Category Archives: Poverty

Poverty Is The Root Of The World’s Problems, And Predatory Capitalism Is The Root Of Poverty

The world’s problems are your problems. Even if you live in a safe, middle-class suburb, there are still forces creeping into your house that are slowly killing you and threatening the survival of your descendants. If you’re not teaching yourself about the world’s problems and trying to figure out your own solutions, then you’re just waiting to die.

This is serious. There’s a herd of metaphorical bears running straight towards you and your village. Making excuses for why it’s not your responsibility to give your impending demise your full attention is justifying suicide. If you’re not qualified to deal with bears, you need to become qualified, network with someone who is or find a workaround within your abilities.

The world’s problems are so big and complex, it’s dizzying to figure out where to even begin listing them. So I’ll give you some advice that will get you started and save some steps putting everything in perspective. The world’s problems have many seeds, but most of them wouldn’t have grown into towering banyan trees without being thoroughly watered with poverty. If you can fix poverty, then the other evils it creates and exacerbates will wither away.

The root cause of poverty is predatory capitalism. I say “predatory capitalism,” because “capitalism” is just private ownership of a business, which isn’t the issue. The problem is that America’s standard business model takes this concept to its most ruthless extreme. The economy is based on the premise that the purpose of businesses is to make as much profit as possible for the owner/s, which is accomplished primarily by paying workers as little, and charging customers as much, as supply and demand will allow.

This isn’t just a formula for poverty. It’s the formula for poverty. On paper, it looks deceptively innocuous, but it’s tearing the world apart. Below is a list of 14 apocalyptic problems that can be reduced from mountains to molehills by using an economic system that isn’t based on creating, sustaining and increasing economic inequality.

 

1: Starvation and obesity

Disney recently released a movie titled, “Tomorrowland,” in which a character asks, “How are there simultaneous epidemics of starvation and obesity?” The answer is poverty.

In a predatory economy, farms can’t give food away for free because they’d go bankrupt. Most farmers can’t even afford to sell their products at reasonable prices, because everything they have to buy to run their company and take care of their family, costs as much as possible. The largest corporations could lower their prices, but they beat their competition and established themselves as market leaders by caring more about profit than human life or happiness to begin with. If they ever stopped exploiting their customers and workers, they’d lose their market share to a competitor who will.

Corporations improve their competitiveness by growing food in third world countries using slave labor and then shipping their harvests back to first world markets where they can charge the highest price. This causes a false food shortage in third world countries, which raises the price higher than the local slaves can afford.

 

 

However, obesity isn’t an epidemic in first world countries like America because their citizens are living as extravagantly as French aristocracy, but because food companies further lower their operating costs and maximize profits by mixing their products with preservatives, flavoring, coloring, and filler. So instead of first world consumers getting the best nutrition from around the world at the cheapest price, they get the most unhealthy, processed junk food at the highest price.

Americans who make minimum wage can’t afford healthy, unmolested food. So they grow up eating boxes, bags, and cans of chemical mulch saturated in sugar, growth hormones and carcinogens, which sets them up for health problems later in life. There’s no conspiracy to commit chemical warfare on the civilian population. Businesses are just designed to make the most profit, and you make the most profit by selling the cheapest product at the highest price, regardless of the cost to human life.

 

 

2: High health care costs

The law of supply and demand says the more people need something, the more they’re willing to pay for it, and predatory capitalism says to match your prices to your customer’s desperation level. So going to the hospital to fix the inevitable health problems caused by stress and poison is as expensive as possible because medical schools and medical supply companies charge doctors and hospitals extortionate prices. Doctors then pass the exploitative costs onto their customers while also increasing the final price even higher to further take advantage of their customers’ vulnerability.

To make matters worse, the American government’s solution to unaffordable medical costs is to force everyone to buy unaffordable insurance that doesn’t cover the cost of medical bills. For reasons I discuss later in this essay, Americans blame the problem on socialism, even though forcing people to buy useless insurance isn’t socialism. That’s predatory capitalism taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich in exchange for nothing.

 

3: Homelessness

The world has enough resources to house everyone. In America, there are already six times more empty houses than homeless people. The reason working class families can’t afford to buy abandoned property is because the government, in collusion with lending institutions, has inflated the price of real estate through convoluted mortgage laws.

At the same time, the rich are buying up more land than they need, creating false scarcity that further drives up prices and fuels a never-ending cycle of housing bubbles/bursts that teeter back and forth between excluding the poor from being able to afford homes and then decimating the equity of those who could.

Since landlords and businesses have to pay the same extortionate mortgages, they pass on the cost of extortion to their renters and customers. That’s why rent is so damn high. This isn’t just “how life is.” This is a predatory business model invented to take money from the poor and give it to the rich in exchange for nothing.

 

 

4: Lack of basic utilities

If everyone who works was guaranteed food, water, shelter, electricity, telecommunications, and transportation, then most of the fear and pain in the world would be eliminated. Then everyone could get on with their lives and only have to worry about the most important issues.

The reason utilities are scarce isn’t that we lack the resources. It’s because the people who own the world’s resources make them as prohibitively expensive as possible. Even when governments build and operate their own utilities, they have to buy the materials at inflated prices, limiting the services they can provide.

Public utilities are becoming a thing of the past anyway since private (and often foreign) companies have been bribing politicians into privatizing those services for decades. The companies taking over utilities claim they can provide a better product at a cheaper price, but the ultimate goal of business is to make profits, which is why you can always expect the cost of utilities to go up, and you’ll keep finding more meaningless fees on your bills.

 

5: Stress

The definition of stress is, “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

Nothing is more stressful than fearing for your life, and everything you need to survive costs money. So your safety is directly dependent on how much money you have, but almost every business overcharges as much as possible. You’ll even be charged for things you didn’t ask for, don’t want and disagree with. Your entire life will be spent fighting for survival against everyone you have to pay. This is a formula for perpetual stress. The solution isn’t to read more motivational books. Life isn’t stressful because you’re weak. It’s because the economy is designed to keep you trapped in perpetual danger.

 

6: Mental health issues

The human brain can only take so much stress before it cracks. Anyone living in permanent anxiety will experience mental health issues eventually. The more traumatic your childhood is, the quicker you’ll succumb to all the internal and external consequences of poverty, and the poorer you are, the more damaging your childhood will be.

Seeing a cheap mental health expert for one hour costs more than a minimum wage employee makes in an entire day, and that money is already earmarked for food, rent, utilities, transportation, repairs and government fees. So the people most at risk for mental health problems are least able to afford it.

