Category Archives: Economy and Labour

That hand isn’t really invisible. They just need to pull it back out of their trousers.

Bull’s in your Eye

An article came through the feed today that gave a thought-spasm. 😉

It’s unbelievable to me how a person can actually think that cutting funding to under-performing schools makes even the most ignorant kind of sense. There seems to be a large contingent of people who react this way to just about every issue. Screw them over! Punish them! That’ll teach ’em!

To me it speaks to the colonial, religulous mindset we’ve inherited of punishing the undeserving and rewarding those who are supposedly good, in the name of control. It’s the breeding ground of abuse and the core mechanism of stratification. In fact, it ultimately caters to those who are willing to abuse, cheat or lie and cover their tracks. Such is the case with any and every system that tries to dole out rewards rather than making intrinsic rewards be understood and letting them do their work.

Competition can sometimes garner certain benefits, but usually at great expense. When you build a culture complete with social narratives that teach people to aim at B while trying to trick them into hitting A, you are setting yourself up for failure. What will happen is that they will get ever better at hitting B, and you will be endlessly expending your energy trying to figure out how to get them to hit A again. Eventually they learn not only how to get better at hitting B, but also how to undermine your attempts to reroute them until eventually they are completely out of your control.

With capitalism, B is the acquisition of wealth and A is actual public benefit.

With parenting, B is external rewards of material things or even praise itself, and A is the reward of being a well adjusted person.

With crime, B is the punishment of supposed wrong doers, and A is the society the corrects and heals its own ills.

And, with education, B is both the acquisition of grades by the student or the financial success of a school, and A is the creation of life-long learners with critical thinking skills who are prepared for the future and the existence of institutions that promote them.

In each case we assume that each B is a perfect and nearly identical proxy for A, and in each case it’s plain to see with the slightest critical examination we are dead wrong. Instead of seeing it, we opt for sliding the goal post, justifying and maintaining our current view against brain-shattering cognitive dissonance, usually exemplified by hostile defensiveness.

As Robert A. Heinlein wrote: “Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal”

I don’t know all of the hows and whats, and I don’t have a perfectly crafted solution, but it does seem apparent to me that we need to give up all of our “invisible hands” and the “fallen nature of man” notions that we still seem to be unwittingly clinging to.

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One Theory to Fool Them All

I’m glad for a post I can follow over on Unlearning Economics. I’m not formally trained in economics by any means, but I’m passionate about the subject in general. I have spent many, many hours listening to talks, reading books (Moshe Adler for one) and spend many hours in thought, deducing what I can. I understand the basic subject matter. It’s just the academic jargon that trips me up once in a while, but it is an excellent blog. (Another is IDOA)

Given the fact that I am a self-proclaimed layperson on the subject, it’s very disturbing to me to see the kind of cognitive short-cuts and presumptions that are being made by people who are supposed to be much smarter than I am. It seems very obvious to me that some have become too immersed in the rhetoric of our economic systems to see that they’ve made very specious and dangerous assumptions. This post seems to highlight one of many; Basically that economists presume and are largely focused on one, unifying theory of markets to the exclusion of considering that it may not be possible. Several sensible objections are given.

As for my own thoughts on it, I think there is a disconnect. When I try to call it out the problems with economic thought myself, it seems like it triggers a strawmen misrepresentation in their minds of an overly emotional simpleton who is just grossly naive, but I won’t let it stop me here.

What I would say is that they have lost track of what money and economies are supposed to represent, and what they are supposed to do for us. In fact the thought of them even doing something for us (99%) has become an absurd and blasphemous notion. They are supposed to be secondary concepts; proxies for more practical mechanics and material ends for the good of all, but now we have displaces them with their proxies. This ideas have apparently become worthy of ridicule. It’s obvious to me, that we are now serving markets and wealth for the sake of markets and wealth. This has twisted the discourse on the subject. In fact, the service of markets and wealth has itself become a proxy for “serving the good of all”. How many times have we heard talking heads with anxiously or commandingly barking about “what’s good for the economy”, as justification of harming the public?

They want  there to be a unified theory, because it serves market and monetary ends. It seems to me that the objections mentioned in this article are all centered around the human elements of the story, and that is why they miss it.

It seems to be one of the greatest cognitive weaknesses of the human mind to desire simple prescriptions for complex problems. This is true of his over-arching point. It’s also true in terms of why they made that mistake in the first place. There is, at first, a good point to be made about not clouding logical decision making with emotional biases. However, when you take that notion too far in lusting for that perfect, simple answer, you end up with an anti-sentimental bias and miss the boat altogether the other way.

