I know what you might be thinking: “Tosin, what is a post about Capitalism doing on your Huggie-Wuggie blog?! Have you possibly got the wrong blog?!” No, it really is for this blog. However, since we are talking about it, I would like to put it out there that I am hugely against rapacious Capitalism just because I have a deep and profound care for all people, especially poor people. This has been referred to before on this blog, like in my post “Why I don’t care about your money“, in the paragraphs about polluting the drinking water of distant villagers and also about “dirty industries”. The idea of people being mistreated or exploited by other people and being completely helpless to prevent it always grieves me. And whenever a company or an economic system is committed to aggressive moneymaking at all costs, almost invariably it will result in exploitation of people, animals or the planet, at least if that company deals in physical products.* This is an unproven assertion but then many of the statements on my blogs are like this because they are so self-evidently true. This is what makes Capitalism problematic, and destructive – when people pursue it beyond the bounds of decency and respect for other human beings, animals and the environment in which we all have to live. So that was a quick primer on my views about Capitalism! Seriously, I think about this so much that one of my next blogs is going to be a social justice blog, although I have been saying that for a long time, gotta just finally do it!
Now this is how this relates to relationships: the lie of Capitalism, that is, the fundamental dishonesty behind it, is that you as a person can get something for nothing, or get out more from a system than you put in. And this is what is promoted to us all the time, (especially in the entrepreneurial world) to sell this idea to us, that all we need to do is simply find that magic key through which we can invest almost nothing, and still reap massive success. One of my favourite examples of this thinking is a book called “The 4 hour work week”. Note, not “the 4 hour work day”, in which you would still be working only half a regular work day. No, the premise of this book is that you can manage to conduct your entire work week in a space of only 4 hours altogether – and presumably spend the rest of your time enjoying yourself, or “living the life you’ve always dreamed of”. This book was massively successful, and spawned a mini-series of “4 hour” books from its author (I wonder whether he wrote about a 4 hour marriage…I could find out very easily…I hope no-one out there is hoping that he can manage to conduct his marriage to me in only 4 hours per week!)
I can understand why this idea would be extremely attractive to entrepreneurs or business owners, who work notoriously long hours while trying to get their businesses off the ground. I have not actually read the original book, or any of it’s sister “4 hour” books, however I know enough about it to say that the way the author encouraged people to achieve the “4 hour dream” was simply by hiring outsourcers from around the world to do the actual work; the 4 hours that you would spend would be in managing the outsourcers. The point of this post is not to comment on that idea. However, as someone who has been toiling away at being an entrepreneur for many years, that idea seems extremely impracticable to my own businesses. For instance, for writing my blogs, part of it is communicating my heart, my real self, my own essence, my authentic thoughts. There is simply no way that I could outsource that, to ask someone else to pretend to be me. And I would not want to!
And even if every other task was to be outsourced, the thinking and the typing and the re-editing for these blogs takes far more than 4 hours per week. Undoubtedly there are some businesses in which the idea might be greatly successful though.
At any rate, that is one of my favourite examples of trying to get something for nothing. And yet, there is this consideration; for this idea of outsourcing to be financially viable for many entrepreneurs, the outsourcers have to be paid very little, otherwise the entrepreneurs, starting off from scratch often with few funds, would simply not be able to afford it. And in practical terms, many of those outsourcers would live in poor countries where even the meagre rates offered in the outsourcing work seem attractive. So in a way, without directly encouraging exploitation (I’m sure), this idea “capitalises” on other people’s poverty and labour to build your 4 hour per week dream. So this is a huge aspect of the lie of Capitalism; often, when you are getting something for nothing, someone else pays.That someone else can often pay dearly. In all my thoughts about this subject, I still have not been able to think of any examples where we can legitimately get something for nothing except in the natural world and in legitimate financial investments: that is, we sow a few seeds, and sometimes reap a harvest out of all proportion to what we invested. Perhaps there are other examples, but I have not been able to think of any. And even there there is still the danger of overdoing it; deforestation, topsoil erosion, removal of hedges, insufficient or inadequate crop rotation, etc.
OK, so this is currently still sounding like social justice post rather than a relationship post!
So now back to relationships!
This is why this is relevant. From observing certain “Christians”, it seems that they have brought the Capitalism, “something for nothing” mentality into Christianity. And they apparently think that this behaviour is acceptable because the issues they are dealing with are Christian issues, rather than secular issues. These are the kind of Christians who think that it is acceptable to blackmail you for financial funds, or falsely twist Bible scriptures to manipulate you to give money to their church, because after all it is “for God”. The true Christian attitude is that it is not permissible to blackmail anyone for any reason, or falsely twist Bible scripture for any reason whatsoever – even “for God”! It is simply not the heart of Christ. I have met so many people who negatively stand out regarding this. Well from my interaction with these people, they apparently think that it is OK to exploit women because they are doing it for the work of God. And let’s be clear, this truly is the legitimate work of God. It’s not even about manipulating people for money – there is no money involved (as far as I know). And yet it is still manipulation. It is still exploitation. As a Christian, you are not simply supposed to change the things that you manipulate people for, substituting holy Christian things like “Christian service” for non-Christian things like sex; rather you are supposed to get rid of (aggressively throw away, utterly destroy) that manipulative and exploitative mindset altogether. Hello?!
