- Date published:
9:14 am, May 24th, 2018 - 21 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capitalism, Conservation, Deep stuff, economy, Environment, food, identity, labour, nz first, Politics, quality of life, science, Social issues, sustainability, winston peters - Tags: capitalism, madness
You’ve probably heard or read something on the government’s decision to back-track on imposing restrictions on trawling for orange roughy. There was a raft of conservation measures ready to go before the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), and they’ve been dumped.
The fishing industry has said the measures “were were not based on clear scientific findings or policy”and appealed to fears and insecurities that if the measures had gone ahead, “livelihoods [would] be lost, food and economic benefits [would] be forgone” .
Some have suggested lobbying by the fishing industry has successfully swayed Winston Peters who, in turn, has leaned on the NZ Labour Party, and so on and what not. And whatever of that may be true, neither the fishing lobby nor Peters are the problem; they are the symptom of a problem.
Orange roughy is a fairly straightforward illustrative example of nature being monetised. And having been monetised, it’s the unnecessary loss of the financial return that takes precedence over the loss of that which has been monetised. It’s perfect financial logic that begets madness. So for example, a few years back, allegations were made that Mitsubishi was deliberately overfishing bluefin tuna and freezing it in order to secure top dollar after extinction had been attained.
And we lay in, and hold in place the foundations such perversities rise up from by the simple acting out of our every day lives.
We willfully adjust and adapt to become healthy functioning parts of this socio/economic milieu that would have us wipe out a world for $, while bemoaning the inability to save a world because $. And we inculcate our children into the ways of the world.
As good parents, we want our children to “get a head start” and “get ahead” in this life. We’re not bad people. We’re good people who have hooked, lined and sinkered ourselves into a particular madness that informs us of what it means to live a good life.
And so the orange roughy will have to go extinct. And NZ dophins will have to go extinct. And we will have to raise average global temperatures well above 2 degrees and bring down a clatter of extinctions – because we are good people trying to lead a good life and do what’s best for us and ours.
I don’t know any way out of this beyond recognising the nature of what we hold in our hands and what we pursue in our heads, and dropping it in the dirt.
Economics wasn’t always this way. Once was, plenty of economic systems revolved around notions of stewardship instead of this current insatiable quest for financial return that spans the world.
And societies haven’t always been this way either. Once was, plenty of societies revolved around notions of community and kinship; not atomised individuals pitted against one another in the context of some supposedly impartial and neutral market forces.
Another world is possible, or should I say this world is possible.
But we need to recognise it to realise it, and stop relegating it to sit below some financial abstraction that will– so we believe – finally prove to be a platform that lifts us all up (at least the worthy and capable of our numbers), and offer back to us a veritable font of milk and honey.
The best of it has been. It was as good as it was going to get at some point in the past. Now it just gets worse before it doesn’t get any better.
And most of us quietly acknowledge at some level that what we’re doing isn’t much cop. Most of us don’t actually want to be doing what we do – not really. But we invent excuses that keep us “cleaved”, and we invent fears and imaginings of bad stuff that will happen if we don’t hang on – as though all humanity and all ingenuity and ability will, by necessity, be dropped in the dirt alongside whatever is willfully dropped.
And this fairly pervasive notion – that in stopping the madness, we’ll be swamped in some kind of madness is…well, it’s just another expression of the madness right there.
So question, criticise and even condemn Peters, the government, the fishing lobby or whatever. But then look deep in the mirror, and who knows, maybe even decide it’s time to break with this suicide pact we’ve been calling the social contract.