marshtide: (Mårran)
Last year, when I was going through the previous round of studying Swedish, we watched an episode of a TV series in class. They were talking about money; how important people think it is/isn't; different financial situations. As far as I remember, it went something like this:


They had three guests.

One was The Richest Dude In Sweden (who says he had a deprived childhood & so can speak for poor people everywhere, but his parents were actually rich before the family lost everything while he was young).

One was That Dude Who Was Super-Rich and Lost Everything But Is Now Super-Rich Again.

And one was a lady of Finnish background who grew up in poverty in Sweden. Possibly also surrounded by alcoholic adults. She has decent means now because she wrote a book that people liked.

They spent a lot of time talking about poverty.

The guys in particular spent a lot of time talking about how:

* there is no real poverty in Sweden

* no-one is trapped in poverty! they just aren't trying hard enough!

* how terrible it was to be them

while the lady sat there and was like, you people are fucking idiots, I don't believe what I'm hearing, except she was unfortunately too nice to actually put it like that. The sentiment was definitely there though.

I was also like, you people are fucking idiots, I don't believe what I'm hearing. So I was pretty glad she was there.


1. There Is No Real Poverty In Sweden, at least, none that we, middle-aged rich white dudes can see. We would of course not care to think about the fact that some people are paperless and therefore effectively shut out from all support networks*, and that there are people who are too sick to take advantage of the support networks, and that there are people who no-one wants to take seriously when they say they need support. There are even people who fall into all of these categories at once! But, they are not far away enough to be REALLY poor. Everyone knows real problems in the world are ALWAYS somewhere else.

* there is like one charity in Göteborg that wouldn't shut up until it was allowed to use its funds to help paperless women, but all the normal Swedish safety nets? HAH.


2. No-one is trapped in poverty! You just aren't trying hard enough! You should, like, use your resources better. ...what do you mean, you don't have resources? Everyone has resources! Just like us! WE got out!

This is basically the same as the bullshit that is positive thinking, which I'm sure works fine for people in a really really privileged position dealing with a setback which they have all the tools to take in their stride, but which is so deeply harmful for people who have real, huge problems that are not their fault and which are to some degree beyond their control. This is a lot of people. I am tempted to say it may be the majority of people at some time or other. Most of us have problems that are not in our head, and the holy church of it's all in your attitude can go fuck itself.

Anyway, yeah. So the guy with a formerly-rich family admits that the idea that he was MEANT to be rich was there in his head from really early on. It was, like, the natural order of things! He was ENTITLED!

He is apparently not able to couple this idea and the privilege inherent in the education level and social level of his parents with the reasons for his success. No: anyone could do it. If they tried.

The guy who lost it all ended up on the street at one point, but got given a chance by one of those magazines made and sold by homeless people. He charmed his way out, essentially, and as soon as he got a bit of the way back up then - surprise! - all his old network was there for him. He does not see why other people couldn't do the same. Never mind socialisation, ideas about the right to a certain status, and a network of people who'll take you the rest of the way if you can make yourself look presentable enough to seem worth talking to again - that couldn't have anything to do with it.

No.

You Just Have To Try Harder.


3. It is terrible to be us basically because sometimes the world has not seen fit to arrange itself around us and so we have been temporarily poor?

I mean, don't get me wrong. Ending up on the street is shit for anyone, but the concept that his experience was the worst it could possibly have been rather took away from my sympathy, I have to admit. (Oh, and it's still terrible to be him now that he's rich again, by the way. Because now he knoooooooooooooooooooows that people only love him for his money. Woe and sadness. Woeeeeeee.)



...God, I'm sorry, I'm making light of the suffering of others again.

It's a horrible habit.

In this case I was rather provoked, I think.


(All this came up again, incidentally, in the context of this wealthy white dude who has written a book about how he travelled the world and PEOPLE WERE REALLY NICE TO HIM, so you should always be positive and nice and believe in the essential goodness of human nature because PEOPLE ARE REALLY NICE TO RICH WHITE MEN. So we were talking about that and getting all pissed off and then I suddenly remembered this whole other thing. And I thought I should share! To brighten everyone's day, just as mine has been brightened. ...I'm so sorry.)

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