Tuesday 6 December 2011

Solving Slums With a Big Wall

I live in a small, cheap apartment in a nice suburb.
Across one road are a bunch of government flats where junkies dwell, and across another road is a primary school where they have chickens.

It may not immediately seem like it, but this is an absolute triumph of cultural understanding, and someone, somewhere deserves a high five.

You see, in all cities there are rich and poor people, and as the rich people don’t really like to hang around the poor people they get them to live in one area, which becomes a slum and a Mecca for crime (does the term 'Mecca for crime' seem a bit racist? I should look into that).  Even places with a relatively wealthy populace like Sydney, have the ‘Western Suburbs’ where you get a bunch of street crimes like drive by shootings.

Some places even have gated communities.  Apparently these people encountered the problem that when they looked out their windows they could see people living in abject poverty, so they came up with the obvious solution: Build a big wall around your house.

Solved forever.

In Canberra someone decided that the ‘wall’ solution may not have been getting to the crux of the problem, so they decided that all suburbs, whether they were relatively more or less expensive, would have a portion of government and cheap housing.  Furthermore these flats would be located as close as possible to primary schools and local shops.

It seems crazy putting your junkies right next to your children, but it actually fucking works!
One child in a dark alley is a liability, but if you add another 200 kids, suddenly the place is a carnival.

All cities have bad areas and nice areas, but by mixing them together the average level of the place actually goes up.

Remember that fact as it will come up later in the test.

Now, in my experience of cheap housing there are three distinct types of people.

First there are people of low socio-economic status with low levels of education, whom for the sake of clarity will hereafter be referred to as bogans.  These people make up most of the unemployed, alcoholic, drug –users and are generally unfriendly.

Then there are the university students, who are pretty nervous about all the bogans, but seem to enjoy having a place of their own.  This group includes me, and we pretty much just keep to ourselves.

The third group is people who have immigrated to Australia.  These people often have children who play outside in the gardens.  They are the only people who say ‘hello’ to you, and are generally about the nicest people around.

Now, it’s become apparent to me that a lot of (white) Australians are actually against immigration.


Okay, first things first:
Everyone immigrated to Australia.

Some people came here a very long time ago, but everyone else came here about 1 to 6 generations ago.
These people who are against immigration claim that the fact that they’ve been in Australia for multiple generations has absolved them of the sin of migration, but does that make any sense?

If I tell you that my family has six generations of paedophiles, does that make my becoming a paedophile all good?  Of course not! Either paedophilia is wrong or it isn’t. It doesn’t matter how long ago you established the practice into your life.
As such, either immigration is wrong or not, and the fact that everyone, especially those who’re against immigration ARE ACTUALLY IMMIGRANTS, it would have to be fine.

(btw, I’m not actually a paedophile.)

The fear of immigration seems to be rooted around the idea that immigrants will take jobs from natives.  I was going to have a good think about this and try to crack the issue, but instead I decided to google “immigration and unemployment”. 

I read the first 5 articles, all of which were discussing different statistical reports that unanimously stated no correlation could be found between increased immigration and native unemployment.

Well, that was pretty easy: immigration doesn’t take jobs from natives.  Next.

The other anti-immigration argument is that immigrants won’t integrate into the Australian culture and community.
Every society in history has experienced immigration of other cultures, and basically every time a group of different people have gotten together it has formed a stronger homogenous culture.
In fact all the most successful cultures have been based on integration. 
Look at Rome, the place was a crucible of all the cultures in the known world, and it formed one of the strongest empires in history.  It invented mainstream Christianity, for Christ's sake.
Look at American culture, which is now permeating the globe.  It’s the product of a myriad of customs and cultures coming together. 
American music is a trillion dollar industry and it all came from a bunch of African slaves with second hand instruments.

Plus don’t we like multiculturalism?

Don’t let the ‘uniquely rural and down-to-earth’ image of Australia fool you. 
75% of the work force is in the service sector, as compared to 3.6% in agriculture and 21% in Industry.

For every 1 person working on a farm there are about 21 people working in offices, schools and shops. This is the real Australian community; people living in cities.
And the culture of Australia is practically identical with every other 1st world, globalised city on earth.

Australian culture is you and me, the people who're interested in experiencing new culture.

So far all these arguments are just things that people who’re against immigration say, what they really feel is this:
Australia is a lot richer and nicer than most of the world, so if we throw our borders open and let anyone in, we’ll average out worse than before.

Perhaps this is true, but what did we learn from the city planning example?

Was it productive to keep the nice areas nice, and let the bad areas turn into slums?

Did that make for a good, safe place to live?

If we utilise the good areas to dilute the bad areas we can make a place where segregation becomes unnecessary.

Instead of building a big wall around our country, perhaps we should man up, and have the balls to lend a fucking hand.

You got that, dickhead?