Optimism in a world of degradation

April 22, 2018 at 2:24 am | Posted in cooperatives, Inequality - Australia, optimism | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,

Quality control

I’ve been writing some brief biographies for an organisation and before I interviewed some of these high achievers, I wanted to note down some basic facts about them. So I nipped up to my local library, chained my bike and went inside to the Reference Section for Who’s Who. They’ve rearranged the library and now there’s a vast empty space in the centre. I walked all around the book shelves on the perimeter and couldn’t find where they’d moved the Reference books.

When I asked a library assistant, a willowy girl with wispy chestnut hair, she said, ‘We’re trying to get people to look up stuff online. We’re phasing out Reference books.’

After I picked up my jaw from the floor I managed to voice my horrified amazement at this retrograde step.

‘You’re welcome to express your opinion in writing,’ she said.

*          *          *

Continue Reading Optimism in a world of degradation…

Lamplight on the darkened path

May 7, 2017 at 4:04 am | Posted in capitalism, creativity, Democracy, Living creatively, media negativity, public squalour | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

A Bigger Prize and The Short Goodbye

In Sickness, in Health and in Jail by Mel Jacobs

‘The world breaks everyone, and afterwards some are stronger in the broken places.’ Hemingway said that, and Mel Jacobs quotes him in the front of her poignant memoir, In Sickness, in Health and in Jail (Allen & Unwin, 2016). The author describes the shock, social stigma and logistical nightmares involved when her husband went to jail for two years after breaching the rules concerning his online hunting weapons business.

It was being uncharacteristically slack with a couple of technicalities (which were, granted, against the law, but seemed so minor in the scheme of things) that landed a decent, normally highly moral, small business guy in jail. A pity that the justice system doesn’t use such finely honed powers of legal scrutiny on anyone in finance or banking, I thought, since at the same time I was reading Elisabeth Wynhausen’s riveting The Short Goodbye (Melbourne University Press, 2011) about the global financial crisis.

Almost no one in finance or banking – no matter how illegal, unethical or immoral, no matter how many millions of lives they’ve ruined – will have to endure the appalling conditions of Australian prisons described in Jacobs’ book, and it’s exactly the same in the UK and Europe and the US. As Wynhausen states:

‘Even as unemployment around the globe soared, the financial institutions responsible sped from the wreckage they had left in their wake, to grab whatever they could get their hands on. After nine big Wall Street banks … were bailed out with US$175 billion from American taxpayers under the program President Bush signed into being, though President Obama would cop the flak for it, they handed out nearly US$33 billion in bonuses. (p. 189)

Continue Reading Lamplight on the darkened path…

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.