Tag Archives: economic inequality

When Money Is Power, Business Owners Are King

We all have the most to gain by working together, yet we’re not doing that. Instead, we’re fighting each other tooth and nail in a dog-eat-dog rat race. We’re treating everyone like our enemies. We’re cutting everyone’s throats, stabbing everyone in the back or turning a blind eye to each other’s’ problems. Look where it has gotten us. People are building bunkers preparing for the apocalypse. Nobody questions whether there will be another war, just how soon it’ll happen.

So the world’s going to hell in a handbasket because everyone is acting stupid and mistreating each other even though the people we’re discriminating against are the only people in the universe who can help us build the most advanced world possible. We all have our excuses, but in the end, no matter how justified those excuses are, the end result is still that if we don’t work together we can’t build the most advanced world possible.

So the question is this, “What are you going to do?” Of course, we’ve all been asked that before. A lot of us have been asking ourselves that question a lot. The only problem is we don’t know what we can do. Sure, we can vote, but how much potential progress has that turned into reality in the past 60 years? Where’s it gotten us? It’s gotten us to where we are today. We’ve given billions to charity, but half of that gets siphoned off to “administrative expenses,” stolen or mismanaged. There’s a question as to whether the money that does make it to the intended recipients helps them more than it enables a brutal cycle of dependency.

The question of “what we can do” is a complicated one because the truth of the matter is that we don’t have as much power as we like to tell ourselves. Truth is, most of us barely have the power to take care of our own lives. Some of us don’t even have that much power. So how can we be expected to save the poor if we can’t even save ourselves?

Ask yourself, how did the people with all the power get it? They bought it. Money represents anything it can buy, including power. In fact, the only way to get power is to buy it. Sure, you can take power with force, but force costs money. You can win power through popularity, but popularity costs money. No matter how you cut the cake, money is power.

"Money equals power; power makes the law; and law makes government." Kim Stanley

If you want to change the world, then you need power. If you want power then you need money to buy it. If you want money you need to make it. And you don’t need to do anything illegal, violent or terroristic to make money. In fact, the best way to make money is to start a legal business. That’s how all the most powerful people in the world today came to power; they started a legal business and made their money right on the store shelves in plain view of the entire public, and that wouldn’t have hurt or killed anyone if they hadn’t gotten greedy. Somewhere along the line, they lost sight of the fact that we all have the most to gain by helping the most amount of people as much as possible over the long haul. Then they decided to help themselves to as much as possible as quickly as possible, and they sold the rest of us out and exploited us to make that happen.

The most lucrative (and thus most potentially powerful) way to change our lives is to follow the example of the people who took our lives from us. We need to start our own legal businesses because that’s where we stand to make the most money. The more money we make the more we can build a sustainable lifestyle that reduces our dependency on the archaic and inhumane systems that we have to reluctantly serve today. The less dependent we become on the systems that prey on the poor the weaker those systems will become.

Even if you didn’t own a share of the system, wouldn’t you want a system in place that didn’t own (or have any interest in ever owning) you? If any part of this idea appeals to you, I can promise you that the system with the most power will always be the system with the most money. The system with the most money will always be the system that sells the most goods and/or services. If you want to have any power over the environment you live in, you have to own a share or be an employee of (or be in the good graces of) the system that sells the most goods and/or services.

You only have as much control over your life as you have over your environment. In the world we live in, the amount of control you have over your environment is relative to the percentage of the wealth you own within that environment. When you look at the entire globe as a finite environment it looks to me like people’s lives suck because they don’t have enough control over their environment, and the main reason they don’t have control over the environments they live in is because the people with all the money (and thus power) are exploiting their positions of power to force the poor to work under worse conditions for less pay so the rich and powerful can have more money and more power.

Even if there’s not any bizarre Illuminati conspiracy theory, there’s still no denying that the rich are screwing over the poor. In fact, you can look it up in any intro level economics textbook. The backbone of our economy is based on the idea that businesses need to pay as little as possible to produce goods and services that they sell for as much as possible. The idea is that you have the most to gain by screwing the most amount of people for as much as possible. If you don’t believe me, go fill out a loan application at your nearest bank.

I’m not saying it’s the only way or the end-all best way for the poor to take control of our environments, but as best as I can tell from where I’m standing, the best bet we have to make our dreams come true is to start our own perfectly legal businesses and earn more money than the bastards who are making our lives suck more than they have to.

If we want to control our lives, we need to own our own businesses and reduce our personal expenses. We can kill two birds with one stone by living in our offices. That way we won’t have to buy our own homes. We won’t have to commute. We won’t have to pay for repairs to our property out of our own pocket. And any fun and luxurious amenities we wanted in our house we could bill to the company and call an “office improvement.” And we wouldn’t have to hide it because we would own the company and get to decide what the company’s profits are spent on. It wouldn’t be illegal or immoral in any way.

