Our lives are stories, woven of events and ideas, beliefs and dreams. Right now, what we are told about inequality and poverty by many people in power is flat out wrong. They tell us that, “wealth trickles down,” “the market knows best,” “poor people just need to work harder” and even “poverty is inevitable.” Right. We need to unravel these stories and expose the truth about why a tiny number of people have grown extremely rich while billions of us continue to struggle in poverty. And we need to write our own story.
Free our mind-space
Nobody wants to suggest we should stop trading or advertising our wares to each other, or abolish trade and markets. The point is that there is nothing natural about being so totally immersed, at all stages of life, with the idea of perpetual material acquisition. We should be respecting everything we’ve learnt about the biology of our brains and leaving them enough time and space to develop as they have done for millennia, as they evolved to do, rather than using every trick in the book to pre-program us from childhood with an obsession for an instinct that, on its own, is destined to disappoint.
So, let’s get a better balance. Let’s stop the one-dimensional shriek of advertising from invading the most intimate theatres of our children’s lives – schools, play areas (real and virtual), the family home. And let’s turn down the volume for the rest of us by removing advertising from outdoor spaces; billboards, the sides of buses, subway stations and the like. Let the public space be as neutral as possible, free of the intrusive demands for special-status for that one part of our nature that responds to constant material acquisition.