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Chapter 5: Creating Change In Our Business and Corporations

If you have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that  we belong to each other. — Mother Theresa

It seems to me that one of the most basic human experiences, one that is genuinely universal and unites—or, more precisely, could unite— all of humanity is the experience of transcendence in the broadest sense of the word. — Vaclay Havel, President of Czech Republic

As you begin your work or study day, whether at home, in a small private office, a learning or teaching institute, a health care facility, or whatever, you are still linked to a large transnational corporation. Think about it. How do you do your banking, your grocery shopping, and what kind of telecommunication system did you use this morning? Where did you buy the clothes you're wearing? What form of transportation did you use, and what brand of coffee are you drinking?

Many of us protest at least somewhat against transnational corporations, politicians, and global organizations that are operating without accountability. We protest against those we regard as causing or exacerbating global warming, ecological destruction, pollution, or the widening gap between rich and poor. We inevitably blame them. Often, we go further, and blame individuals who shop at supermarkets, or who fail to buy Fair Trade or organic foods, and so on. In protesting against them, or in decrying their behaviour, we inevitably point our fingers: "you," we say, "are the ones who are destroying our world!" It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that the global justice movement's principal mode of action is protest; a mode that inescapably implies the blaming of one section of society or another, or one institution or another, for our global ills. And to be fair, there's a lot to protest about, and without protest these important issues would never come to wider public attention.

Mea Culpa

But dire as our global problems undoubtedly are, should not we ask whether, in some sense, we are all to blame for our present predicament? "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone ..."After all, who amongst us lives so separately from the global economy as to honestly claim not to be contributing in some way to our present problems, be it by driving when we might walk or cycle, by buying the products of transnational corporations when something more eco- or socially friendly might be better, or by failing to buy organic food when cheaper non-organic alternatives better suit our budgets? Otherwise, this becomes only one more battle between them and us. We continue to judge those we believe are not living up to our personal criteria for saving the planet.

Each of us plays a part, to a greater or lesser extent, in perpetuating the problem. The planet doesn't look too healthy, and it is our world, and if it's all in our minds, perhaps it's time we begin to live in mindfulness—if only to save the planet! And if we are part of this great collective consciousness, let's not permit ourselves to be diverted from what should be a common effort to find solutions. Let's not involve ourselves in the battle between us and them, an endless loop of blame and counter blame. Like our individual relationships, if we continue with the "I said—He said—She said," kinds of exchanges, nothing gets resolved.

Corporate Helplessness

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to conclude that, in a global market,

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