2013/06/28

More of Enough is Enough

A fundamental error we have made in South Africa is that we expect government to solve all our ills. When we because a democracy all those years back the poor expected houses, land distribution, elevation out of poverty but delivery was slow and has been for the last 20 years. Most of the stop - start can be attributed to bad workmanship (possibly due to inadequacy of the allotted contractor), tender abuse and bureaucracy.

My "Enough is Enough" rant from the other day got me thinking more about where to go from here.

In so many aspects of our lives we are dependent on others.

A large majority of us depend on a company (owned by someone else) for employment. Sure your skills are useful to someone if you have had the benefit of a good education and in turn for all you studying you may be able to secure a job. Our continued employment and stream of income is dependent on our ability to deliver the thing or skill we bring to the party but largely relies on the performance of the company we work for. If the company is managed by others with an agenda different to the perceived objective of the company - then you're damned to go down with it too.

If, on the other hand, you are unemployed, poor, you depend on the state to support you - whether through grants and state medical facilities, handouts, portable flush toilets etc. Then you are in dire straits. Your outlook is bleak.

In both scenarios, you are at the mercy of another. Think about all the folks that worked at Fidentia (whether they were at the mercy of the regulator or Mr Brown). Think about the babies that die in state hospitals unnecessarily.

Sure, there are times when you need another person to help you. When you're sick you go to the doctor or when you need food you go to the supermarket. But this is more about taking the initiative yourself for the other important things in life.

Being dependent on government means that government must grow to supply an ever increasing number of services and in turn we get a bloated government that requires more tax to fund itself. But also when we relinquish ownership and control we also hand more power over to that organ. Take for example - basic education - in South Africa for those in need, education is significantly subsidised by the state. Because of this our education, the curriculum and content has become the responsibility of the state which in turn has resulted in a reduced standard of education.

Take unemployment. Sure, some people don't take it lying down, but most live off government grants and become a ward of the state. The tax bill has to go up to create departments to administer this and pay the benefits.

Or even electricity supply - Eskom, under a deal with government and municipalities, supply a certain amount of free electricity to the underprivileged. All of this cost needs to be absorbed by the paying consumers. And because we don't really do enough - individually - to supply our own electricity, the increased demand means that we have to fund - collectively albeit - Eskom to be able to produce more.

Enough of the examples. What I am suggesting is that we all need to take on more responsibility. We need to do more for ourselves. If everyone took the time to split recycling and deliver it to the depot. If everyone with the means did something to generate their own electricity. If everyone without a job were to try and create their own employment (easier said than done). If everyone with the means and a business created one new job opportunity a year. If we all were just a little more respectful of other road users and took the time to help the traffic flow a little more freely - or rode a bike to work - or took the train and at worst just bought a smaller car. Slowly, car by job by kilowatt we would make a difference in our town, suburb, city and the world. Materialism and not socialism or capitalism is the enemy. Invest in the future and not in immediate gratification.

I recently read an article on mindfulness. We need to be more mindful of everything we do, every action, every word we say. We may have to take a few steps back, contemplate our path before we move forward. No matter who you are, you have the power to change the world.

Maybe it is just middle age, but I watch my kids, I see there noses turn up when they get shoes that aren't cool or branded. It bothers me that I may have been part of the problem. I watch how little they eat (in terms of variety) and how much wastage there is. There are others with no food I tell them, yet that is only a fleeting reminder that we live in a obscenely unequal world.

Enough is enough. Find your enoughness, if you have 5 computers at home give one away to someone who needs it more than you. Swtich off lights when you leave the room. Do something, do anything, because everything you do makes a difference. Find your enoughness, if you have food left over from dinner - take it to work - or give it to someone without.

Find out what enough really is.

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