This is a bit of a this-and-that article – with several points that sort of tie together.
I was recently up in Auckland visiting friends and family. (Auckland is the largest metropolitan centre in NZ) And while this is all anecdotal, I was intrigued by the conversations I was having and the shift in attitude. People(most) were asking my opinion of the economy. Not specifically because I write a blog about such things, but because they are enquiring in a general way. Enquiring to everyone they know, I suspect. Looking for confirmation and validation of their concerns.
They are all getting uneasy. Things aren’t looking so rosy. It is getting harder and harder to make a living and pretend things are normal. The recession is over three years old already, things should have started to turn around by now – but the prospects are looking gloomier, not better.
Gosh, what a surprise…!!!
Actually, perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise. Not that things aren’t looking so good – but that people just had this blind optimism for so long, that it would all come right sooner or later – that the government would sort it out, or it would sort itself. People expected things would be no different this time, than they were for all of the previous recessionary cycles, over the last 3-4 decades.
I have been going “Hello… hello… is anybody awake out there” for several years now. And wondering why everyone seemed to be sleepwalking into the future. Wasn’t it painfully obvious that this was not your average blip to the downside… no? I saw armageddon in the making – and they saw… what exactly?
I still don’t think they see things as super-serious, but they sure as hell don’t like what they do see, and are getting uncomfortable. Apparently they can feel the water starting to get hot after-all. And it appears they seem to be losing some faith in the ability of the government to make it all better.
Well of course the government isn’t going to make it all better – the government is the problem. But that conclusion is a still a step (or more) too far for most people yet.
The pain is going to have to be ratcheted up a few more notches yet, before they start seriously squealing and taking note of what is happening around them – and enquiring into why we are where we are.
The second interesting event was a recent interview we did at work. It was with a woman who had been working in the social services sector with elder-care. Her position has just recently been disestablished, so she didn’t feel the need to bite her tongue as she may have in the past. She had a number of frustrations and wanted to vent a little.
She started off by saying the government needed to get serious and engaged with the issues she had been dealing with. She said that the various government bodies said all the right things, but nothing ever actually happened. Be it the police, the local-body councils, central government, or the various government welfare agencies – they all talked a good fight, and produced lovely discussion papers and reports, but never actually did anything, or achieved concrete results. She was upset that there was so much that could be done, but it needed government to get actively engaged. Government needed to DO something.
I sat there trying hard not to laugh.
She had got a lot of it right, and had recognised a lot of home truths – but hadn’t yet managed to close the loop and draw the whole thing together.
Governments don’t DO for you.
Governments DO for themselves.
They are self-referencing institutions that serve themselves.
If you have swallowed the Koolaid, then more fool you. If you still believe that government is there to govern “by the people, for the people” you are living in a fantasy.
When times get tough (you know, like now…) government won’t be there for you to lean on. It Will Be Too Busy Leaning On You.
It’s first and last priority will be self-preservation. And no price will be too high for that. Your sacrifice will be its’ salvation and satisfaction.
And so the discomfort grows, on many levels and across the country. The bitching and moaning has started. And yet… and yet… – most are still blind to the direction the real threat is coming from.
Without question government and politicians will attempt to direct that feeling so that various sectors of society will fight amongst themselves, blaming those other good-for-nothings for damaging “our” country, blah blah blah…
There will be just enough of a germ of truth in that sort of thing to excite our prejudices. Classic FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), as a deliberate, premeditated strategy. Divide and conquer.
How many people will be able to put Two and Two together and get Four? People are starting to ask questions, that’s good I guess. But it is late in the day, and we have arguably already passed the point of no return. I am afraid I don’t have much confidence that people will suddenly (or even gradually) see the light. Giving up on old ideas and beliefs, and adopting new ones isn’t in our nature. We would much rather ignorantly fight amongst ourselves.
But there are two inescapables in all this.
We won’t get away from our current dilemmas unscathed, we ARE going to get burned.
And – until we perceive that it is our systems(rules) and Rulers that have done for us, we will remain in the boiling pot getting cooked.
Another thought I had this last week on my trip North:
I have few doubts: the government will not manage to run its full term. [opps, wrong on that one]
Things are getting tougher and going wrong at an accelerating pace. A One-Seat coalition majority isn’t going to cut it.
The really smart politicians retired at the end of the last term. It was just the dumb ones that came back (into a developing storm) for more.
And these are the leaders to save us…???
I think not.
Run Forest, run…
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