He who fights, can lose. He who doesn’t fight, has already lost.” Bertolt Brecht
Last century, I spent some years studying in the land of Uncle Sam. Didn’t have much money and no sponsors, so in order to pay for scholarship, shelter and food, I had to find a job, cleaning up the supermarket’s floors in the early morning and late evening. Needed to wake up at 4.30 AM, walking to the office, located in a bar, in the Downtown area. On my way, I could cross every day, many beggars, sleeping on the asphalt, dogs lying next to them. I felt pain and unease to see these people in very bad shape, dirty, just a couple of blocks away from the business center and prestigious hotels, but also, unconsciously, felt some fear to find myself one day, in the same situation. After about one month, they were still there with their dogs, but I didn’t see them anymore or just glimpsed away!
Probably one of the main question humanity is still looking to find an answer to, is: What are we here for? I let you refer to our philosopher or anthropologist’s point of view, since I previously expressed, what are, in my opinion, the most basic needs we are striving for on the Earth. To speak of humans as a single entity, in this segmented World, is not realistic, so I prefer here to focus on the middle class, the one standing up in the early morning and coming home from their work in the early evening, to find themselves stuck in traffic Jam or overcrowded public transportation, 5 or 6 days or nights a week. The one that pays income taxes and their bills on due time, who make our economy go around. The one that studied many years, getting a diploma at the age of 25, not finding the job for lack of experience, and once hired, working hard to climb the ladder, reaching their 50’s, to be fired for economic reasons. What are their beliefs or models?
Each human needs the relation with others to exist, to build himself and affirm its identity (Marc Augé, l’Avenir des terriens). So, the society created two main symbols to give us a sense of belonging: a country with its borders, its national flag, and anthem as well as religions. These two alone managed to divide us and make us dislike or hate other cultures, without even knowing them. Worst, the middle classes’ around the world created an own rule: the 45/55. Looking at presidential election’s results or referendum in most democratic countries, you’ll notice they end up with 45% on one side and 55% on the other: Brexit or make the country great again, being the latest example (except for this month election in the land of Emile Zola, mainly due to the voter’s lack of real choice. Is this 45/55 opinion ratio accidental or wanted by the 2 groups below, in order to divide and rule for an unfair society, with the rich, a middle class of consumers split in 2 and the worthless, as the ideal model?
What does the middle class believe in today? Do we believe that politicians work for the interest of the majority? In their campaign promises? That they are really fighting for a peaceful world? And what about our different economic models? Do we believe they are made for the interest of the majority? To improve our lives? To be fair? In both case I don’t think so, resigned, we choose, like or follow other models, such as the stars in show business, the winners in sports or the one’s we can’t even remember what they are famous for, most of them promoting the established system, showing us how our lives should look like, on TV, the Net or magazines, and that we easily and regularly replace with new ones, like has-been products.
For “the business plan” the question is not what we are here for? but rather, if the world’s middle classes care about these inequities, wars, refugees and the misery of half of the world population and want changes to take place? If not, who then? Or are we just getting used to it, our headphones on, turning our eyes away, just hoping nothing bad will ever happen to us and the one’s we care for!!
In politics, one succeeds fools and one is replaced by incapable (Georges Clemenceau).
To be honest, I am a little allergic to politicians, suspicious. I use to dislike them because of the double talk and formal manner. With the era of new politicians we are seeing in some places around the globe today, insulting and threatening others, speaking before thinking, I almost miss the old way! It’s easy to criticize the ones that are doing when I am not doing anything, I agree with you, especially when you have to satisfy a 45/55 population’s opinions? And not only, since the powerful have also their expectations! So, politicians under the pressure of the powerful lobbies’, make some compromise, trying to do their best, I imagine.
What are they really doing for peace on our planet?? I feel they can live with the status quo going on since last 50 years. It’s business, good business, and jobs for the good and bad guys!! You have seen previously, the amount of 1’700’000’000’000 $ spent for military purposes in 2016. We could use just a quarter of this amount (déjà-vu) to build many infrastructures, such as roads, public buildings, electricity installation, water plant, improve agriculture methods or even supply free Wi-Fi access for the education of the have-not. In priority, for countries that need it urgently or where we have to help refugees, go back home. This would create tens of thousands of jobs, here and there and put a stop to uncontrollable migration’s flow. All middle classes’ around the globe are also responsible for these wars, the exploitation of the resources, for the comfort of a minority. We owe all the victims something, don’t we?
