When natural disasters occur around the world, there are appeals for money to help with recovery. In our economic system, the level of aid provided is based on given resources. It fails to address the issues that have some influence on the cause of the disasters. Under our economic system, the constraint is always the money resources and not whether there is the potential to actually deal with the issues Supposedly, the objective is to match resources with need but is that what really happens?
Are disasters linked with our actions? There seems to be some evidence that deforestation increases the possibility of flooding and global warming is influencing weather patterns. Yet we reluctantly take action to redress the problems that we have caused. The excuse is the cost or impact on our lifestyle. Our capitalistic thinking and life style have priority and we are reluctant to use measures other than those focused on growth and prosperity for measuring and rewarding success.
We are currently living in an economic slowdown supposedly caused by banks taking excessive risks with investments. The previous government is accused of increasing the deficit rather than being a prudent and trying to maintain a balance in the government accounts. The result is that the current government is endeavouring to cut expenditure further compounding the difficulties for many people, some through job loses. Where is our society heading? I believe that we will reap what we sow. Those who can read the signs of the times will see what is likely to happen.
My thoughts turn to prophesies of judgement as recorded in Isaiah 9:8-21. The prophet describes the demise of the northern kingdom and then says the same will happen to Judah unless she changes her ways. I don't see the regions that are suffering natural disasters as being judged but I do see a warning for the western nations. We export a prosperity society and don't see how we are stripping the world of its natural resources. We seem to think that we can go on extending life and consuming resources without seeing the consequences to our own society. Inequality keeps increasing and we destroy our environment because we are never satisfied and our financial system depends on growth.
My thought is that the west's time to be brought low will happen but when that does she will not receive the aid that she currently gives reluctantly. There will be no wealthy nations to bail her out. The west will reap the results of the commitment to the growth and capitalistic economics. Rescissions are expected in a system that depends on growth and yet endeavours to maintain a balance in the government books.
Last year, we watched an Australian programme on the penguins of Phillip Island. In that programme, they watched baby penguins die arguing that they could not intervene in nature. This is despite man's influence on nature that has possibly removed the normal food sources for the penguins. We fail to act where we are the cause of poverty and destruction. We assume the race to prosperity that takes people out of their culture is a good thing. The result is people moving from tribal communities to slums in large cities.
When we try to help other nations in development activities, do we destroy the current survival patterns built on established cultural practices and draw them into our resource intensive western practices? Where is the pressure the other way to restore balance and seek ways to live that are in harmony with nature? Maybe we should be talking about sustainability or equality rather than development.
I am looking for new models and different goals for the way that we operate our society but like many others I am indoctrinated by the principles of capitalistic thought thought that drive our daily interactions.