You just keep it up.
You don't need to be a troublemaker.
The couple and the young man sat on the bus's back seat. I sat a few seats ahead but just behind the two twenty-something, dread-wearing female colleagues. I have dreads as well. From the way their heads stayed still, each facing straight ahead, moving ocassionally toward each other but ever so discretely, I could tell the women were listening too. Could we avoid hearing what we're met to hear?
It's December now, and I'm leaving Alemaya University in Alemaya, Ethiopia to teach at Addis Ababa University. The young man, having come by my apartment to say goodbye, stops in front of a poster I have of the writer, Zora Neale Hurston. Without warning, without any conversation that would have prompted him, he looks at the poster and then at me and says: If you don't be careful, you'll end up just like her.
Where did this come from? But don't I know. And it's not necessarily information imparted to this young man by the white couple.
Relations based on material possessions, wealth-the accumulation of money.
There's nothing subversive here, only capitulation, resignation. You'll end up like her. So give in. Be good.
This is the extent to which what's shared between us is a reminder of what binds us to what demands our submission. This is the extent to which what's communicated between the younger generation and the older generation beware: behave or else. You'll end up in poverty, buried among weeds. Of our great aunt Zora's work, he has no words. Where's the money?
Is it hard to imagine AI surplanting money, becoming god?
"The extent of the power of money is the extent of my power. Money's properties are my properties and essential powers, the properties and powers of its possessor," Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. There are people invested in keeping money at the center of our lives. No matter what. No matter how many die.
I remember passing hundreds of people per week who I knew would, for the most part, live and die without even a corrigated-roofed, padlocked home. Much has changed in Ethiopia since I returned in 2003, but there's still the poor. Poverty. Hunger. Contaminated water. Unafforable housing. Children dying young. Mother's dying giving birth. It's the same story we hear here in the US.
And yes, there is that buzz about "progress." And "progess" in America has always been measured in terms of money: the accumulation of wealth.
Recently, academics and journalists have been mulling over reports, including those from the World Inequality Report and Oxfam, about the ever expanding global wealth gap. One article from the Guardian, January 22, 2019, begins with this statement: "A successful society is a progress machine. It takes in the raw material of innovations and produces board human advancement. America's machine is broken. The same could be said of others around the world." The idea of "progress" has been taken in hand by the global elites, billionaires, "who broke the machine," but who are now trying to "sell us their services as reparimen."