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Information for Social Change

Information for Social Change

"an activist organisation that examines issues of censorship, freedom and ethics amongst library and information workers..."
 

ISC 14. Millionaires Ruling the Millions

Victor Rikowski

What does the future hold for us humans, as an overall species? Judging by the way that things are going at the moment, humans will be living in a world with no inspiration, no true happiness, no justice and basically, no reason for living.

Humans are, at the moment, regarded as the dominant species of the planet, but if no one will stop the angry rage of capitalism... money will take over man. It is already starting to happen as money has already proved to be more important than life with some people. For example, the Kyoto agreement that G.W Bush did not sign. The Kyoto agreement aims to try and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases put into the air by car fumes, power stations etc. But President Bush did not agree to sign the agreement, which 186 other counties agreed to sign. President Bush said, "Signing the agreement will reduce the profits of the oil companies". In other words he is saying 'Money is more important that man.' You may think that it is a bit hasty, but global warming could result in the death of mankind, as it is causing sea levels to rise, and could eventually drown our planet in seawater. So try saying that President Bush did the right thing to your great grandchild!

This is just one of many examples where money has been regarded as more important than man, and this could greatly effect the way in which people get information. The general expectation from most people is that the government should run schools, libraries, hospitals and public services. The normal reaction from people is that if schools were being run by banks, it would just not be acceptable, let alone the fact that it probably wouldn't work anyway... so basically it would not be right. The usual reaction from someone would probably be 'it will never happen,' but the simple fact is that it is already happening.

My school (Woodbridge High School,) is already under the influence of the bank 'HSBC,' which, in my opinion is totally absurd. The bank gives my school some money and pays for certain things, but in return, my school has to show the pupils of the school some advertisements; advertising HSBC of course, and telling children of the so-called 'fantastic deals' that HSBC gives out. So basically, in the end, HSBC would win, as they get more people to join their bank, therefore making a profit. This immediately puts privatisation into my school, and although it is a very small form of privatisation, it all comes down to the very obvious fact that 'schools and privatisation cannot, and must not go together.'

The typical prediction of the future for many people is that the future will contain floating cars, classy buildings, and robots doing all of the domestic work and so on and so fourth. My prediction is that capitalism will create a tug of war with the whole world, with the few winners gaining power, money and luxury. The future is a brutal fight for power, which may sound exciting but in the end, it'll be the common poor who will suffer. It's down to the fact that as the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the poorer people will be no more than a number or an employee, which can easily be replaced. This prediction is already happening in the third world, where many rich, successful companies like 'Nike' and 'Reebok' are treating their workers in the Third World like slaves and giving them nothing but pennies at the end of the day.

For argument's sake, let's refer back to the topic of HSBC and my school. Let's assume that HSBC uses this method of privatisation in another school, and as a result of this privatisation their profits go up a little as children start joining their bank. While their profits go up they'll try the same method on another school and another and another, until HSBC influences hundreds of schools. Then they will move onto hospitals, then public transport services and before you know it HSBC would have overpowered the British Government in the main areas that the Government is supposed to be in control of. This may seem bad enough but of course, the rich don't stop there. They'll move onto other countries and before you know it they'll have the whole of the United Kingdom's essential public services as well as the public services of other countries in their rich hands.

If this prediction does happen, it will act like a virus, slowly spreading over Britain. When the virus has infected the whole country then companies will be able to begin to take control and when people object, the companies may use financial, legal threats, so that the poor do not have a say in anything.

In addition and on another note, what would actually happen to you as an individual if HSBC did gain this influence over people? Well firstly, as HSBC gets bigger and bigger, making more of an influence on everyday life, they would need more employees. Not only employees for the banks, but for all of the public services that they will run, such as schools, hospitals and public transport, so they would need people qualified for the jobs. Therefore they would probably reject teaching subjects in schools such as Art, Music, Religious Education and Drama, as these subject are not used at all by HSBC employees, and they would put a lot less money towards teaching these subjects. Then they would concentrate instead, a lot more on teaching subjects such as Foreign Languages, I.T, Business Studies, Maths, Science and English, giving people far less choice with their GCSE's etc.

Indeed, many students all over Europe between the 10th-14th December 2001 have been protesting against the threatening privatisation of education. This shows that many students are fully aware of the privatisation of schools and education and if they are protesting against it, this shows, obviously, that they disagree with privatisation. Also this shows that students will not be happy if this form of privatisation remains as it is or gets worse, which I feel is a good thing as the sooner we destroy the privatisation of our public services, the sooner we stop companies controlling what pupils learn. Then the brighter hope mankind will have for the future. But in all reality... it could go either way!

I'm not a very down to earth person and I do not understand globalisation in detail as I have my GCSE's to focus on at the moment, but I greatly sense what is beginning to happen in school, education and everyday life. In my mind, I often wonder what lies in store for mankind and I realise that all you have to do is put two and two together. An example of this is just put cars and the ozone layer together, and you get winter floods and rising sea levels. Another example is that if companies get richer, then to balance it out, as money doesn't grow on trees, the poor get poorer. When you put two and two together as long as companies get more powerful the more human catastrophes will erupt and, in my mind, capitalism, privatisation, pollution and the general unwillingness of mankind to do anything about it, will lead to future devastation.

As Dave Nellist said at a conference I went to during the summer of 2000: 'Help the millions and not the millionaires.' However, global capitalism continuously says; 'Help the millionaires rules the millions,' and this has to be stopped...

Victor Rikowski attends Woodbridge High School in South Woodford. He is 14 years old, and has just started his GCSEs. He loves music, drama and art. He had an article published in the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian on the 1st January 2000 (p.7) about his hopes and fears for the new Millennium. The column was entitled 'What will the future hold for us?' He is also a member of the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, Youth Drama Group.

 

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