In order to sustain “our” standard of living, we will live by their rules, and their rules become our standard way of living.
The conversation below began with my post calling for a post passing of the tax bill boycott of Christmas. The response, in my mind, is a sensible one and one indicative of a future in which the moneyed will have their way every day on every issue, because it is the moneyed who we cannot resist, cannot fight because of what they can take away if we really do rebel against their usurpation of power that should be in the hands of the vast majority of people and not a very few.
We will not resist, there will be no meaningful rebellion because in doing so, because of the way the system runs, we hurt ourselves. If we were to boycott, the made to be inevitable consequence would be punishment in the form of lost jobs and lower pay, a loss of what we have come to understand to be prosperity.
While we continue to feed the system that, because of the way we have allowed the system to develop, because we want to be able to live a life that we have learned to be the prosperous life, that is the kind of prosperity we have come to accept as the standard even though our acceptance of it has led to and will continue to lead to the degradation of democracy and planet and what we may, at some point, discover to be an unacceptably low real standard of living, life without natural beauty, without access to those places where natural beauty still exists, a place where poverty grows worse, affects even more people, where wages never move upwards, where education of the kind needed to be informed and thoughtful citizens is not readily available, where racism and sexism grow more virulent and…
You cannot fight those who in order to be fed and content (there are other ways to achieve contentment, but they have been advertised out of our consciousness) if we have to feed them in order to feed ourselves. We can find better and more democratic and humane ways to feed ourselves, but it is very difficult to do away with the only diet we know.
Here is the telling conversation. This is in no way meant to say that the individuals involved are the problem. The problem is that they live within a system that is terribly problematic and unfair but, to contend with it in any meaningful way, in a way that might bring about the kind of change that would be right change, they would be forced to give up things the UNDERSTANDABLY do not want to give up, SINCERELY believe they cannot give up because of the way their lives would be affected, the way in which their children’s lives would be affected.
What is problematic about living what we got because it is enough is that the children might find, in the world that is the result of the pragmatic and cautious approach, a world in which we would not ever wish upon them.
Me (on poster): Tax Bill Christmas Boycott
Me (in comment following posting of poster): Use the money to fund change. Go downtown and meet people in the park. Buy food for those without much. Buy Tax Bill Christmas Boycott shirts (proceeds going to the anti-wealth in the hands of a few campaign–somebody needs to make them), beer and wine only from non-corporate brewers and vintners, gifts only from non-corporate entities, and whatever else to make this the kind of holiday we need.
Respondent 1 Also a great way to hurt small businesses. I try to shop local and keep it small, anyway.
Respondent 2: While I agree with you, there also has to be a balance. My family relies on sales in a corporate store and if sales slump even more, hours get cut. The people who will lose hours (or their jobs) are the ones that are likely going to be hit hardest by this tax plan.
Me (to respondent 2): So Ms. _____, you prove the point that we are caught up in a system that hurts us that we cannot rid ourselves of or even adjust because it gives us back what we need and want. Indeed, the corporations will cut hours and do other things to show us who is boss and we will be somewhat made miserable by it. The cost, of course, is giving into a system that allows for corporations whose stockholders and executives make more off the workers labor than the laborers do. There is a better way but the path there is one that we probably never take for the very reasons you offer in your statement. The tax bill passed because we have chosen to empower, have chosen to give up our power to the corporations who use that power to buy legislation that benefits them at our expense. Merry Christmas. Keep feeding the monster and he will continue to eat us alive.
Respondent 3: I wanna spend my yuge tax break windfall.
Respondent 3: I don’t see what that boycott is going to do. And I might point out you are a big fan of pine of the most egregious offenders… Apple. And here we are on Facebook.
Me: The implied charge of hypocrisy should not be used to undercut the viability of my argument for a boycott. I do buy goods that are made by bad companies and Apple is but one amongst many that do what they can to insure that investors are made wealthy and by means by which I do not approve. I want things and I go where I can get what I want with some consideration of the significance of the brand in regard to decent treatment of people and the role the company plays in the world as a corporation.
That said, the call for a boycott is not contradicted or made unreasonable by my buying habits. I refuse to be a part of a boycott by one because such a boycott would do nothing to change the conditions I wish to change through a boycott.
What a massive boycott, and not a tiny one, would do is damage the economy. That is the purpose, to make the economy hurt, to make those who benefit most by the current economic system hurt the most, the investors and the executives who are constantly finding ways to make the system better for themselves by making life worse for others. Consider the post-Christmas scores that are rendered and the glee or tears shed depending on how much consumers spent. Note that, as Julie said, the slower the season the more the working people suffer. That is, the less they by, the greater they are in jeopardy of earning less money or being laid off. The American public has to spend the money it earns so that it can have the work needed to buy enough to keep the economy strong enough to support their employment!
So, it is harmful to save, to refrain from purchasing! That is quite an insane way to be forced to live. And, yet, we tolerate the system because we need the jobs that do more to insure a luxurious life for the wealthy than they do to enhance the quality of life those who are doing the work live. And, as our purchases make those millionaires and billionaires ever more wealthy, they use it to fix the system so that it works to give them always more and less to the rest if such is necessary to buoy the profits.
Something has to give and I think recent history shows what it will be, the people of this country giving into a reality they cannot affect without hurting themselves, a reality that is not the one they would have if they had the power to make change, but the reality they must accept if they are to continue getting along. To change the reality we currently have and complain about, we have to change the dynamics of the society and to do that we have to bear for a time the repercussions of messing with what is, what we are used to.
We won’t do that. Our children’s children will likely be beaten up by a system even worse than the one we have now. They will feel the pain of our not finding a way to do something about our odious present so that their futures will be truly good ones. Very sad.
Respondent 3: I wish I had a realistic answer but this isn’t realistic either. It doesn’t have a chance to gain the numbers to make it effective.
Me: You are right. For this reason the reaction to the royal screwing we took the other night will maybe be a march or some phone calls but nothing that will really help to change the reality that allowed for such a travesty to occur.