As soon as we see money as an object in its own right, it can be stolen, hoarded, and worshipped. Greed depends on money being experienced as a noun -a thing that sits in stacks and stays there. But prosperity consciousness, in its best form, is seeing money as a verb - an energy that flows continuously from hand to hand in support of transformation, growth, and love.
~Julia Mossbridge, author of Money Is Love~
Traditionally, activists and business management majors have seen each other as enemies. MBA graduates perceive activists as financially clueless retreads from the sixties--philosophy majors clad in tie-dye, while activists typically shun accountants with their buttoned-down, Brooks Brothers, Rotary Club, 401K banter. To mention the word "investment" among activists is to invite accusations of "materialistic" or "elitist" at best and "money-grubbing" at worst. Among the management set, one dare not refer to "quality of life issues" or "environmentally hazardous criteria" lest one risk epithets of "naivetÚ" or "bleeding-heart liberal."
While such binary worldviews may have been applicable in the mid-twentieth century, they are no longer useful in a world where both Progressives and small business entrepreneurs are being equally defrauded by federal, state, and local governments and where both have something profoundly constructive to offer the other.
In order to inform my argument, I refer to three basic terms: sustainability, investment, and equity. Sustainability refers to duration-creating sustainable (lasting) communities or infrastructures which meet the needs of both the current and future generations. Investment means the time, money, or energy that one puts forth in pursuit of a particular outcome be it financial, political, social, environmental, physical, or spiritual. Hence, everyone is an investor, not just individuals who own mutual funds or trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Equity refers to the wealth one has after obligations have been met. This wealth can be financial, but more often, it is living equity-natural resources, human resources, and knowledge or life experience. Accountants often overlook living equity in favor of financial equity, whereas activists often overlook financial equity in favor of quality of life issues. Each may accuse the other of erroneously valuing one kind of equity over the other, but the pivotal criteria must always be sustainability. What happens when the accountant blithely devotes herself to a life of balance sheets, numbers, and audited financial statements while minimizing living equity, and when the activist passionately commits himself to struggling for social and political justice while discounting the fact that his personal and community prosperity could (or perhaps even should) be enhanced by way of, not in spite of, his altruism? When one disparages financial equity or living equity, one devalues both and implements an unsustainable path. The accuracy of this assertion is more obvious when we examine the common enemies and common alliances of both the activist and the accountant.
First, I want to emphasize that when I speak of the world of finance and commerce of which the accountant is symbolic, I am not referring to transnational corporations and their centralized, globalized systems, but rather to the local merchant, entrepreneur, or investor. The worlds of both the account and the activist are compromised, exploited, and drained by the predatory economics of centralization and globalization. Both suffer the consequences of a predatory economic system that relies on drug trafficking (http://www.angelfire.com/id/ciadrugs/), debt, and possibly, the reinstatement of the draft in order to maintain its rapacious supremacy (http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/022704_draft_goff.html.).
Unless they are accurately informed, both the anti-war marcher and the marketing major are casualties of the public relations-dominated American media in which journalists serve as stenographers for the current administration, or lose their jobs-or their lives. Both are generally dependent on fossil fuels and public utilities for transportation, home heating, cooling, and water supply. Both must purchase food and necessities either from locally-owned businesses or from superstores where "always low prices" are available because corporate monstrosities have purchased land by using the local pension funds to which they have access and provide no health care benefits-a liability which both the accountant and activist must pay for with state and local taxes.
Likewise, the activist and the accountant have spectacular potential for forming common alliances. Both benefit from banking with local banks which keep funds in the local community rather than funneling them to other geographical areas. Moreover, if the activist and the accountant are willing to focus on the electoral politics of their own community and avoid being dazzled by rigged national elections, they can join hands to create financial transparency among their local politicians. I do not wish to imply that state and local elections are never rigged, but since corporations and fraudulently-managed federal and local government agencies have the capacity to steal local resources, one neighborhood at a time, it behooves every American to watch his/her back by keeping the focus local. In fact, the activist, as much as the accountant, has an obligation, indeed, a duty, to demand audited financial statements from state and local governments annually.