If you become too mentally broken to work, then you’ll have to live on the streets and beg for food. The size of America’s mentally ill homeless population isn’t a regrettable byproduct of an otherwise great system. The system is designed to create that problem by keeping help as far out of reach as possible and then funneling anyone who can’t function without it onto the streets to beg, steal and die.

 

7: Drug abuse

It’s also not an accidental byproduct of an otherwise great system, that at least 87% of Americans have drunk alcohol, 10% have smoked marijuana, 16% have smoked cigarettes, and 13% are on antidepressants. The system is designed to make earning more money, and being able to afford a better life, as hard as possible. For the least academically inclined, it’s virtually impossible.

Paying high prices to consume poison so you can feel better in the moment is irresponsible because it limits your immediate potential and kills you prematurely. But if you know you’re going to earn slave wages for the rest of your life, and you’ll never be able to afford your dreams anyway, the cost/benefit analysis of ending your miserable existence in a blaze of euphoria starts to add up. America doesn’t have a drug abuse epidemic because so many people are weak. It’s a proportional response to how stressful and hopeless life is in a predatory capitalist economy.

 

8: Domestic violence

Financial problems are one of the most common causes of divorce, but worrying and fighting about money is a long, painful process. Normal people are anxious and angry because the economy turns life into a grueling, unrewarding rat race. It’s only a matter of time before that frustration comes out somewhere, and the people you’re most likely to take it out on are the ones you see most, which are the people you live with.

You’d think the divorce rate would be higher when everyone is constantly worrying about bankruptcy, compromising on spending, working beyond their physical and mental endurance, suffering from suburban sensory deprivation, and wrestling with the constant source of unfulfillment that comes from not being able to afford your dreams. Actually, the divorce rate would be higher, but poverty often traps dysfunctional couples together because they can’t afford to live on their own.

 

9: Violent crime

America’s violent crime stats are directly proportional to the stress and desperation created by the false scarcity of food, housing, and wages. African-American ghettos don’t have third-world-level violent crime rates and are prone to riots because African-Americans are genetically predisposed to act like wild, desperate animals. Their problem is they live in a third world economy surrounded by first world neighborhoods they can’t afford to escape to.

Predatory capitalism traps them in an environment in which there are more people competing for resources than there are to go around. When everyone has to fight to survive, it becomes responsible to learn how to fight, and your best chance of succeeding is to join a group of fighters. That’s life for anyone who lives in a ghetto, regardless of their skin color.

There isn’t a secret conspiracy among white Americans to oppress African Americans. The reason ghettos and violent crime epidemics exist anywhere in the world is because business owners are oppressing everyone while the poor are too busy hating and fighting each other to address the real cause of their problems.

 

 

10: Mainstream ignorance

No matter what country you live in, you’re surrounded by idiots. You know this. They stress you out every day at work, and at night you see them on the news fighting tooth and nail to destroy everything good in your country. If you’re not grabbing your head and screaming, “Why is everyone so stupid!?” then you’re not paying attention.

Why do you have to be surrounded by idiots? Poverty. That’s why. We could have already built the ultimate, free, global online school that could provide unrestricted access to all the world’s knowledge and skills. The internet is slowly providing free online education, but since everything is as expensive as possible, and there’s no profit in charity, humanity can’t afford to create the ultimate educational tool.

Even in affluent America, students can’t afford to attend universities because predatory capitalism dictates the more your customer needs your product, the more you should charge. Universities are copying the housing and healthcare industries and taking this philosophy farther than the market can bear. They’re charging students beyond their means, which is creating an education bubble, which is making college so expensive the cost/benefit analysis of enrolling doesn’t necessarily add up anymore. Predatory capitalism has created a system where it doesn’t pay to get a college education. This is putting a glass ceiling on the intelligence level of the entire world.

 

 

Going to school isn’t the only way to learn about the world though. There are media companies in every city producing information for mass consumption, but they can’t give content away for free without selling advertisements, which is a form of misinformation.

 

 

The price media outlets can charge advertisers is directly proportional to the size of their audience. In order to attract the widest audience possible, businesses have to deliver the most popular content. Thanks to the oppressive nature of the economy, most people are uneducated, scared, stressed-out slaves with cabin fever, who are longing for escape. This sets them up to want to consume media that satisfies their base instinctual desires for excitement, hope, love, popularity, wealth, and power.

Even news agencies, which supposedly follow a code of integrity, drown out useful information with content that’s more entertaining than educational. The six most successful media companies have bought out most of the world’s independent news agencies and syndicated the same distracting brain candy to every city.

Since the most sociopathic business practices make the most money, it was only a matter of time before a sociopath built a global news organization that intentionally sells lies, fear, and blame to gullible consumers. The more intellectually vulnerable people are misled, the dumber they act and the more they oppose useful reform, which creates a vicious cycle for perpetuating ignorance.

The reason you’re surrounded by idiots is because 90% of the world population are victims of economic oppression. I doubt there’s secret conspiracy to dumb down the population to make them easier to control. It was just a convenient and inevitable byproduct of every business’s single-minded pursuit of money.

 

11: Religious extremism

There’s a well-established correlation between poverty and religious belief. The poorer you are, the more likely you are to be uneducated and feel stressed, hopeless, alone, unfulfilled and meaningless. Religion offers a solution to all the problems created by poverty. It promises if you believe a story and follow some rules, you’ll be rewarded after death.

Religion is the perfect consumer product. It costs nothing to produce, and your customers will pay you for years without getting anything in return. They’ll do your advertising for you and defend your brand to the death even in the face of overwhelming proof your product is a sham. If your religion teaches hard work and sacrifice are virtuous, and idleness and self-interest are evil, then your followers will make the perfect employees for you or any business lucky enough to hire them.

Not everyone who believes in religion becomes a terrorist, but there’s a well-documented correlation between poverty and religious extremism. If you want to start a death cult that will kill people and steal their resources for you, believing they’re serving the greater good, then all you need to do is promise them that joining your organization will solve all the problems in their lives created by predatory capitalism. Then, indoctrinate them with time-tested brainwashing techniques to base their identity and self-worth on their status in your pyramid-shaped organization. Finally, criminalize dissent and make it as hard as possible to leave. This is what ISIS and the U.S. military do, and if you copy their model, you can achieve the same success.

 

12: Corruption and systemic political failure

Corruption was inevitable the moment money was created. Since money is power, those with the most money have the most power regardless of who sits on the throne of government. Business owners don’t need to sit on the throne themselves or rely on the judgment of others to pass laws that allow them to exploit their workers and customers to death. Modern democracy has created a streamlined path to corruption. Since politicians have to accept donations to fund their election campaigns, they’re beholden to their investors. When the majority of politician’s careers are funded by the same businesses, lone-wolf politicians can’t stand up to all the corporate representatives. That’s why you can’t expect to see hope and change from young, charismatic politicians: because the investors they represent value profits more than human life.

