Re­call true mean­ing as jin­gle tills chime

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION / NEWS -

With the Rugby World Cup and the elec­tion be­hind us, it is time to look ahead to our usual pe­riod of fre­netic ad­ver­tis­ing in prepa­ra­tion for Christ­mas.

I’m not sure which I like less, the over-hyped and long-last­ing prepa­ra­tions for the World Cup or the high-deci­bel in­cen­tives to buy large and pay later, much later.

I sus­pect it is the lat­ter for the sim­ple rea­son that we get it ev­ery year and ev­ery year it be­comes more in­sis­tent and stri­dent, al­most as though my at­tempts to buy some­thing suit­able for close rel­a­tives and friends to mark the fes­tive sea­son will res­cue our coun­try’s econ­omy.

With the amount I can af­ford to spend this is not likely but the big stores try hard, that’s cer­tain.

As I have men­tioned be­fore, I find it dif­fi­cult to cope with the no­tion that con­tin­ued spend­ing by the rank and file of New Zealan­ders is go­ing to do any­thing but make our per­sonal fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tions more pre­car­i­ous.

We are con­stantly re­ceiv­ing mixed mes­sages: ‘‘ Spend, or the econ­omy of our coun­try will fail’’ and ‘‘Save, or we all go down the gur­gler’’.

Which do we be­lieve? What re­mains a mys­tery to me is the ex­pec­ta­tion that our econ­omy must con­tinue to grow, in­fin­itely it seems. But how can a fi­nite sys­tem grow in­fin­itely? It can’t.

Some­where along the line com­mon sense must come into the equa­tion, surely. An­other ques­tion I keep on ask­ing is: how can po­lit­i­cal peo­ple talk of the coun­try be­ing in ‘‘sur­plus’’ by 2014 and yet ad­mit they will still have to ‘‘start re­tir­ing debt’’ af­ter that date?

To my sim­ple mind, if you still have debt, you can’t ac­tu­ally, at the same time, be in sur­plus. This is some­thing I will never un­der­stand.

The econ­omy it­self is a mys­tery, too. Our politi­cians in­sist that we have to bor­row mil­lions a week to keep our coun­try run­ning.

But, let’s face it – much of these mil­lions is on pa­per only. It’s a bit like in­ter­net bank­ing. You log into the bank’s web­site, press a few keys on your key­board and, hey presto.

You have paid a bill or trans­ferred funds from one ac­count to an­other. But how can I be sure that the ‘‘ money’’ is where it ap­pears to be?

The only cash we seem to han­dle these days is when we get it from the ATM ma­chine or ask the check­out per­son for some cash on an eft­pos trans­ac­tion. This is pos­si­bly the rea­son why el­derly peo­ple some­times have no faith in elec­tron­ics when it comes to the ex­change of money for goods. And who would blame them?

The ques­tion that comes to mind is: just how eth­i­cal can eco­nomics be? Surely the fi­nan­cial sys­tem the world over is geared to mak­ing the rich richer and poor poorer.

Of course, it is not a crime to be wealthy, just as it is not a virtue to be poor.

The re­cently-ini­ti­ated Oc­cupy move­ment here and in other coun­tries seems to be cry­ing out for more eq­uity be­tween the haves and the have-nots. I am strongly in­clined to agree with their prin­ci­ples, if not with the way they are pro­claim­ing their mes­sage.

This gap be­tween rich and poor is starkly il­lus­trated by the sea­son which we cel­e­brate this month. Whether you be­lieve in it or not, Christ­mas Day is all about a child who was born in a manger be­cause ‘‘there was no room for them at the inn’’.

It is all about re­spect for ev­ery per­son, no mat­ter his/her ori­gin, colour or creed.

It is all about shar­ing what we have, be it ever so lit­tle, with oth­ers to bring them a mea­sure of hap­pi­ness. May your fes­tive sea­son be peace-filled. And may you not spend too much of your hard-earned cash on riches that will not last.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.