Imagination and hope seem to be the two ways we hurt ourselves the most. We live in some future world where the daily struggle to be alive, to exist, is easy. So we miss what might be in the moment. What opportunity exists right now. But still, that escape of hope is vital. Self delusion is necessary. Without it, we would not be able to function in the corrupt and fucked up world where we are a step away. A mistake away from disappearance. From falling out of the daily beating of ‘normal’ life and into the shadow world where broken people and fractured society walk.
The consequences of failure are so high for most of us that we don’t, can’t, take the necessary risks to get beyond the cliff edge. We depend on hope. On lotteries and sweepstakes and the hope that maybe we can live without being afraid.
This is the consequences of not just late stage capitalism but of a society that believes that anyone can be rich if they work hard enough. And so make sure that the rich don’t have to live in the same world as the rest of us. Because we aspire to be there one day and we don’t want to have our funds taken when we do.
But that’s poor people, honest people, thinking. The thought that a seventy percent tax rate means that they actually pay seventy percent the same way we look at our paychecks and wonder where all the money goes. They don’t. They have access to all the tax dodges and schemes which allow them to pay in the zero to ten percent range. So that’s what they pay. And those dodges are legal. Because they’ve convinced us that them paying less means that somewhere, somehow we will get paid more.
Maybe in the past wealth built things. Roads and schools and infrastructure. A thin cynical maybe. But now, wealth only builds more wealth. And companies do not pass record profits on to their employees. They pass them on to their stockholders. Which isn’t us, because we can’t afford to play in their arena. And even if we tried, that extra ten dollars a year isn’t going to change our life. And neither is the extra ten grand that tax cuts profit them going to make a difference, if they even notice.
So, why do we keep doing this? Because we hope. Because we secretly aspire to be there “one day”. And we think ten thousand is alot and we would love to have that money. But we are not them. And we never will be. The system is gated. And even if you squeeze through the bars, somehow…and become the wealthy. You do so leaving behind the millions of people who weren’t lucky enough to have the opportunity, the twin composition of chance and foresight, to squeeze through before you close the loophole behind you.
Other capitalist countries don’t have our problems. Because they have societies which are not built on iconoclastic single points. Which aren’t built on the idea that anyone can be rich. And while that thought structure is useful, it is also harmful. And we are seeing first hand exactly how harmful it is when protections are stripped away in an effort to protect their wealth. Rather than protect the rest of us from their casual predation.