Right now I’m listening to an audio book called The Big Short by Michael Lewis which follows numerous people intertwined in the 2008 financial crisis. It is a rather upsetting window into the workings of Wall Street and the mortgage bond industry in the early 2000s, especially knowing the devastating impacts it had across the globe.
One aspect of these inner workings is the creation of financial securities basically out of thin air. For example, Lewis describes the creation of synthetic CDOs (collateralized debt obligation) which is like a bet being placed on another bet. I know that much of our world of work deals with finance and other industries of human creation and this can bring all sorts of benefits to our lives. However, this explanation of the creation of obscure securities really struck me about how far we’ve strayed from the physical world we live in.
So, what should we make of this reflection? I certainly don’t advocate that we quit our jobs, many of which have been totally virtual this past year. However, I do think we should think about the ways we interact with the world around us, in our work, recreation, hobbies, side projects, etc. With some intention, we can still find meaningful ways to work, live and play in our physical world and foster that connection with our common home.