What Should Money Buy

Market societies are easier to handle, they provide an avenue to input value on everything, but is everything quantifiable by the market?

You go to a political campaign, and you see people screaming at the top of their lungs, “he is the chosen one, the only one.” Oh, you sigh disappointedly; they’ve obviously been bought; at the end of the campaign, your intuition proves top-notch; you see men, women, and youths struggling and cursing out each other for the unequal and unfair way the money has been shared if you stick around you might even enjoy a fist fight.


You are a middle-class family earning modestly and hoping for a much brighter future for your children, and they seem to be reciprocating your optimism; they are bright and catch up fast. Then they go through the tedious, stagnant, and uncreative national system of education, and then they discover the system is meant consciously or unconsciously to keep them down; the “grass to Grace” narrative is a capitalist farce; a good education is presentable to the absolute economic dominators of your society.


You go to your polling unit; there’s a candidate that has spoken for you during the campaign season; he has been outspoken about your locality’s ills and given a feasible, realistic solution to these challenges; you go to the polling unit with him set in your heart, mind, body, and soul. On arrival, a party agent smiles at you and informs you, “vote for me and get 5k” your gain throughout the week had been “4500,” and of course, your tithe is “450” unless you want the cankerworms to visit you, what is this one vote, what can it change, after all, everyone is going for this deal, even the security personnel seems to have been “settled” a drop of water doesn’t make an ocean, you take the wise deal and go home happy.


Your house just got robbed, your teenage daughter raped, and your most valuable properties stolen or vandalized; you go to the security personnel in charge of your zone or the nearest police station and report the incident, “we will look into it” a thin devious-looking officer declares, but months pass, and nothing happens, the statement is obviously buried and rotting away in some abandoned file. You’re disillusioned, and coming back from the station for the umpteenth time, you encounter your rich neighbor being given a full-scale day’s report about his recent paranoia-inspired report about someone following him. Or you drive by a checkpoint, stopped and harassed by the officers there while trying to clear yourself without any luck; you watch as a guy with a tint-glassed the executive car is given a salute while dropping a little “something” for the boys.


Finally, you have a son who is fascinated by the military; he loves combat and is enamored by their distinguished uniforms; he aspires to be a great military officer who will serve his nation to the best of his abilities. He is quick, agile, and quick thinking, he has inherited great genes from his forebears, and his destiny seems written in the stars; you go to register him in a distinguished military school, but the price is too steep; there is nothing you can do, you know no one, have zero connections and can’t afford it, Junior weeps his eyes out but vows to still fulfill his childhood dream, he joins the recruits as soon as he is old enough, but discovers how rare social and military mobility is from that part of the military, he becomes disillusioned, meanwhile his mates who had the means complete military college and entered the military with royal celebration and a nice official title to go with it.


In these instances, we see how a free market economy, one of the greatest ideological inventions of human society, works; it enables people to trade goods and services willingly, with the freedom humans desire so much; the voter needs money, the agent needs the vote and transaction happens, good deal or is it? The “marketization” of all things presents two main challenges for the society suffering from it;

Firstly, it makes it harder to be poor; if the only thing money decided was a fancy car or a great vacation trip to the popular islands of the world, then economic inequality wouldn’t matter so much, but immediately it starts deciding who and who got the basic needs of life, then it becomes a serious issue, basic needs such as political leadership, education, security and the pursuit of happiness are becoming more and marketable, and in a free market, the goods go to the highest bidder.

Secondly, “marketization” presents a challenge in quantifying the value of goods; for instance, what is the price of a fully functioning kidney in a free market? Think of it this way, you have beloved friends coming to town, and you prepare everything for them, food, accommodations, and entertainment; they thoroughly enjoy their stay, and you guys have a good time at the airport while waiting for their plane, one of them drags you aside and goes “how much do we have to pay you for the services you rendered?” you’d probably become upset because you feel the value of what you did cannot be quantified in money, but in an unrestricted free market, this is exactly what happens, campaigns were supposed to show the solidarity the people had in a certain candidate, and the more turnout, the more confident the candidate grows, today when large numbers are seen at campaigns, one just hisses and guesses (and most times correctly) that they’ve been mobilized with money.

The challenge with this situation is that it strips humanity of every ounce of altruism, kindness, generosity, and every other socially useful character in exchange for what is best for the market. Cultures are dismembered and discarded; in such a society, crime skyrockets since money decides who gets to literally live and who dies. Of course, this is not new; Karl Marx described history as an unending fight between the haves (bourgeoisie) and the have-not (proletariat); the answers he prescribed, however were unrealistic and too ideological, and its practice have led to little more than genocides, widespread famine, and starvation.

However, the ills remain, that political and economic discourse that nobody wants to have; we rather fight and bicker over parts of it than face the main point, post how we are winning in life on social media but complain bitterly about its unfairness in our closets. Human society can only take so much at a time.

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