Recently, two dear friends who don’t know each other went out of their way to let me know about an important talk by Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar and Author of “99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality Is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do about It“. In his talk, which you can watch here, he makes some astute and inspiring comments about why we must and how we can transform our society into a much healthier democracy.
…when you have extreme inequalities of wealth, when a society pulls apart to that level, the rich-and-poor gap, there is a breakdown that happens, a breakdown in empathy–an injury to you, does it still matter to me? There is a breakdown in order and continuity, and community, and people become polarized, they become fearful or being to believe caric1tures about the other.
We have had an economy in which the rules of the economy have been changed to benefit the 1% at the cost of the 99%.
Think of the Koch brothers, two brothers who have this huge–[reference to 9/12 Forbes List of richest people in America] The Koch brothers’ net wealth from last year increased 24%–from 50 billion to 62 billion!
Their model [Companies who know how to game the system] is to shift costs off their balance sheet and onto you and me and on to nature.
Isn’t this a pathological reflection of our society at large and the state of USA healthcare?
In his talk, Mr. Collins tells the story of a demonstration in Washington, DC last summer where he marched with 7000 people in support of a Financial Transaction Tax. 6000 were NURSES! Further, he was impressed by the fact that National Nurses United has put this cause on their national agenda as part of a ‘healing America focus‘!
What About Solutions?
Collins talks about “raising the floor” by having minimal standards of dignity and opportunity such as providing universal health insurance and higher minimum wages. Canada and European social democracies, he goes on to state, “have much lower levels of inequality than we have”.
He also talks about “leveling the playing field”with campaign finance reform and shutting down the “offshore system” which enables companies to move profits and property to Singapore, Cayman Islands and Luxemburg thus paying less taxes. Breaking up “mega banks” and rechartering corporations are also part of his recommendations.
But what is most exciting to me is the suggestion to become part of an “affinity group“! There is wonderful power and creativity for positive social change that lies within individuals and small groups of people who are spending time together in respectful dialogue about things that matter. Healthcare, education, poverty, sustainability….whatever matters to you!
* Robert Fuller’s talk on Rankism, which is very relevant to ‘safe’ and ‘just’ cultures is also inspiring and lead to Confident Voices in Healthcare FOR Dignity Against Rankism! T-Shirt or coffee cup anyone? Share the post and as Fuller suggests “…make rankism uncool”!
It was not chance that led to this post! It was relationship and intentional support for my work! My friend Diane, she and I meet with another friend sorta regularly where we focus on supporting each other as Self Employed Women (SEW) and my friend, Nancy, she and I meet with another friend as part of an “Artists Way” group where we focus on supporting each other in developing our creativity. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have known about this great talk and shared it with you!
BTW, in the spirit of collaboration, Nancy and her husband have just started a kool new business, Josias River Farm and hope their venue offers places to meet for many groups including weddings!