12 April 2010

Life's Not Fair

Sometimes procrastination for me means I get to blog. Yes, a blog is a therapeutic tool that comes in handy when avoiding other work. On to the therapy.

I've been reading a lot about fairness lately, especially through the lens of ecofeminism ecology. It is striking what we value and what we don't value. In our patriarchal capitalist market-driven society we value production and power. Find it, make it, profit from it...find more, make more, earn more, spend more...on and on and on. We think about life as a 'thing', something to be consumed. It got me to thinking of what it would be like to live in a world where we valued the opposite of 'things'.

Imagine...a society where the highest value is placed on families raising children. In this world, parents earn a living by working in the community, helping other families, and raising their children to be good citizens; who are indeed the most valuable products of society. Teachers are highly valued because they are responsible for shaping the minds of children...the future leaders. Producers of goods and materials to mobilize and entertain families play a supportive role in this society and to acknowledge the value for what they do, the governing bodies would provide a monthly stipend to cover their costs (a sum determined by the government).

People know where their food comes from and they know how to grow some of their food, how to repair materials, and how to live comfortably. Mentors are highly regarded in society and sought out as leaders. This society values wisdom, not titles. This society values people, not things. This society understands how to live with nature, not to profit from it. Housework is valued as a skill, as are the skills of cooks, nurses, artists, farmers and tradespeople. Men and women are paid equally and recognized equally under law.

Even in dreaming of this world I have a hard time shaking the concept of money from my head. It is not easy to imagine a world where money is not the driving force, albeit an illusion of power. It is quite a crippling thing really, this money we so value and spend most of our lives trying to accumulate and spend. What would it be like to have a world without money...or without debt?

About fairness: I often hear the phrase 'well, the world is not fair' and it makes me angry. The phrase is so passively-aggressive that I find it frightening. What does it mean really? Since the world is not fair and we can't do anything about it, it's OK to be unfair? Exploiting other parts of the globe is OK because 'the world is not fair'? Bupkis!

If we could just retract that statement from everything we do we'd be left with a sense of responsibility for once. If it doesn't seem fair, either don't do it or find a better way to do it that is fair. Seems simple enough. But we don't take the time or effort because 'the world isn't fair'. Could it be that the 'developed' world is not concerned about millions of starving, sick and dying people in the low-income world because, well...'life's just like that, be glad you were born here and not there'? Now that India and China are developing, the Western world is crying foul because it's not fair, there are too many of them and they will make our energy and production costs skyrocket. Boo hoo...I guess life's not fair.

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