Health and Strength of Mind, Body and Soul
   Home      A View of How & Why Modern Societies Wallow in Financial-Social Chaos
A View of How & Why Modern Societies Wallow in Financial-Social Chaos
© Donald Reinhardt, November 22, 2011; Updated September 15, 2012. 
Everyone it seems in 2011 and soon into 2012 – and perhaps well beyond these times– will be looking for solutions to the major problems of our time. We see the debt and financial crisis in Europe and the United States, the riots, protests, wars and conflicts throughout the world –especially now in the Middle East – and we are aware that real trouble abides, lives and breathes widely, deeply and with strength. Where is there any hope?
How and Why Do Financial-Social-Moral Crises Occur and Why Are We Where We Are in the 21st Century?
Yes, those are good questions and they each have some possible, real answers. All crises typically involve a combination of time and abnormalities, disorders, or dysfunctions which, without proper correction, ultimately cause greater and greater harm as time passes.  The ingredients for the current financial crises include: inflated currencies not backed by gold or silver, declining industries and associated job losses, expenses and debt that exceeds income. Further problems include the lack of thoughtful planning, frugality and true foresight by government leaders of these older, mature, formerly-rich nations which now must compete and contend with emerging new industrial nations such as China and India.
Let's think about a few important events and try to simplify and focus on what has happened, is happening and might occur down the road. 
The Modern World Is Very Materialistic and In High Debt and Deficit 
Various populations in developed countries of the world are  and have been in moral and materialism crises. From politicians to citizens, many live and run their lives without any true moral compasses while simultaneously being fully immersed in materialistic pursuits. Yes, even the poor in America  are addicted to reality TV, video games, leisure, drugs, alcohol and trivia. And, in this environment of immediate or rapid gratification, many people simply and routinely charge most or all their expenses for repayment at some really distant point in time. When this debt repayment is postponed or delayed significantly, or never paid at all, this becomes a disaster for individuals or nations. Debt payment delay results in significant and large amounts of interest due and the principal borrowed is not paid down. This debt burden becomes intolerable and eventually insurmountable with financial collapse. 
For many years modern societies have provided high wages, large and comprehensive social programs and these nations have amassed large amounts of indebtedness. Along the way and through those years of industrial, wage, population and social program growth, the national indebtedness of the United States and Europe particularly has ballooned and became excessive and dangerous.
Furthermore, both in Europe and the United States a reduction in spending and the control of debt have become major difficulties. On November 21, 2011 news reports such as those from the L.A. Times indicated that the appointed and specially-designated Super Committee of the US Congress failed to come to an agreement on how to reach a reduction of only 1.2 to 1.5 trillion dollars in the budget over the next 10 years.
Complicating the debt situation in recent years are the new, competing industrial countries of Asia and elsewhere. In these places, cheap labor and new, modern industries of many types have challenged and, in some cases, overtaken the industries of the developed and mature countries. Overseas industries prospered as a result of free and unrestricted trade and the demand for lower prices and quality goods. The tempo of industrial migration overseas also increased as established industries moved from highly-taxed-waged-socialized and mature countries to these emerging, new and developing regions. This industrial overseas migration caused massive losses of jobs, changes in many economies and populations, and the ultimate erosion of the tax base and tax income of these governments.
China, Russia and India as Emerging Strong Nations in the 21st Century 
Both China and Russia are essentially communist, atheistic countries with many important resources. China has an immense population, cheap labor, an expanding empire with no debt. China also is able to purchase resources and supplies from all around the globe to fuel its economy and people. Photius Coutsoukis has charted and compared the actual and projected 10 highest and best national Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) framed in ten-year increments starting from 2000 and ending in 2050. China emerges at the top with the United States being in the top three GDPs. Russia is extremely rich in gas and oil and Europe is ever more dependent on Russia for European fuel needs. Both China and Russia promote capitalist ventures and both rely heavily on centralized government control of the entire nation.
The Crisis of People in the Modern World  Who Do Not Think Logically or as Well as Needed
Logical and rational thinking and true debate and respectful discourse are seldom taught now as part of the academic programs of  primary, high school and college-university curricula. Memorization and regurgitation of specific, defined taught ideas have replaced open, free discussion and broad and deep thinking in teaching and education. 
