Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

There is a sign of cultural collapse that is growing. Consider the following headlines – headlines that are common and forgotten in one month:

Police Officer shoots [teenager, African American, traffic violator, boy with toy, wife…]

US citizen shoots [30,000 other people]

Los Angeles teacher sues school system for 1 billion dollars for targeting older teachers for dismissal to avoid paying pensions. See:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/15/us/los-angeles-teacher-class-action-lawsuit-rafe-esquith/index.html

9 incidents where crazed gunman shoots many innocent victims.

Big banks cause US recession by trading questionable derivatives using customers’ cash.

VW deliberately fools emission tests.

2.1 trillion dollars tax free held overseas by corporations. See:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/09/us-usa-tax-offshore-idUSBREA3729V20140409

Social Security receives no COLA adjustment because of inexpensive gasoline. Retirees do not use much gasoline but other costs rise.

A former hedge fund manager purchased the rights to a drug that’s been used for 62 years to treat parasitic infections, and then hiked the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750.

The mariner quickly typed the above incidences from memories of news headlines. With little effort, he could fill pages with similar headlines which allude to the excessive abuse of authority and a corresponding lack of concern for the wellbeing of others. One wonders why a police officer can’t defend himself without suddenly emptying his pistol into a troublesome individual. A gun versus a knife isn’t quite a fair confrontation – especially six bullets later. Nor is shooting a fleeing individual in the back – six bullets later.

If one wants to live in a society where corrupted power prevails, buy a home in Syria. We in the US aren’t quite that bad; remember that Reagan budgeted research for a bomb that would kill people but not hurt buildings.

The cultural collapse is becoming a permanent patina in our lives. One could claim without exaggerating that no governments, federal, state, or local, have the best interests of the citizens within their jurisdiction. Examples abound where politicians espouse the importance of education while slashing education budgets first. There are ways to fix this issue but likely they aren’t popular with the citizenry at large (I don’t have kids; why should I pay a school tax?). Goodness! Is each of us endowed with indifference? May as well join ISIL. The NRA will be glad to arm us.

It began unnoticeably when Maytag moved to Mexico in 2003. Since then, Iconic American companies such as Coca Cola, Ford, RCA, General Motors, General Electric and Nokia have opened up assembly plants in Mexico. In fact, GE employs 30,000 Mexicans in 35 factories in the country. The difference in wages between the US and Mexico is $30,000 per year per employee. Mariner suspects the profit stays with the corporation. When mariner was young, he believed that businesses were obligated to remain in their location – even changing the product if necessary, to provide continuous support to the workers who otherwise would lose their jobs. Silly mariner.

All this information points out that business, too, abuses its authority at the cost, or corruption, of our wellbeing, AKA our culture.

Do we abuse our authority with other individuals? Words that allude to our abuse are greedy, indifferent, vain, cheat, vindictive, unfair, opportunist, prejudiced, selfish, unempathetic and unsympathetic. Someone somewhere must care for our wellbeing. All that is left is us.

Perhaps via the 2016 election, we can try to fix the governments who then can fix the businesses – but it is up to you and the mariner to fix ourselves.

Ancient Mariner

 

 

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