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We have everything, except sense

The human race has struggled to survive, but with improving success over the last two centuries.

The aim has been to produce all the goods and services the human race needed or desired, and to reduce the burden of labour.

In the 21st century, our success has been spectacular. Everything can be produced in great abundance and transported anywhere in the world, while living conditions and lifestyle options have been elevated beyond all expectations or predictions.

The crowning success is that we don’t have to work so hard anymore. In most situations, such achievement would be regarded as success, to be celebrated and rejoiced.

Sadly, the response has been anything but joyous or celebratory. Instead, an era of pessimism, austerity and hopelessness, comparable with the very worst times, has developed. Such response is utterly inappropriate and potentially catastrophic. Remedial action is counterproductive and makes a difficult situation immeasurably worse.

This stems from the ignorance of those in charge as to what is happening at the core of economic activity, an ignorance possibly unmatched in history. The only instance of similar stupidity might be World War I; a century-old catastrophe we will commemorate next year.

The leaders of 1914, supported by advisers, experts and media, precipitated a war without any understanding of how technology had transformed warfare.

The impact of machine gun, barbed wire, exploding shells and powered flight was ignored, resulting in conventional battle plans that proved utterly inadequate in the face of new weaponry.

Millions of people died because the buffoons in charge had no understanding of modern technology, or how entirely new thinking was required to cope with an entirely new situation.

We are engaged in a similar struggle; not as bloody, yet, but, if not remedied, one that could prove every bit as catastrophic and, indeed, in ways, more disastrous.

Coherent society and civilisation could be at stake. Modern technology has created a changed economic battlefield. The strategies of the past are inadequate to deal with an economic world that can produce everything in great abundance except work.

Buffoons are still in charge, however; every bit as ignorant and arrogant about technological advance as their counterparts of a century ago. Human stupidity defies technology.

As a result, the present crisis could turn out to be the most widespread, the most spectacular, and possibly the last great example of snatching utter defeat from the jaws of spectacular victory on an absolutely grand scale.

Padraic Neary

Tubbercurry

Co Sligo


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