I have a problem with this. And at school, I feel more and more upset with this perspective. I have to get up on that stage every day (because that's really what my teacher's platform is), and convince teenagers that their sole purpose in life is to get a good job and earn money to survive. Now maybe it is because I teach Math, and yes, I could present the purpose of my lessons in a fluffier way, such as "We are here to learn different ways to solve problems in order for us to fulfill our dream jobs, such as... take pictures? No, never mind. Score a touchdown? Wait, I've got it. Become an entertaining actress?" (I am literally looking at my Dream Job wall in my classroom now.)
And again, you could be saying: But Amy... your kids need to know how to invest their money well so that they can afford all the basic necessities in life, such as transportation, shelter, and food. I hear you. But why is it so hard to survive in this world? Why do we have to use that threat (It is a threat.) to get 13 year olds to *want* to learn? What happened to learning just to learn, discover, and grow?
I will admit it now. I do not understand all this hype about money. When I was little (and maybe this is because I am Asian and my culture does not have these traditions), I did not own money. I owned no video games. I had toys from thrift stores, and I had my coveted Christmas Barbie each year. I think I grew up just fine. When I was in the second grade, I made my first business deal. I started seeing the value of money (whatever that was. Not like I could buy anything.) I rented a classmate an emerald (plastic) necklace for $20 a week. I lied to him by telling him it was real emerald. (Therefore, the high rate for renting.) I took advantage of his desire to let his mother wear it in order to have $20 in my pocket. Of course he got in trouble because $20 was missing. I actually just got a scolding and a glimpse at my father's poorly disguised delight. To him (and the capitalistic society we live in), I made a smart transaction.
But is this what we want? Do we want to cheat others in order to hold onto paper? We should look at money as what it is. It is the middle man. Items such as jewelry and food that we purchase should be seen as what they are. Not products but gifts.
It seems to be an age-old adage, but most of the things we want: do we need it or want it? If we just need it, we should not be in this bind. If I need food, I can grow it. If I need shelter, I can build it. If I need clothes, I can make it. If I can't "afford" it, something is seriously wrong. It means someone or some institution is holding it back from me. Why is it that milk costs so much more than it used to? Do we not have as many cows and farmers? And if not, do we not have higher unemployment and impoverishment? Do we not THROW AWAY surpluses each year in order to keep prices that high?
Nancy Gibbs from TIME magazine makes a good point about our spending. (Read her article, "Real Patriots Don't Spend" here.) Why are we so consumed with consuming? If our economy is so bad, why are we looking at more consumption? Look inside your closet and you will most likely find items you used to *want* and now no longer need OR want. In Aldous Huxley's futuristic society (The Brave New World), people are encouraged to spend to the point where consumerism is not only patriotism but humanism and the way of life. "Ending is better than mending" they say before throwing away. And "The more stitches, the less riches!" they admonish others. When we look at things as just things, it transl
ates into other areas in our society. If I can trade up my car for another far better design, why can't I do that with my wife? And I will "settle" the disagreement with some money! Ending is better than mending. In fact, why is it "common knowledge" that it is better to buy a cheap standard computer because "it will break down after a year anyways"?
Poverty, the high class, and debt are all so ridiculous when you think about it. I have the ability to eat, live, and clothe myself, because I live on this Earth, where the availability of resources should be available to everyone, not controlled by the few. I am not convinced. I do not believe that those who are well-off are those who deserve it by being able to control the resources better. I know we can liken it to survival of the fittest, but I tho
ught man was above that.
I don't need a new job. I don't need to be paid more. I need a new world.