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China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

View from Above

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So, I am the enemy.  I am white, I am priveleged, and I actively participate in the motor of the capitalist machine.  My business is buying and selling stocks.  I profit from the labor of the proletariat.  When there’s a strike because workers feel that they are not being compensated appropriately for their efforts, my capital encourages the management of a business to snub it out.  The end result is just as Marx explained.  The strike generally fails to yield the desired results, and I profit at the expense of those who were desparate enough to leave their jobs, forfeit their pay, and risk starvation in the hope of gaining more hourly pay and more healthcare benefits. 

Of course, this is not all that I do.  I also infuse start-up biotech companies with capital so that they can find cures for terminal diseases.  I give money to alternative energy companies so they can reduce the use of coal, oil, and gasoline. 

My business is completely amoral.  Sometimes I make money at the expense of other people’s suffering, sometimes I make it and benefit others in the process.  Regardless, I make money. 

I’m sure that makes some of you reading this angry.  To tell you the truth it makes me angry with myself.  I am in the midst of an ongoing battle within myself.  On the one side I have a philosophical voice that says “you are not using your intelligence to benefit those around you and that is not acceptable.  You are simultaneously reducing your own contentment with life because you enjoy helping those in need and that is not where your focus lies.”  On the other side, I have a practical voice that says “you are currently becoming educated on the way the economics of the world work, and you are creating wealth for yourself in the process.  You can subsequently use the knowledge and wealth you create to help those in need in a more meaningful way down the road.”  I don’t know which path is the right path.  I don’t know if there  is a right path, but I do believe that I have gained an insight into privelege and why the wealth gap continues to grow instead of shrink.  Given that seems to be the topic of conversation of late on this blog I will participate from my vantage point.

The problem, as I’m sure you are all aware, is that the people with wealth do not come into contact with those without it, and even when they do, rarely is there a meeting of the minds.  When a company is going to fire a bunch of people they say “we’re restructuring.”  Rarely does anyone talk about what that really means, all investors want to know is how much cost will be taken out of the business.  So, would the wealth base change drastically if investors were forced to witness the squalor that a group of laid of mining workers live in.  Unfortunately, I doubt it.  I think investors would say I’m sorry, maybe make a donation to a charitable organization to make themselves feel better, and then encourage the company to continue so that the managers and the investors could both increase their wealth.  So what would reduce the gap between the haves and the have nots? 

You educate the have nots and provide them the skills to advance.  I should clarify, obviously this will not work in countries where power creates wealth and not vice versa.  I am talking about capitalist societies only.  I know what you anti-capitalists, you idealists, and you revolutionaries are thinking.  “Education is not enough, education is inherently unequal anyway.”  If that is your answer, I challenge you to create a revolutionary idea that is practical enough to significantly change the world for the better.  In all seriousness, I will take up your cause should you find an idea so special.  Until then, please indulge me.  What has happened is that the masses feel so outside of the culture that the elite has created, they have created their own culture.  It is a culture like that of the elite in many ways.  The most enterprising people have created wealth for themselves.  They have generated wealth through illegal means, like drug sales and pimping because they are not afforded an opportunity to particpate in the elitist forms of wealth creation.  They must defend their wealth with their own power which means with their own guns and gangs because the government is not going to help them defend it as they do for the elite.  I propose that the government legalizes drugs and prostitution.  They can use the billions employeed in the fruitless hunt of slangers and pimps to subsidize healthcare, build houses, control rent, etc.  Then they can tax the drug and prositution trades that they now control and the revenue dollars can go to a new type of education.  It can go to the education of making money.  The enterprising youths of the sub-culture who now can no longer sell drugs and pimp whores can be taught to make money like their hawkish, elitist counterparts in the worlds of finance and big business.  Wealth creation within the underpriveleged has the potential to create a mouthpiece for the impoverished and neglected.  Wealth, as we all know, creates power. 

Obviously, this exasperates another problem, namely the imperialistic nature of capitalistic countries who exploit low cost countries for their labor, but I will leave that for another day.

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Written by bianj

May 17, 2007 at 9:57 pm

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