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The value of a life

As soon as people start talking seriously about taking action on the Climate Emergency, an early question is “How much will it cost?”

I will come later to what I assess is the correct answer, but first, let us examine the question.

We have, for a considerable time now, been brain-washed into a frame of mind that if we can be convinced that the economy is doing well, then everything in the garden is lovely.

For whom?

For the families and pensioners living below the poverty line?

For the young people, kicked out of home and living on the streets?

For the young, mainly Aboriginal, children with FASD?

For the young people who cannot find any work other than low-paid casual work?

For the adults over 55 years old who have been made redundant and have to scrape a living on Newstart?

Wow! That adds up to a lot of people for whom the garden is far from lovely and for whom a Coalition government seems to have nothing but contempt.

And I have not even mentioned the NDIS clients still waiting for a package which might alleviate at least some of the disadvantage under which they labour.

Nor have I mentioned the elderly people in for-profit aged care accommodation who often endure appalling treatment and conditions in their final years of existence.

So – if a group of well-paid politicians, CEOs and senior executives are laughing all the way to the bank (Which Bank? – don’t ask!), does that really mean all is well in the world?

What is a life worth?

Is there an answer to that question that can be justified in any way?

Why, in fact, do we feel that money is ever an appropriate way to measure ‘worth’?

What do we mean by quality of life?

So – back to the original, unanswered question in relation to action on the very real climate emergency – “How much will it cost?”

I suggest the best and most accurate answer is “It will cost enormously much less than would failing to take action.”

And if that answer is queried, you ask the questioner “How much have the still continuing bush fires cost in terms of current to date and future losses? Can you quantify that yet, before the fires have even died down for this season? And can you guarantee there will be no more disastrous events?”

I am disgusted with the behaviour of the most influential politicians who refuse to bite the bullet and accept that

  • we are effectively at war with the climate
  • fighting a war has a cost which may mean that people will have to adjust their lifestyles in order to ensure their descendants have a halfway decent life and
  • politicians must sell unpopular policies in order to ensure a future on this planet for which we have shown so little regard.

Greta Thunberg – being a high-functioning autistic person – has the ability to examine evidence forensically and reach logical conclusions. And expert scientists have provided abundant evidence on the climate emergency!

Politicians are surrounded by political advisers, whose role is to massage the ego of the politician and ensure that they succeed in being re-elected, and this insulates the politician from reality – particularly when the reality is far from pleasant!

We can none of us predict accurately exactly how the future will pan out. But we ignore advice from experts at our peril!

At present, in Australia, we have issue upon issue piling up, to be dealt with efficiently and simultaneously.

Climate change, linked to which the disastrous bush fires demand immediate but well-thought out action; the growing coronavirus pandemic; international issues which are increasing tensions among trading nations – the list goes on!

Are our current elected politicians up to a job which requires all-hands-on-deck and consensus over the essential aims?

In a crisis situation, expert advice must be heeded and politics banished until the crisis is resolved. Is anyone asking the right questions and are the people answering them properly equipped to provide appropriate answers?

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4 comments

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  1. DrakeN

    “Why, in fact, do we feel that money is ever an appropriate way to measure ‘worth’?”

    Simples – we have been indoctrinated, conned, fed a diet of lies and half truths which “know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.”

    The Unholy Trinity of Politics, Commerce and Religion have convinced us that increases in material benefit equate to a better quality of life.
    c.f. that politicians are there to serve your best interests and that following a particular religious creed will provide for a heavenly afterlife.
    All pure, simple fictions to gain and maintain wealth, and power over their fellow humans.

    All very much like Father Xmas.

  2. paul walter

    Drake N, added to that, we are often too willing to swallow the illusion for complex reasons of our own.

    We are defined by/in/through human limit.

  3. johno

    We might be at war with the climate but we also seem to be at war with nature. We just can’t leave anything alone, the human obsession to interfere with nature.

    A major body of scientific research spanning hundreds of studies from Australia and around the world over the past 20 years shows that so-called post-fire “salvage logging” is the most damaging form of logging in native forests.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-29/logging-bushfire-affected-areas-australia-increases-fire-risk/11903662

  4. Andrew Smith

    ‘How much does it cost’ is an example of how radical right libertarian economics aka James Buchanan, Koch’s, Austrian and Chicago schools’ messaging and nudging over years has succeeded; ‘public choice theory’.

    Helps support need for small govt., low taxes and low energy prices to ultimately benefit corporates and their own interests, requiring electoral support.

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