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Too Big to Care

In the current economic disaster, the phrase 'too big to fail' has been used quite a few times, implying an organization might be so critical that its failure will have too many consequences to allow that failure. I suggest the more appropriate phrase 'too big to care' applies to the current economic and political problems.

A human being is a social creature with an inherent capacity for empathy, or grasping the emotions of another human being, such as being happy, sad, in pain, and so on. As the social distance increases from one person to another, it apparently becomes easier for the person to rationalize various behaviors that impact the other person. Hence, those at the top of a large organization no longer care about those at the bottom: too big to care.

With a great social distance, it becomes possible for some to dehumanize some other minority, claiming that other group is no longer worthy of some consideration. This is the typical technique when the leaders of one country wish to begin a predatory war on another country, by claiming that other leader is very corrupt (in recent years, there is always a comparison to Hitler or some other vile leader in the past) or the people themselves are maligned, such as America's wars against the Japanese and later against the Vietnamese.

Over the past 200 years, the world's population has significantly increased and has changed from primarily a rural context to urban. Cities have become much larger, as have the number of people involved in government. Political leaders deal with their populations as only statistics, easily rationalizing decisions that benefit a small number of cronies to the detriment of many others.

Companies have also grown into large entities, some spanning multiple countries, where the top layers of management can live in a location far removed from those impacted by their decisions. Business managers deal with their employees as only a resource, like a tool that can be used until it is worn out and discarded (as was done with the slaves in America's South but this is being again with the Hispanic immigrant population). Many people are now wage slaves, where they must submit to whatever is asked of them or else they will lose their jobs and be replaced; they are treated as if they have no intrinsic value as a human being. A business is a social structure where a group of people work together to achieve something that cannot be done as well alone. That simple concept has been discarded and replaced with the concept those at the top (with the highest income) make the decisions and the rest must do as they are told even though they rarely obtain much benefit from their efforts.

The business leaders deal with the environment in a similar manner, as something that is just consumed with the waste discarded; if one country does not like the pollution being dispenses then the business will just move to another country whose leaders will accept the business (usually with some benefit obtained by the political leaders involved in the transition) with little care about those poor citizens to be impacted.

The world is now dominated by the capitalist economic model, where those with the most capital decide how much will trickle down to those with less. This predatory arrangement has corrupted the supposed democratic political model that appears to be widespread, but again those at the top typically make sure the top business leaders get the most benefits from economic policies while doing just enough for the lower economic classes to remain in office.

To minimize such inhumane behaviors by the political and business leaders, there must be a more direct channel for visibility to those impacted and a feedback mechanism to ensure accountability.

The world needs a bottom up social structure, to avoid the concentration of power at the top of any organization with its inevitable misery for those at the bottom.

created - April 2012
last change - 04/26/2012
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