By Sylvain Lamoureux
The amount of money that the recent election cost is incredible. Campaign costs for both parties this year was approximately $2 billion. Imagine two billion hours. That would equate to 2283.1 years. Why is it that we are no longer stunned by these gargantuan numbers? Why is it that it is acceptable for a corporation to make billions in profit? Why is it that the resources of life are so unevenly divided?
Even at a pay rate of $1000/hour ($1,920,000/year), working 40 hours per week, it would take 1041.66 years to make this amount. Now imagine how long it would take making the accepted living wage of $25/hour ($48,000/year). Difficult to fathom such a number. Yet we shrug off numbers like these when corporations make them in profits. It’s just business. It’s just success. The business of screwing everyone.
Now think of the bank bailouts. Think how easily the banks got their bailout and how difficult it was for the auto industry, which is a large chunk of the working middle class ($60,000/year if they’re lucky). The auto industry is proposing ‘concessions’ by the unions (workers). There will be layoffs and reductions in wages, all in efforts to ‘cut costs’. May as well say ‘cut lives’.
Now let’s think about this whole car industry thing; there is a lot of wasted energy there. Due to the dictates of ‘free market’ thought, the industry must have competition. There are about 12 main manufacturers of automobiles in the world. Of these there are numerous sub-manufacturers but we will stick with 12. Now these manufacturers have one agenda: to make automobiles that will make profits. They do not have to make the best car or the most fuel efficient one; their cars must simply sell. So we are lured into buying through ‘options’ and ‘features’ but not true quality. They sell cars like sex. But they are never as satisfying.
All these are wasted energies; we are in the midst of a ‘climate crisis’ yet we still expect the auto industry to make profits through the ‘upgrade cycle’ of marketing. Instead of ‘free market’ thinking, maybe we need to think ’socially’; we should abandon our obsession with profits in order to better humanity and the Earth. Nationalize the auto industries, merge them together, and make better cars: cars that last and aren’t subject to planned obsolescence, cars that don’t burn fossil fuels, and cars that have a low impact on all living things. Think about how much is spent by auto industries every year on advertising or on research—such a waste of resources and energy.
Some people who live the same lifestyle ($60,000/year) as the auto workers say that the workers are the problem because they make too much and demand too much in the way of medical and such. “An uneducated person doing a repetitive task should not make the same as an educated person such as a nurse or a teacher”. I have heard that; let it sink in. I know that as I grew up I constantly heard that an ‘education’ is the most important thing. That the job that I received due to my education would make me a ’success.’ This has been pushed constantly by family, the government and corporations alike throughout my life. “Get the education and a job is waiting for you,” was the chant. This is a wedge deliberately pushed between people in order to facilitate in-fighting. Divide and conquer. More wasted energies.
Since we are inculcated to believe that money=Life, is an educated person entitled to more life than a non-educated one? Do the educated feel that the uneducated have not ‘paid their dues’ in life and therefore are entitled to less? Do they feel that having an education brings them ‘entitlement’? Are they jealous that a person did not have to go through years of ’schooling’ in order to attain the same standard of living? Are they bitter?
Same thing happens with ‘welfare’. I have heard people who believe that everyone should be ‘doing their part’. Their part in what? Are we benefiting anything here? Are we bettering humanity with forced labor to increase the profits of the few? Why are people so threatened by other people allegedly ’sponging off the system’? Is it because they feel cheated? Cheated of what? Are they jealous? Do they seriously believe that a world that has 100% employment at 40 hours/week is making any positive difference to life on Earth? What are we all working for? Who are we all working for? Do they seriously believe that with all the technological advances that we have made in the last 100 years, that people must work longer and harder? That both parents have to work in order to attain ‘equality’? Are we really advancing as a species? Wasted energies.
It is not that difficult to fix a lot of the issues at hand; we simply have to take action en mass. We also have to take ‘money’ out of the equation of life. We are all born of the same Earth, of the same resources, of the same life force; we all have equal right to life’s basic necessities.
The problem lies in the divisions that have been put in place between the masses and the judgments that have been implanted in our minds. The problem is the petty infighting throughout the working classes. The problem is that without all the information, masses of people will remain ignorant to what is happening in the world and vulnerable to false prophets and malevolent leadership.
How terrible would it be if the financial systems collapsed? Would this affect the rich as it does the poor? What would happen if we all didn’t go to work for a month? Would they get the message? Would we be able to instill change? Sure, some would die during a change such as this but some are already dying simply because they are born without money. We have the power to stop all this right now, by simply saying NO MORE.
I do believe that education is important to our future but let us not confuse education with ‘training’. The ability to learn comes from questions and experiments. If we are too afraid to step out of the norm in order to ask the questions, we will never learn anything. Sure, some may be masters at what they do. In reality though, how important is what they do? Do they really have to ‘think’ doing what they do? Are we merely existing, doing what we do? Wasted energies.
There are far too many examples to cover them all in this writing. Think about the ones above and the ones that you can come up with. What are the wasted energies that you see?
Where have all the thinkers gone? Perhaps they have been ‘educated’ into extinction.
Special Contributing Editor and CJO IT Advisor Sylvain Lamoureux
To further your sociopolitical education, strengthen your connection with the radical community, and deepen your participation in forming an egalitarian, just, ecological, non-speciesist and democratic society, visit the Transformative Studies Institute at http://transformativestudies.org/ and the Institute for Critical Animal Studies at http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/.