A National Ethos that Commits us to Risky Ventures


Why do we continue to engage in risky ventures when the measures to deal with emergencies are either inadequate or circumvented and the profit motive informs the conduct of business in our mines, at sea and in our financial industry? When disasters occur the public suddenly awakens to problems that have been percolating for years and for which there are no easy answers.

Typically, as a nation we tend to accept facile reasons for why we must drill-baby-drill or why our financial institutions are “too big to fail.” We leave our fortunes and futures in the hands of corporate giants and Wall Street sharks. We don’t ask enough questions and neither do many of our representatives in Congress. Even after our financial pratfall and the obvious reasons for it there is resistance in Congress to legal provisions that would regulate securitized debt obligations with which banks so ruinously gambled. Corrective mechanisms are attacked by lobbyists who badger members of Congress to defeat measures that would protect consumers while conservatives claim that reform legislation is the Obama administration’s attempt to “take over” another sector of the economy.