How can a society be called “free” when one is forced to work for money in order to procure the basic necessities of life? How is that freedom? You must either plug yourself into the system—a system controlled by, and therefore designed to serve the interests of, a wealthy minority—or live like a mendicant/bum, begging for money and/or food.
I am not saying that people who are lazy and do not work deserve the same as those who do work. Work is how a society functions. But, my point is that there are many ways to (and forms of) work, and in a society such as this one, certain kinds of work are deemed worthy of enough money to live above the poverty level, and other kinds of work are not.
It is not so much the idea of having money as a bartering tool that is the problem. The problems arise when the bartering tool becomes the goal, when the people in a society are—partially as an outgrowth of this idea of a standard medium for trade—conditioned and encouraged to value material things and mindless entertainment over love and creativity, over self-awareness and enlightenment.
The problem with “capitalism” is the effect it has on the values that are conditioned into the population. Not only that, but because of the nature of the system, it becomes very, very difficult—if not impossible—for the majority of the population to shift towards more enlightened values and still make a living.
As complicated as are economics and the dynamics and issues involved in how a society functions, it seems to me that the values of the majority of the people in a society dictate how that society exists and functions, and all the complications come after. The problem is that ‘the system’ conditions people to value that which will protect and nourish the system. It becomes a chicken and egg situation, as we have in this society, and such a cycle is very hard to break.
What freedom is there, I wonder, in a society that requires the majority to work for the profit and sustained power of the wealthy in order to eat and cloth oneself? Freedom at least implies choice. Where is there choice in a society where the very system is a monopoly?
Again, I am not saying that there are not choices within the system. Rather, I am making the point that while there is room to move freely in a large caged area, one is still caged. If you want to procure the basic necessities of life and not live in squalor, you have no choice but to work for the system. Like in a city where there is only one bank, one phone company, one power company, either you “choose” to patronize those companies or you have no bank, no phone service, no power. A choice between one offering or nothing is not a choice at all. The “love it or leave it,” “if you don’t like it then go without,” attitudes are certainly ways to run a business (and it would be wise of us never to forget that governments are businesses), but just don’t try to sell it to me as “freedom” or “choice.” I, for one, am not buying the lie.
From my personal notes 8/13/00