Right Livelihood, Right Now!


This might be an opportune moment to broach the subject of “Right Livelihood.”

Presently, millions of American white collar and blue collar workers have lost their jobs or have been forced to accept shortened work weeks.

Millions of gainfully employed citizens count themselves among “The Working Worried.” They live with the very real possibility of being sacked at a moment’s notice.

Thousands of young college grads are forced to boomerang back to their parents’ homes and take marginal jobs.

Even Warren Buffett (“America’s Greatest Investor”) lost nearly 60% of his investors’ premier stock portfolio in Berkshire Hathaway.

And we all know what the collapse of the housing and financial markets means to the Boomer’s retirement plans. The silver-haired generation will be fool’s gold geriatrics.

So consider this:

Post World War II American Industrial Capitalism is over. It was an amazing ride but it is now kaput. The financial elites on Wall Street, in restricted corporate boardrooms and behind closed Congressional doors, simply robbed shareholders, bondholders, and worker pension funds of their accumulated wealth.

Think GM, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Standard & Poors, Moody, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Countrywide, etc., etc., etc…

Everyone who was anyone inside the financial community knew what was happening but simply did not care to go public. It was too lucrative to just follow the herd — off a cliff. That was what confused and confounded Alan Greenspan, the once-venerated chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. He could not imagine in his wildest dreams that the pillars of the establishment would let the system collapse. But if you read too much Ayn Rand in your youth and don’t talk with anyone except those in your select clique for 50 years, you become a dangerous relic of the past.

Essentially, the American government has made a group of inside interests too big to fail. That is the rationale for the mega-trillion dollar bailout, courtesy of the American taxpayer and foreign stakeholders, of our treasury debt.

And it’s probably true that there was no other choice than to fork over our nation’s wallet to well-heeled muggers. The alternative was a probable global Depression.

The more obvious lessons of our ongoing tale of financial woe are:

    • Establishment elites pursuing lives of “Wrong Livelihood” made out like bandits.


  • The proverbial little guy has lost his inflated stake in both stock and housing markets.



  • The system cannot seem to self-correct its most obvious blunders.


I often feel like the kid who yelled out “The Emperor is naked!” The facts are obvious to all in their pink splendor.

Our national debt — including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Medicare and Medicaid, government pensions, bum mortgages and derivative swaps, credit card debt, student loan debt, and interest and principle on official national and state debt before the current meltdown — is many times the size of our real productive economy. Our kids and grandkids are going to hate us.

So, where does this leave a creative person?

Actually, it leaves us surprisingly well off compared to most wage earners.

Money was never the key motivator in our lives. We set up small businesses and took day jobs so we could paint, make films, strut on stage, write, perform, and compose music, create on the computer, write plays and screenplays, design all and sundry sorts of things and experiences…

I recorded the following interviews with eight “Maine Originals” six or seven years ago — while 9/11 was still fresh in our national psyche. The tagline for the series of vignettes is “Creative lives linked to land, sea, and community.”

That is about as good a definition of “Right Livelihood” as I’ve seen. The people who were profiled inspired me to try in my own way to contribute to civil society’s long-term prospects.

The voices that you hear in the links below just might ignite your own originality. If the current state of our nation’s finances and frayed social fabric has a bottom line, it might be this:

We need practical visionaries to create new and resilient American Dreams — the old ones are falling of their own accord into the dustbin of history.

Here are two web links:



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