Over the last 20 years celebrity charity events have become more and more common. I remember when I was young it was Children in Need and the ITV Telethon, as a child all it meant to me was lots of famous people doing funny things. Since that point we have had many such events, one-off ones like Live Aid and annual ones like Comic Relief. The money raised is admirable and there is no question that it will make a difference to people across the globe. It does not however solve the problem, it barely scratches the surface of the shite that our world is in. To see pictures of the lives of children in other countries who are forced to work as soon as they are able to walk, where whole families spend all the daylight hours scratching together the money that we use for a cup of tea, is bad enough. But to have this with the backdrop of people in the West claiming that anyone can fulfill the American dream and get themselves out of poverty if only they set their minds to it it is a matter of choice, sorry but I find this so profanely sick-making I can hardly express it.

Leaving aside the fact that I am not quite sure how comfrtable I am with certain celebrities telling me I need to give my money when all I am told about them is they haven’t been paid for the gig, there is a more serious political issue at stake. How many times must we see these pictures before we make the link that there is something seriously wrong with the global economic system. There is enough money in the world, there is enough food in the world it is just that a small group of people in a small group of countries horde the vast majority of riches and resources. They would rather see food go bad by the ton than admit that their economic system is exploitative and responsible for the inequality of the world. I’m sorry if you want to close your eyes to it, you can choose to do so and go on believing that for some reason you have a God-given right to affluence and that you’ve ‘earnt’ your life, I’m afraid that’s just bollocks, you owe your life purely to the genetic coincidence that led to you being born where you were and to whom and the fine line between you being born there and being born in a shanty town in Brazil or a tin mine in Bolivia or a reservation in Australia or a township in South Africa or a plantation in Guatemala or a paddy field in Laos and yes the list can go on, perhaps it should until you get the message of how fragile a fact it is that you are here and they are there.

I am aware of the accusations of hypocrisy which can be levelled at me, after all what the fuck am I doing about it, writing? No that’s a cop out and perhaps I am worse than some of you because I know the problem and I do know the cause but I have decided politically that I must fight to stop that cause.

How about Capitalists Anonymous, remember the first thing you have to do is admit that there’s a problem. We at Capitalists Anonymous understand your difficulties, we were also once part of the system. With our guidance and your determination and the support of others like you you too can kick Capitalism and return to be a useful member of society!

Song Of The Day – Rachel Stevens ~ Some Girls

Original Comments:

protagonist made this comment,
first of all, i have to find it somewhat annoying when very wealthy people implore those of us living on slave wages to give to the poor. hell. i AM the poor! i’d like to know how much of their millions goes to the cause they are trumping at the moment. i would guess very little.
and you are so right that my own good fortune to be poor in a wealthy country is due to chance. i am poor because i live in a small apartment and don’t have enough left over after i pay my bills and buy my booze to travel on vacation anywhere. i am poor because i don’t make enough to save. but it is only by luck that i am not poor in some country where poor means not having enough money to buy medication to save a dying child. or where poor means not eating. i see the capitalist problem you describe, but i must add that it is the social-capitalism at least within this country that contributes so much to the dramatic stratification we see. in a purely capitalist system, our government would not be getting in the way of anything and the market would rule supreme. we would not be giving no-bid contracts to halliburten and other companies who have push and pull in washington. we have taken a capitalist system that depends on stratification and inequality to flourish, and we have exponentiated it by adopting a socialist policy towards big businesses. our government subsidizes everyone from amtrack to steel producers to tobacco growers. as the neo-marxists claim, a modern capitalist economy depends on a vast reserve army of the unemployed living in poverty who are willing to do any work there is to be done. it keeps the rest of us from asking for anything because we can be fired and replaced in a day.

the solution? oh, quite simple! dramatically overhaul the basic tennents of american capitalist economy! going to happen? never. but there are improvments to be made. we can pull people out of holes or start filling in holes. we may fill only one or two, but that’s one or teo holes that no one will fall in.

comment added :: 11th July 2004, 03:10 GMT+01
Red Baron made this comment,
Ah now Protagonist you really hit upon a crucial point here which I forgot to add to the discussion, what we have now you correctly identify is not what the purists would call capitalism but a form of State Capitalism whereby there are many tarriffs and restrictions to the free market on a regional and international level. The problem as I see it is I think this is something of an inevitable transition of capitalism because those who govern in a capitalist system are extremely prone to pressure from the powerful industrialists (most of those who govern have also of course come from those classes as well) We see this across capitalist countries, in the poorer ones it is called corruption, in the richer ones it’s called ‘lobbying’!
I agree it is strange to have a latent capitalist ethos applied to the people whilst a more benevolent policy is applied to business. This is however a perfect working example of the power of influence, the people have little influence and can therefore be at the bottom of the pecking order, business has great influence and ensures that such unknown quantities like the free market are not applied to it as it makes judging profits and dividends something of a nightmare. Unsurprisingly, I guess, I do follow the neo-marxist theory that the nature of modern employment makes mobilisation and activism increasingly difficult because of the perceived nature of the fragility of our jobs. I say perceived advisedly because if this had been a few decades ago it would be seen in Britain at least as very much an employees market and yet the notions of the 90s have been well-sown and people are less inclined to step out of line in case of an economic downturn, something constantly in prediction, means that they may be the first out the door.

Will it ever change, I genuinely don’t know, if you’d lived in Russia in 1903 you probably would have thought much the same so who knows. One must not lose sight of ‘filling the holes’ whilst we try to tackle the greater scheme of things but equally let us not assume that full-scale change can never come.

Visit me @ http://redbaron.blog-city.com

comment added :: 11th July 2004, 15:55 GMT+01
protagonist made this comment,
i like brittany spears telling me where i should put my hard earned yen! for the price of a cup of coffee i can rid myself of the guilt of knowing that i live in a country that will invade iraq because of oil under the pretense of protecting citizens while our economic policies allow people in china to work all day to afford that same cup of coffee. as long as it’s starbucks.
the other protagonist

[Redbaron responds – You can tell Shitney Beers to naff off from me!]

comment added :: 11th July 2004, 18:26 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
Right again, RB. Sheesh. You better not go see Fahrenheit 911—it might make you go postal. Not that there’s any info in it that you are not already aware of– it’s just the effect of having it all packed into one 2-hour movie.

[Redbaron responds – Greetings BP, I think I could handle F9/11, I have already done my apoplexy upon reading Hidden Agendas which I reviewed a few days ago, it was the epiphany to me that I suspect F9/11 is to many Americans now.]

comment added :: 11th July 2004, 19:30 GMT+01
David S made this comment,
you might find this article interesting
[Redbaron responds – It is indeed interesting Dave thanks for pointing it out. I respect Will Hutton he has a huge wealth of experience in this field and his books ‘The State We’re In’ and ‘The State To Come’ are well-known and thought-provoking. The point that interests me is that there are many well-read and intelligent academics writing books on the neo-con areguement and the neo-lib arguement alike, they disagree on style but are often homogenous on content. The investigative journalists and independent documentary filmmakers who are actually in many of the countries being held to ransom by the IMF and the World Bank paint a very different picture of the ‘sucess’ of market economics.]

comment added :: 11th July 2004, 20:29 GMT+01