Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Seduced by short-term fixes...leaving long-term deep-ression

McGuinty's corporate tax cuts, reducing tax rates already lower than in the U.S., are linked to wage cuts at the lowest end of the wage scale. "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" is an old axiom; only recently, however, using the Bush model in the U.S. "Peter" has become the poor and "Paul" has become the rich political benefactors whom no politician wishes to offend.
It used to be, not so long ago, that if a politician of any political stripe wanted to get elected, s/he paid attention to the needs, wishes and aspirations of the poor for the simple reason that they were by far the largest block of votes. Of course, there were the rich donors to the political war chest, but they also recognized and even supported the principle that poor votes meant as much as rich votes, when they were dumped out of the ballot boxes on the counting room tables.
Now, it seems the pharmaceutical companies, and the oil and gas companies, and the military hardware and software companies, and of course the banks, and (especially in the U.S.) the insurance companies are "buying" the politicians with impunity, immunity and even public nonchalance. And the politicians are not even ashamed of this nefarious development.
Democracy has devolved into a virtual oligarchy, with the corporate interests wielding a huge stick, and the politicians cowering before their masters. It is demonstrated in the "smaller government" and the "law-and-order" agenda and the tax policy, in Europe the raising of the retirement age "to pay for the deficit in the social security net,"  adn in the U.S. with the abondonment of the public option in health care reform.The governments seemed to have entered into a secret marriage ceremony with the corporate interests.
And then we hear the political cry, "It is the small businesses that are the engine that runs the economy, and they are the ones that will do the necessary hiring to get us out of the enemployment slump." And, for those of us who are trying to decipher this logic, we are wondering if even those small business owners are getting the same political favouritism being extended to their "big brothers" in the corporate board rooms.
The universities have become the recipients of those corporate interests seeking research that complements their mission statements, from neophyte scholars whose research puts them on track for the holy grail of the "earned doctorate" especially in the maths and sciences, the electonics and the pharmaceuticals. And now we have to conduct research on the sources of funding for all research in the sciences because knowing the source of the funds will help to determine the objectivity, and the reliability of the research. Omitting such funding documentation leaves the other students who might access the research in the dark.
And then there are the governments seeking to fund the kind of research for which they wish to be known...in the case of the Canadian government, that means science, engineering and technology is currently living under a halo of extra funding while arts grants are much more scarce. After all, there is much more "sex appeal" and thereby political capital to gain from funding hardware and technological processes than there is in funding historical or literary research that discloses the secret documents of a specific regime (for example the Harris government about which many would like to know the full story) or the unique insights of the kind of literary scholars like Northrop Frye whose literary criticism has become a much used and much appreciated piece of scholarship around the world, to Canada's long-lasting credit.
We are a ship driven, it seems, by money toward the acquisition of more money, for those whose hands are already "drunk" with cash while, at the same time, we are becoming drunk ourselves on moving in this direction without so much as a "wait-a-minute" and "could we hit the pause button and re-think our course."
There is no pause button on this machine and no re-think button and no apparent "fools" willing to put their neck out and look silly in the face of the tsunami of conventional-robotic-nonthink....
This process demeans poverty in favour of the rich; it elevates technology at the expense of critical thinking; it debases human individuals while shining halo's on big cash grabs, and big tech-advances, and big-drug-'discoveries' and reduces the feasibility that the process can or will be even slowed, certainly not stopped.
We are driven by short-term thinking (which incidentally sinks most small business entrepreneurs) and short-sighted visions, and short-term health fixes by a mind-set of instant (if superficial and non-substantive) gratification...
And we think and some even believe that we have matured, into health adults over the last half century!
That's a bad joke!

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