There seems to be a recurring theme for me this week. Extravagance with other people's money. Terry Serepisos is one example. He owed millions to people who have taken him on trust; paid for materials to do work for him; paid wages for people to do work for him; taken on their own debt waiting for him to pay up. It struck in the middle of the night, worrying about monies owed to me, I may be a victim of his foolhardiness myself as a downstream domino.
People laud him for the Phoenix but he was spending money and building debt. He is really no better than governments using tax and ratepayers money for things they don't need and don't want.
For instance, my local government, the Hutt City Coucil, is an assinine spenthrift. There are signs going up all over the place (not signs of belt-tightening either).
In our street there are six Norfolk pines. They have been designated 'protected trees'. Fine. But every single one has to have its own sign (each a duplicate) to inform the public of their hallowed status among things with roots and leaves.
A nearby alleyway suddenly has a name with signs, at either end just in case you miss it.
Now these bloody blue signs are popping up everywhere telling us the name of our home. I thought I lived in Eastbourne but no, I live in Muritai. But some people who think they live in Eastbourne have it confirmed. Indeed they do live in Eastbourne.
Entering the bays an enormous sign has been erected with symbols I have yet to work out completely. One means swimming - not shit Sherlock. You can swim in the sea?
Another looks like a narrow bridge of which we have none. Maybe the knife and fork is a reminder to check your picnic implements are of the 'safe' variety.
All of it costs money that cannot be spent elswhere. I know that a number of local businesses are teetering on the brink. The lotto and confectionary shop closed two weeks ago. I am sure business owners and other residents regard this splurge of signage with the same bewilderment and anger as I do.
Spending other people's money in an unrestrained, devil-may-care manner is bad enough in a boom. In that respect I can comprehend Serepisos' activities. But not now and not the council. They are just kicking sand in our faces.
Perhaps I could fashion my own sign warning off sand-kickers. But it'll have to wait till I am back in the black.
GDP reconstructions for the early modern period
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