Monday, April 13, 2009

A New Renaissance?

Remembering the ethics of the past, two articles of totally different subject material:

First, Frank Rich at the NYT:
Even at the cratered Citigroup, a technical analyst was moved to write a report last month urging his peers to stop living in “denial” and recognize that we are witnessing the end of “25 to 30 years worth of excess.” The “new normal” in lifestyle, wealth creation and profitability of companies, he wrote, “may be a shadow of the past.”

There was a poignant quality to this Citi report, which cited as its mantra the R.E.M. song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine).” Its tone somehow reminded me of the stirring speech written by the American playwright Clifford Odets in his classic drama of the Great Depression, “Awake and Sing!” (1935). “Boychick, wake up!” the grandfather Jacob tells his grandson, Ralph, as the battered Berger family disintegrates in the Bronx. “Be something! Make your life something good ... Go out and fight so life shouldn’t be printed on dollar bills.”

When Lawrence Summers was president of Harvard, he famously delighted students by signing his autograph on dollar bills that already bore his signature from his Treasury secretary days. How we leave that bankrupt culture behind and get to “something good” will be as much a factor in our recovery from this Depression as the fate of the unemployment rate and the Dow.
TreeHugger on the return of Permaculture in Urban Agriculture and goes philosophical:

"Permaculture is about asking, 'Why am I doing this?'" Read said. "It's not about clever technological solutions for driving, but asking, 'Why am I in this car in the first place?' I constantly end up taking things out of my life that I don't need."