When I was young, I puzzled over this expression:
“You have to have money to make money.”
I knew that the expression was supposed to express the irony of inequality in the system. Being young I ignored irony and resignation and simply thought,
“Well, that’s not fair.”
Apparently I was a born socialist, because it seemed to me that if you had extra money that you could put away then you didn’t really need it and that really you ought to share it with someone poor instead.
I know, I know. It is, allegedly, more complicated than that.
But what if I’m standing in the school yard with my friend, and I’m tucking into three delicious cookies?
Sooner or later my friend is bound to say,
“Oi, give me a cookie.”
To which I say,
“I’m sorry, these are my cookies. My parents worked hard to earn the money to buy these cookies. But I tell you what I will do. I will eat them quickly and ask my mother for more. That way, she’ll have to buy more, which will put more money into the hands of the cookie factory’s owner and, seeing that demand is increasing, he will plough that money into expanding the factory. Then your mother can get a second job at the cookie factory thereby making up the shortfall between the paltry wage she earns doing necessary work repairing cars and the astronomical wages my parents earn thanks to the genetic lottery and socio-educational advantages that pushed them towards higher degrees and careers in the banking industry, where they make imaginary money and cream off a lot for themselves. Then we can both bring our cookies to school and eat them together.”
In the first place: huh?
In the second, wouldn’t your teachers simply have walked up behind you, whacked you upside the head and barked,
I was listening to a politician on the radio today who doesn’t want to give money to projects that employ people, in case that should become permanent policy. [pause while my mind boggles]. He thinks that we should instead introduce tax cuts. Because all those unemployed people are suffering under such a terrible tax burden. (Let’s see, 30% of nothing is…um…)
Let’s imagine those school friends all grown up and running the country:
“But my honourable colleague fails to note that without the ability to own astronomical amounts of cookies without the cookie-tax that forces me to give up some of my cookies, we cookie-rich will be unable to stimulate the cookie economy and create jobs for those who wish to buy their own cookies.”
“But the cookie-less are hungry now.”
“Well, allowing me to keep more cookies now will ensure that there are more cookies to go around.”
“But…YOU have all the cookies.”
“Ah yes, but there are more of them.” [satisfied smile]
I tell you, the world will be a better place when we implement my plan to populate government entirely with kindergarten teachers, who will be conscripted for a term of no more than four years, to ensure they never get too isolated from the world of the school yard.