Servicers Rended

It’s really hard to engage with my job when I hear what is happening in the world. The narrative I was given that used to make it seem meaningful is no longer working. I no longer believe in what I’m doing, especially when I consider what its place is within this system, and even the very nature of so-called “employment”. Not just what it is in the narrow sense of having to work for money, but what it really is due the context within which it resides.

It is not simply a “reward for services rendered” that I’m supposed to believe. It is life held ransom to illegitimate structures of control called companies, corporations, private industry. Both subjugator and subjugated sing the same song. If “Work or die” is the chorus, then “No excuses” would be the crescendo. “If I can do it, you can too” we mindlessly drone.

That is until something happens. “The economy” takes a dip. You hurt your hand. You lose your mind. You remember the liner notes of that song telling you that everyone gets the help they need if they only try. You suddenly realize that there were no references or phone numbers next to it. You just “knew” it was true… until you didn’t.

The truth is that I grew up with white picket fences and the fallacy of a “just-world” where people simply and predictably get precisely what they deserve. I’ve been viciously torn from that delusion as I’ve born witness to the brutal reality of other people.  I’ve seen these so-called safety nets and support structures and how they operate at the ground level. They are emaciated and hollow at best. They occasionally help but often do more harm than good. The less you fit the structural, ideological narrative of who belongs in society the less tangible that help becomes.

You see, their stated and supposedly intended purposes have been twisted and contorted under pressure. Their modus operadi is swayed by the same hierarchical power structure that everything is ultimately subject to.

Money.

From the very inception of colonial North America, it was designed this way. Money is power: Increasingly ignorant, delusional and self-serving power. This power increases exponentially as it feed in upon itself, gaining more momentum. That momentum is fed by corporate lobbying, infiltration into government regulatory agencies, and increasingly through access to military and civil control (police).

We may now be reaching a crucial tipping point as they begin to infiltrate our schools with corporate programming.

With each new generation we seem to be becoming more inured and unaware. We become increasingly lost in a self-destructive cycle of mindless consumerism, chasing empty promises of pre-packaged happiness.

It is not only ruthless, but mindless. Even as it becomes increasingly apparent that this imbalance in power is detrimental and destructive to the majority of people, it is only increasing in pace.

An often overlooked characteristic of the culture of power, is that it is not simply fueled by mustache twisting, comic-book villain evil. Yes, it does follow the patterns of Narcisism and the sociopath, it’s true.

But just as it is with everyday individuals, there is in impoverish and fearful ego behind it all. Their jackboot is on our throat, but in the back of their minds they are terrified. If they let up for a moment, all their precious control will be stolen away. If not by us, then by each other.

Yes, these lowlifes dare to need help. The brazen welfare queens conspire to live that sweet, sweet free ride with their painted nails, and limousine trips to the welfare office. They have their own conspiracy theories, as mythical as the Sasquatch, and it seems to include anyone who dares challenge them.

There is no fucking sweet life. I’ve met them, the real people. They are looked down upon and downright terrorized every damn place they turn, forced to hide their situation for fear of judgment, and scorned for it when they are caught. You wouldn’t be there if you didn’t deserve it after all. You are presumed guilty and demanded upon to prove your innocence. It’s an exercise in futility designed to satisfy your demanders’ as every fact will be discarded and thrown in your face. You are demanded to agree with them about your guilt before they will agree to give you any pittance of their “help” which tends to be either useless or demeaning.

This is what I now know to be waiting for me. Should I ever crack and need to get out of this dysfunctional, abusive workplace, this is what I can look forward too.  I know this now. If I were a woman, had more pigment in my skin, or especially a mental health diagnosis, I could expect it to be much worse.

The mental health systems, at least here in Manitoba, do not actually believe in mental health. To them it’s a bogus construct for people who just aren’t trying hard enough, a convenient excuse. There is no reality but their reality and if you refuse to acknowledge it, you will be crushed under it.

I must acknowledge that I have things better than probably 90% of the rest of the planet, this is true, but even then, that reality has also been these power imbalances, these broken structures, and our poisonous ideologies.

We are caught up in a grand delusion. Everything is fine. Go about your business. Nothing can be done anyway. Might as well go buy another TV.

No! Fuck that!

Means and Ends

Q: What is the purpose of an economic system?
A: To provide the goods and services people need.

Period. End of story.

