Friday, 7 November 2014

Could the economic crash have been good for us?

Having lived through the supposed worst economic downturn in decades, the world has become even more obsessed with money and to whom it's going to. Bankers are still getting their bonuses, the rich and famous still get stuff for free, whilst the everyday people on the street pay full price for everything. Has anything really changed?

I think the "credit crunch", as it was known in the beginning, could have been a turning point for communities and the country in general. We seem to have missed an opportunity. Instead of focusing on the potential positives, all we looked at was how it would change our lives from a negative standpoint. Now I could bang on about it was all the media's fault, but do we really not have minds of our own? Why are we so easily led by what we hear and read?

So what if we have less money? Does it really matter if we get left behind in the constant need for the latest gadget, that nice top that would complete your wardrobe or a kitchen upgrade that you don't really need. If you buy things to make you feel better, which we all do, then there must be something wrong somewhere. It's like when we drink to feel better, there's absolutely no difference. Consumerism is a drug and whilst it may not be unhealthy for our body, it can't be good for our state of mind or the future of humanitarian needs. We're constantly thinking of our next purchase, particularly now, in the run-up to christmas. Don't worry I'll be doing a christmas blog, something along the lines of Good, Bad & the Ugly. That might be a long one!

The fact that I'm currently unemployed perfectly qualifies me to comment on these things. As much as I desperately want a job and to feel less isolated, my unemployed status has allowed me to go back to basics and begin to understand what is really important. It comes to something when you have to hit rock bottom to realise how lucky you are! I've actually got to the point where, despite the fact I'm in the most difficult period of my life, I can see things clearer than ever. I just hope when I do get back to a 'normal life' I don't slip back into my old way of thinking.

When I grew up, kids would play out in the street, neighbours would talk to one another, not in an awkward way either, they actually wanted to. It was a happy time and not just from a kids perspective. Yes it was probably more of a struggle for parents, but there seemed to be a genuine camaraderie in communities that you just don't see today. Is it just a coincidence that during that time, people in general were less well off? As much as we won't admit it, having less than others does create a divide amongst people. I'm not talking a class divide, it's not that simple anymore, the class system has become far more sophisticated. One of the reasons being the housing situation, which I'll give my views on another time.

Consumerism has taken over. Nearly everything you buy allows the current status quo to continue, and with that, people in less privileged societies are exploited in order to make these products and their hierarchy as well off as possible. We all know the system is unfair, everything I'm saying is just stating the bloody obvious, so why are we allowing it to happen?

I mean, it's not all bad. We're recycling more than we ever have, thanks to the recycling nazi's, or the council as they're more commonly known. We're eating more healthily....well, that's not true.....we know we should be eating more healthily, it's just that most working class families can't afford to feed themselves and their children the 5,6,7 a day or whatever it is that's needed. I'm convinced the Daily Express will soon run an article saying eating more than 3 fruit and veg a day will give you lung cancer, that's how it all works isn't it? Does anyone actually KNOW anything? We're smoking less, that's good, that'll even it out.

So why are we not heading in the right direction with consumerism? Why isn't there a consumerist 'doctor' out there, telling us all how bad for our mental health it is? Why doesn't the Gadget Show do a Christmas Day special, detailing how we inadvertently shape the lives of the sweatshop workers who make all this stuff for us to gorge on?

I would actually watch a show where a couple of regular families, one from the UK and another from, let's say Taiwan, swapped kids for a few weeks. I've seen a similar programme with British kids being sent to South Africa for a while. It was like boot camp for them at first. Compared to their counterparts; who were, it must be said, little f**king do-gooding swots, it was painfully apparent how spoiled and therefore miserable they were. When they came back, they were happier and more obedient, presumably after being tortured whilst the camera's were turned off. Whatever works. Also, have you seen how happy some of the kids look in these impoverished areas? Some of Britains kids make children from war-torn countries look like extra's from Mary Poppins........or Glee........or some other musical shit I don't understand.

It's almost as if the money and superficial bullshit is making us unhappy.

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