brain


I am an old fogey and I ramble a lot.  3

And I wonder, and ponder. About money, for instance. I worked for a time in the paper industry and so I came across this ditty. This? Well, as far as I remember.  4

     Rags make paper.
     Paper makes money.
     Money makes banks.
     Banks make loans.
     Loans make debts.
     Debts make beggars.
     Beggars make rags.  
5

Wheel of outrageous fortune.  6

Money's on our minds a lot. Has been since times immemorial. Wrote Robbie Burns in 1786:  7

     Wae worth thy power, thou cursed leaf!  8

He was writing about a banknote. Woe befall the power of the banknote.  9

     Wae worth they power, thou cursed leaf!
     Fell source of a' my woe and grief,
     For lack o' thee I've lost my lass,
     For lack of thee I scrimp my glass
     I see the children of Affliction
     Unaided, thro' thy curs'd restriction.
     I've seen the Oppressor's cruel smile;
     Amid his hapless Victims' spoil;
     And for thy potency vainly wish'd
     To crush the Villain in the dust.
     For lack of thee I leave this much-loved shore,
     Never, perhaps, to greet old Scotland more!  
10

Pretty well sums it up, doesn't it? The one percent versus the other 99. And not to be sucked into this cruel gap we need jobs. That's why politicians promise us jobs. What else is new?  11

They promise us to do something about climate change too—either that or deny that climate change is occurring.  12

Years on end I've heard people saying "I don't believe in climate change." Baseless belief. For the sake of argument? I don't know. There is much old fogeys don't know. But then again, some things they do know. Even if they've forgotten what made them know.  13

Often I find it hard to rationally talk about things because of words failing to come to mind when I need them.  14

Where was I?  15

Politicians, promises.  16

A few years ago, our prime minister campaigned with climate change on the front burner. Now he's caught between a rock and a hard place. Alberta wants a pipeline to the Pacific. Money, jobs. British Columbians, its Natives especially, don't want the risk of spills that comes with it. While the oil industry touts the benefit of pipelines for all Canadians.  17

My guess is that the older people are, the more they go for the money while hoping that climate change won't affect them too much. The wealthier people are, they like more money hoping they can cope with the rising costs of food and shelter.  18

What about those whose livelihood is on the line? Jobs are their immediate concern. Climate change comes later.  19

But what option is there for the young? I've heard people say things like, "We survived more than half a century of nuclear threat. It's up to them to survive climate change." "We had to cope with our problems; they will have to cope with theirs."  20

Of course, there are people who look for solutions, come up with answers even. Nuclear energy is a substitute for burning oil, but it's a solution with a problem in its wake: how do we get rid of nuclear waste? Encasing it in cement and burying it; how permanent is that solution? How permanent is is such a solution as chemically binding carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Reminds me of a dictum by Eric Sevareid: "The chief cause of problems is solutions."  21

Eric Sevareid was an American author and journalist. Another one of his gems: "Better trust the man who is frequently in error than the one who is never in doubt."  22

I am losing my thread again.  23

Ah yes. It is left for the young, it seems, to dig for answers. It is for the young to find answers to questions such as "Can we have a livelihood without money?" "Can we comfortably live without whatever jobs are still meted out by the corporate world that looks for robots and artificial intelligence to make live employees obsolete?"  24

Not long ago, we had this worldwide student strike to highlight that politicians are not coming to grips with climate change. On the Ides of March it was. But what will such protests really accomplish? We need to discover answers and weigh their consequences. Answers that likely will go against the grain of conventional ways of doing things. Such as scrambling for economic growth. Economic growth? Forever and ever? Let's not expect politicians to come up with effective answers.  25

      For dollars almighty we shall leave this much-lov'd shore.
      For needing them we may soon not be around anymore.  
26

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