Pike River – all guilty?

22 November, 2012

The Editor, The Dominion Post,

Dear Editor;

Your columnist Dave Armstrong (12 November – Pike River: Why we are all guilty) hits the mark with his list of deregulation disasters, preceding the recent Pike River one, over the years since a Labour government first brought in the Rogernomes in 1987.  And he correctly portions the blame to all of us for Pike River’s culture of profit over safety and generally the cult of deregulation that has settled in; after all the electorate has voted in the successive governments (led by whichever) that created it with barely a sign of action in opposition.

But Mr. Armstrong stops there when what we really need is to examine why.  What typical analysis usually ignores is the broad sweep of cultural history.   We are suddenly, in that long scale of time, experiencing major threats from the historical predominance of exploitation, exploitation of the planet and of other people and cultures, at play over hundreds or thousands of years, leading us to climate disruption and fundamental threats to the planet.    We now realize that this culture of exploitation is also the source of the consumerist society to which we have been led.

And most spectacularly this culture of exploitation has led to the 2008 meltdown in the USA finance sector through the use of toxic derivatives products which resulted in huge takeovers and massive government bailouts of the perpetrators, leading on to continuing global recession for most of the rest of us.   Consequently people have become more conscious that their purpose in life under our current economic system and money system is to work very hard so that someone or something (usually a corporation) can exploit them to become fabulously rich.

But to rebel against this servitude is also to relinquish the consumerist society to which we have become accustomed.  Until we are willing to make fundamental changes, it is unlikely there will be any significant move toward sustainability, and in particular little slowing in the train of deregulation disasters.

Sincerely,  Richard Keller



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