Sunday, 20 May 2012

Can Religion Save Capitalism?

Our modern system of Democracy has been established via a long history of trial and error. Religion like war has been with mankind from before anyone can even remember and for the longest time it has played an important role in the implementation and order of political governance and state power. With time and the eventual enlightenment years, man was able to break free from his dependence on a higher order to govern him and to make a long story very compartmentalized and brief...we have the modern political that does not include God or the church as a fundamental foundation that governs it. Even the Queen and her monarchy are but a simple symbolic gesture in Canadian politics and are more realistically used to sell a lot of commemorative plates rather than implement policy.

The main question that crosses my mind today however is what role the church and more generally religion plays within both the market and Capitalism? I ask this most likely because of the constant mention of the market within our media today and given the impact the recession has had on many people, one cannot escape mention of the word Capitalism or the *free market* in any political conversation or other.

I cannot help but also focus on the big scams that are going on today and that have gone on since 2008. We have a very few doing what they can to gather income and influence over many and as a result of this these individuals also gain extreme power over elected officials and common citizens alike. I understand that corruption and scandal are nothing new within our system and history will show that various examples of this have gone on throughout the ages, but no matter how hard I try to stop thinking about this, I come back to this question: Can we separate church/religion and the market as easily as we can separate church/religion and the state? Further more, have we truly separated the church from the state or have we simply replaced the church with the market, thus choosing one potential evil over another?

As a society progresses forward and becomes more individual, giving the average person more freedom over their actions and beliefs, it seems only natural that church becomes less apart of our lives. Granted, I could be wrong about this, but if the statistics showing a constant decrease in church attendance is any sign, it is safe to say that people are choosing to not go to church or partake in church services as they once did.

Granted also, this information is affected by other factors such as how an individual perceives the church and their devotion to it, also given the fact that the majority of people are working longer and taking their work home with them, it can also be argued that church attendance is being replaced in an effort to finish much needed work as opposed to simple disregard for it.

Breaking down my question further, one can also argue if Capitalism is tied to Christianity as opposed to any other religion. This is a simple generalization based solely on the fact that Capitalism was born out of the west, which has primarily followed Christianity in it's devotion. This is ironic in itself as Jesus Christ appears to be everything opposite what an average Capitalist is. However, it appears that with Christianity we have a strong sense of Capitalism, or is it the other way around? The Americans print "In God We Trust" on their currency, yet their system does not reflect any of the major values associated with religion. I for one do not trust the modern church system. This is mainly because the church like a government is inherently human and as such is open to corruption and greed. Sunday offerings in church can be compared to your monthly usage fees found at your bank. How can so much irony exist within our system and yet still be accepted as ok, I mean even if God does not exist, Jesus is still a socialist revolutionary who stirred up a lot of shit in an effort to not only unite people, but instill values of peace into them and maybe make them a little less barbaric. However, looking at our modern system, you would think Jesus was not different than the tax collectors at the temple that he disliked so much.

I wonder how a CEO of a major company or the corrupt individual in charge of a hedge fund might perceive church attendance and the values that are associated with religion. If we look past the scandals present in the church and the inevitable humanity present in the imperfect church systems found around the world, we are left with a gathering place that not only promotes a sense of community, but also instills upon it's members the values to live a peace loving, God fearing life of good. Did the Bernie Madoff's and corrupt CEO's of the world attend church or some form of religion on a weekly basis like their middle class and lower income counterparts? We often see a boost in church attendance during times of trouble, as people gather a sense of hope and increased faith from their devotion, but does this resonate among those in control of the Capitalist system and the market?

It seems like today people have not only become to distracted with work and the various advances in entertainment provided by technology, but have also forgotten to remember the important values that have resonated throughout our society for millennium. As a result, we see increased focus on the self and further disregard for those around us that could use a helping hand. Today we live as good as kings did before and we have an increase in intelligence, however it seems that people will do whatever they can to penny pinch and screw over their brother or sister in order to feel as if they have come out on top in the end. 

