Sunday, May 6, 2007

THE COST OF GROWTH DOWN UNDER----A Letter From an Aussie Friend

I may not be as pessimistic as you, but I think it's all up
with climate change. It's finally being talked about by politicians, and
there was a report released yesterday that in 60 years Sydney will be 5-7 C
hotter with 40% less rain. It is already an arid hell. The kindest thing
would be a mercy cull of everybody under 30! I expect lots more talk, but
no action. The PM has said a number of times that global warming is a
serious problem, but he won't take any measures that damage the economy. I
can't fathom that sort of blinkered thinking, but that's all we'll get from
any politicians. They are too steeped in their thinking about growth being
good, consumption being good, spending being good, prosperity being good
etc etc. The trouble is that a dollar value is not put on the real costs of
all this growth. Yes, we are far richer than before and have lots more
stuff; but out society is totally buggered. What's the social cost of
traffic jams, long commutes, mad working hours, delinquent and crazed kids,
crime of every sort, unsafe streets, ethnic conflict, the atmosphere of
living in an anarchic mad-house created by the tsunami of graffiti that
totally defaces Sydney and most other cities? I'd go back to being much
poorer but living in a sane society like the one we had when I was a kid -
though I know it had lots that needed improving.
I'm not too worried about oil. I think they'll get around that, though
it'll be costly;. Personally, I'd be happy to see petrol cost $3 a litre,
if it would price the fool-boxes (4 WDs) off the roads.
Of course, we are plonking urban sprawl on our farm land too. Sydney used
to have an extensive network of market-gardens, orchards and dairy farms on
the river flats and other fertile land in the basin it is in, but most have
gone and the rest will go.
I must go too, but I'll keep in touch. I hope you are going well, even if
the world isn't.

Thoughts of best mate Stephen Collier, Armidale, NSW

Tim Murray and check out

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