Tag Archives: Gough Whitlam

This is Not a Political Statement

It’s just back of an envelope arithmetic, and a bit of rambling thought.

Also, the tone of this item is a bit … discouraged … What I mean is … I was young when The Greatest Generation had settled themselves back at home. Things seemed to be going well. There was a belief that we had done it.

Now, not so much. Environment, government, corporate, endless war … etc.

I hesitated to post it, but if you do go ahead and read it, please also visit the fresh new page called But Wait! There’s This … for a brief and particularly inspiring item. A counterpoint to this one. Anyway back to my (mildly) gloomy theme …

Consider a trillion dollars

$1,000,000,000,000

A 1 with 12 zeros after it. To see that in graphics go here.

Meanwhile I’m reading a book.

It’s called Amnesia.

Book cover, courtesy Amazon

Book cover, courtesy Amazon

I’m reading it aloud. I’m doing this professionally for Recorded Books in New York City.

It was written by Peter Carey. Peter Carey is a multiple Booker Prize winner. He is one of Australia’s leading writers. The book is not yet on general release.

(To me) The most interesting part, given that Peter Carey has superior prose and story-telling skills expertly deployed throughout, is the bit that tells the story — interwoven with a discouraging but plausible hypothesis of what really happened — of the 1975 deposition of the Australian government by the Queen’s representative in Australia, the Governor-General.

It was a new perspective to me. … And yet, now you mention it …

Gough Whitlam was a great Australian. He passed just last month. He was Prime Minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975 which was when he got the Royal Elbow. His government instituted some basic civilized minimums: universal healthcare, equal pay, significant support for the arts, the end of conscription … and … free tertiary education.

Yes, that’s right. Let me just say that again: FREE college.

College is no longer free in Australia, nor in the UK, and not in the USA. But $1 trillion would pay for more than 20 million US college years.

If 20 million 6’ males (perhaps drawn proportionately from those nations currently engaged in warfare) were stacked lengthways end to end they would just about girdle the earth at the equator. That might not be a comfortable posture. But they wouldn’t be able to fight many wars.

Australian actress Cate Blanchett makes an eloquent thank you speech here.

Oh, and …

German universities have recently extended their free university education for German nationals to overseas students.

My college was paid by the British taxpayer (whose ranks I later joined). Personally, I would prefer that my tax coin went to fund education rather than trillions of dollars worth of armed conflict, or some forgotten media/security complexity.

Just saying …

I wonder what could be done with a trillion dollars (or two) in the way of: clean energy, organic vegetables, cleaning up the oceans, universal health care?