Posts Tagged With: capitalism

I’m alright Jack – keep your hands off my stack!

"Don't give me that do goody good bullshit"

“Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit”

Never trust anyone who keeps banging on about the evils of “capitalism”. Just nod and pretend you agree, but remember: such people are secret members of the dark and dangerous “loony left”. Their arguments may sometimes appear cogent and convincing, but leering beneath the rhetoric is a nutter who secretly dreams of overthrowing the state. These crypto-Marxists are living in cloud cuckoo land. Have they forgotten how Ronald Reagan buried all that socialist nonsense the day he proudly announced to Margaret Thatcher and the House of Commons that “freedom and democracy will leave Marxist-Leninism on the ash heap of history”? Well said, Ron, my man!

"The reds are everywhere, Maggie. I checked under my bed last night but only found Bonzo the chimp"

“The reds are everywhere, Maggie. I checked under my bed last night but only found Bonzo the chimp”

Capitalism – if I must use the word – is a natural thing, like the trees and the birds. It’s just plain common sense. Think of all the wonderful things it has provided for each and every one of us. TV sets in every room. Isn’t it great to watch TV in bed? Not to mention computers all over the house just waiting for us to surf the web and window shop on a global scale! Then there are those magical shopping malls we all love, full of glittering new products to pile into our giant trolleys. Don’t forget – it’s shopping that keeps us together. Where would we be without gadgets and stuff? And services have improved so much these days. Here in Brazil if we want a pizza, even at midnight when it’s pouring with rain, we just get on the blower and 15 minutes later it’s delivered to the door by a funny little guy on a moped. And nowadays we have maids to clean the house, cook the meals and look after the kids. Yes, folks, we have come a long way since those dark days of slavery.

Have I mentioned freedom yet? I don’t think I have. Do you know what gives us freedom today? Well, it’s private property, of course! Buying a place of your own gives you the glorious freedom of not having a rip-off landlord sucking away all your hard-earned cash every month. Freedom from those lazy, messy flatmates – the ones who didn’t clean the bath properly and kept stealing your yoghurt from the fridge. It’s so nice to feel the safety of my private space, secure in the knowledge that I won’t be bothered by nasty neighbours and that the police are out there catching those good-for-nothing criminals who seem to multiply like rabbits for some reason. In fact, I’m thinking of investing in security equipment to keep the scum off my property.

"Stop begging and try selling some firewood, woman!"

“Stop begging and try selling some firewood, woman!”

Freedom to make as much money as I want and keep it all for my family for generations to come. That’s what’s great about money. You can invest it and it grows and grows! It’s called profit, the best invention since the internal combustion engine. Profit for me means disposable income which I can spend on all those little luxuries. Like private schools and hospitals for my kids. My kids deserve it because they’re special. Making money gives me a thrill because life is competitive and I want to be with the front-runners in this world. It’s a jungle out there, we all know that. Dog eat dog. If I make a stack of money it’s up to me what I do with it. If I want to buy my kids an apartment each and a new motor, that’s my decision. There’s no law against it. It’s all about looking after number one. As Pink Floyd once sang:

Money, get back.
I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it’s a hit.
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit.
I’m in the high-fidelity first class travelling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.

OK, to be fair, not everybody can be filthy rich. We still need a few people to do the dirty work, be they Vietnamese, Polish, African or whatever. And to be honest some people have a knack of making piles of money for doing very little. Take bankers, for example – they make millions. But remember: it’s not their fault. They were just lucky enough to go to the right schools and meet the right kind of people to help them launch their careers and make a killing on the stock market. You wouldn’t say no to a Swiss bank account, would you?

Something tells me we are still in the tadpole stage...

Something tells me we are still in the tadpole stage…

And if the richest 85 people on earth own as much wealth as half the world’s population put together, so what? Believe me – those people must have worked really hard for every bean. Good, honest, hard work. They deserve to be billionaires and have lots of servants and security guards. And if they want to use their money to buy politicians, it’s up to them. That’s the freedom wealth gives you. It’s up to each and every one of us how we live our lives. Some of us seem quite content to have a crummy job with no prospects. I even see poor people laughing sometimes, so they can’t be that unhappy. People need to stop complaining and do some hard work for a change.

There are just not enough sticks in the world to go around...

