I remember when I was a kid at school. At recess we’d play dodgeball in the playground. Usually, teams were divided thus: five or so of the popular, athletic kids would grab the ball and say it was them against the bunch. Because there were so few of them, they were harder to hit, while the rest of us crowded in the other square were easily picked off. They had the strength and skill to whip the ball to cause maximum damage. They were also the only ones having any fun.
Every so often I realise we have not moved on from the schoolyard. Except now it’s the people with money versus everyone else.
Money has always been the best cushion from all the bumps in the road of life. In times of war, money lets you move somewhere safe. Is the a plague of some sort, perhaps a global pandemic? Money gets you high walls to keep the masses away and access to the best medical care should some particle of virus make it past the guards. Recession, depression, cost of living crisis? What are they? Money not only provides insulation from reality, but maintains ignorance of what’s happening for 90% of the population.
They say Money is the root of all evil. Not exactly true. Money is the root of all. All actions, endeavours, plans, crimes, wars, crusades; ultimately, money is at the heart, either as the motivation, or required for the implementation. To have anything, do anything, be anything other than corpse in a ditch, you need money. And there is enough money to go around. There is enough money in the world to solve the problems of poverty, hunger and climate change. Too bad the wrong people have too much of it.
For the Ultra-rich, money is an end in itself; to acquire as much of it as possible. You can tell that having money is the only goal because once they have it, they don’t do anything with it. All expenses go to maintaining and growing their fortunes, whether its buying businesses or buying politicians. In Dodgeball terms, they have a much bigger square and an infinite number of balls, and the rest of us, all crowded into the other square, are being picked off at increasing rates.
Everyone knows the rich are getting richer, and we all know it’s bad for society, the economy and the planet. What we don’t mention enough is that the poor are getting poorer at an even greater rate. and it’s not just a problem for our standard of living, our mental health is declining as well.
A recent study has shown that depression may not be linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain. 30 years of research has not proved the link between low serotonin levels and depression. They say we should look for more environmental factors, citing capitalism as an example.
It makes sense. doesn’t it? We are all being forced to play a game we cannot win, where we are unlikely to even score. All our effort goes into maintaining our situation. But we know that the dodgeball is coming, and we have no room to get out of the way. When it comes, somehow it’s our fault for getting hit.
It happens across the board. To get ahead, you need a better or at least better paying job and if you can’t get one, it because you lack the drive/skills/intelligence. It’s all on you. Nothing to do with the fact that the antiquated school system only prepared you for a 1970’s economy, and the job you have barely pays enough to keep you afloat, with no extra time or money for acquiring extra skills.
Poor health or obesity? You eat too much junk food and don’t cook wholesome meals. Nothing to do with the scarcity and rising costs of fruit, veg, beef, chicken etc. Or how much time you don’t have to cook a wholesome meal because you work long hours/commute/work multiple jobs and junk food is cheap and easy.
Unstable housing? You should be saving for a deposit to buy a house instead of eating avocado toast. Nevermind that ‘saving’ means not all your money goes on surviving and Elitist and archaic banking systems will not grant mortgages to those they deem a credit risk. Apparently paying £1000 per month in rent is not enough proof you will keep up mortgage payments of £500 per month.
Climate change? Well, we each need to separate our recyclables and use paper straws and not talk about the amount of carbon and waste generated by the multinational corporations.
Can’t afford to heat your house or cook your food? It’s up to you to conserve energy, put on a sweater etc. The Energy companies recording record profits in the face of rising prices is nothing to do with you.
I’m not sure how they blame the victim for gun crime. It’s their fault for not being…. Bulletproof? They still don’t blame the gunowner/seller/manufacturer.
It’s so much easier to blame an individual, but those arguments are wearing thin and we are running out of individuals to blame. Wealth needs to be redistributed. The Corporations, the 1%, the money hoarders need to pay more taxes, higher taxes. Not because they’re evil, not as a punishment (although their is an argument to be made there) but because they’re the only ones with any money to spare.
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said “Taxes are price we pay for a civilised society.” As the richest people hoard their wealth, sliding through every loophole and hiding every penny they can, it is inevitable that things are going to get uncivilised real quick.
And maybe, once some wealth is redistributed, and people aren’t under the constant crushing weight of surviving, the Mental Health situation will take care of itself.