Category: Hot Take

Hot Take – Money and Politics (Oh No)

Welcome everyone to another session of Genmu gets thoughts out of his head by typing them down, therefore not having to think about them anymore. Today I’m going to cover a few subjects which are invariably controversial regardless of how they’re spun, so you know that bad times are abound. These topics have been causing me a lot of annoyance and headaches in recent times and, though they might be something many of you try to avoid, I would ask that you stick with me through this regardless. These are things which need to be talked about, which need to be changed, and avoiding that is going to be beneficial to no one in the long run.  

The first of these subjects is money and the ridiculous way that we as a society perceive it. Nothing in this world is more important than money, people might claim that it doesn’t buy you happiness but that’s just willful ignorance. If you want a roof over your head, you need money. If you want to eat, you need money. If you want to obtain ways of entertaining yourself or get gifts for your friends, you need money. You aren’t allowed to live your life without money and that is disgusting. Coins and pieces of paper that have been given arbitrary value should not be more important than the basic amenities for living in any world. We made money, we define money, yet somehow it can blockade us off from our most basic necessities.  

This pedestal that we’ve put money on has done nothing but hurt us and our development as a race. Even the people who have all the money they could ever need for a thousand or more lifetimes are constantly trying to earn more. I can never claim to understand the mentality of such people, wrapped in such entitled greed, but perhaps they’re just trying to separate themselves from a moneyless life as much as possible. The phobia of not having it has molded us for the worse. There are those who impair the lives of others or even kill just because of it, our lives are lesser than paper and have been for a long time. Heck, not even just lives, the planet itself is currently being destroyed because a handful of oil company CEOs are sociopathic enough to believe that money is more important.  

The economic system of capitalism is, in my belief, one of the major factors which feeds into this self-destructive mentality. To preface, I believe the definition of capitalism has become somewhat muddied in the minds of people in recent years, so I’ll begin by clarifying how it’s advertised. Capitalism is based around the concept of a competitive market, in which the companies who have the means to production have to continually offer better deals to the consumer so as to compete with one another. The means of production are, of course, the means through which the stuff you buy is made. In theory, what this means is that consumers can’t be scammed because if companies offer them bad deals then a new competitor can come along and more reasonably supply what people are demanding.  

The problem arrives when those individual companies gain too much power, which they currently have. Since money is such a powerful tool within this system, it allows big companies to eliminate or just buy out the new competitors that people would otherwise turn to. Even if these companies don’t own a monopoly, they can still reduce their competition to just the other big companies who already have money. This isn’t necessarily a society-crumbling issue in of itself since they do still have to compete, until we begin to consider how people actually earn money within this system.  

Since these companies have so much power and so little competition, they can afford to pay their workers far less than they could. This isn’t an issue which is limited to just certain fields of work, how money is earned is absolutely the Achilles’ heel to this whole system. Logically, any job should offer the worker a living wage as a baseline with the chance to earn more as they contribute more. While I personally believe that everyone should innately have what they need to live, this is how the current system should function. The truth of the matter is that it isn’t, and a major part of that is the fact that it’s impossible to actually measure how much any individual is contributing.  

Past the fact that people can just be straight up discriminated against within workplaces, there is no way to accurately measure the value of any given job. The only objective measure I can think of would be basing it around how important the job is to maintain a functioning society with enough necessary resources. Through this logic, though, the likes of farmers and chefs would be the richest people in society since we all need to eat. Chefs can be very rich but for farmers this certainly is not the case. The fact is that the best way to earn money isn’t to contribute resources but to contribute more money. 

When I type it out like that it sounds crazy, right? That’s the truth of the matter, though. The most effective way to earn money is to invest money, therefore the best way to earn money is to have money. The consequences of this are that the high-end of society has access to disproportionate amounts of money practically passively while workers have to deal with the arbitrary number that they earn week after week. The rich become richer, as they say, and as children of the rich inherit that money and get free rides through life we get more and more incompetent people in power. Take the current president of the United States as an example.  

