Sunday, August 07, 2005

Proactively Rambling

Apparently, doing the robot while singing to Avril Lavigne-doing-a-bad-impersonation-of-Billy-Joe-Armstrong and teasing a thin-skinned shopboy for his Edward Scissorhands-haircut will cause a ruckus unless you drop a whole lot of chink and change (predictably and inevitably).


Being with my cousin, bickering with him, telling him he should shave that crab grass from his chin, I realize just how much chance had to do with our wildly different lives; genes, our similarities. By any definition, this man lives near the bottom of the economic ladder, yet our deep connection is as tangible as the moth in his wallet. So I don't buy it. I don't buy my excuses for avoiding the beggared and broke. ("Unless," Readerdroid corrects, "they're a certain dirty hippie you have a soft spot for." Pfft, thanks for bringing him up.) My snooty-nosed interior is due to my inability to connect with reality, with the simplicity of being downtrodden. The way I lead my life relies heavily on theory and assessment -- which says much of my idleness. Asking what the meaning of my life should now undoubtedly be replaced with the Marxian maxim: How might I contribute to my society's survival along with my own? I feel like two decades of fate has separated my cousin and me in such a way that makes seeing a cross-section of globalization possible. His career opportunities lie in the invisible hands of the few, continents away, while my future -- and my peers' -- consists of creating those opportunities. This discrepency of dependency and control makes me angry. When the proverbial village has grown to an unfathomable size, the traditional approach to government should be re-examined. Why are the rich getting richer and the poor, poorer? The trickle down effect doesn't look like it's working. Admittedly, Western optimism is not for nought (there is no lack of American and Japanese investors populating the Chinese market). But due to this, native entanglements aren't given the proper attention it deserves. The United Nations writes that well over a billion people live above the poverty line here, yet the income gap is clearly illustrated on a busy street corner littered with the tattered and tailored. When I see the contrasting images of smoking bums and Gucci-clad professionals, I ask myself why only the rich are capable of multiplying their money exponentially, while the rest of us live off their droppings and calling it progress? (*Update: Math Judas informed me this is called the GDP vs. Gini coefficient debate.) I ask myself why rural bigots are being let off the hook even though their prejudices cause impoverishment which is detrimental to any nation's overall health? And I ask whether China is being steered into the arms of long-term economic reliance by depleting its homegrown resources in exchange for immediate wealth (i.e. Saudi Arabia)? It's not much of a stretch to say I'm worried. A free market doesn't work when not everyone's free.

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