The curricula, subjects, topics and forums of many educational institutions often teach from biased or aberrated and politically-economically correct standards and unquestioned allegiance to those ideas is expected. Many educational institutions are funded predominantly with massive amounts of taxpayer dollars. These flawed and failing educational systems have produced many citizens who generate more emotion and less clear, deep thought in the political-social arenas. This is particularly true of those populations in the United States and Europe. Some of this unrest and thinking shows up in the Wall Street Protests and social-economic change movements of 2011. There are some good ideas nd intentions in almost any large group, but many within these current social movements have joined without specific, focused and developed ideas of what special programs or actions are needed to make worthwhile change which will really work well for the benefit of all. These movements are comprised of unemployed citizens, students, labor union members, retirees and individuals who are overall disenchanted with government, big businesses and certain aspects of current politics.   
The Crisis of  the Loss of True Moral Compasses and Replacement with Gap-Filling Societal Rules-Laws
The Ten Commandments, a standard of good living for believers and non-believers and the foundation of much of the European-American government, has diminished or been lost or abandoned in many places. Modern societies now pass one law after another in an attempt to fill the gaps that exist as a result of the previously-vacated and time-tested, previously-successful general moral standards. Yes, it is possible, that we are now haunted and shadowed by that abandonment of what was previously taught, learned, instilled and implemented in the culture as basic Judeo-Christian morality and ethics.
Islam, The Quran, Religion, Middle East Revolutions, Salam, Turmoil and Crises of the 21st Century 
In many parts of the world we see large populations (of about 1.5 billion people) who believe in Islam, Allah, The Quran (Koran), Sharia Law and Salam.  And Muslims are advancing their religion worldwide as they believe and see fit. Of course, the radical terrorists within Islam are feared by all peace (Salaam)-loving people throughout the world, including other Muslims who shun violence and believe in Salam and love. Unfortunately, in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, we see mainly Muslim pitted against Muslim in various struggles with unknown consequences – these wars are unsettling and threaten Salaam and stability in the Middle East. Recent riots in September 2012 against U.S. embassies throughout the Middle east and elsewhere suggest governmental, political and personal chaos is increasing. 
Muslims clearly demonstrate a strong and fervent commitment to their beliefs in Allah and their religion and doctrine. On the other hand, the strong Christianity that once resided in Europe has drifted and dissolved more and more into materialism, agnosticism and atheism. People who once filled European churches and cathedrals are no longer there. Some Europeans wonder and ask, "What is happening to us as a people and a culture?"  
The Pew Institute provides good data and statistics on the worldwide current and projected distribution and nature of Muslim populations and growth. The Muslims in Spain, England, Scandinavia, Germany, France, Italy and other places such as Canada and the United States, advance their numbers by immigration and migration and they nurture larger family units than most native Europeans. As  Muslims grow in number, they also fervently practice and advance their beliefs – and they do that well in free, open democratic societies and, of course, Muslim societies. These are the good and desirable attributes of democratic societies. 
Freedom of worship and religion is important for all who are believers and it is also important as a part of religious freedom to have freedom from religion (as in the United States and many democracies) for those who are atheistic or agnostic. This freedom concept means that believers and non-believers should be able to live in Salam and freedom in a common shared society or community. However, there are real concerns elsewhere because, unfortunately, the evidence for this freedom of choice and Salam often is lacking in some other countries. In Saudi Arabia and much of the Middle East only Islam can be practiced and Sharia law is followed and adhered to as the main guide for life, discipline and moral and civil judgments. The rules and interpretations of Sharia law for women as compared to men are major discussion points among some Muslims and certainly among many non-Muslims. 
Another concern for many democracies in the West and elsewhere is the current state and status of non-Islamic believers in Islamic countries, states or regions. For example, in Egypt life and worship is difficult for Coptic Christians as reported and recorded on C-Span July 22, 2011 by The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (aka the U.S. Helsinki Commission). Similar religious discrimination and persecution like this is perpetrated against other non-Islamic religions throughout the Middle East. This is a major developing problem. 
Finally, Iran (Persia) – a nation currently in pursuit of nuclear weapons as revealed by the recent report of the United Nations – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others deny (see BBC report) the truth and historical evidence and facts of the Holocaust of WW2 and call it a myth; and, as they practice strong and strict adherence to all religious aspects of Shia Islam, they have promoted radical and active terrorism as part of their foreign policies against Israel, the United States and Lebanon as specific examples.
