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We all get the Society that most of us ask for

As I understand it, the principle of democracy is that the rule of the majority vote is applied and minority interests are accommodated where possible.  At each election, the party which receives the most votes wins and we are ALL Governed by that party, whether we voted for them or not.  We then have the chance to go through the process again 4-5 years later.

In political terms, then, whilst we may not like the democratic result we can  at least rest assured that we can campaign and try to get the result changed, democratically, at the next election.  But what about the democratic process when it comes to impacting on the society in which we live and climate change?  There is a form of democracy applied here, but very little chance to change the result on a fixed cycle; negative effects just compound and multiply as majority rule is replayed every single day.

If you look at our society today, we are in a mess.  Climate change is rampant and even if you one of the few who believe it is not man-made, we still see more and more ‘unique weather events’.  The global economy is collapsing, corporations now control how we live our lives more than the politicians; we are ruled by a small unelected cabal who have one simple goal – make more and more money at any cost.

Yes I hear you cry, those nasty directors of big corporations, banks, extractive companies etc, who are making more and more money whilst at the same time everyone seems to be getting worse off.  We live in an age where there is a direct parallel between the rate at which the few get richer and the majority who find daily living harder and harder.  Why is this?

Perhaps it isn’t the nasty directors that we should be looking at, but someone a little closer to home – that person you see in the mirror.  Now, I appreciate that if you are reading this Blog there is a good chance you have already chosen to lead an ethical lifestyle and that you do care about what happens to people, animals and the environment.  In which case, it isn’t you that my mirror comment is aimed at.  That’s great, but going back to the democratic processes mentioned earlier, it is you and I who have to live with the effects of the decisions made by the majority – those who put the ‘me’ before the ‘us’.

It is interesting and I am sure psychologists have written ex-forests full of papers on this subject, that the louder the cry of the masses for a better world, a fairer world and an improvement in living standards, the greater becomes their focus on the ‘me’ and not the ‘us’.  We all want things to be better, but not if it actually means we have to change or, heaven forbid, if it costs us anything in the short term. And politicians feed this selfish sttitude with their negative rhetoric.

I was having a coffee recently with someone who I respect and like as a person and he was asked by other person whether he had embraced ‘green values’.  Without any hesitation he replied that the problems were not his, that all he wanted was the best possible lifestyle for himself and his family and that change just wasn’t an option.  My shock at his response was perhaps exaggerated by the fact that, as I have said, I like and respect him, but it did make me think about the bigger picture.

Perhaps we have the society that we deserve – a corrupt, selfish, ‘me’ focused society which we would all like to be better but few of us want to do anything ourselves to see that improvement really happen.  And the next time we clamour for the politicians to do something, we should remember that they are simply a grotesque caricature of all of us, our attitudes and behaviour; they give as exactly what they know we want, deep down.

Back once more to the democracy theme; the society we have may reflect the views of the majority, but the minority who really do care, really do want change and are prepared to get up and do something about, still end up living in the society chosen by the majority.

As for the nasty company directors, let’s remember that they operate in a moral vacuum, guided by the owners (mainly investment institutions who hold the savings, pensions, Superfunds etc of the masses) who also operate in a moral vacuum on behalf of the public, who put themselves first and then complain when they don’t like the results.

We all need to spend time trying to convince our neighbours that if we all spent a little more time and effort on the ‘us’ rather than the ‘me’, even if there is a small short term cost, then the long term prospects suddenly start to look much better.

How we invest our money is, of course, one of the ways in which we can exercise some control and start the process of change.

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