Enlightened Conflict

How do you solve a problem when one half absolutely hates the other half?

February 10th, 2017

Polar Opposites conflict

 

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I want people to think about our politics here in America, because I’m telling you guys that I don’t know of a single nation in this history of the world that’s been able to solve its problems when half the people in the country absolutely hate the other half of the people in that country.

This is the most important country in the world, and people in this body cannot function if people are offending one another.

Marco Rubio

 

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Well.

 

Polarization can create some pretty foul conduct.

 

Polarization can bring out the worst in people.

 

Polarization can create stillness within turmoil when movement within teamwork is needed <and desired>.

And.

 

Polarization within leadership is a virus that infects everyone in the organization … not just in leadership.

marco rubio speech on respectful conflict

I was reminded of this as I watched a completely underreported and under the radar speech Marco Rubio gave on the senate floor after <I believe> Elizabeth Warren had been asked to stop speaking.

Warren gained all the headlines where Rubio actually had the words we should have all been listening to. It is maybe 8 minutes long and worth every second.

 

 

Please note that I believe this message is more important than just one directed toward the Senate … it is a message which all Americans should take note of.

We are fortunate to have the privilege of freedom of speech & thought and we should embrace that freedom as one to permit healthy discussion, debate and disagreements … all of which should enable healthy, positive decisions.

 

Freedom is a tricky thing. In the United States of America we have the unique opportunity to “criticize a president without retribution.” <as past President Obama said to a group of military people at MacDill Air Force base>.

 

But our freedoms are being challenge by Trump and his attitudes & behaviors in ways we haven’t really seen in a very very long time.

 

The Trump Affect ripples way beyond simple executive orders and specific friends unfluencers ripples2actions that will have an impact on the people of the country. The more dangerous ripple effect is one of attitudes & behaviors.

Within this dangerous Trump affect ripple,  the freedom to freely criticize is a little less secure … and the way we criticize, debate & discuss in the Trump era appears to be one of not listening, not respecting and not believing that there could possibly be a way to do something differently than the way “I believe.”

 

Trump and his merry little band of morally corrupt liars suggest that there is no middle ground for “ladies & gentlemen to disagree with ladies & gentlemen” <note: this is a rip off of the Ritz Carlton motto>.

 

The Trump Affect has trickled down into his direct organization … the congress.

 

And within that ripple Republicans either embrace the bully opportunity or simply privately watch in horror as leadership decorum and leadership example <which, by the way, IS important as impressionable children and adult seeking cues on how to be leaders watch closely>.

And within that ripple Democrats screech & gnash their teeth in impotent frustration over not only having no power to shift the tides of change but also because, in their heart of hearts, they know this is not the way business should be conducted.

 

Balance has disappeared.

compromise balancing actWhile people can bitch & moan that decorum, in the past, has only encouraged stagnancy & lack of action they should not confuse with what business is conducted and how business is conducted.

Just as I am more accepting of my high school football coach if we have a losing season but the players play with respect & dignity and go to class and show signs of growing up with a healthy personal responsibility … I am less accepting of the coach who permits poor behavior & lack of respectful competition even if they win more.

You can have all the good in this case. But balance has been lost.

 

In fact.

 

We should face the fact that balance deserted us the day Trump stepped onto his golden Trump Tower escalator last year to announce his candidacy.

 

And that is why Rubio’s speech is so important. Without actually saying it he suggests that we shouldn’t let Trump drag us down into some dysfunctional squabbling amorphous blob of indignant jerks.

 

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“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.

Both are nonsense.

You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

 

———-

Rick Warren

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I like conflict and I think conflict is healthy.

creative spark light bulb

It is a basic Life truth that conflict is the positive friction that often creates innovations and new thinking and new ideas.

But, as with most things in life, there are degrees of conflict.

 

The kind of conflict we need now, more than ever, is the productive type.

 

We need to better embrace the valuable contradictions in life.

Things like:

 

Smart and funny.

Silent but says a lot.

Liberal conservative.

Cynical optimist.

 

Oh.

 

And enlightened and conflict of course.

 

We need to better embrace the fact that contradictions are powerful.

They create a chemistry ending in positive friction <when done right> and the fire for innovative thinking and thoughts.

