Thursday, April 10, 2014

what is wrong with this picture?

I have this rant I've been holding in.  About stuff that seems to be considered normal, but doesn't make any sense.  I saw this cartoon in the New Yorker that shows I'm not the only one thinking about it, which is a relief.

Corporations are certainly willing to bulldoze any pristine wilderness in order to create profits.  Environmentalists protest and are told that stopping the project will make a lot of workers unhappy--they need the jobs!

But all these companies are outsourcing jobs overseas, and lobbying lawmakers to pass more free trade agreements, so that fewer and fewer satisfying jobs remain.  The reason they do it is profitability, and an obligation to shareholders.  And who are the shareholders?  Well, anyone with a regular retirement fund, right?  So basically some wholesome middle aged person approaching retirement has a stock portfolio.  So the person's retirement fund needs to grow, but meanwhile, that person’s kids probably won’t be able to find meaningful work.

Am I missing something? 

I do not want any part in wall street and its sins towards the people and the earth.  so how can I prepare for retirement?  I’d like to own a home mortgage free—so I don’t make banks rich while paying off the house.  not sure if either one of these are possible, but maybe owning a home debt free is a way to care for myself in my old age.  or part of it. 

Modern life is such a trap and I’m trying to escape all the things that people take for granted as inevitable parts of the American dream:

1) college debt/loans
2) expensive wedding
3) mortgage
4) corporate job
5) retirement portfolio

I keep feeling pressured to capitulate, to join everyone, to not be such a weirdo and just be happier.  Of course I want to own a home, and to have a secure old age, not to mention to be able to buy clothes without agonizing over lives ruined in a factory in China to make my cheap t-shirts.

I read a profile of a Quaker, John Woolman, who seemed to agonize with many of the same dilemmas back in the 1700's.  In addition to being an early abolitionist, he was thoughtful how he ate, dressed, and worked, and how this impacted others.

The little I've read about him inspires me to stay weird and true to my vision of simple living in a way that is worthwhile.