How to make the “cost of living” debate less moronic
AAP
Well, as it turns out, this election is all about cost of living.

But the cost of living should be about so much more than economic data. It should be about the cost of being able to live on this planet. Not only would it make the cost-of-living conversation less moronic (“what’s the price of milk?”), it would make the choices in this election much more stark.

This week, a listener to one of the podcasts that we publish (The Chaser Report Election Edition) wrote to let me know that an advertiser on the podcast was plugging gas appliances on our show.

This was news to me — our advertisements are stitched to the podcast programmatically (which seems to just mean “by a computer program”).

Of course, how is a computer supposed to know about the ruinous effect that fossil fuel gas (so-called “natural gas”) has on our planet? It doesn’t. But luckily, I do and so I went through the laborious process of ticking a few boxes. In future, gas appliances have a smaller chance of being hawked on our show.

A brief ad:

Of course, this came at a cost to us. The more advertisers you reject (and there are so many worthy of that honour), the smaller your cheque at the end of the month.

But our attitude has always been that when you’re calculating cost of living, it’s important to take into account not just the money at the end of the month, but also, whether your planet will be liveable in the near future. That is literally a cost of being able to live.

Then, the next day, I was contacted directly by a colleague. He has been helping us try and come up with a way to solve our “cost of living” pressures. “How about sports gambling? You opposed to that too?”

I’ve heard about the amount of money available from sports betting companies. It’s amazing how much money companies can make if their business model is about stripping cash primarily from the poor and lonely using methods designed to induce addiction.

Taking a big sponsorship from a gambling company would, it turns out, solve our narrowly defined “cost of living” issues at The Shot and The Chaser. But it would severely increase the cost of living with oneself.

But perhaps more saliently, it’s also a step further away from making this planet liveable into the future. The planet’s climate and the people who live in it are integrally linked. A society that supercharges the infliction of misery on the vulnerable has no hope of achieving the consciousness and solidarity required to push back against the oligarchs, the autocrats and, even the hawkers of shiny gas appliances. To use a favourite cliche of the past few years, we’re in this together.

We live in a climate that is heating up. Not just literally. As the planet burns and prices soar, the climate of militarism is also getting very muggy. The man-boys who run the world have started to pick up their toys and turn to war, rather than face the cost of what they’ve done to this planet.

The only way forward is a true accounting of the cost of living. There is zero chance you’ll hear about it in the next three weeks. “Let’s make this an existential question of survival” doesn’t neatly fit into a small-target strategy. Unfortunately, those issues will still be there in four weeks. And let’s make sure those costs of living are front and centre of the discussion over the next three years, and indeed, next three decades.

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Charles Firth
WRITTEN BY

twitter: @charlesfirth

IMAGE CREDIT: AAP
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