Thursday, 17 March 2011

Recognising Anti-Social Behaviour

The police are right to stop children picking daffodils, is the title of a Telegraph article which I pretty much agreed with and commented on.
The anti-social behaviour (which is what it is) shown by these parents, who allowed their children to pick whole bunches of flowers in a public park, reminds me of those people who don’t bother to pick up the mess their dogs leave on the pavement for others to tread in.
It also reminds me of bankers bonuses and the kind of grotesquely unfair (and thus also anti-social) income differentials they represent.
“Picking” millions annually from the economy, it seems to me, is no less anti-social than picking daffodils in a public place. It’s just that the former is perfectly legally (because the state “traditionally” favours power and wealth), while the other is not.
I don’t have a problem with income differentials, provided they are fair and proportionate, any more than I have a problem with someone picking a couple of flowers in the park. But when they pick a whole bunch of flowers in the park, or take millions from the economy, that is no longer proportionate or fair and undermines social cohesion and solidarity.
Picking “just a couple” of flowers in the park can be a problem too – if there’s a limited number and a lot of people picking them, which also serves as a good analogy for sustainable/unsustainable human behaviour on our finite, vulnerable and overpopulated planet:
When a few million (even 10s of millions) of people want to drive their own cars and fly off on holiday once or twice a year, it’s not a problem, since quite sustainable. However, when a few billion people want to do the same there is a problem, because unsustainable.

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