Towards lower incomes and voluntary input.

We seem to be starting to have a discussion about ‘pensions’, and the age one might have to be, to become eligible. A classic discussion about deckchairs on a sloping deck!

 We aren’t paying our way NOW, as a nation, as ratepayers, or collectively as individuals (if that makes sense….) On the back of that fact, we are paying every public servant more than we have. They, however – will go out and ‘spend’ that ‘pay’ on part of the planet. The underwrite has long gone for that fiscal process to stay in positive territory, which is what we are seeing in Europe.

I saw it coming not long after reading of Hubbert and Peak Oil back in ’75. It seemed obvious that a growth-based fiscal system (itself based on physical growth, that is, virtual has to be converted to real at some point) was a ponzi scheme. Sure, in the beginning of a growth phase, it was the only model which fitted, but an average intellect could have foreseen that beyong the Peak of physical underwrite (typically around half-way through something, not when it’s ‘run out’) then leveraged (fiat) money system had not just it’s pants, but everything else, down. Totally, irredeemably (pun intended) stuffed.

But – we need to cooperate to have a functioning society, and we need to retain some specialisation (but not to the extent we currently have, that’s courtesy of cheap, abundant energy). So we need to anticipate paying our public servants less – and less -and less. Not in ‘dollar’ terms, but relative to purchasing of physical portions of the planet. That will mirror the private sector – their ability to profit will reduce, par, then turn negative unless population numbers drop faster.

I can’t remember how long I’ve lived this – walked the walk, talked the talk. I’ve done things for folk ‘because they needed a hand’. It always comes back – in friendship, return of help, sometimes just in good conversation. Long lost count of the voluntary hours – hundreds on the Waitati community/school pool alone. Who knows how many more with sailing? Several weeks a year, probably. Currently, I drop down to the local school and help them out (facilitation, really – better to let them design) with their solar dehydrator. Before that, it was Port School with their Eco-hut, and a bit with their boating too. I have a forte of taking wheel-chair-bound kids out on the Hobie – don’t know whogets more out of it sometimes….

All of this – and the riparian river-bank replantings, the Solar Action time, the Envac time, the free lectures (next weekend’s one here on energy is full!) – is my way of giving back to my society, in real terms. Sooner rather than later, we are going to have to count something like this in for benefit or tax purposes- hours done for society rather than ‘money’ ‘paid’. The Weimar Republic experience, is probably the closest historical precedent to what I think we’re about to go through. Wonder what type of politics that kind of stress spawns?

Yet this week, Radio New Zealand had a clip of Bill English talking of ‘sustainable growth’. It’s a lie, of course. A provable falsehood. The question is whether he knows that, or believes the dogma.

You can see the start of the low/no income – slash  – voluntary mode with Transition Towns, and the kind of goodwill seen early in the Chch experience. With a lifetime of it behind me (and the lack of ‘income’ to go with that) I can only say that I don’t envy the status-object-owning types. People are all that matters, at the end of the day – and love and friendship. It’s a lesson a lot of folk are going to have to learn real fast, soon. Make that now.


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