What are politicians doing about the world demographic explosion of last 70 years, where we grew more than ever, from 2 billion to almost 8 billion humans today!
We reached this impressive and fast growth, mainly with scientific research and breakthrough, better nutrition, but humans are keeping the same old habits, as before. With declining resources, how can we manage such a world population’s expansion without destroying the environment that makes life possible, reducing the available territories of wildlife? Politicians must see some good short term advantages not to stop this trend. Indeed, this will bring more consumers and revenues for our economy, but will also increase the disparity between regions, creating more tensions between populations, that might result in a migration domino’s effect. Apparently, politicians don’t see these two issues or even exploding national debts as urgent matters. They prefer to invent more taxes for less social services, mainly targeting the middle-class pockets, that are ending up paying 35 to 50% of revenues on income taxes. Our governments’ appetite has no limit. They always need more money, especially for security, secret services, military investment, and now against cybernetics’ attacks, not to protect the masses, but rather the unfair establishment!
Capitalism has always been a failure for the lower classes, it is now beginning to fail for the middle classes. Howard Zinn
At least, humans know what, capitalism is here for? The model is based on the freedom of each individual to own goods, properties or enterprises and the potential resulting profits, privately. Looks good on paper. In fact, I don’t know of a better system, that rewards hard work and risk taking. What went wrong then? How did we end up with the 20/80 share? To be honest, when I write that 20% of humans own 80% of the total wealth I exaggerate since, in reality, they are less!
The system relies on growth, profit, and inflation. The latest, increasing governments’ revenues and companies’ profits, that make all of us pay 9€ for a beer at the airport, 6€ for a coffee or 4€/hour to park our cars while shopping (!), increasing our costs of living, with stagnating salaries and eroding financial capabilities, for the majority. Growth and profit being the driving force of capitalism, it requires a continuous upward trend with higher volumes, margin, and profit to be successful. The system used to have two main regulators to avoid excess: Government’s regulations and competition. In my opinion, during last 20 years, Politicians have lost control of the market, mainly due to globalization, the Internet and the fact that Multinational are, with much higher revenues, much more powerful as most countries! Being freed from regulation, capitalism is solving the second with mergers, fusion and take over, like for the agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology (70% owned by 6 companies), or the pharma industry (50% owned by the top 15). For higher profits, production relocation in low wages countries is the easy solution. Today, the support of my telephone provider works in the land of Atatürk, marketing in the land of Idris 1, accounting and software support in the land of Gandhi, but I don’t see any cost reduction effects, only jobs disappearing locally.
On the financial market, the unlimited greed of some, are creating economic disasters, such as Enron, Lehman’s Brothers, the subprime mortgage crisis, the 2008 financial bankruptcy, Madoff, cities going bankrupt and even country that needs life support. How did we manage to save all the creditors, mainly the banks and financial institute to go bankrupt as well? Just printing more money, to reassure the markets and population, creating new debts for the community! Which brings me back to the question: are debts only virtual or for real? For all citizens, our debts are for real, so we payback or are sued, for governments, financial institution or even banks, the community (or citizens) are also accountable for? Not to speak of the Stock Market, where start-up, making a few hundred million turn-over, are valued at 25 billion for their first shares’ introduction? And what about the new currencies created privately such as Bitcoin, to avoid intermediate, or the new local currencies to promote local business activities? Are we creating one Ponzi’s scheme after another just to keep going on?Just like when they built the Pisa’s tower, realizing that after the 3 first levels were finished, the tower was leaning. They stopped awhile, but finally decided to finish it! Of course, the tower is still in place and leaning there, but only because it was built on “ the square of miracle”!!
Each one’s birth is a lottery, we are born under the stars or the hammer, we are lucky or not. We can only keep going on forward, forgetting that middle classes are, for the system and the powerful, nothing more than taxes payers and consumers.
Coming next, on the 27th of June, Day 5: What the plan is not about, and what it needs to be successful.