Everyone deserves a fair share

We won't get where we want to go by doing things the way we're doing them now. There's too much inequity and imbalance in the world today. We need a new system, and we need to advocate for new ways of doing things. Most ways of doing things are really old ways that are deeply embedded in our consciousness. Fairness is part of our basic value system -- hard-wired into our brains. So we have to live as if fairness matters, or we'll never be happy.

(Page 2 of 3)

And the perversely outdated systems by which we run our human community allow these grave imbalances to happen.

So that’s why I’m starting the Fair Share Movement.

My grand-nephew has love, and material security, and hope for his life. He has a wonderful sense of humour and a great imagination – because he lives in a family that recognizes important, fundamental human values – and lives in a part of the world where expressing those values is very possible. His family doesn’t have a lot, but they have enough, one way or another, for their needs.

Every child should have that.

And that is all any of us, child or adult, ever need.

We don’t need large houses with too many rooms. We don’t need a large screen TV in every room. We don’t need our own Lear jet, a few extra mansions around the world, or a closet with so many clothes it would take us several lifetimes to wear them all twice.

We don’t need a whole pile of material things.

We need enough to get by, and to be healthy, and an opportunity to express and to be our true selves, while others around us have an opportunity to express and be themselves too.

We don’t need so much food that we’re way too fat, and the overwhelming majority of the time, we don’t need someone to bring it to us from the other side of the world in a boat or a plane or a train or a truck, when we (or a farmer friend) can grow it next door.

We shouldn’t deserve to go hungry at night, ever, or worry that someone will physically harm our family members or friends or neighbours.

And now, with the Internet and global TV services, we’re all neighbours.

What stands in the way of everyone having their fair share is not really people like Stephen Harper, or the Turkish prime minister – or the bankers and savings and loans executives on Wall Street. It’s not the CEO’s of exploitative multinational corporations, or the hard-core dictators who abuse their citizens, or the multi-billionaires with unbelievable large shares of the world’s wealth gathered into their own personal coffers, hidden in obscure financial institutions around the world.

It’s all of them, plus all of us, every one of us, from the top to the bottom of the conventional social ladder, sitting back, passively, and letting this “system” – this outdated, inadequate, far-beyond best-before-date system exist, and suck the life and meaning out of our lives.

As I see it, we can’t go on letting this system stay the same, given what we all know.

We know there are 7 billion humans and counting (fast) on the Planet. We know that the Planet’s resources can only sustain that many people if we manage those resources very, very carefully. We know that what we humans do is now changing much of how this planet works, and much of that change is for the worse – climate change, over-consumption of key resources, pollution, extinction of life forms, loss of biodiversity.

We also know that if we are personally marginalized, treated unfairly, or especially if we are allowed less than enough material goods and hopeful opportunities to live decently, we become unhappy, and then we become angry. We start to do things that make our world worse: we resort to stealing, cheating, or violence. Not some of us – all of us.

And the same happens if we have too much material goods and far more security than we really need. We start to steal, cheat and resort to violence (there’s good research on this, by the way).

So there’s a place in between too much and too little where we behave best.

When we have a roof over our heads (that we can afford, and that doesn’t leak), food on the table (that’s healthy and enough to prevent hunger, but not so much as to make us huge), clothes on our bodies (that keep us warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s hot, and don’t involve unsafe or harsh conditions for the person who made them), and a chance to follow our interests and our creative instincts and relations with others (provided we don’t harm others or impair their chances to do the same)...then we’re likely to feel much, much better about ourselves and about one another.

If we have a family that is able to stay together and love one another, a circle of friends that is strong and mutually supportive, a neighbourhood that unites to pursue shared goals, a broader community that is run in such a way as to foster opportunity for security and self-expression but discourage exploitation – of one another or of the ecosystem in which it is embedded – and if we live in a nation that is attuned to the needs of all its citizens, not just to those with great material wealth, a society that encourages the redistribution of all of its wealth among all of its citizens, so that each person has his or her fair share.

Read More:

More in Opinion

Cognitive dissonance on LNG as B.C. pursues climate goals

I never intended to become an activist. As a marine scientist, climate change has been a big focus of my career over the last 16 years. I’ve worked with governments on their climate plans, people in...

The elusive goal of ending violence against women

November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  Tragically, in 2018, this remains as urgent a cause as any. According to the United Nations (UN), globally...

The road to hell: B.C. will struggle to meet its emissions targets

In the elongated aftermath of the May 19 election cliff-hanger last year, the NDP and Greens negotiated a Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) between them that allowed the NDP to govern BC. The...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.