I am not a great believer in coincidences. In fact, I had a medical saga last year which started with my losing my voice, coincidentally with being diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.
I pursued every available avenue until I finally received radioactive iodine treatment, which, after nearly 12 months, has alleviated the thyroid condition – and – I have recovered my voice.
But at a global level, situations are less simple.
For those who accept the science on climate change, the possibility of taking action to slow the process down has been thwarted by those who, in some ways rightly, have claimed that we are wasting our time taking action when the really big contributors to emissions, like China, are not making a sufficient attempt to do so.
Well! Guess what!
China presently appears to have been the initial source for the Covid-19 virus outbreak.and, in taking draconian, but effective, action, they seem to not only be close to success in stopping the spread of the virus, but to have also dramatically reduced their emissions!
Also, not really coincidentally, the world’s economy is slowing down – and to anyone who still believes that anything, particularly an economy, can continue to grow for ever, maybe that idea is due for re-examination.
While people are self-isolating, and the medical services are going flat out trying to detect cases of infection before those infected can spread the virus around too extensively, maybe it is time to take a deep breath and really look to future responses.
Our governments have been acting like automatons in relation to the economy, frantically seeking growth with total disregard to the effects of their actions.
But virtually the only people who have benefitted from that growth have been those who are already very well provided for. Because, unless there is a financial crisis, you can painlessly use money to make money, and high-income earners have been in the forefront of those with growing wealth, most of which is reinvested, or spent on luxury goods.
So, the business profits have not been flowing on to those on low wages and the businesses which rely on sales have not been doing so well, because those whose income is scarcely enough are struggling to afford bare essentials.
I am clearly stating the bleeding obvious, but what governments have not been doing is take appropriate action.
I recently suggested that our financial advisers re-visit the idea of a Universal Basic Income, coupled with suitable plans to increase taxes on those who can afford to pay them.
This is, of course, the complete reverse of the policies which the Coalition government has been following.
If the economy is to be suitably stimulated, the present thinking of governments should be about job creation outside the fossil fuel area. This will involve retraining those whose jobs will disappear as we move to developing the plethora of means of generating renewable energy – many of which which have already been researched, but are being largely ignored.
It will involve much activity about recycling while we simultaneously make drastic changes to our lifestyles. Use of plastics has gone crazy and they are causing damage to our oceans and in landfill which cannot be allowed to continue.
The concept of built-in obsolescence must be set aside, in favour of manufacturing goods with a long life and prospects of being usefully recycled.
The CSIRO must be restored to its previous levels of funding and personnel which made it such a powerhouse of invention.
Getting rich is not a desirable aim when it is achieved by making others poor!
Governments which impose policies such as Robo-Debt and the cashless welfare card, are not caring about the people affected by those policies, any more than they are when using private agencies to administer the NDIS to the most vulnerable people in our society.
Australia needs to once more give everyone a Fair Go and genuinely seek to be the Lucky Country – not for the few but for all.
Before our hospitals fill to capacity and we are totally distracted by fighting for survival, please can we set up some expert committees to plan for a recovery program which sees a massive lessening of inequality – and a hope for a future for our grandchildren.
We have the means to be a better country. We must insist that our leaders have the will.
I end as always – this is my 2020 New Year Resolution:
“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”
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