By PAT WATSON
Facing personal bankruptcy is traumatic enough, but when you are living in a country like Greece whose government is declaring that it is on the verge of financial collapse, what goes through your mind? Greece was on the verge of going bankrupt until the government received a $140 billion, three-year bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union in order to remain ‘solvent’. But this is not about any studied review of global economics in the standard sense.
There is a woman in the neighbourhood who, when you ask how she’s doing, often replies, “Things are great… except for the money problem.” To which, she says, she gets the frequent response, “Welcome to the club.”
It wasn’t that long ago that Iceland – the same country with the exploding volcano with the name no one has yet been heard pronouncing properly – declared that it was bankrupt as a result of the junk mortgage fiasco that created the recent financial crisis in the United States banking industry which went ‘viral’, thrusting other parts of the world economy into jeopardy.
For the love of life, is there no practicable way for us all to earn our living, first, without damaging our natural environment, while also compensating each other so as to forever banish the term ‘the money problem’?
If entire countries are falling down because of the issue of money, and if the quality of a person’s life can be determined significantly by the quantity of money that person has, or doesn’t have, then shouldn’t we be looking for reasonable solutions for this most challenging human problem?
The problem is made worse when we consider that the gap between the moneyed and the poor is continuing to increase. According to United Nations statistics more than 24,000 children die each day from poverty. More than 80 per cent of humanity earns less than $10 per day. Over three billion people live on less than $2.50 each day of their lives. Think of Haiti.
At the root of money problems are human emotions, human nature, specifically greed and selfishness. There is a prevailing dichotomy attached to the money problem, which is that just about every person wants more money for what they do, at the same time that everyone wants to pay less for what they wish to acquire.
There was a recent questionnaire on a job website that asked which respondents would like more: shorter work days, more appreciation for the work or more pay. The majority of respondents said they wanted more money.
Is there a person out there who thinks he or she is paid enough? Who knows, maybe even billionaire Oprah Winfrey feels she isn’t paid enough. It’s a horrible conundrum: We always want more and never seem to have enough. So every week millions of us pay ‘the tax of fools’, putting a few dollars – or maybe a few hundred – on games of chance in the hopes of getting so much money that we need not worry about it any more. The lottery ticket.
The well-known Bible quote reminds us that ‘…the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
There are those who have sought to escape the dreadful paradigm. Moreover, there are small societies in far off places that exist happily without any system that even vaguely resembles the exchange of one thing or one service for another. Apparently, there is at least one society on the African continent that does not function with money, nor does its members even barter. No member has any personal possessions – they have no words for your or my – and whatever needs to be done in the day-to-day movements of their life is done by whoever can do it best. Imagine the freedom…
A note on the lunatic fringe…
Sadly, there is a broad and vocal amalgam of bigoted Americans who are so unhappy that a Black man is now president of the United States that they are hell-bent on doing whatever they can to derail his presidency. They will do all manner of things, from forming ‘Tea’ parties, to trying to create court cases to prove that Barack Obama is not American-born. Not surprisingly, former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the current icon of the political far-right in the U.S., is among those who have voiced this piece of propaganda.
But these anarchists are really cowards, afraid to move forward with the times. Ironically, by trying to bring Obama and the current administration down, these groups are actually being, of all things, ‘Un-American’, which is actually treasonous in a country where patriotism is pathological.