Photo credit: MarketWatch
he most recent annual Oxfam reports on global wealth inequality have shown that in 2014, 85 people had as much wealth as half the globe’s population. In 2016, it was 64 people and in 2017, only 8 people had as much wealth 3.5 billion people. Noticing a trend? As the diabolical concentration of wealth accumulates faster and faster, into the pockets of fewer and fewer elites, should we — the consumers and the workers — fight back individually, on our devices or should we be going outside, into the streets, getting together and organizing the old fashioned way?
Is the virtual connectivity of social media and the more advanced technology we have to blame for our weakness? Or does it even matter that this is happening? The workers at corporations are still being treated like garbage in western societies. Because of things like neoliberalism, globalization, technology, migration or all of them combined but without trade unions — like there was in the 20th century — the workplace is just getting worse and worse.
Every employee is left alone to deal with a greedy boss who’s ripping them off for profit. There’s no more protection like there once was. The leverage of workers organizing is not enough anymore. Technology, offshoring and with many millions out of work already, employers are the one’s that are in control. Sure that CEO may be giving to a charity with his new profits that he got from his tax breaks but maybe he should just give his own employees raises, so that they can buy themselves groceries and pay for their own living expenses, so that they can show up to work for their employer on time with no stress and when their done their shift at the end of the day maybe they’ll give to a charity instead.
The trickle-down theory in economics doesn’t work in the real world. It only appears like a good plan on paper, especially for the businessmen, lawyers, and politicians who enact those policies. It all sounds really nice, doesn’t it? Those wealthy, intellectual entrepreneurs, with all their good business traits from building their own personal empires, will ensure that the whole community around them, even those who don’t work for them, will be kept up to snuff and be taken care of. Yeah right! What dream world are you living in?
What really happens nowadays is that the entire community deteriorates from within, the rotting social welfare state falls to pieces. Without any taxes being paid by corporations (and all the people involved in receiving the profits) as investments are made overseas in advertising and Research and Development, instead of here where all the educated workers are.
There are serious barriers to overcome in the struggle for justice, freedom, and dignity, even beyond the bitter class war conducted ceaselessly by the highly class-conscious business world with the “indispensable support” of the governments they largely control. [Norman] Ware discusses some of these insidious threats as they were understood by working people.
He reports the thinking of skilled workers in New York 170 years ago, who repeated the common view that a daily wage is a form of slavery and warned perceptively that a day might come when wage slaves “will so far forget what is due to manhood as to glory in a system forced on them by their necessity and in opposition to their feelings of independence and self-respect.” They hoped that that day would be “far distant.”
Today, signs of it are common, but demands for independence, self-respect, personal dignity, and control of one’s own work and life, like Marx’s old mole, continue to burrow not far from the surface, ready to reappear when awakened by circumstances and militant activism.
Do you remember when you were younger and you wondered what was the meaning of life? What is life? What is the reason for everything and why are we here? The world, sometimes, seems like it is a big game of Monopoly… We’re all playing with our fake, made up money and the fake private properties we’ve build on a big old dusty board, which seems to have been around forever, like it’s all just “the way it is.” Who made that choice for humanity, I’d like to know. Who directed us on this path, I’d like to figure that out.
We should have a new game of Monopoly… My idea is a little bit more educational though. When you buy a new piece of land in my version, you have to see all the murdered and starved Africans, Muslims, Indigenous and homeless people who were in the way of your development—in the way of your profits—so that you could have your space on the board. That’s exactly what’s happening in the world right now with the clash of corporations and the dash for resourceful land. All genocides, ever committed by man since the industrial revolution, are products of economic disparity. Even before the eighteenth century there was genocide but it was different because they were done by direct instruction of a King or a Queen. Nowadays it’s the people committing these crimes. Remember, the people are in control.
Lately I don’t care about a lot of things that I used to care about a lot. It’s really noticeable… I hardly shower or shave, my hair is really long, my room is trashed, haven’t done my laundry in like forever, haven’t kept up with anyone except my roommate, don’t want to play games or watch anything. So ya, I’m in this weird creative rut and I don’t feel the slightest bit ashamed of it. I’m immersed in research and history that I can’t even process what’s happening around me for the most part.
Yet I feel more tapped in with reality than the majority of people around me. It’s common knowledge that technological advances, for example the smart phone—regardless of the benefits—have really made a dumb population. We suck in this useless information all the time which is literally designed to convince you that miracles happen. Most articles and reports, disguised as studies or news, are actually advertisements paid by companies to bring in more customers.
Now, if we lived in a socialist world this wouldn’t be so bad since there wouldn’t be a need to convince people to buy anything, and because the wealth would always circulate fluidly between the workers and consumers. In a socialist world our money wouldn’t get locked up in a vault where bankers can decide how much they charge you to hold your money or will we live in a world where fictional wealth is made out of debt of other people. The amount of money which bankers make is ludicrous — since all they do is transfer money.
You wouldn’t be surprised that in a capitalist world, like the one we live in now, the one’s holding onto the money take advantage of the situation to make themselves more wealthy even though they aren’t doing anything. Think about what something is. Like the usefulness of a product. Mankind obviously has to make certain things to survive but there’s so much which has been invented which we don’t need. It was just created to make profits. We’re just told in advertisements that we need them. And since the corporations are in control, we believe them. So in a commodity based reality where everything is actually useful, the transfer of one person’s money to another person—buy a product for example—wouldn’t create any additional, made up, wealth. I mean come on, all you’re doing is buying something from someone else… A third party shouldn’t “profit” off of your transaction. What did they do? Nothing.
