I came across an interesting article by Kevin Carmichael, who writes for the Globe & Mail, titled “Welcome to the New Normal”. In it, Kevin reviews some statements by Pimco (Pacific Investment Management Co.) on the status of the global economy and the recent recession/depression. Pimco manages $1-trillion in assets, including the biggest mutual fund (Bill Gross at $225-billion). Pimco’s CEO, Mohammed El-Erian said:”It is even clearer today than it was a year ago that the global economy has embarked upon a multiyear that is subject to many tensions.” He goes further to describe the situation we just experienced and the status of today economy “the New Normal”. In simple terms, the new normal could be described as the involvement of government in the stabilization of the economy, a sort of public capitalism, somewhat necessary to create a more harmonious overall balance in society. Is this history repeating itself? My experience is telling me that the new normal is maybe an old normal after all, where the ability to seek refuge in government assistance is seen as a panacea to problems.
The situation in Europe, some sort of a recession part 2, with a new approved bailout and the discovery of deeper issues not only with Greece but also with other countries within the European Union, is a further example of what the new normal is. But to me, again, what is new normal appears to be old. These problems have been around forever. The state of indebtedness of countries all around the world goes back a few decades. The illusion of wealth, created by marketing techniques and commercial viability of new technology, has just masked the issues until the private sector couldn’t support itself and greed took its toll.
On another note, though, the same new normality that is widely accepted today in the global economy, is also accepted in the review, acceptance, or refusal of traditional values and principles. The introduction of politically correct concepts has allowed the decadence of decency and the acceptance of what is different as normal (new normal). The major evidence of this is in the relations between human beings. Instant gratification of materialistic expectations has gradually attenuated moral and spiritual values to the point that selfishness has become the norm. Would you stop to assist someone who is lying on the street at night when it’s dark and provide rescue or relief? Hopefully you still have it in you that being a ‘good Samaritan’ is in fact a good thing. But society has created fear through consumerism and the sense of security has been somewhat lost. Maybe you wish to help, but you are afraid that someone is waiting to do something bad to you as well, hiding in the dark. I also know of people that just do not care and would go by without a helping hand.
People that try to defend ‘traditional’ values are aggressively targeted as bigots and insensitive. I know many ‘bigots’ that are very good people and would go above and beyond normal expectations to help and assist and be good people. What is wrong with that? I think it is wonderful to know that there are still people like that in the world. Where is the value of tolerance? The lack of it is certainly the most critical issue in the way things go in the world. Intolerance is causing wars, major lawsuits and a new normal that I certainly do not like and I try to fight every day.
I wish to think that Utopia is not dead but still alive; that we can still make a difference as individuals by changing the circumstances around us one person and one issue at a time; that freedom is based on respect for others even if they don’t think like you; that respect also means open mindedness and agree to disagree; that traditional is not a bad word and that traditional values are good and worth living.
So let us make an effort in being good where good is not just a dream but a reality we can make happen.