Friday, 13 May 2016

Being conned

I feel I have been conned.

It seems we are expected to all take for granted the wisdom of Economic Growth and not look at the cost. The Conservative parties are running their current election campaign on the mantra: 'Jobs and growth' and we are expected to not question its deeper implications.

Dick Smith, said it on One Plus One (ABC TV program): "We are already using one and a half times the resources of the planet and every step toward growth increases the environmental debt."
Then I read, and I wish I could claim this as mine: "I used to live in a community, but I now live in an economy".

It does not take a lot of deductive power to work out who benefits from 'Economic Growth'. The whole economy is wealthier in money term, as we whittle away at our sustainability, but it is corporations that really benefit. A corporation needs to grow so that its shares rise in value. That is what investors are looking for, and the game is set up to benefit them, offering tax breaks for the gamblers but not for those in it for the dividend.Gamblers are the wasted spaces who steal value from our enterprises and add nothing. It might be instructive to ask why we are shown the stock market report every TV news bulletin, but there is no corresponding index of CO2 rise, or sustainability index to give is the full picture, that is, real costs to the global community of Growth.

Of course, living in Australia, we tend to presume that our standard of living,with good public schools, medical facilities, power that rarely fails, water we can drink from the tap, sewerage systems, adequate pensions for all, public transport that might be tight in the cities, but compared with just about anywhere else, is reliable and safe, is deserved.

But we are in for a bit of a shock. Well, we are already in the shock, but are being shielded by governments that have not produced men or women that can be both brave and truthful enough to tell it like it is and really lead.

When I read Brave New World and '1984' in 1956, we all thought automation would reduce our working hours and our main problem would be finding something to do. I am still waiting.
It seems that those who have jobs of consequence work longer hours than ever, while others, for many reasons, are struggling to find any work at all while we try to create new industries to absorb them.

Yesterday at the bank, which I rarely visit, this time to deposit a cheque, I was advised that I can deposit cheques at any ATM. My insistence on seeing a real person was received with the sort of smile one reserves for the village idiot and maybe that is what it deserved in our Brave New World..

Anyway, back to Economic Growth. I admit we need it if we are to 'remain competitive' and we need it to create more jobs to replace those lost as we automate banks, supermarket checkouts, railway ticketing, train driving, create music, art and literature with computers, have university lecture halls where five hundred students watch a video of a lecture. We are told these create 'efficiencies' in the economy and are therefor automatically good, but are they?

Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me that having a meaningful job, supporting oneself and family, comes naturally and is necessary for for human health. So, solving problems for oneself,even if that means doing things the hard way,making mistakes and learning, leads us to a better place than surrendering totally to the economic mantra of never-ending growth, that is leading us to where extinction is probable.

This week or the next, we reach 400PPM of CO2. We have known this was coming at least forty years ago, but as I said in CULL: 'We know the problem, we have the technology to fix it, but we lack the wisdom to apply it.'

We have an election in a few weeks but there is nobody standing that gives me confidence in their ability to at least articulate the big picture. Then again, anyone who does will not be elected. We really are still the lotus eaters and because we choose ignorance over engagement, deserve what is coming. In desperation, I will again vote Green.


  1. we fiddle while Rome burns.
    I will vote Green as well, for all the difference it makes

    1. When Bob Brown first mentioned sea level rise in parliament, he was ridiculed. Now it is all too real We can only do what is available and I guess voting Green is what is available in the political arena.

  2. I wish we had a Green alternative in the USA.

  3. Any chance for a Green party there is meagre at best. The process is set up as a two horse race. Maybe the Democrats can gradually be moved to the left so you can enjoy social benefits lioke Germans, French,Brits, Scandinavians, Canadians... just about anywhere other than the US that is a democracy.
    Just keep talking and voting. XX

  4. What absolutely boggles my mind and actually infuriates me beyond all reason is how the USA government allows the corporations that make most of our food allow these companies to use ingredients that are outlawed in other countries. We are being poisoned by these companies and our government doesn't give a damn because they are in bed with these corporations. Obesity is an epidemic here because of the sugar, chemicals and fat laced foods. I am just waiting for the revolution to begin.
    Good blog post Stafford!

    1. The economic growth mantra is a creature of Capitalism, so maybe it is Capitlalism as we know it must go.
      I know it produced amazing progress, but now we need a new model. Governmnet of the people, for the people by the people. What is missing? Is Bernie Sanders the first glimpse of change to come?

  5. For thousands of years, people have selected leaders in the belief they were better or smarter and could fix all the problems. Ultimately every government, and the economy they developed has collapsed. As I examine the lives of those leaders, I relize they are not smarter or better than other people and are not capable of fixing all the problems. The only way the problems get fixed is when people act on their own to deal with their own problems because national leaders can't address each individual or communities needs. Far too often, they can't even resolve their own problems. It is foolish to depend on them ot fix ours.

  6. Nice to 'hear' from you Donald.
    I hear your point and there are parts of our life that are better managed by us as individuals, but I can't see any individual building a national transport, communication, health care, or defence system. When we become civilised, is when we need leaders to evaluate the options, our wishes, then lead the implementation.
    Leaders are flawed and that is why we have elections. My plea is to see past the image and evaluate them from a national and international perspective to see if they are leading us in the right direction.
    As I suggested earlier, Sanders emerged at a bad time for socialists in his contemporary society, but so did Jesus.


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