 

In general I believe contradiction not only make life & people interesting but they also forge the kind of decisions that become the iron construct for a solid culture, civilization and country.

 

We need to embrace that conflict is part of life and not treat it as only a negative thing.

 

void embrace the unknownHumans are neither passive nor stagnant. We move. We do. We think.

 

Combine that fact with individuals are unique <although they may group together> and inevitably there is some conflict. It can simply be healthy competition or it can be staggeringly evil intended activity <i.e. there will be conflict because your point of view and thoughts shouldn’t exist and I am going to extinguish them>.

 

We need to embrace the fact that conflict can be “managed”.

Maybe call it competitive camaraderie. I call it enlightened conflict. I believe if people know more about stuff <I don’t really believe it needs a technical term> then conflict will be conducted with knowledge.

 

I would suggest that ignorance, and being close minded, guides conflict toward evil interactions … while knowledge guides conflict to responsible interactions.

 

Lastly.

 

We need to embrace that enlightened conflict is really some version of pluralism.

A pluralism in that it encourages, and embraces, freedom to learn and freedom to think different thoughts.

 

In the end I imagine what I really care about are people’s actions. They can remain mute as far as I am concerned as long as their actions respect others opinions and others lives and meets global responsibilities.

 

Look.

 

enlightened conflict ideasIt is silly to think that conflict doesn’t exist as part of our natural behavior <I apologize to all the “why can’t we all get along” groups>.

 

It is silly to think that friction between beliefs and causes is not the spark for something better.

 

It is silly to think conflict and friction is not good.

Good conflict leads to positive friction and ideation and evolution of ideas.

 

But it needs to be conducted with respect. Respectful disagreements & debate lead to two things:

 

  • Positive friction.

 

  • Enlightened conflict.

 

 

The first is based on curiosity plus friction equals better ideas and thinking.

The second is lack of ignorance plus conflict equals respectful competition.

 

We here in the United States have an incredible privilege … a freedom to say what we want and disagree and criticize whomever we want. We shouldn’t abuse that privilege by not understanding that it creates good conflict which enlightened conflict thinkenables ‘gooder’ ideas.

 

Marco Rubio did something in his speech which I endorse wholeheartedly … he tried to make an impact on his own little corner of the world … encouraging positive friction for enlightened conflict.

 

 

Marco Rubio had a stellar enlightened conflict moment … and more people should see it and listen.

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“Enlighten the people, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

Thomas Jefferson

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saying goodbye to project global generation

December 27th, 2016

gg thinker and girl

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“ I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.”

 

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Dead Poets Society

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“Teach me how to gracefully let go of things not meant for me.”

 

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via lilac-veinss

 

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Well.

 

I am saying goodbye to my project global generation education idea.

 

Project Global Generation was my global gg access tech_growthtechnology based education idea.

 

It pains me to do so as I view what is happening with regard to education and technology.

But it has been 6 years since I built out the program and initiative and shared it online and it has gone nowhere.

 

I still believe it is a good idea. No. A great idea to enhance education at younger age levels globally.

 

More often than not when technology & education is discussed it refers to university level. I do not. And I have not. My initiative has always resided at the K through 12 level.

 

<although … awhile back one of the people in my LinkedIn network recently attended a conference on technology, start ups and education which discussed investment in K-12 innovation and VC’s: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/heres-what-we-told-world-leaders-edtech-betsy-elizabeth-corcoran >

 

 

Now.

 

Before anyone completely freaks out, while I do believe classrooms will need to change shape <almost everyone agrees the common set up is less than optimal>, I do believe there will be a human teacher for a long time yet and in my initiative idea I created a concept in which the best teachers could have student access globally … anywhere <implementation and costs  >

 

But.

Something needs to change <and charter schools and privatization are simply band aids on an old wound>.

 

Worldwide, 250 million children do not have even basic numeracy and literacy skills. In some rural parts of the world only one in five children aged 10 and 11, who should have spent five years in school, have achieved minimum learning standards.

My idea can help solve that.

 

In addition, one reason why so many children spend time in school without progressing is overly ambitious and inflexible curriculum. Education interventions aimed at basic literacy and numeracy skills for children who have fallen behind curricular expectations show that they can improve rapidly with the right support.

