We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Monday, July 9, 2018
100 Kids, 100 Toys: The Rich Are Only Rich If We Let Them Be.
This delightful allegory explains some of the painful realty of inequality. But, leaving us with "the rich are only rich if we let them be" seemed rather unsatisfactory to me. It got me thinking about how we could embellish the allegory to make it more meaningful. If we equate the enjoyment of toys with political power, we come much closer.
We should explain how this arrangement came about. Thus, we may add to the allegory that the biggest kids with the aid of other kids formed a gang. The gang formed classes: the very biggest became known as the upper class, the next biggest became known as the upper-middle class, and the bigger than average became known as the middle class. This gang led by the biggest kids beat up and threatened the disorganized smaller kids, and the gang ended up getting all of the toys. Over time they set up a complex series of rules that make it so easy for the gang to acquire new toys that are created by the poor kids with the assistance of kids from the upper-middle and middle classes. Blinded by this system of rules, the vast majority of poor kids simply go along with the ruse.
The first step in changing this arrangement, the poor kids, who are the majority, must see how the arrangement works to insure that they remain without any toys. Much work must be done to educate them about this system of unfair rules. Then, they must organize to take toys away from the upper classes and smash their system of rules that creates so much inequality.