We live in extraordinary times and this has been a hell of a week.
There's no doubt that the global economic meltdown is not just a minor slump or merely another double-dip recession but a one time event in the history of mankind. More and more of our traditional businesses and institutions are stalled or failing. Banks and countries are teetering on the point of bankruptcy, huge manufacturing companies are collapsing. Heath care systems are in crisis, education is in disarray and so it goes on. It really feels as if we are on the brink of revolution
And just as all this is happening the internet, which for so long seems to have been "a solution in search of a problem", a technology in waiting, seems to have come of age.
Books like the recent management bestseller "Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World " tell hopeful stories of collaborative developments in manufacturing (Local Motors), health care (PatientsLikeMe), and regulation (wikileaks )
As a former reporter I am riveted by the unfolding saga of WikiLeaks and (I expect like everyone else) quite divided. On the one hand, I am not at all surprised by the breath and depth of worldwide corruption. On the other hand, I am left wondering where it all ends.For example, we know our financial institutions are bankrupt. Of course they are not going to "mark to market" their assets. Is it better to remain in blissful denial or to tumble into the precipice that awaits us?
I am particularly appalled at the death threats and persecution of Julian Assange, the front-man for WikiLeaks. I do understand the surge of patriotic feelings in the hearts of the nationals of countries that are having their leadership exposed. However I cannot, currently, even begin to come to terms with the attitude of those governments attempts to strangle the free speech from around the world.
There are some aspects of the USA that I don't particularly like, nevertheless I have always believed that their first-amendment adherence to freedom of speech was admirable. Well, it seems they lied about that. I am shocked to the core. The Australian government should be ashamed of its attitude to Julian Assange (one of their nationals).
Shame on these governments, shame on their politicians and shame on all those that support attempts at silencing critics.
I found this speech of JFK very helpful. It explains why this is so important to all of us.
What does it all mean? Where to now? I wish I had some answers. Currently I am struggling to keep up with the deluge of information coming out, the rhetoric of the worlds powers and the chatter of ordinary people like you and me.
My gut feeling? This is a revolution, a change that will impact all our lives. A moment when we see through the veil of polite chatter and glib spin of modern life. We have an opportunity to make a difference, but will we have the courage to take that chance? I truly hope so: to each learn, and weigh, and balance our own views in order to contribute to the future that we want to see after this amazing event
HERE (note: it is a pdf file just under 1MB in size, so it may take a minute or two to download). I really encourage everyone to arm themselves with the skills to discriminate between truth and fiction. Our future could depend on it.
Lets move from leveraging phony financial instruments to leveraging our integrity. Wouldn't that be an amazing change! Keeping secrets doesn't necessarily mean that you are covering up some dishonest act; but keeping your honesty secret is self-defeating.