 

 

13: Perpetual war

Once you have enough representatives to control how a nation’s wealth is used, you can use its tax revenue to bribe foreign politicians into letting you pillage their resources. If they won’t play ball, you can depose them with military force, guaranteeing you won’t have to compete for global market share with worker-friendly politicians or foreign businesses.

Predatory capitalism also guarantees perpetual war simply because war is profitable. The military-industrial complex needs taxpayers to buy its weapons in order to remain profitable. So it behooves them to invest in campaign financing so they can lobby politicians to stay in perpetual war.

 

 

Even without a secret conspiracy by corporations to manipulate militaries into fighting for them, our economic system is still a recipe for conflict. As a general truth, survival requires resources, and when resources are scarce in a local community, they become as valuable as life itself, and people will kill their neighbors to keep what they’ve got and take from the weak. When a country’s resources become scarce, it will act the same way, and the goal of predatory capitalism is to consume resources as fast as possible.

Since the world’s wealth is being funneled to a few families instead of being distributed to everyone, the nations with the least infrastructure are left in abject poverty and thus chaos, which creates a power vacuum to be filled by the strongest local warlord, which is convenient for big corporations, because warlords prevent small businesses from growing into global competitors, and warlords are happy to sell their nation’s resources to foreign companies for pennies on the dollar.

 

14: Environmental apocalypse

As apocalyptic as all these problems are, the worst consequence of predatory capitalism is the destruction of the very eco-system keeping the entire human species alive. In order for companies to make profits, they need to make as many products as quickly as possible, which means they need to consume raw resources as quickly, and spend as little money on health and safety, as possible. It would be an understatement to call this a recipe for environmental destruction. Predatory capitalism makes pollution a moral imperative, which is why big businesses are so desperate to convince the population global warming is a hoax. Saving the planet would negatively affect their profit margin.

The solution to this problem isn’t to guilt-trip consumers into buying eco-friendly products. That’s like forcing people to become cannibals and then convincing them to fight cannibalism by only eating each other’s legs. The problem isn’t the victim. The problem is predatory capitalism’s addiction to economic growth. That’s the herd of bears coming to eat you and your tribe. Solve that problem or you’re effectively committing suicide while being complicit in genocide.

I’m less interested in convincing you to accept my theories than I am in inspiring you to do your own research and come up with your own. If you want to know my theory, the simplest solution is to require governments to spend tax revenue on feeding and sheltering all of its citizens before they’re allowed to spend taxes on anything else. This will solve people’s immediate problems, give them the freedom not to have to work/consume, and eliminate the leverage businesses use to exploit everyone at every corner. If governments won’t do that, citizens need to organize to create private sustainable communities to shelter themselves from poverty.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

Life Path Flow Chart

 

Click the image to enlarge it.

Life path flow chart o the rich and poor. It's easier for the rich to succeed and harder to fail. For poor people, it's the opposite.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

What It’s Like To Be Poor

The problem with the world isn’t that poor people are all lazy and greedy. The problem is that people who have never been poor have no idea what it’s like. They can’t even imagine it. So they fill in the blanks with their own experiences and end up convincing themselves they live in a happy world where the poor enjoy all the luxuries of life without having to work for anything, and every job is a window of opportunity that leads to The Promised Land. This perspective is so far from reality it constitutes insanity.

 

 

One of the most common complaints you hear about welfare recipients is that they just use their free money to buy steaks and other expensive foods. The first problem with this myth is it implies poor people don’t deserve to eat good food. There’s enough food in the world for everyone to eat well. You should be mad at the system that only lets poor people eat steaks every once in a while, because the rest of the food they eat is the cheapest, most generic processed crap the government will approve for human consumption.

Mostly, poor people eat cheap processed food, but not because they’re too stupid to know it’s unhealthy or they’re too uncivilized to want to eat fresh fish and truffles. They walk past rows of savory food every time they go to the grocery store and stare at it longingly as their stomachs grumble. On the way home, they pass aromatic bakeries, cafes and ethnic restaurants where they can’t afford to splurge $7 on a cup of coffee or salmon quiche. When they do eat at restaurants, their eyes dart immediately to the prices on the menu looking for the lowest numbers. Then they decide which of those items they’re going to order. Poor people only order steaks at restaurants maybe once a year. They won’t even buy steaks at the grocery store except on special occasions. So if you see a poor person buying steaks with food stamps, you should be happy for them that they’re taking a break from eating hot dogs and cereal and getting to eat like a real human being for one day.

 

 

It’s especially meaningful when a poor person gets to eat steak, because if their bodies aren’t malnourished from the nutritionless boxes of food they’ve been eating, they’ll be drained from the hard work they have to do. The cruelest lie ever told about the poor is that they don’t work. For every unemployed poor person, there are ten million who work all day every day as fast as they can at dangerous, tedious jobs where they’re permitted as few breaks as possible and are given as few amenities to accommodate them while they spend their entire lives trapped at work.

How do you think food gets from the field to the grocery store all packed up in boxes? Where do you think all the clothing and gadgets at the mall come from? They’re processed, assembled and stocked by people working all day for barely enough to survive. Every day they’re fighting for survival. Work is a life and death struggle for them, and if they can’t keep up the pace or grovel before their bosses reverently enough, they’ll lose their job and die. Everything is always on the line. The stress and anxiety this causes is soul crushing.

 

 

You can’t spend your life this way without breaking. Something inside you has to die in order to keep going. Those who do survive will never earn enough time off or money to take vacations. A backyard BBQ is the closest they’ll come to a vacation. If they save their pennies for long enough they might be able to take a trip to a beach resort, but they won’t have enough money to rent jet skis, go scuba diving, get a massage or eat more than one gourmet meal. In the end, they’ll come home broke and have another few years of unrelenting work before they can take another whirlwind vacation, assuming no unforeseen expenses pop up before then.

 

 

You can’t go a month without having to pay some kind of fine, fee or bill, and everything is as expensive as possible, especially health care, which is why insurance exists, but poor people are too poor to afford insurance. So they don’t get to go to the hospital. If they break a finger, they just tape two Popsicle sticks around it. When poor people do go to the hospital after their bodies break down from relentless work, they end up literally paying their life savings to get better.

Obviously, if they can’t afford vital medical attention, they certainly can’t afford cosmetic ones. Rich people can afford to have wrinkles removed. Poor people can’t afford to have warts removed from the bottom of their feet. Poor people don’t even get to go to the dentist regularly because it would cost too huge of a percentage of their life’s savings.

