Sometimes I feel very selfish! I worry about my reduced pay while I'm on holiday throughout January, I worry about having to move to Canberra, I worry about finding a job and somewhere to live there. But what I should be worrying about is the fact that malnutrition rates in children under 5 has almost doubled in Iraq since the Americans came barging in. I should be worrying about the fact that almost half of the organisms that currently exist may be extinct by 2100. I should be worrying about the fact that I need to take my shoes and socks off to count the number of homeless and destitute people in one street in Fitzroy. I should be worrying about greenhouse gases and global warming and world poverty and hunger.
What right do I have to worry only for my own sake? It was chance, luck, pure random life, that put me into a reasonably well-off family in a western country. By being born here, by taking certain things for granted, by consuming and by self-absorption, I have contributed to all of the above. I have bought petrol, and used it, spewing poisonous gases into the atmosphere. I have bought clothing and other goods made in countries known for child labour. I have put round-up on my garden, and if my mother knew that she'd have a fit.
But what can I do? How can one person fix all the world's problems? People, religions, and charities have all been trying for years. We applaud their efforts and call them saints, or set up charitable funds named after them, or occasionally donate some money to their cause. But children are still starving, people are still being exploited, countries still go to war and kill each other's citizens for no particular reason.
I think if I ever get the chance, I might go to a third world or developing nation. My Australian money would be worth a considerable amount there, and merely by living in a village I may be able to help the people there. Imagine one person in a village being able to afford to set up a productive business, and being generous enough to make it some kind of cooperative? Get everybody involved, or at least ensure a decent distribution of wealth or goods. How? How? When, and where? Is it an impossible dream?
I'm such a socialist.