Have you ever woken up one day, taken a good look at what’s going on around you & thought “has the world gone mad”?
Well, this is one of those days… recent events in Barcelona have caused me to question the logic behind some of the decisions our politicians take in an ever growing illogical society.
Before I share my own practical local examples, allow me to take you around the world & bring to your attention Time Magazine’s Jyoti Thottam’s article entitled “The Moment“, he refers to how the Indian government classifies “rural poverty”; now defined as the ability to spend 447 rupees (about $10) on basic goods every month. $10 bucks a month for basic goods? Are you kidding me?!?!? I’d like to see the politicians who wrote that definition having to make a living like the honest hardworking folks in this picture.
Has the world truly gone mad?
Now let’s travel across to the south eastern tip of Africa and allow me to share with you Lee Middleton’s article On the Shores of Lake Malawi. It’s too easy to point at BP & the current Gulf of Mexico Disaster and say “shame on you”. How about looking inward & saying shame on us? This little piece of paradise is being threatened by a more evil demon.. the dreaded “tourist”. This summer whilst you’re traveling & enjoying your holiday, please be kind to OUR environment & pick-up after yourself! I’d like to think my kids might still be able to experience some of the wonderful beauty that nature has to reward us with.
And finally, for a local dose of Barcelona madness.. back on March 12th I had an accident resulting in a severely broken leg. Fortunately the health system here is one of the best & I got excellent care! Now on the mend, it will be September before I discover if I’ll require another intervention to sort out the complexity related to the break. The doctors tell me I can’t work & I need rest, the insurance company squeezes me for details and keeps questioning my capacity yet doesn’t payout any compensation until I’m back on my feet. To this I question how is one suppose to live if you’ve lost your income stream for 6 months to a year? OK, there’s workman’s compensation right? I won’t bother you with the gory details of how after disability payout & associated taxes I walk away with 4€ per day net income.
Add to this to the fact that I can’t walk & incur a minimum of 18€ per day just to transport myself to physical therapy. Thus I end-up with a net -14€ per day. Oh, but what’s got me feeling a little crazy this morning are a series of events that have happened over the past week.
I was waiting for a taxi when it stopped in the middle of the street, forcing me to walk across a busy bicycle lane (almost getting hit by one) just to catch my ride. When I manifested my outrage the driver politely explained that there is a local law which forbids vehicles, even taxi’s picking up clients, from temporarily invading the bicycle lane to pick up a passenger. Even a disabled one! Only the day before he had been fined 100€ by the local police for that very action.
In a recent referendum to determine whether to change the layout of a main avenue here, the city of Barcelona paid out approximately 3M€ in associated costs with carrying out a referendum that was defeated by 97%. Talk about a waste of money for being out-of-touch with your constituents.
Finally, consider that local Parliament members have tax free salaries & daily allowances to get through their complicated & complex agenda. Now I, the tax payer, working an excess of 12 hours per day to maintain a healthy household & education for my kids will have my income tax rate bumped up from 35% to 45% in 2011. That’s nearly half of my earnings! Tell me about this austerity plan mister government. How you can waste my hard earned tax dollars yet suffer only the repercussions of possibly being voted out of office only to take highly paid speaking gigs as a consequence of your 15 minutes of fame? Or better yet, retreat to the corporate safety net of the very organizations you assisted whilst in office.
Now don’t get me wrong, I may be a little outraged today, but I also firmly believe that life is only 5% of what happens to you & 95% of how you react to what happens. So I’m putting on my smiley face, blowing off a little steam whilst laughing at the lunacy & then quickly getting back to the business of finding interesting & relevant content that I hope will help you, both personally & professionally, continue to develop & grow.