You could spend your life working and financing someone else who is going to use that money to pamper themselves and hold your head down farther, or you could start your own business and spend your life working and financing your own security without having to hold anyone else’s head down. The only thing you would have to do is exactly what you already do. Just instead of doing it for a greedy leech, do it for yourself and share the wealth with your fellow workers equitably.

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

 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World
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 World Won’t Improve Until You Stop Being A Consumer Whore

In order to understand why the world won’t get better until you stop being a consumer whore, you have to understand how the economy works: Businesses don’t make money unless they sell products. The more stuff we buy the more money businesses make. In theory, this should create jobs, and it does, but it creates as few jobs as possible, because the goal of business is to make as much money as possible for the owners and investors. They maximize their take-home pay by making as few workers as possible work as long as they can get away with, paying their workers as little as they can get away with, making as cheap of quality of products as they can get away with and selling them for as much as they can get away with.

Businesses can only sell as many products as customers are willing to buy, and people don’t have any motivation to buy things they don’t need. In order to remove this roadblock to profits, big businesses have dumped billions of dollars into studying human psychology in order to perfect the art of manipulating consumers. Today advertisements are ubiquitous and effective. We are inundated with them to the point that we accept an advertisement-saturated life as the norm. Inevitably we grow up buying crap we don’t need with money we can’t afford to spend. We’re all guilty, but for what it’s worth, we’re as much victims as we are offenders.

But make no mistake, we are offenders. Every time we buy something we don’t need, big business owners and investors take home profit that they can hoard, invest in more brainwashing advertisements, or influence politicians to pass laws that make it easier for them to screw more people harder, quicker. At the same time, every time we spend a dollar on something we don’t need we take a step away from financial independence and a step towards dependency on whoever is going to give us our next dollar. The less financially independent we are the more desperate we’ll be. The more financially desperate we are the less money and dignity we’ll demand from our employers.

Mass consumerism makes life in the present less enjoyable for everyone who gets squeezed by greedy businesses, and given enough time, it will make the planet unlivable. Our factories are tearing through the world’s resources as fast as possible in a mad dash to make cheap, barely-useful junk that will end up in a landfill within a year. The fewer resources the world has the more expensive they will become in the future, and thus the more expensive consumer goods will become, which will make economic disparity even worse. If the economy doesn’t change then eventually the majority of the population will live in polluted ghettos where there is no hope of upward mobility. In fact, this has already happened in the poorest areas of the world.

Arial photo of an endless shanty-town ghetto in a third world country

The survival and expansion of the economic system that creates inhumane slums depends on us buying mass-produced stuff we don’t need.

You might defend your purchasing habits by pointing out that if we don’t buy consumer goods, then companies won’t make money. Then they won’t have money to pay any workers or expand production to create any new jobs. This argument isn’t justification for continuing business as usual; it simply states why the current system is oppressive and unsustainable. The call to action it raises shouldn’t be to keep feeding the beast. The call to action should be to redesign our economic model so that workers and consumers aren’t caught in an inescapable downward spiral of economic oppression.

It would be a shame for people to lose their jobs and their meager livelihoods by starving the system to the breaking point, but people are living in hunger and fear now, and that’s only going to get worse the longer we continue doing what we’ve been doing. Starving the economy to the breaking point would at least allow us to start over and change directions. There is another alternative though, start building sustainable communities now and slowly transition workers from the oppressive system to a more humanitarian one. Unfortunately, it will cost a lot of money to build sustainable communities since those materials will have to be bought from companies that charge as much as possible. However, if the poor stopped being consumer whores, saved their money and worked together instead of fighting each other for the scraps that fall from their masters’ table we could build a better world.

One way or the other though, the world won’t change until you stop being a consumer whore.

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

 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World
Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Fixing the Economy

A Grim Letter From A Wise Sloth Fan About The State Of The World

I regularly receive E-mails from readers saying they share a lot of my views and feel relieved to hear someone else express what they were thinking because they were starting to feel alone and crazy. I enjoy getting letters like that because sometimes I feel like I’m taking crazy pills too. So the relief of meeting a like-minded person is mutual.

"Am I the only one around here who doesn't feel like I'm living in Utopia? Because this seems pretty dystopian. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills."

I recently received an E-mail from a reader, who I’ve been corresponding with for a while. He wrote an eloquent rant that summed up many of the feelings I’ve been having and questions I’ve been asking. It resonated enough that I asked the author if I could post their words on my blog, and they agreed.

You don’t have to agree with any of the author’s opinions or conclusions, but you can probably sympathize with the frustration and exhaustion that drove the author to pen this rant:

“Hello, Travis.

