Friday, November 28, 2008

Australian poems

After a good brunch panini and talk at the Animal Orchestra, I have spent this Friday afternoon struggling with my article due for presentation in NYC in February. On one hand, having so much time on my hands is good since it allows tentative thinking instead of just rash writing, on the other hand, every post-graduate student knows how delicate the balance is between thinking and procrastination.

As of today, 27 days remain of my overseas adventure. Beyond the latte rafting, the rigorous physical exercise and the violet radiant light, I think the ability to read again will be the defining memory of Australia, everything from the Economist to novels and poetry.

Where once the words were slotted into
the cold mnemonics of a dictionary, they

now more than ever make their dirigible
escape into the wide blue, somehow strange

Reading the poem Defroster by Danny Gentile and then, in a sudden shift in moods, Dagens Nyheter on the results from the so called “långtidsutredningen” (roughly “the Swedish long-term planning commission study”). As before, these reports show how frustratingly incapable most economists are of imaginative thinking. Not only are the recommendations (like the introduction of student fees) short-sighted but the report also fails to see the possibilities of our historical situation. This autistic inability to understand the bigger picture is reflected in everything from migration to the mitigation of climate change (where for instance the report could have realized that pension funds, with their longer investments cycles, are uniquely equipped to invest in emerging post-carbon technologies).

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