Monday, 21 November 2011

The Media Is Not Your Friend

It's November 21st, 2011 and I thought I would change pace a little bit and talk about something I recently got more exposure of.

Mental health awareness and the utter lack of it that we have in Canada and for the most part the United States of America is the main point in today's blog. You most likely have heard a lot about the Penn State incident on the news, where a staff member finally got caught for years of pedophilia targeting young boys in the showers. What saddened me more then the story itself, is the lack of exposure put on mental health and crimes against children in general. The media was so focused on the employment repercussions against coach Joe Paterno and the uproar from students, that the topic of mental awareness was totally sidelined once again.
Although many of you may not have noticed this, mental health awareness in our country is an often hush hush conversation that does not warrant much attention from the media, people in general and unfortunately our government. This denial is so bad that Canada specifically, a country  that helped birth awareness for suicide and depression, actually lacks an official program/plan to combat it. To make matters worse, other countries who have used our initiative as a push for their own systems actually trump the mechanisms we currently employ when it comes to mental health and suicide awareness/prevention.

I cannot begin to understand why both our country and our media continue to deny the importance of mental health and the need for both treatment and awareness to help those who suffer from it. For to long, people have had to hide their conditions in fear of being cast out like a leper; left alone and denied the basic luxuries "normal people" take for granted.

The problem is so bad politically, that the only party to offer support for mental health initiatives ranked 3rd place in the federal election. That's right, the Liberal Party of Canada proposed measures in their election promises to provide more funding for both medical treatment and overall awareness and got trumped. Now, I don't believe that their proposition was what led to their demise, but it does seem like many people looked at this important proposition and disregarded its importance, which is a very serious problem. We have many citizens who suffer from various mental diseases, yet who lack the proper support to seek help and find remedies.

God forbid you toke up with some marijuana to stop the voices in your head or you might end up in the pen for 6 months! You dont believe me? Ask Mr. Harper how his new billion dollar crime bill will treat people who commit crimes not out of their own will, but due to a disease that is poorly treated. For to long we have put these individuals behind bars in hopes that they will either not survive their terms, end up on drugs in an institution or somehow through a miracle heal themselves!

I have used this photo before, but I felt it really applies to today's conversation as it reflects the current environment we live in when it comes to mental health.

 The media much like our government is there to tell us about things that go on in our society. Whether these things involve new initiatives, dangers or overall positive progress to make us happy. The reality today however is far from where it should be, we have large corporations who own our media and have more power over our government then we do and this is where I believe the important issues get left out. When you have so many different groups with buying power lobbying for programs and bills that benefit their causes, you have a higher chance that important measures that can greatly impact our society in a positive way get left out since they cost money as opposed to make money.

It seems like our society has taken a much more passive stance when it comes to enacting change that can benefit us. I mean, don't get me wrong, we elect officials and call them politicians. We go so far as to pay these individuals with nice salaries and amazing benefit packages and our hiring practices are the toughest out there. Essentially, the Canadian people are the 1% when it come's to politics, we hire people if they pass our interview (The Election) and we compensate them for their work. It seems however, that as of late we have been to lenient on these individuals when they don't do their jobs. Not to mention, we make media corporations billionaires just by using our eyes and watching their programing.

Does the mental health issue or lack of coverage of it bother you in any way? Does someone in your inner circle or family suffer from a mental disorder? 

Ask yourself this question next time you watch the news: Are the weakest links within our society receiving the proper support they require? If a society is judged by it's weakest links, how does ours fare?

I know these may seem like a lot of questions, but in order to know where we are going and which direction we are heading, we have to open our eyes and see where we stand and what bumps we have to overcome to take the direction we want to be in.

Next blog entry I want to focus on the lack of initiative our government provides to citizens in the topic of self employment and small to medium business creation. In a world that relies so heavily on cheaply made items in China, what happens to the rest of us who need to make a living? 

Until next time!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Positive and Negative Work Environment and You

Today is November 15th, 2011:

Flash Update: The occupy movements are being kicked out or on the verge of being kicked out of public parks by the police, the economy is still faltering and the middle east is still ripe from uprisings.