Profits were meant to be a motivator to drive the creation of those goods and services as a self-selecting response to the needs of people. Somewhere along the line, they started convincing us that the means were more important than the ends. The means have supplant their intended ends and taken up the throne as an ultimate end unto themselves.

Yet, some of us still have to live in this real world where everything has cause and effect. The real world, where people lose their homes, their livelihoods, and die without adequate care. We can’t afford to live in the bubble these people have created for themselves where profits are the self-referential moral reward for the mere act of having acquired them. That bubble has run out of room to grow. That bubble needs to burst.

I’m going to be a bit radical and suggest that we stop acting surprised.

Let’s stop acting surprised when Wall Street has a meltdown and we find out they’ve been squandering everyone’s livelihoods. Let’s stop acting surprised when we find corporations institutionalizing young people in prison for years for extremely minor incidents. Let’s stop acting surprised when global corporations bully farmers into either buying their GMO seeds or suing them into the ground. Let’s stop acting surprised when buy out state senators to be pawns for their agenda. Let’s stop acting surprised every time there’s a dirty deal, a cover-up, infiltration of legislative bodies, broken regulations and outright murder of every day people.

We may find it shocking, as well we should, but it should not be surprising. If you actually discern the nature of our economic and ideological systems, these are all “natural” progressions of those values and ideas.

Corporations and even government systems with the same values, are extremely efficient.

What are they efficient at? They are efficient at maximizing SHORT TERM PROFITS… and NOTHING ELSE! PERIOD! The next time you see some shocking example of “corruption”, just remember this, and everything will become crystal clear!

Can we please stop deluding ourselves that there is some kind of moral fix to be applied to a “few bad apples”?
Can we please break out of our own bubble? It’s time that we paid attention to what’s happening. It’s time we started thinking for ourselves.

There is a flip-side to this however. There is a means of resistance not often talked about.

Every time they go into the world and tilt the playing field more in their favour, through lobbying and infiltration of our legal systems, infiltration of regulatory agencies, and every other kind of backroom deal, they put pressure on the public. Pressure to meet basic needs. Pressure to live free of suffering. Pressure to live!

You might recognize some of the signs:
– Depression and other mental health issues.
– Racial and class segregation.
– Increased isolation and decline of local community.
– Violent crime
– Drug use

All of these are either created or aggravated by social and economic pressures, sometimes creating inter-generational feedback effects. We are socially trained to write other people off and dehumanize them, to tell them to pull up their own bootstraps, the we deserve everything we’ve “earned for ourselves” (sound familiar?) and convince ourselves that taking care of only me and mine is not just OK, but a duty.

I am coming to believe that when we do this, we are complicit. We take up our place as a brick in the wall, a support for the hierarchy that we ourselves are suffering under. It’s not just a fluffy notion about karma, but about being an actual node in a great system of cause and affect.

It’s time that found some new motivators. It’s time we took responsibility for our own awareness. It’s time we created our own world to benefit all. We need to do this globally and systemically.

Unnatural Selection

This is just going to be a quickie as it’s all I have time for today.

I’ve been lately about how some of these supposedly inspiring success stories that float around are really examples of selection (as in systems of evolution) rather than accurate explanations of said success. I think this holds especially true for actors and other public figures who’s success in one degree or another depends on or at least benefits from popularity. Will Smith comes to mind. His opinions about himself are of the most boot-strappy I’ve ever heard. You heard him 2+2 = “whatever I want it to be”. “The Secret” must really give him a hard-on.

The fact that we hear certain people’s stories and not others is not necessarily due to the inherent survivability of the traits they promote. It may simply be because we unwittingly select and promote them PRECISELY BECAUSE we prefer the explanations that they offer us for their successes, even if they are ultimately inaccurate.

It’s a little bit like breeding many generations of horse, selecting exclusively for spotted coats and then saying that horses with spotted coats are better survivors because “Look! More of them have survived because of spotted coats!!” Indeed it is true, but only because we made it true.

It may be and often is true that for every person telling you that they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps with little or no help, there may be a million more with the same attitude, giving the same effort and having the same determination that end in desolation and obscurity rather than succeeding at something more attainable. This is not an affirmation that “success” (whatever that is), is the only thing that matters, or that an individual should not try their very best and be deeply determined.

The point is that we are sometimes inclined to promote very inaccurate and harmful ideas when there are more accurate and meaningful ones to be had.

 

The Bait

Cross-posted to Red SAID FRED!

