If Occupy Wall Street, Occupy London and all the other recent protest actions have achieved anything at all, it is to highlight the general distaste in these times for pure greed. Whether that message has been heard or will lead to any sort of change appears to be doubtful, which is a pity. But it’s also symptomatic of the racy capitalist me-me-me societies we have built.
I don’t have much to say on that topic. There is good and bad in both sides of the argument and I doubt you much care for my opinion.
There is a great story to kick off the weekend however, which demonstrates the exact antithesis of greed while emulating a great book (Q&A) and okay movie (Slumdog Millionaire) into which that book was made.
The story isn’t that some smiley chap nobody is ever going to meet, saw a remarkable dream come true. Or even that Sushil Kumar’s prize money of £630 000 compares obscenely to his monthly pay of £75 which he earned giving IT lessons for the Indian government. Or for that matter, that he became the first person to answer every question right on India’s version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and didn’t even require a lifeline in the process.
Those are all pretty great stories, but what is even better is what the guy plans to do with his winnings: to sit India’s civil service exam, set up a library in his home town and set up his four brothers in businesses of their own.
It goes without saying that in his world where he had only ever seen the game show on his neighbour’s TV because he couldn’t afford one of his own, gratitude for small things goes a little further.
It compares immeasurably however to how one would expect a minimum-wage westerner to spend their sudden windfall, which would surely involve the purchase of some or other sports car and a load of designer ‘kit’. King of Chavs, Michael Carroll provides a ready reference.
Occupy Wall Street is fine. But you have to wonder sometimes whether the wealth of social problems we face is more to do with our own preoccupation with the meaningless things money can buy and overall lack of interest in the sense of community that leads a newly minted near-millionaire to think first of building a public library.
*Sorry dude … you’re probably already sick of that far-less-than-charming epithet. Damn that movie!