After an absence of probably over a year I have returned from the jungle (of distractions?) and find myself feeling the need to write again, but seeing the considerable changes to the site a short introduction wouldn’t go amiss. I was just one of the many poor, foolish kids that was encouraged to go straight from high school and into university where I studied Science (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and majored in Geology (which I fell in love with.) The plan was to study geology for a mining job which, at the time Australia was enjoying the biggest mining boom it had ever seen and by the time I graduated the boom had gone and so had the jobs that were promised.

Since graduating at the beginning of this year I spent a 5 month stint working at maccas and washed my hands of that arrangement one month ago. Given my philosophical and ethical disagreements between employer I’m quite surprised I lasted even that long; however I would tentatively claim the final moral victory when my suspicions were confirmed by a freedom of information request by the Greens revealed my former employer was indeed paid nearly 2 billion dollars by the state government to “train” their employees. I can proudly report the training I received was non existent.

Now just another of the unemployed welfare leeches that A Current Affair can confirm are destroying the very fabric of Australian society (or is it muslims today?) I am catching up on some well missed reading and intellectual endeavors. Back into the jungle, the literal jungle this time and not the metaphorical one, poking around at rocks that haven’t been poked at before and challenging the accepted geological ideas in collaboration with the uni staff.

This brings me to the meat of this discussion: of society and productivity. When I was working at maccas it dawned on me maybe a few months in “I am finally contributing to society” I thought, but I wasn’t. I really wasn’t contributing in any way, there was nothing I did that a machine couldn’t do better and with far less complaint. At first the service I was providing to the greater public I only disagreed with but later I began doubting why it need exist at all.

In Australia maccas isn’t cheap and a solid meal would cost you as much as going to a restaurant and neither are you receiving a quality meal and service for your overpriced money’s worth. The only reason it exists is because it is fast and the only way to have something run quickly for a profit is to have 17 year old managers lording over 15 year old workers. Which is where I didn’t quite fit in, I was older than all of my managers and whenever they threatened me or told me to get a move on my first response was akin to that of a high schooler to their teacher: “or wot.” What can you possibly do to me? Considering how much the state and federal government compensates the company for employing those needy people that need food and shelter they’d like nothing better than to see the back of me and the face of the next 12 year old sap they can pay peanuts.

I was already a diehard socialist from my time with my uni cohort, in particular a 60 year old former clergyman, electrician, teacher and union leader. A man who had truly seen it all, walked down so many different paths of life and had seen so much wrong done in the name of christ, profit and greater society. My time with maccas had only made my socialist tendencies more extreme and not only did I fail to see why we need to live in a society where exploitative hospitality and services exist, but also a recent walk made me furious at the arrangement of wealth and material distribution.

I descended from my abode in the hills to the lake where my friends reside and there we took a walk which would start a fire in my heart. Walking past so many waterfront houses with school run 4x4s in the driveway and a boat floating in the lake. I spend a lot of time down by the lake with my friends and I can generously estimate that these people only touch their boats once or twice a year, their off roaders have never seen an unsealed surface and their houses are large enough to chase a buffalo in. I do not question these people’s need for such extravagance but what I do question is inequality in our society.

I didn’t spend 4 years at uni racking up a student debt to let a bad job market keep me out of geology and I frequently go out on jaunts to look at rocks no one has bothered to look at properly because there is no wealth in them and for that I need a big 4×4. I can only afford to run a small hatchback and that has had to bear the duty of going where no hatchback should ever have to go. It had already done 100,000 odd kms before I picked it up and I’ve added 125,000 kms to it and while most of those have been on roads the little car has still done a few thousand off road. It’s a tired car, it’s been knocked around and I’ve been looking to replace it with what I’ve saved from maccas and currently saving from welfare.

Here is the question I’ve taken too many paragraphs to reach: why does our society value profit instead of productivity? As a hive mind worker at maccas my labor wasn’t making society greater, it was making it unhealthier, lazier and fueled the greed of the parent company. I might’ve accepted that hospitality is a good kickstart to a career elsewhere but there are no careers anywhere. Australia and the rest of the western world is getting rid of full time careers and the only jobs being made are casual jobs with rubbish pay, no rights, no future and no security. As an unemployed geologist kicking around the bush with other unemployed and retired geos we aren’t making any money but we could end up finding something which challenges the accepted geological knowledge of the area and better understanding the geological history of this part of the world (and possibly elsewhere.) Is that not a more wholesome contribution to society than putting out rubbish food and feeding globalism.

I hate seeing our society as one where we accept someone is free to buy a boat as an investment that will never be used and will cost more than the sum of all my human parts and material possessions. The boat I couldn’t care less for, the house I feel frustrated but the car is the killer for me. School run off roaders for kids that are too good to catch the private bus to the private school that is all paid for by the taxpayer. A private high school which I might add costs more per year than my entire university degree. It’s not that these people don’t need these vehicles or that they send their kids to a private school, it’s the inequality which angers me.

