Psychological Problems

An essential pre-condition of development is an attitude of mind that recognises the value of work as a preparation for the future. Every population has people with a spectrum of attitudes from lazy indolence to hard-working activity, and much depends on the relative numbers in each category. In countries where most people are honest and hardworking thrive, whereas others remain poor, it is necessary to face the unpopular truth that the situation in many of the poorer countries is due to a general lack of a strong work and save ethic. Each day is enjoyed for its own sake, with no thought for the future. The result is that no one prepares for the future. Machines are not properly maintained and when they break down there are no spare parts available or people who know how to get them going again.

This is illustrated by the present situation in South Africa. About ten years ago it was proposed to build some nuclear power stations, but this was prevented by the opposition of the Greens, who said that all the power needed could be obtained by building windmills in the Karoo desert. The growing demand for energy has now put an unsustainable burden on the ageing power stations, and as a result frequent unannounced power cuts are a daily experience. Suddenly the lights go out and everything powered by electricity stops. The mines have had to close down, leading to serious loss of revenue. Supermarkets are paralysed, the refrigerators cut out and fish and meat have to be thrown away. The traffic lights fail, leading to traffic jams and increased risk of accidents. A power failure caused the cable car on Table Mountain to jump off the rails, stranding many passengers for several hours. Many businesses have installed emergency power generators, and the cost of this is passed on to the consumers. All this will happen before long in many well-developed countries unless their energy policies are radically changed.

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