Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Arrogance of Freedom Among the Wealthy and Powerful

We have seen the frustration experienced as families fail and banks and companies are saved from what would be a justified demise. We saved them because they control all of us and without them we would all be much worse off. We were helpless as banks demanded to be saved first, much like the rich were able to get the seats on the few lifeboats leaving the Titanic.

This arrogance exhibited among people who are paid enormous sums and are able to become so powerful that they ignore the society that gives them the chance to thrive is appalling. The arrogance is similarly exhibited by those who are able to take full advantage of the new freedom provided in a globalizing world. These high-flying people who move quickly, make tons of money, do so with confidence granted by a freedom from spatial constraints. They forget that all the networks, the satellites, the money, the planes, everything depends on the people who are constrained by space and who live in space, and who are used as virtual pawns by those who see themselves as spatially free.

As a geographer, I must object to the concept of Spatial Freedom. People are NOT free to do whatever they wish simply because they can move across boarders quickly. The arrogance of those who claim to command the global information flows and economies are not untouchable and I hope never will be. I believe these people must be made to account for the roles they play, to recognize that they have a role in and responsibilities for the global society in which they live. The idea that we are held hostage by banks and that the failure to save Lehman was a major failure in the recession policy of the past administration is disturbing because they are not free from spatial constraints, they just take whatever they desire and promptly beg for a savior when they have gone too far.

And who saves them? We do, the citizens of countries in the world, forced to live and work in the place we call home, subject so often to the whims of those who have the arrogance to claim that they are spatially free.

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