Why does the government spend more money subsidising private schools than they do funding public schools? Because private school kids become government bureaucrats and politicians. Why don’t we have a society with wealth distributed for people’s needs instead of greed? Because capitalism favors greedy cunts. Why do people leave their cars on the side of the road for someone to set on fire? Because the insurance money is easier and worth a lot more than trying to sell it to a poor kid that only has a hospitality salary. Why doesn’t the law allow for a poor kid to legally adopt these cars and the insurance still pay out the original owner? Because you can’t just let the poor have nice things, it’s the thin end of the wedge, next they’ll want affordable housing, workers rights and a regulated banking system.

Studies from the university of Melbourne (and others) as well as the Australian Bureau of Statistics fear that less than half of young Australians today will own their own home in their lifetime. With conservative politicians and a prime minister at the top saying “parents should help pay for their kids house”, former treasurer saying “poor people don’t drive, or don’t drive as far if they do” and perhaps topping it off former nationals leader saying “if you can’t afford healthcare, just don’t get sick,” our political environment (and not just ours) is in no mood to change the state of inequality, why would they, it’s the very system that made them rich.

The greatest problem Australia suffers is our very nature, we’re too damn lazy to do a thing about it. We have a generation of young Australians without much of a future just waiting for their parents to hop the twig so they can have a house. Rather, we would have if we had a society which had not been seduced by the banks to take out loans they’ll never be able to repay for big cars and your overpriced suburban lot. Continual reminders to get up at the crack of dawn, go do a job you hate and is ultimately pointless and doing nothing for society otherwise the bank will swoop in and take your house.

Although harping back to political environments Australia has been somewhat immune from what Bernie Sanders is doing in the States and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, so long as we’ve got beer and the footy we don’t need anything else in this great country. However the footy finals were last night which were recognisable by the orkish howls from an otherwise tame and subdued populace. It’s going to be a long and hot summer and without the football to maintain social order who knows whether there’ll be an Australia come winter.

4 Comments
  1. SullenGirl76 4 years ago

    Alex, I simply adore your writing voice. “Orkish howls” is *exactly* how I’d describe some of the die-hard sports enthusiasts who park in front of my house so they can catch a train to watch a struggling team pretend to be modern-day gladiators in an arena paid for by taxpayers who could ill-afford another tax hike.

    The inequality is what gets to me, too. Like you hinted at… I don’t begrudge anyone their right to make a dime, nor do I think I have any right to tell them how to spend their earnings – so long as no one is being harmed. But people ARE being harmed. Here in the States, there are enough foreclosed homes sitting in bankers’ pockets that we could all-but solve homelessness on our shores. And do NOT get me started on how disgusting I think mainstream US media is…

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you’re not the only person who gets annoyed with inequality… you’re not the only person who sees the injustices of the world and you are not the only person who wonders what the Hell is wrong with us. I know firsthand how alone it can feel to care about that stuff when it seems like so few others do.

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    • Author
      alexthegeo 4 years ago

      Cheers for the comment, Sullen, I agree it’s difficult to find others to share ideas with especially when the media is still telling us to be afraid of the reds under the bed. Catching what I can of your media’s coverage of the election is truly insane and is no wonder why politics is so disenfranchising. I’ve witnessed my sister go from working class to marrying into wealth and her attitudes have changed quite considerably in her short amount of time in comfort so far, perhaps willful ignorance is material bliss.

      Good luck out there, Sullen, and cheers again for the comments.

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  2. bridgie101 4 years ago

    You definitely get triple word score for ‘orkish howls’. and double for working ‘abode’ into the conversation. Descended from your abode. How posh. You sound almost… priveleged.

    😀

    Question though: given that nobody should be in Australia at all, given that the groundwater is flowing backwards, is it really appropriate to argue about the haves/have nots when the best answer, surely from a geologist’s point of view, if it’s anything like an environmentalist’s point of view, is genocide?

    And what is equality when it is at home anyway? If I work hard, and endure a pimplier maccas boss than you, holding out against the yodelling onslaught with more fortitude and panache, surely I get to keep those earnings and purchase whatever planet-killing, life-wasting item I choose?

    I could give you lessons in growth economies but I suspect you already know them. Just wait till we run out of oil. You can cheer up then because the ‘haves’ will be just as “faugh”ed as you are.

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    alexthegeo 4 years ago

    Ah yes, the genocide, when continents crash into each other and volcanoes smother the earth or will it be snowball earth, mantle superplumes or even meteor attacks? The possibilities are dazzling and it’s only pity we won’t be around to observe them. Geos and Enviros often clash as their trees and plants get in the way of the nice rocks and they don’t appreciate us digging dirty great big (read: very attractive) holes in the ground.

    My concerns with wealth inequality isn’t what you buy with your hard earned earnings but how our earnings aren’t going as far as they did for the aged middle class who are buying up property. When you’ve got the Aus Bureau of Statistics and a frightened flock of universities warning that part time and casual jobs are going to overtake full time by quantity and automation will take care of the rest, how do we guarantee that current and future generations are going to have lives that aren’t a meagre subsidence.

    As far as planet killing, life wasting items I am fully in favor so long as everyone can afford them.

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