My idea can help solve that.

 

In many countries, the best teachers often cannot help the students who need them the most holding back children’s learning.

My idea can solve that.

 

In many cases learning is less than optimal because we do not provide learning resources to help children progress at an appropriate pace. Learning materials will only be effective if they are accessible to children, are pitched at the right level and in the right language, and teachers are trained to use them. A computer-based tool in India that tailored learning materials according to children’s current learning levels increased test scores in mathematics for the average child, to exceed 69% of children in the comparison group.

My idea can help solve that.gg thinking beyond-the-box

 

Lastly.

 

It is clear that education systems require urgent reform.

My idea can help do that.

 

Online education has made incredible strides.

And it certainly hasn’t reached a point where it can completely replace physical teaching. Human beings are able to pick up on a multitude of contextual clues from students to determine and respond to the emotional states. Technology can’t detect emotional states, let alone adapt its behavior to cater accordingly.

But we would be foolish to believe that ability is not beyond the scope of what technology will be capable of at some point.

 

Anyway.

I am certainly not the only one with this vision of a technology based education platform.

 

A guy, Steve Vosloo, significantly smarter than I and in the education business has written some fabulous pieces associated with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with regard to the future of technology based education:

 

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“UNESCO studies have shown that the use of a SMS phone can help them [children in developing countries] onto the first rung of Digital Literacy by learning to read and write their first words, and subsequently creating the desire to attend school.”

 

http://edutechdebate.org/2014-ict4edu-trends/6-emerging-trends-in-education-and-mobile-learning/

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All that said.

As I say goodbye to Project Global Generation I admitI have always wanted to leave a Legacy. One which may appear to be a pretty “big hairy audacious goal”.

 

Encouraging an optimistic global generation of children having a respect for the environment and others and, ultimately, are individually and globally responsible.

 

I want to develop a children’s education global initiative that can grow the roots for a positive responsible global generation. I want to attack ignorance as if it is the enemy.

And I built it.

 

Soup to nuts I built out the concept <I have the entire table of contents below>.

 

And, suffice it to say, I believe there is a confluence of factors that make this concept a possibility. It is an idea that’s time has come. Surely, the most critical factor to this concept is the evolution of internet usage and global access.

GG platform benefitsIn addition, I thought the idea would always contribute to my larger overarching objective of Enlightened Conflict.

 

Why did I believe Enlightened Conflict an important objective?

Let’s assume Conflict will always exist – between countries, religious beliefs, ideologies, the haves and the have nots, etc. We appear to have a unique opportunity to insure conflict can be managed to some extent. Enlightening a generation to the risks of conflict without respect <the reverse would be encouraging positive conflict or conflict with rules>.

 

If we don’t attempt to place the underpinnings on the foundation of the global generation, then we risk the global house falling when they reach an age where they can dictate the outcome of whatever conflicts across the globe may be happening at that time. No one can doubt that there will be crises and conflict this generation will deal with. And none of us can imagine what they will be. But we should bear a responsibility for preparing them. And an internet education platform offers an opportunity to create a global community thread that in the end could spare us from the direst outcomes from future conflict.

 

Am I seeking a global socialism or global “mind”? Absolutely not.

In fact I would encourage embracing local culture customs but within this infrastructure of common respect. I hesitate to use the word values because so often it has religious aspects. But if I could use it without the religious attachment it is very appropriate. I do not believe we will have a global religion but I do believe we can have global respect.

I call this objective “The Global Generation and Owning a Contradiction: Community Individualism” and it was at the core of the think biggerconcept.

 

I have always believed to make this idea be its most effective, the concept has to embrace the contradiction. Community, a pluralism type idea, and Individuality of choice, a strength in “one” to make a difference type idea. Therefore this concept needs to enhance the sense of global community and encourage local individual choice to encourage belief that a global community is actually made from the strength of individual choices <and the global community respects local choices as long as it stays within an overall respect for life & environment construct>.

 

I have always believed, all the other aspects created equal, the strength of this concept lies within the circular strength of the global/local relationship.

 

Regardless.

