It was my birthday recently, I am now firmly middle-aged. One of the hallmarks of this stage of life is often the onset of a more negative outlook. In middle class South Africa, it is practically a birthright.
You start hearing comments like “things are not as good as they were” or “the world is going to hell” or even “here comes world war three”. Now I am not denying that there are speed bumps, but in my opinion, the big picture is decided rosy.
Here are my reasons for this rose-tinted view of the world.
I am fascinated by history and I don’t think that we look back to see just how far we have come. I am not referring to that rainbow nation, 1994 type of nostalgia, I am talking about the way the world operates; so connected, so relatively peaceful. I grew up during the cold war, and we used to have proper wars with serious threats made by old men hardened by earlier wars.
Have you considered what the public response to a reintroduction of conscription would be? Have you considered what your response would be? It almost seems outrageous that we all bought into the idea of putting our loved ones or ourselves in mortal danger just to satisfy the egos and bloodlust of politicians. It wouldn’t happen today.
It is no coincidence that we have seen a dramatic growth of democracy since Ted Turner launched CNN in the late 1980s. There is really nowhere for corrupt politicians to hide and if you want to do a Mugabe or an Nkandla, you must do it with the approval of your voters. And history shows that even the most masochistic supporter tires of corruption eventually.
Don’t let the Southern African experience fool you. Mugabe and the ANC still have a significant liberation dividend to waste. In the case of Zimbabwe it will end when the moustachioed one departs stage left. The ANC will begin to disintegrate when they lose Johannesburg, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth in the next local government elections in 2016.
And communism is dead. The Chinese are now teaching the West how to be capitalists. Chairman Mao must be spinning in his grave!
Modern technology is enough to make you optimistic. Imagine trying to meet up with friends in a shopping centre or a pub without a cell phone?
The development of technology has allowed the global economy to grow at a staggering rate. Ideas flow not only fast, they flow far. Skype was invented in Estonia and is now used in every corner of the globe.
Technology is a game changer; we have seen its effect around the world. Developments no longer only happen in the USA, they happen everywhere. I am having a golf app developed by Armenians who have never played golf. I have never met them and never will. The quality of their work is superb and I have already paid them in dollars. How cool is that?
This definitely wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago.
To all of those who long for the old days, allow me to remind you what it was like to have one TV channel to watch, or banks closing at 1 o’ clock on a Wednesday, or not seeing the rugby test live on television, or not being able to get petrol on a Sunday, or having one option for fast food: oily fish and chips from the corner cafe.
I am excited about the future, so I will wear my rose tinted glasses with pride.