Just to further solidify my argument, and to make this even more controversial, let’s bring sports into this. I believe most people are aware that sportsmen earn ridiculous amounts of money, which to an extent is justified. Anyone who does a competitive physical job is on a timer before they’re past their prime and transitioning into other work afterwards would be difficult for them. They have to earn enough to live their whole lives within their career, so them earning big numbers makes sense. How exactly are they contributing to society, though?  

Let’s use football (the soccer kind of football) as an example. While most folks are out working 40-hour weeks, these guys have to work for 90~ minutes every week at most. Training isn’t a job, in fact most people have to pay if they want to go out and exercise. When a striker scores a goal, they haven’t contributed to society in any way. So, why is such a disproportionate amount of money invested in them?  

The answer is entertainment, the thing which prevents us all from just dying of boredom. There’s a lot of money in the sports industry because a lot of people like to watch sports, it’s that simple. Why, then, are other kinds of entertainers so relatively devalued? Comedians, artists and online personalities are seen by some people as not having real jobs even though they offer the exact same thing as sportsmen. That’s what I mean when I say there’s no way to accurately measure the value of any given job. People who work in creative fields can do just as much work as anyone else and get nothing in return just through sheer bad luck and garbage social stigmas. Just working isn’t enough because it can be arbitrarily decided that work isn’t good enough.  

Even people that do have ‘normal’ jobs can somehow potentially not be earning enough to actually live. There are countless stories out there about people who have to work multiple jobs just to get by week-by-week and yet there are people who are simple enough to believe that more jobs is the solution. All that does is stretch society even more thin, if these trash jobs paid more then these people wouldn’t have to work multiple jobs. If they aren’t working multiple jobs then more jobs are open to other people who need them. There doesn’t need to be more jobs, the jobs that are there just need to be handled better.  

Moreover, the idea of basing contribution around hours worked is also extremely trashy and inefficient. Sure, maybe some of the people who are working two jobs are doing 20 hours a week in each job. People should be able to earn enough by doing 20 hours of work a week. All wages being based around hours does is wear people down and stunt productivity. No one is going to focus on their work for eight hours straight in a day, that just isn’t happening. They’re going to find ways to distract themselves to fill out the hours because our brains aren’t built to focus on tasks for that long. Remember when I mentioned dying of boredom earlier? Well, work is boring, and people would actually rather feel pain than be bored.  

There are plenty of articles you can look up regarding optimal working hours which include more scientific evidence than what I have here. I highly recommend you do so because being ignorant to these facts leads to nothing more than complacency. The people who earn the most don’t work 40 hours a week, nowhere close, so you shouldn’t either. This isn’t just an appeal to emotions, it’s backed up by facts and it very much annoys me that so many are being tricked into living unhappy lives.  

The next subjects I want to cover is politics and, before we get into it, I don’t intend to attack any particular party at its core. The fact of the matter is that in current times the baseline values of each party are not being reflected by the acts of their supporters. Political parties are how people see them and not just how they claim to be. The glaring example is that right now the republican party is a group of discriminatory, gun-supporting sociopaths who have arguably one of the worst presidents in history as their icon.  

Politics shouldn’t be a case of picking sides and stubbornly sticking to them. It should be a matter of bringing differing perspectives together so as to come to the most informed possible conclusion to any given matter. To this end, the politicians who represent these parties should be competent and capable of clearly conveying their viewpoints to the masses. Their value should be based on their ability to do their job and not on their personalities. Politics aren’t a reality TV show where we’re the live studio audience just waiting for drama, they regard serious subjects and have very real consequences. You can’t just pick red or blue and turn off your brain from there.  

I very much wish that I could be a centrist, because I believe that it’s the optimal position to take with regards to listening to both sides before taking a position. I’m going to go off-course a little bit here because I do want to clarify how I feel about centrism as a whole. The way I see it, there are two different types of centrist; optimists and idealists.  

