Sunday, December 21, 2008

You’d have to be an idiot – or a sublimely optimistic Leftie – to think we’re watching the death of capitalism. The truth, of course, is that we’re only witnessing the suspension of its worst manifestation, conspicuous consumption driven by rampant consumerism. Or vice versa. There are few of us, it seems, who’ve proved impervious to this. Perhaps because it helps to be mean and who on earth wants to be thought this? Apart from those of us who revel in the reputation.

And so there’s a very positive aspect to this phase of global development and those non-meanies among you can now take advantage of the relief afforded by the chance to stop showing off. As one columnist has put it this morning – “The recession has reversed the phrase 'cash-rich, time-poor' - a phrase that sums up the skewed priorities of our period of wealth. Time is almost the only thing that is recession-proof. Most of us are now more time-rich. Time cannot disappear into the ether with a dodgy derivative; in fact, time for other people is the best silver lining in the cloud of recession.”

Which is as good a link as I could hope to find for a bit of doggerel I penned a few years ago, to impress a then new girlfriend:-
Before your mind just drifts away
Reflect a while upon your day
And ask yourself if you can say
I brightened up two lives today.
The point, of course, being that you brighten up your own in doing this for someone else. At least, that’s my excuse for all the rubbish I launch into cyberspace.

The Galician government – the Xunta – has plans for a several more skyline-blighting windfarms. Given the huge subsidies and profits on offer, there’s naturally a long list of ‘green’ companies bidding for the contracts. My impression is the tendering exercise has set the socialist and nationalist coalition partners at each other’s throats. Which seems unwise three months ahead of elections but it can only reflect the fact that huge principles are at stake. Or vast sums of money. The latest development – apart from the nth postponement of decisions – is that the ministries of the Environment and Development have publicly announced their differences on the subject. This show will surely run and run. Unless it’s decided there are now higher priorities for cash than alleged environmentally-sound mega-projects.

Back down on earth, there’s an interesting [inverse?] symmetry in the fact that, while fish and seafood prices are – as usual – twice their normal prices ahead of Christmas, the Xunta forecasts that 50% of the stuff will be thrown in the bin. So, at least in this regard, conspicuous consumption will be postponed to next year. As with expenditure on the humongous national lotteries of the next two weeks. Crisis? What crisis? Carpe diem.

And talking about the price of fish, I was again intrigued to see in yesterday’s list that mackerel is so un-regarded here in Galicia that it doesn’t even figure. Which is great for those of us who love it. Even the wonderful sea bream – dorada – also seems to be out of Christmas fashion. Perfect for us meanies.

Finally, the local police say they’ve just taken delivery of a new 10,000 euro breathalyser machine. Let’s hope their infamous chief doesn’t wander anywhere near it after lunch. Or morning coffee, even.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Knowing how interested you are in the Galego language, I thought this piece from the village of Soajo in northern Portugal may prove interesting...