I use this example to try to show that our money is completely, 100% fake. The labels are all fake. The companies are fake. It’s all fake! The only substance in it, are these super-wealthy billionaires who live so selfishly that they literally seclude themselves from the people who made their money for them. If Bill Gates didn’t have his workers at Microsoft, he wouldn’t be the richest man in the world right now. And if Mr. Gates and his elite-posse did spend their money the right way, then there wouldn’t be a global economic recession right now and an environmental collapse wouldn’t be *just* around the corner.
If Mr. Gates, with his eighty five billion dollars, spent his money instead of saving it for his children, there wouldn’t be any third world countries. If billionaires helped the people who got them where they are now, then this would be a wonderful world. The world would be a better place if everyone understood and believed in socialism. Real socialism. No doubt about it. Trying to explain socialism to someone who’s never learned anything about it before, in a short sentence is almost impossible.
I think that’s why it was so easy for the “masters of mankind” to convince workers that socialism was bad. Even though it was the only system thought-up with the workers in mind. I have made this my ultimate mission in life, if I die and the world is still how it is now, then I never did anything good. Period.
Examples of socialism are everywhere you look: Employment insurance, retirement, public services, health care… The list goes on and on. Cooperatives for example… If everyone was working in a cooperative, with no boss or shareholders getting millions of dollars while the majority get under a living wage (poverty), then the world would be a better place. Think about it, if every private corporation was a cooperative, there would be no need for governments anymore. Governments really are just the middle-men between workers and employers. If there was no exploitation, then there wouldn’t have to be elected bureaucrats to regulate everything. If the relationship between bourgeoisie and proletariat was understood throughout society, then there wouldn’t be a need for leaders or parties anymore.
The basis of human society is going to work. That’s it. What’s the meaning of life? To work. If every community had a fair distribution of shelter, goods and services, and no one was getting shafted by their boss, then the world would function properly. As it should. That’s what the French revolution was about. Like I said before, many Europeans understand all of this much better than continental Americans. Without the revolution in France, democracy like we have today wouldn’t even exist. Once the American revolution happened though, everything changed. Since the US had a revolution, then I guess the rest of the world doesn’t have to…
By the mid 1970’s, enough laws were enacted in the US and the undoing the New Deal began. Real financial inequality like what we know today, started to show up for the first time and the introduction of the billionaire resulted. Ever wonder how those gilded entrepreneurs got so rich? They started keeping all their profits, instead of paying their workers fairly. Then with globalization, everything blew up.
How the people allowed this to happen in the US… This is a topic for a Generation X, not a Millennial like me. Since I was born in 1989, after the Cold War, I don’t know what it was really like in the conscripted days of the 70’s and 80’s. I’m sure there was violent oppression during the Cold War which kept Westerners mouth’s shut about alternatives to capitalism. The only critique of capitalism is socialism. So to live during the Cold War and the American Red Scare, without the Internet like we have now… I don’t know if any of them even knew what they were buying into at the time. Since it became mainstream to pursue selfish desire in the pursuit of the American Dream.
How can anyone say they did any good while billions of people were starving on the other side of the planet? When bombs and bullets are killing off people who just want to farm they’re land? How nice it is for us to live in these lavish gated and fenced off continents in the west. Protected with our military from the rest of the world. The heathens. As we live our lives in constant numbness, our governments desecrate other civilizations so that we can live like kings up on a shining hill. The true struggle of modern time is getting past the charade—the media. The media is supposed to be a public service, distributing news and so on. But the media is just a company. It’s the spokesman for the wealthiest of people. The media is western propaganda. It IS corporate propaganda.
Those 8 people, as well as the 1,810 billionaires that are alive today, are the reason why the world is so messed up. All the blame is not on them, but a lot of it is. They are just people, playing along like the rest of us… The special thing about them is that they are the living symbols of our greedy ideology. If those privately wealthy people are richer than half the planet, that means that half the planet has no opportunity to make any income. It’s all locked up in some Swiss bank account. Think about it: If one person has something, other people can’t have it. Money, and the value of the denominations and currencies of money, obviously changes very often. The simple fact that individual affluence for the super rich prevents the rest of us, the remaining 7 billion people, from making the money that they have. So we are victims of their law; their kindness and their ruthlessness.
We need a new dream to pursue. With Google Maps — aerial and satellite images — we can see with our own eyes the destruction and genocide our lifestyles are causing abroad. We can literally see the devastation and filth that they have to deal with. What kind of monsters are we? What gives us the right?
We’re so spoiled and brainwashed. So desensitized by everything. Only cataclysmic events seem to direct our progress now. We all seem to like the fact that our children (Generation Z) and our grand-children will not have a planet to enjoy like we do. If we all re-winded to the 40’s and we remembered what happened to the environment in the twentieth century and we remembered all the species we made extinct with our energy production—then what kind of world would we live in today?
Keep in mind that one century of lavish western living and greedy money-making bankers, and just look at what we have done to this planet! We cannot predict if the air will be breathable, if the bees will still pollinate or if the sun’s rays will still be shielded from us in a decade — yet we go on like what we are doing isn’t having any real effect. We see the facts. We see the statistics.
What’s stopping us? It’s those 8 people and the rest of the billionaires. It’s all the greedy, affluent citizens at the top who refuse to contribute fairly to their society who are holding us back. As long as we continue to believe in their superiority, they will remain superior. As long as we believe in their money, their products and their right to unlimited profits, we will all stay poor.♦♦