Root of all judgement

Posted: September 7, 2012 in Opinion piece
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A comment from former footballer Darren Eadie today inspired this blog. Referring to Queens Park Rangers player Samba Diakite’s spell away from the game with depression, he commented:

‘People assume because you’re paid a lot of money, it means you must be happy.’

Now, before I start, this is not a blog about depression, but, as a quick aside, depression affects anyone across the class spectrums. This is not in question. What I am going to question is the prevailing consensus in the country, coated in hyperbole and trumpeted from most forms of media.

It goes a little like this: money defines your success. Success means fulfilment, thus happiness. We know this from the Olympics and Paralympics. The athletes’ successes fulfilled their ambitions and dreams. But only so many of us can hope to become great athletes or sportsmen/women. For the rest of us, there are areas of interest, but, again, most of us will never scale the heights of our chosen interest, and may only pursue it as a hobby. So we work at something we probably don’t enjoy; that doesn’t fulfil us. Money is the compensation for this, and a good salary will normally affect how positively we view our job or career.

The problem evolving over the Neo-Liberal years is that money or income is now the primary signifier as to your social worth. One of the first questions you are asked by a stranger: ‘What do you do?’ Prepare for a scarcely-concealed sneer should you tell them you work in the service or retail sectors, or worse, are currently unemployed.

Is it thus any wonder that people trample over each other and potentially wreck their health and family life, in order to climb the greasy pole which they hope will lead to a salary worthy of their aspired social standing? Working all hours of the day and beyond, depriving children or lovers of contact, suffering bitterness and depression at that promotion snub or redundancy. Little wonder that most who are steadily ascending the pyramid look down with haughty comprehension at those they consider to be living off of their tax burden, and little wonder also why those stranded at the bottom without hope of progression spit bile at those with inordinate incomes, whom seem to baulk at contributing anything at all to the running of the country.

This climate of hostility at both ends of the scale may be exaggerated, but it is real, and is not helped by the polemic that the rich can’t be taxed as much as everyone else because of their apparently more worthy nature as ‘wealth creators’. Rather than deride that patently inaccurate term, I will expand on what I see as the bigger picture evolving with this obsession.

We are told the State needs to be shrunk, that the private sector could easily fulfil many roles. Seemingly, we are moving ultimately towards a future where the less fortunate; be they disabled, sick, old, young or simply without a job, will be forced to go cap in hand to a charity, and, directly or indirectly, be relying on the goodwill of wealthy philanthropists. Of course, these wealthy individuals could also be corporations. Great P.R. you see, and not the superior voting system kind.

I hope you see what I’m implying here. Because, I don’t know about you, but I consider the State, as imperfect as it is, to be the only reasonable body with which to disperse collective funds to aid the greater good. I do NOT believe that people already immensely blessed with wealth, potentially inherited rather than earned or accumulated, should be put in a position to determine who is worthy of assistance. They don’t deserve that power, and desperate people do not deserve that indignity and judgement. This is an incredibly dangerous path to go down, but one no doubt considered by the current Corporatocracy cabal. We must all be aware of this potential nightmare scenario and do everything in our collective power to avert it; not allow 0.5% fraud levels to guide our thinking.

And, while we’re at it, let’s judge people on their social actions and accomplishments, not their income.

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