Friday, September 23, 2011

How to grow and develop as a country

The recent mayhem in London, Bristol, Birmingham and Liverpool; the continuing collapse of the stock markets in America, Europe, and now Australiathe daily news of disasters and personal predictions of a larger collapse coming to reality; the looming black economic hole that is sucking in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain (the “PIIGS”) now threatening France and with it directly, Germany, the final harbor in Europe's turbulence; the overwhelming and encroaching power of China; and sitting in Melbourne, in my apartment at Ormond College, I feel somewhat insulated.

Can the riots happen here?  I ask.

Not not here, But in 2005 there were the Cronulla riots, New South Wales and spreading, over the next few nights, to additional Sydney suburbs.  By 4 December 2005, a group of volunteer surf lifesavers were assaulted by a group of young Lebanese men, widely reported and commented on in Sydney media.. A large number of arrests were made over the subsequent months, from both the initial riot on 11 December and the retaliatory riots held over the subsequent nights. The incidents tarnished Australia's international image. But here in Melbourne, unlikely. The Master of Ormond College, Rufus Black, was confident that such riots would be unlikely in Melbourne


That was last month.

As I travel from Melbourne to Sydney, I ponder the real question of how to deal with the cause of this endemic malaise and economic cancer. I know what the cause is, but a practical solution has evaded me till today. Up to now I had a tentative idea about what is happening at my place of employment:
and the economic disaster evolving in US with the every increasing debt and accounting privileges of Congress:

The problem is the ever evolving bureaucracy that is answerable to no-one. My attempts at dealing with this is to propose to decentralize control to smaller units, to departments. But I could not find a practical and viable example until I stopped looking.

When I was at Ormond College, before I left, I asked Rufus how he deals with administration at the University. I had to ask twice because I thought I misheard. He does not. The college is an independent unit, he controls how he spends his own budget. And the penny dropped. That is why this college "works". Not just that it looks good, and it feels privileged, but it works. People talk to each other. There is a sense of right and wrong and not because of rules or regulations, but because there is an obligation, they are responsible how the college runs. If there is a problem they are vocal. There is a sense of belonging, a sense of control over your actions.

When Hilary Clinton in 1996 published a book "It Takes a Family to Raise a Child" a title which is attributed to an African proverb originating from the Nigerian Igbo culture and proverb "Ora na azu nwa" which means it takes the community/village to raise a child. She forgot that she needed to also adopt the Igbo's name for their children "Nwa ora" which means child of the community. The community needs to have responsibility and control.

The control part is the pivotal aspect that we are missing. We have relinquished control over most of what we do. With ever increasing responsibilities.

No comments:

Post a Comment