Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, in addressing the graduating class at the University of North Carolina last weekend, counselled the graduates: "look beyond money for your life satisfaction".
In a surprising address from one of the most central figures in the U.S. economy, advising graduates not to focus exclusively on money must have sounded alarm bells on Wall Street, or let's hope it did!
The pursuit of money/profits is the core value in a capitalistic society. And if you are wondering about some of the subtle differences between, for example, the countries in the EU and the U.S., in Europe companies producing new chemicals are required to prove that the new chemical is NOT harmful to the ecology, prior to its being licensed. In the U.S. there is no such requirement, and investigation takes places only AFTER the damages have becomes evident in sick and dying people, or in sick and dying elements of the eco-system.
That is only one of the reasons why, since 1981, during which time some 80,000 new chemicals have been introduced into the North American ecology, only a few hundred of them have been tested to ascertain their impact on the environment and on people's lives. Why would the legislators want to interfere with pharmaceutical companies' pursuit of profits?
It will take an army of Bernanke's speaking at every graduation exercise for the next decade to begin to turn the attitudes of college graduates in the U.S. away from the obsessive pursuit of money, as the prime goal in life!
Bernanke also distinguished between "happiness" a very ephemeral goal and "life satisfaction" which is a much deeper and more authentic goal.
Once again, a thousand Bernanke's repeating this message for thousands of opportunities might begin the process of a very necessary and important turn-about, and the world is waiting, hoping and praying for just such a metanoia.