With the election approaching (written October 2020) I see more division rising. People entrenching themselves in their comfortable camps, and throwing negativity at others that don’t fit within their own world view. Our current system is broken - and so are we. It’s time we came together to construct a new way of living, changing the system from within.
NZ currently spends 34 billion dollars a year on social security and welfare and 18 billion on health. Throwing money at welfare, anti poverty issues, and chronic health issues doesn’t work. We trap people in poverty and disease when we treat them as “liabilities” to manage as opposed to “valued assets” in our society.
When we create a dependence on welfare and long term medications we gradually destroy the human spirit. It shouldn’t be about more “hand outs” and "patchwork" health. As a society we need to provide a stable platform so work and wellness habits can add value so a greater sense of self can be achieved. It makes more sense to have a welfare and health system that is a fusion of support with a hand up. At present it's an ambulance parked at the bottom of a steep cliff.
People need to contribute to the community, not only for societies sake but also for the individuals health and wellness. A healthy disposition allows people to dream and strive - financial and health poverty is a decaying of the inner spirit and a loss of view of external opportunity. Just giving out money and short term band-aids slowly erodes value to the individual and overtime the most important component of growth - HOPE. When people feel dis-empowered, and don’t feel needed and valued then dignity, value, and hope is lost.
A great society is when we can bring out the greatness within each person. It is our combined duty to lay the platform giving that kid within every family; within every community; within every town and city; within our great country the opportunity to find their intrinsic greatness.
The strong safety net for our most vulnerable needs to be based on the dignity deliverance of work; daily wellness habits; a striving to be of service to the communities they are already intertwined with. Service to something greater than yourself is the key to unlocking people’s limitless potential and that connection is the base of wellness. We have to infuse service and daily responsibility into the safety net for our vulnerable so we don’t destroy peoples spirit.
The connection to each other through service and daily wellness habitual behaviour is how you infuse a deeper sense of happiness, health and self worth leading to contentment.
We need a system to help everyone earn their health and success. It has to be an aspiration based system - not a greed based system. People bring selfishness and greed to a system - the capitalist system should not promote greed; and a socialist system should not destroy innovation and the ability to strive. We have to infuse morals within the system. These morals are based on social solidarity - what are the best way to support each other. A rising tide lifts all boats. We should have an attitude of love, doing things authentically on the basis of love, compassion, fairness, and a connected drive to be the best we can ALL be - individually and collectively. Strong healthy families are the building blocks of a strong healthy nation. Our growing kids NEED to be safe and feel loved. Childhood trauma drives poor statistics across the board.
So stop blaming socialism for encouraging people to be lazy, and stop blaming capitalism for the gap between the rich and poor. It’s not “the system” at fault, its how we live and therefore construct the system. We need to provide a safety net for those that need while providing daily community based work. This encourages routine, sense of purpose and structure within the day until more long term employment opportunities arise. We need a basic living wage for the bottom wage earners and do away with complicated family tax credits and top ups - just pay people enough to feed their kids and live in healthy homes. We need to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation but cap salaries that are hundreds times larger than the lowest paid worker in the company. We need gearing to stop that gap getting bigger - capital gains, Robin Hood tax, and increased funding for organisations on the front line of poverty - The Salvation Army, Women’s refuge, The Child Poverty action group, Auckland Mission, and Kids Can to name a few.
Abundance is a good thing when you use it for others and not just for yourself. A big issue is when you lose your sensitivity to the needs of others. Greed is putting yourself always ahead of other people. When we have a unhealthy attachment to “money” and “stuff” then your perspective on what really matters in life becomes warped. The system is not broken - it’s our values, poor judgement, and love of stuff that is warping it from the inside out. Each of us has the ability to do something to change the world, but we have to start with our inside world first.
Please start to listen to others during the lead up to the General election. Don't just tow your comfortable party line. We have to move away from division and come together with action and policy that lifts the vulnerable up with more than hand outs, and caps extravagance so the widening gap of poverty, health, and opportunity starts to narrow. This has to be done for the next generations sake.
Before casting a vote this year please look into these resources
1) Doughnut Economics (economic system that saves planet resources and helps global inequality) designed by Dr. Kate Raworth
2) Blue Zones City makeover (local policy that nudges communities towards health) designed by Dan Buettner.