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Readers Response - Legacies of a ‘golden age’

I READ with interest your comments and articles (WA Business News, August 31) on the resources boom, and in some ways I think that we are living in a golden age. So what do I mean by a golden age? The golden age is not a larger house and a bigger boat. It’s not a percentage of the gross profits. This is all tangible and materialistic. The golden age is a time ripe with opportunities and legacies. It is a time when we can teach our children to aspire to many possibilities, not just what society believes is the next short-term need. One moment we need more scientists, then its more mathematicians, now it’s engineers; and always, we need more doctors. Yet through all this there is a constant need; someone to explain the human condition in all its seeming contradictions and complexities, someone who engages with people as society, someone who inspires us not to seek refuge in the known but delight in exploring the unknown. The glue and fabric of our society are the people who give us a sense of place and belonging. They are the tellers of a tale, the holders of a tune, the fashioners of an image, the makers, the connectors, the dream weavers, the interpreters of our condition and the questioners of our very existence. The support of such folk is an investment in a healthy society, not one that is self satisfied, complacent, insular and ultimately incapable of change and difference. So how do we help this cultural sector to flourish and create that vibrancy which Perth and Western Australia deserve? Are archaic licensing laws, ‘risk averse’ decision making, poverty of aspiration and manicured heritage precincts really the legacy we wish to leave future generations? Seemingly we have no burning bed issue to galvanise us into action – one could say that we live in the land of the lotus eaters. While crisis demands an immediate response, lost opportunities are something to be regretted at a later date, by another generation. However, I do believe that we have an obligation to look beyond the short-term prosperity enjoyed by some of us. What are we, as a government, business sector and individuals, doing to maximise the potential legacy of this window of opportunity, this golden age? Now, there’s a discussion to be had. Henry Boston - Australia Business Arts Foundation, state manager WA

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