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Neighbor to Neighbor: A Post 9/11 World – By John Perkins
– This post was originally seen on CSRWire: http://www.csrwire.com/blog/posts/1648-neighbor-to-neighbor-a-post-9-11-world
It’s been more than a month since we observed the anniversary of September 11, 2001. I spent that weekend at a 9/11 event in New York City where I was privileged to speak. It forced me to look more deeply at where we’ve come since that tragic day – to ask questions, such as:
What have we experienced since September 11, 2001? Is our world better, more just, and more unified? Do we have more freedom and equality? Do impoverished people around the planet have greater access to basic necessities? Is there less violence? Less destruction of the environment? Less pollution? Less war and terror?
The answers to these, and similar, questions are of course not the ones any of us like to hear. However, if we want a future that is peaceful, prosperous and emotionally fulfilling, we must ask such questions – and we must commit to a new era that changes the answers. We as citizens cannot step back from the responsibility to do all we can to create better solutions – not only for ourselves but also for our neighbors at home and abroad.
After September 11, 2001, we in the US were told we had to unite in a spirit of “patriotism” and unity against an enemy. We were told to come together so that we could be stronger against “them,” and we’ve allowed this polarized perspective to poison our foreign policy, our choices for elected officials, and the way we treat each other. We didn’t ask questions or insist on evidence. We allowed ourselves to be terribly deceived. And the result has been a Death Economy that has all but destroyed the American middle class, widened the gap between rich and poor, and negatively impacted the entire world. It has also seeded and nurtured the growth of that which we were told we should most fear, Islamic extremism.
Our government and the corporatocracy have been quick, overly quick, to point fingers and lay blame on specific groups and ideologies for the attacks on 9/11. It is time for us all to understand that the actions which followed gave them ever increasing power and profits. They convinced us to aim at a distant target. Better a target in a foreign land then people and companies in our own backyard. By keeping us divided from our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, they bolster their ability to remain in power. By keeping us afraid of an illusionary enemy, they keep us dependent on their imaginary – yet very costly – protection against that enemy.
As long as we continue to hate whomever they tell us to hate and to fight against others in the interest of “patriotism,” we are playing into their hands, helping their bottom lines, and sabotaging the future of our shared planet.
Speaking at that 9/11 event and hearing the other speakers – one after another pointing out the many abuses we have suffered following 9/11 – I saw how what has happened to us is exactly what we were told Osama bin Laden wanted to have happen to us. I saw too that now it is time for us to wake up. It’s time to realize that this “us versus them” story is a misleading and self-destructive story. The age-old “we are the victims of evil forces” myth serves the corporatocracy, not we the people.
All of us, all life forms that inhabit this fragile space ship, our Living Earth, share the same basic human rights to food, water, clean air, shelter, health care, and essential freedoms. We must accept responsibility to care for each other, and stop turning a blind eye to the reality that actions which divide us are not solutions.
By shifting the worn-out old story, we empower ourselves to take power back from the giant corporations and politicians who want to run the world at our expense. This Death Economy they are selling us day in and day out can be shifted to a Life Economy. We can do it, you and me, by joining together and applying our energies with diligence, perseverance, and the joy that comes from doing good work.
By John Perkins
This December and January I will be taking groups of people on sacred journeys to Latin America. There are still a few spots available. See below for more information.
The relationship between China and the US has been something of a roller coaster, from frosty to cordial, and everything in between. My time as an economic hit man gave me a unique opportunity to see China’s economy ebb and flow as it has developed into what it is today.
The Chinese economy has vied with the US for first place among the largest economies in the world. It spent most of the past decades growing and thriving, but in the last few weeks has showed signs of slowing down. The situation facing China holds a warning for the US and much of the rest of the world.
The news has been full of talk about China’s stock market and the economic “implosion” witnessed in its numbers lately. While China is likely to weather this implosion, and move forward, the expansion that I saw on my 2009 speaking tour there has slowed. Some analysts suggest this “slump” is temporary and a natural part of the economic cycle. Some have also suggested the sudden plummet is due more to falsely inflated highs than to unnatural lows.
For decades, the Chinese tried to abolish capitalism in favor of communism, with catastrophic results. Following that, they again embraced capitalism. The successes that they experienced in the decades after Mao offer insights into the entire development process.
I’ve just returned from one of my many trips to Latin America. It is obvious from talking to government officials there and elsewhere that many nations would rather accept loans from the Chinese than from the US and the institutions that serve the US such as the World Bank and IMF. Beijing does not suffer from a reputation for bullying with force and for interfering with the sovereignty of other countries; Washington does.