Poor people might be able to afford preventative health care if they didn’t get taxed so much. When someone with no savings gets paid $1,000 and gets taxed $100 they’re paying 10% of their entire net worth. That’s not just inconvenient, that’s crippling. It’s the difference between being able to see the dentist or not. Rich people can afford to pay more in taxes and still eat steak every day. Poor people can’t afford the taxes they’ve got.

And poor people don’t get much back from what they put in. They don’t get health care. They don’t get to go to museums, national parks, airports or take long road trips. Some of them don’t even get covered bus stops. They do get to go to jail for not being able to pay the relentless barrage of fines and fees the police dole out for any conceivable excuse though.

Poor people don’t even get welfare. I walked into a welfare office once and told the caseworker I had no car, no home, no family, no friends, no job and $1,000 in savings. He told me I didn’t qualify for welfare, but if I applied to fifteen jobs and didn’t get hired, then he could give me barely enough money to survive if I ate rice and beans every day. However, if I got a job, then I wouldn’t get any more money. So I’d still be financially destitute until my first paycheck. Then I’d continue to be destitute for the foreseeable future while I saved up my pennies by not enjoying any luxuries in life and hoping nothing bad happens to me.

That’s not an extraordinary story. That’s the norm. That’s how much the welfare office helps. It’s not a safety net. It’s a toilet to flush the poor down. As if to prove a point, the welfare office I went to had a lock on the bathroom door. When I tried to open the door, a security guard told me to go back to my place and sit down. For all the taxes poor people pay, they don’t even get a toilet to piss in.

I don’t know how you get money out of the welfare office, but even if you can, it’s not enough to live a stress-free, fear-free life, and sooner or later you’re going to have to go back to work at an inhumane sweatshop. The only other alternative is turning to a life of crime. Then you’ll have the time and money to live like a real human being… at least, until you go to jail, but at least then you’ll get three meals a day and won’t have to pay utilities or rent. You’ll probably still have to work in an inhumane sweatshop though. Plus, you’ll still have dangerous neighbors, and you’ll have to address your superiors as “sir/ma’am” and follow orders just like at a real job.

 

 

Rich people might be stamping their feet at this point, shouting, “If it’s so damn bad being poor then why don’t you just get a degree and/or work harder and pull yourself up!?!” To that I would say, if poor people can’t afford to go the hospital, they sure as hell can’t afford a higher education.

More importantly, it’s impossible for most of them to work any harder. They’re already pushing the limits of human endurance, and many have more than one job. All they do is work and recuperate from work. The problem isn’t that they’re not trying. The working poor are poor because a predatory economy keeps them chained to work with expenses and debt. If jobs paid more than the cost of living, then people wouldn’t be poor. The system is designed to ensure they never get ahead. Sure, there will be a few who beat the system and go from rags to riches, but that’s the exception. Endless poverty is the norm.

The physical and emotional suffering caused by poverty are stressful enough, but it also has a profound spiritual cost to its victims. When you have no money, you have no freedom. You can’t travel where you want. You can’t quit your job. You can’t pursue hobbies. You can’t be picky about where you live. You can’t afford to take classes or buy books. You can’t do anything but go to and from work. So you spend your life in a place you don’t want to be, doing things you don’t want to do for people you don’t like. But you have no choice. So you do it. All day, every day.

In the end, all your life amounts to is a tool at a business. You’re a machine, bound to follow orders, unable to make decisions for yourself, explore the world or find yourself. You’re not even allowed to express yourself by the clothes you wear since you’re forced to wear a uniform. Not that you’ll make enough money to buy good clothes anyway; you’ll shop at thrift stores and wear the faded clothes of people richer and older than you.

Poverty robs the poor of their very identity, dooming them to be unable to give their lives meaning in or outside of work. Poverty defeats the purpose of sentient life. It kills the poor inside before killing their bodies. There’s no purpose of humanity existing if the rest of our history revolves around oppressing the masses so the rich can live like gods.

 

"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings." Nelson Mandela

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

Life Is Hard Because The System Is Inhumane, Not Because We’re Weak

At every stage in my life I’ve been told not to expect to get everything I want and that I was lucky to be blessed with the luxuries and opportunities I have, and if I want more, I’ll have to make sacrifices and work hard. When my parents told me that, I did my chores. When my teachers told me that, I studied hard. When my employers told me that, I wore their uniforms, followed their rules and went above and beyond what was expected of me. When the government told me that, I paid my taxes and enlisted in the military. When the military told me to salute an officer, or work overtime, or go to the Middle East, I obeyed enthusiastically.

Sure, I complained along the way, but I never stopped working, because I believed in the mantra that real men “suck it up” and deal with the unpleasant weight of responsibility. My generation has been living like this for almost forty years now, and looking back at everything I’ve endured, I no longer believe in this creed or that we should be teaching it to children without including some major caveats.

I’ve written a little about this topic before, but someone left a comment on one of my military blogs last week that inspired me to talk about it again. The person was responding to my claims that the military is a textbook cult that uses classic brainwashing techniques to indoctrinate recruits. I argue that it would unethical, if not illegal for you to start a cult and treat your initiates the same way the military treats its members. Therefore, the Uniform Code of Military Justice should either be abolished or fundamentally revised, because, in its current form, it’s a crime against humanity.

What struck me about the person’s response wasn’t its originality, but its popularity. Here are a few comments from people who disagreed with me about my assessment of the military:

  • “Eh no difference than anything really, but everywhere is a pyramid structure. Whether it’s a MIT program or internship every business wants you to buy in. The ones that do are the ones that move up. The ones who don’t do something else. It’s life.”
  • “I served 17 years in the Army. When I went to Iraq, Army finance screwed my child support payments up. When I got back stateside I had a warrant for my arrest. I ended up serving 18 months of a 3 years sentence because of someone’s fuck up. You don’t see me trying to make any military branch look bad at all. Grab what balls you got left son and turn that anger into something positive. Believe me it will pay off sooner or later. The path you are taking with this trash that you have written is not the answer. P.S. I would NEVER tell any Veteran face to face that you wrote this shit. You’re asking for a goddamned ass kicking if you do.”
  • “I wanted to dig into your comment piece by piece. I will put your statements in quotes. ‘They break you down to build you back up.’- Of course they do. It’s meant to get you out of the mindset of everything being about you (break you down), and direct your mind to focus on the team aspect (build you back up).‘You do what the military tells you to do. Where to live, what to wear, what to look like, how to act.’- Of course. That’s the structure of order. You do the same thing at work. You’re told what to do, and you may or may not wear a uniform at work. Active duty is just like you being on the clock at all times. You must remain and act in a professional manner all the time. ‘Some E-6 or E-7 will dictate the terms of your life’ – You mean my boss? Yes, my boss does have the power to tell me what to do. ‘In your off time (liberty) there are certain things you can’t do and certain places you can’t go.’ – This is false. The only thing I can think of is our loss of the right to protest against the government. However civilians cant protest against their job w/o repercussions either so it’s the same thing. Yes joining the military means that you give up certain rights and freedoms so you civilians can enjoy yours. I wouldn’t call it brainwashing, all men and woman in uniform know that there are certain rules and guidelines you have to abide by. Just like working for any company or corporation. When you wear a uniform that says you represents something or someone you have to act and behave accordingly. I know plenty of businesses that won’t allow you show of your tattoos at work. Just using that as an example.”

