random afternoon thoughts

The clouds get darker, heavier and lower. Then come thunders, followed by rain drops. But I don’t worry about the rain as I did two days ago when I had to photograph soccer games in the heavy rain. It is my day off and I have the luxury of sitting in my music and reading Woody Tasch’s slow money philosophy.

Tasch asks us to rethink this globalization, that has fascinated the whole world for some decades now. He despises quick money, cheap, mass production, greed and irrational economic developments. He calls for a return to more organic economies. He talks about poetry and beauty (e.g. an organic farm) vs. ugliness  (e.g. the parking lot of McDonld’s) in economy…But Tasch can’t provide any solution to that catch-22 of having to produce enough cheap food to feed the masses while high-quality, locally grown food is available only to those who could afford it. And I guess those who could afford it include those who know how to make quick money, and probably those who mass produce the cheap food…

I am from a nation with at least 1.3 billion people, a population that requires quick, cheap mass production of food and everything else, so people don’t starve or chill. After starving for so many decades, the nation is passionate about our growing economy. Everyone is craving for quick money. (Seriously, who wouldn’t like quick money?) Consumerism and materialism and greed overwhelms our world.

Yet, as economy grows and grows very fast, as is often reported, the environment deteriorates, social disconnections increase, the gap between the have and have-nots widens and deepens. Some, with their stomachs satisfied, begin to miss Mao’s era, when they believe they were not that lonely and desperate as they are now. Some get so desperate that they turn to violence. Tragedies seem unavoidable. Earlier this year, in different parts of the country, innocent kindergartners were killed out of some social revenge. This worries me because my little niece will soon start her kindergarten life.  A couple days ago, at a fresh market in my hometown, a butcher killed one government official and critically injured another out of rage. (This worries me, too, because my parents go to the fresh market every morning. I don’t want them to witness any violence at a place that is supposed to be lively and fresh instead of bloody.) It was said the two government officials, who had the power, overused their power and enraged the powerless butcher…You can’t say this is not connected to our economic growth. They are related somehow and somewhere.

To me, it seems the growth in economy leads to a loss of common sense and a loss of balance. Our ancestors in ancient China have worked so hard to teach their offsprings to appreciate and keep a balance, but we are losing it. We know we are losing it and deplore this horrible loss.  So we know something is wrong, just like Tache. But we simply don’t know how we can feed and clothe at least 1.3 billion people without losing that balance.

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