The Coming Crisis

I’m not an academic. I haven’t done any research. I just observe the world and say what I see, and what I see is this:

  • We think it’s OK to deliver personal attacks, salacious innuendo, smear campaigns, and lies, and refer to it as “political discourse.”
  • We think it’s OK to advertise every product made in every part of the globe at every level of quality as “the best” – thereby rendering the word “best” meaningless.
  • We think it’s OK to announce loud and clear that we are against money laundering, tax evasion, and fiscal fraud, proclaim significant measures to combat them, and do nothing.
  • We think it’s OK to patent living organisms, genetic codes, and other aspects of life on this earth, as if they were industrial products.
  • We think it’s OK to use a term like “intellectual property,” and we think we can buy and sell ideas.

  • We think it’s OK to have governments spy on us, restrict our ability to travel, read our emails, etc. in the name of “protecting our liberty.”
  • We think it’s OK to promise people to rebuild their homes after a natural disaster, award the contracts to our cronies, and look the other way when nothing happens.
  • We think it’s OK to establish one or more television networks entirely dedicated to presenting the view of the world they like or wish for as reality, and call it “news and information.”
  • We think it’s OK for a rich lobby of rich, ruthless arms merchants to control the votes of supposedly “progressive” legislators in order to preserve the “right” to sell automatic assault weapons to deranged psychopaths who shoot children, in the name, again, of “protecting our liberty”
  • We think it’s OK if other people die, as long as we protect our own individual “rights.”
  • Some of us think owning weapons is a right, but having health care is not, and  think that’s a model of democracy for the rest of the world.
  • We think it’s OK for powerful men to take advantage of “simple” women (read that as women who work hard for a meagre living).
  • We think it’s OK to evict families from their homes because they can’t pay their mortgages after a lay-off, while we base our idea of economic recovery on the idea of attracting foreign tourists and selling them houses.
  • We think it’s OK to sell a house out from under its hard-working owners who are behind in their mortgages, and then tell them that they still owe the entire original amount they borrowed.
  • We think it’s OK to crush languages and cultures because we either don’t like them or are afraid of them.
  • We think it’s OK to bury radioactive waste that remains dangerous for longer than all of recorded human history to date, and expect that future generations will take care of it.
  • We think the word “value” is equated with the word “money.”
  • We equate the phrase “I want” with “I need.”

The next crisis will not be economic. It will be ethical.

Author: Ray

Ray Gallon is president and co-founder of The Transformation Society (, a research, training and consulting company focusing on building learning organisations that can manage complexity and the digital transformation. He has over 40 years as a communicator, first as an award-winning radio producer and journalist, then in the technical content industries. His management experience includes a stint as program manager of WNYC-FM, New York City’s public radio station. Ray is a self-described "humanist nerd," and has always been interested in the meeting point between technology and culture, and has used his broad experience to advantage with companies such as IBM, General Electric Health Care, Alcatel, 3M, and the OECD, as well as in smaller companies and startup enterprises. Ray recently helped co-found the Information 4.0 Consortium ( and serves as its current president. Ray is a university lecturer and a keynote speaker at events throughout the world. He has contributed articles and chapters to many books and periodicals and is the editor of the recently published “Language of Technical Communication” (XML Press).

6 thoughts on “The Coming Crisis”

  1. There is no dearth of work that needs to be done in the world–which is not the same as saying there are no jobs to be had.

    While the right wing obsesses about policing people’s individual habits, the idolizing of individual rights over communal responsibilities has reached insane proportions.

    Warnings signs for the death of the social contract (once again–it has risen and fallen many times before, judging from history) began appearing most recently with the rise of the Masters of Business Administration during the Reagan years. As soon as the MBA’s imperative to continually grow in productivity (and hence in quarterly profits) became the dogma of business and success, the needs of Wall Street began to supersede the needs of Main Street. The simultaneous belief in privitization over contribution to public good began with Prop. 13 in California–which began the defunding of public education in the U.S. If what is prized above all is profit, of course ethics will go out the window. See, among many, George Packer in the New Yorker, Upgrade or Die ( Of course, a decline in true morality and ethics did not begin in the 1970s in the U.S. — it’s just made a smaller and smaller group of people richer and richer than anyone the world has seen since, say the Robber Barons or the pharaohs.

    1. Hi Zhenya, I agree with your remarks, but note that they are limited to the US situation, whilst my post is more generalised to the “western” or so-called “developed” world. Some of my references are also specific to the US but others relate to Spain, or France, or all of us.

  2. Ray–I understood that — but what I see from these shores is the dominance of U.S. economic thinking invading Europe and the rest of the developed world.

    1. Actually, that’s starting to change. Even Angela Merkel is bending a bit. However, it’s very very early days and the path is a minefield.

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