The story of the errant business owner who absconded with over $10 million has captivated news audiences in an otherwise quiet week. But the incident is deeply troubling in that it also reflects something of the nature of a society in which consumption and short term gain are idolised at the expense of industry, thrift and common sense.
Although the purpetrators have a three week head start on the Police, the fact that they made no attempt to cover their tracks would tend to suggest that their foolish escapade will be short-lived. It is reported that one of the group has even been bragging about her exploits on a social media site. Perhaps this information is a cleverly planted red herring; but that is giving them way too much credit for intelligence. So it leaves us to ask what drives an individual to such desperation. Surely Mr Gao must realise that his days as a playboy millionaire are numbered? Will a few weeks of idol leisure be worth the several years of imprisonment that will almost certainly follow?
I think the answer to that question lies deeply ingrained in the fabric of our society. We live in a heavily consumerist world in which (empowered by marketing) short term satisfaction and easy credit prevail over wise personal choices and old fashioned hard work. In fact, part of the blame for the present economic crisis lies with those that gave in to the overtures of banks and realtors and who overly extended themselves financially because of a desire to clamber aboard the property pyramid. One only needs to look at the rapid rise in the numbers of mortgagee sales to understand where that road has led.
Last week I wrote about the lack of vision. That short-coming is not only the domain of government. As a society we must all begin to think more about sustainability and building enduring economic wealth. For most of us, in the absence of a $10 million windfall, this is the only path to prosperity.
Mayor Banks Gaff Embarrases Technopreneurs
Last week I attended the XMediaLab event in Auckland at the kind invitation of the organisers. XmediaLab is a highly polished global networking and workshop event aimed at digital media entrepreneurs. Many of the international guests are successful investors and entrepreneurs themselves and they are all highly articulate and thoroughly interesting people to hear speaking. So it was in that context that I was hugely embarrassed for all New Zealanders when Auckland Mayor John Banks stood up to address the opening event on Thursday evening.
Banks was clearly out of his depth and had obviously not been properly briefed as to the purpose of the event. His “off the cuff” speech was appallingly condescending towards the event organiser and his pathetic attempts at humour were cringeful to say the least. He obviously completely missed the point that the event was about building international connections, not belittling them. We can only hope that the offence will quickly be forgotten and that with the support of NZ Trade & Enterprise we will see the event return to our shores in 2010. But…perhaps not to Auckland. Enough said.