Happy labour day! It is a controversial title especially for jobless people out there and for grateful workers who still have a job in spite of the lockdown. In fact, digging deeper to the concept of labour, one can tell that the alteration of labour in our understanding had led to an alteration in the concept of freedom. How did we become modern slaves?
The word freedom comes from libertas. In Ancient Rome, a liber meant a free man who is not a slave. So, back then, slavery and freedom were legal statuses. Fast forward many centuries later, with the outcome of the Industrial Revolution (19th century), labour became a social, legal, political and philosophical theme. Therefore, labour is a recent concept, born with the evolution of society. Since then, with the progressive abolition of slavery and monarchies in Europe, everybody was working. Freedom as a concept was understood as financial independence.
Alongside the new concepts of both labour and freedom, capitalism (especially in its industrial form) encouraged ambition conceived as wealth which was not a bad thing. The bad thing happened later, when capitalism turned to become consumerism and a financial capitalism. Simply put, loans and massive production turned the world population into forever indebted to banks and states. Freedom as a concept both in its old and new understanding, became an illusion. Adding to this, the new virtual surveillance of online work.
Charles Bukowski said it better:
How in the hell, could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 am by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where you essentially made lots of money for somebody else and asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
It is not about the concept of freedom but the concept of free. A capitalistic world is a capitalistic collective and individual consciousness. Where all is about financial profit, then the concepts of saving and getting free products are related. It goes from free trials, free e-books, free giveaway etc… to ingredients free types of food.
While all this seems to be profitable and legitimate, where the awareness stands?
The idea of free is not bad in itself. People have the right to try a free sample before deciding on buying it or not. Same goes for a free trial, a free class, a free article etc., or even a “buy 1 get 1 for free”. The issue lies in the frantic thinking of getting the maximum of free stuff possible for two main reasons:
Trying something for free before choosing to pay can lead in some cases to be enticed. Not all businesses are made the same way. Sometimes the free stuff is way better than the bought ones.
Choosing quantity over quality. This is the bigger issue where people think the more the better, ending with unneeded many free stuff. Again, blame it on the consumerist attitude and behavior.
It is trickier when it comes to food. Sugarfree is the taste of sugar without having sugar. Fat free, is also the same taste minus the fat. Gluten free: does anyone understand the gluten issue? Put aside allergies and food intolerances, why would anyone want to eat sugar without sugar if it is widely known that is bad? It is lying to ourselves without taking any responsibility for this matter. It is accepting to eat crap and fooling ourselves that it is a healthier option while deeply being convinced that it is poisonous. Mythomania!
It is revolting because paying for something is paying for quality and it is an exchange. Perhaps some things shouldn’t be free and some others shouldn’t be paid for. You choose which is which. Should a party be free? I don’t think so, again for the idea of exchanging intentions and experiences. Art was never free, although it shouldn’t cost a fortune. Creativity must be paid for.
So, where the awareness stands?
It is low, stepping behind a compulsive behavior and a self-cheating mentality. Instead of looking for quality, some people (if not most of them) rely on bingeing bad food, bad quality and bad music. All this is followed by medication afterward. Then we ask ourselves: why are we so unhappy and stressed? How did rational and critical thinking disappear?
Writing in times of trouble can be hard. As my country is going through an economic crisis, I thought I should be writing about ways to face it. I hope none of you would ever go through this. However if you do, here are some tips I found useful.
Create a budget plan: it can be weekly, monthly or yearly, concerning your spending decisions on important and necessary stuff. It is crucial to track your expenses to see how much and where you spend your money.
Set your priorities and spend accordingly.
Change your way of living: eat less outside because we all know it can be pricey; shop less on unnecessary stuff and stick on needs and not on desires. In other words, switch on the survival mode.
Maximize your liquid savings and don’t invest in high-risk investments.
Pay your debts.
Keep up with routine maintenance: whether it is a medical routine or a mechanical one, keeping your components on good conditions will help you save money. Dealing with the problem when it is small is way better then facing a major disruption.
These are some few helpful tips among many others. I am no financial expert but one can learn a lot from their own experience. If you have other tips, I would love to read these in the comment box below.