Optimists are the centrists who love people and want everyone to have the chance to be happy. They want to believe in humanity so much and think that there’s value in every viewpoint. These are the types of centrist who saw the whole nazi-punching situation and took the stance of ‘well you shouldn’t punch the nazi because free speech’. The contradiction here is that not everyone can be happy in a world where both nazis and normal people are allowed to speak. Nazis are the antithesis to how society should be progressing and need to be put in the dirt before they bring more harm to the world.  

Idealists are the centrists who believe that political parties are accurately portrayed by their baseline set of values. They’re the people who look at the theoretical rather than fully taking into consideration how the world actually is, stuck in a nirvana fallacy. Politics being a platform of equal debate is the ideal, though things begin to fall apart when this isn’t actually the case. Unfortunately, we live in a world where one of the two major political parties is very demonstrably in the wrong.  

The republican party is the biggest example I can think of when it comes to how overvalued money is. The viewpoints of the right regarding things like global warming and gun control and abortion are all definitively flawed, yet this party manages to maintain power nonetheless. A lot of this comes down to the aforementioned stubbornness of people picking sides but money also plays a major role in things. Republicans can maintain positions of power just through sheer richness rather than actual qualifications. I believe this is why the current image of the party deviates so far from their original concepts.  

The whole net neutrality issue was one of the republican-driven problems which annoyed me the most. They tried to argue that companies wouldn’t throttle connections to make people pay more but if that was the case then there would be no reason to get rid of net neutrality in the first place. It was such a thinly veiled lie and that, put together with other online censorship attempts from the right, point towards one thing for me. Republicans want people to be less educated because that’s the only way they maintain their positions of power. They want people to be unable to access the information which allows them to realize how bad the party actually is. They’ll fall apart when people realize they care more about money than actually improving the lives of the people. 

That’s another thing that apparently people argue about. The idea that the role of the government should be to improve the lives of the people. Why have a government if not to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to live positive lives? It flabbergasts me to think that there are people who think the government shouldn’t have to do anything if the nation it presides over is going to shit. People make nations, there isn’t a nation without people, the needs of the nation are the needs of the people. It disappoints me that there are apparently people who don’t understand that.  

Now, for as utterly god awful as the right currently is, I don’t want to pretend that the left is perfect in any sense. The only reason why I support them is as a means of pushing against the party that is actively harming and killing people and cultivating ignorance. The problem with the left is that they do absolutely no favors for themselves, supporting this party is like treading blindly on a minefield. Being any combination of straight, white and male automatically puts you on watch and it’s over if you make even a single misstep.  

I understand the idea behind this, the left wants people to understand that some things aren’t acceptable anymore and that we should be progressing as a society. I agree with this conceptually, yet the left contradict it because they barely give people the chance to actually improve. If someone says something that’s been deemed wrong or -phobic in any way then the response won’t be anything helpful or informative. You’re going to get children yelling ‘EXPOSED’ and be deemed eternally evil for your unforgivable crime. It’s also extremely contradictory that they take every opportunity to look down upon anyone who’s straight, white or male while touting that discriminatory terms are utterly unacceptable. Trying to find reasons to hate people is not the way to get the masses to support your viewpoint. It’s like they want the best of both worlds, to maintain their smaller circles so they don’t have to accept criticism while also having widespread support.  

A big part of this problem comes from online communities as a whole. This is something which effects the right, too. Any political viewpoint, actually. The fact that it’s so easy to just find a group of like-minded people online and begin a circlejerk in which you no longer have to accept outer viewpoints. Then, when those people are exposed to contradictory information, their response is to get mad rather than actually using it to develop. 

We currently live in a world where major changes need to happen. While the left is the more progressive party and is certainly more on-track for this, they still suffer because of these closed off mentalities. We know so much more now than we did two decades ago and we need to begin applying that knowledge. Access to information through the internet has been a major breakthrough on the path to destroying ignorance and we need to channel that to destroy the social stigmas which are making our societies worse. People are suffering, people are dying, and that doesn’t have to be the case. Change can happen but only if we stop the things that are destroying our Earth. Don’t let yourself fall into ignorance just because it’s easier, see the world for what it is and help to fix it. We need your set of hands, now more than ever.