Business as usual – Trends-Tendances on PC

The long term has never been a concern for our democratic societies. We’ve all been anticipating the 2050 retirement challenge for over 20 years, but who is really ready to change their habits to prepare for 2050? Everyone will always find someone better off than themselves, someone richer or a beneficiary of a more favorable retirement plan to justify the status quo on its own. In a completely different register, from police meetings to IPCC reports, we see the climate risks for 2030 and beyond. But who is ready to cut back on their comforts to maintain 2030? We all see a more polluting or a more energy consuming to our…

The long term has never been a concern for our democratic societies. We’ve all been anticipating the 2050 retirement challenge for over 20 years, but who is really ready to change their habits to prepare for 2050? Everyone will always find someone better off than themselves, someone richer or a beneficiary of a more favorable retirement plan to justify the status quo on its own. In a completely different register, from police meetings to IPCC reports, we see the climate risks for 2030 and beyond. But who is ready to cut back on their comforts to maintain 2030? We all see a more polluting or a more energy consuming one to justify our status quo. Today there are emergencies, right before our eyes. They will become a reality in a few months and not in a decade or more. They are of very different orders, but unfortunately encounter the same resistance. Urgency alone is not enough to unblock the locks and break the routine of normalcy. For example, you might think that if inflation gets so high that we have up to six wage indexations in one year (this is the Bureau du Plan’s estimate), the debate about automatic indexation would be a bit more nuanced. But no, revising the modus operandi of this Belgian specificity with, for example, a limit on indexations remains a taboo for the trade union bank. And a pity if, as CEO of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises Pieter Timmermans puts it, such wage increases in a few months would be “a tragedy for the competitive position of companies” and could wreak havoc on our recovering economy. In a completely different register, we see a threat emerging for our gas supply. This winter we may no longer be able to heat the buildings as we are used to. The deadline is dangerously close. And do you think that changes anything? When the bosses of the three largest French energy companies call for sobriety and affirm that “every gesture counts” to reduce our consumption, they receive nothing but chuckles and shrugs. Such as the International Energy Agency when last spring called for measures such as lowering the speed limits on our roads or reducing car-free Sundays. Business as usual. To try and find solutions, our leaders like to turn to the experts. The academics then get wet for an explosive tax reform or for purchasing power as others got wet yesterday for the pension reform (this goes back to the Di Rupo government…). To see how the proposals are subsequently swept away, one gets the painful impression that these expert reports serve mainly to save time, even downright to justify inaction. The parties soon set themselves up like ramparts against such and such a suggestion: “Look at these horrors you avoided thanks to us!”. This will serve as a balance for them at the only moment that matters in the political world, that of the next election. Meanwhile, the Belgian car is driving towards the wall, even several walls, and nobody dares to turn the wheel for fear of being too unpleasant for their constituents.

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