Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ill Fares The Land

‘Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay’
These two famous lines from Goldsmith’s The Deserted Village’ sum up a perennial problem.

They underpin a reason why I watched with interest, amusement and irritation a TV item last night. A Telstra executive was complaining about the industry being asked to support rural broadband initiatives. It should be done through government investment he said. I suppose the same guy wants tax cuts for companies.

Everybody seems to want support for their particular cause. And most seem to think tax cuts are at the same time the quick fix to their particular problems.

Down the ages there has always been some form of uncritical adulation of wealth. Admittedly, definitions of wealth vary. But it seems to me that one of the changes during my lifetime has been an increase in this particular form of worship. Hand in hand with this there seems to be a decline in the sense of moral and social responsibilities.

But then I recalled Goldsmith’s lines. Each generation’s been there, complained about that.

Two other different items.
a) At Waitara’s Owae marae John Key signed documents on the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the Taranaki land wars that will allow negotiations with Te Atiawa leaders and the Taranaki Iwi Trust. Reading Buchanan’s book has given me fresh slants on this issue. Parihaka and other confiscation are not a historical grievance. They have been alive and kicking for well over a hundred years.
b) The heavy floods in Queensland mean the Darling-Murray river system will flow fresh water into the sea for the first time in several years. Sustralia’s climate is either feast or famine.

No comments:

Post a Comment