikini Atoll.  The natives were told that the island was needed to conduct an experiment to see what would happen.  The natives were coaxed into leaving their paradise. Dignitaries from around the world along with 42,000 sailors watched the explosions from aboard ships twenty miles away.  Afterwards, the Navy visited the site to assess damage to the island and to the parked ships offshore. Mass destruction and a radioactive environment were found and people from Bikini Atoll could not return home.

Currently, it's hard to imagine mortgage loans extended to people with no income, no job, and no assets.  They were called "NINGA" loans.  As a result of easy money, credit derivatives, shady accounting, profit at any social or human cost, greedy people throughout, the meltdown of the financial markets is underway.

I wonder what people will think in the future when our present era is reflected upon.  Are we behaving in ways currently that will be unimaginable when considered ten or twenty years from now? When people begin to experience life with a declining supply of oil,  they will probably say, "how could my parents' and grandparents' and their generations have been so shortsighted and so consumed with self and material things during their lives?"

Have a good week! 

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