Related to this kind of thinking, is the idea that some people expect “something for nothing” when it comes to their relationships. So once again this is an example of importing an underlying faulty structure from the non-Christian world, which Christians often just call “the world”, and trying to import it or twist it to suit Christian objectives. (Joshua Harris highlighted this brilliantly when it came to dating in “I Kissed Dating Goodbye“, that “dating” is largely a non-Christian construct that many Christians try to twist to suit the purposes of Christian relationships, but in its very nature it is opposed to what we Christians should aspire after in our relationships.) So many people apparently think it is acceptable, or wise, or common sense, to offer someone nothing, in essence, and yet expect to receive everything back. So because I am naturally a giver, and perhaps because I expect to give so much to my husband and to my marriage, these people start smiling at me. Can you imagine?! Now I am a giver, but ultimately I am also expecting a lot back from my husband and my marriage! And with these people, in every possible way they will demonstrate that they plan to take everything and give nothing back. I feel like telling them to go and take their insincerity to someone who will be just as insincere as they are. Exploitation of other people grieves me deeply, even where I am not personally being hurt. So how do you imagine that I would actually enter into that lifelong exploitative situation for myself, with my eyes wide open?! And oh look, they have eligible single friends who are just like them, and presumably share their values, that they have known for years, but mysteriously they are not forming relationships with them. I guess if your friend shares your values then you can only expect from them the exact same nothingness that you would give, which is possibly why you are looking at someone who is extremely unlike you, right?!
If you think I am talking about you
please do not feel overly sensitive – after all I know lots of people! you’re probably right!!! 🙂
As a funny and completely unrelated sidenote to this post, I was watching a funny clip just now on Facebook, where someone has a “block dance”, for when he is blocking people on Facebook! Ha ha! And it reminded me of what I am about to share: because I sincerely have a huge amount of empathy for people, and because I generally treat people with genuine kindness etc, usually people do not end friendships with me, rather I am the one who usually ends friendships with people when I get fed up of the way they treat me, or the one-sidedness of our “friendship”; I also “do” anger very strongly, along with empathy! So I am usually the one who unfriends people on Facebook, I am usually the one who blocks people. And yet for the very very first time in my life, I have recently found myself blocked on Facebook! And what is more, not by someone I was actually friends with on Facebook in the first place! People have unfriended me, certainly, but blocked?! Not till now! (To my knowledge.) To be honest it was quite a novel experience! By someone tall dark and attractive you ask?! Ha ha, absolutely no comment!!!! 🙂 Well I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was a little hurt, but all the same knew that it was not more than I deserved…
Ooh actually, no, I think I also got blocked by the guy I danced at, but he and I were initially Facebook friends, and this was after I had already unfriended him (when he got married to someone else – prudence and all that!) I think I was the only Black person he knew, so it was really obvious when I unfriended him so he retaliated by blocking me – and it was literally the same day or the next day that I unfriended him when I went back to block him, only to find that I could not find him at all, apparently he had done it first!!! 🙂
I’ve just checked to remind myself, and yes I was also blocked by someone’s brother – back then, a few years ago I went ahead and blocked the rest of the family as I had planned to do. Man, I absolutely itch to vent about this “amazing Christian family”, but by God’s grace, God has granted me self-control thus far. (Actually the one who blocked me was not one of the ones I would be ranting about.) Also there was someone who used to appear in “people you may know” suggestions, then suddenly stopped appearing. I definitely did know him, and I definitely had zero intention of adding him as a friend. Apparently he had the same idea! So that is what – 4 people in total?! 5 possibly including “Mr Uni Guy”, who may have blocked me, but I just never checked (that is, I have not checked him out for many years – prudence and all that!) By comparison I have unfriended approximately five hundred people from my trigger-happy unfriending days, including 300 in one fell swoop when I felt my FB friend list was growing too big with one-sided friendships or people that I literally met once. It also includes maybe 10-20 real friends that I now regret unfriending, to be candid. My current blocklist (blacklist) is a lot smaller than 500 people, but certainly more than 5 people!
*(And yet I myself am a businesswoman. This is one big, big reason why most of my businesses and business ideas involve digital rather than physical products. Seriously.)
Shall I give you a quick comparison? Uber versus Facebook. Uber deals in car journeys, which take place in the real world – not physical products, admittedly, but its business takes place in the physical world. Facebook on the other hand deals in digital things, although Facebook has not been considered guilt-free. Uber in its much shorter existence and smaller scope has managed to dredge up a lot more ill-will than Facebook has over its much longer existence and bigger scope; ultimately when your business derives from someone else’s labour the temptation and tendency in rapacious Capitalism will always be to drive down that person’s wages or rights to whatever is as low as you can get away with.