 

I have thought out tactics, implementation and strategy. And while this is an expansive concept I didn’t want this program and creating “global balanced respect” to be so pie in the sky and “high road” it was unrealistic. Yet I also don’t want it to be so watered down children won’t be able to see the high road if they are capable of taking it. What I mean by “high road” is while a child in Siberia or the Congo is focused on having food on the table, they truly have dreams of an education to be able to be one of those people they see on TV or hear on radio. It is difficult for a “have” to totally understand a “have not” unless you have been in their shoes.

 

I believe if we build a platform that shows kids the only difference between them is actually the having or not having, it helps a lot. And then if we seek to make education <or maybe cornerstone “conflict” knowledge points> attainable for all globally that helps everyone get off on the right foot, which is where I believe it all begins.

 

So what makes this so less pie in the sky is “creating a positive global imprint for environment and individual respect” is a fairly easy concept to grasp.

 

Ok.

 

Regardless of all the big conceptual ideas I glossed over <but do have detailed thought for> the tactic plan of action is attainable. If you would like to see click here: project global generation.

 

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“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.”

 

Sir Winston Churchill

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I am interested in helping be a builder of this next empire. I would drop anything I was doing to do this. So contact me if you want to hire me to make this idea happen.

 

Bruce McTague

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Here is the table of contents for all the pieces I have written from the original concept idea to specific costs and implementation tactics:

 

education civilization

–          About Project Global Generation

The welcome to the site and why I created this idea/initiative.

 

–          Table of contents and summary

If you read only one thing this would be it.  Right here (this post is the contents/summary).  A cliff notes version of everything you can find on the site.

 

–          1. global generation: dawn of enlightened individuality (the global generation)

using a variety of sources I outline what I believe the generation after the Millennials, called The Global Generation, will look like attitudinally and how they ‘fit’ in the cycle of generations.

 

–          1a. The global generation student: about their abilities & attitude

using a Fischler study and the Singapore Ministry of Education I try and overcome some misperceptions about the abilities and attitudes of a younger generation of students

 

–          2. global generation: a look at millennials (and why they are not the global generation)

in this post I take a deeper dive into why I believe the Millennials will end up facilitating the Global Generation opportunity and not be the generation that will impact education & enlightened conflict directly. 

 

–          3. global generation: sociology & the internet platform

there are some inherent sociological benefits to a we based education initiative and in this post I outline them.

 

–          4. global generation: developing critical thinking skills

in this post I outline how the Global generation, facilitated by a web based program, will be the greatest critical thinking generation we have seen.

 

–          5. global generation: education messaging underpinnings

in this article I outline the specifics of what makes up the educational aspects (and what does not).

 

–          6. global generation: learning by lurking

in addition to the sociological benefits as outlined in GG 3 we have seen some possible improvements a web based model can offer to learning/education.

 

–          7. global generation: tactics & implementation

after outlining the thinking behind the initiative in this post I outline the specific tactics & costs.

 

–          8. global generation: the role of the web (versus existing education systems)

in this post I outline the benefits of using a web based model for education trying to explain why flipping the existing education model is better and more practical for the future generations 

 

–          global generation 9: measuring the initiative impact (attitudinally and global attendance)

now that I have outlined the thinking behind the program, the specific tactics & costs to implement I suggest measurement objectives and will also using the most recent UNESCO global education report I outline how the initiative will assist in reaching the UN Millennium goals.

 

–          10. global generation: more on impact – conflict & enlightenment

Using an article from The Economist I outline how the initiative impacts value systems

 

–          11. global generation: implementing a conflict prevention program

I compare the initiative against other existing global initiatives to outline how this initiative will be more effective than most other programs because it affects ongoing behavior as a ‘preventative’ initiative rather than a ‘intervention’ type program

 

–          12. global generation: not too close a link to human rights

I outline my thoughts that this initiative is an education program and not a Human rights program and part of its challenge is to not judge different cultural/governmental/religious systems but rather through education there is a high potential for a stronger tolerance of different views as the generation moves into adulthood.

 

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Well.goodbye hand

 

Today I write about Project Global Generation for the last time.

 

Sometimes you just have to let go of things … even if you think the ‘thing’ is worthwhile and worth fighting for.

 

If no one else sees the same value you do … well … as I have written a zillion times before … sometimes you just gotta let go and move on.

 

Project Global Generation is officially signing off. Farewell my friend.

