Day 13 of ? – This Things I Believe

14 Mar

Have you ever found yourself surprised to discover something you believed to be true was not? This happens to me so often I’ve started taking notes. I will list three examples for you now:

1. Canadian newspaper reporters don’t get to write their own headlines. It was when I was in the UK last year I discovered this crazy piece of information. Reporters spend all their time and money arranging the words of their article just perfectly but they have no control over the only part that anyone reads (most people don’t make it past the headline). [Full disclosure: one hundred percent of the headlines of the articles you don’t read on are written by yours’ truly]

2. The word “prohibit” means “illegal.” Crazy, I know. If you’re “pro” something, it means you’re for it. I have no idea how this word came to be, but it’s confused me for the longest time and my explanation for this confusion was dismissed as invalid almost instantly by the presiding judge.

3. Star Trek is Space Communism. This is the one I found to be the most perplexing. I’ve been watching this show for a long time and its economics went right past me. I think one of the reasons I never noticed is that many of the people I know who love Star Trek also love capitalism (or hate communism – not sure if this is the same thing, but you get the idea).

So how is Star Trek Communism in Space? Well for starters

  1. It takes place in space.
  2. There’s no money. And not like in the “cashless sense” that is heavily promoted by the Apple Corporation, but more in like the you-don’t-ever-have-to-pay-for-stuff sense (a practice that is actively discouraged by the Apple Corporation).
  3. If you look closely, the characters on the show get to do the things they like – Guinan tends bar, Geordie optimizes the ship’s engines, etc. This is the opposite of the capitalist system where most people do something they don’t particularly enjoy during the day in order to free up their evenings so they can play a few games of Ticket to Ride before sleep.
  4. And finally, Star Trek has this race of beings called the Ferengi who are basically avatars of the capitalist class. “A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.” – Rule of Acquisition #18. These guys are the villains.

So there you have three things that I had wrong all these years. I have a bunch more and maybe I’ll write about them one day, but for now I’m going to sit back and enjoy the lovely weather in capitalist Australia where the minimum wage is $18.50 CDN* / hr (for full time work) and around $30 CDN / hr for part time casual.

Come to think of it, the more I learn about the economics of this country, the more I feel I should dedicate some words to the subject. Stay tuned!

Capitalist Oztralia

Sydney at dusk

*the actual currency is in AUD.

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