11/05/2005

Spontaneous Rant of the Day (#2)

You know what sickens me? People (corporations, governments) that care more about profits than the health and well-being of other people, be they employees, poor citizens, or those starving in Third World nations. I don't know what disgusts me more, that so little value is placed on their lives, or that any value is at all. People should be seen as more than dollar signs.

They spoke about this briefly on last night's Real Time with Bill Maher, in relation to a discussion about the potential bird flu pandemic, and Bill made a point about the pharmaceutical companies loving this kind of thing, because it means more money in their collective pocket, which I feel is absolutely true.

Everything is all about money these days. To hell with our health, our future. If you don't have the cash for the drugs or treatments, fuck off. And it's not right.

There is so much wealth floating around out there. People and companies and governments with more money than they know what to do with, and what do they do with it? Hoard it like greedy squirrels with winter approaching. Why bother helping out their fellow man? Because there's no profit in it.

Do you know why money has value? Because we say it does. It's artificial. Someone, somewhere, a long time ago, decided that some bits of metals and minerals had higher value than others, and everyone agreed to this, and the world economy was born.

Eventually, the bits of metal became pieces of paper, and then nothing more than numbers on a computer screen, digital dollar signs floating in the aether. And people save and covet and stockpile, watching those zeroes add up.

What's the value, then, of a human life? I suppose it's artificial, too. We let hundreds of thousands die every day, so they must not be worth a whole hell of a lot, huh? One of these kids in Africa might grow up and cure cancer, if we let her. Or figure out a way to travel safely and quickly throughout the solar system. Who knows? Maybe he'll do nothing so lofty. Maybe he'll become the world's best surfer, or invent silent velcro. The point is, doesn't he deserve the chance?

What really gets me is the cold, callous nature with which we read those statistics and just shrug them off like it's nothing. If it doesn't affect us personally, we don't care. What's another million Africans, right? Well, it does matter. Know why? Because it doesn't have to be happening. It's preventable. Right now. Today, if we wanted.

"What's in it for me?" the people with the zeroes ask. Why do people always need a reason? Why can we not do something simply because it's the right thing to do? If people stopped worrying about themselves and their precious bottom lines, we could change the face of the world, and quickly. Months instead of years. Years rather than decades. It can happen if people gave a damn.

But no. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. But we're all going to die anyway, so what's the point of it all? You can't take your precious moneies with you.

People need to realize and understand that the betterment of humanity is more important than the betterment of their bank accounts. Money and power are not the meaning of life, despite what you may hear elsewhere.

Humanity can be capable of such great things. There is so much out there to explore and learn from: space, the oceans, the rain forests, our minds. We need to stop asking, "what's in it for me?" and start wondering, "what's in it for us?"

Because we're all in this together, whether we like it or not, so we might as well start getting along and helping one another before it's too late.

END OF RANT

1 comment:

becky said...

hey, did you hear about Lee Terry's appeal to the oil moguls? since the cost of heating will be up about 50% this winter, he's suggested they put a portion of their profits into a fund to go to utilities to help low income customers pay their bills. the guys a moron, but he stumbled on a pretty good idea. won't happen though.
money sucks, but i certainly wouldn't want to be on a barter system. i don't have many unique AND useful skills. i think a lot of people would end up in the same rat race we're in now, struggling, competing with so many other people who offer the same services. i'd die starving and moaning about how i can hammer nails.