When I saw Sara’s note on Facebook announcing Project ME! I was at first shocked! It was very bold of her to take such a huge leap. There are others in my life who have lived in the stiffing silence of mental health issues, so I have some small idea of how difficult it must have been. Kudos to you who are true friends and stand by her. Don’t get too comfortable though. Sometimes the time when we are most needed is when it looks like things are “better now”. We’re sticking with you Sara!

So, what to say. I’ve struggled with what I might have to give to this project. These are not my struggles, after all. It’s not my place. I’ve learned through my own self-discovery that as a young, white, able-bodied, mostly neurotypical male, that most of the ideas and beliefs I’d been handed about other people’s reality are totally self-serving and full of crap. Having come to these realizations I now see a lot of people (including many like me), speaking for others about what their reality is, and even what it should be. I don’t want to be that guy. I will try not to be.

What I immediately noticed in Sara’s post was a lot of self-blame, but this isn’t to put Sara on the spot. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. This is for the rest of us. Please allow me to explain.

You see, I don’t see this as a failing of Sara’s. Not even slightly. In some sense, it’s everyone’s. She, like most of us, have been bombarded by messages our whole lives. These messages may not have originated with us, but we are passively complicit with them.

We live in a world dominated by advertising.

Oh please, I’ve heard this before. I’m not so easily affected. I can think for myself!

If that’s the case you might want to take a DNA test, as it’s debatable that you’re human. The science is against you on this one. It says you are! In fact, some suggest that the more you think you aren’t, the more you are. These aren’t the simplistic ads of yesteryear.

Buy brand X, it’s just better!

No, they have gotten many times more sophisticated since then. They have found a more potent message.

You’re not good enough, and it’s all your own fault!

But the message isn’t there in so many words. We are more (though not completely) aware of the direct assertion of words. In fact some of the strongest messages have no words at all. Instead of the simple and obvious “buy brand X”, they have found a tool developed over thousands of years of human evolution. They have found a “magic” tool. It’s a loop-hole, and it leaves us prime for suggestion.

Stories and narratives!

Storytelling: Not just a practice of times past, now quaint and mostly irrelevant. No. Stories and narratives are the back door to our minds; a trait as important to our propagation as a species as was our opposable digits (thumbs) and the brain itself. Stories are the adaptation we use to pass information from one generation to the next. Information about who we are as people, how we should treat others, how to be happy, how to think, and every aspect of our philosophy, ideology and emotional life. To a large degree, we have stopped the practice and passively handed it over. Corporate media has graciously taken over the task for us, presumably to spare us the trouble.

It takes the form of TV, magazines, newspapers, movies, books and even (or especially?) advertisements. It’s no wonder that the latest marketing tactic is no longer merely the promotion of product or brand image, but now Brand Personality. This is the “person” who tells us the stories, and who we are to aspire to be like. They are key that attempts the fit our lock.

But these stories aren’t geared to our benefit or collective happiness. These narratives show us an unattainable ideal that no one can hope to achieve (without being dehumanized or dying in the process), then convey it us as normal and expected, and leave us to make the implication upon ourselves that we don’t belong to it. The genius of it is that when we do so we also take ownership of it, forgetting that it came from outside ourselves. We don’t see calculating corporate interests vying for their piece of the market of our minds. We see compelling narratives with fantastical images, and the primary desire that we universally crave: happiness and comfort. Everything else is secondary and the idea that their product is the conduit simply goes without saying!

Of course, that primary desire always ends up being elusive. Yet, whether or not we buy their product, they have co-opted our idea of normalcy. We’ve taken the bait, and it doesn’t dissipate.

Advertising is cumulative.

We continue to replay that narrative in our minds and incorporate it into our perspective on ourselves and those around us. It begins to colour our interactions with each other. We might make a comment about our weight and how we dislike ourselves for not being able to fit the nice clothing at that brand name store, or about that other person who just “should not be wearing that dress!”

Like a cockroach scoring an unknowingly poisoned piece of bait, we take it and share it with all our friends (this isn’t just my own analogy, but an actual marketing term). This is subliminal advertising at work.

So what kinds of stories are we being told? I’d like to leave it to the wonderful Jean Kilbourne and her presentation called Killing us Softly 4.

Killing us Softly 4 Part 1/2
Killing us Softly 4 Part 2/2

On top of this (and perhaps because of it), there seems to be an explosion in social judgment, roughly correlating with the surge in popularity of “reality” TV shows.  I don’t naively assume that there’s a purely causal relationship, but if there is causation it is likely also symptomatic . Either way, we have become vicious in our policing and criticism of each other in every way imaginable, not the least of which is body policing. So even if you’ve limited your media intake (which is impossible to do completely), you will still be not only awash in these messages, but also judged by them. You can’t entirely escape it! Often, and even with the best of intentions, we are repeating the mantra to each other: “You’re not good enough, and it’s all your own fault!

