This is the title of an article in the New Yorker from last year.  (I’m always behind in my reading, but I keep the issues because I love the cartoons and selecting a few article of interest. We don’t actually subscribe, but get the copies from a friend, months later.  That works well as many of the pieces are timeless.)

The reason it’s up for me is because I’ve just become aware of the amazing Jose Mujica, president of Uruguay.  Here’s a nice article about him by David Suzuki, in Vancouver’s progressive weekly, The Georgia Strait.  I also really enjoyed this short video, which highlights the countless ways Mujica is different from most world leaders, indeed from most of us in the industrialized world.

While the Occupy Movement made a splash, it has not resulted in any significant change in the levels of inequality.  The rich continue to get richer, and the percentage in poverty, no matter exactly how you define it, is growing steadily.

And then there’s this:  There is simply no doubt about it, all 7 billion of us can’t all live as high on the hog as most of us in the west do, and I was inspired and encouraged to read about Mujica, and the choices he’s making voluntarily, flying in the face of international protocol as he does so.

Learning about Jose and reading Evening the Odds, brings me to look again at my own life and ask some of the tough questions.  What can I do without? What can I delay or decide not to purchase?  How can I pass on what I don’t need?

I know, I know.  The economy stupid.  We need it to grow it.  Or do we?  Well I believe that we simply can’t continue to grow.  We have to transition to something more stable, and I, and you, and you, and you…. are called upon to do our part.

Have a read about what happens when we don’t –when we, as a species, keep on doing the growing, consuming thing, as we’ve done so often in the past.  One good source is Ronald Wright’s A Short History of Progress.  And Collapse:  How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond, also puts the ball squarely and resoundingly right smack back in our court.

Shall we play ball?  We could ‘win’, and by that I mean survive as a species, with enough for all, more equity, more kindness, more sanity….  But only if we change the rules.  Radically.  And soon. That’s the way it looks to me, and having been nudged by Jose Murica, I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, andgrowth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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