Sunday, March 02, 2008

Unchanging Hawaii (Creating Jobs -- To Do What?)

The most vexing thing of life in Hawaii is that everybody wants “change,” but for everything to stay the same. It is as though they think they can have their cake and eat it too. Yes, they want change, but only if everything stays the same.

And so we may hire more people at higher wages to get the same results -- because it is thought that the whole objective is just to create more high-paying jobs, without doing anything different, or better, or at all. If the money is there (through taxes), it is just considered free money -- that needs to be spent, whether there is a good reason for doing so or not. All that matters is that somebody is “paid” for a “job” rather than for “welfare,” which is no longer permitted.

In the private sector, jobs have to be justified by producing a profit or at least a benefit -- rather than just because it can be created by government fiat, just to show one can. The more arbitrary the exercise of power, the more powerful one is -- and that is the trapping of high office, to show who is The Boss -- as though that was some high achievement and permanent status in life.

Much of the public dialogue is of this caliber and level; the salient points don’t matter. The only thing that matters in the end, is who is the boss, and who can prove it by the most outrageous and arbitrary flaunting of that power. It is impressive to some people, but most of the smart ones just refuse to participate and “buy into” such schemes anymore, choosing to spend their time on the Internet searching for intelligent life anywhere else in the universe.

That’s how life has changed over the last ten years -- even with most people not consciously aware that change was happening. If they were conscious, they would have resisted -- rather than allow such changes to transform their lives. Of course, everyone is not at the front end discovering the new, and it would not make any difference even if they did because they would have no need to avail themselves of such possibilities and opportunities.

While down at the public library obtaining a list of Wi-Fi hotspots, the informant suggested I might try the Capitol Building close by, as they had unconfirmed rumors that such a service was available -- which seemed to be incredulous to me that it was not more widely known, because that is precisely the crowd one would want to attract there and get involved in the deliberations.

One solitary individual was sitting in the cheap seats on the lower level happy to be doing his business (he seemed to be marginally employed and sheltered) but I had a more urgent need to use the bathroom upstairs and refresh myself with a drink of chilled water, and was told by office staff there was no reason I couldn’t sit there all day and into the evening accessing the Web.

This is probably the future and hope of democracy/society in Hawaii. Access to information, changes everything, is the great equalizer, tapping the collective intelligence of a community -- rather than controlling, manipulating and suppressing it.

While the “transportation” solution gets all the press, the revolution has already passed quietly, unnoticed, without any fanfare. It is that information, that makes one free.


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