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Is Short-Termism Blighting Our Future?

by Rob Butler

There’s not much work coming in at the moment. I’m self-employed and I don’t have much in the way of savings. There is a lot of anxiety around about finances – if you turn on the TV it seems that every day there is a great deal of talk about cuts, recession, job losses and national debt.

When we feel our security is threatened we tend to close ranks and seek to protect what we have, to preserve what is closest and most dear to us. Our security does not actually have to be threatened for us to behave like this; we simply need to believe that it is.

As a matter of principle I want to support the local community and do as much of my shopping as possible in local shops. But buying cereals, rice and bread from my local health store means spending more money than I would if I bought the equivalent items from the supermarket. I begin to think, “Can I really afford to do this?” Can I afford to buy organic produce and be an ethical consumer? Then again, what is the overall, long-term cost of not supporting local businesses and buying everything from supermarkets? I’m tempted to think I should look after number one and make short-term decisions – after all, if I spend all my money today in the health store I won’t have any tomorrow.

In April 2010, just before the UK general election, there was a lot of talk about climate change and about global environmental issues as Prime Ministerial candidates sought to outdo each other in portraying themselves as being the most green. Now all that rhetoric seems as though it belongs to a bygone age. Now all the talk seems to be of cuts and austerity.

In America, less than 2 years after being sworn into office, President Obama has been given a very clear message from many Americans that the change he promised has not come soon enough for them and they have voted against his democratic party. This is a guy who inherited the Presidency in one of the most difficult eras in history – could he really be expected to bring about significant change in such a short period of time?

Read more on page 2–>>

Photo Credit: Per Ola Wiberg ~ Powi via flickr (CC license)

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