Both the activist and the accountant risk having their local resources and infrastructure privatized (piratized) as federal and state treasuries are intentionally bankrupted in order to "justify" privatization. Both can invest small or large amounts of money in local land, water, and alternative energy concerns and unite on the common ground of protecting these resources from corporate resource looters.
One does not have to be an accountant to understand the "if-you-don't-have-it-don't-spend-it" maxim. All citizens can commit to freeing themselves as soon as possible from credit card debt and living a cash-based lifestyle.
When the accountant understands that war increases the deficit and destroys living equity, he/she can join with the activist in shining the light on military conscription and slick recruiters who have been rigorously trained to seduce minorities and poor whites into the infinitely-expanding U.S. Oil Protection Service, otherwise known as the United States military establishment.
Both the accountant and the activist must understand that the increasingly precarious, illusive, and treacherous American economy has been and continues to be propped up by $500 billion to $1trillion that are annually laundered through the US banking system and public trading (http://russianlaw.org/wsj020501.htm) and that the majority of these funds are acquired in the neighborhoods of the activist and the accountant as illegal drugs are sold to their children (http://www.narconews.com/narcodollars1.html)
Investment is an economic term that superbly describes how the activist and the accountant can join worlds and forces to create healthier lives and communities. While the accountant may be pre-occupied with financial investments, the activist, along with all humans must make choices moment-to-moment, about things in which he wishes to invest his time, energy, and yes, money. While the accountant needs to be educated in how a poor quality of life in her own home or community is a poor financial investment, the activist needs to understand that banking with large branch banks, many of whom are documented money launderers, investing time and money in corporate media, and maintaining a limited concept of "investment", as if it only applied to people who own publicly-traded stocks, is draining him-emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially.
When the accountant, marketing major, or local entrepreneur begins to focus on greed rather than sustainability, transnational corporations and all their attendant evils are born. Unequivocally and without exception, quality of life deteriorates. Contrary to the world view of many activists, individuals engaged in commercial endeavors and seeking to generate income and invest in successful opportunities are not inherently amoral, clueless human beings. Unquestionably clueless, in my opinion, is the activist who prides him/herself in "the righteousness of austerity" and who has never considered that prosperity can be created for oneself and one's community by way of creating sustainability. Not all of our ancestors walked ten miles a day, barefoot in the snow to attend school, living on $500 a year. Some actually created abundance for their families and communities by improving the quality of life.
Economic injustice only results when people sacrifice sustainability for profit. Economic justice means that people create prosperity, not at the expense of others, but for and with others in order to enhance the overall abundance of everyone.
Former Wall St. investment banker and Undersecretary of Housing and Urban Development (and activist), Catherine Austin Fitts, speaks of the Popsicle Index which is the percentage of people in a neighborhood who believe that a child can leave their home and go to the nearest place to get a Popsicle and come back safely. In other words, the Popsicle Index is a quality of life index. The Dow Jones Index, as we know, is supposedly a guide to the financial well being of the American economy. Fifty years ago, the Popsicle Index was very high, and the Dow very low. Today, the Dow fluctuates above and below 10,000 while the Popsicle Index appears to diminish daily. The truly visionary activist comprehends that these two very different indices need each other, and that the ultimate challenge of the current century is not to destroy the Dow, but to work with the accountant to make the Dow and the Popsicle best friends.
The polarization of the worlds of the activist and the accountant is very useful for the predators, but it is not useful for individuals who wish to create a better world for themselves, their families, and their communities. When, not if, the American economy collapses, a great leveling is inevitable. Perhaps when gas is $10 per gallon and weeds are growing in what used to be the parking lot of Walmart because the U.S. is at war with China, our current binary perceptions of sustainability, equity, and investment will not serve us and will jeopardize our very survival. At that point, the activist and the accountant will appreciate the extent to which they need each other's perspective, expertise, and values.
Money, (as well as time and energy), as Julia Mossbridge writes, is a verb, but these resources cannot flow freely for growth, transformation, and love, unless we expand its meaning in our lives and open our eyes to discover that our assumed enemies may be automatic allies.
This article is an excerpt from Carolyn's just-published book, U.S. HISTORY UNCENSORED: What Your High School Textbook Didn't Tell You, available for ordering at her website www.carolynbaker.org where she can also be contacted.