The joint is in a mess.
Every time you look at the news, there is another “revelation” of dodgy morality, insider dealings, political duck-shoving and just plain corruption.
Greed has become the magnet in our moral compass, and to compete, we are all tempted to cut a corner here, increase a claim there, and in the process join the race to the bottom.
Engaging in a number of forums of SME’s over the last few weeks, it has become evident to me that the cynicism of small business owners is at an all time high, and their contempt for those who pull the levers of power never higher.
Small business (1-19 employees) is the neglected powerhouse of the economy, generating 47% of jobs, and 36% of industry value add, and are heavily concentrated in the service industries where the growth is occurring. This is just another way of saying important.
These people, who together probably lift the average hours worked in the economy 25%, and who are way more productive than most, are becoming wary of trusting our institutions, are minimising the people they employ, and the degree to which they engage. Over time their confidence is being eroded, their trust being withheld.
The long term impact is that investment, innovation, and ultimately our economic well-being is compromised.
As far as I am concerned, those convicted of offenses should be thrown into the slammer, and their assets taken, but they are the sideshow to the slow erosion in the character of our economic fabric. They just provide the evidence that all the bad stuff that the owners of SME’s believe every time they set out to engage with a local council to get a DA, have to fill in another senseless form, or suffer the invasion of someone checking that they are doing the “right thing” is really happening. They wonder at the volume of corruption and hubris that is remaining hidden, when they are getting their regular dose of Obeid and Thompson et al from both sides of politics on public display.
The public display of corruption is just a sideshow, the small fraction of the smelly deals that get done that becomes public, but just imagine how productive we would be if the stench of this sideshow was removed, and confidence and trust rebuilt.