It’s been a while since I last posted, but I thought a follow up was due on my photo essay. As I wandered the mean streets of Hamilton I caught these signs and decided to shoot a few frames. I looked at all these signs and saw a common theme. A theme that I think speaks to the heart of the ills of society. Whilst signs or names of shops are part of establishing your brand and are often deliberate I wonder what it is that they reflect. Urge, desire, furnace, just a few of the names that I saw as I walked those streets. All designed to capture our attention, it is the age of I the age of the individual and I suspect it is this that drives most of our social ills, many of our mental ills and by and large most of our economic issues.
We are the age of I want it now, whether it is material items, or love or happiness, it is all presented as instantly available. See it want it get it, yes there are many structural issues around economics but they are all based around the cult of the individual. There is a real reluctance to allow for greater good. This is especially accentuated when economic times are harsh, competition for resources brings out the worst behaviour in people. We are seeing that here in New Zealand.
The government here in New Zealand has spent an extraordinary amount of effort on trying to reduce numbers on benefits, cutting support for people studying and raising taxes for working class people, driving pay increases that will not buy a cup of coffee for people whilst at the same time ensuring that those at the top end of the scale have their snouts firmly in the trough. The debacle at Solid Energy is a prime example of that. The salaries that these so called top level executives earn are obscene and in insult to all New Zealanders. What is it that a person who oversees a company collapse feels insufficient shame to stop them from drawing a clearly bloated salary that is not earned, and that politicians should defend this?
A 73% increase in the fees for directors of Mighty River Power is another glaring example of a sign that this government is sorely out of touch with society in general. This example of corporate largesse is not unique but it is indicative of a belief that people have about their indispensability that goes well beyond their contribution to society. This is fed by the mantra of individualism and driven be the desires that consumerism satisfies.
Well where do I stand in amongst this, I certainly don’t have an overinflated sense of my own importance. I am easily replaced at work, for my children well that is a different story. As to relationships well there is a lesson in that as well. It is clear that the adage of can’t live with them and can’t live without them doesn’t apply to me.
I too am tempted by the trappings of consumerism, I like to think that I temper these by trying to live within my income, buying pre used when it is appropriate and when I get around to it I will put a no junk mail sticker on my letter box. I am however human and on occasion get caught in the desires of this world, but my desires are met pretty simply and with hope one day they will be satisfied.
In the mean time I am grateful for what I have and live in the hope that the rest of which I seek will come to me in time.
Live laugh and love,