Will that change in the future? Perhaps. But, as one Ecuadorian official told me, “the US has proven that it will overthrow and assassinate our leaders. The Pentagon has military bases in more than 100 countries. China so far has not done anything like that.”
I’ve written about China in blogs and books such as Hoodwinked, and my new book coming out in February 2016 will include many more insights about this fascinating country.
China’s economy has flourished, growing at incredible rates for more than 30 years. When I toured China and lectured at a conference of Chinese MBA students, I marveled at the commitment of China’s future leaders to creating a healthier China. The MBA students understood that their country had performed an economic miracle – at terrible social and environmental costs – and now they said they are determined to perform a social and environmental miracle. I heard them repeat over and over the idea that their generation would make China the greenest nation in the world.
Will they do it? That of course remains to be seen. My hope is that the future leaders of the US and every other nation will challenge the Chinese. Let’s have a race to the top – a World Cup of Green!
What matters to you and me about China’s economy are the lessons I learned long ago as an EHM: if we follow the old patterns, the very few at the top will reap the rewards while the people who actually do the work and support the whole system will pay the price. That is a formula to global collapse.
The US, China, and other nations need to learn that we are not living in an economic vacuum – we can either all prosper together by focusing on global needs and opportunities, or we can shrink apart by following policies that serve only ourselves. Is there really a choice?
Let’s learn that growth to maximize profits at all costs, to idolize materialism and greed, are not goals that can be sustained by corporations or nations. The promise of China’s young people, with their determination to see a better future is what we must foster in our own schools, businesses, and government.
December 4th – 13th, 2015
A Journey to the Land of Transformation: the Mountains, Jungles & Caribbean Coast of Colombia
Shapeshifting Ourselves and the World with John Perkins and Daniel Koupermann
Colombia is known as the “keystone” to Latin America – the birthplace of ancient traditions and harbinger for hope. It is where I learned the lessons of an Economic Hit Man in the 1970s. Today it is leading the way to healing the wounds that cause environmental devastation, economic and social upheaval, and terrorism. Please see the Trip page for a full itinerary and registration details.
For information about making a deposit to reserve your space, please contact Linda Leyerle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 15th – 22nd, 2016
A Journey to the Lands of the Maya: Guatemala
Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness with John Perkins and Daniel Koupermann
We will be leading a trip to the sacred sites of Guatemala in January (Please visit the trip page for dates and Itinerary). Mayan shamans and I will facilitate magical life-changing fire ceremonies. You will learn how to apply “shapeshifting” approaches, elevate yourself to higher states of consciousness, and transform yourself and the world around you.
For information about making a deposit to reserve your space, please contact Linda Leyerle at email@example.com.
By John Perkins
The Love Summit 2015 presented by Dream Change was a wonderful and inspiring discussion of how business can change the world with LOVE. The highlight video is very special.
I just returned from the Amazon rain forest where I was joined by 25 people from Indonesia, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, and the US. Our international group learned from the Indigenous people there about creating a human presence on this planet that will foster environmentally sustainable, socially just, and emotionally and spiritually fulfilling life-styles, communities, and nations — in essence a world future generations will want to inherit. It was an amazing trip, filled with magic, inspiration, wisdom, and love.
We were in Ecuador where Pope Francis had very recently spoken about the importance of connecting with nature and acknowledging the responsibility we all share for stewarding our species through these times of challenge and opportunity. Right after we returned, a group of powerful Islamic leaders and scholars met in Istanbul and issued a declaration that was very much in line with the Pope’s. The messages from the Christian and Muslim worlds — worlds so often at odds — speak to the same truth. It is a truth that has been reiterated by Amazonian and Indigenous people around the world for generations; it can be summarized as follows:
- “We humans have the honor of inhabiting a Living Earth. It is a fragile space station that has no escape shuttles. We must love and care for this Living Earth.”
During the next five months I will take other groups of people to learn from Indigenous elders, teachers, and shamans in Colombia and Guatemala. The Kogi and the Maya, like the Amazonian people, are committed to helping human beings across the globe fulfill the ancient Prophecy of the Eagle and Condor, to rise to new levels of consciousness.
This Prophecy most likely originated in the Amazon thousands of years ago, but Indigenous people in Colombia and Guatemala and around the world foretell similar events. The prophecy says that deep in the mists of history, human societies decided to take two routes and become two different people: the Eagle people and the Condor people.
The Eagle people, according to the prophecy, are mind-oriented, industrial and related to masculine energy, often identified with science and technology. They have been the explorers, the colonists, and the aggressors in the records of history.
The Condor people are intuitive, creative, feeling, and related more to feminine energy. Indigenous people have usually identified with this path, as they prioritize the heart above the brain, and mysticism over rationalism in their cultures.
