Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 | 2 a.m.
The Perfect Storm! Not the one that hit the Eastern Seaboard, the catastrophic financial recession of 2008. It was the result of a convergence of at least three systems. Deregulation was the first system, allowing financial institutions to pursue their greed unharnessed. The second was our increasing obsession with spending — living way beyond our means by buying bigger gas-guzzling vehicles, larger homes and maxing out our credit cards. Our incomes have far outstripped the rest of the world, resulting in massive outsourcing and, segueing into the third system, the emergence of the global economy.
With only 5 percent of the planet’s population, we have been consuming more than 30 percent of the global pie. Worldwide economic expansion has led to competition for relatively limited world resources. Our share of the pie is increasingly reduced. If our consumption is reduced from 30 percent to 15 percent, although still three times our proportionate “share,” that would still be a reduction of 50 percent of our past supply, seriously affecting our standard of living.
We need to get used to better conservation and doing more with less. Do we Americans have the grit to handle the impending lifestyle changes? And do we have the collective wisdom to make intelligent choices for the use of our funds?