Sep 262009

English version

Sorry for the late posting. I was busy debating the values of capitalism with my friends (you know who you are). That’s because of the new Michael Moore movie, “Capitalism, a love story”, which none of us has seen yet, but about which we read in the press to be a critical look at the American capitalism as it’s practiced today. As people who lived in both communism and capitalist societies we have our own (strong) opinions regarding this subject, and the discussion went on and on … And since we’re talking about values, I found this simple graffiti in an entrance to the inner garden of bloc Dunărea, at University Square, across from the graffiti of the jester which I already posted. I am curious what is your opinion about the message of the graffiti. My interpretation of it is that we should be careful about the values we teach to our children. We live in a material world, to quote Madonna, but that is of our own creation. What do you think? Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it and the graffiti it’s just showing a guy giving a presentation on the financial crisis 🙂

  9 Responses to “The right values”

  1. What a great find, Andreea! I agree that it is so important to teach our children the right values, and in a growing Capitalist nation it is becoming more and more difficult. There is too much "I want" and not enough giving and sharing to the group (or family in this case). Gone are the days of moral and basic living, because there is too much energy being spent on the acquisition of the various levels of "stuff". Too many choices. Life would be much simpler if we were a Communist nation, and those choices weren't there anymore. And everyone would be treated equally. Okay, somewhere in the middle of the two would be ideal. Is this even possible?

  2. Yes, something in the middle would be ideal, I guess something like the Swedish model of capitalism, which probably is the middle between US capitalism and communism. I lived in communism and while the idea looks pretty good on paper, somehow all its implementations have ended up being dictatorships. Maybe there's something in the human nature that is incompatible with these ideals, I don't know, but it doesn't seem to work good in real life. Still, like you said, we should teach our children about family and helping others, about the importance of education and how to be responsible and not material things (to give an example, a friend of mine has a kid whose teacher told them in class that a gift is more valuable if it costs more; my friend was the only parent that complained about this out of 25 couples).

  3. What a great find! Thanks for the contemplation. I see in the stencil the current status quo. All that matters today is making money, regardless how. Children are raised to be good consumers, good tax payers, good workers and of course good citizens. I think unbridled capitalism is a huge problem for all of us because it makes most people poorer and poorer while a few others get uber-rich. Besides, it's wasteful and destroys the environment. Do we really need all the stuff money can buy in a world of abundance? I doubt it.

  4. Capitalism give you choices, you can live in a hut on the mountains, if you like. People who despise capitalism are usually filthy rich and lives fairly well in capitalist countries. People want to get away from Cuba and North Korea while immigration to capitalist states is practically out of control.

  5. Interesting graffiti. It reminds me that economics students seem to have different sets of values to those who read other subjects:

    … consider the following. In the 1990s, another Cornell University economist, Robert Frank, tested the hypothesis that “exposure to the self-interest model commonly used in economics alters the extent to which people behave in self-interested ways.” Among the findings: Economics majors made less generous offers when playing the Ultimatum Game; economics professors gave less to charity than their university colleagues; and when asked to imagine they’d found somebody else’s $100 bill, economics students were three times more likely to say they’d keep the money than students from the astronomy department. “Economics training doesn’t make you more honest,” Frank says. “It’s wildly implausible. It would be like water running uphill.”

  6. AB: That's interesting. I didn't know that.

  7. I've lived with American capitalism all my life, and although I have mixed feelings about the state of American society, I wouldn't give up on capitalism. It's really a question of priority, and putting capitalism, and money, into perspective. The reality is that capitalism doesn't have a heart. Its only motive is profit, which puts money in people's pockets. I don't have a problem with that, everybody needs money and money can enhance a good life. The problem is when the money, and the "good life" take center stage. It becomes more about me than about us, when it's the opposite that is true. The heart has to come from the people, not from business, and not from government. It's the love and the relationships that bind us together, and which truly provide us with a good life. Material things can certainly make life more comfortable and enjoyable, but they alone can't provide a good life. That perspective is what we need to teach our children.

  8. Dear Andreea,
    I would be interested to use the graffiti in a documentary film. It’s a documentary series on capitalism for the French-German cultural TV channel ARTE. I’d be happy if you could give me your permission to use it within the series and if you could tell how to credit it.
    thank you very much in advance,
    best wishes from paris,

  9. I would furthermore need a high quality of the photograph. is it possible? thank you ! best, barbara

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>