Saturday, May 14, 2016


The world needs a little more "Ubuntu" said the keynote speaker, Pastor Marilyn Kendrix, at the 2016 Classic Awards Gala for the African-American Affairs Commission last night in Hartford.

Ubuntu is a word of southern Africa origin which, if I understand it, means roughly that "a person is a person only through other people," or "I am because We are."

It is the belief that our person-hood does not exist in a vacuum, it depends on other peoples' person-hood to be.
The opposite is individualism, the idea that we exist independent of others.

It is both ironic and sad that as she spoke in the Legislative Office Building, next door in the Capital, the legislature was voting in favor of a state budget that is anti-Ubuntu.

The Connecticut state budget will eliminate services for the most vulnerable in the state and will lay off up to 5,000 state employees, effecting them and they communities they live in as they decrease their spending at local businesses. It will cut aide to towns which will cause an increase in local taxes and/or a decrease in local services.

The middle class and the poor will suffer.

Meanwhile, bills that would penalize large multi-billion dollar companies for underpaying and under insuring their workers, and thereby costing the state through state subsidies (to provide food and insurance) failed to pass.  Bills that would have capped executive salaries (at half a million dollars/year) at not for profit hospitals, which are funded through taxpayer dollars, failed to pass.

This "new economic reality" is not new at all. It is a continuation of the anti-Ubuntu economic philosophy of "trickle down economics."

I'm not saying that if a person works hard, invests their own sweat and equity, and becomes successful while practicing ethical business practices, that they should not benefit from their success. I am saying that no one should reap the benefits that are obtained on the backs of others.

It is a matter of ethics; personal, business, and societal, and in this, we are failing.


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