A Brief Side Note on the Facts and Truth of the Holocaust – Documents, Photos, Museums, Videos, Movies and Recordings 
Finally, for anyone to deny the historical validity of the Holocaust requires the suspension of historical truth and knowledge, rational thinking and wisdom. There is strong historical evidence of this tragic event recorded in thousands of different contemporary historical newspapers and books. Two outstanding museums document the history and the story correctly and with abundant evidence: the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the "Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority" located on the web as These and other museums and exhibitions provide diverse, strong and compelling evidence of the reality of the Holocaust. The museums and scholarly documents, texts, and books are important repositories of historical truth for those who care to think, see, learn and who have a need to turn their skepticism into a reality check. 
The tragedy of the Holocaust reveals how much evil can be done by humans who are so inclined and, also, how deep and distorted human minds and hearts can become if free reign is given to passions of hatred for a person, a people, a race, a religion or a nation. It is important to recall and remember that great good can overcome great evil. Our only hope is that we can continue to nurture and grow the better parts of our flawed nature.
Past History Affirms Women's Leadership Skills Which Continue to Emerge Worldwide into the 21st Century    
The world has generated great women leaders in the distant past and over the last decades. This list of strong and determined women of great world leadership will continue to grow. Consider just this very short, simple and incomplete list of intelligent women of strength, courage and real leadership: Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra, Clara Barton, Madame Marie Curie, Elizabeth I Queen of England, Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Theresa, Harriet Tubman, Queen Victoria. Even if you disagree with some of these choices you must admit these were strong, purposeful and dedicated women. 
Currently in the U.S. women occupy 60% or more of the university/college seats and this number is rising. The decline in the number of males should be of concern to all because a solid and good college or university education benefits all people capable of that higher education and learning.
Finally, some men, unfortunately, have proven throughout the history of their leadership that they are poor or misdirected leaders. For good and lawful nations to succeed and to thrive, there is a requirement for governmental leadership that is strong, intelligent, purposeful and courageous. It may be that women and men of that ability are less common today than in the past. Nevertheless, all leadership needs to continuously be held accountable, otherwise those societies and nations often fall into disarray and impropriety as has been documented in the past and presently. Dictators, emperors and kings, autocracies often physically eradicate their opposition. Democracies can vote to remove leadership – that method of replacement often works well. 

Summary of Crises in the Early 21st Century 

In summary, much of the developed world seems soft or weak financially, lacks focused and motivated thinking and is very materialistic. These nations  as a whole appear to have weak and fragile, moral and social frameworks and lack a strong community or national fabric to hold them together. This all translates into the inability of these nations to come to true and effective solutions for their national problems.
Nations that do not think well – logically and morally – cannot live well and often do not survive. Many people and governments want change, but there is a lack of clarity, vision and plans and a path for those difficult choices needed to reach those ends. The failure of the U.S. "Deficit-Reduction Panel" (see Reuters report)  to come to an agreement for budget reduction is an example of the typical and current dilemmas of developed nations such as the U.S. to manage national finances effectively and wisely. Recently, theFederal Reserve Chair Ben Bernacke announced that the Federal Reserve would begin to buy back mortgages from banks to the tune of 50 billion dollars per month. They will give these banks 50 billion dollars of freshly printed U.S. dollars and the banks are expected to make loans to stimulate businesses and the economy. This action is called "Quantitative Easing 3" because it is the third round attempted. The Federal Reserve action was announced on September 14 and on September 14, Egan and Jones dropped the U.S. credit rating from AA to AA- which indicated a lack of confidence in the Federal Reserve action and the overall U.S. budget and finances. This September, 2012 CNS reported that "Social Security and Disability Payments Hit Annual Records—With Month Left in FY." 
The austerity protests in Greece and Europe further illustrate how difficult it is to obtain agreement on budget cuts or reductions that impact the lives of citizens. All these events are a reflection of 21st century problems and unrest, where everyone wants results, but without personal pain.
Unfortunately, at this stage of the financial and budgetary picture, financial improvements or gains will be impossible without major financial  and personal hardships. These are realities that must be faced –  for better or worse and sooner rather than later. The question is: will that leadership emerge that will take the people along that path to achieve those ends and will the people follow or will they rebel? Only time will tell. 

U.S. 2010 Per Capita State Income Distribution ($39,945 Average)
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis