Stalin was a clever guy

Stalin was a clever guy.

No matter what else he was, Stalin was a clever guy. In 1928 he instituted the first in a series of five-year plans. Why five years one might ask? Well I think Stalin realised, in the turbulent times in which he was living, that five years was probably about as far ahead as one could reasonably cast one?s mind and set realistic goals on the basis of where the country was at and where anyone would like it to be. The third five-year plan, for example, only ran three years because . . . damn it! You sign a non-aggression pact with a guy then he comes over the border with a fucking great army and stuffs everything up! Sheesh! Yes indeed, five years is a long time and things can change dramatically, and Stalin, being a clever man, doubtless took this into account. Things may turn out unexpectedly. The situation might change. You can?t predict much with great accuracy. I mean even the birth rate might be low in any given generation and the number of elderly high. But it only takes a generation to reverse the trend. Hard times and poverty might lead them to having big families again (in the hope that they will keep them in their dotage when . . . I don?t know, state pensions become a thing of the past). One shouldn?t take anything for granted.
    What of our politicians? Well you?d have to say they are far cleverer than Stalin. They have a far greater capacity for vision and can see all the way forward to 2050! That makes for a forty one-year plan! Stalin??a mere midget next to Tolley, Key and the economists at treasury that feed them their predictions. No matter that the record of economists in predicting things is worse than poor (if there was a unit standard in predicting recessions for example the pass rate might be one in a million). But nevertheless they claim to know that we?ll be in such dire straights by 2050 that the funding of education will have to slip from 6.4 percent of GDP (where it is now) to below 4.  (They should recruit Don McGlashan onto their staff?he can predict that far ahead as well?see earlier blog). One wonders, or indeed it begs the question where, the more than 2.4 percent saving will be redistributed in the 2050 National budget (with such powers of prediction at their disposal they must have calculated they?ll still be in power by then). Well, having freely traded all our manufacturing jobs to China or Mexico, there won?t be a lot for uneducated people to do, so some of that saving will have to go on unemployment benefits. Or maybe not. Maybe the great predictors have seen, seer-like, into a future where these won?t exist. But if people are unemployed and can?t feed themselves, history tells us they are prone to nasty things like revolutions and such. Maybe they?ve foreseen that too and have earmarked the 2.4 percent saving to boost the police and army in case things turn ugly. Either way I think it is incumbent upon us to ask our crystal-ball gazers to draw up their 2050 budget now, with the 2.4 percent saving allocated to where they predict they will need it. If they know which sector of economy will, perforce, need to shrink, they must know which sector is set to grow and will need that extra funding, that greedy old education is currently scoffing up.
    Or maybe they can see into the future where we as a nation might not need to be as educated as we are now. But I think, putting Stalin?s hat on and limiting my future gazing to five years ahead, the world appears to be getting more complex, not simpler. That would tend to suggest that the more educated the populace, the better they will be able to cope, in fact be employable at all. Wasn?t there some sort of consensus on the knowledge economy, some years back?
    Maybe they can?t see that far ahead at all and it?s a giant ruse. And maybe they don?t undervalue education either, they simply resent paying for it. If both of these things are true, then they must have an agenda for making all this stuff up. I wonder what that might be?
1 TEU Tertiary Update Vol 12 No 39, November 12, 2009.


blog comments powered by Disqus