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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Am I poor?

Ok, there is a crisis out there, I don't know where you live, but I guess you should have noticed by now.
I am not asking myself if I am poor or not, I believe it's difficult to give a strict definition, I can only say I don't feel poor at all.
I know I have way more than I need, so I would define myself as "rich", but I know that others in my situation would think otherwise.
I think it's easy for me to be rich because I really have basic needs : a beer and a yougurt in my fridge are pretty much what I need.

Recently I have seen scary interviews on tv or on the newspapers.
There is a "OMG, we are all doomed" feeling around... which is probably true, but I feel there are a lot of misconceptions about it.

Recently, in Italy, similarly to Greece and other countries, we saw protesters worried for their conditions.
Indeed life is becoming harder for a lot of people, but what puzzles me is the perceptions we have of this change.
In an Italian TV show, I saw a group of protesters, mainly farmers from Sicily, who were crying as they could see no hope for themselves and their families.
It was really moving and shocking to see a man in his sixties explaining he was poor.
The feeling was that he was ashamed of being in that condition and there something started to get confused in my head.

One thing is feeling your stomach empty, another thing is  to feel ashamed.
Now, don't get me wrong I believe both two things are terrible, however we cannot deal with them the same way.

Our society created ambitions, that were needed to fuel the economy.
We generally believed that everybody deserved to improve his life conditions, which I kind of agree with.
The point we never asked ourselves is : given we deserve it, do we need it? And if so, how?

Did we ever ask ourselves this question?
We always tried to reach the "level" of our friends in a kind of competition that generated needs we never really had.

The Sicilian farmer exploded in anger and used it to shout to the camera that was closing on his watering eyes : "We eat meat only once a week!!".
Everybody could feel sadness growing after this revelation, I admit the feeling was quite strong.

But...wait... that's quite healthy. As a matter of fact it is normally a good idea to eat meat once a week, it is not malnutrition.
I don't want to minimize the tragedy of this man and his family, what I want to say is that he felt poor BECAUSE -according to him- he could eat meat only once a week.

This is deeply wrong and I believe it was produced by wrong expectations that were "planted" on our society, to fuel the economy.

Don't you have the feeling that an economy that needs this kind of tricks to "work" is fundamentally wrong, deep in its roots?
It cannot work, and it did not work, now we see that.

"Richness" (Resources) became more and more concentrated and if you live in an area (or "social neighborhood") where this concentration has been happening, then you may believe that we all improved our conditions, as you (we) don't care to check what happened elsewhere.

Now this concentration managed to gather almost all the available resources from the "outer world", and it's collecting them in your neighborhood.
The funny part is that they used you to do it, they made you believe you absolutely had to eat meat every day (plus medicines and treatments to save yourself from that), that you needed a new tv set every other year.. they made you need things.

Are we poor?
Someone badly needs us to feel this way, to feel that if we can buy a new car then we are not poor anymore.

Maybe it's time to think the economy in another way, this one never worked for the benefit of the masses.

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