Perhaps infantry troops need to have their rights stripped away, their identities stolen, and be forced to endure extreme stress to prepare them for combat, but if everyone’s life is as bleak as basic training, then what are those soldiers fighting for?

More than one adult has already told you life is full of authoritarian pyramid structures, illogical rules, demeaning treatment, low wages and other inconveniences and indignities, and that’s just how life works. Mature people accept it and deal with it, and only immature spoiled pussies complain about the status quo.

There are times when it’s mature to do things you don’t want in order to get the things you need, but the system goes out of its way to force everyone into that position. We’ve created an artificial environment that makes it irresponsible to stand up for yourself or follow your dreams.

The problem with young people today isn’t that we tried to make sacrifices but were just too big of pussies to stay the course. The majority of Generation X and the Millennials have been eating their pride and pounding sand since day one. We’ve held up our end of the bargain. The problem is we found out too late, there’s no finish line. This is just how life is forever. You spend your whole life getting pushed down and being told, “You gotta learn to follow before you can lead,” until you die. Now that we’ve figured this out, we’re expected to keep calm and carry on as normal despite knowing we’re playing a game we can’t win.

You’re damn right we’re going to complain. That’s not the American dream we were promised. A perpetually servile role isn’t good enough, not by a long shot. Not for my generation, and I don’t want to hand down the mantra of battered-person syndrome to the next. This cultural norm needs to die for the sake of all future generations.

"I'm sorry I annoyed you with my faith in the American Dream."

Even if I’m blowing the whole situation way out of proportion, and success really isn’t so hopeless, we need to stop and ask ourselves, is the system we have good enough? If it can be improved on, shouldn’t we do that? Are we really doing ourselves a favor by militantly, dogmatically defending the way things have always been done?

In order to figure out how to rectify this problem, you need to understand the root cause. The reason self-subjugation is considered a virtue in America is because you need money to survive, and in order to get money, you have to work for someone who expects slave-like obedience. Employers are motivated to control, overwork and underpay their workers because they need money to survive and grow their company. They have to fight tooth and nail against other business, and if their business fails, they lose all their money… which they need to survive. The stakes are life and death for all of us. Business is war, and war is hell. In this environment, the most valuable survival skill an employer can have is sociopathy, and the most valuable survival skill workers can have is obedience.

Our economy is fueled by fear. We all do great and terrible things we didn’t know we were capable of because we’re afraid of running out of money and starving homeless in the streets. Remove the fear and we won’t have to act like desperate animals anymore. It doesn’t take a full-socialist, communist or fascist government to accomplish the bare minimum of guaranteeing that every person who works receives food, water, shelter, and electricity. Everyone doesn’t have to be equal, but everyone needs to be guaranteed the bare minimum. This could be funded with less than half the taxes we already pay for the police state we currently have.

We’re never going to have a humane economy as long as we keep yelling at each other to suck it up and deal with the one we’ve got. We should be shouting at our overlords and telling them the system they’ve given us isn’t good enough. If they won’t listen, we should turn our backs on them and build a better system ourselves. But nothing is going to change as long as we keep blaming the victim.


The Lottery Is A Microcosm Of America

Sudden Clarity Clarence meme with the caption, "The lottery isn't a tax on stupidity. It's a tax on hopelessness."

 

44 states in the U.S.A. have government-run lotteries. Nevada doesn’t, but that’s only because the owners of the casinos in Las Vegas lobbied/bribed their politicians not to host a lottery so they wouldn’t have to compete with it. Across the nation, government-run lotteries are raking in $70 billion per year.

On average, America’s lotteries pay out about 50% of their earnings directly to lottery winners. Of the remaining amount, they spend about 5% on advertising and administrative costs (including lavish executive salaries). The rest goes to funding the state’s budget. Exactly how that money is allocated differs from state to state. Most say it “supports education,” but that claim is often misleading. States have been criticized for not spending enough of education, but even when the money is put in the general state fund, it still ends up trickling down into programs people rely on. If the lottery were eliminated, the general population would feel the hurt as thousands of social services disappear.

State governments have come to rely on lottery winnings to fund significant portions of their budgets. This makes it imperative that people keep buying tickets. Many Americans are fine with this, because they view the lottery as a tax on stupid people who are probably lazy ghetto bums who are leeching off the system and not paying their fair share of taxes anyway. But the Lottery Commissions’ marketing departments know exactly who their target audience is. 70%-80% of tickets are purchased by 10% of the buyers. So the lottery isn’t a tax on stupid people, so much as it’s a tax on the mentally ill.

Granted, there are millions of non-addicts who live below the poverty line and spend way too much money on lottery tickets, which is blatantly irresponsible. It’s such an obviously illogical thing to do, it fits the definition of stupid, but if you’re disgusted by the stupidity of compulsive lottery ticket buyers, you should be more disgusted by government officials who decided to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on commercials and flashy lottery tickets to convince impressionable fools into cutting their own throat and then selling them the knife.

The situation is grimmer than that though because lottery officials aren’t preying on people’s stupidity as much as they’re preying on their fear. Poor people don’t buy lottery tickets because they’re completely oblivious to how it’s negatively affecting their lives. They know better than anyone, and yet they keep spending their potential retirement savings, and even their grocery money, on lottery tickets. The reason the cost/benefit analysis adds up in poor people’s heads isn’t because they’re stupid and can’t do the math. They’ve done the math, and they’ve correctly deduced that they’re never going to earn more than $50,000 per year in their life, which isn’t enough to retire on. Even if they did cut costs and save every penny, medical bills will wipe out their retirement eventually anyway.

And poor people know they have a lot of medical bills in store for them because they spent their entire lives working demeaning, grueling low-wage jobs, and the only food they’ve ever eaten is cheap, processed gunk. They haven’t been able to afford to see a doctor most of their life. So they haven’t had any preventative screenings or treatments, which is just as well, because the sooner they die, the sooner they can finally quit working at the jobs that ground their bodies and souls into dust. Their lives are shit, and their retirement plan is death. When your retirement plan is death, the cost/benefit analysis of risking your retirement money on a one in a billion bet adds up. To poor people trapped in a lifetime of wage slavery, the lottery is a tax on hopelessness, and lottery executives know this.

