I remember in my sociology class when our instructor made us play a monopoly game that was based on the economic structure of the U.S. Before we started the game, each player picked randomly a bag of Monopoly cash and property. Some of the bags did not even have cash in them or property. We did not know which one of us would end up with the bag that had most of the cash and the property. Only one of us could be the rich player. This shows that we are all not born rich, while others have to be poor and fight for their living standards because the system does not favor them. This system creates a ladder of income for everyone, the top of the ladder is the rich player/the money bag, the middle of the ladder is the ship player and the bottom of the ladder is the wheel-barrow player.
This is the actual distribution of income in the U.S. “The top 10 percent of Americans own 80 to 90 percent of all stocks, bounds, trust funds, and business equity, and more than 75 percent of non-home (commercial) real estate (We First Simon Mainwaring 12).”
Is this kind of class system fair for everyone? We should ask ourselves what is creating the gap between the rich and the poor that continues to exist in our society. I think the answer to that question is our current practice of capitalism. This system is horrible and unfair. It is creating a world where the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. Furthermore, this current practice of capitalism encourages corporations and businesses to think only about short-term profit at the expense of the environment. The third world countries are suffering from environmental contamination because corporations are moving their businesses there to get cheaper labor. Most of the stuff we buy is made in third world factories, and it is made with synthetic chemicals. Of course, the people who are suffering from these toxic chemicals are the factory workers. These workers are mostly women- who are of reproductive age. You might be asking yourself why these women would risk their health by working jobs such as these. Well, these are the only jobs that are available in the third world countries. We buy stuff, but we really do not pay the real price. However, these women do pay the real price by losing their health and their environment.
What is the solution? We are the solution. It is us the consumers, who can transform corporations into a force for global renewal. This could help us move toward a realistic goal of improving life for as many individuals on the planet as possible.
by Ikram Hassan