The Sapient Ape

Life as an employed MBA grad during an economic recovery. DISCLAIMER: Everything written here is fiction.

The Road Taken

So I just read an article about how Professor Yunus just met with Hillary Clinton to discuss healthcare.

Huh?  When did Bangladesh ever make the news for non-cyclones, and what’s even more surprising… Bangladesh and “Green” and healthcare?  You would think that those would never be matched up in any article.  So I haven’t read the article yet, just a sec…

Eh, its just some boring shit about Grameen Bank’s new healthcare initiative and how Bangladeshis are going to be flooded out of a country in a hundred years, but who’s planning to live that long, anyway?

I guess about 250 million people will be.  So, either create the right conditions now, or be met by a quarter billion refugees somewhere around 2110.  And there is the crossroad in which Bangladesh, and to a lesser extent, the world, is at.

A "Dalal"

A "Dalal"

Do we start taking the correct measures — environmentally, politically, socially — starting right now, or do we see the eventual destruction of the country (or the world)?   A country that by sheer force of its population combined with said population’s penchant for dalali, is classified as belonging to the “Next Eleven” economies (although we come in on the bottom, granted).  Economies which have the potential to be the next largest in terms of GDP after the BRIC economies in the coming decades.

There is definitely a large economy here.  A potentially huge economy.  An economy which has only been lightly thumped by the global recession.  An economy, which is in many ways, more “free market” than most Western economies, due to the huge amount of business that is done without paperwork or under the table.  Anything goes, as long as it sells.

And that corruption is one of the quickest roads that could lead us to eventual destruction.  But I don’t think it will (it’ll be another road like rising sea-levels).  Today, a new form of corruption has risen:  “Take a cut, a big one… but try to do something good for the country as well.”  [sarcasm]It warms the heart.[/sarcasm]  These days, unlike during the last decade, it seems that initiatives are being taken which have the country’s long-term benefits in mind.

  • Incentivize industries such as agriculture and power, which will continue to be the engines that drive the economy.
  • Attempt to stomp rampant industrial environmental damage.
  • Plan for the growth of the city and country in 20 years.
  • Diversify the economy away from garments to other export-oriented industries (such as ship-building — who would have thought that Bangladesh would ever have built a ship for a European client?).

I find myself quite pleasantly surprised.  Someone up there holding the strings actually knows his policy shit.  Even if only 20% of what they’re planning comes true, its still quite impressive.  The plans all seem like something I would have heard coming out of the Obama administration if they were as cool as they used to be (or if they didn’t have to wade out of a recession in an international shit-storm).  Someone here who’s in charge has the long-term view in mind.  Coz they realize that without that long-term viewpoint we’re gonna be real f##ked real soon.  And we probably will be but at least we’re trying.

But this post isn’t supposed to be a rant on how great Bangladesh is, its supposed to be a rant about how great I am (DUUHHH)!  I managed to move here at the right time for doing what I want to do — starting a socially-responsible business in renewable energy.  I’ve been talkin’ about that ever since business school (just ask Rainer).  Now its up to me to take what’s mine.  The rightful key to the throne of the world.

As to how that’s going (the renewable energy thing, not the world domination thing), lets just say I’m meeting the right people, and happy with my momentum so far.  But I’ve always been a doer rather than a talker (really?), so lets leave it at that for now.

So here’s to Bangladesh… once “international basket case“, today, international manufacturer of baskets (I’m sure we do, in some tin shack, somewhere).

Filed under: Energy, Politics, Uncategorized, , ,

World Domination Plans [TOP SECRET]

I like to tell myself (and now others), that if I lived to be a thousand years old, by the end of my life I’d be the King of the World (that’s a real title, people — just ask Genghis or Alexander).  Thats the watered-down old-man version.  When I was younger it was just “rule the world within one life-span.”  I’ve changed, man… I used to be cool.

Its quite amazing how much they remind me of Bush and Cheney now, naaaaarf.

Its quite amazing how much they remind me of Bush and Cheney now, naaaaarf.

Megalomaniacal?  Well I did watch a lot of Pinky and the Brain during college through a veil of acrid smoke, so maybe that warped me — although I’m sure we can look back and find some pre-5-year-old event that did most of the warping.  Lets not try to find out what that was right now though.

