Thursday, 14 April 2011

Thinking a bit harder

One of the great frustrations about political and social discussion is the tendency to want to reduce everything to simplistic terms. I am not saying that everything should be complex, but not everything can be reduced to a three or four word slogan.
The real problem with the clever (but now tedious) 'big fat new tax' is not that it needs to be addressed but that it actually shuts down discussion because it refuses to allow the discussion to be anything more than trite.
Shouldn't we be having a wider discussion, not just about the particular issue of carbon pricing but how we can improve our anti-polluting practices.

I was interested, for example, when watching a report on the Lehrer Newshour (American Public TV) yesterday about clothing manufacturers in China to see a wide discussion about how production processes at all levels were minimising pollution and conserving power.
Water being purified after use rather than thrown away, steam being used to heat rather than being blown in to the atmosphere.
I would like to know how Australian companies are addressing these issues. We talk as if the charge/tax on carbon will solve all this...and the critique is rightly that the "bfnt" will only have limited if not questionable effect..we actually need to change our behaviour.
Now, I hear the Government suggesting that the charge will actually encourage companies to change .... if we only focus on the slogan we could be in danger of missing this key issue

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