“It’s just a ride.”

 

I read in the Sydney Morning Herald the other day that the world’s ultra-wealthy have not only recovered significantly since the global financial crisis, but have continued to prosper. Today, 85 people control the same amount of wealth – $US1.7 trillion – as half the world’s population. That’s 85 people compared with 3.5 billion. It got me thinking about those big themes that everything always comes back to: politics, capitalism, money.

This pondering coincided with a chat I had with my brother-in-law recently – one of those ‘solve the world’s problems over a beer’ sessions that took in religion, politics, education, science, the environment. Sometimes these kind of conversations leave me energised by all the passion, curiosity and integrity in the world. For example, we talked about the different approaches of people and groups as diverse as anonymous, Richard Dawkins, Peter Garrett and Get Up! But sometimes they leave me depressed at the thought that meaningful change and a move towards a better world for our grandkids seems so difficult. Against the power, influence and resources of people with more money than ethics, what chance do passionate people like those mentioned above have to make a real impact?

This in turn got me thinking about something one of my heroes, the NUM leader Arthur Scargill said. It’s often reported that in the miners’ strike of 1984/5, the miners were massively defeated by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. But Scargill’s point of view is that the greatest victory in the strike was the struggle itself, a struggle that inspired millions of people around the world.” However, no matter how inspiring any righteous struggle was or is, capitalism often makes it difficult for people to stay true to their beliefs. “A principle’s not a principle until it costs you money”, said Bill Bernbach famously. But what if you need that money to pay your mortgage?

My grasp of politics and economics is nowhere near good enough to have any definitive answers to the world’s problems – even the term ‘half-baked’ is a bit over-generous for my thoughts on making the planet a better place. As I get older it’s questions I have more of, not answers. But as ever when the way forward seems difficult or complicated, I turned to a man who lays it out passionately and furiously, in simple terms. There are a hell of a lot of very clever people in the world but the ability to boil things down to what matters is rare. Sure, the details are complex, but as Bill Hicks says, at the end of the day, it all comes down to a simple choice “between fear and love.” Cheers, Bill. It’s just a ride!

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About antmelder
Creative Partner at DDB Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

One Response to “It’s just a ride.”

  1. Love it Ant. That’s great. Hicks always got it right.

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