Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man’s world…
Money, money, money
In the rich man’s world…
– ABBA Writer(s): Benny Goran Bror Andersson, Bjoern K. Ulvaeus
I want to pull my hair out in frustration when I see what the hell is going on around us.
In my own little world, I used to to assume that my future depends on my aspirations and the harder I work for it, the closer I will get to it. But the more you delve into the dark realities of this world, you begin to question your very own assumptions. Coming from a middle class background, I did have access to fairly good education but certainly not the best in the world. This BBC Documentary really pushed me to stare in the eyes of dark truths I did not know existed.
The documentary begins with the case of ‘Unpaid internships’. To get the best jobs in the most competitive industries, there are large numbers of unpaid interns willing to work for free just to get a foot in the door. Sadly not all of us can afford working for free for long periods and even if we do, out of 50, they take only 5 people on board as real staff. What happens to the rest?
I empathise with this issue because I have been in a similar rut. I wanted to do a PhD, in aspirations of better career opportunities and of course to live my dream life. I never had a mentor who could guide me into this route nor did I have any connections in Academia. When I began applying for PhD admissions, I had no idea how a research proposal is made. I learnt it all by myself and not to a very high level. Nevertheless, I secured a self funded seat in the UK at a non elite university. A self funded seat means an adult lion of debt roaring at you for probably 10 years of your life but I was confident it would be worth it. I began my studies and the debt went up. There used to be teaching hours in the university for part time staff but they are allotted to the full time staff ONLY now. I need to study but who would pay my bills? If I get a part time minimum wage job, how do I manage studying?
Another horrible issue rightly targeted in the documentary is the sky high ‘University fees’. I am from a middle class background and could afford a ‘loan’ in a non elite university. What about those who cannot afford a loan? Are they any less intelligent than I am? Are they any less likely to make a difference in the world? Of course not! It’s all the money game. If I came from a wealthier background, I could have gone to an elite university. Where is our sanity? Is our education nothing but DIOR BAGS; only those who are rich can carry one no matter how dumb? Apparently it looks like we have commercialised education to that extent.
Interestingly that begins at schools. A private school shown in the documentary costs about GBP 12K annually. Of course when parents can afford it, they prefer to send their kids to such schools because of the higher standards. When I take a step back and look at this world and the way we manage our economies, I shudder. On one hand we have kids in this world who have nothing to eat and we are making all these Millennium Development Goals to provide basic primary and secondary education to every child in the world. On the other hand, we have the wealthy societies (people who work for UN, businesses who are socially responsible) who are spending their last penny to ensure their kids study in the top schools and universities, get the top jobs and live top class lives.
“4 in 5 Finance Directors have been privately educated.”
It feels like it is all B.S., complete utter B.S. Who are we kidding? These hungry homeless kids or ourselves? It seems to me like this dirty little charity of an education- the primary education which we offer these kids is-
1. to clear our guilt conscious, to tell ourselves how altruistic we are.
2. to keep them busy with the little scraps of meat when we enjoy the steak, so they don’t revolt in hunger.
3. to create an illusion of progress for them.
But seriously, think about it.
If you have the funds to send your kid to a school worth GBP 12,000 annually, would you rather divide the sum and send one poor kid and your own kid to a same public school where the fee is not so high?
Is it fair that we spend millions and millions of pounds at just the university infrastructure, get fat pay cheques, and expect the poorer sections of the society(basically middle class students who are on average under 32000 USD of debt) to ‘just be thankful’ for what they get (our leftovers, may be)?
How likely it is for a person from a poor or a middle class background to land a job in the upper sections of the economic society and pay their loans without depression?
Not to forget, what the narrator calls the ‘Psychological barriers’ in the documentary. When a student from a middle class background somehow ends up in an elite class university or work environment, they are made to feel like an alien. And that certainly creates a psychological barrier for such students. Most young children in the poorer backgrounds do not dream of landing a job as a doctor,lawyer, engineer or financier because of these psychological barriers. They were never shown the interior worlds of these professions and they do not know what is it like to be one. They don’t see themselves as ever being one because they were never encouraged to build that ladder from where they are to those positions.
Then of course there is the ‘Culture gap’. It is like two different worlds out there. A world for the wealthy elite kids with Oxford and Cambridge tag on their foreheads and a world for the mass crowds who assemble burgers or scan bar codes, standing on their feet for straight 11 hour shifts (despite Master’s degrees)!
No matter how hard you and I study, is there anything in the world out there for us?
Top professions hire graduates from top universities..are you one of them?
If not, what is your future going to be like?
Are you going to be a scavenger feeding on the leftover dead meat and never have a share in the fresh feast of life?
It is TIME TO CHANGE a few things around and it begins with you. For today, just ponder over what is YOUR share in the society and what can you do to give back.
For more thought stimulating reads, watch this blog!
#BBC #RichardBilton #HEA #AlanMilburn #MDG #University #studentloans