.. book and a glass of wine. Or immersed in some permutation of social media their noses glued to the screen of their choice oblivious to their fate.
This may not be a good description of the state of the world, its politics and economy but if you are feeling a bit depressed it just might.
It is obvious that we live in interesting times but there is little doubt that they the times are getting more interesting by the moment in ways that we seem to be able to little about. The people whom we elected to do something seem to be enclosed in some thought bubble of their own that has no connection to what the rest of the world is like.
Politicians, the captain and crew of the vessel, are looking the other way. What a clueless lot, anxious only to stay in power and sup as deeply at the public trough as they can while it lasts. This is a natural by-product of the way we elect the political classes. A relic of the 1th Century, as are the parties and often their policies. So how was the member who represents you chosen? From a small club of parties with remarkably small memberships. Are the qualified ? Yes and no.
In the Victorian State Parliament the Deputy Leader, the Honourable James Merlino does have a BA with Honours from Melbourne University in his favour. But does his employment history to fit him for his current roles of Deputy Premier , Deputy Leader of the Labor Party , Minister for Education and Minister for Emergency Services? Given that he has been a part-time bricklayer's labourer for five years then an Electorate Officer for Jan Wilson MP 1996-99 culminating in National Industrial Officer, Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association I wouldn’t be too sure.
And a scan through the ministerial cohort just reveals a similar list of union hacks and electoral officers. You might expect the Minister for Planning to have some planning expertise but somehow I feel that academic qualifications in youth and social work don’t cut it, though his DipCrim 1985 (Melbourne) might be appropriate.
The State Opposition fares equally badly with the current leader, who in the previous government presided over some of the most appalling planning decisions that Melbourne has ever seen, having a BA from LaTrobe , counterbalanced by an employment history prior to his parliamentary career of government dependent spin.
My local member, a Mr Ryan Smith with nothing but secondary school behind him has been a Treasury Officer, a Currency Dealer, again a Treasury Officer before leaping to Finance Officer, followed by being a Foreign Exchange Specialist, culminating in being a manager in Institutional Banking Service. What did those jobs actually entail?
At least the Federal government has more lawyers but just as many whose work experience seems rather incestuously government related.
In 2013 there were more people on the waiting list to join the Melbourne Cricket Club than there were rank-and-file members in all Australian political parties put together. Liberals and labour would still be struggling to have 40,000 members each which means that they represent about 0.002% of the population. In summary the federal member you ended up with was chosen by less than 175 people none of which was you.
So how many actual party members do you know and how representative of the 21st century are they? I have known a couple my favourite being the Labor member who handed out ‘How to Vote Green’ in our electorate because he couldn’t stand the policies of his own party.
None of this would matter much except that two things are apparent. The first that the naive trust in the market place has brought us to a state where the energy future of the country is totally broken and other parts of the economy and social fabric are in a parlous state. The second that it is apparent that the IT revolution is now reaching the end-game stage where automation is making people redundant – not in the sense of losing their jobs, though many are and will continue to do so, but that we will soon exist in a world where there are no jobs for most people. And like the industrial revolution which was disruptive in ways that we cannot now imagine very few people actually seems to think of what the options are that might mitigate the potential upheaval.
If all things were equal it might mean the creation of some new utopia but, given historical precedence, it will probably mean another Dickensian world of dark satanic slums, need, want and disease. The timeline and consequences of the Industrial revolution were largely unpredictable but today’s problems are easily foreseen and actually quite easily dealt with.
So the state of contemporary politics is one reason why that people like Trump, Hanson and others are prospering in a world where normally thy would be treat like a very bad, and not funny, joke .
All we need is to find people imaginative and courageous enough to remake the future in the shape of the future and not the past. Regrettably, looking at our current representatives I see very, very few of them capable of doing the job.