Have you seen Michael Moore’s documentary, Where To Invade Next? If not, watch it immediately! It’s wonderful.
If you’re not familiar with Michael Moore, he’s a baseball-cap-wearing, grossly overweight documentary-maker with a heart of gold, an eye for the important issues, and the ability to make his points with elegance, profundity and humour.
Where To Invade Next flips the idea of invasion on its head and explores which countries are doing wonderful things that America should ‘steal’. Follow the link below to find out a little more. (Warning: contains spoilers…)
Some months ago I mentioned the move toward a national minimum wage that is gaining momentum around the world. Within minutes of sending out that newsletter one reader unsubscribed; this was a reader with a belief in ‘abundance’ and ‘creating one’s reality’. Did this person think I was promoting a passivist, victim lifestyle of living for handouts? On the contrary, countries that look after their citizens (as the Michael Moore documentary powerfully illustrates) are the ones where people are healthier, happier, more united, and, it seems, more responsible.
Yesterday, in The Conversation, I read that 'researchers from the University of Queensland add the economic argument to the moral case for ending homelessness. It turns out it's cheaper for governments to provide supportive housing than to bear the cost of homelessness.' Read that last sentence again.
This is the common sense principle governing a world where we look after each other and 'the whole': it’s better for us spiritually, emotionally, socially, physically, economically, environmentally… If you need proof, follow the link and watch his film. If you’d love to co-create a country that does what Michael Moore is recommending and ‘steals’ the best, most humanitarian and effective ideas from around the world, say ‘aye’! Let’s start our own conversation.
And btw, if you’ve been getting caught up with Conspiracy docos, with talk of illuminati and aliens and earth changes and stocking up on food, etc., dump that lot and watch Michael Moore’s Where To Invade Next instead. You’ll come out of it inspired rather than fearful.
The film takes us to Italy, where Michael Moore is staggered to learn that the government provides something like 11 weeks of paid leave per year per worker. Employers insist that they are happy taking less profit and paying out more because they want contented, relaxed, healthy workers. Sick, tired employees are no good for the company in the long run. Women get five months of paid maternity leave because being there for the first few months of your child’s life is so important, and even the government recognises that. It’s common sense.
To France, where schools provide nutritious, balanced, home-cooked lunches for students so they develop healthy tastes in food…
To Portugal where drugs are legal and no-one is ever charged for their possession or use. (Their expert was asked if he took drugs. Sure, he said: alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, sex...) Their prison wardens recommended that America do away with the death penalty, because who has the right to take another’s life?
To Norway, where prisons, even maximum-security, respect prisoners and uphold their sense of dignity, even giving them the key to their own ‘cells’ (comfortable and home-like), and their own private showers... Murder prisoners work in the kitchen with total access to an abundance of sharp knives. Norway's rate of recidivism is 20% compared to 80% in America. Their focus is on integration of the prisoner back into society. It’s common sense.
To Slovenia, where education is free for all comers, including international students, and the standard is high.
To Finland where education is free, there’s no homework, the school day is short, they utterly reject the idea of standardised testing, they believe the purpose of education is to have fun and find what you love to do… and they have the highest education standard in the world. They also don’t have any private schools – those are outlawed. This way, the rich parents ensure that the public schools have set a high standard, and when their kids graduate, it’s alongside their lower income friends and with an understanding of their perspective. It’s common sense.
To Tunisia, where women created a revolution to assert their rights. An interviewee looked into the camera and challenged the American people to be less insular and learn more about other nations. The drawback of power, she implied, is self-centredness.
To Iceland, which had the first female president in the world, and whose only bank to survive the 2008 crash was one that was run by women. Why did they survive? Because the bottom line agreement of their female CEOs was to do nothing they didn’t understand. Women are practical, focused on the whole and on relationships. The leaders of the other banks in Iceland got their come-uppance: they ended up in prison; in the USA, the only one of the guilty bankers from the same fiasco who was imprisoned had a… wait for it… Muslim name... One Icelandish female CEO assured Michael Moore that she would never, under any circumstances, even if paid a fortune, want to live in the USA. Why? Because there was no respect or caring for one’s neighbour in America. It’s common sense.
The American dream, Michael Moore observes, is flourishing in all these other countries… Why not America?
Why not Australia? What I would love to do is create a country that ‘steals’ each one of these magnificent ideas. Anyone up for it?
[Image courtesy: david_shankbone via Visualhunt.com CC BY]