It’s a dog eat dog world out there…with just not enough sticks to go around

Here’s a start-up idea I’ve just thought of for a really poor person, but in fact anybody can do it. Scrape together a couple of dollars to buy a bundle of firewood – that’s $2, right? Now here comes the stroke of genius: you sell that same bundle of firewood to some sucker for $4 and make 100% profit! Isn’t that amazing? And so simple – that’s the beauty of capitalism. There’s only one more thing to remember: just make sure it isn’t you that’s being conned.03 Karl_Marx

Categories: Global Crisis, Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Backing into the future…

The past meets the present and the future in a big flash of light...then you wake up!

The past meets the present and the future in a big flash of light…then you wake up!

The Greeks had enormous respect for the past. It was from the past that they learned how to live. They didn’t “look to the future” (to quote Slade in their perennial classic song Merry Christmas Everybody). I’m not sure I could “look to the future” even if I wanted to, unless I had some LSD and a very large crystal ball. No, history was the oracle for the Greeks – their guiding light. It was as if they stood staring into the past with their backs to the future. Not a bad position to be in.

Come to think of it, there is no future to look into. Neither is there any present moment, as that keeps slipping away – like trying to catch a butterfly in an imaginary net. We live on shifting sands; the ground beneath us is forever collapsing just at the moment when another floor replaces it, or tries to. Of course, the most scary thing is that the past is also nebulous. It isn’t solid or knowable. History only “exists” in the millions of versions we have of it. Stories of the past.

John Gray, former professor of philosophy at the London School of Economics, takes things a step further. He claims that “progress” is a myth. The idea that the world and our lives within it are always getting better is just not tenable. For a start, capitalism isn’t a philanthropic system; it’s designed to make a profit. No progress, no future, no past: what are we left with? Surely we can at least look forward to living like an angel in heaven (if you have behaved yourself, of course)? Sorry, but no – heaven and hell are also mythical places.

OK, so if life has no meaning and we are not going anywhere what is the point? What are we supposed to do? Well, we always have our families to fall back on, don’t we? Surely a loving family counts for something? Erm, actually, the thing is, the nuclear family is a very conservative and inward-looking institution. “My family” is always more important than “your family” and my kids are always more valuable than yours. It’s another version of dog eat dog. We have lost any sense of community. We don’t get the chance to love and cherish our neighbour’s children; we can only focus on our own.

Life is meaningless, so you might as well flip your wig!

Life is meaningless, so you might as well flip your wig!

So what am I getting at? If everything is meaningless I might as well do what the hell I feel like, n’ est ce pas? Just have fun, throw my wig up in the air and kiss a nun! No, that won’t work because not everybody else has realised that life is absurd. People still think there is a point to life: retirement, perhaps, or the joy of telling stories to your grandchildren, tending the garden, and drinking chardonnay at lunchtime on a weekday. Actually I have some ideas of my own on how to conduct your life in a meaningless universe.

1) For crying out loud, go and tell the wife of your best friend that you have always fancied the pants off her and would give your hind teeth to have a little snog with her under the mistletoe! What have you got to lose?

2) Go and tell your boss to stick his job where the sun doesn’t shine! You have always wanted to just chuck a bag on your back and scoot off around the world, picking fruit, sleeping under the stars, living on cheese and wine and writing poems. You know you owe yourself a big adventure.

3) Become an alcoholic. Hang on a minute: the alcoholic I am advocating doesn’t drink. Yes, you heard me right. My kind of alky only behaves like someone who’s had a couple to freshen up. Always has a big smile, full of fun, gregarious, up for it. Natural effervescence.

My idea of backing into the future is surreal but incredibly life-enhancing. It goes like this: imagine you are repeating exactly the life you have already lived. You are playing the lead role in a movie of your life. You know all the moves, you’ve done them already. You made mistakes last time, so you won’t make them again. You didn’t do a lot of stuff last time because you were scared, embarrassed, cowardly. Now you don’t give a damn what people think. You have nothing to lose – nothing at all.

The inimicable Slade: "Look to the future now, it's only just begun..."

The inimitable Slade: “Look to the future now, it’s only just begun…”

So, act like a rock star, think like a poet and love like a god. Or, to put it another way, when in Rome, do as the Greeks!

Categories: Books and Writers, Great Minds, Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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