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?

Capitalmas – The hijacking of holidays

Whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, a time to give or a time for family to gather you have probably noticed that it has been hi-jacked by capitalism.

The Christmas holidays no longer have a common value, it is all about buying, giving and the receiving of materialistic items. A time when people over spend, go into debt and consume consume consume, All in the name of religion or true values.

I am not a religious person by any means but I am one who thinks that Christmas should be a time for family, reflection and relaxation.

We need to stop the commercialization of holidays. If we continue the way we are then we are giving capitalism a reason and the means to survive why we leave people without any means of survival.

The commercialization of the holidays started from the birth of Jesus when the three kings brought gifts. The three kings must be the creators of true commercialization.

Celebrate that which should be celebrated.

J Myers

Europe and Capitalism

Europe struggles to save capitalism while our most vulnerable suffer.

Over the last few months European leaders have met to try once and for all to save European capitalism. While many nations in Europe introduce austere budgets, leaders within Europe increased the EFSF (European Financial Stability Fund) to safeguard countries from a default and to provide access to funds when they can no longer go to the markets.

This may be necessary if we are to halt a total collapse of the euro currency. But we cannot offer a band-aid while injuring the patient simultaneously. The patient being the economy.

Governments need to put in place factors that allow the economy to grow. If our economy grows that will cut the deficit. People can go to work, pay taxes, dispose of their income in the real economy. The approach the Irish government has taken is the wrong one. They are hitting our most vulnerable people by cutting social assistance payments be it the disability payment or the single parents.

They have shown no sign of an alternative way to that of our last finna fail led government.

At the start of the year we voted for an alternative and we get this. Demand that your representative in government stands up for you.