There is a enormous difference between realizing the harsh reality that the only way for some people to get better is to pull themselves up with brutal, agonizing effort, and the boorish attitude that turns this into a kind of idealistic dogma. I see most people going through life beating others over the head with this self-serving fallacy, telling themselves, “I would NEVER be like that.” We tell ourselves that we’re somehow better and forget all the privileges, all the encouragements, all the opportunities, and all the experiences that help to shape us and enabled us to make a few good choices for ourselves. We forget the bad choices as long as they didn’t have life changing consequences.

If you were to live someone else’s life from start to finish, you would not just become you with their life. You would become them. The failure to empathize is a failure of understanding, and it applies to everything. Many people in many ways are suffering at the brunt end of hurtful messages, not just with body image but also to race, class, sexual orientation, you name it!

This is not Sara’s failing!

This is a natural response to toxic ideas. Recognizing this does not make someone a victim. This is about how we think and why.

Meta-cognition.

It means “thinking about thinking”. It’s the defining mechanism of self-awareness: the practice of being aware of one’s own thoughts. This is where our hope lies for betterment and healing. We can have the greatest of intentions and do more harm than good if we are not aware of ourselves.

Apart from just being there and listening (which is sometimes the greatest help), this self-awareness can enable us to manage what kind of messages we share both actively and passively. It can also give us greater capacity for compassion. When we learn to think about thinking, we can “step out” of ourselves and examine what might be desperate, dogmatic or destructive views and try to see things from someone else’s perspective. Nothing is more fundamental in the art of empathy.

In fact, one of the best things you could do for Sara right now is to start being kinder to yourself. Love your own body. Learn to speak nicely about it, and of others. Lead by example! You can’t tell someone else to love their body if you don’t love your own. It has no potency or meaning. If you struggle with doing so then just be candid about it. Share in the struggle and stand beside her.

Otherwise, if we are still carrying the bait ourselves, we are almost certain to pass it along.

Corporate Evilution

Seeing a link on Gem Newman‘s wall today I was inspired to comment. He did a critique on a piece of sensational media. I hope that my own sensationalized title isn’t too much of a turn-off for the skeptics out there, but I just like having fun with them 😀

I have to say that I pretty much agree with this article’s basic assertion, which to me seems to be that the article upon which they are making commentary is sensational, misleading and playing logical hop-scotch to the distraction of the reader.

Where I divert is where it calls out the three points which I actually agree are being falsely conflated.

1. The business ethics of Monsanto
2. The safety of Agent Orange
3. The safety of GMO crops

Firstly, both 1. and 2. should absolutely be conflated. How can they not be? However, to leave it there without further reflection is also problematic, which I will try to get to.

Now with regards to the third point, there needs to be some clarification. What do we mean by “safety of GMO crops”? Are we talking about the concept of GMO technology striped of it’s economic and political context? If so, then surely their assertion is correct. This has nothing to do with the other two. The technology should stand or fail on it’s own merits.

Now, what about the relative safety of “GMO” fully contextualized as a technological concept who’s development and application are governed as a product of industry (using scientific methods) which is in turn governed the collective realities of current day North American capitalism?

As a side-note, notice how much text is contained in the previous paragraph simply describing a single concept. That’s how packed our language can be. It is how much we often either take-for-granted or utterly ignore, and often without being aware of it.

I still maintain that the original article is broad-brushing and sensationalistic. I also think that this kind of critical response to it is not only acceptable, but necessary. However, I also think this editorial response to it may be overcompensating in it’s criticism. Moreover, I think this kind of polarized reaction is somewhat prevalent with those who come to the defense of “science”. That’s another word who’s breadth of definition is often ambiguous, but that’s another discussion in itself.

In my opinion the most relevant discussion about GMO as an overall concept must include the full context in which it resides, because that fully realized context will by definition affect it’s fully quantifiable results. This is whether or not we have the tools to fully measure it or even a broad enough understanding of what to measure. For example, what effect will changes in food production have on political power balance in the global economy.

Part of the fully qualified context is the particular brand of capitalism in effect in the U.S. and the global economy and political power balance in the world. This is the “natural world” within which Monsanto and other corporations live.

It is a terrible failure of understanding in my view to think that corporations who do very bad things are simply unethical entities that randomly spring out of an otherwise functioning system that does good things for us as a species. This is magical thinking at it’s finest IMHO. My understanding is that corporations act the way they do necessarily according to the nature of the system they exist within.

