200 children died while I wrote this post….

I’m always amazed at the ingenuity of humans.  I’m also amazed at our ability to allow our fellow humans to suffer.

I’m writing this post on a laptop computer that has more computing power than what was used to get Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the Moon and back in 1969.  I’m flying in a Boeing 757-200 with the 178 other passengers at 35,000 feet scooting along at 457 knots just passing over Tampa Bay on my way to San Jose, Costa Rica.  I know this because I’m logged into the Wi-Fi network on the plane that is connected to the Internet and I’m tracking the flight on FlightAware.com. We’re going to land at 9:04pm CST , 14 minutes late after traveling 1701 miles. The program tells me the air routes planned, the gate we left in Atlanta and the gate we’ll arrive at in san Jose, the duration of the flight and eerily, and I mean REALLY eerily, the website also sports an advertising box scrolling at the bottom of the screen with various selections of products I was looking at for a gift for Corbyn’s upcoming 21st birthday.

So where am I going with this?  The tecnology I just mentioned is just one example of what we can dream and what we can do when we’re motivated, yet, by the time I finish this post, upload it the blog, send it to Facebook more than 200 children in the World will have died of mal-nourishment.  A staggering 6 million children die of hunger every year (this number doesn’t include adults or the elderly).  To put this into perspective, 33 states in the U.S. have populations of 6 million or less.

We can solve this problem.  In future posts, I’ll provide information about how this problem is not one of food production, but of food distribution and what we can do to errardicate hunger.  Humankind does not lack the ingunity or intelligence to feed all the people of the world, we lack the resolve.  That is what needs to change.

Godspeed.

Mike (currently 35,000 feet above the Florida Everglades)

© 2012 Michael L. Henderson. All rights reserved.

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5 Responses to 200 children died while I wrote this post….

  1. Josh says:

    I think it goes deeper than resolve. I believe we are all too involved in our own micro circles ( friends, family, work, home) to take notice or worse be bothered with the plight of our fellow human beings. I like most am just as guilty as the next person. So the real question is how do we change our view point as selfish greedy consumerist capitalists?

    • Compassionate Capitalism says:

      Hi Josh. Congratulations and thanks! You are the very first person to respond to one of my posts.

      I’m with you at the micro level. In my view, regardless of what we want to believe about ourselves, we all tend to act in our own self interests. Clearly there are exceptions to this as we have all met people who transcend “normal” human behavior, but for the most part, we are focused on our own plight in life. Like you, I’m just as guilty.

      In my post, I was speaking to the issue at a macro level; that is, rhetorically, how is it that the collective humanity allows this to happen?

      I, too, seek the answer to your question. How do we change from being selfish, greedy capitalist to a compassionate capitalist. This question occupies my mind more and more these days and it the basis for me starting this blog.

      Thanks for taking time to read and respond.

      Mike

      • Josh says:

        No problem Mike.
        Here’s a question for you. Is it plausible to be a compassionate capitalist? I know it is possible but capitalism lends itself more to greed.

  2. Compassionate Capitalism says:

    Hi Josh,
    Sorry it has taken a few days for me to get back to answering your question. I’ve been in Costa Rica meeting, at our manufacturing facility there, with representatives from our largest customer (a Dutch company) and haven’t had a chance to get back to the blog.

    I do believe that you can be compassionate and a capitalist. And, I believe this passionately. Maybe I’m a Passionate Compassionate Capitalist!

    Clearly, greed is pervasive, in every strata of social life and in virtually all societies and it manifests itself in more ways than just the accumulation of wealth or power. There are other forms of greed like the need to feel excessively moral, social, or better than someone else. But, clearly, the most frequently definition applied when one hears the word greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth.

    Greed has been around a long time and it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. In Dante’s Purgatorio, the sin of avarice or greed was the fifth level of Purgatory and in the Inferno, the fourth circle of the Hell. In Purgatory, the penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated too much on earthly thoughts. And in Hell, the avarious or miserly (including clergymen and popes) who hoarded possessions were pitted against the prodigal, or those who squandered them, in jousting matches where they used very heavy weapons which they pushed against the others with their chests.

    Greed is not the act of accumulating wealth or power or possessions; it is the act of accumulating an “inordinate” amount of these things. So who gets to decide what an inordinate amount is; and therefore, who is greedy and who is not? Wondering aloud, should there be some quantitative number, a dollar threshold that if one goes over it they earn the epitaph – greedy? Or should we use some form of threshold like the “One Percenters”? I don’t know, but it is important to search for an answer.

    I do not believe that the vast majority of humankind is ready to end their pursuit of worldly possessions. I think everyone dreams of a time when humans have advanced to the stage of social evolution where all aspects of human life are in perfect balance and a Utopian society emerges. A time when no one is hungry, warfare and violence have been eradicated, true personal liberty and respect for others is in perfect balance, and when the divine feminine and the divine masculine are in perfect harmony.

    In my mind, the Compassionate Capitalist is one who pursues the accumulation of wealth, but does so in a manner that does not exploit people; that builds companies and enterprises that manufacturers products or provides services that do not harm, that do not damage the planet, that provides quality jobs; pays to maintain infrastructure through taxation; and adheres to regulation and welcomes oversight as a means of assuring the public that they are behaving ethically and responsibly.

    The Compassionate Capitalist also gives back to the community and is a responsible partner with faith-based, governmental, and social services organizations in the pursuit of social justice for all people through active participation and funding of programs that help alleviate suffering and disenfranchisement.

    (In a future post, I plan to explore the financial impact of the notion that If every company dedicated 2% of its profits and 2% of the available hours of each employee to charity or community service the amount of money and time that would be available would be staggering. What could we do in this world with those kind of resources?)

    Also, The Compassionate Capitalist is a responsible and compassionate consumer. A consumer who discriminates and buys from companies whose policies and practices ensure that raw materials, goods and services are provided by companies that respect their workers, the environment and conduct business in an ethical and principled manner.

    So, do I think it plausible to be a compassionate capitalist – yes!

    Do I think it an easy transition – unfortunately, no!

    But, I’m committed and I hope others are as well.

    Godspeed,
    Mike

  3. Jeni Hadden says:

    see what the World wildlife fund is doing and what each of us can do to help. http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/making_the_links/

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