I was driving today and an interesting thought came to me as I passed a series of small to medium sized businesses. If we can live in negative or positive peace, could it be possible that our work environment can follow the same path and if this occurs, would a union still be effective?

By negative work environment, I am referring to a workplace where all the rules are being followed, however workers are not seen as human beings, but tools or commodities. What this exactly means is that our current workplace and financial environment is arranged in a way that only benefits a certain portion of the population. You may say, alright we have seen this multiple times on the news, its the reason why those hippies are occupying parks in an effort to scream and yell. While that may seem evident, there is a deeper meaning to this that plays an important role in your life as a worker.

Our society seems to alternate between positive and negative financial eras. During positive financial times, we see people following the rules and everyone given an equal chance to make it and become prosperous through their work. For example: The market as an unbiased medium that allows people to sell either a product or service and build a financial base for themselves. During these positive financial times, the market is seen as running accurately because an equality only paralleled by the law that rests upon us. In this positive era however, people can equally fail as they can succeed.

During negative eras on the other hand, the rules and system are still in place and no large conflicts exist, however things have changed in favor of only a few. Now, because these few are given an advantage, corruption is given the chance to grow and thus affect us all. A lack of regulation and rampant corruption during this time can make a lot of money for the few, while the rest of us end up with the consequences.

Today, we do not fall within a positive era as our financial system has been shaken to it's roots. A negative financial era seems fitting for the financial crisis as a lack of regulation and overall corruption in the form of banks and financial institutions gambling with other peoples money has caused massive instability. Working conditions and the rules are still in place, but even as we attempt to remedy the problem, a very few are still taking advantage and continuing their corrupt ways. The occupy wall street movement should essentially be a reminder to us all that things have not been resolved and we are still in the middle of a conflict. This conflict I believe revolves around the question: Should the financial market parallel a democratic system of governance?

An attempt to answer this question would require a complex analysis of not only how the world currently works, but who the players are. For example: We have an industrial powerhouse called China, who through strict governance imposes extreme socialist rule over it's people, but has opened its doors to international investment. As a result, we have western corporations flocking to Chinese factories for contracts over cheap goods that are sold for a premium. In doing so, we see an almost legitimation over putting pressure on workforces around the world to mimic this. Does it seem right that even in a democratic system where one can voice themselves and be free, we must be subject to corporate tyranny in an attempt to keep profits on the rise and costs down?

More importantly, can our society survive if we continue down a path that prefers a system that races to the bottom as opposed to continuing to support innovation and stability?

Again, the answer to this will vary greatly as many people believe that our current profit driven, neoliberal model is the right way to continue. God forbid you request more support for the people or you might be labelled an evil socialist. Even during good times, it is normal to see a financial hierarchy exist where a CEO will be allowed to earn 100 times more then a basic worker. Granted, the hierarchy requires a lot of work to rise through, but this hurts people more when we enter a more negative era. During a negative era as we are seeing now, a CEO can earn 1000 times more then the basic worker and in doing so is perfectly fine if that extra 0 leads to 100 people losing their jobs, their homes and the stability of their future and their children's future. The ripple effect of this will inadvertently hurt our society as the average education and health level of people continue to fall due to poverty and our overall happiness.

In Canada, our government seems to continue supporting this idea that the market should reign above all and as a result we see many policies being put fourth that target unions and I would even say our right to assemble and voice ourselves. We live in a Canada now that disallows you voice yourself if you believe your being mistreated, even more so if your protest causes a small minority in our society to lose money.

It seems our grandparents and parents created social bubble while they fought for a better lifestyle via working conditions and rights for themselves and us. Now, this bubble seems to be bursting and as a result we the people seem to be suffering. Our rights, our stability and our power as people seems to be faltering and will continue to do so if we do not open our eyes and regain our self confidence. 

How do you feel about this? Do you think our current system is at risk of toppling due to our reliance on cheap and undemocratic methods? Can the market return to a more stable and equal realm or have we gone to far to the point where the rich will remain leaders over the poor?