Neoconservative quick fixes will roll back years of progress

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 December, 2008, 12:00am

The swift solutions proposed by neoconservatives in our community to counteract the financial crisis could roll back in weeks the progress made on many fronts in recent years.

Out go the minimum wage for local workers and better working conditions for staff in cross-border enterprises. In come the relaxation of anti-smoking legislation, shelving the tax on plastic bags, embarking on mega construction projects regardless of the consequences to public health and quality of life, destroying the historical centre of our city, selling off parts of public beaches and giving public funds to wealthy citizens to buy consumer goods they do not need. These are just some of the ideas that have been put forward.

Unfortunately our government, desperate to create jobs at any cost, will clutch at every straw that floats past and the naked self-interest displayed in these proposals will be conveniently overlooked.

Instead of harnessing public sentiment that is belatedly recognising the virtues of thrift, long-term vision and a productive and sustainable economy, our gullible government will be dazzled by proposals put forward by the neocons to embark on an orgy of quick fixes that will create only short-term opportunities and lead us down the same boom-and-bust route that created the problems we are facing in the first place.

There have been many illuminating and informative articles published recently on the causes of the financial crisis, a marriage of unsustainable greed and easy credit and its consequences in the form of global warming, environmental degradation and ever-increasing income disparity and social divisions.

Hopefully some officers in the administration are reading these rather than listening to the bleating of the neocons.

The world is on the edge of a precipice. The financial crisis is a wake-up call that unabated consumerism will cast us into the abyss. Our community must ignore the demands of the neocons and with a 21st century vision follow a sustainable economic model that turns challenges into opportunities and curses into blessings.

Martin Brinkley, Ma Wan