18 May 2006

What do we really want?

Some years ago, when the Chinese Government was rounding up Falun Gong meditators and bundling them into vans for 're-education' (ie torture or worse), there were extraordinary scenes of protest in the United Kingdom - against a small rise in the price of petrol. That's what we really care about it seems. Through perverse subsidies, governments have got us all hooked on our cars; so much so that we don't really seem to mind that we are trashing the planet and piling up weapons of mass destruction. It's the same the world over:

Whatever else is happening, from temporary triumphs in Iraq to Administration scandals, when prices at the pump jump for more than a month, the [US] President's popularity almost always falls. Businessweek

I shouldn't read too much into this, and Businessweek does point out that the relationship is one of correlation rather than causation, but still, it is a bit disheartening to see so much attention given to trivia, while urgent global challenges go unmet.

No comments: