Modern life is changing us as humans rapidly, it seems, on a daily basis. It is easy to think that "All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds" (my favourite quote of Voltaire from Candide), but lift yourself up and do take a bird’s-eye view of the way the world is going, and in particular your own life within the mass.
I think that I will try and relate this little blog alongside my experience of running a small business over the last 28 years ... that way you may have more interest ... and may not judge me to be a revolutionary standing on top of a digital and intangible soapbox.
So, let’s get going … We all know that the advent of internet shopping and the drive towards bigger more corporate shops is what we all expect and now accept. This has obviously had a detrimental effect on local small shops to the point that nowadays, if you have the double whammy of rent and staff payments on top of the usual governmental taxation and council charges, it is not possible to run your business.
There are perhaps some negatives to this way of doing business. I think that the social aspect is the most cruel and damaging. There are several aspects to this social decapitation … the most obvious is that the reliance on tablets and phones to order your products mean that less and less do we deal face-to-face with other humans ... and this is not all about money and profit or lack of. There is something uplifting about chatting to someone you have known through business for both parties … discussing the weather, or politics … it all helps the human state.
The second is perhaps the most sinister … the person’s reliance on running life via phones and tablets gives much of their privacy away even if unknowingly or unwittingly … this is the first stage really of allowing yourself to push down the path to becoming a modern-day proletariat. The irony, of course, is that once the platforms have all the details on your life, the price of shopping will eventually go up. Amazon, at the moment, is cleverly offering pretty much a trade price to get everyone hooked. Even worse, pay to join Amazon Prime and then stretch to buying its listening device Alexa, which is a modern-day acceptable bugging device to learn even more about you!
Once they have you hooked and all the small businesses are kicked into touch, what lays in their path? Nothing but their real drive for profit at your expense.
The drive to make you a poorer proletariat (horrible thought isn't it? That isn't me I hear you say but do take that bird’s-eye view on your own life) is the drive towards a cashless society. Do you remember the days when businesses (because of the expense) used to not take a card payment below £10? This card charge to the business was an extra expense and still is. Banks are making billions more by encouraging contactless payments. They make it from businesses by charging them for every contactless tap, and they make it from the customer by indirectly making them pay more. If businesses are to be mercilessly forced into the card tapping world their prices must go up, so therefore the customer will have to pay more. This in a world where already many people are struggling financially. It also means that banks reach into your private life and gain a complete picture of how you spend. If you are on a wage and you spend all the money through card or internet payments, your whole financial life is exposed and ready for exploitation. This valuable information can then be sold onto other money-making sharks ready to exploit you financially. You are inadvertently pushed into more lack of control over your life and it is one more move to becoming a modern-day proletariat.
The worst thing really, is that as usual there are a few humans who have all the money and the power in this world. Nowadays it is people like Zuckerberg, Bezos, Gates and the Google crowd. They have made all their money at your expense of course, and the similarity I keep coming back to is the mill owners in the north of England in the days of the industrial revolution. A handful of people then gained all the power at the expense of the proletariat … the ordinary man in the street. Hard working people transporting linen and cotton up and down the canals from port to mill, the poor people working in the mills to weave the materials into clothing … so poor that their families often had to live on the canal boats.
We now have cars and modern clothing, but the modern-day canal boater or millworker is the commuting wage earner … often stuck in a car or on a train having money sucked from them to transport themselves to the work place, then maybe coming home and perhaps taking a phone upgrade or signing up to Sky TV, or taking their families to Center Parcs in the mistaken belief they are going on an adventure. The money dribbles out and keeps you down, but there is no mercy from the mill owners …
Take a brave look at one’s life and do your best to resist the drive to a modern-day life of pauperism and proletarianism.