We Can And Should Do Better…

Posted: April 25, 2012 in Social Justice & Equality, Uncategorized

 by Rokk Lattanzio

 My new business partner and I have pledged to direct a minimum of 10% of any future profits made by Lattanzio Audio into a fund specifically set up to target the problems of disadvantaged youth at grass roots, local levels.

 We are arts orientated people so we believe in using the power of the arts to affect positive societal changes. During my ten years in Los Angeles I did some volunteer work and I witnessed first hand the way at risk kids going through one particular program turned their lives around. That wonderful after school Arts Programs program was run by a great organisation called Inside Out Community Arts, the program was designed to address the problems of disadvantaged youth by building self esteem and the ability to communicate…… get more info here:

 http://www.insideoutca.org/

It’s my hope that in the not too distant future we will be able to fund a similar organisation in Melbourne.

 Another related area we want to draw attention to is poverty in Australia, or more precisely the the ever increasing disparity in the distribution of wealth. For example some recent TV ads by Mining Groups would have us believe that the current mining boom benefits all Australians, that there is a trickle down effect.

 The stark reality and statistics however tell a different story. If the trickle down effect is happening at all, then it’s trickling at a rate that’s far too slow and all the cream is definitely being scooped off the top… In reality the number of Australians living below the poverty line is increasing?

 “National data collected under both Labour and Liberal governments reveal there are more than 105,000 Australians living homeless or in marginal accommodation on any given night. This data isn’t invented: it’s awfully factual. The most recent figures from the Australian Council of Social Service confirms that around 2.2 million Australians are living in poverty. At 11 per cent of the population, that’s a serious problem in anyone’s language.” Sydney Morning Herald… Read more:  http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/no-lies-no-inventions–poverty-in-australia-is-awfully-real-20110127-1a6yy.html#ixzz1t0qp9BEC

 It’s not just about homelessness and those at the bottom echelon of society, many Australian families are just hanging in there or slipping below the poverty line. This is at time when more Australians than ever are enjoying the spoils of great wealth. World history has shown us that when the disparity in wealth is allowed to grow unchecked for too long there are serious repercussions and often violent, protests or even revolutions.

 The worlds most powerful western nation the USA, has the developed western world’s highest disparity in wealth with 20% of the population living in poverty. But Australia is slowly catching up with the current level at around 11-12%.

 In contrast Norway has the lowest level at 3% yet we continue to follow the USA’s lead in the way we do business and handle social security. Why do we insist on modelling a broken system? Why are we not asking ourselves what countries like Norway are doing differently?

 In a similar fashion to Australia’s (with our current mining boom), Norway has accumulated wealth courtesy of exploiting natural resources (massive oil reserves in their case). The difference is they seem to be doing a much better job of distributing the wealth than Australia is (and infinitely better than the USA ever has). 

 Perhaps it’s time for our nation to stop making the same mistakes the US has made; creating and encouraging a dog eat dog, winner takes all business models and mentality. Perhaps it would be better for Australia in the long term to nurture and develop a more empathetic society that spreads the wealth in a more equitable, sustainable and humane fashion? If you agree please share this thought and try to put into practice whenever an opportunity presents itself.

 For those who may be wondering why this post is appearing on our Lattanzio Audio blog the answer is simply; It’s a cause that’s close to my heart and an issue I truly believe spawns many (perhaps most) of the serious problems in so called advanced societies. Especially where child poverty and disadvantage is concerned.

 In short I believe any city or nation that allows these circumstances to exist has a long way to go in order to become a truly democratic society with genuine equality in terms of rights and opportunity. But that does not mean there are not wonderful people everywhere trying to stimulate positive change: I just feel we can do a lot better

 So I can’t launch a new business and not work in a way to help the cause; even before the business makes it’s first dollar I want to have a system in place that ensures we give a little back and I’m thankful that my friend and new business partner Rob Hornbuckle is like-minded.

 Shundahai 

Rokk Lattanzio

 


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