Taxing non-doms to pay for nurses, improving economic links with Europe, and increasing insulation to reduce energy bills are all good ideas and should be actioned. But they will not prevent our collision course with reality. The lifestyle we thought we ordered was never in stock. Just a flimsy holographic advert on financial celluloid processed with pollution credits. We were only ever going to see the trailer.
In the mid 1970s the lifestyle we had ordered collided with money and oil. Robes were rendered, teeth were gnashed, and a great upheaval shook the land. It was simply intolerable that a Jetsons lifestyle was out of reach.
Our answer, QED, was that the Jetsons lifestyle would be available, but only to bike-mounted people with their socks up. And even then: only if the daemons of finance were unleashed to play our dreamy movie on the back of an ever-forgiving planet with an ever-grateful audience of factory workers somewhere else in the world.
The sky-written Florida Pension Promise was just smoke. The movies in our heads play louder and stronger than any common senses. We invited egos to masquerade as leaders and pander to our dream. Golden calves have been serially slain to keep the script alive. Unhelpful, sad, and disappointing.
Now, finally, after 60 odd years, we face the credits. The trailer has run, the lights are up, the popcorn gone. The last name rolls off the top of the screen and the projector falls silent. There’s no one here but us. No celluloid fantasy to disperse the reality. Just us. Just now. Just next.
Surely, just a little more of this, a little less of that? Different consumption. Different finance. Different taxes. All true. All needed. But not alone. Not without the one choice we cannot face: less.
Growth, the holy grail, for which untold fodder is sacrificed, is measured in consumption. We literally measure our success by the meter at which we destroy our world. More, not less. Faster! Pedal to the metal to the only possible destination: a blazing sunset.
Less stuff is more joy. A truth of ages resting in the corner. Just there, just waiting. Waiting while we exhaust every other option. Waiting for our gaze. Quietly, indestructibly, waiting. Will this be the season of its turn?
There is plenty. Plenty for enough. Plenty for everyone. Technology has built us bridges to the future. Enough food, energy, and connection to satisfy every need. Enough to liberate every potential, unleash every contribution.
But it was never so before. We heave into our post-movie future with the baggage of bygone ages. Power up struggles under power over. Hope struggles under fear. Nature struggles under nurture. Our joy, our innate cooperation, collides with script lines from the screen. Collisions multiply with every passing season. From that chaotic struggle will emerge a new vision: more joy, less stuff. If then, why not now?