Tuesday, June 27, 2017

State of the Province

State of the Province

In British Columbia, the pendulum swings with such velocity it destroys things, the only thing that destroys more is the rhetoric that moves it and resulting distortion of public perception.  The recent events in our provinces politics are no exception and they are a product of failing to build consensus on a foundation of reason. Once again, short-termism, election cycles, frivolous posturing and spin are taking us away from health and prosperity to waste and destruction. What is even more ridiculous, is that the only thing there is consensus on, is the use of a Carbon Tax as a deterrent to fossil fuel use; a proposition I can readily disprove and is just plain stupid. One watches in disbelief as contention fueled folly leads us like a pack of squabbling lemmings into the realm of ineffective policy.

I search every day for purity of thought in government policy – highest and best use, social goals, regional advantage, innovated education policy, disruptive economic policy, rural revitalization, rational medical policy – there is a void. There is a void because everybody is appeasing special interests and snuggling sacred cows; somehow we need to have the courage to question the status quo and design a future that holds prosperous people, social transcendence and a healthy environment.

To the socialists that clutch to mediocrity in the form of monolithic government institutions for security and salvation; I say that a truly generalised state of prosperity will never be found there and worse, institutions steal families and individuals. To the “top 1%” I say, pursue an exclusionary policy at your peril, Marx and Engels were created by exclusionary policy and their thinking has set motion several human disasters – disasters that can only be measured against the neglect of the working masses in the industrial revolution.  To the preservationists I say, we are the stewards of the earth now – the face of the earth is going to change, it is how you view that change that matters – Chernobyl, indisputably one of the largest disasters in history and it has created a wildlife refuge for short-lived mammals – that is everyone but us – it is a paradox that the thing you feared most generated what you love most – so have courage there is always a way forward. We live in the most beautiful and abundant place in the world, we can afford to be generous and we can afford to pursue a disruptive policy in the pursuit of a generalised state of prosperity and a healthy environment.

There are a lot of “inconvenient truth(s)” that people want to ignore – here’s one – if every resident of British Columbia ceased to exist today, every environmental concern presently at play on the global stage would continue unabated – the only thing lost would be BC’s bank of human capital that wants to protect the environment. So it makes no sense to “sacrifice” our children’s futures at the altar of example – but rather make sensible use of our natural abundance, to generate wealth, to lead the change we are seeking. If you believe for one moment that stopping the production of fossil fuels in Canada will somehow drive better behaviour in other actors – you are a na├»ve. The vast majority of other actors in the world will respond to one thing, less expensive energy - whether it helps the environment or not – so that is where the focus should be – viable alternatives.  A policy that works is made by people accepting reality, rather than people peddling altruism. Focus altruism on measured outcomes.

Here’s another “inconvenient truth”, there has never been a school in history that has taught a child, people teach children. There was a time that knowledge travelled painlessly from one generation to the next through the course of life - no institution in sight. We have created a collection of institutions that place a higher value on credentials and process, than on knowledge and that has translated into a society that places a higher value on the status of credentials than value added outcome.  Most education is really a supply management system, we have a situation where most people are underemployed or waiting to be employed. Clearly, one needs to guard against nihilism or destructive change and take care of people who now depend on various established systems for prosperity – the trend away from this reality is essential if we are to ever to transcend the constraints our institutions are putting on the human enterprise.  We can accomplish this if we provide more relevant, rapid and less costly knowledge transfer – and credentials that are measured by improved outcome rather than ink on a page.

Here’s another “inconvenient truth”, there are a collection of people who want to control human discourse – they want to centralise power and impose their view of the world. Their view is often outmoded or corrupted by various interests that are antithetical to progress. As a result, we have legislation with many very damaging externalities – public policy should have one goal – that the human enterprise is exercised in pursuit of the expansion of the human condition – happy, healthier and prosperous people; that is to say, the facilitation of the populous. Seed the economy in the way homestead policy built 1/3 of the United States net worth, by giving people opportunity to prosper.  We have many opportunities in British Columbia for such effort – forest renewal, the transition to “tree farming” from “tree extraction”, tourism, agriculture and high tech offer many opportunities for aggressive support by the government in the form of independent capitalization. Much of what we have is wasted on policy that lacks an extended vision –  and without a consensus, we shuffle from the pillar back to the post.  Here we need cast aside old modalities to let a thousand flowers bloom, to emerge as they will – we need only feed them.

Here’s another “inconvenient truth”, institutional inertia is taking us to the wrong place, nowhere is this truer than our medical system. Everyone has worked under failed strategy, one tactical change after another and the system is screaming for more, staff are overworked, resources are short - service is low, people are left wanting.  The concern here is the care and wellbeing of the population, as opposed to, preserving the medical system as it now exists. There is an irrationality that has gripped the Canadian populous on this issue and it is true here in British Columbia. We have to draw on all models – models beyond medical service delivery and design a system the provisions cutting edge care in abundance – it can be done because it is done in other areas of service.   

Old ideas, old divisions and old thinking will take us to old places. We need to have the courage to forge a way forward that takes the long view, that can be counted on, that recognizes reality rather than pandering to existing in the box thinkers, we need to fragment group think at its source – the education system, we need to first educate and then finance our young people, we need to realize that prosperity for the poor is prosperity for everyone, we need infrastructure, we need rational environment policy – what we’re getting is political squabbling and lost opportunity.

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