Is it even as complicated as that?   As omnivores, we humans have always walked (upright, most of the time) a fine line between our subhuman urge to hunt and kill, and our desire to settle down and lead a sedentary lifestyle (or “gather” even tho I’m aware that technically “gather” doesn’t involve cultivation).  Once we settled down more permanently and formed civilizations, that pent-up male frustration had to go somewhere, and it did.  It went into raping, killing and conquering each other.  I was going to point out a few historical examples, but there are so many that if I just say, “Remember __________?”, the blank is more than likely to refer to some violent event in human history.

By late in the 20th Century, our civilization as a whole had pretty much come to condemn and abhor violence (I am well aware of the inherent irony of what I’m saying here, but lets generalize for the sake of argument), especially on a geopolitical scale, so that it was no longer considered OK to kill millions just to get more stuff.  Our killer instinct had to be once more focused onto something other than the pursuit of blood.  And so it was, onto the pursuit of money.  And so here we are today.  And here I am.

I could point to a host of other supposed hypotheses on why I’m power-hungry, anything from having a pushy South-Asian know-it-all mom to feeling insecure about my family’s net worth next to so many of my peers.  But I tend to be  a complicated person ruled by simple needs.  And this one’s as simple as “Hulk, Smash!”

Why does this turn me on?  Or at least make my mouth water... hmm I'm getting confused.  More on food porn later.

Why does this turn me on? Or at least make my mouth water... hmm I'm getting confused. More on food porn later.

Of course, my thirst for world domination is somewhat tempered (more than somewhat) by the need for me to have my cake and eat it too — to live in the moment rather than think only about the future.  It is often difficult for me to sacrifice assured present pleasure for potential future gain.  I guess this is both my greatest barrier to success as well as the single personality trait I possess which is the most responsible for my well-being and happiness.  Without it I would probably wallow in misery and depression, rather than just pretending to wallow in it, as I do in this blog.

But as I get older, I get more conservative, and even wonder whether I shouldn’t have made more of these sacrifices than I did.   But then I just tell myself to shut up.  And adjust my world-domination schedule accordingly in Microsoft Project.  I”m not one for regrets… move on and plan accordingly.

That being said, part of my soul still lies on a secluded beach in the Balearic Isles, watching the sun loiter across the cloudless sky, drinking claras, and listening to the wind carrying the sounds of local DJs down the beach.  Maybe someday, the rest of me can be convinced to join it.

For now, must take stuff over.

Filed under: Personal, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is the Recession Killing My Drive?

Settling.

I once had a friend say, “Misha, never settle.”  Whether in relationships or in life in general, I have always taken his words to heart.

But now, I find myself wondering.  At almost 33, unemployed and in debt, with only an education and some good experience to show for it, I wonder if it wouldn’t be better for me to take the easy road.

If this last year has taught me one thing, its that I am definitely ready for some stability.  So much so, that I might give up lofty dreams and perhaps even ideals for it.  Its been tough being homeless (even tho my family has totally been there for me), and not having the freedom of an income.  I never appreciated it so much, and for some independence, I’m willing to give up more than I was before.

I’ve had to significantly re-adjust my expectations during this time, going from expecting a 6-figure plus salary and bein’ a success in my own eyes to just wanting to make enough to get a place of my own.  Pretty serious change, eh?

Going through a psychological readjustment of such a degree has to have some form of adverse affect on one.  So why am I not feeling the pressure that much?  Is it my not caring syndrome that is letting me live with myself?

But there has been an adverse effect.  I think for me, that has become the need for stability in one facet of my life, whether my career, my relationship (or lack thereof), or my psyche.  I seem to think (and perhaps rightly so) that if I can find one of those, the others will follow.

I have always seen myself as a risk-taker, and in some ways its one of my greatest strengths — to try, fail, and then go on as if nothing has happened.  I am somewhat scared of losing that at this moment.  That the instability in my own life created by this recession and my subsequent unemployment has made me more risk-averse, and willing to well…

Settle.

Ouch that kinda hurts.

I still can’t let go of the dreams of world domination.  I just want too much still from this life.

But how little a thing can change that forever?  Perhaps my new nephew already has.

Filed under: Personal, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,