|Maybe I'm being way too overoptimistic but Rebekahgate has the feel of being the much needed counterpoint to 9/11, an opportunity for those with a passion for the natural world, for the future and for civil society to reassert some kindlier, gentler hopes.|
Let me first grant that having a job has become a valuable mechanism for developing a sense of identity in otherwise rudderless post-adolescent males and their increasing band of female impersonators. We certainly do not need to turn those people loose in a hurry or North Africa will start to look like the preliminaries that it still might prove to be.
But as so often, we have taken something good and blown it by pushing way too far. Of course the basis of our legacy economics remains jobs = consumers with the bonus of a multiplier for family, but in the wake we have lost site of the bonus that technology was supposed to bring: increased leisure. And, the point of this post, is that we have allowed the business model to infect areas where the finest work has always been done by people of passion (and talent), from politics to sport and arts to academia.
Worst of all, our technologies have swung the information advantage away from those who know and care to those with access to "professional" tools to dazzle and delude aided by illusions and deferral to "authority". Who can afford to keep watching the watchers?
And we must not forget the meta lesson of history. There is never a time for regaining some imagined past but always the challenge of inventing a better future. Car miles may have peaked in 2004 in western cities, but that does not mean we have a public transport system ready to go back to, but rather a need to reconceive, reconfigure, invent and add modes. The dimensions of what has been needed this fortnight to work around a tiny foretaste of Regional Rail Link construction had to be seen to be believed.
It would be nice to imagine that by the end of this decade we will be able to look back and see that food miles have also clearly peaked and that we are starting to build proper recognition of those who would work closer to nature if they could. While money is a very elastic measure this may still require a high level redundancy offer to accountants and lawyers to free up those whose young talents were seduced by paths which promised to disproportionately skim economic flows and place themselves above political review, and give those who can rediscover some passion a second chance to become productive members of society.
Look around you with open eyes and count how many are involved in what I can only describe as "make work". The inescapable evolution of business models to empire building is being exacerbated towards strangulation by the creep of systemic interdependencies.