Thursday, October 15, 2009

Left Behind - conscientious objection to the workplace

Those two of you who read this will know by now that I enjoy making fun of anyone who's gearing up for some kind of "rapture". Any kind of rapture, whether religious, geek-style, or just some kind of new house new car ain't life grand hyper wedding cake return to what almost all of us never really ever had chance for in the first place except in our dreams - dream.

As a pretty casual observer of the political arena, I can't help noticing that among the people who need to have some sort of safety net, people like me are never included. If you haven't been layed off, you can't get help with health insurance or with unemployment insurance. I'm not even sure the unemployed by "choice" will be thought of in what comes out of the shouting match health care "debates." Will we just deserve our diseases too when they hit us?

Whatever the latest rapture might be, I know I'll be left behind, and made to feel that it's my own damn fault. Well, I object. On your behalf, I object, because for myself there is no more choice. I've had it with this grind. And I've gotta say, I'm pretty happy with what's come about. So don't worry about me. Worry about yourself!

I can't collect unemployment, because I chose to leave my job. I love my kids as well as I do because I decided to have them. I pay my own full COBRA costs because I really don't want to burden friends and family with whatever illness I might contract, and I get no stimulus help.

I have no retirement to speak of, so that particular rat race is not even worth worrying about at my age. I chose to leave my marriage too, come to think of it, though utterly without rancor or resentment. As my ex and kids now must fully agree, there was just too much span between us - although it did take an extraordinary set of shocks to cut us loose from one another.

Still, I'm meant to carry the load of guilt. And the buyer of my dream house will get all the first-time buyers' stimulus funding that I never did get and won't be eligible for anymore since I've already had my first time experience.

I would never have survived zero tolerance for anything at all in this life, and I'm damned proud of it. There's almost nothing in life you're gonna get right the first time, and we ought to be encouraged to experiment, to learn, to grow, to thrive.

When I was in the market, shady appraisers were being sent around to jack up the value of the houses they were checking out, just to stimulate more borrowing. We all know now what was going on with those scams. And I shouldn't complain, because I got myself a no-money-down house, which I never could do today even with Uncle Sam's $8K of booster.

I guess I'd be as guilty as the next guy for stealing your money, except that I've never had to go bankrupt or get foreclosed on. I turned out to be a lucky bet.

But so I'm walking away from my dreams to follow my bliss, and I don't think it would be a bad idea to stimulate that kind of thinking too. What better time to try new thinking than when the old is working so miserably?

And I want to know now what it could possibly mean when the bank still sends out its appraiser even though the fellow buying my house is putting down half in cash! What do they know that we don't?

I don't think it would be a bad idea to make it easier for people to walk away from work which is grinding down their souls. I don't think it would be a bad idea to ease the Main Stream Media fear-mongering which makes us all think we can't live without the goodies we're still encouraged to claw after; that job one is to keep the job you have, because life without it is that unthinkable.

I think that's not too different from the kind of Church-based fear mongering which encourages thoughts of eternal life or hell. Or history's terminal uplifting by some magic Rapture. I don't even think it's very different from the Jehovah's Witness style 'abandon hope that we can ever clean up our miserable act' push toward more technology, as if that will fix everything that possibly could go wrong with spaceship earth.

There is no possible solution, so look to heaven, look to the masters of technology, look to the democratizing Internet, but meanwhile hang on to your life-raft, your house you car because it's a stormy scary world out there.

No it's not. Well, OK, it's not for me. I have friends and family who love me, and who are plenty willing to put me to work at least for my dinner. I have big ideas which might make a small difference in the world, and I think it might just be my obligation to put them into practice. I have an Ivy league education, and I even speak Chinese for when they become our masters.

If I'm susceptible to fear mongering, I can only imagine that you are too.

I do like to dream about what might have happened if all those trillions pumped into the same-old economy to replace the trillions which went up in smoke were pumped into new thinking instead of back into the same old furnace.

I wonder what might have happened if instead of the direction of misogynists like Larry Summers, things were directed by the likes of yet another recent Noble winner (I'm thinking of Larry's boss) like Muhammad Yunus who also sports a Muslim sounding name. He directs most of his loans to women, who are in the best position to make a hundred flowers bloom with their local efforts.

Really, what if encouragements were made to real risk takers instead of people who are taking risks only with other peoples' money. What if money were given to people who have no real choices but who are chomping at their bit to make a go. Like most of the women of the world, up against the wall without real choices and needing only small amounts to open a store, a salon, a cleaning service, an empire?

So I declare I will not feel guilty for choosing to be out of work, for choosing to sell my house, for choosing to drive my car right into the ground. But I really don't think I should be left behind either for my healthcare needs or unemployment safety net. I think I should be encouraged to try my wild ideas on the marketplace.

Again I have to say it. This is not about me, since I'm going to do it anyhow. This is about you. You should have choices too. You'll need to speak up though, or you're gonna be left behind.

1 comment:

Ingrid said...

Market failure at its best.