The average earnings as a percentage of turnover by oil companies over recent years are around 5%.
The average earnings as a percentage of turnover by the banks and the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals are around 20 %!
So if you’re in need of $100,000 annual treatments for treatment for breast cancer, or if you’re an African with AIDS earning $1 a day, I hope you’ll be pleased that the drug manufacturers are doing so well.
The New Zealand Flag Consideration Panel are an august and varied bunch of highly respected and accomplished Kiwis from a wide range of backgrounds.
12 people on a committee is probably 8 or 9 too many to come up with a good outcome, but you’d expect a good decision anyway from smart people given clear guidelines.
They totally ignored their mandate. The makeup of most of the final 40 selection, and all of the final four, didn’t meet the criteria they’d been given. Those criteria were clear, in line with the advice of vexillologists, and borne out by many other successful national flags.
Like most people, I didn’t appreciate the vast difference between a static 2 dimensional corporate type logo and a 3 dimensional flag moving dynamically in the breeze. I listened to people who understood the task and now I get it. Not so the $640 a day Eminent and August Persons Group. They didn’t get it and they still don’t. Nor does tunnel visioned Prime Minister John Key.
A while back I gave one of my favourite places, Whanganui’s Red Eye Café, a miss because some inconsiderate idiot had parked precisely dead centre between two car parks taking up both and leaving no space for my little Freelander. I headed down the road for Oggie’s Café instead.
On the way I passed a man pushing a beat up van in the opposite direction. I stopped a hundred metres up the road and walked back to lend a hand. “May I help?” said I.
He looked at me dead-faced and said “No.”
Nothing more. No thank you; it’s OK; or kiss my backside. Just a flat expressionless “No.”
“You’re welcome.” I said, and trudged back up the road in a less enthusiatic frame of mind.
Perhaps for the first time in human history, the Good Old Days really did have something going for them. No wonder we have selfish and venal politicians and up-themselves media celebrities. The ubiquitous screen is corroding our ability to communicate and relate to people face-to-face; and it’s giving us Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and the Kardashians.
The incidents I talked about above are becoming common. It’s going to get worse. From the cradle we’re encouraging our children to sink into the digital world, more and more they’re communicating electronically and learning how to behave from mainly toxic and obnoxious media.
Capitalism is nourished by growth. Without growth it cannot survive. It’s a function of the debt-based monetary system which requires growth to cover future interest commitments.
We cannot easily address climate change without threatening the capitalist system’s very existence. It could be done, but the status quo has its head up its backside and won’t acknowledge the extent of the problem.
Eventually things will change, the sooner that happens the better for your children.
“This is your life. Do what you want and do it often.
If you don’t like something, change it.
If you don’t like your job, quit.
If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Stop over-analysing, life is simple.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Life is simple.
Open your heart, mind and arms to new things and people, we are united in our differences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them.
Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
Life is short, live your dream and wear your passion.”
A few years ago I met a great New Zealander, Professor Paul Callaghan. He opened my eyes to new ways of looking at our world. It was a mixed blessing; he condemned me to a future of enlightenment on the one hand, and frustration, anger, and despair on the other. Dr Callaghan, a physicist from Wellington’s Victoria University, had recently been made a Fellow of the Royal Society. When he hopped on the plane to return to New Zealand after picking up the award, he also picked up a book called “The Undercover Economist”. In doing so, he changed the direction of his life. Mine too. I’ve talked about Paul and his must-see presentation “Beyond the Theme park and the Farm Gate” here.
Although it’s about New Zealand’s economic decline; why it’s happening, and how to reverse it, his conclusions are relevant to non-Kiwis, anyone who wants to understand the requirements for prosperity in an economy.
Dr Callaghan was knighted not long after I met him; then he was made New Zealander of the year in 2011; and the Labour Party had him as keynote speaker at their annual talkfest. He was a great New Zealander who understood where our country is going wrong; why 500,000 of us live in Australia; and what’s required to fix the problem. New Zealand isn’t awash with people I have great respect for. Sir Paul was definitely one.
I was enlisted to help him set up a website to promote his message, but he lost his battle with cancer and died, far too soon, in 2012.
Our politicians of all stripes thought enough of Sir Paul’s work to honour him, but they’ve never acted upon it. He motivated me to learn as much as I could about what’s going wrong in our country and on our planet. Here’s some of it:
When the world was young…
One of my earliest memories is of the VJ day parade in Dunedin, a celebration of the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II. I stood outside Whitcombe and Tombes on George Street listening to the bagpipes and watching someone in the parade pushing a hand cart which carried an effigy of Hitler’s body sans arms, legs and head. I was 4 years old but 70 years later I can still see it clearly. At that age children don’t usually understand much about political events, but the time between the start of World War I, the terrible influenza epidemic, and the end of World War II (with the catastrophe of the Great Depression squeezed in between) was so cataclysmic and all-pervasive that even small children probably had an inkling of what was going on, and well knew who Hitler was.
My generation’s childhood was dominated by that war long after it was over. Most adult men were veterans of at least one war; my best friends Onno and Ingrid were refugees from a devastated Europe and their parents told of wonderful things like eating rats and cats to survive; in those pre-TV days the movies, the news, and even the comics were about “The War”: the Dam Busters, Rockfist Rogan, Nazis, Tommies, Yanks, and Japs. Winston Churchill and Hitler, Berlin, London, and Hiroshima all loomed large in our young lives. Meat and butter were rationed so that we could send vast quantities of produce “Home” to England.
At the end of it all we had a new United Nations, a booming world economy, unbounded optimism and the general idea that we’d learned our lesson. The age of war was over.