Saturday, June 27, 2009


Lately, for some reason, I've been thinking a lot about sharing. It may be because I have a three and a half year old, it might be because of the economy, it might just be my brain stuck on one song. Whatever.

Our society has possibly the oddest relationship with sharing that I've ever seen. It's a trait we teach our children (or at least try) from a very young age. It's something that we stress over- kids sharing toys, playing nice, being fair, not leaving others out.

And then we hit adulthood. And it's totally OK to be anti-sharing. It's normal to be opposed to many forms of redistribution of wealth. We don't expect everyone to have a slice of the pie. We praise those who can get (or take, depending on your perspective) a huge portion of the wealth. We see no moral qualm with the disfranchisement of millions from our health care system, safe housing, adequate nutrition, and decent schooling.

What happened to sharing? When did the emphasis become "me" not "us"? Or the definition of "us" become so contracted? Does no one now believe that a society is judged by how it treats the least among them? Do we teach by example only when it serves us?

Maybe we all need to step back, take our hand out of the cookie jar, and make sure everyone has at least one treat before going back for seconds. We've created a mess with our greed, self-indulgence, and desire to get something for nothing. Why don't we make sure that every one has a few basic "somethings" before adding to our growing mass of stuff? Can we do that? Can we share?

Oh, yeah, if you hadn't noticed- socialist is a fair label for me, and possibly a bit generous.


  1. I live in France, a socialist democracy. We have universal health coverage, unemployment benefits out the wazoo, and the like, but the rich are still rich and the poor are still poor.

    Your point was very interesting, I've never thought about how we spend years teaching children something we learned as children yet rarely put into practice as adults.

    I guess human nature isn't that easily tamed.

  2. I honestly don't mind the existence of rich and poor- so long as the poor are not destitute. I think everyone deserves to have adequate food, shelter, health care, and education. Even Marx and Engel never dismissed the accumulation of wealth, that just came after everyone had the basics covered.