Sunday, July 31, 2011

You are also capitalist pigs

This is a translation of an op-ed by Ziv Tidhar, from Ynet today - the original in Hebrew can be found here, along with hundreds of comments. My own views will probably follow this week...


Talking down to your children's teacher because you earn more than her, not tipping the delivery boy, not saying hello to the guard at the mall. You're right, it's just the state that's at fault.

Everyone is talking these days of beastly capitalism, but what is this concept? It's throwing the trash bag out of the door, for the Arab who comes tomorrow to clean the stairwell to have to take. It's talking to your children's teacher like dirt, just because you earn more than her. Beastly capitalism is getting hundreds of thousands of shekels from your wedding, with cold calculation that the cheques of your friends, who can barely get through to the end of the month, will cover it and leave a surplus for a luxurious honeymoon.

It's clearing the furniture from your rented apartment right into the middle of the pavement and entrance to the building, because with such municipal taxes, they deserve it. It's throwing the old newspapers at the bin rather than into it, so the Arab (from before) can practice clearing them up. Beastly capitalism is agreeing a price with the electrician, plumber or air-conditioning technician and then reneging, denying, and chipping away at the cost. It's not visiting your grandmother for six months, just because you work hard and you do not have time to breathe, only to find the time to visit her just when you need some money.
 
It's dodging the va'ad bayit because you're not a sucker, and anyway in a few years you'll sell the apartment to go up another rung. Beastly capitalism is to tell everyone at work about your amazing last holiday in Berlin - and anyone who hasn't been just doesn't know what they are missing. It's parking the car in the disabled space, on a crossing, a pavement, double-parked, or plain and simple, merely because you are in a hurry, in the bus lane.
 
It's beeping at the world with elegance and also smoking where it is forbidden, because for the money you paid for the beer, no one has the right to tell you how and what to do. It's not giving a tip to the delivery guy who brought your shopping, because the prices are high. It's loudly and visibly humiliating the public service clerk and saying she should be fired, because she's just the random clerk who came to work yesterday and doesn't understand much in life. It's insisting on employing a foreign worker to clean the house just because she takes a few bucks less than the market price, and not paying her Social Security. Why? She'd never sue.

It's not me

It's not bothering to write the occasional thank-you note when the service was good or ex-gratia, but on the other hand hastening to send vicious letters from your lawyers. Beastly capitalism is agreeing to buy two or three or four books for 100 shekels without even blinking; so what if the writer gets screwed and crushed.

It's asking to transfer your child to a school across town, where there are fewer Ethiopian kids. It's failing to tell your child what conditions his grandparents lived in when they came to Israel, and to tell the truth: they were happier than both of you put together.

It's the way you enclose the mirpeset however you like, even if it's an eyesore for the neighbours - there is no law against it, and anyhow everybody is doing it. It's not explaining to your 4 year old child not to load up the plate, but to take a few small portions. It's not saying hello or good morning to the guards at the mall. It's begining a sentence directed to the supermarket cashier or the shop assistant in the booming "BRING ME". It's dreaming all the time about living in a better place. It's burning or downloading music files without paying royalties. Insisting on using all efforts and every trick in the book, to pay less than the asking price for a show or a concert. Anything but pay the normal price.

It's running around the shops on erev yom tov like a maniac in search of a gift, rather than sitting down to write a greeting. It's finishing reading this list and asking, so what does he really want? Of course everyone is corrupted. Then I'm alright, it's all the state's fault.