Saturday, July 13, 2013

Park Avenue

   - If I earned the money, why should you be allowed to take it away?
- Because holding the money harms people. Deprives them of necessities. Because you harmed yourself, doing what you didn't want to do to earn the money, why should you be allowed to harm other people by holding onto it?
- What's the alternative? Anarchy?
- If it is true it is better for people to share their lives with each other, why found our lives on doing things which cause us pain and getting rewarded for it by being allowed to do things which cause others pain? Don't you think that is insane?
- Again, what's the alternative?
- New rules. Everyone has the minimum needed to live, so if they do decide to work, they want to, it's not a pain to be compensated for. The proceeds from the work are not hoarded or worshiped feeding an individual's insanity but are shared with others for their good. 
- It will never happen. Anyway it's just your point of view.
- Do you think it isn't better that people share their lives with each other? You see the guy sitting at the table by the window? He's a probation officer. He told me that more than a third of high school students in the districts he works in, we're in one of them, are on probation, are being supervised by the criminal justice system after committing crimes. They are supported by the government, typically given $1400 a month to pay for food and shelter. One third of them end up going back to jail. And do you know what else?
- What?
- In this system of ours, which you say has no alternative, some of these kids hang out at this very cafe, and follow customers home to get their address. Next time they see them here, they go and rob their houses. 
- We have to accept the world as it is. People will never agree to give up everything they worked hard for.
- You're wrong. During the depression the tax rate for incomes over $25,000 was 97%. I asked the probation officer how the kids explained themselves, justified their crimes. Usually, he explained, they said nothing, or said the world is not fair to them.
- That's right.
- So you want to keep the world unfair, in defense of this principle that when people do things which cause them pain they should be rewarded by being allowed to do things that cause others pain: for that is what holding onto property you can't use ends up in. Or do you deny it?
- If it makes you happy, imagine a revolution. But I don't approve of force.
- The probation officer told me of a new phenomenon in our great state of California.
- What?
- Girl gangs, formed at detentions camps the state has set up in the North. Apparently these girls are getting together to murder boyfriends who cheat on them.
- No!
- He assured me it was the truth. I asked him didn't he think all this was insane, why not use all the money the government was spending to give these kids a life that was fair. He said, of course it was insane, but people were making too much money out of present arrangements for any change to come soon.
- He's right.
- I said, fine. Why not teach these kids to rob the rich instead of the poor.
- I don't approve.
- He said he didn't think the authorities would approve either.
- Anyway you're not serious.
- Just think about it. This gang of girl criminals, in true South American fashion, decides to take control of the richest building on Park Ave, the subject of a documentary I just watched, where the 32 apartments go for 100 million dollars or more, and extort a hundred million dollars from every one of the proud billionaire property owners. What a story.
- I told you. I don't approve of violence.
- No, you approve of people being caused pain by their work being compensated by the right to cause others pain. I don't see much humanitarianism in you. Why should I listen to you?
- No one forces you.
- No, you don't believe in force. You believe in financiers, in their 100 million dollar apartments, believe because they suffer to get their money one third of our children, born in the place you and me were born, ought to be turned into criminals, criminals who prey on the poor. Really, why should I listen to you?