On the United Airlines Debacle and Our Love/Hate Relationship With Capitalism
This article does a great job of explaining what I think might be the single biggest problem facing our country right now. It’s the problem that, for me, best puts in perspective why we elected Trump instead of Hillary as well as why we elected an insane orange goblin king instead of a human being. Specifically, we’re in an abusive relationship with capitalism but we won’t admit it to ourselves because then we’d have to question what we’ve doing with our lives this whole time that we and capitalism have been together.
Americans have been taught — and therefore believe — that we love free-market capitalism, but in reality we absolutely hate free-market capitalism unless we’re winning. And these days, you’re very rarely winning unless you’re a member of the 1% of Americans who controlled 40% of the country’s wealth as of 2014*.
In short, we don’t hate Mondays. We hate the economic system we work in that makes Mondays so miserable.
We don’t hate United Airlines, we hate the system we live in that makes flying so dehumanizing and allows companies like United to take a lot of our money and provide us with a service that doesn’t end up feeling like it was worth the cost. And we know we have no alternative except to give our money to another airline that will charge just as much and treat us just as poorly.
We don’t hate professors and colleges, we hate the system we live in that requires us to take on massive, impossible amounts of financial debt just to get the degree that that system has designated as required for an entry-level job that pays just enough so that, four or five or six years from now, we can start making our student loan payments every month.
We don’t hate doctors or health insurance, we hate the system that props up guys like Martin Shkreli while requiring common people to empty their bank accounts to subsidize his greed.
But we think in terms of the metonym (I hate Mondays, not capitalism!) because that’s the narrative we’ve been taught.
Because we’ve been taught that those who deviate from this narrative (hippies, Tea Partiers, Bernie Sanders supporters, etc.) are the “real” danger.
Because if we actually questioned this narrative, we might realize that what we actually hate is America.
* If you want a good overview of wealth distribution in this country that includes some great visuals for context, you should check out this video.