I've been catching more and more income inequality snippets and stories lately. Probably no more out there than usual, but I think it's been on my mind a lot. It may have to do with my Masters thesis on middle class status in the Victorian Era.
Anyway, my thoughts are this:
What the rich don't get is that the middle classes and working classes don't want the whole economic pie for themselves.
They just want a share of it. The rich can stay rich, but the rest of us have a right to enough to live on and then some.
The issue is that we have created a consumption based economic paradigm that requires the average household to spend almost all or all of its surplus capital on the acquisition of things that visibly enhance its status. Its a ritual if display that requires the participants to spend capital on status items in an effort to visibly become a part the upper classes. Its all an effort to appear cultured and refined to those with social status above you.
My personal feeling are that we all have a right to be comfortable. Basic needs should be met. There is no way that anyone in this country should be without housing, food, and clothing. We have the wealth. The issue is who has it. What I want to see is a country were folks don't die on the fucking street from cold, hunger, etc. Everyone should have a place to go that is safe for shelter and sleep. I want a country that educates its youth to the best of their abilities to not only function as important parts of their communities but critically evaluate the world around them; what needs to be changed, what works, etc. I want to live in a world that is free of the unnecessary stresses of modernity.
This vision can only be possible if pretty drastic changes are made to the social fabric of the US. This is where I come for the rich. Simply put, the rich don't need what the have is surplus capital. They shouldn't get paid as much, they shouldn't pay so little in taxes, and they shouldn't control the mechanisms of power. The rich need to be brought back down to earth. They have to understand that they have no special right to be rich. The rich need to be drained of their money, and with it their power.
Another huge change needs to come from the middle and working classes. We need to stop the craving for ever more stuff. We have to move beyond a consumer driven society. The basic needs of the population should not be commodified. There should be no 'free market' when it comes to power, housing, food, utilities, education, etc......
Sorry, this is going kind of off the rails here. What I really want to say is that is it too much to ask that everyone be able to live a life that has personal meaning? That you go through life enjoying the challenges that being a human on this earth brings? With all of the calamities that the earth itself throws at us, do we really need to invent new ways of fucking our relatively short lives more? Is it too much to ask that I get to enjoy my life and that at the end of it I will be happy that those who follow me will have the same opportunities as I did? I guess it comes down to changing how we look at the world around us. We need to decommodify ourselves. I want to see the value of people and things around me for what they are rather than as a representation of money.
OK done for now. I may edit this some tomorrow after I sleep on it. This was just the front end of my ire at our current state of affairs in this nation.