Dancing Roundabout Horses

Once again I am posting something here which is pretty much a copy of a Facebook post I just made.  It seems that I am tending to use Facebook as something of a workbench.  Oh well, if that is the way forward, who am I to fight it.

roundabout horses
Does life ever seem like riding on a fairground roundabout?  You are gaily (in the true etymological sense) riding your dancing horse, going up and down, round and round, mesmerised by the loud fairground music dulling your senses, staring at the rear end of the horse in front.  You have a moment, and you tear your gaze away from the horses backside, looking around at the passing scene.  “This looks familiar” you say.  “I’m sure we have seen and done this before”.  A moment later, there it is again, and again, and again, until the end of the ride.  And then the music stops.

Why am I talking about roundabouts and dancing horses?  Life isn’t a roundabout.  True, it’s not.  But civilisation is.  Modern life, as part of society, is.  We have all at some stage stepped on to that roundabout.  Many of us are happy being on the merry-go-round and may have even forgotten that this is where we are.

The trick is, to dismount, get off, before the music stops.  Then to sit down for safety for a while, until the dizzyness that follows such action has passed and is replaced by a much clearer view..

Let me try to explain why the modern world, the western developed peoples anyway, are still riding the roundabout of civilisation, enjoying the distraction, and with nary (yes, that is a word) a thought that maybe they should get off the damn thing.

The (recently new) Australian Federal Government brought down its first annual budget in May of this year.  Where are we now?  Early August.  About three months later, and despite their soundly thrashing the opposition at the last election, they still have very little of their policies passed into legislation.  We have our two tier parliamentary system, specifically designed to ensure that nothing much changes in any hurry, to thank for that.

Even so, the government continues to find it very difficult to sell its budgetary measures on either the political or public market.  In fact there is what appears to be a continual shedding or chipping away of some of the more controversial aspects of the beast.

This chipping away at the budget measures is kind of like the tiles falling off the space shuttle on take-off and re-entry, don’t you think?  Remember the space shuttle?  Emblem of a bygone era where debt, resource depletion and collapsing markets were not subjects that might generally be raised for polite discussion.  Just a few lost tiles may have a significantly more serious impact on the operation of the whole structure than their size and weight may indicate.

I am particularly thinking of one little potential chip from the block, one loose tile potentially ready to drop off, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald today:  Coalition MPs break ranks on $7 GP charges

Problem is, it’s not the government’s policy on this that is the issue, not that I am in any way a supporter of govt policy, it’s more to do with too many sick people around, dipping their fingers into the pie.  I can say that, as someone who has a health condition but chooses to not dip my feet into the murky waters of the health system to treat it.  And also someone of a certain age that is known to be the section of society which generally has the need to involve itself with increasing regularity in health centric matters.

Why are there too many sick people around? Well, that is also to do with government policy of supporting big business like the health, pharmaceutical, chemical and agricultural industries who see the health situation (which includes food production) as a means to make huge profits by making and keeping folk sick while pretending to be a beneficial force in society.  All in the name of economic growth and profit.

The economy actually doesn’t need a whole lot of healthy people (or highly educated people either, as a matter of fact, which is why we have the education system we have). They only need to have just enough life in them (and be dumb enough) to perform the mindless tasks they are expected to perform to keep earning just enough to allow them to keep spending those earnings on, among other things, health services and the kind of food that is largely responsible for keeping them in this semi-comatose state so that they don’t realise that they are being screwed and can keep plodding along, spending, spending until retirement and beyond, where they will be kept semi-alive for as long as possible to become a burden on succeeding generations and perhaps the biggest contributors to the continuance of the growth paradigm by ensuring the ongoing need for a huge health and pharmaceutical industry.

If there weren’t so many drug companies, chemical companies, hospitals, health research institutes, fitness centres, health clinics/centres, supermarkets, and other businesses meddling with our food, groundwater and other environmental necessities, around, there would be nowhere near the huge numbers of sick people either.

carousel-horseOf course, that would also mean the demise of modern civilisation because as soon as one of the dancing horses on the fairground roundabout that is modern society comes loose and falls off, the whole thing will go out of balance and self-destruct.

We couldn’t let that happen, could we?

Well, maybe we won’t be given the choice.

Does that put the relevance or irrelevance of budgetary measures into a little clearer perspective?




Enough is enough…..

I have worked out what I intend to write on my next election ballot paper:

“This is not democracy.  This is lunacy.  There is only one option to vote for: The Growth Party.  Until there is a votable option for de-growth, I will not place my vote.”

This video from Damn The Matrix explains some of what I mean: Enough is enough…...

Thanks to foodnstuff for suggesting this link.

My Take on Degrowth: TINA (There Is No Alternative)

I am very happy to be known as someone who considers that human society will never again, following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, be capable of achieving, regaining, or even restarting the kind of economic growth that has been the signature feature of national and world endeavour for the previous one and a half centuries or so, and the all-consuming goal and expectation of all societies for around the last half century.

There Is No Alternative (TINA for short) was a favourite slogan for Margaret Thatcher and her brand of economic liberalism.  A political strategy that introduced the world to free markets, free trade and capitalist globalization as the best (and only) way for modern nations to develop.  A strategy that has, through an orgy of consumption, greed and financial manipulation, brought us to a point where our global natural resources are reaching a state of depletion, our global climate is changing and is on the verge of reaching catastrophic tipping points, our population levels and rate of population increase are fast becoming unmanageable, and we are rapidly reaching planetary limits on these and other restraints to the continuation of the path that we are jointly treading.

There Is No Alternative now to altering our course from one of Growth to one of Degrowth if we collectively wish to avert complete disaster.

The TINA proposition means that maintaining the status quo is not an option.  We have already passed the point where there would be no consequences if we were to completely and globally bring a halt to our growth paradigm today, right now.  We will have to accept that, wholeheartedly enter into a path of degrowth and deal with those inevitable consequences as they arise.

I personally feel inadequate to make these sort of arguments with the kind of authority and force that they deserve.  Allow me to point you to a masterful discourse on this and related subjects by eminent people who I feel have a good grasp of the situation.  It is worth reading. I have myself just read this interesting piece and have decided to follow their blog. Health issues will be, and already are, one of the consequences that I mentioned earlier.

I am not hopeful that humanity can by any means divert its trajectory from one of utter societal, environmental and population collapse, to something less destructive, before it is too late to do so.  That would be a big ask, and not a directional change that most individuals, groups, political parties, governments and nations would be prepared to make. Even if they fully understood the pressing reasons for such a change.

For myself, I cannot with all conscience continue to support systems that seek to maintain the current way of things.  Consequently, with all Australian political parties hell-bent on continuing the neoliberal ‘growth at all costs’ paradigm, I will not be casting my democratic vote at the national elections next year, or at those of any other level of government.  Instead, because non-voting in this country is punishable by a fine, I will turn up at the voting booth and spoil my ballot paper by writing on it a message something like ‘None of the available choices is acceptable to me’.

I will continue, with renewed vigour, to effect my personal preparations to ensure as best I can that I will have at least some success at being one of those few who will make it through the great changes that are expected to come our way in the near future, should I live so long.