The Side Effects of Self-Actualizing

Carol Sanford
9 min readNov 4

Why do we have such disparity, inequity, and suffering in the world?

The Washington Post reports (below) four stories as though they were not related. Clearly they seem so to me! and to people who are commenting on them. Some ask why and what we must do. I decided give a response I have been playing with for decades in a more or less concise form. It has a single sourcing mechanism but must be faced systemically.

(Washington Post stories)

Good economic news…
- “US Economy grows at blockbuster pace in 3rd quarter”
- “Americans, especially wealthy ones, are still spending big.”

And yet…
- “Hunger worsened among US households in 2022”
- “As child-care crisis looms, President asks Congress for urgent help”

For about 40 years, as our economy has grown dramatically, all the wealth and income gains have gone to the top percent or so, with the rest stagnating. How is this situation sustainable? What kind of economy is there, really, when almost everyone gets worse off?

Why do humans, directly and indirectly, produce, tolerate, accelerate, influence, and ultimately overlook these disturbing outcomes? Or, at best, bemoan the existence of these outcomes but with no understanding of what role they personally are playing. Or how other well-intended folks can participate in changing it but don’t. And indeed, how we all are missing the role we could play to reverse it. And, in fact, a role only humans can play.

Oh, we have lots of offered approaches on how to draw down the effects. A list of 100 solutions, in order! The United Nations 17 Sustainability Goals. Britannia’s list of “How To Reduce Inequality.” They range from employment-related policies — including strengthening collective-bargaining rights and full-employment schemes, to living-wage policies, stronger minimum-wage laws, and wage subsidies. A list of how to reduce inequality In Education, the list making, has been a long-standing issue in society, with many factors contributing to the problem, including wealth disparities, race, and gender. The education lists suggest exposing Children To Free Resources, making Material Relatable For Students, and creating an engaging classroom. These are all worthy ideas and may make a small dent in selective locations and populations. But the…

Carol Sanford

Sr Fellow Social Innovation, Babson |# 1 AmazonBest Selling/Multi-Award Winning Author | Regenerative Paradigm Educator