Sunday, June 26, 2022|
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Flirting with irrelevance
No one here in Hawaii seems to have noticed that the words “food shortages” and even “famine” have entered the official lexicon of the United Nations and international policy analysts to describe the global situation. This is not temporary, but a dark trend in its early stages.
Global human population has roared past the 8 billion mark into unprecedented territory, with no evidence of slowing down any time soon. Even in mainland cities, grocery shelves are going empty.
The clear assumption here in Hawaii seems to be that regular arrival of food-barges from the mainland to prevent mass starvation, and free money to buy the imported food, is some sort of natural entitlement bestowed by the universe. It isn’t. It is a fortunate historical blip.
Economies are based upon resources. Historically, when population exceeds an economy, people migrate or starve. Hawaii is betting that it is different this time. Maybe it is.
But aside from tourism, which is based upon prosperity of distant economies, the primary resource of the Big Island is the premier site for Big Astronomy in the Northern Hemisphere of this planet. This resource is under relentless attack for reasons documented elsewhere, but it brings to mind some well-intentioned questions. In all sincerity, these are not intended to offend or cause alarm. But someone needs to ask them.
If Hawaii deliberately torpedoes its only chance to transform its economy into that of a world center of high-technology research centered on astronomy, why should the food barges keep coming?
If Hawaii marginalizes itself into a position that is perceived by the rest of the world, justly or unjustly, as a place of subsidized, entitled eaters basking in luxury, why should the food barges keep coming?
If the economy of Hawaii descends to that of catering to a handful of billionaire landholders and their housekeepers and entertainers, why should the food barges keep coming?
If a loaf of bread or a bag of rice goes for $50 on the world market, entitlements are unlikely to keep pace with shipping costs. Why should the food barges keep coming?
Hawaii is a paradise, but it is a paradise rooted in, and now very dependent upon, the real world.
The real world is getting very, very gnarly.
It is time to lift the rose-colored glasses for a moment and take stock of our situation 2,500 miles of open water from the U.S. mainland, or anywhere else.
Hawaii has the potential for a bright future at the forefront of human knowledge, and a prosperous high-tech economy with work for everyone. But this requires bringing to the future more than a sense of historical entitlement.
We risk being judged irrelevant with nothing to offer by people elsewhere with growing problems of their own. Those are the people who feed us.
What Hawaii brings to the global table matters. If we toss away our primary economic asset, the Big Island and its fate becomes irrelevant on the world stage.
I’ve been trying to get a valid receipt from local medical professionals. Most are perfect, but Hilo Medical Center stands out as one I’m going to have to ask for, again, but I can never phone a real person.
Granted, a kind receptionist followed through on my request. But … there is no date of service and no clarification of type of exam or exams.
Also lacking are phone numbers or department to contact for more info. And they used a stamp to send this worthless, non-IRS receipt.
I think we can do better.
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