Food for Thought - Life on Mars
Food for ThoughtLife on MarsBy Felix Dodds“My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident, and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, I can get home.”The BBC a couple of years ago brought out a wonderful series called Life on Mars which is where the quote above is from. It was about a policeman going back to 1973. It would seem a different planet with glam rock, David Bowie, T-Rex and a Michael Jackson we could all still listen to. It was also a time before the Reagan and Thatcher economic liberalism era. It was for me a time when I still went to discos in red thigh high boots and had a lot of hair.If you look back at the twentieth century then I think you can say that after the market crash people mess at the end of the 1920s that people turned away in the 1930s from believing that unregulated markets worked. It became a time of the New Deal and a growth of government regulation.By the end of the 1970s people had had enough of government control. It had got to a silly level for example in the UK this included for government owned housing where the government was deciding what colour your door could or could not be. There was much discussion that taxation had risen far too high for the highest earners 83p in the £ (with the new UK budget it will go up from 40 to 50p in the £ over incomes of £150,000). The prevailing view was that governments were infringing too much on our lives and that a return to a more free market approach could and would be better. Few remembered what it was like to have unregulated banks, financial institutions. As the 1990s became the 21st century left or right wing governments deregulated and privatised across the world. The present blocked Doha round moving on to trying to get agreement on opening markets for environmental goods and services. We all have been living the consequences of the deregulated world. Now at least the discussion has moved to what works and what doesn’t work as far as deregulation is concerned. What role should a government have in health care, education, internet, equity and environmental,...public goods in other words. We live in even more complicated times as public goods have in the area of environment inter generational consequences the consumption patterns of this generation have impacts on the global or nation al public goods of future generations.It’s funny in reflection i think we have all been living on Mars and maybe now at least we can all really try and secure a sustainable earth.
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