March 30, 2009

Who's to Blame?

Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva was recently quoted as telling Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, that "white men with blue eyes" are the ones responsible for the global financial crisis. His comment reflects his frustration with policies that have a profound effect on economies that do not have much of a voice.

While his statement has some validity, I am a bit nervous as I read through the various reactions to this comment. Some are suggesting that this quote has the potential of opening a new can of worms in the clash of civilizations. Some feel that this will add fuel to the blazing fire in the East vs. West conflict.

I cannot help but be reminded that Hitler's rise came after a global depression. He, too, found a group to take the blame... and we all know what happened next. And just so we're clear, I am not suggesting that President Lula Da Silva is going down this road... I'm just making a comparison related to the danger in finger-pointing.

Words are powerful.


  1. What a neat perspective you just shared. I hadn't looked at it like that but oh you are so right on. Words ARE powerful.

  2. the only thing that keeps it from being what you maybe foresee is that brazil is not really a third world country and most real underdeveloped and developing countries don't respect the president the way to do, say, chavez.

  3. Good point, Melanie. I thought it was an odd comment coming from the leader of Brazil because I don't think of them as under-developed. Still, though, Brazil is certainly not one of the big players in our global economy.

    I was thinking about this topic some more, and I realize how natural it is to want to blame someone when something is bad - we all do it to some extent. The danger, I think, is in creating a scapegoat - it creats an "us" versus "them" mentality, which can be very dangerous.