 

the death of the mall and a divided america

November 28th, 2016

  just-came-from-the-mall

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The impression left after watching the motions of birds is that of extreme mobility – a life of perpetual impulse checked only by fear.

 

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Richard Jefferies

 

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“My fundamental philosophy is that you owe it to society to transfer to them any knowledge you have that might be useful.”

 

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Leroy Hood

 

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Well.

 

Because USA just faced is heinous tradition called ‘black Friday’ <a made up sales day to encourage people to buy things they most likely don’t need under the guise of ‘early start for Christmas shopping’ — this is a made up day beliefs divide people doubt unitescreated by retail sellers solely to sell more shit early> I started thinking about how the ‘death of malls’ was a reflection of the American rural/urban divide.

 

Ok.

 

Maybe the death of malls is a metaphor.

 

Regardless.

 

A long time ago I wrote about the convenience economy. Malls were most likely the first step into the larger convenience economy <it had actually existed with the general store – one stop for everything – but malls took it to a new level>. Under the guise of ‘saving time’ convenience and consumption are inextricably linked.

This meant that as malls crept out of suburbia and into rural America it warped the existing attitudes & behaviors affecting the soul of what made rural America <and I could argue what actually made America> what it was – in terms of time, convenience, consumption and , unfortunately, economy.

 

Joan Didion wrote in 1979: “malls became cities in which no one lives but everyone consumes.”

 

Now?

 

Malls are almost like ancient ruins … and yet the population still lives in the ruins.

That is what happens when no one consumes but they still have to live.mall-dead-rising

 

Sprawling malls were a natural product of the post world war 2 as Americans with cars and money spread to the suburbs.

They were thrown up at a furious pace as shoppers fled cities, peaking at a few hundred per year at one point in the 1980s <Paco Underhill author of Call of the Mall: The Geography of Shopping>.

 

From there they naturally expanded their reach farther into rural America spreading their ‘urban wares’ to a population who could only have seen those things on tv up until that point.

 

This all came at a cost.

 

Yeah.

 

Rural America paid a price for large retail … the mom and pop small business and down town general stores lost the battle … and a part of the soul & heart of rural America was also lost to malls and large retail. Yeah. In the short term it appeared like jobs were created, tax revenue increased and the local economy improved.

 

And, yet, in gaining short term economic reasons … culture was lost, some values were lost and … well … local ideas were lost.

 

This has left us in a farther divided America as malls crashed and burned not only leaving a mall overstock in their wake but as they left <because economics writing-on-the-walls-of-the-mallsuggested they should step back from rural America> they left a ‘less grounded’ landscape behind.

 

Malls tore out the soul of middle America and never replaced it with anything worthwhile while there … and never placed anything behind when it left.

 

I have driven across the United States several times. I have seen small businesses in places I could never imagine and seen dying, or dead, shopping malls dotting the landscape most often in locations where there are severe socioeconomic shifts. I don’t know the exact numbers but the last ones I saw suggested that closings of existing malls will number somewhere between 15 to 50%.

 

It is fairly easy for me to suggest that while artificially bloating the financial economy when there  … their actual success was dependent upon the slicing, dicing and stripping away what was built up over generations.

I would suggest, on a side, note, we have been doing this to rural America for years <not just with malls>.

 

And I don’t have to suggest because it is fact … that the departure of malls from rural areas has simply exposed the obscenity of their existence. The holes they leave behind  showcase the years of neglect, exploitation, abuse, poor local government decisions, and short-sighted policy which transformed a thriving rural landscape into a hollowed out long list of small towns and cities.

 

In many of these areas their existence had masked a steady decline <which they had actually contributed to> and their departure put a spotlight on a way of Life shutting down <albeit leaving a population which doesn’t want to shut down yet>.

 

I would also say, sadly I may add, that spotlight forced a local population to face a pervasive sense of fear and loss.

terror lose meaningful

Having done it … I can say that just driving through town after town of dead malls, closed factories, shuttered stores, abandoned mines, empty schools, roads in need of repair and empty homes … and you can feel their loss.

 

If you want to get a sense of divided America explore the decline of malls.

 

Simplistically, Malls are a reflection of eating our own. Just as online shopping is making brick & mortar increasingly irrelevant the malls made the once thriving local business communities less relevant.

