Advice to a Wall Street operative

“We all dream of a kinder, happier world. But if we wish to make it a reality, we have to ensure that compassion inspires all our actions. This is especially true with regard to our political and economic policies. Given that probably half the world’s population lacks the basic necessities of adequate food, shelter, medical care and education, I believe we need to question whether we are really pursuing the wisest course in this regard.

“I think not.

“If it seemed likely that after another fifty years of carrying on as we are, we could definitely eradicate poverty, perhaps our present inequity of wealth distribution could be justified. Yet, on the contrary, if present trends continue, it is certain that the poor will get poorer. Our basic sense of fairness and justice alone suggests that we should not be content to let this happen.

“. . . I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that the wealth of the rich is maintained through neglect of the poor, especially by means of international debt.

“. . . A sense of universal responsibility is crucial . . . [in] the application of economic policy.

“. . .[T]he relationship between empathy and profit is necessarily a fragile one. Still, I do not see why it should not be possible to have constructive competition. The key factor is the motivation of those engaged in it. When the intention is to exploit or destroy others, then clearly the outcome will not be positive.

“Again it may be objected that the reality of commerce is such that we cannot realistically expect businesses to put people before profits. But here we must remember that those who run the world’s industries and businesses are human beings too. Even the most hardened would surely admit that it is not right to seek profits regardless of consequences  . . .  [W]hat is required is that each of us develops our compassionate nature. The more we do so, the more commercial enterprise will come to reflect basic human values.”                          — the Dalai Lama

(Above are “Politics and Economics” excerpts from the Dalai Lama’s book, “Ethics For The New Millennium

(I’d like to see a code of ethics voluntarily adopted world-wide where unethical (and immoral) firms could be reported to a “Better Business Bureau” that could recommend sanctions through a global type of “Angie’s List.” (See:’s_List) — Contoveros)

14 comments on “Advice to a Wall Street operative

  1. John says:

    Hi, I am from Australia.
    I think you may appreciate this site:


  2. livvy1234 says:


    (I’d like to see a code of ethics voluntarily adopted world-wide where unethical (and immoral) firms could be reported to a “Better Business Bureau” that could recommend sanctions through a global type of “Angie’s List.” (See:’s_List) — Contoveros)


  3. souldipper says:

    In the 1980s, I learned that Costa Rica’s President received a Nobel Peace Prize for shutting down all military operations and putting that money towards education and health.

    Radical? Look at the country. Wiki says: According to the New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the “greenest” country in the world.

    Ya think there may be some correlation, folks?


    • contoveros says:


      You won’t believe what I wrote in pencil in a book I just finished this morning.

      “Costa Rica, here I come. Make room for me at Omega Institute.”

      The book noted Costa Rica is the world’s one demilitarized state. “If the example of Costa Rica, which disarmed as long ago as 1949, is anything to go by, the benefits in terms of standard of living, of health, and often education are tremendous.”

      The author is the Dalai Lama quoted in the book I cited above. I’ve gotten brochures from Omega Institute to visit its new facility there the past year or so.

      I’m going and I don’t care if I ever come back!

      michael j,
      talking synchronicity here


    • Nationwide, Costa Rica currently treats only 2.6% of human waste generated, ranking Costa Rica amongst the five worst countries in Latin America. They dont even have closed sewer systems. Thats why I cant believe they rank so “green.” Also, it wasnt difficult for them to get rid of the military when the U.S is the big brother protecting you because you are a democratic state. Lastly, only Argentina and Venezuela have higher inflation rates.
      My intention isnt to bad mouth Costa Rica, its just that the grass always does seem greener on the other side.

      I used to live in Costa Rica, and will agree, the people are very happy. I just dont buy that its because the place is green. Its because they are one of the few countries in Latin America that have a middle class. When people have enough to live, they tend to be happy. Those that have too much or too little tend to suffer the most. Thats the problem with the income divide.


      • contoveros says:

        I still hope to go there despite their problems. I put Costa Rica on my “Bucket List” and feel drawn to visit there.


        • It is a lovely place. I consider it the Thailand of the west. “Land of Smiles”


          • contoveros says:

            Wait a minute, Lucas. I just looked closer at your gravatar. You know, that little pix in the corner.

            That’s you standing in front of the Sphinx!

            Holy Cow. You must be a world-traveler!

            Egypt and Costa Rica, not to mention Thailand. (Uh, not sure if that was a figure of speech above, but what the heck.)

            Thanks for the input and the insight.

            michael j


  4. Beechmount says:

    ….lacks the basic necessities of adequate food, shelter, medical care and EDUCATION…….

    This is the very core of the problem-Educate people and they will know how to take care of themselves. Charity doesn’t solve the problem, it creates dependency. While there is a need to help that fraction of our society that through no fault of their own are unable to take care of themselves, there are far too many who simply settles in and accept charity as a way of living. They are often poorly educated and thus did not develop the fundamental suvival skills necessary to make it in our complex society. Governments need to make education a far higher priority for the young generations, rather than just providing them with welfare (tax payer charity) or other forms of the same–it just doesn’t make them productive citizens and strips them of the pride they should have in being able to care for themselves. I have great faith in the ability of humanity to do “the right thing”, but greed has a way of creating more of the same.



    • contoveros says:

      Maybe the industrialized nations should put money into educational programs for the poor where ever they live, so that the children in the next generation will learn to choose more wisely than our generation has chosen to do.


  5. Beechmount says:

    …..lacks the basic necessities of adequate food, shelter, medical care and education……

    Unfortunately, this includes a hight percentage of people in North America. Fixing the wrongs in your own back yard would go a long way toward improving the impression that many have of the USA as being the weathiest nation in the world.

    50 per cent of American workers make less than 37,000 dollars a year. Those who make more than a million/year have increased 18 percent. Somewhere along the line, someone is not getting paid very well. Struggling to make ends meet has become all too commonplace in the world’s most powerful economy.



    • contoveros says:

      Yes, corporations should look to their own here at home [the United States], but understand it is a “universal responsibility” for everyone to care for the less fortunate (ie, the less educated, the lower paid, the uninsured, the homeless).

      The world’s powerful economy can provide a more powerful compassion for all who need it the most.


      • The scary part is that China will be the most able in coming years. They need to take a look into their souls for the worlds sake. When 18 people walk past a 2 year laying dead in the street, you know your society has very serious issues. I fear for generations to come. Our country isnt perfect, but I know we make most of our mistakes with good intentions.


        • contoveros says:

          We like-minded persons should lead by example. As the global economy grows, so should our global responsibility. Once someone sees that it is in their best interest to achieve a lasting peace and prosperity, they will be less resistance to compassionate change.


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