A Radical Proposal, To Cure The World’s Ills

Much virtual ink, trees, board room/coffee shop/pub debates have been spent in trying to unearth solutions to the economic volcano that erupted 4 years ago. The crisis has had a happy effect on the wallets of experts, who realised that much money could be made by passing opinions that were seldom useful, that no one cared for or acted upon.

This rather sorry state of affairs has urged me to conjure up my own proposal(s) to resolve the pesky problems facing the world. I must declare that I am no expert; which is why, perhaps, it would be worthwhile for the governments of the world to ponder over my well-intentioned gobbledygook.

Suggesting to an over-indebted human – who has seen his income halve or disappear altogether – to assume more debt as a medicine for his ills, not only borders on the amusing but is also grossly detrimental to his well-being.

Here are some humble proposals for curing the world’s ills.

One of the chief causes of our problems is oversupply, in nearly everything that is of every-day utility to man. With an existing inventory of 260 kg of grain for every human, it makes little sense to invest more money/subsidise/incentivise advancements in agriculture that would augment supply. Curtailing investment on this front will not only benefit existing farmers through increasing agri-commodity prices (flat supply, consistently rising demand), it will also alleviate the burden on the tax-paying class indirectly footing the ‘agriculture modernisation’ bill.

The other big issue is Global Warming, a hopelessly over-chorused hocus pocus on an evolutionarily natural phenomena. The history of the universe is one of alternating cycles of warming and cooling. Before the Ice Age, progressive cooling brought everything to a standstill. For a few thousands years of tranquillity. As we emerged from the Ice Age and went about procreating earnestly, the warmth that was felt wasn’t just attributable to physical proximity to other humans; it was due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

As we hurtle forwards in time, that wonderful fellow called Entropy will ensure that things only get increasingly chaotic from here. The Earth will, at some point, burn itself into extinction. As this point is several thousand years away, it is unwise to continually pump money now to find a solution to a natural cycle. The $100 billion spent so far has proved more successful in Warming scientists’ and experts’ chairs Globally, than in finding solutions. Suspending funding for Climate Change Programs would prospectively relieve the planet of several thousands of billions in commitments, funding which would otherwise emerge from the tax-payer’s pocket.

Next, to the vast area of medical funding. When death is the norm, life the exception, it is imprudent to spend vast resources in inventing permanent cures for cancer, AIDS and all other natural catalysts of extinction. Evolution invented them for a good reason. By prolonging lifetimes, the burden of feeding the old falls on the young…who have few jobs or a career or a future to look forward to. Much of the accumulated ills that are upon us today can be traced to advances in medicine, which has increased life expectancy to a point, where the incremental addition of years isn’t worth the lifestyle benefits accruing to humans sparring with expiry dates.

We spent unnecessary billions building nuclear weapons, only to wind up unnecessarily spending billions trying to keep them in check. Wasted billions notwithstanding, we unnecessarily spend billions trying to find solutions to incurable diseases, which have the potential to naturally correct the excesses of the world.

As an extension of the above, years of pontificating about the benefits of birth control (accompanied by liberal spending) has achieved little in arresting population growth. A rethink is called for.

Forced living beyond a certain upper age limit in the constant company of (medicinal) drugs with little mental peace seems like an unwelcome prospect. Not of much utility, at best and exacerbating problems, at worst. In a modified version of Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal, thoughtful rationing of the old is a solution worth considering. By reverting to the norm of bygone centuries, progressively reducing life expectancy would entail much lower investment and would engender vast long-term benefits.

The above proposals carry additional benefits. Apart from offering the prospect of slashing unnecessary expenditures, the proposals offer global governments an opportunity of lending a touch of realism to the ongoing Utopian programs of austerity.


Sketchy Tales

I once heard that talents lie hidden inside us, some more deeply than others. All it takes is persistent digging and one is likely to stumble upon a goldmine. I have since followed that to the letter; except that a greater proportion of my endeavours seem to lead to the discovery of hitherto unknown vast non-talents. Several diligent and almighty attempts later, I gracefully accept my fall from grace and move on, to repeat the process.

Some folks are extremely gifted at the art of sketching and all other variants that involve moving pointy objects on paper in an artistic manner. As we generally tend to be awestruck at things beyond our abilities, I have forever been in awe of those with the gift of capturing reality on paper pictorially.

Sketching and I go back a long way. Our first encounter was early in school, where I learned the meaning of binary digits from the marks I scored in drawing tests.

We once had a drawing test where we had a choice of 7 scenarios to pick from. Grossly under-equipped in drawing paraphernalia, colours and confidence, I opted for what seemed like the easiest option. A house-in-the-hills sketch. Understanding mates thoughtfully, and freely, leased their drawing wares but I found nobody who could lease me some confidence. Head down, I went at it, gamely. When my head re-emerged to face the world, I was a happy chap. I discovered that not only was I leagues ahead of others in finishing within the time-limit, I looked upon my classic with satisfaction. I thought I had done a half decent job, after all.

Best practices called for the teacher to take in all the masterpieces and then mark them, at leisure and more importantly, away from the prying eyes of kids eager to outdo one another for top spot, brownie points, and as I found later, guffaws of derision.

The teacher, greatly impressed at my speed of turning things around, requested to see my creation. Reluctance and trepidation brimmed over as I gingerly handed over my Picasso for inspection. The odious laughter that emanated from her being proved to be extremely contagious and the class soon joined in. In a complete breach of protocol, out came her pencil and in the august presence of a class full of rowdy kids, she marked me. I scored a grand 1, out of a maximum of 10, the lowest in class.

Later in life, I figured engineering drawing was right down my alley, which seemed to come naturally to me. I would go out of my way to assist dopey mates in getting their elevations and views right. Come exam time and I beamed…and beamed some more. This would be my moment of glory…To cut a long story short, when the results came around, vexation quickly made way for relief, as I learned that I had just about managed to hop over the line that separated the Pass from the Fail.

Being a fan of mathematical shapes, I finally found succour in the wonderfully sober world of lines, circles and higher order polygons. I found the Hexagon, for instance, to be a tremendously malleable polygon; morphing at a moment’s notice, to depict humans of varying bulk and shape.

For sketchphobes like me, malleable shapes are manna from Heaven. Though, it must be admitted, the Bottom-heavy base shape hasn’t generally gone down too well with those who share similar contours.

What shape are you?