 

Bill Murrary meme with the caption, ""ll never be able to escape wage slavery, and my retirement plan is death, but I got a 1-in-20 million chance of winning the lottery. So I got that going for me, which is nice."

 

State-run lotteries are a microcosm of the American government at large. The government determines how the economy works. The economy is designed to take all the poor, unskilled workers’ money while also making it absurdly difficult for small businesses to grow, hire more workers and pay better wages. So everyone has to work overtime just to keep their head above water. Then, the government spends tax payer’s money convincing Americans their dreams are right around the corner, and all they have to do to win is play a game they’re set up to lose. Then the spotlight is put on the minority who do win, and all the losers are told they’re stupid for failing.

The most absurd part of this whole situation is how easy it would be to solve all these problems. America could build apartment units for every homeless person in America or feed the entire population twice over with the $70 billion they make off lottery sales. If America diverted half the money it spent on either The War on Terror or The War on Drugs, every citizen could have all the necessities of life guaranteed without having to raise anyone’s taxes or adopting Communism.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

Why Do Poor People Play The Lottery?

 

 

The odds of winning the lottery are so low that buying a lottery ticket is arguably pointless. Therefore, many people believe that buying a lottery ticket is tantamount to paying an “idiot tax.” There’s a lot of truth to that point of view, but the cynicism of that point of view overlooks a very profound and very real truth about life in predatory capitalist economies such as the United States of America.

This truth stems from the fact that, in America, if you can’t afford a $30,00+ university degree or you’re not smart enough to pass all the exams or write all the essays required to earn a university degree then the glass ceiling of higher education prevents you from making a living wage…ever. Granted, there are still some options available to people who aren’t wealthy or smart enough to go to college. You can still join the military or go to trade schools, but the reality of the world we live in is that there are still some people who aren’t cut out for even that. Even if they were able to jump through the hoops it takes to get a decent paying job, our economy stills pays workers as little as possible while charging customers as much as possible while marketers do everything they can to convince everyone to buy as much as possible whether they need those advertised goods/services or not or whether they can afford those goods/services or not. Between the oppression of low wages and high prices, the reality of our economy is that millions of people will never be able to make a living wage.

Here’s the thing about that. If you’re a middle-class citizen who was able to buy your way up through the glass ceiling of higher education, then buying lottery tickets is objectively a dumb idea. You make enough money to be able to save for a comfortable retirement or to be able to start your own business despite America’s restrictive small business laws. This means the cost/benefit analysis of spending money on the lottery doesn’t add up for you.

However, the cost/benefit analysis of buying lottery tickets is not the same for an upward mobile middle-class citizen as it is for a lower class wage slave. People who have to work their entire lives for barely enough money to survive and/or don’t have the intellectual intelligence to navigate the oppressive bureaucratic obstacles to starting their own business have little to no chance of ever fighting their way out of poverty. For these people, there is no hope of saving their money and making a better life for themselves. Even if they do save all of their money and deny themselves any of the frivolous joys that the rich enjoy every day, they still won’t be able to save enough money to enjoy the good life of the rich and famous. The best they can hope for is to save enough money to cover a tenth of the medical bills they’ll inevitably rack up in old age. Even after a lifetime of back-breaking hard work they won’t be able to save enough money to cover the cost of a decent retirement home. In other words, they have no hope in life… period.

 

 

The lowest class workers may not be smart enough to earn a college degree, but they’re smart enough to see that no matter how hard they work and no matter how much of their minimum wage paycheck they save they’ll never be able to live a life of full human dignity. So, given the hopelessness of their prospects in life, the cost/benefit analysis of buying lottery tickets actually does truly add up.

The poorest of the poor never had any chance of having a good life no matter how much they saved because they were never going to make a living wage to begin with, and all the money they do make is inevitably going to be stolen by insurance companies, banks, utilities, taxes, cell phone bills, rent and all the other expenses that come from living in a predatory capitalist economy. So, given that the poorest of the poor never had a chance of saving enough money to make a good life for themselves, the 1-in-a-billion chance of having a good life from winning the lottery is higher than the 1-in-0 chance of having a good life from working hard and saving their money.

That’s why poor people spend their money on the lottery. it’s less because they’re stupid and more because the predatory economy that they live and toil under is stupid.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

Why Does It Have To Be So Hard To Retire?

There’s no one right way to success, but if you follow the steps below you should be able to retire happily and peacefully.

 

1. Be born in whatever country is currently the world superpower.

2. Be born a male and a member of the ethnic majority in that country.

3. Be born to well-educated, upper-class parents who have achieved a significant level of personal self-actualization

4. Have a healthy infancy. Be well nourished,  vaccinated and monitored. Have lots of positive interaction with both your parents.

5. During the first few years of your life, receive lots of positive conditioning training that teaches you to build confidence. Also, make sure your environment is tailored to your sensory input tolerance level.

6. Go to a solid elementary school that has minimal disciplinary problems and bases its curriculum and policies around best practices designed by a truly professional psychological organization that specializes in education.

7. Receive lots of emotional support during your puberty years. Be able to talk openly with a wide support network that will help you work through all your problems in a healthy, productive way.

8. Go to a well-funded high school with minimal disciplinary problems, a high-quality staff and a wide range of extracurricular activities with well-funded labs. Focus on your school work. Don’t let friends, fun, and dating distract you from your responsibilities.

9. Make time in your high school schedule to find meaningful entry-level work in the field you’re going to spend the rest of your life working in. Volunteer as an intern if you have to.

10. Graduate high school at the top of your class having won multiple prestigious awards in various extracurricular activities. Go to university for the next 8 years and have someone else pay for it all. Get a generous allowance, but keep doing low-level work in the field you’re studying. Let your supervisors know from the beginning that you are focusing like a laser on moving up the ladder in your industry.

11. Graduate with a doctorate degree and move straight into upper management if you’re not there already. Put yourself in a position in the industry where upper-class people would want to do you favors.

12. Employ the crash savings technique. Spend as little as possible to live healthily and save as much as possible. Don’t get in a relationship with anyone who makes less money than you, is crazy or unhealthy.

13. Invest in an IRA from the youngest age possible. Work for a company that has a secure 401k option that matches your contributions, and invest in it. Keep your spending money in a secure, high yield money market account instead of a regular checking/savings account.

14. Buy the smallest cheapest house you can as soon as you can afford to pay it off in 5 years. Stick to that schedule. Get a professional roommate immediately and start charging her rent.