It has been quite some time since we spoke, no doubt you might have forgotten my name or the subjects we discussed, but it has been a learning experience, after which, I have further progressed my world perspectives and have formed an even more grim conclusion: our lives are never going to improve and our potential will never be fully utilized, as long as this socioeconomic system is in motion. Never.

When we spoke last, on Skype, I was very saddened to see your living conditions, knowing that such an intelligent and truthful individual is not being appreciated by the corporate system designed to maximize the profits of the few at the expense of the majority.

You told me that I’ll never get as good of perks as I do in the military, and those perks provide much security at the expense of several freedoms, which I am sure does not need elaboration given your former military experience. That statement seems quite accurate. I have met geniuses in the military, but the individuals I am surrounded by have the lowest intellectual prowess I have had the displeasure of dealing with, and there is very low probability that these types of folks could thrive in the civilian environment.

Recently I have been conducting a social experiment, that is, in fact, a very easy one: silence and listening. And behold, the topics such as Will Ferrell movies, ways to torture people, worthless ESPN and media trivia and other pop-culture nonsense is in never-ending supply during the 12-hour shifts which we now stand, thanks to the boss wanting to look better on paper. And now all 12 people, save me, pay grades E3 to E8 are gathered around Google Images to see which celebrity each person resembles, while no free education that could be accessed 24/7 is being regarded.

George Carlin could write dozens of books about people like these, unfortunately, he is not in this material world to call wasteful people out on their bullshit. Like many others before him, he has perished at an earlier age than the life expectancy of the people in that country at that time, and it just seems the intelligence attribute is inversely proportional to longevity. Perhaps because the more intellectually inclined folks are appalled and saddened by the depressing reality of this world and declining social functionalities, and this stress manifests in terms of immune damage, disregard for health conservation and substance abuse. But maybe those individuals have long foreseen the irreparable damage coming, where most people are enslaved to be a cog in the wheel and spend most of their lives doing things they do not want to do.

Like you said, the rich cannot exist without the poor. The 1% does not exist without the 99% and as such, to create this expanding socioeconomic inequality, products are overpriced despite being made with cheapest resources and workers are being remarkably underpaid despite ever-increasing working hours of repetitive jobs, many with little productive merit. So you are forced to spend 40+ hours per week to make the minimum salary that the business owners can spare, and end up having little free time for yourself with little entertainment you can afford.

The promise of going to college in order to make more money would hold some water if education was easily accessible, professionally applicable and free. But as it stands, right now the college loan debts in the States exceed those of credit card and auto loans, and the companies who hire new employees do not care for the intellectual potential of the candidates unless a piece of paper says so. Certainly you have met some brilliant people without a college degree, unfortunately the employer also seeks someone who has credentials and incentive to pay back the expensive education that could be obtained for free on the Internet and public libraries, and as such the people without a degree are considered an inferior human being regardless of the actual values they represent.

So now, some poor blue collared workers, some of them with families, also try to attend college part-time, and have even less time to sleep, feed (and of course the food is mass-produced with damaging chemicals and overpriced)  and of course be covered from natural elements with reliable shelter and clothing. As far as air and water quality, many times those attributes have to be accepted at the expense of having the opportunity to live in a populated area where a job can be obtained.

All of this leads to health degradation in the long run, and as such, your potential is forever hindered unless you have a very high paying job that can produce enough monetary influx to not only have the needs covered, but the material wants as well. Not a very common occurrence, and so you see how most of our lives we devote to doing what is against our immediate wishes, even though resources, technology, and knowledge to create an intelligent and cooperative utopia are very real, albeit not mass propagated.

Trying to explain such ideas to the public is often unsuccessful, as the majority of people are conditioned to be ignorant, primitive and materialistic. Not entirely their individual fault, as many variables are responsible for shaping public attributes, whether it be teachers, parents, or the media. But one thing is for certain: resisting this system is going to be a losing battle, even if thousands of people exert public pressure, the special force like police is ever ready to crush any resistance to defend the standing of the corporate owners. Numerous riots today have the same after effect, and the rich continue to thrive.

Meanwhile, my wife and daughter have me to protect them, and even though I can stay in the military until l I retire safely and comfortably, I feel like there is no great achievement on the horizon anytime soon, that I’ll still blend in with the gray crown of unfortunate middle-class people and that any contribution to this world will be drowned out by the system that offers minimal securities at the maximum loss of freedoms.

Please tell me, what is the best course of action I can take to help propel humanity to socioeconomic equality and efficiency? Thank you for your intellectual content and politically incorrect, but technically correct explanation of reality. Hope to stay in touch.”

I don’t believe anyone has to die to make the world a better place. We don’t even need to agree on a Utopian philosophy. My current theory is that best course of action one can take to help propel humanity to socioeconomic equality and efficiency is to invest in sustainable infrastructure and free education. I explain why in the posts below:

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

Talk About Saving the World
Be Better People
 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World

%d bloggers like this: