Money, money, money

The Rate Race - a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power.
— Definition

Have you ever felt like a rat on a wheel when it comes to earning money? In fact, it would be more appropriate to ask if you have ever NOT felt like a rat on a wheel? Especially considering, as a single dad, there is no rat alongside me so I can sit down and have a rest!

The society we live in demands we earn money to literally survive. New Zealand is, or maybe that should be was, an egalitarian society and so education and health is universally available but money has become the great differentiator. If you have a lot, then you have more options and, theoretically, an easier life.

I have a part-time role teaching a citizenship course at University (Tū Tira Mai: Practicing engagement if you want to sign up but you have to be an internal Palmerston North, NZ student to join my wonderful classes 😊) It gives me the opportunity to have discussions with a range of mainly 20-21 year olds about society and citizenship. It is fun and, I think, eye opening for both the students and the teaching team.

During our discussions I have found it fascinating that, in a world where information has been democratised, knowledge about how society operates is scarce. Society (either unintentionally or by design) has done a wonderful job of papering cover the cracks and appearing to many as – just the way it is. I see my role as teacher/lecturer to try and get students asking important questions like - why? Why is it this way? Is society fair? Why is money privileged? What about other societal options?

I remain amazed that in this age with environmental disaster looming and the strength of voices calling on governments to act – it still takes a relatively small, single minded 16 year-old (Greta Thunburg) to point out that the current problems are directly related to the economic world order.

People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosytems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth,

What we are experiencing is an outcome from economic systems and, if we want to make lasting change, we also need to focus on our economic, neoliberal world order. Unfortunately, I do know what it will take to change this and it is unlikely to be pretty.

In the meantime, and no matter what we think should be the case, until the new generation alters the current world order we have to live in “today’s” society. And that means running rat-like around a wheel until retirement and/or death. Sorry for being gloomy, maybe it is just the weather (though I doubt it).

To finish on a more positive tone, the new digital world has, at least, created opportunities to run in new ways and give you back some control. For single parents, I think it is handy to know what options there are so that just maybe, you don’t have to run so fast. The Home Working Club, for example, focuses on possibilities of working from home and also how the online world has created a range of jobs that may let you have your cake and eat it too. It’s probably not for everyone but it’s certainly worth thinking about!

Thanks for reading, feel free to buy me a coffee........ 😎

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