This is where I need your help, could it be that because of a disregard for the important values instilled by religion that we see more corruption and greed within society today? Or is it because the media is able to focus in and gather information about these corruptions that they become more common? Did the rich within society have more respect for their middle and lower income counterparts in times when church attendance was through the roof? It seems that as people turn their back on the church, our Capitalist society continues to disintegrate from within.  

Until next time!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

At least it isn't a Geography Degree or Why Graduating in a Recession Sucks!

Alright, just to be clear, if you are in fact a graduate of a geography(Does this need a Caps on it?) degree of any sort, my title was not meant to offend. If anything geography majors are very important in today's Canada, I mean how else is Stephen Harper supposed to find all the oil in Alberta and more recently in Newfoundland!? So a big thank you to all of the geography majors out there, you have helped make lots of money for C(corporations)anada!

But I digress...I thought I would focus this entry on something fairly important today...the recession! I graduated from honours political science and peace studies in 2009. Now, if the recession started officially in 2008 with the financial collapse, it was a dragged out bloody corpse in 2009, followed by a rock bottom in 2010, only to be followed by a glimpse of hope in 2011 and finally followed by a very grainy and blurry view of the greener grass on the other side in 2012. When will we exactly get there is as much of a mystery to me as it might be to you, but apparently our government is for sure it will happen around 2017-2020.

Graduating during a recession was quite nuts, still fresh with optimism that I was well equipped to change the world, I ended up working for a telemarketing company shortly after graduation. The training for this job was fun and paid very well, but this all ended on day one when I realized that the graffiti covered, torn up cubicles I was sitting in would in reality be the working environment this job expected me to continue on in, not to mention the pay dropped ten fold as soon as training ended. I went from two weeks of sitting around a nice wooden table increasing my debating skills to the inside of what looked like a Russian Gulag. I looked around on day one and viewed an area littered with disregard and apathy...and it dawned on me that I now found myself in a place, where dreams and ambitions came to die. So, after my first day, I walked out of the office and left my equipment where I found it. I didn't look back and since then have continued on my journey to not only find a career, but impact in a positive way on the lives of others.

I feel this entry touches base with me in a more personal way than it does in a political way. I mean, I come from a family that believes in working hard and being nice overall, which in reality has led to people walking over my family and taking advantage of their niceness. Anyways, I am now raising my teenage sister and looking for full time work as well as starting my official career. My mother passed away when I was in high school and my father passed away suddenly a few months after I graduated. You heard right, I graduated into a recession and lost a close ally and mentor shortly after.

Society seems to have imprinted on us the requirement to cheer for what we feel is comfortable and overall relates to us. So, it seems natural that individuals who graduate from schooling into a specific field feel proud about their designation and want others to feel proud for them to. This unfortunately does not resonate well in the real world I fear, as many people end up becoming egotistical about their positions in life and usually rain down on those viewed as financially or socially lower than them. 

I am currently working part time in retail to supplement my income while I continue working on various contracts for various different entities. My field has taken a rather large hit due to budget cuts, restructuring and an overall belief that contract without benefits or pension is not only more financially sound for a company, but spawns more improved efficiency. It seems so bad, that even in my retail job, I am reminded on a daily basis indirectly that I can be replaced, as other people are searching for work and available.

This really disgusts me, because I am witnessing what seems like the further degradation of social values via employment bias. Lets get one thing straight so that everyone may be a janitor, a waitress or a garbage man, but your role in society is as important as any other role out there. We are all working within our society as individual pieces to a larger system and unfortunately not enough credit is given where it is due.

The job market is quite slow right now and many people are feeling the pressure of management. However, I still feel very optimistic that things will rebound and that I along with many others will see a day arrive where employment is once again plentiful and a little more stable. How long this will take is uncertain as Canada and the United States seem to be on the verge of producing their own version of the "lost decade" that was felt in Japan during the 90's.

