Lesson from a racetrack

Collaboration will be the ticket to survival.School districts often gather into purchasing consortia to obtain materials for their respective districts at lower cost than purchasing individually. Within our county, townships and boroughs have formed a Council of Governments to work together in pursuit of legislative goals. In smaller groups, the townships work together to share equipment and sometimes people power so that each municipality need not incur the expense of, say, a road grader.

There is wide recognition that working together, sharing equipment and buying in bulk, we can operate more efficiently and with fewer taxpayer dollars.

But when the question comes to state level and national levels, we change the rules. Suddenly, we are out for Number One. The Pennsylvania legislature is trying to outlaw a cooperative effort at adjusting climate warming. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a market-based cooperative  effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector.

But all certain of our politicians can see is that if they put any adjustment in the fossil fuel market, involved industries will leave Pennsylvania, taking with them, say the pols, thousands of jobs.

In fact, what they would take is the money they currently are using to convince said politicians to “vote right.” Completely lost is the notion that new technology to provide greener energy sources will necessarily create a new population of worker skills and jobs.

It’s like having a house we are renting out on which the roof leaks and the wind blows ferociously through the window cracks, but it is not falling down yet and we still have renters. We know if we made some serious repairs, we would make back the expense within a few years, but all we can see is doing the work would have us move the current renters out.

We like to call ourselves the richest, most powerful nation on the planet, but we balk at sharing our wealth and power to support those among us who are less fortunate. So we pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement because other nations are not, we think, contributing as much as we to protecting our common home.

We pull our funding of the World Health Organization because it is potentially more profitable to do that than to openly share resources with scientists working to block the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic – a progression that is killing all of us without regard to language, gender or skin color. (OK, it seems to be more vicious toward dark-skinned people, but the reasons for that so far appear to have less to do with the virus than to the way lighter-skinned people guard their turf – like cutting the pandemic unemployment payment by two-thirds so the unemployed will not be encouraged to remain out of jobs that do not exist because their employers have been shut down.)

We live in an economy being run like a NASCAR race in which those ahead work extra hard to ensure none of those behind are allowed to draw even with the leaders. It is like a movie scene in which every time someone tries to pass, the passee swerves to block the effort.

And for reasons that escape comprehension, the back of the pack yells loud celebration and thanks for being allowed on the track at all.

At some point, though, the back of the pack is going to discover it outnumbers the leaders. Either that, or the whole house is going to tumble down around us all.

Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the ride. Comments are welcome, and please feel free to share.

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