Monday, 23 August 2010

'The Sheep Look Up'

Recently reading John Brunner's excellent dystopic/ecological disaster novel (written in 1974), "The Sheep Look Up', I was struck by its continuing contemporary resonance, particularly, regarding corporate interest and the failure of government to properly challenge this self-interest (something we have recently witnessed in Australian politics, for example, with the Emissions Trading Scheme and mining tax). Take the following small extract:

Page: ...Most people have the impression that since the passage of the Environment Acts things have taken a turn for for the better.
Quarrey: I'm afraid this seems to be - uh - an optical illusion, so to speak. For one thing, the Acts don't have enough teeth. One can apply for all kinds of postponements, exemptions, stays of execution, and of course companies which would have their profits shaved by complying with the new regulations use every possible means to evade them. And the other point is that we aren't being as watchful as we used to be. There was a brief flurry of anxiety a few years ago, and the Environment Acts were introduced, as you said, and ever since then we have been sitting back assuming the situation was being taken care of, although it isn't...
p. 32., Brunner, Arrow Edition, 1984

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