A Spiritual View of the Recession and Economy -II
Note: Please read first the earlier article: http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2009/02/spiritual-view-of-recession-and-economy.html
According to Sumerian mythology as well as ancient Indian one the great city of Dwarka/Atlantis was destroyed by the gods when greed and sin increased tremendously. The message of the story is applicable even today.
Although our planet is beautiful, some of the cities on our planet especially in the developing world are incredibly messy and dirty. My spiritual interpretation of this phenomenon is that we are all children of the universe and mother earth – kind parents who allow their children to play and mess about in the play yard. Just as the play room of a naughty child can become very messy, we too as children of mother earth have messed up some of the spaces we have to play about in. Charged by greed, lust and pride, we have trampled on the flowers and gardens of Nature. We suffer as a consequence of it. Father Universe permits that so that we may learn from the suffering. It is time we grew up and co-operated with Nature in creating the same sort of beauty in our living areas as Nature does in parts of the planet where we have not yet had a chance to play and destroy. The developed parts of the world are facing a serious economic challenge. In order to overcome the crisis, causes of this recession have to be properly understood. Some of these are:
1. The resources of the earth have been exploited and this has resulted in an increase in the prices of commodities such as petroleum products. This directly impacts growth
2. Governments have developed the habit of running deficit budgets and incurring debt in the hope that future growth would make debt repayment easy. If growth does not take place as is happening now this very debt becomes a burden impeding growth.
3. Essential institutions such as banks have been allowed a free hand to run on pure greed as against rational thinking and governments are now finding themselves at a loss as to how to deal with this.
The US government has been talking of restoring the middle class through job creation. The proposed plans are not likely to work. Some of the reasons for this are:
1. The new situation with high commodity costs (which will become even higher with time) is a new one. The old era of low energy costs has gone.
2. The new World trade arrangements are different.
3. Large stimulus and infrastructure spending as is being proposed by President Obama once again will increase deficits and debt and thus prove to be counter productive.
One may wonder as to what the possible solutions to the economic crisis should be in the changing world. To this authors mind some of these are:
1. It has been said the protectionism is harmful. It is so, if it is done in a non-intelligent manner. There is a need for selective protectionism to increase jobs in developed countries. One tentative proposal is that when a trade deficit for goods and services, with any single country of the world is more than five percent of the total trade volume (with all countries) during a year, a prohibitory duty on products from that country should be imposed for the following three years beginning with 100% in the first year, 50% in the second year and 25% in the third year. If during the three years of prohibition the trade deficit is once again in excess of 5% (of total trade volume with all countries) then a new cycle of a three-year prohibition beginning with 100% duty interrupting the old cycle. The effect of this scheme would be that trade will continue freely with countries that do not cripple the economy and would get restricted with others that do. Things like garments would be made once again in the US and more jobs will be created
2. The future of mankind lies with diminishing size of cities and a partial return back to the land. The days of ever larger and larger cities is numbered. It was an unnatural phenomenon fuelled by low energy costs and a low earth population that will die its natural death in the coming centuries. The governments can facilitate this process by creating small farm holding of about ten-acre size with a small two-room cottage ( that may be expanded by the owner) on the dwelling and with roads, electricity and irrigation leading to these farms. A loan and knowledge may be provided to begin intensive farming operations with the farmland as collateral (that can always be allotted to a new farmer if need be).
3. Constitutional amendments need to be made to permit future deficit financing and debt only after a referendum and not as a routine. National budgets must be adjusted so that governments live within their means. The easiest way to do this is to divide the budget cut across all heads by the desired percentage. Monetization of existing debt, leading to inflation, will be necessary in future but it may be spaced over a ten or twenty year period to ease the pain. Such a monetisation may be permitted by constitutional amendment that is simultaneous to the earlier one.
4. There is an urgent need for government to control corporate barons and chief bankers to run away with the profits that belong to shareholders and the public. Top executive numerations must be capped and things like severance pay scrapped.
The proposals need to be debated and refined before implementation. For a proposal on how to cap benefits of executives see the post:http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2012/02/rule-of-ten-way-to-strengthen-democracy.html
PS: My book - The Babaji Affair - contains accounts of how man may create beauty and prosperity in co-opeartion with nature. Both are avialbale at Amazon.com.