Since when did we start asking "what's in it for me?" No, seriously, try to answer that question for yourself; when did you start believing that you need to be rewarded for your efforts, your tiny contribution to the society you're part of, and since when did we as a society start thinking that it's normal to always ask that question.
Image by kropekk_pl - source: Pixabay
Why is gratitude not enough? The obvious answer, and easy way out, is to say that gratitude doesn't fill the stomach; we can't live on gratitude alone... Is that true though? Or is that only true because of how we've let society be configured by the ones who started to ask "what's in it for me"? Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg didn't make their insanely popular products to just receive society's gratitude, they asked "what's in it for me", from the very first instant they brought their products to market; their goal was never to better society, it's always been to better themselves. This is the hallmark of the so called self-made man (or woman), and it is the very core of the economic system we call capitalism to always ask first "what's in it for me". This so called meritocracy is really, when you strip it from all the rose tinted talk, one giant ego-trip. Now, ask yourself: why do you think this is normal, or rational even. Unless you're like me of course and don't think it's normal at all.
You see, to think that it's normal to always ask what's in it for me, not just individually but as a society, leads to the horrors we see and hear of every day. It creates and feeds an attitude of not wanting to help people, ever. Facebook is not here to connect people, it's here to make Mark Zuckerberg money, period. Amazon is not here to make your life easier or better, but to make Jeff Bezos money and nothing else. That is capitalism; nothing in capitalism is made or done to make our world better, which is why we live in this shitty world. The so called free trade we've lifted up to the heavens in our collective mindset, is nothing more than two or more completely self-interested parties trying to get theirs, and as much and quickly as possible. There are no win-win situations in capitalism. Do you still believe Facebook has made life better? Or do you realize the truth, that in Zuckerberg's endless quest for more, Facebook has reduced it's users to mere products to be sold?
We live in a society based on selfishness and exploitation, and innovation is only encouraged so far as it serves the economy of selfishness and exploitation. We are only efficient in a way that serves the selfish economy, that is not efficient at all because it exploits the planet as much as it exploits it's animal, plant and human population to generate wealthy for those who always, at every opportunity ask "what's in it for me". This is why all supply lines of all essential goods we need to survive start in or go through the parts of the world where labor is cheap, and why we can't get the medicines and medical supplies we need. The bottomless selfishness of the select few is the cause of this, but they only get away with it because everyone seems to think it's normal to ask that damned question. If gratitude was enough, the mere joy of seeing the smile on the face of someone you've just helped make his or her life a tiny bit better, we wouldn't have Gates, Bezos and Zuckerberg running our lifes in collusion with the governments of the world. And we wouldn't refuse to help those in need of help; we would jump at the opportunity to do so. We wouldn't serve our own short term interests tied to the purely individual perspective of just one lifetime. We would all have a decent place to live and more than enough food.
But that scares a lot of people. They believe that the wish to become rich and famous is what drives innovation, which has never been true. Linux is free and runs 80% of the internet. Bill gates didn't make MS-DOS, he stole it, Steve Jobs didn't invent Apple's graphical user interface, he stole it, Elon Musk isn't a self-made man, he used his parent's money to make more money for himself, Zuckerberg didn't spend a dime in developing his mighty website, taxpayers funded that because he made that website on a university campus, Bezos was just one of hundreds of thousands of online shops; these men were just very good and unrelenting in asking the question that serves their own betterment. Yet somehow we live in a society that attaches some special worth to these highly egocentric individuals, and that's because we all (almost all) think that asking the question is a good, or at the very least a normal thing to do, that it's somehow part of human nature. It isn't, it never was and it never will be.
What's in it for me? Well, you'll be payed 10 dollars an hour for driving around town, collecting people's garbage. Okay, we have a deal... Enter the corona pandemic, with the high risk of contamination that comes with collecting people's garbage. So the question is asked again: now that I'm risking my health and possibly my life by collecting garbage, what's in it for me? Well, you'll still be payed 10 dollars an hour. No deal, we go on strike! Very well, enjoy your strike while we bring in prisoners to do the work you now refuse to do for 10 dollars an hour, and they will work for 1 dollar an hour. And they can't ask the question. It's true; striking workers are now being replaced by prisoners, by Modern Day Slave Labor. Capitalism, my dear friends, is selfishness institutionalized. So stop asking the question and just be grateful for what we've been able to accomplish as a society. Reject the attitude that leads to a society that refuses to value every individual life and is incapable of feeding every mouth. What's in it for me leads to wars for profit and prison slave labor provided by a privatized prison industrial complex. A better world starts with asking "what's in it for us", not just me. Rant over.
Krystal and Saagar: Rich going gangbusters as striking workers replaced with prison labor
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