Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From "Was Marx Right?"; or One Reason I Homeschool

I was sent this article today: (my comments are in rainbow shades, Haque's original text in black). This is not political, this is a reflection on the fall-out of the economic crisis and a look toward the future, thus to our children. I live in America because I believe in the empowering of the individual that our country offers through freedom of choice. I know capitalism is the way to go, but there may be room for an improved vision of things.

Was Marx Right? - Umair Haque - Harvard Business Review

Having spent the past week thinking about ways other countries have found to reform life for the middle classes after reading; "Were you Born on the Wrong Continent?" by Tom Geoghegan, I found the following extracts right on:

Alienation. As workers were divorced from the output of their labor, Marx claimed, their sense of self-determination dwindled, alienating them from a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.
How's Marx doing on this score? I'd say quite well: even the most self-proclaimed humane modern workplaces, for all their creature comforts, are bastions of bone-crushing tedium and soul-sucking mediocrity, filled with dreary meetings, dismal tasks, and pointless objectives that are well, just a little bit alienating. If sweating over the font in a PowerPoint deck for the mega-leveraged buyout of a line of designer diapers is the portrait of modern "work," then call me — and I'd bet most of you — alienated: disengaged, demoralized, unmotivated, uninspired, and about as fulfilled as a stoic Zen Master forced to watch an endless loop of Cowboys and Aliens.

School prepares us for life, for our future career, for our right to become good consumers, taking out big loans if need be and working at mundane careers in order to do so. I am not knocking school for education's sake, but we might just want to take a second look at what objectives we value for our children.

False consciousness. According to Marx, one of the most pernicious aspects of industrial age capitalism was that the proles wouldn't even know they were being exploited — and might even celebrate the very factors behind their exploitation, in a kind of ideological Stockholm Syndrome that concealed and misrepresented the relations of power between classes. How's Marx doing on this score? You tell me. I'll merely point out: America's largest private employer is Walmart. America's second largest employer is McDonald's.

Case in point.

Because the truth might just be that the global economy is in historic, generational trouble, plagued by problems the orthodoxy didn't expect, didn't see coming, and doesn't quite know what to do with. Hence, it might just be that if we're going to turn this crisis upside down, we're going to have to think outside the big-box store, the McMansion, the dead-end McJob, the bailout, the super-bonus, and the share price.

And, I would add; our way of preparing our future generations, the way we choose to live today and our dreams for tomorrow.

PS: You really have to click on "designer diapers," there is a link to a fantastic (not in a good way) article. Cloth diaper advocates, you'll love it. 

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