The prophecy says that for many years these two paths would not cross at all. Every five hundred years there is an era called (in Quechua, the language of the Andes) a Pachakuti. According to the prophecy, during the Fourth Pachakuti (about 1500), they would come together and the Eagle would be so strong as to practically drive the Condor into extinction – but not quite. And we know that, following Columbus, this is what happened on many continents. However, the Fifth Pachakuti (about 2000) would create a portal for the Eagle and Condor to fly together in one sky, to mate and create a new offspring: higher human consciousness. Some say that this offspring is represented by the quetzal of Central America, the Mayan bird. In any case, this new consciousness, it was foretold, would bring together the heart and mind, art and science, male and female. And we see that the reality of this new progeny is being realized, in workshops, books, and teachings all over the planet.
The Prophecy foretells of a time of powerful reconciliation and alignment between the two paths, the two peoples. We will become one people with a shared purpose, bringing the different aspects and strengths of each together for greater power and passion.
As I look around the world, I see that people are waking up, realizing that we are much more the same than we are different. We have the same need for basic human rights and the same need to give our children a sustainable, just, and spiritually fulfilling future. Is it really so difficult to join our neighbors in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and other areas of the world in restoring the health of our planet, this tiny, fragile spaceship that we all call home?
On this past trip to the Indigenous people of the Amazon, our group felt the reality of this awakening, this prophecy, very strongly. In the December trip to the Kogi of Colombia and the January one to the Maya of Central America we will delve deeper and deeper. The Eagle and Condor will fly together and we will rise together, as one, to a higher level of consciousness and commit to taking actions that will fulfill the Prophecy of the Eagle and Condor.
FIFA vs International Bank Scandals
By John Perkins
You don’t have to be a soccer fan to know about the recent FIFA scandal. FIFA is the governing body for soccer, the world’s most popular sport. Leaders in the organization have been charged with corruption, graft, extortion, and stunning disregard for the human costs of their success. But FIFA is just one in a long tradition of giant, arrogant members of the corporatocracy who seem to think they are above the law.
While this scandal is certainly newsworthy, the real outrage is the criminal bankers who have been making untold billions by illegally manipulating exchange rates for years. The world of sports is acting as a smoke screen, shielding the Justice Department from blame for irresponsibly ignoring the banking world. Instead of indicting individual bankers, the true masterminds behind this “breathtaking conspiracy,” as US Attorney General Loretta Lynch has called it, all the attention has been directed at the banks as entities. There are individual men and women behind the crimes of these international banks, people who should be brought to justice instead of protected by an armor of wealth and power. After the 2012 banking scandal around Libor – the “London Interbank Offered Rate” – there is no excuse for letting this travesty get swept under the rug.
International banking and the interest and exchange rates it controls are much more significant to all our lives than soccer. There is a bigger scandal brewing there, major banks have admitted to criminal activities, agreed to pay fines of about $10 billion, and yet not a single banker has been indicted. Why, we should all be asking ourselves, are banking executives above the law while those at FIFA are not? Clues: which group belongs to the corporatocracy? Who hires tens of thousands of Washington deal-makers and lobbyists? Who owns US Congress people?
Calling themselves the “Cartel,” a conglomerate of international banks has come under fire for manipulating foreign exchange rates, among other charges, to illegally increase the banks’ profits exponentially. These once-respected financial institutions, including Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, and JP Morgan Chase, acted as if they were untouchable and pursued wealth at all costs. The punishments for this long standing betrayal of the world’s trust are fines and penalties, with the occasional firing of bankers. The amount of these fines is hardly a punishment that fits the crime. The Justice Department needs to indict the ringleaders, the human beings behind these criminal acts. They cannot be allowed to hide behind shadowy and impersonal corporate logos.
Even while turning a blind eye to the crimes of the banking empire in favor of the sports arena, indicting a few members of FIFA is too little too late. Arresting members of a multinational sports corporation will not change the way the corporatocracy exploits the people of the world and damages the future for all of us. And the fact that corporations like Nike that are partners of FIFA seem to escape the net in this case, illustrates the selective immunity of money and power.
While it is good that the Justice Department is going after individual executives at FIFA for criminal activities, it is hard to ignore the blatant double standard. Individual bankers and other members of the corporatocracy are committing much more serious crimes, ones that impact the global economy and the lives of all of us. Yet those people whose job it is to bring justice to the US and the world are focusing on sports, hoping to distract us from the more egregious issues by other multinational corporations and organizations. We must hold them to a higher standard and demand that they pursue not just the company as a whole but the men and women who think they are above the law.
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