Socialism in the industrial age

Industry -from Wikimedia

Socialism might be helped along by building awareness about our natural resources. It may take a return to our roots.

During recent presentation, Yanis Varoufakis suggested that the EU should hand a check to every poor family within EU countries to be spent on food. He likens this to the food-stamp system in the US. If only it were that simple.

I recently heard someone say that he doesn’t feel sorry for alcoholics and drug addicts because they take handouts, and then act as if this government assistance is owed them. That they’re not taking responsibility for their own lives. It is commonly thought that  welfare recipients are losers because they refuse to work. But, that government assistance program doesn’t hold them accountable. Those who hold this view may soon be blind-sided by an entire generation of disenfranchised youth.

I think of the proverb about giving someone a fish vs. giving them lessons on how to fish, or teaching people the means to providing for themselves is apropos. There are many receiving government assistance who are still mired in poverty and totally dependent upon it. But, there are limits as to how much a recipient can earn and still qualify. So, they must remain below the poverty line to continue to receive tax-payer funded help, what little of it there is.

What people lose who are caught up in the welfare state, and for generations for some of them is confidence in themselves, each other and the system. It’s a loss of faith, a loss of hope, a loss of the means of creating one’s own livelihood. They cannot pull themselves up by the bootstraps because they have no boots. They can’t afford them.

The only alternative is working at minimum wage jobs.  Minimum wage today is no longer a living wage because it doesn’t cover the basics. So, people either struggle or decide to give up the fight. The new ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ is stigmatized by the burdens of a poor majority in society that is run by and for a few rich at the top. Everyone else struggles.

Varoufakis mentions companies like Apple relocating operations back to the US, but using robots, not humans to do the work.

I go back to the industrial age of fossil fuel consumption and how we really are at the end of that. We see Big oil companies being sued at the federal level by young people over ‘man-made climate change’. The world is overrun with plastic. Our society has become disposable.

I don’t want to downplay climate change. But, let’s look at the bigger picture. What are all of these meteors? What’s going on on our planet to cause climate change? Are there things outside of our planet, even our solar system that affect our climate? For most people that idea is not given much thought.

The bigger questions are, how do we sustain life on the planet by utilizing what nature already provides for us, without destroying our habitat and environment? And, how do we move beyond this system, run on materialism and consumption that benefits a few individuals, at the expense of future generations?

We might have to go back to our roots to know the way forward.

 

 

 

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