Our system requires a lot of change and I hope I can be a part of the solution by working with others to not only promote this change, but implement it. Oh also, we need to stop promoting credit cards and anything else related to debt like its candy, because one thing I do notice a lot, is that everywhere you go someone is trying to get you to open a credit card or sign up for a mortgage. Is this not what got us in trouble in the first place?

I want to hear from you about this and discuss this some more, but first I must ask that you leave a comment describing how your experience with the recession has been. Are you a newly graduated student who was told that education would lead to success, only to work in what seems like a dead-end job? Or are you someone who has been working for a very long time, currently on the verge of major restructuring due to cutbacks and pressure from the manager?

Do not be afraid to comment and always understand that no matter what your job requires of you, your presence is part of a larger mechanism that keeps society running and in existence and as a result your important. Success is viewed through different sets of eyes and has different meanings, so you can tell your rich CEO to shove it if he makes you feel like a minion as opposed to you know... a working human being.

Until next time!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Harper Question

I often mention in this blog examples and explanations regarding political direction. Of my entries, some of the most common questions I have asked are: In which direction are you heading and is your government heading in the same direction? Give or take a few words here and there and  this is the main question that the Political Road Map begs to ask.

There has been a lot of buzz in the media and from various other sites on both blogger boards and user comment boards that have calculated the number of so called mishaps our current Prime Minister has done. As it is my objective with this blog to ask questions and spark intellectual debate, I thought I would focus on an important question I think many Canadian's need to think about.

Should we allow Stephen Harper to continue on as the Prime Minister of Canada? 

I risk treason by asking this question, but I feel that as a citizen of this country and as an individual who cares about the prosperity and health of this country, I must ask it. 

Many of you may have had this same question in your own mind, while others may believe this question as nonsense. Then there are those who understand the question, but further question how it could be done if we decide that Harper is no longer fit to serve. 

To help those who believe it is impossible to remove Stephen Harper from his position, I want to post a few suggestions that are not impossible, but are difficult to employ.

1. Assassination: This is the wrong thing to even think, but I put it down as there is most likely someone crazy enough to think this to be the proper way of removing someone from power. Yes, our country recently has supported many different regime changes that employed this method, however we are a free and democratic country and as such we follow the rules, even though our Prime Minister does not. 

2. Impeachment: Technically, you cannot impeach a Prime Minister like you can a President, but removal from office can occur and as such it would be just like an impeachment. Our system mirrors the British system and as such we can remove a Prime Minister from office and also charge and or fine the individual based on the crime and a conviction of such crime. 

3. If the Supreme Court rules that our Prime Minister is guilty of a crime, they can motion to have the Governor General remove the Prime Minister and a replacement be found. Now, there has never been a case in our history that has led to this, but that does not mean it cannot happen. 

3a. The Governor General also has the ability to remove the Prime Minister if events call that would only be solved via this solution. So, for example: If we were to start a petition that was deemed official and followed the proper petitioning avenues, with enough signatures and overall response, could pressure the Governor General to consider the removal of our leader. This would require a lot of networking and national cohesion to be completed, but if required is perfectly legal within our system.

4. Revolution/Protest: Our friendly students in Quebec have shown us that they are not sheepish and as a result will fight for what they believe is right. If mass protest were to occur across Canada against our government, that could pressure Harper to get a clue...or call in more riot police, but again is a possibility given the political climate we live in. 

5.  A citizens arrest: If I provide sufficient proof that beyond a reasonable doubt the Prime Minister had committed a crime or anyone for that matter, a citizens arrest is possible. Granted, in reality this would be next to impossible as the Prime Minister's security would take me down before I could get within 5 feet of the man, so even though it is possible, its not realistic. 

So these are five possible reasons/options in taking down the Prime Minister if you believe he is in breach of his duty to the Canadian people.

As always, I want you to look at yourself and look around you and ask: Do you know where your going? Do you think the government is going in a direction that benefits the majority of Canadians?  

Tell me what you think and we will chat soon.