Un-Monetizing Our Culture
(This post was originally posted as an interactive debate on Google+)
We all know that (in the western world at least) we have a capitalistic economy and that most of our companies’ main objective is to make money. This isn’t new and, reasonably balanced, it’s not necessarily a problem. Capitalism can be a very successful model if it’s properly utilized. But today, I don’t really want to talk about politics or economics. But rather about culture. Our culture.
What bothers me is that this aspect of the economy and the money factor in general is very much inlayed in our culture. And this, to me is not the consequence of our economy only. It’s also a consequence of the way we have fun, the way we spend our free time, and the way we educate our kids. In a nutshell, our mindset.
Let me give you two examples.
The first one is sport. We today have sportmen that have a greater salary than a doctor, a professor or a CEO could ever make. Not that they deserve less, but that the main factor that encourages younger generations to do sport is now money, rather than passion or pride of representing their country. As a French person, I will not detail which event I have in mind, you’ve probably perfecty understood me (cf. FIFA World Cup 2010).
This is a great proof that, outside the business world, more and more money, doesn’t necessarily lead to better. As if it was the case in the business world anyways.
My second example is casinos. We, today, build “leisure” places where people, for only activity, will spend their money in a very hazardous manner.
Casinos, and gambling in general, is known to constitute a poison for both middle and low classes (again only enriching the already wealthy), and for the economy in general since for a strong economy we need a strong middle class. Moreover, it is emphasizing the climate of money-centered systems our brains live in, and which we really should get rid of in the next decades.
Adding to that the “addiction” problem most excessive gamblers are victims of, we know that casinos are meant to make you lose money and that even if you don’t lose the first time, it will be the times after. Hence, the most vulnerable of us are again the ones who are the most susceptible to be the victims of the biggest losses.
As a concrete example of how far we have been: in some American states, “gambling” is a sufficient reason to borrow up to $5 000 to the bank. Who will say that banks don’t play with our money after that? Again, this is not the banks’ fault, but our culture’s.
Through these few lines, I didn’t mean to have a condescending look on both overly-payed football players or gambling fans (I, myself, enjoy playing poker a lot), and I had in mind a lot more examples; with some very monetized TV-reality shows for example, the fact that younger generations think that to become an artist you should necessarily go through X-Factor. I just wanted to bring attention to what could be some of the factors that are holding our culture back. Again, I wasn’t talking about economics or politics. Solely about the only thing that will be reminded of us in 300 years: our culture.
My dilemma is, even though they are legal, these phenomenons I just talked about are subjects to very liberal laws. In one hand, we clearly have a problem of mindsets in our society, on the other hand, I really do not trust politicians. Who does?
I am against a mother state, and am really not for authoritarianism. Still, aren’t there some adjustments to be made in order to un-monetize our culture?
Would it be reasonable to limit the amount you can spend to buy a soccer player (now considered as products)?
Or would it be taking away people’s freedom to spend their money as they want if we banned casinos?
Or could we distribute the casino’s profits to the poorest like we do with taxes through “state casinos” (an idea of my friend Marwann Al Saadi)?
Or should our culture be un-monetized at all?
Taking the role of the devil’s advocate, I could say that casinos create a lot of employments, and probably represent a huge industry. I could also say that sportmen probably deserve their salary and the price they are “valued” at.
Now, we might disagree on a lot of what I wrote. This is why I am asking for some wise comments to enlighten my understanding of our limping culture.
Debate going on here.
Credits to Jim Larson for the picture.