In our society, it is the people who have power who manage to get things done. The type of power — financial, political, or even brute force — might change, but the use of it to accomplish goals does not.
We see examples of influence all around us. A business leader may use connections they have to make deals. Or someone who holds political office may use their position to enact legislation. Yet another example is a popular person exercising their social connections.
That power might be used for personal gain, or it might be used for societal gain. How it is used may be determined by the character of the person with the advantage. Conversely, there might be social or legislative checks on that power.
There is also a certain influence that comes from collaboration. One person may not be able to do much in isolation, but if that person can recruit a hundred others to help them, their reach can expand drastically.
Do you see power being used around you? How? Who has it? Is one kind more effective than another?
There seems to be a disagreement between people across the country, and indeed across the world. Is now the time to reopen the economy?
On one side are frustrated protesters, select governors and other politicians, and business owners. Their argument focuses on the economy.
With non-essential businesses shuttered, many small businesses that are crucial to the local economy are not in operation. As a result, the employees that work there are not getting paid, and many of them don’t have much money saved.
This could have catastrophic effects. Those individuals can’t buy food, so their families go hungry or rely on local food banks to eat. Their rent or mortgage doesn’t doesn’t get paid, and those losses accumulate up the financial chain.
Similarly, other medical conditions aren’t treated, which hurts individual health. Property and income taxes aren’t collected, starving local government. In turn, this impacts the prospects for longer-term services. Moreover, the fear over health and financial concerns could exacerbate mental health problems.
On the other side, there is already a huge death toll. In just a few months, more people have died than in the entirety of the years-long Vietnam war. Opening up the community could mean that number could easily double or triple if more people spread the disease. Our health care system is already in crisis in hard-hit areas.
Also, the people likely to be hardest hit are those with the least ability to withstand it. Poor communities, particularly those with high minority populations, are already dying in higher percentages, and that is likely to continue. Those who are already unhealthy, infirm, or immune-compromised will bear the medical and financial brunt.
And to reopen the economy may not do any good if people are afraid to leave their house. Restaurants, for example, can open. However, if most tables are empty every night because most people staying home, they will go out of business anyway.
Ultimately, where do you stand on this issue? Do we need to stay closed for the good of the community? Or open up for the same?
Our values help define us as individuals. They also help to guide us in making decisions that effect our lives.
Money plays an important role in our lives. You need money to buy food and shelter, not to mention recreational items.
And yet, most people would not list “money” as a value. If you don’t go to the effort of consciously listing what your values are, it can be all too easy to let money be the primary driving force in our lives.
So if, for example, farmers’ rights are important to you, you might spend more money on fair trade food items at the grocery store. If you are worried about single-use plastics, you might go to the extra effort to bring reusable containers to a restaurant if you have leftovers.
Having stated values can make it easier to make a decision, if one of the choices aligns with your values more than another.
Of course, thriftiness might well be a value of yours. That’s completely understandable, as money is a concern for most of us. However, even then it can be helpful to have that value stated explicitly.
Oftentimes, businesses are encouraged to make a list of company values, and distribute those among the company employees, so everyone knows what they are or should be working toward. The same thing is true of individuals or of households.
What are your values? Have you given any thought to them? How did you decide which ones would be most important to you? Do you discuss these values with others? And how do you handle a difference in values with friends, family members, co-workers, or neighbors?