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WEEKLY WHINE

Interaction: How much is enough?

Kügenliche: Good evening, and welcome to Interaction. I’m Charlotte Kügenliche, and we are here in New York City, NY, USA, the money capital of the world, and tonight we are going to look at money. Lots of it. On film, and here in the studio. Some of it in the hands of billionaires using it to launch ludicrous vanity projects, and some of it in the hands of soulless corporations that have no motivations other than maximising profit through any means necessary, including destroying the very people who created them, and yet are granted the status of a person by a legal system that genuflects to their every whim and even invites them to write the very same laws that are intended to govern their behaviour. But how much money is too much money? Progressives here in the United States are proposing wealth taxes, and US Senator Elizabeth Warren is proposing to break up giant technology companies like Facebook and Google. Is this an idea whose time has come? Is it too little too late? Or are superwealthy individuals and conglomerates really fully deserving of our blind trust, and we should thank them for constantly looking out for the best interests of hard working individuals and never trying to swindle or deceive us, and on those rare occasions when they actually did, it was totally not their fault and we should blame the news media for lying and fabricating the documents that prove widespread violations of antitrust, privacy, environment, labour, and fraud laws, except for those incidents that did actually happen but are the fault only of certain individuals who have been dealt with, and incidentally here is another shallow apology and another entry in a long string of empty promises to “do better” at basic tasks like protecting the private information of their customers and actually being honest about how risky their investments are and how likely they are to destroy your retirement savings when the retirement savings of their top executives are never threatened in the slightest, so you don’t need to worry your pretty little head about anything and you can just keep on buying their products secure in the knowledge that you are supporting a system that really is totally sustainable and absolutely does not exploit millions of people around the world who are putting in countless hours to build and deliver their products but who are receiving a disproportionately tiny portion of the proceeds whilst the lion’s share goes to a select group of executives who made the brave decision to lay off thousands of those very same workers who had been putting in countless hours to build and deliver their products even though those workers were perfectly productive and did nothing wrong other than somehow not contributing enough to the “bottom line”, which is an abstract concept that is inevitably trotted out as justification for any swindling or deceitful activity even though it is not and has never been clear to any of the rest of us why we should care about their bottom lines when our bottom line, which is to find a decent job that plays some part, however small, in making the world a better place and to receive fair compensation for doing it whilst not being treated as interchangeable cattle being sent to the slaughterhouse in an endless single file line, doesn’t seem to matter in the slightest? We have here with us a panel to answer these questions and more. First, the director of the Wentaub Business School at the University of South Staten Island, Mr James van den Fleiburg.

van den Fleiburg: Hello.

Kügenliche: The chief financial officer of the Greater Buffalo Credit Union, Mr Owen Bargatti.

Bargatti: Good day.

Kügenliche: The first speaker of the Ithaca Renewable Garden Collective, Ms Elise Okowinde.

Okowinde: Hello.

Kügenliche: And the writer of several books, including The Case Against Money: Why Capitalism Is Destroying the World, and Why Your Purchase of This Book Is Ironically a Contributing Factor, Ms Jana Petrović.

Petrović: Hello.

Kügenliche: Welcome all of you. Well, I’m afraid that we are out of time for today.

Okowinde: What, seriously?

van den Fleiburg: But I promised my children that I’d be on TV!

Kügenliche: And you are.

Bargatti: But we’re still doing an extended discussion that will be posted on Youtube, right?

Kügenliche: No, we stopped doing those. They were drawing a lot of negative comments.

Bargatti: But I loved those!

Okowinde: The negative comments?

Bargatti: No, the extended discussions.

Petrović: What kind of negative comments?

Kügenliche: Mostly whether or not viewers would “hit” our female guests.

Okowinde: Well, of course there are negative comments on Youtube. It’s Youtube. They don’t care what kinds of comments people post. They only care that you’re watching the ads.

Kügenliche: Precisely.

van den Fleiburg: Well, it’s just as well. I feel as though you have already made up your mind on this topic.

Bargatti: What about the follow up podcast?

Kügenliche: Yeah, we don’t do those either.

Petrović: Then how can you expect to have a deep, thoughtful, insightful discussion that helps people understand how the world works, what is wrong with it, and what needs to be done to fix it?

[Pause.]

Kügenliche: Er... pass. We are definitely out of time now, so let us thank Ms Jana Petrović, Ms Elise Okowinde, Mr Owen Bargatti, and Mr James van den Fleiburg for being here with us. And be sure to join us next time when our topic of discussion will be the changing realities of television, increasing advertising demands, and the corresponding decrease in programme air times. We will be joined by a television writer, a television commercial writer, an advertising executive, and a streaming historian. Until then, good night.

Petrović: Didn’t you guys just air, like, twenty minutes of commercials?

Okowinde: Well, apparently those memory foam cushions are more important to the World News Centre than, like, actual world news.

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