Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

You're due...

A number of years ago, there was a Wizard of Id cartoon strip that went:
Peasant goes to his wagon insurance office to pay his premium. The clerk behind the counter said: "we will have to raise your premium 15% this year". "But why?" Asked the peasant, "I've never had an accident." "You're due", said the clerk.

It sometimes feels now, that one of the services we invented -- insurance -- has become a master. We are now forced to live by actuarial tables. In Australia, the soaring costs of public liability insurance means that junior football teams can no longer play ball; community groups can't organise fetes, schools can't have open days, and so on ad nauseum because of the costs of insurance premiums.

The machine has become the master. We have set up insurance to help people in difficulty survive through hard times. The insurance companies have now created the hard times.

But -- can be just blame the insurance companies? I don't think so.

I think that the recipe of human greed, litigation based on it, through the use of the law, has forced insurance companies to charge these premiums to survive. And of course, the pathological greed of some of the insurance high flyers has exacerbated the problem by bankrupting their own companies.

This combination has brought the sense of community to its knees. To misquote the motto of the Three Musketeers:

"All for one, and all for one!"

If we want to throw stones, we may be hitting ourselves.

It will be valuable for us to raise a bit of hell over this issue with our elected reps, and, looking further ahead, to think about how the theology of corporatism is strangling that which created it: personal initiative and a solid community base.

'nuff for now.

PB White


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