30 in 30 26: Watashi's Disillusionment


30 in 30 26: Watashi's Disillusionment

Amy Chua did America a favor by analyzing the paradox of Democratic Capitalism. In Democracy, people vote. In Capitalism, money votes. And money is absurdly concentrated. The rich use five ideologies to keep poor from fighting for redistribution:

  1. Upward Mobility: "Anyone, high or low, can move up the economic ladder, if talented, hard-working, entrepreneurial, and not unlucky."
  2. Self-Reliance: 'A person's chief concern ought to be independence and ability to meet personal/familial economic needs'
  3. Worker Control: 'Participation in the decisions that shape industrial and workplace policy'
  4. The Valued Employee: 'Respectability and desirability of lower-ranking, lesser-paid employee e.g. firm-as-extended-family
  5. Racism: 'Makes largest class, poor whites, feel better than poor minorities because they share skin color with elites.'

These five beliefs trap Americans in an Epiphanic Prison, like Watashi from Tatami Galaxy.

Watashi wants a 'rose-colored campus life.' In his fantastical pursuit of happiness, he joins college clubs to make millions, sport stronger, and of course, woo women. These all fail, perceptibly, from friend Ozu's tomfoolery.

But, trapped alone in his room, with only his beliefs to blame, Watashi gains True-Seeing, understanding his personal dissatisfaction echo-chamber results from a self-fulfilling learned helplessness.  If he fully appreciates his friends and passions, there's no need to chase a grandiose vision of "happiness." It falls into his lap.

The American people would benefit from similar sentiments. Hard work and talent only go so far. Your network will make you happy.