Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dirt, Money and the Globe--in the news today

note: smarty pants posts are my routine thoughts on current events.  Because being a lady is no fun without the smarts.

Now that Obama mania has subsided a bit, I thought I would check the headlines to see what else is going on these days.  Here are a few things that caught my attention, and why I think they should catch your attention too--

I was drawn to this article on turning dirt into energy in Africa.  Obviously the technology itself sounds promising (the phrase "off the grid" caught my eye for obvious reasons), but here are the other things that stood out to me in the article: 1) the use of the term "entrepreneurial."  One interviewee said that Africans are creative and entrepreneurial by using their household resources in clever and sustainable ways.  He said that this was "entrepreneurial, but in a different way."  Can I become entrepreneurial like that?!  2) the founders of the company exploring this technology are good examples of brains meets compassion.  I've read a lot of articles recently about young graduates using their technical degrees to improve the world.  Brains well applied in my opinion!

This article, published the day after last week's election, talks about reactions to Obama's win around the globe, and I have a few questions: Could we have elected a "global president"?  Do we want a global president?  What does this tell us about the world (that it is globalizing, for one thing), and what does it tell us about the future?  My thoughts are that we are becoming more global by the day, but that the transition is not all champagne and roses.  As our institutions get bigger and bigger (banks, governments, etc.), it is important to remember that scale matters.  I, for one, would like to see some things remain small--like community support, sustainable food production, micro-business, etc.--and fear that our rush to globalize threatens to compromise that necessary "smallness."

And of course I couldn't make it through the paper without catching up on the economic news (it's rather grim, frankly).  One of my concerns with the $700 billion bailout (which is now being referred to as the "government investment program" (how nice, how sterile)), is that scale (again with scale) is So Large that it opens the door for more spending to follow.  Case in point--discussions to bailout the auto industry are underway, and financial companies (ex. American Express) are changing their status to take advantage of bailout money.  
Is anyone else concerned that all the money is funneling into a smaller and tighter pool? (Small in this case is Not Good.)

Share your thoughts with me on the headlines!  Email me at shillberry@comcast.net or post your comments here.

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