2022 was a funny year. Most of the world had moved on after the pandemic and gotten caught up in new things. With respect to the two themes of this blog, sustainability seemed to come of age and geopolitics came roaring back to our collective conciousness as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Although I did not stop reading teaching and speaking on these topics I stopped writing this blog every week as I had been doing for a number of years. My conviction is that the world of ideas is in crisis at the moment as people are not really listening to eachother but only reading things that confirm what they already think to be true. Since my profession is to help my students open their minds and come to their own conclusions, I was concenred that my weekly blogs would, at best, just add to the noise in the bubbles that I already frequent.
After taking a year off, however, I am have now decided to get back to the task. I still think we are in a crisis concerning what is true and not true but have come to think that I, on a very personal level, need to speak up about a number of things that have simply gotten out of hand. This post will summarize some of those ideas and with luck, in the weeks and months ahead, I will go further in sharing my own viewpoint although I know full well going into the effort that I will probably not chnage anyone’s mind about anything.
The first thing that has put me over the edge is the constant lying by electd officials and public figures. For me this issue is not so much about the right or wrong of lying per se but the whole idea of public trust. According to the Washington Post, for example, former President Trump lied 30,573 times during his four years in office. In another example, the New York Times has estimated that 180 Republican members of Congress have said or implied that Donald Trump actually won the last election depsite dozens of court cases, investigations, and testimony by Republican State admisnitrations that this is simply not true.
No wonder that George Santos, a young, newly elected congressmen from New York, lied about all aspects of his background and another New York Represenative, Elsie Stefanik has compeltely re-invented herself as a rural, MAGA Republican after an entre career of more moderate and mainstream views which she now denies. Going back to the infomation bubble, it was the New York Times who reported on the lies told by Represnetative Santos and wrote a very unflattering portrait of representative Stafanic. I know people who question the journalism of the Times and find it biased. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a subscriber and a fan! I do my best to contrast its view with other sources such as the Wall Street Journal and Al Jazeera but I must admit I find the Time’s reporting to be interesting, exhaustive and well worth the money.
The second thing is that the geopolitical state of the world is more unbalanced than it has been in years and I do think I can help people understand the context that some of these events and conflicts are playing out in. This is only becuase I look at these issues in some depth and do my best to see different points of view when speaking about geoploitical issues in dfiiferent parts of the world. In many cases its is very difficult or even not possible to tell the good guys from the bad guys but in others it seems crystal clear, at least to me.
The third issue is that while I am enourmously pleased that many business and political leaders have begun to speak more about environemental sustainability and make bold commitments concerning the future, I am aslo concerned about the pace of change and how much of that story is real, and how much is simply put out there to improve a company’s image with shareholders, customers, employees or civil society as a whole.
I will, be the way, make additional posts on career management on a different blog which you can find at learningtofly.careers Those posts will attempt to be more objective than the ones here on Doing Business on the Earth.