I've been trying to find some time to post for a while now. It's not easy, with the whole wide internet available to distract me. (Erm, I wrote this BEFORE that last one... lots of ferry rides lately!)
Fortunately, the fates saw my situation and were kind enough to put me in the perfect position; over an hour of sitting around, with my laptop, and no Wifi in sight. I do have all the lovely movies I downloaded, but, being the smart, resourceful gal I am, forgot my headphones. Oops.
It's all good, though. One long ferry ride of writing to go!
I was standing in the lunch line the other day when I heard this quote: “Anyone under 20 who isn't a socialist has no heart. Anyone over 30 who isn't a capitalist, has no brain.”
Well well! Just a little cynical. It originated, obviously, with one of the girl's wealthy father. “It makes sense,” she explained. “When you're young, you have no money, so you want things like health care and equality. When you're older, you have all the stuff and you don't want to share it.”
It does make sense. I don't like it, though – it says something rather terrible about human nature. Rather true, too – we're selfish little beings. I hope that if I ever become wealthy, I can get over my own greed and share my fortune around a little. My parents are fairly socialist, of course, but they've never been wealthy so the issue has never come up!
Wealth is a bit of a trap, I think. Funny, but there's no such thing as rich enough. The poor want to be middle class. The middle class want to be wealthy. The rich want to be richer. The richer want to be the richest.
Let's look at McDonald's. (This is a little inspired because I recently watched the McLibel video.) They're rich. Hugely rich. Hugely successful. However, to imagine buying better grade food to encourage healthy eating? Forget it! They'd lose profit! Buying meat that isn't a product of animal cruelty? Profit loss. Be more eco-friendly? Profit loss. Paying decent wages? Profit loss.
However, when you're a massive, internationally successful company – how much does a little profit loss mean? A lot of money, but not a lot of damage to the company. The shareholders would still be able to live in luxury.
But that's not how it works. We suffer. The generation of tomorrow suffers. The animals suffer. The environment suffers. All so some chumps in suits can drive Hummers and live in mansions.
And no, it's not as simple as just not buying McDonald's food – they're everywhere, and when you send your cute little 6 year old to kindergarten and she sees all her friends eating this stuff, she's going to want to too. Nagging is a favorite in the marketing industry – why do you think they advertise to children so much? Most adults with money would much rather eat somewhere else (sushi, anyone? It's just as affordable!) but the spoiled kids of today don't make that easy.
(Yes, my generation is SO spoiled – raised on videogames and junk food and a ridiculously dumbed-down school system.)
This is what makes communism so attractive. You'd think there should be a level of “rich enough”. Two kids, a dog, an SUV and a townhome in a nice area?
I'm not a communist. Like the NDP, it's attractive but doesn't work.
I don't think capitalism really works either, though. It's all well and good if you're wealthy, but for the poor and the working middle class, it's not so great. If you want ultimate power in today's world, you don't need charisma or intelligence or even a good game plan. All it takes is a lot of money.
And it really has taken us over. People don't care about people anymore. Scraps of paper are worth more. Even the legal system is all about rewarding the rich. Oh sure, we have justice – for the wealthy. If you don't come with a bulging wallet, all you can do is hope for compassion.
Hopefully one day we'll get a new system. Someone will change things sooner or later. First, though, we need a socialist.... with some money.