Makes The World Go ‘Round.
The United States’ pledge of allegiance claims that America is “undivisable with liberty and justice for all”. However, as a born American citizen, it takes an effortless argument to oppose against such a statement. After just ten months of participation in Joshua Block’s English and History classes, one could determine the simple fact that the USA has not only been living, but thriving by the system of profit over people, including their own people. It is no doubt that this system has been around ever since the colonization of America. And America’s continuation of such surely holds guarantee.
First and foremost, it is easy to say that America’s wealth began from the profits of slavery, considering the slaves were forced to work their lives for extremely little or no money, there was far more profit to be made. However, despite slavery itself, it seems as if matters and measures of profit have gotten worse in today’s America.
for example, over the year I’ve become aware of the “made in...” labels on my clothing tags. Nearly every shoe, every piece of clothing in my closet was made in what is called, a sweatshop, where poor workers (usually foreign) work long, underpaid hours to create materials (which are sold for exaggerated prices) for the USA. I became aware of my role as a consumer, which made me question whether I was to blame.
During this History course, students had a Modern Day Sweatshop Trial and took on roles as either usa consumers, poor country ruling elites, workers, system of profit and the USA multinational corporations, which was my group role.
The point of the trial was to decide the most guilty group by proving yourself most innocent of them all. what helped my team succeed was the hardened questioning we put on the ruling elites and system of profit. The system, however, argued that it was a system created not only for the people, but by the people. The people meaning, the usa multinationals.
After the trial, there was a required Modern Day Sweatshop Response. In that response I stated that the real question becomes “How can we change the conditions of the sweatshops, or end the sweatshops, and still have financial equality?”. But after the overall consideration that sweatshops are what uphold finance for both workers and multinationals, (seemings though it’s apart of the profit cycle and without it, everyone within it, including the workers would fall) I concluded that there is no simple answer to the question if one exists at all. The fact that the USA would resort to exploitation of poor foreigners just for extra profit just goes to show how little a human’s life is valued compared to money.
Taking the heat from America for a second, another History course that centered p.o.p was the Understanding the French Revolution course. The first activity we did for this topic was understand the social classes, called estates, within Europe at the time. The first estate was the Clergy, the second estate being the nobility, followed by the third estate which was everyone else: the peasents.
The whole problem with the French revolution was the Clergy’s persistant price risings upon the third estate which eventually caused the uproar. As if the Clergy hadn’t been fortunate enough, they’d continued to rise taxes upon the poor for their own beneficial profits, making living for the third estate nearly impossible.
During my research of the French revolution, I read a quote from the topic of rural poverty that stated, “Those who have the most intelligence or are accustomed to the work, hire others and make a profit from their labor”. “Those” meaning both the clergy and nobility. This example alone shows that p.o.p is not just a United States predicament, but a worldwide predicament.
Returning to America’s modern day profitting, my History class explored the world of advertising. While watching a video called, The Ad and the Ego on how advertisements are a secret means of mind control and manipulation, we journaled the important points that stood out to us.
It was stated that the average American is exposed to over 1500 ads a day. At first, it seemed a bit far-fetched, that is, until I realized the hidden ads and just how surrounded by ads we are, that is is indeed like air, i hadn’t noticed it at all. One of the most important quotes that stood out to me was, “Advertising is a system of education. With it, comes truth and consequences”. I thought, just what can ads educate me on? Ads, overall “teach” people that they are not good enough and will never be good enough until they buy the product being advertised in front of their face. They “Teach us to be consumers, happiness can be bought they are instant solutions and products can fullfil our daily needs”.
Just the thought that the United States would allow such mind control to spur upon their people is shocking. What is the point of this? Well, money of course. For us, the people, who don’t notice the manipulation it isn’t about “manipulation or false unconsciousness, it's about getting into their dream life”. Which is why advertising has overtime been modified to fit lifestyle and emotions which makes it easy to convince one to buy the (most likely) unneccesary product.
Just earlier this weekend I was watching a movie, that I’d seen a million times before, on television. It was an hour and a half movie on from 2pm-4pm. Meaning advertisements would be running in between the movie for a total of 30 minutes. However, me knowing the movie by heart noticed that there were scenes being cut out of the movie, not for the sake of the channel’s viewing contents, but just scenes being cut out. Whenever the movie went to commercial, the commercials were playing for far longer than usual. I’d then concluded that they’d unneccesarily shortened the movie just to elongate commericals.
It’s because of advertisements and their sneaky skills of persuasion that American citizens easily become consumers and contribute to the existance of sweatshops. This does not justify the United State’s desperate and drastic measures for profit, but it does add cause and reason to it.
Earlier this year, we learned about the at the time current Keystone Pipeline desicion. The Keystone Pipeline was suppose to be a 1700 mile long pipe going from Canada to the United States to carry “abundant, reliable and cheape”r oil. This manner was another U.S. scheme for profits, despite the effects on the American and Canadian people. The pipeline risked toxics, destruction of nature and farms, and those 180k promised construction jobs would end within the first few years. Despite those risks and more, for the sake of saving money and profitting of oil companies, the USA was determined to get the keystone approved.
Also, Many times in English we journaled about our learnings and understandings about prisons. Just last month we journaled about things about prisons that had stood out to us. In our journal on May 13th, I noted that the USA government were not only funding more prisons than schools, but that the current budget cut situation is so that money taken from public schools can be invested in new prisons. This shows that the government finds it easier to invest in our failure than success. However, taking away a child’s chance or opprotunities of success only leaves extra room for failure, so it seems as if this investment was purposely made.
In 1994, Ponaldo Maledo wrote that “History shows us convincingly and factually that the United States has systematically violated the Pledge of Allegiance”. I have only seen more and more evidence this year. The United States continuously contradicts the Pledge of Allegiance. Our government would rather grow the green in their pockets than the green they walk on, talk about the hurtful truth. Thanks to Mr. Block’s English and History classes, I now have an open mind and open eyes to the fact that Profit over People is a system that indefinitely makes the world go ‘round.