Is anyone even surprised anymore?
New Zealand is near the bottom of a UNICEF league table ranking wealthy countries on the wellbeing of their children.
Of the 41 OECD and European Union countries surveyed, New Zealand ranked 35th in overall child wellbeing outcomes – and UNICEF says that is failing children.
The UN Children’s Fund rankings show this country’s youth suicide rates are the second highest in the developed world and only 64 percent of 15 year olds have basic reading and maths skills.
We have robbed tomorrow by giving yesterday everything today.
We are never allowed to ever analyse the 35 year neoliberal experiment in our economy, politics and culture.
Even though the statistics are as grim as this, we always find a way to worm out of providing any universal basic level provision of welfare.
Watch how NZers will tie themselves in absolute knots to prevent schools from providing free breakfasts EVEN THOUGH the cost is minimal EVEN THOUGH that might be the most nutritional meal of the day for that child EVEN THOUGH those children will perform educationally better with fewer behavioural issues because, you know, HUNGRY CHILDREN DON’T LEARN THEY FIGHT YOU FUCKING MORONS.
Sorry, I’m still carrying some bitterness for MANAs Feed the Kids Bill not getting through.
Look, our under funded social infrastructure, our ‘me first’ consumerism, our 35 years of neoliberal mythology, our disconnection from one another, our untreated pain, our lack of hope from grinding poverty in a first world country, our damaged masculinity, the intergenerational consequences of colonialism, our unspoken rage culture, our inability to express emotion beyond anger all of that combines into a ruthless stew of dispossession of the soul.
In a society that has no religious faith and all the cultural maturity of a can of coke, the bonds which keep us attached are frail and disconnected. In our fetishisation of individualism we have lost the central part of the human condition – connection.
We have traded in our interwoven threads of whanau, friendship and kin for a rat race of success that few ever win and where many children are simply left behind.
Thanks to neoliberalism, we are further from each other than ever before. Damaged individuals competing for a self identity too fragile for the storms and tempests of life.
Look at the manner in which our suicide rates jumped after the neoliberal reforms of the 1980s, where we moved away from the communal towards the individual…
…we huddle frightened on these lonely rocks at the end of the world and slowly one by one slip off into the swallowing dark. Until we are prepared to confront many of the individualism-over-all myths and rebuild our tattered communities, our suicide rates and continued unsafe vacant lot kindergarten culture will remain reminding us of our whispered egalitarian deceptions.
This bitter neoliberal harvest from corrupted seed bears no fruit for the many.
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