15. Kiss up, back-stab, lie, cheat and grind your way up in the industry you work in for the next 60 years.

16. As you get closer to retirement, steadily transition your investments from high risk to low risk. Consider becoming a slum lord and hire a property management company to oversee your properties.

17. Equip your house with the latest self-sustainability technology and stop relying on or paying for utilities.

18. Keep a strong support network around you your entire life. Have regular meaningful contact with other people after retirement. Keep at least a semi-regular schedule. Mediate and do yoga. Play lots of video games, laugh often and get the best medical care money can buy.

 

 

Follow these simple steps and your life will turn out great. If you get knocked off track anywhere along the line, don’t expect to get any sympathy from the world around you. You’ve got a roadmap to success right here. If you don’t follow it to the letter, then any consequences you suffer as a result are nobody else’s fault but your own. Anyway, that’s the belief that gets pounded into the heads of billions of people who were born into unhealthy environments with little to no resources.

 

 All I’m saying is, imagine if you lived in a world where the retirement flow chart looked like this:

1: Be born in a country that doesn’t have an inhumane, predatory housing market.

2: Be born in a country that has free, equal access to all levels of education for everyone.

3: Have an automatic allotment set up at birth that covers all your taxes and investments so you never have to think about taxes or investments in your life ever.

4: Get a job working for a company that provides on-site housing and mandates a majority share of excess profits be divided among all the employees in the company.

5: Get a condo as part of your retirement package that you don’t have to pay any property taxes or fees on.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

How To Escape Poverty

Photo of a line of poor African-Americans standing in a soup line in front of a billboard showing happy white people in a car, with the words, "WORLD'S HIGHEST STANDARD OF LIVING: There's no way like the American way"

1: Never spend any money.

The fundamental cause of poverty is that businesses pay their uncredentialed employees as little as possible while charging their customers as much as possible. This puts the lowest paid workers between a rock and a hard place. It’s going to cost money to buy the credentials that will let you through the glass ceiling. So if you can’t get a better paying job with your current credentials, you’re going to have to save money by not spending any. Here are a few tips for not spending money:

Never do anything fun that costs money. Never go to restaurants, movie theaters, concerts, nightclubs or take vacations.

Don’t buy household goods you don’t absolutely need.

Don’t have children.

Don’t date someone who expects you to spend money on them.

Don’t buy designer status symbols to impress other people.

Spend enough money on a vehicle that is reliable, but don’t buy a fancy car that will impress other people.

Take a motorcycle safety course. Even if you never ride a motorcycle you could save 15% on your car insurance if you show your insurance company that you’ve taken a motorcycle safety course.

Eat healthily, exercise and brush your teeth twice a day. The leading cause of bankruptcy is medical bills. You can do a lot to prevent them by living a healthy lifestyle.

Don’t smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. These are expensive and unnecessary, and being inebriated will make you not notice how much your life really sucks, making it harder to escape poverty.

Spend as little on rent as possible. Rent a room instead of a house, or live out of a van.

 

2: Get a piece of paper.

It’s nearly impossible to earn a living wage without paper credentials. Even if you work at a business for 20 years you probably won’t get promoted without having a piece of paper that says you’re worthy of a promotion. If you’re not academically inclined enough to get a college degree, then get a trade certificate. There are a lot of certificates that cost less than $10,000 and take a year or less to get that will allow you to make $30+ per hour. If you can get a certificate that allows you to work at sea, you can make even more money by not having to pay rent. Every piece of paper helps even if it’s just a forklift operator’s license. You can also increase your pay by learning a second language.

 

3: Start your own business.

The most lucrative way to make money is to start your own business. It requires intelligence to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops and hurdles governments put in the way of entrepreneurs, but you don’t need a college degree to successfully open a small business. You just need a little intelligence and a lot of tenacity.

If you’re poor, you won’t be able to open your own car dealership or some other business that requires a lot of startup capital, but there are plenty of opportunities for starting businesses providing goods and services that don’t require tens of thousands of dollars to get off the ground. Look around you and find a need that’s not being met and find a way to fill it that requires as little money as possible to produce and deliver.

 

4: Join the military.

If you’re young and don’t have a criminal record or any disabilities, you might consider joining the military. There are a lot of jobs in the military that will never put you in the line of fire. Plus, you’ll get free healthcare, free dental care, free life insurance, free housing, free tuition assistance, free gyms, free job training, free food, free legal representation and lucrative enlistment/reenlistment bonuses. And you can enjoy all these benefits while congratulating yourself for sacrificing more than the civilian wage slaves who pay your salary. Granted, you’ll help defend the economic and political systems that are taking away civilians’ freedoms and privacy while causing apocalyptic economic inequality, but the indoctrination process you’ll go through in basic training will brainwash you into believing the opposite. Once you stop questioning your leaders and their propaganda, the contradiction of your role won’t bother you anymore.

 

5: Demand poverty reform.

Politicians could put caps on the profits companies make and the amount of money individuals are allowed to hoard, which will eliminate the motivation CEOs have to underpay and overcharge their workers. Politicians could nationalize the banks, which will allow them to set interests rates at reasonable levels and use the profits banks do make on improving the lives of the working poor. Politicians could make higher education free, which will shatter the glass ceiling that keeps the poor from getting the credentials to earn a living wage. Politicians could raise the minimum wage to above poverty levels, but politicians are ultimately answerable to the ultra-wealthy individuals who fund their (and their competitors’) campaigns. So they have more motivation to help their benefactors get richer at the expense of the poor than they do to save the poor from their financial oppressors, but the more the poor speak up, the more their supposed representatives in government will have to listen to them. If you’re not making any noise, then you’re a part of the problem.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

How Predatory Capitalism Warps The Way We Define Maturity

Dictionary.com defines “capitalism” as:

  1. “an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.”

 

In and of itself, there’s nothing sinister about individuals or groups being able to own means of production. It becomes deathly sinister for workers and customers though when business owners underpay their workers and overcharge their customers… because that’s how poverty is created.

When a Capitalist economy goes full predatory, it hurts people in ways that can be measured by empirical quality of life statistics, but it also hurts people in more subtle, psychological ways, such as warping their perception of maturity.

 

Dictionary.com defines “maturity” as:

  1. complete in natural growth or development, as plant and animal forms: a mature rose bush.
  2. ripe, as fruit, or fully aged, as cheese or wine.
  3. fully developed in body or mind, as a person: a mature woman.
  4. pertaining to or characteristic of full development: a mature appearance; fruit with a mature softness.
  5. completed, perfected, or elaborated in full by the mind: mature plans.

