it all started with the screening of shock doctrine (a book by naomi klein which was later turned into a film/documentary) at 50B. thing is, i have not read a lot (maybe none) of her writings but i know that she writes pretty interesting stuff. she appears on democracy now a hell lot. thats good for lazy non readers such as myself cos i can always opt for listening to the podcast. =D exhibit a – how technology and pop culture, and capitalism has shaped the way i consume information.
i have to say it was an interesting and entertaining evening. what was interesting was the fact that there were a bunch of pro-free marketers. i think we barely discussed the film. the moderator attempted to start a discussion based on the film but we ended up in a ideological discussion on free market/capitalism. obviously, there was a pro-free market camp and then there were a bunch of people (myself included) who did or didnt necessarily agree on free market but think that it has been and will be damaging to the people for many different reasons.
i strongly believe in abolishing free market. i dont think the state and the corporation are different. they compliment each other. i dont know if i can say one is a lot more powerful than the other. sometimes, there are situations where corporations coerce the state to implement policies in favour of the corporations. we also see that the lines between corporation and state elites (i guess, the state elites are the states) are often blurry. state elites are usually the ones who sit on the board of directors or own certain corporations. but as an individual who sees the idea of state and all that comes with it like social contract, rules and laws, state regulations as something that are very problematic, i guess it really doesnt matter since i think they should be abolished anyways. same goes to corporation.
i am also not one of those wilsonians who believe in free trade as a way to reduce and/or combat war. and how free trade will make everything peachy. i think free trade needs to be abolished regardless.
i was actually to some extend shocked when people who are also pretty much trapped in the system, who barely make enough get by and are so oppressed by the system, believe that free market and capitalism are good. now that i am looking back at the discussion, i think this is the strongest tool of capitalism (free market as well) – making people who are oppressed by the system to think that there is hope in the system and that the system can work.
anyway, i am writing this entry obviously because i didnt get to say everything that i wanted to and i have the need to vomit whatever that is my head.
i think free market and capitalism is all about survival of the fittest. the strongest and the fittest will survive. as a womyn and persyn who believes in feminism , i despise the survival of the fittest theory. i think even if i wasnt a womyn and/or a feminist, i would still hate it. free market and capitalism only caters to the strongest and the fittest. in this case that would be strong, white, straight men who will survive. free market and capitalism is gender blind. there is only one shade and thats it. if you able and skilled, then you will survive. but what about the rest? the womyn, queers, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and so on. what about them? it is not the system’s fault that they are not able to compete. the free market creates opportunities, it is just too bad if you are not able to grab it.
free market and capitalism encourages competition. in my own perspective, i think competition is bad. period. i dont think there is a such thing as healthy competition. whatever that means. parents and teachers always tell their kids and students to compete with a fellow student to get good grades. having been a student myself, i can tell you that, there is nothing healthy about that. well, my self esteem was brought down because i could not score 98% in math like the top scorer in class when i was doing just fine. this healthy competition nonsense is always used against students to make them study harder so that they can good grades and go to a good uni and secure a 9-5 job with the assumption that can live “comfortably” and take care of their parents. it is all investment. no one cares about what the kid wants.
and competition is also used to pit womyn together. from issues of body image, paid work, non-paid work like household chores, education, and everything. womyn are always in competition with one another and themselves. this is all thanks to capitalism and free market.
competition is good for free market and capitalism. it creates desire, lust, insecurities, and greed. to me, free market and capitalism too dehum*nize people. people become greedy and individualistic because people so consumed with competing with each other and themselves. in the end, the quest in life is all about materials and being able to name drop all your “achievements” in a conversation with a random stranger.
you see, this competition which stems from capitalism and free market creates mistrust, superiority complex, holier than thou attitude amongst many other things which later turns into sexism, queerphobia, racism, classism (of course), and speciesism amongst others. of course there are other reasons for one becoming a sexist or a racist, but the capitalism and free market has a hand in constructing this behaviour. i think we have all heard this from our family members. a persyn of a certain ethnic is lazy, cannot be trusted when doing work or “the womyn doesnt know how to do her work at all! she should just stay at home!” that’s just in the context of work. i have heard my family members and friends how their ethnic groups would be much better if they worked a little harder like themselves and it is their fault that they have not advanced themselves; they are simply lazy people. there are so many examples around us on how free market and capitalism has shaped our attitude and behaviour.
it is also interesting for me to see how capitalism has shaped our spirituality as well. i am dead against people doing charity to compensate all their fuck-ups. sorry, i cant seem to find a better word. business people can do whatever that they want and be assured a place in heaven because they have money. for instance, sime darby wipe out the entire rainforest and displace thousand of people but then because the have CSR, it is all good. same goes to the CEO of the companies, they do whatever they want to get to the top and when they get older they will perform haj or do deed collection. some even plan this out at an early age – gather wealth now and then when older repent and do whatever that necessary to be good.
during the discussion, this matter came up as well. something about how the state wants to regulate or is telling kids to pay “alimonies”/allowance(nafkah) to their parents. the discussion went two ways. 1) it is okay for the state to tell kids what to do because the kids are useless and are being ungrateful and 2) the state should not be telling people what to do because we should limit state interference into our private lives or something like that. to me it was a lot more important to talk about why arent kids able to give their parents money every month.
i recently had this episode where i was thinking about my parents/guardians and which sibling of mine will end up with the noble duty of taking care of my parents/guardians. so i ended up doing some calculations in my head. if i were to take care of my parents/guardians then i would have to continue making x amount and that would mean i have to secure a permanent moderate paying job. i really dont wanna be stuck in the system but thats my problem. my point is, not a lot of people can afford to take care of their parents. people like me who freelance, dont have steady incomes, forced to pay PTPTN (yay!), live on their own have a pretty hard time taking care of their parents/guardians. if you are making 2,500 in kl, thats not much. you are still considered urban poor. and i dont know how many of us actually make that much.
so if the state is so concern about the welfare of “abandoned” parents then the state should introduce minimum wage and cola and also ensure the wage is distributed properly. there are mechanism in place to ensure minimum wage is indeed implemented. the state cannot force kids to pay up when they barely have money to get by. i am sure there are some useless brats but it is difficult for the working class. while i was having that episode of mine, i could only take care of my parents/guardians if i were to move back in with my parents/guardians, which would be a disaster cos thats the only way to minimize spending. while i have respect for people who can do it, i just dont know if i can. and why does this have to be at the expense of my personal liberty, privacy and freedom? so the state and its supporters should look at the way wage is distributed in this country before imposing such regulations or even saying things like that.