Beating the system

I’m watching the economic and social justice memes floating about on the social networking sites. The sheer joy of seeing the blindingly obvious being stated. You cannot run a system purely to serve those at the top, it will break and fall apart. Economics is more make believe than proper science. What we have doesn’t work. And that other one, the 100 richest people in the world could end extreme poverty four times over with what they raked in last year. I’m not going to say ‘earned’ because there is nothing that could merit that kind of wealth. People are recognising and saying that money earned does not equate to hard work, or effort, or value of what you do. It equates to the power you had in the first place. The Emperor has no clothes on.

The thought I keep coming back to, is that I do not want to contribute to the bank balances of the super rich. Watching the immoral, illogical behaviour of my own government, I’m not mad keen to give them cash either, they clearly cannot be relied upon to make good choices in how they use it. So what does that leave me? I can’t decline to pay taxes.

Or can I?

Small businesses and lone traders do not, if their turnover is very low, have to register to pay VAT. If I stay away from products with duty on them, that’s more money that isn’t going to the government. If I buy second hand, from charity shops, that’s all kinds of sticking a finger up at the system. If I buy from a creator then I know at least in the short term, my money goes to them. If I buy a small brand not a big name, use a local shop not a supermarket, and so on. Basically, if I can see the person who made the thing, or grew it, or undertook it, and I pay them, I have some idea where my money went.
If I make my own alcohol and give it away.

Giving things away is really powerful. No tax. No engagement with the money systems at all. I used to use freecycle, and when I’m not on the boat, I will again. I just gave away my poetry. I give away my time for good causes, and my ideas in the form of this blog. I can do more.
There is no way I can extricate myself entirely from a system that sends cash to people who have way too much of it already, but if all of us just made a few token gestures at non-cooperation we’d make some interesting progress.

Money appears to be what our government cares about. Protesting doesn’t bother them. Vote and you get different faces and the same shit. But hit them in the bank account, take away even a little bit of power from their economic systems, and they become vulnerable. They can’t legislate into making us give money to Rupert Murdock rather than going to a live gig. They can’t make us buy fuel rather than walking. You can’t lock people up for not buying lager, or for giving away clothes they don’t want any more, and yet the power to destabilize the whole system is there, in those small acts of rebellion.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “Beating the system

  • Dawn Diaz-Ruiz

    This is something I’ve been thinking about, too, over the last year, inspired by a combination of finishing college (again) last month (and wanting to do something meaningful with this shiny new biology degree) and the ideas raised by Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael trilogy. Have you read his books? I refer here to his Ishmael, The Story of B, and My Ishmael. Our system is indeed broken; I like your thoughts on “beating the system”. Your words inspire thinking on what I can do in my own life. 🙂

  • Persephone McNair

    Nice food for thought here. Sharing this with my FB friends as a number of them would love to take this on board I’m sure. 🙂

  • Reg Amor

    Good post! Nimue for President!
    I’m a self employed weaver, so any time you want something weaving!! 🙂

  • Kestrel

    Nimue, you’re right, and it’s how I’ve been trying to work things over the last few years. I’ve dumped the TV, buy from local shops rather than supermarkets. When I do have to use supermarkets I use either the Co-op (a mutual) or Waitrose (almost a co-op but not quite). It’s very difficult to avoid paying tax though. Even small businesses have to register in order to claim back the VAT they pay. Only small tradesmen who ‘do’ things rather than ‘stock’ things can avoid registering. My biggest difficulty is diesel. I have to move about between Warwickshire and Oxford and North Wales. It grieves me to pay VAT and fuel duty as well as having the responsibility of a high carbon footprint. But what is the alternative? Public transport would take hours longer and still uses diesel (or electric if a train and then one has to ask what produces the electricity). I can hardly walk. A horse and cart would be interesting, but drivers would not be happy with me and neither would the traffic wardens in Oxford! So, until I can settle down in one place and stop all this gallivanting, I’m stuck with it. You ideas are right, and the only solution in the end. I stick to them as close as I can.

  • Anny

    It always gives me a little frisson of pleasure when I realise I’ve deprived the Chancellor of a few quid – walking, brewing our own beer etc, – but do you think Starbucks, Amazon & Google et al feel the same way?

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