If I work really really hard, just maybe….

Recently I seen the movie ‘The Giver’ …

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.

This movie is fascinating. It debates the idea of equality, brought in through a system of sameness. A community where there is no war, pain or famine. A community where people have no choice in life, from choosing their family to their careers.

In the movie, the character played by Meryl Streep says “when humans are given choices they always make the wrong ones”.

It made me think a lot about our purpose and what we do with our time. The average life in Ireland lasts 81 years. When you consider that from the ages of 4-21, which is 17 years are spent in full time education, then the average person works until the retirement age of 65. That then leaves you with 16 years of your life, that’s 44 years working full time.

What is it all for ?

when I visualise this in my head I automatically think of a conveyor belt. The start of the journey is similar for most, but the turns you take, the levels you rise and fall are determined on the situation your family are in. Most likely their financial situation. The more money they have or make the more choices that become available to you as you continue this conveyor belt journey from play school, through primary and secondary school, then into university. To be “educated”  in one of the course choices you made on your CAO application, or so you thought! The course you chose can only become available if you attained the required number of points on your leaving certificate, this can be greatly influenced by the school you attended, whether you had an option of support out side of school hours and the educational level of your parents and family at large.

So to cap, you’ve studied for a long time, to get a course you didn’t particularly want, to become “employable” to work a job/career you have zero passion for, to buy lots of overpriced material goods, properties and services. To live through a number of financial recessions only to see your pay decline, taxes increase and public services stripped to the bone, even though you’ve contributed your earnings (tax) to them over the decades.

Now at the age of 45, the income you’re bringing home after years of working hard is now equal to or less than the income you started with on day one. If you’ve been lucky to keep your pay at the level it was before then the new taxes and tax increases will have gotten you, plus you’ve to pay a lot more to use public services like the bus. Did I forget to mention that you’re in negative equity. The 350,000€ home you bought 10 years ago is now worth 265,000€ thanks to the property bubble created by a bunch of lads and some women who don’t seem to have been affected that much, they’re now back in business, buying, developing and selling.

So now you go on your way and be a good citizen, work harder, longer hours, less pay, pay more in tax for reduced services so the government can pay back the billionaires that lost money and blame it one you, the citizens.

So I ask myself again, what is it all about?

My top must watch Documentaries.

Below is a list of Documentaries that I’ve seen and recommend. They are informative and thought provoking.

1. Bitter Lake by Adam Curtis

2. No end in sight. (Critical look at the American lead invasion of Iraq).

3. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.

4. Chasing Ice. (A multi-year chronicle of the planet’s rapidly melting glaciers).

5. The Genius of Photography. (mutli-TV series BBC)

6. Inside Job. (An examination of the 2008 financial crises).

7. Finding Vivian Maier (Street Photographer who took over 100,000 pictures)

8. Manufacturing Consent. (Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky)

9. the shock Doctrine. (Naomi Klein)

10. Inequality for all. (Robert Reich)

11. Waiting for Superman. (An examination of the school system in the USA and its decline).

Real Electoral Reform

Ireland needs to reform how it elects its public representatives. I believe people should be elected first, then those who have been elected can then run for cabinet. for example, if John Doe gets elected to represent his constituency and he chooses to run for the ministry of finance then he must go to the people again to be voted in, of course he will be challenged by others but at least he is then accountable directly to the people.

It should be the same for all position from Taoiseach (Prime Minister) to the minster for transport and so on. This could in fact create a cross party cabinet. Where a vote of confidence wont be so easy to get by because everyone belongs to the same party. It will in fact create competitiveness between ministers to run their departments efficiently and responsibly in the interest of the people.

I also believe that those voters who put someone into their positions should have the power to take them out of power. If a minister under-performs the voters can collect the signatures of all those who voted for him, If two-thirds of them sign it then he must leave the department and a by-election must be called. This may sound unstable but in fact it offers the people a real chance to be responsibly involved in politics.

It may seem radical but it isn’t, it is in fact real change. This is power to the people.

A Job or a Responsibility ?

If there is one thing I wonder it’s how people, not any specific people just people in the broader sense of the word can live life as if we have figured everything out, as if the world has not got the huge problems it does, as if no one suffers be it from inequality, war, famine and so on.

It may not be for them to worry about or even think about but surely that’s an over used excuse? “its not my job” Is a very commonly used excuse. We can all say that but to ignore these problems is just adding to it. For me I think about all of this. I Dont know why but I do because I disagree with how things are or have been done and continue to be done.

Yes its not my job but is being human and caring a job? No! Its not a job its a human thing to do but unfortunately in todays society that it seems not caring is the thing to do.

We can only hope that those people elected or non-elected in the corridors of power do care, are human and make decisions in the interest of all people.

Another quick thought.

Jonathan Myers