It’s just business – Right Livelihood

Posted: 14/12/2011 by zandtao in Finance, Struggle
Tags: , ,

This again is concerning the compromise with which good-thinking people have been sucked into the servitude of the 1%. I have already spoken of the egotism that allowed my generation to walk up narrow alleys alone rather than acting with consensus. Now I want to speak of the phrase “It’s just business”. How often have I heard that as someone justifies stabbing in the back. You can especially hear it in comfortable homes across all western nations as perhaps they apologise for making people homeless or more likely for a colleague losing a job. It is a phrase that has become an accepted way of assigning blame elsewhere. Business practice forces us to behave like bastards hurting others. The real issue about this phrase is that it is accepted. We behave like bastards to fellow human beings, and then other human beings accept our bad behaviours because it is business. And why is it accepted? Because we all do it, and therefore when our dinner guest says “it’s just business”, we can’t argue because we do the same. We have been completely compromised into servitude by business practice because they control the jobs.

When someone uses this phrase it means that someone is being taken advantage of – in some cases deservedly so, in others by necessity. Basically “it’s just business” occurs when people are not entering into a fair deal, usually because the richer is misusing their wealth or on occasions because the poorer cannot meet their commitments.

The current recession was sparked by the sub-prime loans where corrupt bankers loaned money to people who couldn’t afford it, but who wanted homes. Both sides were trying to take advantage of each other. The borrower wants the home so that is more understandable, the lender was making a loan that they knew could not be repaid, but because of financial irregularities and cover-ups this process enabled the lender to make a profit. Once these loans were traded, they were covered up, and then because there were so many it led to the recession based on the sub-prime loans – that has then led to the current economic problems as people begin to see what the banksters are actually doing. In the end of course the borrower did not get a home but that is not the concern of the lender, it’s just business.

I have a friend who used to be banker; he’s just a pleasant family guy, he earned a living and looked after his family. I don’t know whether he ever called in bad loans and whether he was responsible for putting anyone out of their home, but he was “just doing his job”. And that’s the point of this blog-entry, we cannot say that “just doing our job” is enough. The jobs that many people are doing are damaging the world, contributing to the deaths of many thousands in war, and generally hurting each other. Do we benefit? To a certain extent because we get a salary, but the real benefits go to the 1% who get us to do the dirty work. Is it worth it? For most people the answer to this is yes. They need a salary to look after their family so what choice do they have?

How do you answer that? With a principle, be compassionate; you get laughed at. How can compassion compare with the welfare of the family? Once people accept a family life they become trapped by the financial needs of caring. If you offer those people a steady income compared with a righteous life they will usually take the income. They have been compromised. But because we are all compromised they are not held accountable for their compromise – pot calling the kettle black etc. We become a society that is compromised and then the 1% take advantage.

What about single committed people? Now these people have less financial commitments, and rather than feathering their own nests they can begin to work for society. Hopefully by a firm commitment to truth and not accepting compromise these single usually young people can create an environment where financially-committed family people can obtain a steady income. Yet when we look realistically at the long-term future of our society under the current financial controls, there is no safety for families. Genuine people wanting to provide a future for their children cannot guarantee such as the system of homes, mortgages and pensions that we now try to live under is withering away as more and more hard-working people are prevented from maintaining this simple modicum of civilised living. So perhaps family people are better motivated to find a sustainable job as well.

A sustainable job, what does that mean? It is hard to say because if the 1% targets you no form of safety exists within your financial way of life. OK ideally what is sustainable is barter, making a living by trading goods or skills. Such bartering could be helped by creating alternative currencies such as creditos, and that this bartering currency is not subject to lending mechanisms such as fractional reserve. This would mean that such an economy would be driven by trading only, and would be completely safe from exploitation by unscrupulous lending practices such as those which have led to the current crisis. I do not have the economic understanding necessary to specify the controls but in the long term there would need to be lending mechanisms to create businesses and to pay for mortgages. But such lending practices needs to be overseen not by the finance industry itself but by a person appointed in the public interest.

In the interim there needs to be a mindful consumer network developed that would increase such bartering or alternative trading. In the interim people would straddle the divide between mainstream bank-exploited trading and this laternative trading especially in terms of jobs. Family people must work to provide for their children, this will place them in the world of compromise that is exploited by the 1%. But at the same time they would seek alternative trading in this MCN that might eventually lead to full-time rightful employement. At the same time they need to consider their skillsets. Mainstream education creates the exploited fodder the 1% profits from, but what practical use are many of the skills created. My own skillset, maths teacher, is not barterable. The subject I teach is only of benefit to the requirements of the 1%. Now that payment of my pension is being brought into question, what alternative skillset do I have to trade in? We need to work towards a survival skillset of mainstream skill to earn money in the world of compromise and alternative skill to trade in the MCN. We need a living strategy that will enable us to be self-sufficient on retirement – not dependent on the pension schemes that the puppet governments have control of.

This leads up to a serious consideration of one of the Buddhist tenets of the 8-fold Path – Right Livelihood. This is traditionally considered in terms of no selling of drugs, alcohol etc. But when we now consider our jobs in terms of the economic climate of the profits for the 1% and the economy that depends on and creates wars, how do we consider what a right livelihood actually is? Most would consider teaching a right livelihood but what did I do? I earned money that went into the bank and pension schemes to enable 1% profits and at the same time the mainstreeam education curriculum just turned my students into job fodder for exploitation by the 1%. Whilst I could have contributed far more to the current catastrophic system, the fact is that despite my intention I worked as a tool of the 1%. Right Livelihood needs to be re-evaluated because quite simply for the last 30 years the goalposts have been significantly moved. Accepting positions within the finance industry cannot now be considered right livelihood. Small trading on a local level moves little outside the realm of barter, but working within huge multinationals cannot now be seen as Right Livelihood.

It is time to end compromise as we have been used too much. It is time for barter and alternative trading, and when people say “it’s just business” or “it’s just my job”, you can confront them with “you have accepted servitude to the 1%, why not seek right livelihood?”

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