“ Thousands of books shipped daily” read the advertisement for a book company in the U.S, as though to inspire confidence. I was looking at “Art Nouveau: An Anthology of Design and Illustration from "The Studio" by Edmund V. Gillon Jr. I suppose in some ways it does inspire confidence. The theory, it would seem, is that by having many customers you are somewhat more reliable, or dare I say it, even more trustworthy. Anyone with any sense will know that this is not always the case (Consider BP, Haliburton, RyanAir, Thomson travel, Monsanto..the list goes on) For much of my adult life I have struggled with the idea that bigger is better, popularity is king or that fame or fortune are the measure of a man. Perhaps it is because I have witnessed the downtrodden and sympathized with them. When it comes to business, one only has to walk down to their local town and see the boarded up windows of local “mom and pop” stores as they are called in America. Bakeries, butchers, local grocers, it can all be found under one gigantic roof, and due to our low incomes we naturally will go to where we can find food that we consider affordable. The huge supermarket chains have warped our perception of value. No one sees how much losses the farmer often has to take in order for a major supermarket chain to present a “buy one get one free” promotion. The supermarket is not trying to be your friend! It’s not the supermarket that is giving you free food, it is the producer. Granted he signed up to be a part of that deal, but people forget these things. Often farmers can’t compete due to the exchange rate and the restrictions put upon them that other countries never have to adhere to. Old book shops close as online trade grows at an exponential rate. (I’d just like to add that my searches are for hard to find books, i.e ones that would never see the light of day in a traditional book shop). I’m still searching for a Privat Livemont book with all of his artworks and life story but it’s possible such a book does not exist.
Essentially what I am saying is that big business bothers me. No, scrap that…capitalism that veers into the area of low morals bothers me. I hate businesses that have their hand in everything; not because they have a particular interest in these areas, but because they have the attitude of “why not?” Maybe I am old fashioned. Maybe I am an idealist. I am an artist, but I don’t feel the need to sell clothes, breakfast cererals and life insurance from my studio. I illustrate. I occasionally paint. I write some books. A baker bakes. Butchers sell meat. A builder builds houses. This was brick and morter stuff back in the day. People had their thing that they did. A grocer didn’t give loans because he wasn’t a bank, nor did he give pet insurance. But look now. A major grocery store is almost a one-stop shop. It might be convenient to each of us individually for different reasons, but collectively it is draining the life force from local business. Yet the mega stores say “ well…why not?” Here is why not…the smaller local businesses in little communities have the right to survive too. As mentioned in a previous post, I met a wonderful woman who has shared her ideals with me in regards to the inequality that exists in this type of capitalism, many of the same thoughts I have had for many years. I am not suggesting she shares the exact same point of view that I do, but it has become evident to me over the years that capitalism as it is right now cannot work. While it is true, that in many countries throughout the world there has always been a class divide, for example even in the time of Christ despite his teachings against hording wealth, I really feel that with the beginning of industry and mass production things have veered to an extremist form of capitalism. I am not a historian or a lecturer or anything of the kind, but I do observe the world around me. The Internet exploded in my lifetime, and though I never foresaw it, online trade in some areas has superseded the traditional way of trade. With more sophisticated machinery, mankind became less needed in manufacturing plants. We’re even encouraged to use self-service checkouts when we buy our groceries. What has that got to do with capitalism you might ask? It has everything to do with it. A reliance on self-service checkouts means an already tight fisted store can employ less employees, thus, I imagine, hold onto more profit. I remember reading some of Paul McKenna’s books a few years ago where he talks about the main problem with the economy being huge corporations who do not put money back into circulation, but withhold it…often putting it in banks overseas to avoid paying their countries tax rates. Money, McKenna said, had to flow easily between people like a river, otherwise the system doesn’t work. What big business does is, like a sponge, absorb all the money it can find and leave little for anyone else.
As a concept, capitalism may have started off with a noble idea. The problem is that the system is now corrupt and has been for some time. Rather than reward an individual for their hard work by giving them fair pay and the promise of more if such is to be the case, it instead, as is often the case, exploits an individual. Capitalism, in my opinion, could only work if either one’s country was self sufficient and traded almost solely with the resources within that country OR…a one world currency (I know people can go crazy over the idea of a one world currency and suspect it is associated with the New World Order but realistically money is just a symbol of traded services).
The idea that a producer/creator can be shunned by his own countrymen in favour of trading with another producer for the exact same goods overseas (at a cheaper cost due to currency differences) is absurd and damaging, not only to the integrity of local business, but for the community as a whole…yet we all unconsciously support such an unfair system because we are victims of it. Nearly half of the average person’s earnings after all are never taken home, but instead put back into the “public purse”, where it’s spent, among other things, on giving that whimpering, broken thing (Europe) 50 million pounds A DAY to limp along a little further (Read some commentary on the Book of Daniel and stop wasting all that money on a “European union” that was weak from the get go..it ain’t going to happen) In regards to the big money spend, don’t take my word for it, follow the link.
Value your local community folks. Stand up for the little people!