Presidential Address We’d Like to Hear

President Obama
Obama Speaks, We Listen

In an era of economic decline often compared to the great depression, it is hopeful to hear others thinking that the problem may not be bad securities, defaulting mortgages, and predatory lenders. Perhaps the problem lies in the system itself:

“The failure can be traced directly to an ideology that says if government favors the financial interests of the rich, disregarding all else, everyone will benefit and the nation will prosper. A 30-year experiment with trickle-down economics that favored the interests of Wall Street speculators over the hard-working people and businesses of Main Street proved not to work. We now live with the devastating consequences.”

In the March issue of Ode Magazine (I know, it’s almost May, but having a baby put me behind on my reading) this short, yet impressive article titled, “An address I hope President Obama will deliver” gave us the quote above. This mock speech is one that, if Obama did deliver, would surely be proof of the paradigm shift we need to create a sustainable economy and a sustainable future.

Steady State Ideals for a Sustainable Future.

While the speech never uses the words “steady state” or “ecological economics,” its intent is in-line with the values of a steady state economy.

“Any private corporation that’s too big to fail is too big to exist”

The most important part of a steady state economy is sustainable scale: an economy that does not require natural capital faster than can be regenerated; where the costs of growth equal to the benefits (see uneconomic growth). In economy of sustainable size “any private corporation that’s too big to fail is too big to exist.”

Fair distribution is another important aspect of a steady state economy. David Korten, the author, hits this value on the head: “If the world is to work for any of us, it must work for all of us.” It is required of us to remove the “trickle-down” theory and replace it with a “trickle-up” practice. Mandating maximum wages, minimum incomes, and maximum wage inequalities is necessary to stop our ravenous capitalism from creating a few that are vastly rich and a many that are vastly poor.

From Obama’s Mouth to Our Ears.

This short, yet poignant speech is exactly what we need from our leader right now. We elected him in the pursuit of change and have so far seen actions that reinforce the current economic system. We know this system to be failed, we all feel it in our bones, yet we allow it to continue. The fact is “we have no more time or resources to devote to fixing a system based on false values and a discredited ideology.”

We must create a sustainable world in order to continue living on planet Earth. The largest driving factor for unsustainable action is our growth economy. We need a sustainable, steady state economy if we are ever going to have a happy, healthy future. The speech concludes, as does this post:

“By recommitting ourselves to the founding ideals of this great nation, focusing on our possibilities and liberating ourselves from failed ideas and institutions, together we can create a stronger, better nation that secures a fulfilling life for every person and honors the premise of the Declaration of Independence that every individual is endowed with an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Read the full article here.

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