 

But their cost is even deeper than that.

 

The economy has fundamentally shifted because technology has decreased the costs of entry and performance by businesses. This means business models are quickly shifting because of changes coming faster than ever before.

 

For example.

 

Would you invest in a factory that made anything but it took 3 years to build the factory? …..I’m guessing no, because how would you know the thing would still be in demand?

 

Or that your method of manufacturing would still be the most cost effective way?

Or that your raw materials would be affordable to make the product at a certain price?

Or that your labor costs would allow you to hit certain price points?

 

 

What this means is that even a rural economy seeking to refind it’s ‘American mojo’ is faced with an uncertain business landscape which makes it more difficult for a rural community to rebuild a successful local economy based on what they knew, and know, is successful.

american hands

And, yeah, this is more than about money.

 

Because, yeah, rebuilding a thriving rural economy is not just about money & profits & jobs. It is also about heart & soul & the intangibles.

 

We urban/suburban folk forget that.

 

Let me be unequivocally clear <and I hope some politician reads this> … rural American prosperity is not just found in the wallet but in the soul.

 

In other words … I can place a general store in a small community and the owner doesn’t dream of wealth beyond anything he/she can dream of but rather comfortable earnings and a gathering place so that the community thrives.

 

Our ‘urban objectives’ are often different than ‘rural objective.’

 

And maybe that is part of my point on the divide in America.

 

Equality comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.

 

An urban idea, malls, stripped parts of America of its soul. And what that meant is while rural America could always stand tall with unequal, as in better, values & soul versus the high falutin’ intellectual urban/suburban folk … malls stripped them of the main portion of what permitted them to remain ‘equal’ even though incomes may not have been equal.

 

Look.

 

I disagree with some experts who suggest that retail often mirrors the natural life cycle of the surrounding community and it is about demographics.

I believe retail is an organism in and of itself driven by profit not by humanism.

 

And I believe retail, at its heart, is driven by an urban ‘heartbeat’ which is constantly trying to reapply it to rural America <it is fairly rare to have a rural idea expand to dominate urban>.

 

I say that because we don’t talk about it often but ‘progress’, which is most often associated with a healthy economic metabolism, is mostly visible in urban/suburban America and not rural America.

 

Which is … well … kind of nuts.

 

Why? Because I could easily argue that, in a stark judgement, that America’s achievements were built upon rural America … and, yet, the rising levels of material well-being, education and health actually reside in urban/suburban America.

 

Add in some fairly shocking statistics on life expectancy and social mobility and the crumbling mall retail structure in Middle America becomes symbolic for many of their woes.

 

We all know that while the economy may not be robust that wealth is certainly being generated, and often displayed in some gaudy ostentatious ways <see Trump tower as an example> and amazing technological innovations have become common in households and certainly prosperity exists, though almost exclusively in a sliver of America, all of which suggests that the economic infrastructure is visibly changing even while it is semi-working.

 

And by ‘semi-working’ I go back to malls as an example … it is mostly a system of cannibalism. It is a system and society that is devouring its own.

Urban America has been picking prosperity from the slowly decaying carcass of rural America. This carcass is symbolic of the hollowing out of rural America.

 

For some long time now, the economy has been driven by investment banks, hedge funds, private equity firms, real estate developers, insurance goliaths and a whole range of companies and industries that make nothing but rather make money off of money.

 

In the end.

 

I purposefully used ‘stripping’ and ‘cannibalism’ and ‘eating our own’ because that is what we have done to a significant portion of America … and, more significantly, a portion of America who believes they created America AND believes if anyone would ask them … they could help rebuild America.

 

I use malls, and their death, as an example of what we ‘innovators of progress’ have done. And while many of us may have acted with real best intentions … it america one heartbeatwas a failure. And, worse, we have failed a significant portion of America.

 

We don’t owe portions of America because we have taken away their malls … we owe them the assistance to let them rebuild the America they know should be built.

 

And am I suggesting going ‘back’? Only partially.

The general stores will most likely never return. The mines will never reopen. Some schools are shuttered forever. But to rebuild a community you give them their soul back first & foremost. Anything built with soul will make America great and will last for generations.

Enlightened Conflict