Creativity and the crash

While the pervading sentiment appears to be that a bailout by the federal government is the only way to avoid pervasive recession and massive unemployment, a thinking person can’t help but suspect that such an action is just more of the same profligate strong-arming that caused our economic woes to begin with.  It seems the big guys always get rescued.  The big guys get salaries hundreds of times bigger than the average Joe; get bonuses of astronomical proportion; and get bailed out when they make mistakes.  Such lenience is actually the opposite of capitalism, and is light years from the everyday experience of average Americans.

Still, we fear for the wellbeing of so many workers (one estimate puts it at some 11 million people) who would be affected if the banks were left unassisted.  Here and now, in our time, many more than just the bosses would experience financial disaster.  We would surely descend into the darkest shadow side of capitalism.

Consider, for a moment, your own personal saga.  Perhaps you have been bailed out by indulgent people yourself.  Have you remembered the close call, and worked hard to avoid repeating the experience?  Or is it easy to slide into the feeling that you’ll always be rescued?  On the other hand, perhaps no one came to your aid, you hit rock bottom, and had to figure out how to climb up from there.  Which of these situations is the creative one?

Here’s the hard part:  though all the above may be true, and we will do just about anything to avoid disaster for so many of our fellow citizens, the truly creative thing would be to let the failed institutions die and to start over with better control.  Creativity (may I say it again?) is an unflinching search for truth.  Creativity does not patch and mend; it cuts to the naked chase.  It may be ugly, depressed, even hopeless-feeling down there, but creativity takes a charred stick and a pile of ashes and builds a new dream.

We will not be so brave as to be creative as a nation in this current crisis.  We are far too fond of our privileges and toys.  But perhaps as individuals, we Americans can learn from the situation.  Perhaps, in your own business, you’ll seek equity and you’ll re-invest rather than falsely reward.  Perhaps, in your personal life, you’ll give renewed attention to your priorities, learn to live within your means, and properly respect the structures that support you.

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