We in Canada used to operate under a loose ethic known as the Northern Imperative.
We live in a climate where, in the past, we had to be careful, plan ahead and in order to survive look after each other.
Careful. Could not waste. When the crops were bountiful as yields were cyclical and we would need to have set aside for the hard times to come.
Plan Ahead With a limited growing season and a potential of a long winter, food stocks had to be sufficient to last until early summer crops started to become available.
Help Others At times, survival necessitated accepting help from others. This assistance would be repaid by offering aid to those who later may fall on hard times.
With today’s ability to move things around the world with relative ease, we are losing the northern imperative. It is nolonger necessary to set aside for the lean months, we can just get something that has been grown/produced elsewhere.
A couple of recent news(ish) items kind of brought this loss to mind.
1. If a group of apes and a group of humans were marooned on an island, which would survive. Most likely the apes; they have to constantly strive to survive. The humans, although more advanced as a civilization, have status built on the ability to use the collected knowledge of our predecessors. On the island, this lore is not available and we don’t have the background to draw upon. We’re losing the ability to truly plan ahead.
2. Somehow, our bureaucrats developed a scheme where all of us subsidize anyone purchasing a hybrid auto. Not a bad idea, but some bright wags have realized that anyone can utilize this program. Some very wealthy people have used the subsidy to purchase luxury sports cars.
I was born at the end of WW2 and my parents survived the Great Depression. One on a farm where they had food but no cash and one in a hamlet where cash was available, just. When I was in a final year of university, the bureaucrats developed a program where those in their fourth year were considered independent and could apply for grants no matter family income. I could have applied for and received a grant/loan for 60% of the total cost of a year at school; half loan and half grant. Between summer work and family, I had my year paid.
I suggested to my parents that maybe I should take the money, bank the loan part so I could pay it back in a lump sum when called and invest the grant part. The particular stock in consideration quadrupled in value a couple of years later. They advised that the program wasn’t for those who could already afford school. Kind of the northern imperative – help others. Accepting grants for hybrid Porsche Spyders is ME vs. help others. Another loss.
I’m not sure where this is actually going but I believe that there is a very big need for those of us who grew up without having to do without to regain at least that part of the “northern imperative” where we are careful, plan ahead and help others.