 

We know when a piece of fruit is mature, and we know when a human body is mature, but when is a human mind mature? That’s a philosophical question that humans have been arguing about since the dawn of civilization, and every culture has institutionalized their own opinions about what knowledge and ideas a mature person should have in their head. But there’s one prerequisite to maturity that all cultures hold: the ability to survive and thrive in the local environment.

The skills it takes to survive change depending on the challenges of your local environment. For example, it would take different skills to survive and thrive in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, Vietnam or New York City. If a “responsible” person moved from one environment to a place where their skills are inapplicable, the locals would watch that person struggle with the smallest responsibilities, and would likely view that person as immature. The locals would certainly look down on members of their own community who couldn’t master the environment they were raised in.

This concept is easy to observe when looking at primitive hunter/gatherer societies living in harsh natural environments. It becomes murkier when the environment is a modern, service-based economy that you grew up in and have taken for granted your entire life.

In the modern world, the average worker doesn’t need to know how to build their own shelter or live off the land. Most people work at jobs in buildings where they make and sell goods or services. They get paid for their work with money, which can be used to buy anything, and in fact, is the only medium of exchange most businesses accept. In order to put a roof over your head, clothes on your back or food in your belly, you need money. Money is survival, comfort, security, freedom, and power. Since one’s ability to survive and thrive in a capitalist economy depends on having money, that means for people living in that environment, responsibility is inextricably tied to making and keeping money. The more predatory the economy is, the truer this is.

Growing up in an economy where surviving and thriving depends on making money, it’s natural for children to view people who have money as responsible and people who don’t as irresponsible. Children who never learn the causes of economic inequality tend to grow up into adults who worship the rich and despise the poor.

 

 

This is a warped perception of reality, because the way most millionaires and all billionaires get rich, is by paying their workers the lowest wage that supply and demand and the law will allow while selling the cheapest goods and services at the highest price supply and demand and the law will allow. Then they pocket the difference. The poorest of the poor may have made bad decisions in their lives, but when the cost of living is higher than (or even slightly below) your income, you’re stuck struggling to keep your head above water most of your life or until the inevitable hospital bill finally robs you of everything you’ve saved.

There are those who would argue that there are ample options available to the poor to help them lift themselves out of poverty, and therefore anyone who doesn’t take those opportunities, are just irresponsible. While it’s true some poor people pass up on opportunities, the fact of the matter is most high paying jobs require a college degree. More often than not, employers care more about their applicants’ degrees and certificates than their actual job skills or work experience. Since a college degree costs as much as possible, the only way to get a college degree is to be born to rich parents or go into half a lifetime of debt. Since the poorest, unskilled workers can’t afford to live a decent life, let alone a college degree, they’re shut out of most of the jobs that pay a living wage. To add insult to injury, uncredentialed employees who work 60 hours a week to provide for their family have to live with the stigma of not being mature or responsible enough to graduate college, while the children of rich parents can party their way through four years of college, barely pass and still be viewed as more responsible and have more doors open to them.

The glass ceiling of the college degree cleanly separates society into two castes of people, and the easier it is to divide society into deserving and undeserving classes, the easier it is to justify and accept exploiting the underclass. When a caste system becomes so ingrained in a culture, the under-class will even celebrate and defend it themselves. You can see this happening in almost any office building in America every day, and it’s not entirely illogical, just short-sighted.

Since survival depends on making money and making money depends on getting a job, the people who are the best at keeping jobs have an evolutionary advantage over people who can’t hold down a job. Therefore, the ability to keep a job is a hallmark of responsibility and maturity. And the best way to keep a job is to do your tasks correctly, go above and beyond the call of duty, follow all of your employer’s rules flawlessly and treat your employers with gracious respect. Since these are the skills employees need in order to survive, they’re responsible and mature behaviors.

 

 

These rules would be completely reasonable, but in a predatory capitalist economy, employees are already worked as hard, as fast and as long as possible with as few breaks and as little mercy as the law allows. That’s how hard poor people have to work to prove to their peers and bosses that they’re responsible, and they’re held to that level of accountability every single day. When that becomes the norm, and workers start holding their peers accountable to slave standards, they effectively police their own slavery. If those are the values they live by all day at work, those are the values they pass down to children.

Predatory businesses don’t just ask employees for their time and energy. They often take their employees dignity. Employees are often expected to wear humiliating uniforms, endure offensive treatment by customers and bosses, perform degrading tasks and address higher paid employees with higher titles and signs of respect. They’re expected to erase their personality while at work and act like soulless robots who love their job. Since these are the behaviors necessary to keeping a job and thus keeping an income, these behaviors are responsible and mature.

This means that being yourself and standing up for yourself is irresponsible. Quitting your job and pursuing your passion is seen as childish and naïve, and choosing not to have a full-time job is looked down on as absolutely crazy. Many young people have a hard time adapting to this dignity-less environment when they enter the workforce, but if they live in it long enough, they often come to accept and even embrace it.

 

 

Cultures always reflect their environment, and oppressive economic environments tend to create oppressive cultures with oppressive values. That’s exactly what’s happening in most of the world right now. While it may technically be responsible to beg, bow, scrape, fight and play the game to survive, that’s only because the economic environment was shaped by people who profit from exploitation. If our environment wasn’t designed to make life so hard and hopeless, responsibility would be defined by higher standards. We all have a responsibility to survive, but we also have a responsibility to our children and humanity in general. We’re not fulfilling our responsibility to our children by passing down instructions on how to be the ideal slave. We owe them a more humane economic environment, and until we deliver that, none of us are mature.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

Stop Talking About Guns, And Start Talking About Poverty

Gun control is always a big topic in America, and it flares back up every time there’s a mass shooting.  When that happens, gun rights advocates say there to be more guns more places in America, and these people are outraged by real or imagined prospects of stricter gun control laws.

 

 

While the Christian, conservative, patriotic base is calling for secession and revolt if they lose the freedom to shoot people, there are billions of people in the world and millions of people in America who are trapped beneath an economic glass ceiling and forced to spend their short, irreplaceable, invaluable lives working themselves to death doing undignified, inhumane work for barely enough money to survive, let alone enjoy the luxuries of the 21st century.

Ending poverty is more important than ending gun control. Every day spent talking about guns is another day the oppression of the working class continues. Everyone talking about guns right now is distracting the national dialogue from the actual biggest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: poverty.

 

 

Anyone who truly believes that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” should want the gun debate dropped in favor of the poverty debate, because desperate, uneducated, stressed out people are the ones who use guns for evil. Desperation, ignorance, and anxiety need to be removed from American culture before gun violence is going to end, and American culture isn’t going to change until the oppression of the poor ends. The oppression of the poor isn’t going to end until it dominates the national dialogue. So talk about that.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

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