Tuesday, December 15, 2009

how will the future view us?

If you read a historical novel, like "Pillars of the Earth", or watch of a movie of a similar era there are the landowners and there are the workers and boy do they work for not a lot.
Some landowners are nice to their tenants. Other landowners are horrible and evil and despite their wealth take everything, while the people that have actually done all the work, go hungry.
When I watch or read these things I don't want to be the ones doing the back-breaking labour, but I want to be the nice landowners being generous to those worse off - while of course living in a big house.
Then I think of today. There is still the split, but it is on a global scale. Instead of on the land outside the big house, it is offshore, elsewhere people are getting paid very little so I can have cheap clothes and shoes and so many other things I buy everyday.
I can't see them so I can live in my castle and pretend they don't exist. I can pretend that can of tuna was not put together by someone working really long hours in the heat and smell for little pay. And yet I read the labels and carefully pick the one that is mostly skipjack tuna since I have been told this tuna is not overfished and is doing okay. But what of the people catching it and canning it?
Sure we get told the wages are low but that is because it is cheap to live in that country. But then from a friend who used to work a call centre in India sometimes after the travel expenses they didn't have enough for food - that doesn't sound like a living wage to me. They were extremely grateful for the job, just as the fish factory workers are. But is that right?
If someone knows it is not enough, surely it is not just to only pay what they do?
A living wage should be enough to live with your immediate family - not have them live somewhere else that you can only afford to visit once a month even though it is only one bus ride away.
In a hundred years - how will the stories be written about our era? Who will be the heroes and who will be the underdogs?
I can look around see much wealthier people and be smug at my small efforts of charity and choosing items on where items are made. But I wonder at what size is a three bedroom house just a big house?

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5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.