COLUMN: Man committed to doomed system

Wright Turn

With U.S. politicians pushing their economy to the brink nearly two weeks ago, I found a niggling question in the back of my mind.

Where are the car companies?

Wasn’t it just a few years ago that the Big Three North American automakers were on government doorsteps asking for public money to prop up their failing operations? Didn’t they get that help? And didn’t it enable them to rebound into rosier economic security, despite the continuing economic slump (sure, the recession might have officially ended, but the hangover continues to linger)?

So now the government that saved the auto industry’s day is in trouble, and where are the carmakers?

Sure, the amounts involved are staggeringly different. The astronomical amounts involved in both moves are hard to fathom.

The U.S. increased its debt limit by $2.1 trillion at the eleventh hour Aug. 1 in order to avoid going into default, and effectively economic collapse. (That move will be balanced by $2.4 trillion in cuts to federal spending.)

In December 2008, the U.S. government gave almost $25 billion to the car companies out of a $700 billion bailout fund. A pittance, really, compared to the U.S. government’s debt increase.  So any financial help the companies might have offered would be symbolic only, but symbolism is at least better than nothing.

What’s perhaps more difficult to stomach is that the dithering by the staunchly partisan U.S. House of Representatives, which delayed the decision to the last minute, might yet bring about another full-blown recession and economic collapse. Witness the market volatility (some might call them meltdowns, depending on which markets they’re invested in) of the past two weeks.

Experts are saying not to panic and this situation is far different from 2008 (umm, I think we’ve heard that before), but it’s unclear yet whether the global economy will pull through.

Admittedly, I’m no student of economics, but I’d argue we’ve no one to blame but ourselves – we’re blatant capitalists, consumed by our own consumerism. We must buy, buy and buy more to keep the economy growing.

More than that, our system’s stability isn’t defined by stability at all, but by growth.

Businesses must continue to grow and grow and grow more to be deemed successful. Few business owners (none, in the corporate world) are satisfied with stable revenue figures. Unless the graph shows a steady increasing line off to the right, things are in need of adjustments.

Make $100,000 net profit one year and only $75,000 the next and that’s deemed a $25,000 loss. I can see the logic behind that thinking, I just think it’s fatally flawed.

To my limited economic understanding, that’s unsustainable – a system set up to fail. And perhaps we’re living through that failure right now.

Nothing can expand forever. Yet that’s what our economy relies on to continue providing jobs and government revenue and corporate profits.

And the need for ever-increasing growth in profits breeds the kind of greed and poor economic policy that brought about our 2008 collapse.

The planet is perhaps our best teacher on this subject. Mother Nature offers countless simple lessons on sustainable growth.

Plants and animals and pretty much every natural ecosystem offer clear evidence.

Yet we’ve been failing to heed nature’s lessons and warnings, perhaps since the dawn of man.

Perpetual growth eventually results in failure, explosion, imposion.

Despite all the recent shakeups in our planet’s various natural systems, mankind’s commitment to a doomed system means it will implode long before our world.

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read