I was in the movie theater with my favorite person in the world. Before the trailers for other movies we get treated to a barrage of commercials. One commercial makes an impact on me and sends me down a rabbit hole. The commercial has images of women, men and children doing everyday things, going grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning, yard work. The same folks are later seen in the commercial being arrested or hospitalized. Then in bold black letters the words Opioid addiction affects everyone.
The rabbit hole was opioids and the United States. Opioids have been in use in the United States since 1860 when soldiers were prescribed opioids for pain from war injuries. The civil war was going on and injuries were common. The injuries were painful and opioids numbed the pain. Opioids worked well but were and are highly addictive. Opioids naturally come from the poppy seeds and required fields and crops to produce. The difficulty in agriculture was a barrier to entry for production of opioids.
Over the years drug companies that were more concerned with profits than health found ways to synthetically create opioids.
Capitalism created, morphine, heroine, OxyContin and now fentanyl. All these opioids were and are extremely addictive and one of them, the last one is very deadly. Fentanyl has some of the highest rates of use and highest overdose numbers.
The more I read bout opioids and really any drug epidemic in the United States the more I see capitalism at work. Pure capitalism is profits above all and that is exactly what the drug business, legal and illegal, does.
People and corporations should not work for a profit. Profits should be side affects of building and supporting a healthy community.
Until humanity puts people over profit the world will not advance.
Alex and Jean Trebek have taken time and money to address a problem in their neighbourhood. The problem was homelessness. Just recently the Trebec center was opened. The center has 107 beds and is a shelter for the unhoused.
Losing a home looks and comes differently for everyone.
Coming out as LGBTQI+
All of the above can be a reason for becoming homeless. Not one person sets out with the intention of not having a home, however the current economic and property system in the United States seems to be designed to generate homelessness. Right now there are about 31 houses that are vacant for every person who needs a home. That number is a little misleading though because of the state of the houses and the unrepaired homes.The more accurate number is 21. California has a population of 151,000 unhoused and the state has 1.2 million empty properties. The issue is not housing it is greed and an economic system keeping people from having a home.
“We all know that homelessness is complicated, There is no single pathway to the streets. There’s no single intervention that ends homelessness. But there is a single remedy and it’s called love. Supporting another is loving another and the transformational power of support will surely be known at this site.
Support for our fellow humans is not done through making oursleves wealthy at the cost of others, however making ourselves rich at the cost of others is the cornerstone of the current economic system.
“It isn’t the man who does the work that makes the money. It’s the man who gets other men to do it.”
Andrew Carnegies legacy is a dichotomy of good and evil. Andrew Carnegie killed workers who would not go to work for him. Killing an employee is not an act of love, it is of course evil. Later in life Carnegie gave away all his money. Building society, for 25 years Carnegie built libraries schools and fought to end imperialism. A man who benefited greatly from capitalism and imperialism fought to end all and even wrote an essay about this. In his essay on wealth Carnegie argued against the wealth gap. The gospel on wealth has made a huge impact on philanthropy and that is a great thing however it has done little to address the reasons for the welath gap.
Why should one person make 1.7 % of the salary of their employer. The median Amazon employee pay last year was 30,000 dollars. The CEO’s median income was 1,681,840. That’s right the average employee made 1.7% of the CEO. The CEO did 0 deliveries, folded no boxes, shipped nothing but was rewarded with a million dollar paycheck. This is one scenario in the United States among many. The average CEO makes 351 times more than the average employee! The wealth gap is alive and well.
Jobs are the vehicles in the United States that should lift us out of poverty and homelessness however 40 % of the homeless have jobs in the United States. Because of the design of the system, with wealth concentrated at the top the United States is becoming a nation of working homeless and sick people.
At the start of his essay on wealth Carnegie mentions how the native Americans did not have a wealth gap, but the wealth gap was a good thing because it gave the poor something to aspire too however since the time of the essay we see that 99% percent of people in the United States will never be wealthy. The truth is without the poor their can not be any rich people. This was what was left out of the essay that Carnegie wrote.
What is the answer then? how do we help the homeless and poor? Love. That is it plan and simple we must actively love each other and help each other. With love a system like the current capitalism would not last very long. Love would been dividing resources equitably amongst our fellow humans. Love would mean that abandoned and empty homes would be full of people, even if the people cant afford the rent. Love would not have eviction notices or terminations in it.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
The movie Glengarry Glen Ross was an adaptation of a play with the same name. The movie and play show the cutthroat side of the sales industry. A famous line from the movie is “Always be closing”. The line has been repeated all over the world by everyone in sales.
In the cutthroat world of sales this is pretty good advice because if a sales person doesn’t close a deal they don’t get paid and if they don’t get paid they don’t eat. Most people who know me know that I am not a big fan of capitalism for this reason here. Capitalism is meant to divide up and manage resources equitably through placing a dollar amount on resources and then forcing consumers to work for the dollar amount by processing, or selling the resources. The problem with capitalism is that it doesn’t work. If the goals of capitalism are equitable resource allocation and proper resource management it doesn’t work. Proof is in the socio economic state of every capitalist nation on Earth. Capitalism puts money first not the person, it seems that the true goal of capitalism is to make a very few amount of people wealthy and leave all others in want.
If our species plans to survive we will need to show some kindness. Instead of Always be closing good citizens should take up the mantra “Always be kind”. Instead of amassing capital that we can trade for resources we should be focused on making sure the resources are managed and shared with our neighbors. If people do not care for each other or the natural resources then one could argue that we do not deserve either.
Instead of focusing on money we should focus on kindness and resource management. Instead of being consumers we should be citizens, kind citizens who care for each other in deeds not just words. Try today to “Always be kind”.