Friday, September 19, 2008

Obama's New Economic Philosophy

Senator Barack Obama did his best this afternoon to reassure the shaken American public that he had not only a new philosophy on the ways government should better guard the public interest, but also an initial plan to calm the troubled waters on Wall Street with a temporary plan to protect working Americans. [see transcript of Obama's remarks].

Senator Obama recognized that most Americans were "hurting long before Wall Street was hurting." One of the most compelling parts of his talk this afternoon was his stated principle regarding "mutual responsibility and reciprocity." Obama expressed, with an air of calm under the pressure of some horrific news on Wall Street this week, that his philosophy and plan would entail creating a "broad-based prosperity" in the U.S. rather than the kind of prosperity that enriched a few who are reckless as they've "walked away with the golden parachutes while taxpayers have been left holding the bag."

Stating that this crisis is "no accident of history," Obama pointed to government's past failures to act promptly to avoid the kind of unethical business practices that have caused more and more inequality in the U.S. He said that government has all too often "looked the other way until it was too late" and that government needs to provide common-sense regulation and oversight in order to best protect the public interest.

I imagined, after hearing him speak this morning, what it would be like to have the "broad-based prosperity" of which Obama offered as a realistic vision. The more you spread the opportunity, the better a reflection of the will of the people; the heart and soul of the people.

At Huffington Post, Steven G. Brant hopes that "at least some of our business and political leaders are in enough of a shock that they will look for new ideas and new answers" to this crisis.

Ten years ago, Mr. Brant wrote about the "fog" is being (and, for years, has been) created by "the tendency to see globalization from a perspective grounded in our history of living in a world of separate, independent nations."
The world's economy has become one interdependent system, yet we continue to view it through independent eyes.

What's really going on, from a systems perspective, is that a new, single, global system is struggling to be seen for what it is--a system that can prosper only if all of its parts prosper. It is a single system, one that innately knows that either all of it will make it or none of it will. That's the way healthy systems work. The business world will prosper beyond its wildest imagination once it cuts through this fog and stops viewing the future through "past-focused eyes."