A Thriving Economy - When it's all about $$, it's no longer about life.

A few years ago I had a job that required me to fly back and forth across the country hiring people. It was a good way to experience the culture of Canada. A typical job interview on the east coast could last all day if you didn’t govern the time spent for each interview. There were stories, invites to dinner, offers of the best attractions and places to see whilst I was on their home stomping grounds. Even if they felt they were probably wrong for the job, they’d offer their best wishes to me in finding the right person. They’ll survive one way or another.

In Toronto, you’d have people of all walks of life trying to get the job. Over and under educated, desperation, a hard edge of pleading and follow up leaving me wanting to have jobs for everyone I interviewed. I did my best to hire marginalized people.

In Alberta it was completely different. People filed in, one after the other, rarely even making eye contact, not bothering with a hand shake or first impression gestures. They told you what they wanted monetarily and asked frankly if we were offering anything close to that. If we weren’t, they were gone, no time to even introduce ourselves. The west is booming with oil, potash and cattle trucks flowing generously. In Canada, we call this a thriving economy, even though it can’t be felt anywhere but in the immediate area of the boom.

I guess money makes us rude, money makes us not see individuals behind the eyes, money makes us a kind of automaton that lives to work. Are we really sure this is what we want? A thriving economy?

Jobs on the east coast have always come and gone. Industry moves in to mine or log, industry moves out when profits disappear. It’s a rough life of being tossed from opportunity to desperation. But there’s something about that, the way people take care of each other, the way people take care of strangers, that leaves me wondering if we’re not better off struggling together. Are we not better having to pitch in as a community to ensure the greater whole survives? Unfortunately, our world leaders are running the world with a whoever is richest wins philosophy. Discard the poor, they make us weak.

The big world boom today is happening in China. A friend from Hong Kong paints a picture of 20 hour working days, heart attacks in your 30s, not caring for the elderly in exchange for working, working, working – where humans are now human machines working away a life without any actual life, living in a concrete box and wanting nothing more than the next opportunity to make money.

Of course this is a generalization, there are exceptions everywhere, God bless them.

If money is supposed to save us and make us thrive, I see no indication that it makes us more human. I don’t see it facing us towards a more compassionate, fulfilled and loving existence. I only see it as I saw it sitting in an interview room in Alberta. If you don’t have big money to offer, we’re not interested, I don’t care who you are.

So I wonder - what does the future of Canada look like? If we stay on the same path we’re on now, the future of the entire world looks like China. All work, no play, no grace, no wonder - and most dangerously, no concern for the future of the planet - NONE.

It makes me want to move to the east coast to ride out the storm. They know how to do storms there, and you’re not alone in it.

Wishing you a week of quiet insights. May we all see the graces of living that rest between the lines, where money doesn’t exist and all we have left is time, love and compassion for one another.

 

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