For many years I smoldered in discontentment. The world, I decided, was in a Dark Age once again. I first voiced that sentiment after Ronald Reagan spoke of a limited nuclear war in Europe. Even though I was living in Canada I found the idea objectionable – to say the least.
This, on top of Thatcherism, was more than I could take. Much needed fiscal and social reform became an ideological war between the haves and the have-nots.
Under the guise of doing for the public good, years of social engineering to address the imbalances of wealth distribution were stripped away to enhance the offspring of the entitled and to place more barriers in the way of the less well off.
We were offered the ‘trickle-down’ economic model and that, as my wise friend, Jimmy Neil, once declared, was nothing more than crumbs from the table. If that was the case it illustrates our declining position as we were once offered cake by the declining French aristocracy!
‘Jobs and Prosperity for all,’ was the rallying call from political leaders but the reality was that real incomes declined and, to ensure we could fulfill our vital role in maintaining consumer demand – the corner stone of economic health – we were given access to easy credit!
And now that the shit has clogged the fan we have a chorus of Financial Institutions blaming inept Political Leadership.
That these same Politicos had to bail out those same Financials, after their years of gambling like addicts, is all but forgotten. Back in 2008 we ‘Socialised’ corporate debts because it was the right thing to do to avoid falling off the cliff. But here, three years later, Sovereign debt is the greatest curse since Original Sin.
Bah! It‘s all nonsense!
But history reminds us that this is pretty much the norm. The forces of greed and corruption have always been with us. Inept politicians far outnumber courageous leaders because we buy into political advertising and elect them. Yes! It is primarily our fault for putting up with it.
However, as history also shows, we do wake up every so often and bring some balance to the chaos.
For a few years now I have been watching the green shoots because, as has often been said, the darkest hour is just before the dawn. Many sources have foretold of a time when the world would be in such a mess that we would have to change it, or perish. This might just be that time.
The last great Dark Age ended when new ideas spread like wild fire. The conveyance of those ideas was enabled by a simple device – the printing press.
Writing, which had long been the privilege of the few, was now well and truly in the public domain. Pamphleteers roamed the world spreading the heresy of enlightenment to the consternation of the old order. People were burned at the stake but it couldn’t stop the challenge and soon the old order was in full retreat. It can and must happen again. And I think it will.
Books are key!
And now that the corporate grip on publishing has been loosened by technologies, books, and the infectious ideas they can contain, will flourish once again.
Who knows, we might even enjoy a period of enlightenment again. We are overdue.