Just as with evolution, individual entities in nature succeed or fail according to the physical rules of the natural world within which they exist. It is absurd to speculate that when a particular entity has survived or failed, that it has done so DESPITE the nature of that system rather than BECAUSE of it. The rules of that system have operated against the characteristics of that entity and it has either failed or succeeded. Thus, if a corporation has survived in the system within which it exists, it has done so according to the nature of that system. If the nature of those entities is considered not ideal, then necessarily that system or at least some part of it must also be considered not ideal.

Now before I run off on a tangent about capitalism, the take away for this discussion is that surviving and thriving corporations that exist within their legal and economic context, have a certain amount of predictability. The nature of today’s corporation is not merely strict competition, but the LEGAL MANDATE of its controlling body to produce profits. Profits in the greatest possible magnitude and at pretty much at all costs. Their context also includes governmental, legal restrictions.

But like human beings, one of the traits it has acquired is the ability to change the environment within which it exists. For the corporation this includes abilities like lobbying against these restrictions, and to a greater degree in more recent years, infiltration of the regulatory government agencies who manage these restrictions.

So, it’s perfectly valid to call “logical fallacy” when we hear someone say that this thing is necessarily evil because that other thing they did was evil. *BUT* calling out this logical fallacy doesn’t negate the deduction that Monsanto or any other powerfully situated corporation for that matter, are very likely to engage in unethical behaviour. Not simply because we FEEL that they are evil, but because there are specific characteristics which they are likely to have given the context in which they exist and are successful in.

We are at the very least, justified in being suspicious assuming we are using the right reasoning for being so.

Trickled Pink

(This post sprang out of comment posted on the blog of a lovely couple I know, which you should read for context)

I myself came to the same epiphany a few months back. I was thinking about technology and how we’ve had so much advancement in technologies that are designed to simplify and speed up many of our tasks.. and yet we’re busy as ever. Then it occurred to me how markets always re-balance (if you can call it balance) by means of competition.

So for example, if everyone suddenly has a new dishwasher giving them more time and energy in the evening, these can become more resources which some will put towards competing in the job market. If not with hours of work, it will go toward more education. Sounds fine, even natural doesn’t it?

Except that the more educated people there are for a particular job, the more it gives employers the advantage to be selective and choose those who are most willing to put themselves out and further degrade their quality of life. We convert this concept and couple it to a righteous emotion, summed up with the descriptor “hard working”. This can be in terms of working more hours, taking on more stress and even taking less pay. It’s not only a theory that for some people. For some, life has become a death march.

Some people are working so many hours, or with so much pressure/health issues/etc that they are losing their faculties, their health, and especially their children in the process.

It becomes exceedingly difficult to nurture your children in such circumstance,  and we can see all too readily the social breakdown around us or in our own lives. We can scoff at the “bad parents” who neglect their children, and while there is such a thing as personal responsibility, everything has a cause and in this case it’s a systemic one. People don’t just randomly “go bad”.

Enter religion.

Regardless or conscious design or not, this is where religion has the effect of glossing over these systemic flaws and turning our thoughts to moral conjecture in place of investigation and understanding. People are behaving immorally, so they must either convert to the very dogma that serves to undermine them, or be judged and written off. It also helps to keep us unaware. It gives us a sense that if we’re doing well, we’ve earned it, and that if we’re not it’s purely our own responsibility. It blinds us to the myriad of factors that may have benefited us; from our birth into our parents’ socio-economic status to the invisible benefits of our racial identity, religious identity, gender identity, mental health, physical health and everything that those things have afforded us.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that there’s a one to one relation where religion tells us that poor people are bad. In fact it may tell us that they are blessed. It also tells them not to complain or get too angry. More importantly though, it turns our social and ideological lenses into a binary scope of good or bad where everything is framed in terms of the relative morality of individuals. Even those who have divorced themselves of religion tend to retain this framework. I could go on and on with other intersecting issues and ideas, but I digress.

So in this way what really happens is not “trickle down” of wealth, but instead it’s people’s lifeblood and effort (which is essentially what money represents) trickling up to those with the means to create demand through their actions in the pursuit of wealth (greed). This is the true nature of the “magic hand” of capitalism. All of us, even those in the 1%, seem driven blindly along with dogmatic ideas that don’t lead us into happiness or fulfillment , or even match reality.

Again, it’s so nice to know people who understand! 😀

I applaud you!